'89 300E Ownership Cost

I'm being offered a beautiful 1989 300E in excellent condition (35,000 miles/70,000 Kms). I've tested the car and it rides pretty much "like a new E-Class". The engine is in mint condition, the interior is
pretty much spotless for an '89... I love the car. The original owner was the father to the local Mercedes-Benz dealer's sales manager, who sold it two years ago to the local Mercedes-Benz dealer's chief mechanic; so the car's had a premium treatment.
Like I said, I love the car. I want the car. But I've been told by several people (including the owner of a much newer M-Class) to steer away from it because of the astronomical costs of owning a Mercedes, even an old one like this '89 300E. I always thought this was true of recent Mercedes', but I thought it wouldn't apply that much to an '89.
I'd much rather get "more car" buying an older Mercedes in mint condition than paying the same for a Nissan or a Kia 10 years younger, but I'd be buying "less car" so to speak. Nevertheless I don't want my wallet to suffer disproportionally every time I need to take the car to the shop. What do you recommend? Will this '89 300E truly brake my bank account? Thanks.
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A Mercedes-Benz is a luxury to own but 18 year old cars don't get senior discounts.
Your question omits one element: How much maintenance and repair work are YOU prepared to undertake?
If the answer is zero then this nice car (or any Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus etc) will be costly to own and a popular, volume produced model will be a better choice.
An 18 year old car with only 35K miles is an unusual find and has at least another 200K miles in it IF it's reasonably well maintained (mainly engine oil & filter changes). An '89 300E is a relatively simple model, popular and well regarded. Maintenance and repair parts are widely available and independent M-B shops know these cars well so there should not be any difficulty in keeping it on the road. Call a few local independent M-B shops and ask their price of a 7,500 oil & filter change, and a 15,000 service, including a turn-up and the costs will become evident.
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as a reference point. I've got a '89 300E. the cost of ownership to date has been one waterpump... easy enought to install yourself. total cost about CDN $150. I'm not counting brakes and oil changes etc. I will need a new resonator soon. The car did have a new muffler installed before I bought it which was 140 km ago. Trying to search my memory, can't think of any other costs.... OH, yes. I had the valve seals replaced at a cost of $600 to stop it from using oil.... Replacing the seals, rather than the guides, was all it needed.
cheers, guenter
ps... obviously buy the car.... it's a 'great' drive. Wouldn't part with mine for the world.

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Thanks T.G. and Guenter for your replies.
I found a car spare part shop around my neighborhood today and Mercedes are their speciality. I talked to the guy in charge about the Mercedes I tested and he said that a 300E is such a popular model that when it comes to body parts I'll always find them around, and since it's an '89 they're not expensive. He said the only parts that might end up costing a bit more than its equivalent for a newer Asian car are some electrical components (motors for electric windows, mirrors, sunroof, etc.) or engine parts (which I'll make sure this Mercedes won't need since it only has 35K miles on it). I told him that the owner of this 300E mentioned two things that needed repair: 1-The A/C system was in perfect condition but needed a recharge, and 2-The little thingy (motor?) that moves the windshield wiper was acting funny sometimes. He said that the A/C charge was cheap and any repair shop could do that, and that the windshield wiper motor would cost me like $115 (not bad!). Labor cost would always depend on what mechanic I chose, obviously.
He did mention that the only two possible disadvantages to buying this car are that it's a big engine (to which I'd have to adjust to more intelligent driving habits), and that being an '89 it'd be harder for me to sell it later. I really don't see any of these two as big problems. I've never been a "pedal-to-the-metal" kind of driver, and besides there are so many traffic jams and pot holes everywhere around my city, it's almost impossible to find the chance of speeding. And about selling the car, I don't think I'd end up feeling the need to do so. It's a gorgeous car in great shape and old enough that my insurance costs drop significantly. And like the spare part shop guy said: "If you're gonna get an '89 300E in such a great shape with only 35K miles on it, you'll want to keep it for at least five years."
So I'm pretty much sold on it. I'll try to get a mechanic to check the car throughly and if it passes the inspection I'll buy it.
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Thanks T.G. and Guenter for your replies. I decided to go out today searching for car shops specialized in Mercedes. I stopped by one Mercedes spare part shop right in my neighborhood and talked to the owner about this model I got offered. He said that a 300E is such a popular model that when it comes to body parts I'll always find them around (new or used), and since it's an '89 these parts aren't that expensive. He said the only parts that might end up costing a bit more than its equivalent for Asian cars are some electrical components (motors for electric windows, mirrors, sunroof, etc.) or engine parts.
I told him that the owner of this 300E mentioned two things that needed repair: 1-The A/C system was in perfect condition but needed a recharge, and 2-The little thingy (motor?) that moves the windshield wiper was acting funny sometimes. He said that the A/C charge was cheap and any A/C repair shop could do it pretty easily, and that the wiper motor would cost me like $115 (not bad). Labor cost would always depend on what mechanic I'd choose, obviously.
He did mention that the only two possible disadvantages he sees to buying this car are that it's a big engine (to which I'd have to adjust to more intelligent driving habits), and that being an '89 it'd be harder for me to sell it later. I really don't see any of these two as big problems. I've never been a "pedal-to-the-metal" kind of driver, and besides there are so many traffic jams and pot holes in my city it's very difficult to go around speeding. And about selling the car, I don't think I'd end up feeling the need to do so. It's a gorgeous car in mint condition and old enough that my insurance costs drop significantly. The spare part shop guy said: "If you're gonna get an '89 300E in such a great shape with only 35K miles on it, you'll want to keep it for at least five years."
So I guess I'm sold on it.
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Sergio, just so you are aware. The engine is not that powerful... you may well end up being a pedal to the metal kind of driver since the car will always start in 2nd gear, unless you shift yourself from 1st (marked 2) On the other hand, it does save considerably on gas and sure helps in winter on snow and ice if that's the case
cheers, guenter
ps. I'll never sell mine
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On Jul 18, 4:55 pm, snipped-for-privacy@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Guenter Scholz) wrote:

Well, snow and ice aren't weather elements we have to put up with here in Costa Rica, he he. But still, the engine saving some gas by starting in 2nd gear is always good when driving a gas-guzzler like this car can be. Honestly I'm not that interested in the engine being super powerful or not. Comfort and smoothness are more of a priority to me, and this car sure has both.
Another question for you guys: I talked to my father this morning and he told me he's got a friend who owns a used car dealership with a '91 turbodiesel E-Class in stock. I still don't have any details regarding millage/kilometers on this car or its condition, but I was curious about turbodiesel Mercedes and if one this old was worth choosing over a petrol one.
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I've owned a 1980 M-B Turbodiesel since new and still like it - a lot. The only way for you to know more is to go look at the turbo model.
A bit more on the 300E. Its 12 valve motor is 3.0 liters and makes 177 HP. The motor was later enlarged to 3.2 liters and the head was changed to 24 valves. Both are very smooth engines that run for a long time.
Some may tell you that a diesel is a very long lived engine compared to gas motors. Maybe so, but don't let that sway your choice between the two, rather look at total operating cost: fuel use AND regular maintenance cost.
We're here when you have more questions.
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Sergio wrote:

I have an '87 2.5 liter diesel with a similar milage when I bought it 2 years ago. I've driven 65000 km's with it since then. In my experience the parts that break are the 'luxury' options. Orthopaedic seat, power windows (rear only for some reason), the ASD (Automatic Locking Differential) and headlight wipers. That can be expensive to fix if you need to go to the dealer. I've decided I can do without the orthopaedic seat and the ASD (which only works at low speeds anyway). My car didn't have AC, I added an aftermarket set.
The standard stuff to need maintenance were some 'ball' in the suspension (don't know the English term), some rust spots fixed and two door catchers (weak point). All not too expensive.
My take is that an MB of this vintage can be fairly cheap to drive if it isn't loaded with options. If it is and you want everything in top order and fixed by a dealer it can be expensive. The engine and automatic gearbox have been trouble free so far. Thankfully this is all tax deductible for me.
Ximinez
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