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Old 11-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
SpatiallyAware
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Default Experience with w124 / ~1995 Mercedes e class?

Right now my 'beater vehicle' is a ford ranger. It's very rare for me to need the height of a truck bed, and I'm finding more often that I could use back seats. This vehicle would be used in situations where I wouldn't want to take the newer cars (camping, fishing, hiking)

I'm thinking about buying an older e class wagon instead.. I really like the look of the early 90's versions but am open to newer models instead.. Thoughts?

I don't need 4wd, but I do want something that can down a gravel road without the front wheels pointing in different directions (IE solidly built)

I also would like to be able to install a class 1 hitch to tow a utility trailer, if needed.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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Honestly, an older 4-cylinder Volvo wagon (240/740/940) might be a better option. Those redblock 4-cylinder engines just didn't break (especially the 8 valve versions) and they'll be much cheaper to keep running than an old Merc.

That said, early '90s Mercs should be pretty solid. I wouldn't go newer though as IIRC there were some issues in the late '90s and early '00s as there just started to be too many electronic bits. You might also consider a W123 as those seem to be indestructible, especially the diesels.

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
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I'd advise you to go to benzworld.org and do some reading re: the potential issues and repair costs. There is a subsection dealing with the model you are interested in.

I have a 89 190e 2.6l, got the car cheap, but parts are not. The local junk yard helps a lot. It is on that forum that I saw the saying "there is no such thing as cheap Mercedes" :-) So true.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Zenmervolt View Post
Honestly, an older 4-cylinder Volvo wagon (240/740/940) might be a better option. Those redblock 4-cylinder engines just didn't break (especially the 8 valve versions) and they'll be much cheaper to keep running than an old Merc.

That said, early '90s Mercs should be pretty solid. I wouldn't go newer though as IIRC there were some issues in the late '90s and early '00s as there just started to be too many electronic bits. You might also consider a W123 as those seem to be indestructible, especially the diesels.

ZV
I would really prefer to have something with a bit of oomph.. I actually have some experience with the older 240s and they were dogs. I'm sure the benz isn't going to be much better, but it's a bit more drivable. I live in an area where it's required to get out and go in traffic and on the highway.

Maybe the newer 740 is better? I'll take a look at it..
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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I'd advise you to go to benzworld.org and do some reading re: the potential issues and repair costs. There is a subsection dealing with the model you are interested in.

I have a 89 190e 2.6l, got the car cheap, but parts are not. The local junk yard helps a lot. It is on that forum that I saw the saying "there is no such thing as cheap Mercedes" :-) So true.
Part of my issue with those types of forums is it seems like many of the problems are almost self inflicted... Kids screwing crap up, drag racing, hooning it around.. And you also see a ton of the bad stuff without much of the good. I will poke around, though, thanks for the reference.

I really enjoy doing my own work on vehicles and make a bit of a hobby out of it. I'm not overly concerned about dealing with junkyards and the like, and keep it mind that this isn't a daily driver so it can be down while I look for parts.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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How about an E39 Touring?


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Old 11-14-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SpatiallyAware View Post
I would really prefer to have something with a bit of oomph.. I actually have some experience with the older 240s and they were dogs. I'm sure the benz isn't going to be much better, but it's a bit more drivable. I live in an area where it's required to get out and go in traffic and on the highway.

Maybe the newer 740 is better? I'll take a look at it..
That's a fair criticism of the 240 series cars. They did have trouble getting out of their own way, even with the 5-speed. The Turbo models were better, but then you have the turbo maintenance. The later 16-valve redblocks were a little better, but then you've got an interference engine (the 8-valve redblocks would just spin without damage if the timing belt broke).

Going back to Mercs, the W124 is solid and will definitely have more "oomph" than the Volvos (unless you get a 960 with the I-6, NOT the V6). The W123 cars will be kind of slow too judging from the power output they quoted, so that suggestion of mine might not be as good.

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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How about an E39 Touring?



I love them, but I worry about front end alignment. When I asked my alignment guy to recommend a car with a completely solid front end for my situation he said early-mid nineties e320 wagon, that they're built better than most trucks. He couldn't comment on overall reliability, but he claims you can almost baja these things.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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I've had most of the vehicles listed in the same series.

E39 wagon. Nice car, but there was always something that needed work. Self leveling suspension was nice, but another thing to break. A single rear shock was $300

95' E300D. Solid car. they did have problems with leaking evaporator cores in that era. major pita to tear apart the dash to get to it. Make sure the A/C works. Difficult to be a DIY mechanic on it.

85 300D. similar to the volvo in tank abilities. wagons also have a hydraulic sls system. Later turbodiesels aren't too horrible on power. Biggest downfall is the price. You can look to spend 7-10k on one in decent shape. They can be had for cheaper, but the wagon always commands a premium.
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