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RossD
RossD SuperDork
1/30/12 2:55 p.m.

With the 2.3 already in the name (and the recent E30 w/ 2.3T thread), a Ford 2.3 turbo and a T-5 would be neat swap.

fastmiata
fastmiata HalfDork
1/30/12 7:28 p.m.

I could write several pages about my wife's experience with 190E but I will sum up the Dealer's attitude in a statement he made to me when we were replacing for the third time either the trans or AC system(both were PITA for us; in fact my wife spent one day of my Skip Barber school trying to get it serviced at the nearest M-B dealer to Sebring) He said with a straight face "it is our entry level car so we expect to have more problems with it" I pointed out that we traded '86 Accord for the car and never had even a visit to the dealer with it. Finally got enough equity in it to trade it for our first RX-7 and never went back.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/30/12 7:45 p.m.

After 2 years at an indie Mercedes shop not only am I not impressed with the brand, but with those cars in particular. Did not get a chance to drive a 2.3 16v but drove quite a few of the regular 4 bangers and 6's including one 6 banger 5 speed car which has the dubious distinction of having the worst shifter I have ever tried to make sense of.

The engine and drivetrain hang together pretty well but everything else is crap, in particular window regulators break and unless you can do it yourself they are pricey.

I can outrun one on foot, gimp knee and all. Lots of expensive A/C problems. I'd buy a Honda or a Camry first. No star on either of those but they will give much better service.

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
1/30/12 7:46 p.m.

Windows and locks run on vacuum lines, right?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/30/12 7:51 p.m.

Locks are vacuum, windows are electric. The regulator is a 'scissors' type, the spot welds will shear. Also the big bushing in the middle gets sloppy and no longer meshes well with the motor, the motor then grinds the teeth off. If your luck is really bad it will graunch the motor gear and Bosch is well and truly proud of those.

There are aftermarket regulators cheap but you get exactly what you pay for. The OEs are better (still break though) and cost a bunch more.

The A/C on some of them has a no longer available vacuum distribution block deal which warps and leaks. That means the various vacuum motors no longer work. There is no cheap/easy way to fix that. Speaking of the vacuum actuators, they are a cast iron bitch to replace.

The good about all this: the people who just could not see riding behind anything other than that three pointed star would spend a wad to fix 'em. I had one girl who inherited one (2.3 automatic) from her grandmother, she dropped about $4200.00 on that car and it still needed a E36 M3pot of work. I actually tried to talk her out of it (hey, I have a conscience).

MG Bryan
MG Bryan Dork
1/30/12 8:18 p.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: After 2 years at an indie Mercedes shop not only am I not impressed with the brand, but with those cars in particular. Did not get a chance to drive a 2.3 16v but drove quite a few of the regular 4 bangers and 6's including one 6 banger 5 speed car which has the dubious distinction of having the worst shifter I have ever tried to make sense of. The engine and drivetrain hang together pretty well but everything else is crap, in particular window regulators break and unless you can do it yourself they are pricey. I can outrun one on foot, gimp knee and all. Lots of expensive A/C problems. I'd buy a Honda or a Camry first. No star on either of those but they will give much better service.

No W201 experience to speak of, but my 'rents R129 has been pretty bomb proof. I don't particularly like driving it, but I can't fault it on anything that isn't subjective.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/30/12 8:31 p.m.

Heh. Wait till it pisses hydraulic fluid onto your good dress pants from the top mechanism.

There are (depending on the year) either 10 or 12 cylinders. Parts alone are ~$4000.00. Yeah, there's a guy who rebuilds those cylinders but that's only if the shafts are perfect and damn few of them are. Now if the shafts are good, he does excellent work for ~$75 per cylinder. If they are unlucky enough to have a early '91, the top electronic control unit is NLA and the rebuilders don't mess with them because there are so few. A good used control asy will set you back $750-$1k - IF you can find one.

The really bad part is that the hydraulic system also locks the hardtop down. If it quits working, the front locks can be manually overridden but the rear hardtop locks cannot (not to be confused with the top frame cylinders). That's why you will see a lot of 129's with rotten rear windows; the hydraulics are bad, they can't afford to fix it and they can't install the hardtop so they leave the soft top up 24/7 and the top stitching/rear window get clobbered by UV light.

I've seen a couple of the V8's with bad cam timing assemblies, they start making a godawful knock noise. There are no separate parts available, the last one I priced was ~$1500.00.

MG Bryan
MG Bryan Dork
1/30/12 8:44 p.m.

It's a garage queen of a 44,000 mile car. An '01. If you ask me, the brakes are too grabby, the steering is about as good as a Crown Vic and the V8 isn't powerful enough. It go to the dealer every 3 months, which ends up being a 2500 miles or so and they're told to call my father with whatever it needs.

I think the damn thing is a waste of money and I've sort of been hoping for something to go wrong with it after putting up with years of flack for driving English cars. Maybe it will catch up with them, I don't know.

I really think a lot of the problems people have with Mercs and Bimmers stem from lack of maintenance and generally not treating the car in accordance to it's original price point. Sure the used SL500 cost them less than a new Corolla or similar bland little thing, but wasn't intended to live the same life as a Ford or a Toyota.

I can't believe I've defending a German car.

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