190E oil pressure & tappet noise

I'm in the process of looking for a 190E. I've seen one that I think is a good one, but am a little concerned about a few things.
On startup from (very) cold the tappets make a noise, but eventually
disappears, certainly after getting warm. When warm the tickover is about 700rpm and the oil pressure gauge reads just below 3 (about 1/8" below the 3 marking). The car has done 124,000miles, has a MB service history for half of that, but then serviced by the last owner. He clearly loved the car as it's pristine inside and out with no rust anywhere (I've looked all along the door bottoms, sills, the foldover on the wings, sills etc.). All the electrics work. No accident damage, very straight. A friend who is familiar with driving a W124 says it sounds and feels like a Mercedes and is similar to the 124 but smaller. I'm just a tad concerned about the tappet noise and oil pressure though. Should I be?
Also about 5 years back there is a bill from a MB dealer who had the head off and replaced the head gasket (no other work on the head noted, so presumably just a leaking head gasket - why???). Looking in the Oil filler in the cam cover shows a lovely clean engine (duplex chain), with no emulsion of any sort.
On the same bill there was something about the auto box coming out and going back again. No other info, but all this was 5 years ago and the car run beautifully. You'd never know if the paperwork wasn't there. My friend thought the very first change it made on the test drive (it was in Sport mode and very cold outside temp) was a tad slow, but other than that seemed absolutely fine. No clonks from box or rear axle.
Any thoughts?
Thanks very much
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Oil pressure is high when cold and typically between 1 and 2 BAR (14.7 psi) at hot idle, 1 BAR is about minimum @ hot idle, IMHO.
Automatic is designed to keep the engine revs higher than normal when engine is in its warm - up phase. Done by delaying up shifts. That's to quickly heat the catalytic converter. So if your comment was about high revs indicating a delayed shift, that's normal in that instance.
Suggest you look at headgasket repair bill to see if gasket was only significant parts item, or was cylinder head replaced?
Head gaskets fail when the engine is overheated or after many miles of being between an iron block and an aluminum head. So the question is which was the cause? If overheating caused the failure it may have affected the rings too and the engine will use oil evermore, until it's overhauled. If the gasket simply failed from the working of the two metals, then be glad it was done.
Others here may have an opinion about the tappet noise (or is it timing chain noise?) upon cold start.
Sounds like a good car, first clear up these questions best you can.
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Suggest a pre-purchase inspection, including a compression test, by an independent M-B shop.
The compression test will resolve any doubts about the piston rings.
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Is this a 190E 2.3 or a 190E 2.6? The 2.3 is a 4 cyl and the 2.6 is a 6 cyl. If it is a 2.6, are you sure the noise is the valve compensating elements? 2.6 [103] engines suffer from piston slap when cold and you have to replace the pistons with teflon coated skirts to stop it.

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I've got an 87 W124 200, the carburettor 4 cylinder model with an MBTex interior. I bought the car 2.5. years ago for £700 and I've since put 25K miles on it (now 140K). Thge interior is unmarked, and something of a benfit with kids. You can virtually hose it down.
The tappets were noisy on this, started about 3 months after I bought it. The local garage reckoned I was wasting my money on it but I had them replace them. The new tappets were around £50 and the whole job was £150 or so. The garage indicated that the noise was almost an irrelevance and would not lead to failure of the engine, I was simply annoyed by it on what was otherwise a very nice car to drive.
It has transformed the engine, with now very little noise 2 years on.
As well as the tappets I had a new electronic unit on the carburettor which cost about £90. This was to cure an intermittent misfire which was reported by the previous owner on the bills from a previous MB specialist garage. He'd clearly been trying to cure it, I've now not seen it for over 2 years.
I had some bushes replaced on the front suspension to stop some minor knocking on the front suspension and it's had half an exhaust (£102 from Kwik Fit including the front pipe).
At the last service the garage replaced the rear brake pads which cured a progressive brake fade that was occurring on long trips.
The car is still running on the Michelin MX energy tyres it came with, which still look good for a nother couple of years. They were apparently brand new when I bought it, the car had also just had new disks and pads on the front.
The S and E on the gear box are for Standard and Economy according to the handbook.
I previously had a 2.9 Granada and to be honest the 2 litre Merc was bought as an old banger because I couldn't find a cheap 5 Series BMW that I was happy with. Far too many of those on eBay with blown head gaskets, or they've just had them repaired. The only one I actually test drove overheated a couple of hundred yards down the road from the garage. I'm now keeping my eyes open for a newer Merc 124.
In terms of handling and suspension the Merc beats the Ford by a mile, you can role the sunroof all the way back at 70 mph without getting that awful 'beating' of air as you drive. Also, it doesn't wallow like a whale when you go round corners. The Economy mode on the gear box is a considerable benefit in the wet, it was all to easy to lose the back end of the Ford in the rain and snow with no way of disabling first gear.
If I have any complaints about the Merc it's with regard to the dead feel of the steering in the straight ahead position.
I did have to replace one of the struts on the boot, the kids caught their skate board in the boot lid and I suppose after 20 years as they levered it closed it just couldn't cope. I figured it would be £100 or so, but it was £25 from the MB dealer and was available straight away.
On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 17:35:04 +0000 (UTC), "Geoffrey Inett"

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Indeed! Owning a Merc isn't all bad...
DAS
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i bougth your same model, 1988, but a mecanic without experience on, burn the ECU; after 2 repairs i decide to take my car as a proyect and fit a carburator ( stromber 175 CD 2) and a new ( used) intake manifold, i had also the tappet noise, so decide to "upgrade" engine, changing 2.0 for a 2 years newer 2.3, modifing pistons, intake and exhaust manifold, aluminium air intake, Simota inox Filter, Simota Power brake Kit, Simota Stress Bar, AMG type II 16" rings, Dunlop 205/45 tires, sport fiber kit ( similar to EVO II) im still seeking in my country for a 16 valves head and 5 velocities gear box ( had a 4 mecanical one) after 3 years, still working on it, but im sure im not gonna sell it at any price. my kids dont allow it....
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