1987 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300E from North America - Comments

13th Jan 2007, 05:29

Just curious what the orig. commenter paid for their vehicle. This vehicle is 20 years old. I had one that I also paid a little more for, but had incredible documentation window stickers etc and all its service records. It was fine during my ownership ran well cool a/c...but it was cared for. I sold it for more than I paid for it a year later as I bought a used 450SL. Its good to have a mechanic look a used one over before you buy. Its easy to be attracted to a Mercedes the first one you own. I also spent about $2000 on some repairs and mostly upgrades on the 450SL loved driving it and sold it for nearly what I had in it.

27th Jun 2008, 16:20

Did you not post for Mercedes 300e in another section? Are you posting for every year Mercedes 300E? I think you are the same guy.. I must say, I have never heard of so many problems happening at the same time. But I appreciate your honesty. Can you tell us how you came across the the car and how it was bought? Dealer or Private party?

Also.. did you have the car checked by a Mercedes Tech prior to purchase? Let us know since I know you want to help other buyers not make the same mistake or mistakes you made. Thanks..

7th Jul 2008, 05:05

Most of the problems mentioned seem to be related to electrical gremlins, which do plague Mercs but can generally be fixed with brains and a few basic tools.

Other problems mentioned seem to be pretty standard wear items.

The gearbox in all probability needed an adjustment or fluid and filter change, lots of people forget that there is a filter in the gearbox. Another possibility is loss of vacuum, Mercedes of that vintage run on vacuum. There are quite a few upgrades that should be done to that gearbox but complete failure is rare.

Anyway I could go on and on but at the end of the day owning a Merc is not for everybody, they are engineered like no other car and you have to live with that.

It may well be that this particular car was flood damaged, but on the other hand I am quite happy for people to believe that Mercs are expensive and problematic to own, this keeps the price of them down.

9th Dec 2008, 11:38

It's me again, the original poster of this review.

To answer some questions, no, I have not posted any other reviews on carsurvey about this car. This is my only review. I'm not trying to deceive anyone, just share my story.

I felt deceived because people who love Mercedes rave about these cars, but then I bought mine and you read what the result was. It was most certainly the most problematic car of all the various makes and models of cars I've owned, and being a Mercedes, the most expensive to repair by default.

I've owned some pretty unreliable vehicles too, like my '90 Ford Ranger 4x4, '88 Toyota Camry, and '89 Chrysler Lebaron convertible. Those were my 3 worst cars.

The three best were my '85 Volvo 240DL, '92 Plymouth Acclaim, and '97 Mercury Tracer. No engine or transmission problems with any of those cars, not even leaks!

As for the Mercs transmission failing at 108k miles. I would be driving down the road and it would slip into neutral at random will. If I put the shifter in Neutral then back to Drive, it would resume gears again... until it decided to slip into neutral again. It got worse within just a few hundred miles and became very unsafe to drive.

It also had a hard start problem, which I forgot to mention in my original review. It would take unreasonably long to start sometimes.

I don't want to hear people blame all the car's problems on its old age, because my other old cars performed well.

I think Mercedes are poorly engineered in that they are very fussy and temperamental. Sure, it might last over 200k miles, if you're willing to put thousands of dollars worth in repairs. I'm just not one of those people.

When a car's yearly repair bill adds up to the equivalent of a monthly new car payment, it's just not worth owning anymore.

Over-engineering leads to complicated, costly, and problematic engineering in my opinion.

The older Volvos may not be as luxurious or refined because of their crude engineering, but they are a hell of a lot more dependable as a result. I will take that kind of quality (solid reliability) over Mercedes interpretation of quality (fit/finish) any day.

22nd Jan 2009, 15:04

This review does not seem to me representative of Mercedes or of the model. I have had many Mercedes, with extremely high mileages and I have spent very little in them, just normal maintenance. For example I own currently a 2000 model with 140,000miles and I have only changed some 3 light bulbs and 2 wiper blades (that's for real), out of the normal parts that have to be changed in service.

The 300E was an extremely reliable and durable car, one of the very best. Or your car was not serviced well before you bought it or something out of the ordinary occur to it.

By the way, your car has a L-6, not a V-6, something else that adds to its great durability -as it has 7 main bearings- and extremely scarce vibrations.

22nd Jan 2009, 20:22

I even remember that a special cars TV program was made in order to test the wonderful qualities of these cars. They took a 300 TE -wagon- and destroyed it in all the possible ways, at the end they even used dynamite. The persons in charge of the program were amazed by this car, many things still worked after all the vandalism. These are absolutely over-engineered automobiles.

1st Mar 2009, 10:09

I believe the original poster just got a bad car. Whomever had it before didn't do the regular service.

And the question was raised, did you have the car inspected before you bought it? Let's be real here. Anytime you buy a used car it's going to need work, because I guarantee most of the population don't service their cars the way they should. Any used car you buy should be pre-inspected, you got a lemon.

I've owned a few Volvo 240's myself, and yes they are great cars. And the fact that your friend never changed the oil, just confirms my statement that people don't properly service their cars. And yes the 240 ran anyways, she was lucky.

I think bad naming Mercedes is unwarranted here. How many 300's did you look at before you settled on this one? The first question you should have asked before you bought it is, DO YOU HAVE THE SERVICE RECORDS? If they said no, I would have moved on. Generally I never buy a car from someone who has owned it for a short time (a year or less), it's a red flag.

My 1990 300TE has 282,000 miles and runs better than any newer auto. Fit and finish are outstanding. Like I've said, I've owned quite a few Volvo 240's and they have their quirks also, again, THEY HAVE THEIR QUIRKS ALSO. But they are great cars. The Mercedes 300 series also have quirks, again, THEY HAVE THEIR QUIRKS ALSO. But they are great cars.

Before you bad mouth a whole brand, maybe you should find a Mercedes that's been serviced properly, then state your opinion. Obviously this era of cars, are just finely made and extremely reliable, otherwise you would read about it in all of these forums. People that praise these cars, don't do it just because their Mercedes, that would be just ridiculous. They praise them because of the gems they are.

Compare comments about current Mercedes vs. the classics, huge difference. The newer Benz's just aren't made as well, and have problems.

Bottom line, I'm questioning if you went through the proper steps before buying this car. With the transmission failing, that just says it was not maintained. There are certain things to look for before buying these cars (the same goes for Volvo 240's). I'm not bad mouthing the original poster, I just think the buying process should have been more thorough.

These cars will run forever if you take care of them, and in general servicing is not expensive. I'm very suspicious about the car you purchased, to have that many electrical things go wrong, something happened to this car that you just didn't know about. I'm pretty sure I won't change your mind just by a few words here. But I (and a whole bunch of other folks) have to totally disagree with you, the 300 series Mercedes is fabulous. And its popularity is there for a reason.