BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000

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OK. Here is my "Best Used Benz Challenge" for you guys.

Terms of the challenge --

(1) Must be $5000 - $7000
(2) 4-Door Sedan
(3) Mid-1990's & earlier
(4) Diesel preferred
(5) Must be reliable for Daily Driving
(6) Must be comfortable (minimal engine noise, smooth ride, etc.)

Winner will have the deepest gratitude from this MB newbie :)


Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Figaro wrote:
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That would be a w124 E300D I guess...

Unless you want to go w140 350SD(L) which are more luxurious but also
more problematic and expensive to maintain.


Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Thanks, I found a local car, a 1994 E300D, for sale  @$5295
Also a 1991 560SEL for a couple $1000's more.

Both look great inside and out.

Which one is a better deal?

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Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Also- is there a big difference between the E300D and E320CDI in terms
of reliablity and performance?  Their prices are about the same in the
used market...although I have heard MB reliablity is *Very Poor* in
late 1990's.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Ximinez, great on.... :-)


To reply directly replace 'nospam' with 'schmetterling'
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Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Thanks for all your insightful comments.
I am in Los Angeles area...

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I am coming from Jaguars, so I understand all about brand mystique &
loyalty.  But I am willing to give MB another chance after a not-so-
hot experience years ago with my cousin's 1997 S420 (He later traded
it in for a Lexus LS.  "Too many issues"- he said).  That car felt big
and heavy like a tank, unlike my Jag XK8 at the time.

So far I have looked at:  early 1990's E300 (gas & diesel), 300SEL,
560SEL.  I like the styles from this period better than the newer
cars, and the prices are fantastic... despite the uniformly
stratospheric mileage on these cars.  This tells me two things --
either (1) these cars are near bullet-proof reliable like the Toyotas
& Hondas, OR  (2) the pride of ownership far outweighs costs of
maintenance (kind of like my love-hate relationship with my prior XJ6

I do want to find a reliable MB daily driver so I can retire my XK8
(still pristine and light on the foot) for the weekends and special
occasions :-)


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Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
I found this 1995 E300 Diesel:

The price seems rather steep at $6000 for the year & 170k mi
( suggests $2572) - but is this a good model/year to get???


Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
No one is gonna sell off a MB diesel for $2600... not gonna happen but $6000
is a bit steep. He must have all service records all the way to beginning of
the first ownership to even ask for that price.

It is a CA car so it is rust free. From what I see, it seems to be a basic
base model... just like mine. Feel free to email me for all questions as I
own the same car.

At that mileage, the issue is sway bar links/bushings, fuel lines leaking...
I mean all of them. Possible fuel injector pump leaking (I have this issue
now and it is all because of new diesel low sulfur formulation),
Transmission is critical... must be verified working.

I love my car, it is not too big and yet sport enough. The W210 is defintely
bigger and longer but the 5 speed tranny is a dream along with the latest
and best old time diesel engine.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
Figaro wrote:
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I'd say it's a good model and year to get, but this one is too expensive
for the mileage.

In general US benzes are more affordable than out here in Holland. I
just paid 12000 EUR for a '5 E280 wagon, but it only has 50kmiles on it.
I also get a full 6 months warranty, which is a nice feeling...

I'd definitely get the E instead of the S.


Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
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Neither IMHO. Both cars are over-priced unless they're mint and
there's seriously low mileage on them. Keep in mind Chrysler
handled/built everything after '87. I own a pair of 300Es
(87 and 88) that are "bullet proof" reliable but they keep
me busy with repairs. Wires, cap and rotor run $300 for a
basic tuneup. Water pumps the same.

Assume they're being sold by dealers? Compare prices on Craigslist
or eBay first.

The 300D is at the crossroads for extensive repairs when they have
200 to 300K km on the clock. I tuned in late and don't know where
you're located. I'm in chilly Canada and all those 300Ds need to
be plugged in (block heaters) wherever you park to start at
temperatures below freezing if that's a consideration.

Not to say they won't clock a million KM during their lifespan, but they
do demand that you throw money at them. Repairs on the 560 will be through
the roof unless you're able to do your own work.  

Buying a Benz ten years old works best if you're networked with
local places that stock good used parts and wreckers with parts
cars, and a mechanic that doesn't treat you like 99% of mechanics
do when you call about a Benz that needs work.

That said, there's no other car like a Benz and once you're hooked
there's no way out.

Then again, if you're made of money - go nuts!  =)

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"Ward, weren't you a little hard on The Beaver last night?" --June Cleaver

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
You are definitely 'mad'....

I disagree with alot of you what you said. Especially the Chrysler part...
you could not be any more wrong. Chrysler never handled anything Mercedes...

They were allowed to use Mercedes technology and parts but still insisted on
their 'modification.' Nothing of Chrysler were ever adopted into MB cars.
and you are about a decade+ off when Daimeler acquired Chrysler.

We don't know where this person is located and cars can be alot more
expensive than in USA.

Parts are plentiful for old MB... zero problem in USA. No need to stock used
parts unless it is absolutely necesary.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
1997 E300D non turbo with 5 speed auto transmission
1998 E300TD turbo with 5 speed auto transmission

This is for USA cars.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
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are u aware MB cars are generally unreliable and cost lots of $$$ to

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
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MB cars have serious problems with being reliable.  I've seen lots of
my friends cars with electrical gremlins (some serious enough to
warrant replacing of major components, others just annoying).
For that money, I'd suggest getting a good japanese car that is FAR
superior in reliability.
You also don't mention that with cars this old the seats are probably
worn out and in most cases the seats will be uncomfortable.   The
first thing to make the car useful would be to get seats fixed (new
cushioning material - maybe new covers).
My experience with MB autos is that they WERE great 30-40 years ago.
Now it's just riding on a reputation from a long time ago.  For the
past 10-20 years MB autos are awful build quality.  Very unreliable
compared to say a lexus LS400 - LS430.  For about $10k I'd suggest
getting one of these cars.   Much better reliability.
Now if you really enjoy wasting your money and giving it to a MB
mechanic to fix these money pits - be my guest :)

Status symbol =3D I can afford to waste lots of money on a car that
requires high maintenance.

search google for unreliable luxury cars.  You will see MB autos
(german cars in general) come up rather often...

I'm quoting from the Forbes article for unreliable luxury cars - this
is around 2007

Over the years, we have heard a lot of gripes about unreliable luxury

Lamborghini=92s LM002 =93had the durability of a potato chip,=94 one car-
industry analyst remarked. Your typical Land Rover, one reader wrote,
is =93as reliable as a drunken house painter.=94

And there are entire Web sites dedicated to jokes about Lucas, the
company which used to supply mediocre electrical components to Jaguar,
giving the automaker=92s build quality a miserable reputation that has
endured for decades (=93Q. Why do the English drink warm beers? A.
Because they have Lucas refrigerators=94).

In other words, if you buy a luxury car, don=92t expect it to be trouble-
In Pictures: 2007=92s Most Reliable Luxury Cars

But some brands, particularly Japanese luxury automakers, are known
for immaculate manufacturing. At the start of this year, half of the
market=92s 16 most-reliable luxury cars -- the models which earn
Consumer Reports=92 highest marks for predicted reliability and/or J.D.
Power=92s highest marks for manufacturing quality -- were Japanese,
including Toyota Motor's (nyse: TM - news - people ) $61,000 Lexus LS
flagship sedan, which the carmaker just overhauled.

Dependable Drive
The new LS is the fourth generation of the car since Lexus introduced
the line in 1989, and it has garnered more awards for quality than any
other luxury car, says Lexus. It has also won J.D. Power's Vehicle
Dependability Index study every year it has been eligible.

Lexus builds five of the 16 most-reliable luxury cars. Its slogan used
to be "the relentless pursuit of perfection," and it wasn't just lip

While the company has world-renowned manufacturing methods, "the
pursuit of perfection" is implanted so vigorously into Toyota's
corporate culture that Lexus engineers its trademark reliability into
cars before they ever hit the factories. The company=92s designers and
engineers have mastered the science behind the creation of reliable
vehicles, and they don=92t need to wait to see how their technology and
engineering will hold up on the actual cars, at least not to the
extent that other manufacturers do (to test things out, other
automakers need to build more pre-production prototypes than Lexus

Increasing Competition
Given Toyota=92s merits, we were surprised to find that several other
luxury cars compare favorably with Lexus=92 models, despite being issued
by companies that are hardly Toyota-like.

DaimlerChrysler's (nyse: DCX - news - people ) Mercedes-Benz
subsidiary, for example, has had reliability issues resulting in
massive recalls and dreadful Consumer Reports ratings. However, J.D.
Power has given two of the carmaker=92s vehicles (the SL and SLK
convertibles) its highest marks for manufacturing quality. Power
reports that SL and SLK owners, within 90 days of taking delivery of
their new cars, are seeing very few problems with features,
accessories, interior components and body quality. Could Mercedes
finally be tackling its quality-control issues?

We=92re asking the same question of other German cars this year. In
general, they are known for having technology that is prone to failure
because of its complexity. Yet we were surprised to see cars by
Mercedes, BMW and Porsche on our list this year.

The Findings
Our list is made of new-model cars. A car is on our list if it has the
highest marks for reliability from Consumer Reports and/or J.D. Power.
Both use one-to-five scales for evaluating quality and reliability. A
=93top marks=94 indicates a =93five=94 from Power or Consumer Reports, or
both. The vast majority of luxury cars are not on our list.

What=92s more, not every luxury car has reliability ratings. If a car
was new or overhauled for calendar-year 2006, don=92t expect to see it
here. For example, Consumer Reports has not issued reliability
predictions for Cadillac=92s Escalade and Acura=92s MDX, two SUVs that
were overhauled last year. New cars like these need to be on the
market longer in order for customers to report problems the vehicles
may be having. And such blue-blooded cars as Maybach and Bentley
models tend not to have reliability ratings from Power and Consumer
Reports because the vehicles=92 volumes are too low to make for
effective studies.

Power bases its overall manufacturing quality score on =93problems that
have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component,
feature, or item--i.e., components that stop working or trim pieces
that break or come loose.=94 Both Power and Consumer Reports base their
quality and reliability ratings on owner responses to their surveys.
Consumer Reports asks owners if they have had trouble with their cars=92
engines, electrical systems, paint, audio systems and other

Rest assured, it=92s possible to find luxury and reliability in one
vehicle. And that=92s no joke.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
That is a generalisation.  SOME Mercs had major issues, unfortunately incl
some of the top sellers.

My understanding is that many/most of the problems have been licked.

E.g. 1st generation A Class not great.  Present generation fine.

B Class never had a problem.

Any disagreements?


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Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000

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Are you aware that Lexus cars ride and handle like the toyotas which they are?

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
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please drive an LS 460 and then tell us what you think.  This thing
can blow away an S-class MB in luxury, performance and handling.

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
I found this 1983 300D Turbo, 180k mi,  for $3900.

Is it a good buy??

Re: BEST Used Benz for $5000 - $7000
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Yes. Assuming what the seller says is true, that is a very good buy.
One thing, though, the W123 Mercedes of that era, which this is, had a
really poor design in the gearing of the odometer. Almost all of them
break. As a result I always question the mileage estimates. Even if
fixed, people will go a long time without attending to a broken
odometer that doesn't affect the speedometer. That said, if well-
maintaine, these cars are super reliable and will run practically
forever. I currently own two. :)

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