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Old 06-14-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about getting a mercedes. Why shouldn't I?

As the title states I'm thinking about getting a Mercedes Benz's. I'm looking at picking up an older one, higher mileage, with some issues that would be a project, then probably a daily, not sure yet though.
Does anyone have any experience with these cars? Reasons why I shouldn't buy one? etc.

From what I can tell the older ones are fairly reliable, but parts can be pricey. I'm looking at a 1989 260E that has 200K miles on it but, no mechanical issues. Link below
http://chambersburg.craigslist.org/cto/3051649117.html

Also looking at an 1989 300CE. Needs an alternator(~$150), rear windshield, A/C and heat don't work, dull paint (a good buff might help), and it has questionable seat covers. The only thing that bothers me is the heater not working, isn't that generally an indication of something worse being wrong? I'm probably going to check this car out within the week. Link below
http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3076441929.html

Finally the most labour intensive. A 1994 C280 that needs a motor. Obviously its the cheapest, and a used motor shouldn't be too bad. But who know's I'd have to check it out. Link below
http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3018882437.html

I have found some others but the sellers haven't responded to me yet and all the ad says is "needs a little work", yeah ok.

I really, really like the body style of the 260E, however, it's the most expensive, highest mileage one. The 300CE is also a good looking car in my opinion. Really I just have to go and check them out, talk to insurance people, etc.

So what do you think? Good idea, bad idea? Am I going to hate myself? My dream daily is an older benz with turbo. Either my big holset or a twin setup. The biggest thing I dislike is manual trans are impossible to find, so doing a conversion will be pretty tough.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Does it need to be gas? I had an 81 240D (w123) that was a riot, a slow riot, but very cool nonetheless. Old MB diesels of that vintage are amazingly bullet proof and so very easy to work on. Gas versions of that car were more troublesome and had more ---- to go wrong.

Seriously they will cost a ton of money unless they have been very well taken care of. Mine was a single owner when I bought it and it made life a lot easier and I didn't have to fix it every day. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap Benz. I would buy an older one again, but only from someone who knows what they are talking about. Get on an MB forum and learn about what to look for when buying that's specific to the chassis you like, it will save you money in the long run.

The later 300Ds were pretty good looking I think. Not much power but plenty of fun just cruising around in a land yacht. My opinion
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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I'd prefer gas just cause I like the noise. A diesel veg fuel conversion could be fun.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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I'd prefer gas just cause I like the noise. A diesel veg fuel conversion could be fun.
Fair enough. I prefer the diesel sound so each to their own.

I did make my own Biodiesel too, it burned it quite happily.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:32 PM   #5
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Yeah one of my high school teachers was into all that and did bio fuel stuff so I'm sure he'd be willing to help me out. I just don't get all hot in the pants for diesels. In my mind if I did that I'd be going for cheap fuel and high mileage, not performance. Oh yeah and one of my friends in high school had a diesel Benz with like 300K+ miles so I figure they can last awhile.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:20 PM   #6
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I had a 1989 190e 2.6 for a while. Body was incredibly tight and rattle free for the age. Handled well too when I put some fresh Bilstein HD's on it. Sluggish engine and a pretty irritating automatic transmission killed the fun factor. Lack of A/C and the MB Plex seats finally pushed me to sell it.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I had a 1989 190e 2.6 for a while. Body was incredibly tight and rattle free for the age. Handled well too when I put some fresh Bilstein HD's on it. Sluggish engine and a pretty irritating automatic transmission killed the fun factor. Lack of A/C and the MB Plex seats finally pushed me to sell it.
I really love the body style of the 260E it's just the 200K+ miles that worries me. Should I be worried? It does seem like it was well taken care of...well from the owners description. I also read the transmissions were programmed never to start in first to make smoother take offs. Long term goal I'd like to build the motor and turbo it, and do a manual trans swap, but not for many years.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:58 PM   #8
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The 190e 2.3 cosworth came with a manual. Tough to find and expensive when you do. Not sure how easy it would be to find parts for a manual tranny swap for any other car.

I'm not sure these platforms are best for your goals but of course nothing is impossible.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:01 PM   #9
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I wouldn't be put off by 200k if the price is right. I paid $1200 for my 190e with 198k miles I think. Was in pretty good shape, straight body, no rust, but tires were bald and the A/C didn't work.

One thing to walk away from -- any leaks in the vacuum system. It runs the door locks, the auto transmission, there are lines all over the place, it is NOT something you want to have to diagnose and fix if you can help it.

For example:

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Old 06-14-2012, 11:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedCarmel View Post
The 190e 2.3 cosworth came with a manual. Tough to find and expensive when you do. Not sure how easy it would be to find parts for a manual tranny swap for any other car.

I'm not sure these platforms are best for your goals but of course nothing is impossible.

Just saying. Though I'm not sure I'm russian enough to handle that. That's a long term goal anyway.

Also good info about the high mileage. I'm infatuated with the 260E I have no idea why I just love that body style. though it's a bit high priced at $2200, what do you think would be a fair price?
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:51 PM   #11
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LS1 944 if you wanna be a boss
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:53 PM   #12
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LS1 944 if you wanna be a boss
How about a ZR1 as long as we're making ridiculous suggestions?
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:00 AM   #13
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How about a ZR1 as long as we're making ridiculous suggestions?
Easy there, homeboy. How about you take a step back and realize what this pimp is trying to do?

He wants to buy an inexpensive expensive car that he'll eventually dump a whole lot of money into to make it go fast.

The elegant styling of the 944 and the large aftermarket/go fast support out there make it a great candidate, even with its suspect suspension geometry. LSx swaps are becoming common in those cars and there is a lot of info out there. LS1 944 would be a great swap.

That's what a young lord would do, but you wouldn't know that because you spend your life hating.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:29 AM   #14
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His most expensive car was $2200. Find an LSx 944 for that much and I'll buy it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:28 AM   #15
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Hahaha I'd love a 944. I do believe parts would be a far bit more expensive though. Also I don't really plan on dumping a bunch of money into it. It helps that I build all my own stuff though...Lets forget the turbo idea for now. Yes it would be awesome, but unless I get it seriously cheap (the car) I'll probably just daily it so I can build the miata.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #16
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August will be 3 yrs and just over 5k miles since I bought my 190e 2.3-16. It has never failed though it has certainly given me an education in german engineering including mechanical fuel injection. I will say that all the work is to be expected from a 25 yr. old car.

I probably have $500 in maintenance- sensors, freon, front struts, suspension arms, ball joints, bushings... nothing to get it running, all to make it run better. Parts (outside the driveline) are plentiful and cheap since they're all 190e - I replaced all 8 suspension arms in the rear with new bushings/ball joints for $160. Car is still solid as rock and a lot of fun to drive- it has clearly illustrated everything you ever hear about german cars- good and bad.

My advice would be only buy one if you're doing the work. I think the reason these old Benz come up cheap is because owners can't afford to pay somebody to fix them (vs. buying the part and fixing it themselves.) Typical example- mine uses the same nippondenso AC compressor found on the same era Camry, which was also used on a bunch of other cars, readily available and affordable.

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Old 06-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #17
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I drove a 93 300E for 5 years during highschool and college. Loved the hell outa that car.

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Old 06-15-2012, 10:20 AM   #18
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Lovely car. This was mine, shortly before I swapped it for a Saab.



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Old 06-15-2012, 10:37 AM   #19
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Wow those are some awesome cars! Especially yours m2cupcar(I also am a fan of your FE-miata). It benz' like yours that got me excited about them, so clean, aggressive, yet refined looking.

Yes I'll be doing all my own work. No I don't expect a problem free car of this age. I just wasn't sure if I'd end up dumping a buttload of money into it if something stupid goes bad, like if it needs shocks I don't want to spend like $3K on suspension.

Thanks for the great info guys. I'm going to look at the 300CE today, and see when I can go check out the 260E.

Now the hardest part is deciding which one I like more. I really love the sedan 260, it's cleaner, but higher mileage and he wants $2200 for it...Think $1500 is reasonable? Lower? It does need inspected.

The 300CE is also very nice but needs a lot of love, he wants $1850, but the car needs trailered. Max I'd offer is $1200
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:49 AM   #20
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I think all of 'em are priced high. The 190/300 are nearly the same car and use a lot of the same parts. Popular car so there are lots of third party parts- inexpensive. Too bad you couldn't find a buddy to drive down and pick up a southern car for those NE prices. My car had one 2" surface rust spot on it under some door weather stripping. Underside is clean.

Here's what I'm talking about for car/price: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3050268489.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/3031733835.html
And the 260 had the smaller 6- IMO you want the 300.
Here's the modern diesel to have: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3049087119.html
190s are plentiful: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3018307604.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/2954918026.html

Lovely is a good word for it - I use it when I look at the car and when I work on it.

What's crazy is I have seen three 5 speed 190e 2.6s come up on CL over the last year. And supposedly the 5 speed is what that engine needs. Unfortunately the owners of these cars think the manual trans garners a $1k premium, though they never seem to sell, keep popping back upon CL.

I've got thing for 60s 2 series coupes.


Though lately SLs seem to be the deal of the century. Running, driving, no issues, good top, hard top and they're selling for under $5k. Usually just need paint.
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/2964442175.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3039146814.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/3038263153.html
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Last edited by m2cupcar; 06-15-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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