The ONLY car I would buy with 200,000+ miles on it!
Mostly due to neglect, as the car sat undriven in the South Carolina weather for a couple of years:
In preparation for my buying it, my stepfather had a mechanic check it over. Upon the mechanic's recommendations, he had the driver's window repaired (it was off track), all of the fuel lines replaced, a new set of tires installed for me, and the worn center armrest recovered.
After battling a dishonest Florida mechanic for six months, and replacing virtually the ENTIRE air conditioning system, it turns out that the a/c compressor was leaking oil onto the eletrical circuit that engages it, causing it to only work for the first 10 miles or so.
The serpentine belt came off about a month ago, slicing the transmission fluid lines. Despite running the transmission dry trying to get it off the interstate, there were have been NO problems since replacing the belt, hoses, and tranny fluid.
The radio was dead when I bought the car. Replaced it with one like it from Ebay, and the original speakers worked - they sound GREAT.
The fuel line that comes off the tank sprung a leak last year and had to be replaced.
The intake manifold leaked oil, and was replaced about a year ago.
The sunroof cable snapped about a month ago. (Luckily, in the CLOSED position!)
The paint job was one of those famous late-80's water-based fiascos that peeled before I bought it - not helped by several South Carolina summers, and soakings with acid rain.
Though I have had numerous problems, most were due to the car being severely neglected for over two years. My parents bought this car almost new, and it was their daily driver for several years.
I saw it sitting out on my stepfather's farm in 2004, and he sold it to me for a VERY fair price.
Now that I have replaced all of the items that one would expect to need replacement in a car with this many miles/years, she is a VERY reliable daily driver for my wife.
This car handles EXTREMELY well, especially for it's size. (This is the LONG wheelbase model!) There's is a SEVERE hairpin turn in the office complex where I work that frightens most people, but my old Merc rips right through it gracefully. I don't know how old the shocks are, but I'm sure they need replacing... yet despite this, she handle curves VERY well.
This car is also built like a bank vault! Even after 20+ years, the doors still shut with that solid thumps sound that tells you she's still VERY solid. My wife had a near-death accident (not her fault) in the rain several years ago, so whenever there is precipitation, she gets VERY skittish driving - yet she says our Mercedes is the ONLY car that makes her feel safe in our frequent Florida downpours.
The car is a little hesitant off the line - it takes a second or two for the turbo to spool up - but once you learn get used to putting your foot into her a little more than you would with a gas engine, she has more than adequate power. at the top end, I have pushed this car to over 120 mph, and it was so quiet and smooth, I didn't even have to turn the radio up. (And she felt like she had PLENTY more speed to go!)
I am excited that she's going in for an all-around paint job in a couple of weeks. The fact that I'm about to spend $1500+ to have her luster restored should be indicative of how confident that this car will continue to run reliably for a long, LONG time. My mechanic says that this was the last great year for the Mercedes diesel... in the years that followed, they bored them out to 3.5 litres, and were plagued with many reliability problems. In fact, I have read SEVERAL stories where the owners of the 3.5 litre models had replaced their blown engines with the 3.0 litre model, because of its legendary endurance.
Also, this car has a HUGE back seat, yet even with my "foot in the carburetor", she gets 22-28 mpg. I've been contemplating the idea of converting her to run on grease/WVO, since these cars are well-suited for it. I look forward to a LONG and happy life with this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th July, 2006