Benz for a Student

I am a university student considering buying myself a modest Mercedes-Benz for my daily driver. I am considering a 300E or 190E (W124) or maybe a 500SEL (W126). My budget is $3,000 to $7,000 for the
car itself, but I am curious as to the cost of maintenance on these cars. My current daily drivers are a 1981 380SL (R107) and 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (V8). Does any one have any basis of comparion for maintaining the W124 or W126, or even any recommendations for another Benz that might be recommended for an employed student? My alternatives are a BMW or a nice old Toyota, but I thought a Benz Sedan would be convenient and nice.
Thank you to all in advance.
--
- Michael J. Astrauskas


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Forget about 500SEL, it's a gas hog and hardly a "modest" car, especially if it needs a significant repair. You don't want a car to keep you broke.
A 300E is a fine package, good size, comfortable, reasonably fast yet economical and best of all, it's a model produced in volume so everyone knows how to fix it and parts are readily available from multiple sources ensuring reasonable prices.
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Whats wrong with your 380SL? If you want something more economical, look for a well maintained diesel.
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George Mann wrote:

There's simply not enough cars when family visits. The 380SL will stay, but another car is a good idea, especially one with four doors.
As for diesel, I know nothing of maintenance and haven't looked very hard for diesel stations in my area (although I have seen them). Do you have any general reasoning for why diesel might be better?
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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Diesels are both low maintenance and fuel efficient.
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"Student" and "Benz" just don't mix. I had a 1993 190E and that car cost me an arm and a leg to maintain/fix. Not worth it. Get a new Benz or don't get one at all. You're better off getting a Lexus (second hand one that is)...
--
R Green
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excuse me, but maintaining
two V8s
can easily maintain one w201 124 or 126
alex

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Alex Hemmerich wrote:

Hopefully it will cost less than either of the other two cars to maintain. I can't really find any figures on it.
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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R Green - WoWsat.com wrote:

Is just the 190E/W124 specifically a bad model, or do you mean Benzs in general? I know it will cost more than another make probably will to maintain (especially at 15 years old) but as long as it's no more than the 380SL it won't be a problem.
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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Plans B & C:
A mid-90's BMW 318ti, Hatchback 4; Easy to park; handles well.
A 2002 Hyundai Accent. Stick or automatic. Does everything well enough but no status. 60000 mile, 5 year warranty.
Do searches on eBay to get an idea of prices and how they look.
Hope this helps.
Oh yes, a friend of mine had an 87 190 with automatic and 4 cylinder. It was reliable.
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Might be a fair trade. Send me a pic of the student.
--
OEM parts - Benz: http://parts.mbz.org BMW: http://buyeuroparts.com
http://www.mbz.org | Mailing lists: http://lists.mbz.org
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snipped-for-privacy@fluadub.com wrote:

I saw one the other day in the university parking lot. It looked very nice, even in red (I generally dislike red cars). I saw it again this evening and noticed it was a two-door. Ideally I'll be buying a four-door so I can throw my backpack or passengers in the back easily. I suppose a backpack could go in the trunk just as easily, though.

How are these for reliability? Or price, for that matter. Ideally, the initial cost is no more than $5000-$7000 (this doesn't include any initial maintenance).
Status isn't too big of a deal, though I do have the urge to buy something a little classy. Plan B involves a mid-eighties Nissan 200SX or Toyota Corolla GT-S. I'm even considering a Jeep Cherokee, but that probably wouldn't be a pleasant daily driver.

I do use eBay for price references, but I never bid. I also use KBB and Edmunds for price references.

Good to know. Thank you.
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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I trust that by now you have seen the following web sites
www.lemonmb.com and www.troublebenz.com ?
These give me concern because I'm going to be interested in getting another MB in the next year or so.
My old Mercedeses used to be solid, if stodgy, cars.

The VW Corrado VR6 is also a 2dr hatch; relatively rare (imported in 1992-1994 only. 5000 or so units). They go like hell and are classy imho.

Very long warranty, so who cares.
>Or price, for that matter. Ideally, the

Japanese cars tend to look ratty after a couple of years but tend to be bullet proof. (We have a 92 Corolla with 132k that won't die. Looks like crap, but is so reliable. We all hate how it looks; but we all drive it, even on road trips. Dependable.)
I'm even considering a Jeep Cherokee, but that

Bucket o bolts. (We had one as an emergency police cruiser in my small town in Indiana and had a lot of trouble, mickey mouse generally, with it)

The Hertz web page is worth a look too. They sell their better condition cars with 25000 miles on them. Hertz will let you look at specific maintenance regords. Typical prices: 2003 Mustangs and Taurus $11k; Corollas, about the same. All cars tend to have small engines, automatics and power windows and locks.

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snipped-for-privacy@fluadub.com wrote:

Thank you for the links. Unfortunately, they don't deal with the range of years I'm looking into. I know Mercedes has supposedly taken a dive recently but the newest cars I'm looking at are mid 90s.

What was your old Mercdes?
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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1971 220 Gas 4sp 4dr 1981 240D Automatic 4dr 1983 300SD Automatic 4dr
Aciu!
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That may be so, but keep in mind that the "dive" MB applies not only to their cars but also to their service reputation. Take an MB of any vintage to a dealer for service and your cherry could easily come back to you a lemon. If you have a loud mouth and are good at writing letters to corporate offices, though, you can *sometimes* get them to fix whatever it is they've done wrong.
I've had great experience with the '94 W202 C280 (from new to 110K) and '93 W124 300E 2.8 (from 70K mi to 160+K mi, still going), and not-so-good experience with the '83 R107 380SL (probably because the car hadn't been maintained well by previous owners during the 170K mi it went through before I got hold if it).
Highly recommend the M104 gas engines, available in any 6 cylinder MB 1990-1997/9. The 1986-1990/2 M103 seems to be just as good, if not better, with some loss of performance, but I don't have any direct experience with those.
I'm not totally sold on the bigger engines, especially in the older cars (unless you're prepared to tinker or make frequent trips to the mechanic).
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Stradivari1688 wrote:

I apoligize for not noticing your message sooner.
The 300E is at the top of my list, but ones in good shape in my area always seem to have lots of miles. I'd prefer 100,000 or under (which I know is tough for $5,000-$7,000), but I really don't want above 150,000. I've seen some with 240,000 miles, but I don't know if that's average for the engines or more of a fluke.
More cylinders isn't too important. Four will be plenty.
Thank you for the engine spec advice. That will help tremendously!
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- Michael J. Astrauskas


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I owned an 1976 W123 (200 gasoline model converted to LPG) all through my college years, and it was PERFECT! Bought it in '88 for the countervalue of US$450 and sold it in '94 for the same amount, to an african who probably exported it to Namibia where it is still running as a taxi (hopefully)...
It had 370.000 Kms on the clock when I got it, but the odo broke after a year. Must have passed well over the 500.000 in those years. The car might have looked like a gipsy car, olive-green with some rust and holes in the fender, but it ran great and at virtually no cost (LPG cost US$.015 per liter that time), and it passed safety inspecion every year without a flaw. Roomy 4 door car, which came in especially handy en the many trips to the rowing regattas, with the entire team (4+ coach and cox).
Moral, find a good one, preferably an older one W123 or 124) with not to much electronics in it, 4 or 6 cylinder, drive it, enjoy it, care for it and you'll have a true companion for many years...
I keep many warm memories to my first car... Take a look if u like:
http://members.home.nl/josimar/plaatjes/Mercedestilburg.jpg
Nel Frikandel
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if you're a DIY type and want a mercedes, a W123 240D or 300D is great. if you want a totally idiot proof car, i recommend a late 90s Corolla LE w/ 5spd manual.
aside from the Jetta TDI i bought, the only other car i was in the market for was a corolla b/c they last and last and last.
they dont break, need little maintainance, any joe can fix them, and i did a road trip from boston to pittsburgh in one and it was comfortable and drove nicely.
Michael J. Astrauskas wrote:

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manapy wrote:

I'll do mild DIY stuff, such as fluid changes, simple parts like the alternator, belts, brakes pads/rotore/capiers, and so forth. I'm not planning to do any major engine work, for example, mostly just due to time.
I'm not particularly fond of the Corolla, just because it seems really, really tiny. Perhaps I should try one out.
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