I am the second owner of an 86 190e 2.3. I bought the car in 1997 with 56,000 miles on it. I drove it sparingly for three years and then stored it while I was overseas for three years. A year after taking it out of storage in 2004, I happily motored for about a year until I had to replace the radiator, followed shortly by a complete engine head rebuild. Six months later everything has just broke starting with the automatic transmission failing, antenna motor has failed, drivers door lock broke, belt tensioner failed, water pump failed, clock failed. I have spent almost every weekend and hundreds of dollars just keeping it running. Most of the work I am doing on my own now since I have easily surpassed the small value of the car. The car has 81,000 miles on it and has been garaged its whole life. In the cars defense, it is 20 years old, the build of the car remains impressive, and it is still a nice driver. Unfortunately, I can't totally rely on it anymore and it is a love/hate relationship. Regretfully, time to sell and find something newer.
Currently I own a 1991 Baby Benz. I bought it in March from a second owner, who had the repair bills he did in an envelope. He took good care of the vehicle.
Lately the engine has started to overheat. Well today it steamed a little bit, so I am in a quandary of what the issue may be. I did notice when the temp of the car is warm, no air conditioning, so that also concerns me.
Otherwise I love the car, I hope it will not be an expensive repair bill. But they say when you buy luxury, expect to pay luxury repair bills.
I am the owner of a 1991 Mercedes 300 SE. It is currently in the shop getting brake pads, a radiator leak checked out and a mid-shift bearing (not quite sure if this is how it is spelled).
Unfortunately, I have just found out that I do not have a radiator leak, but I have a blown head gasket. I just bought this car in October from a used car dealer - no warranty - was just curious if there is a mechanic that can replace it for less than $3000.
I love my car and I can't afford to buy another anything since I have only had this for 2 months.
I had a problem with my car running hot; I just had the head gasket done on my 190E 2.3 for $1,100 plus $ $500 for a new aftermarket radiatior and all is well. You need to find a good mechanic NOT affiliated with a M/B dealership. Mine used to worh for one in the area and now has his own shop specializing in all models/years of Mercedes. I'm very lucky, I hope you can do so as well.
Why so expensive for the gasket replacement.
The repair kit will only cost USD 55.
The head gasket itself costs $55, but the labor is going to kill you. This is typical for all cars, and is probably the single most labor-intensive task one can do on a car, when compared with the price of the parts involved.
I own a '91 190E 2.6 with a 5 speed. Great car. Very fun although mine is plagued by rust and a somewhat shady history. Nonetheless, I just wanted to comment about your repair bill. It's completely outrageous. You must be going to a dealer or the likes. I've replaced my water pump for 250$ CDN parts and labor included. My sunroof also only costed me 60$ labor, but it was only the seal.
Regardless, if you still own the car, you might want to change mechanic. As for the 300's engine, they're the same as the 2.6 (M103) they've only incresead the bore. Most parts are interchangeable between the 2.6 and 3.0. As for the gasket problem, mine only has around 100K miles so I couldn't tell you. We also own a 300E with over 200K miles, original engine/trans. and it still pulls strong.
Have owned a '91 190E 2.6 5 speed for several years. It now shows 158,000 miles on the clock, is still beautifully rust free despite living in the Chicago area, gets me 23 MPG in the city, and as high as 34 MPG on the highway.
Repairs are to be expected on a 17 year old car, keeping in mind that preventative maintenance goes a long way in a quality automobile.
It has been a fun ride, comfortable for long distance driving and won't beat you to death like the low priced machines. When all is said and done you get what you pay for.
I recently purchased a 1990 MBZ 190e 2.6 with 110k miles.
I bought it to replace a 91 Mazda MPV van. The MBZ was bought to be a work car. Then my wife drove it. She loves the seats (power) and refuses to give the car back! Bought it from the original owners (a family) for $1900! Doesn't drive like a $2000 car! After a week of research, here's what I have found out.
MBZ was worried that this car might not be successful, so it was over engineered! It has a five link rear suspension! Name another new car that is comparable. It will likely cost in the mid 5 figures. This car has 4 wheel ABS, and a driver's air bag. Central locking is handy! While the driver's mirror is manual, the passenger mirror is power! The switch is on the center console within easy reach.
The 190e was designed by Bruno Sacco, and you keep noticing little things about the design every time you wash it!
The tail light lenses are ribbed to help keep them clean!
Stand next to one of these tidy little sedans and notice how low it is. I cannot believe I never really noticed the 201 series MBZ cars. And I consider myself knowledgeable about cars. I am the service manager at an independent auto repair facility, and have to admit this MBZ was not on my radar.
Now that these cars are close to 20 years old, parts are reasonable if you shop around. Make sure you find a car with a good maintenance history, or have a pre-purchase inspection done before you plunk down your money!
And of course go for the lowest mileage one you can find.
No less than Peter Egan of Road & Track and LJK Setright (another auto scribe) put the 190e 2.6 in their top 10 cars!
I never thought I would own a MBZ unless I won the lottery! The 2.6 has made me a believer! The ride has to be experienced to be believed.
Beat the bushes! Watch Craig's List and Cars.com, and maybe you too will become a 2.6 owner! It's a GREAT car!
We have 2 1991 190E 2.6, one of which which had 100k kms on it when we bought it in 1999, the other with 64k kms on it when bought in 2000. The higher mileage one, now with 180k (my wife's winter car), had a spotty service record, the other was complete.
Since we bought them they have been serviced by the book except for more frequent, synthetic oil changes at 6k. Some differences as a result of service histories are instructive. Don't buy one where MB coolant change was not done every 3 years, because everything in the cooling system, starting with the hard to get at waterpump, radiator, heater core, etc. will go. On the lower mileage one, now 150k (I don't drive it to work), the water pump lasted until this year and nothing else in cooling system has gone. Ditto brake fluid. Change every 2 years.
In western Canada the mufflers last about 10 yrs, no matter how much or little you drive.
With a little care and a garage, the bodies and paint hold up very well. The cladded models stand up better around the doors than earlier, uncladded ones.
They don't have a lot of traction on snow & ice. I forgot how good stud tires are until we put them on one of them.
Amazingly, both have original shocks but steering shocks had to be replaced once.
AC is pretty bullet proof. Still working on the higher mileage one; the other, after conversion 6 yrs ago just packed it in: evaporator leaking -- looking at independents to fix because the dealer's $ 3,700 estimate (with new heater core, just in case) is prohibitive.
They're wonderful, strong cars and love a curvy highway. Preventative maintenance saves $$.