1990 Mercedes-Benz W124 230E 2.3 from Australia and New Zealand
Smooth, quiet and a pleasure to drive
Had to replace the front struts and brake pads when I bought it. Otherwise it's in perfect mechanical condition with full dealer service history.
The car is 22 years old and in amazing condition. The body is straight, the paint is excellent and the interior is fantastic.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th September, 2012
21st Mar 2013, 22:14
A friend bought a W124 2.3 petrol saloon. It was in excellent condition, but under the bonnet it looked antique. Mechanical contact breaker and a single barrel down-draught carburettor. I fitted a tow-bar for him, but it turned out that the car was no good for towing a small two-berth caravan, as it struggled. A 1.6 litre diesel van was a much better tow-car. Just why this was is a mystery, as a 2.3 litre Vauxhall Victor (petrol) that I used to run was a real fireball. The W124 problem was never looked at, as the car was re-sold, but the following are possibilities:
(1) 5 star 105 octane fuel needed?
(2) Carbon-string HT leads worn out?
(3) Plug gaps too wide?
(4) Distributor advance-retard mechanism seized?
(5) Faulty contact breaker condenser (now called "capacitor").
I have personally experienced all these faults, and 2, 3, 4 and 5 can all turn a good car into a slug.
Cars which have been "nursed" by never having been driven above 40 mph for a great many years, can also become slugs as the engines can become clogged with carbon. This happened to a colleague in the 1960s when his Standard 8 suffered from a piston seizure. The big end cap pulled away and severe engine damage occurred. In this case, nobody had ever seen the car go over 40 mph since it was bought new. When the engine was stripped-down, it was found to be choked with carbon.
Possibly the W124 was sold by the previous owners because the engine was down on power. Long experience shows that people very rarely sell a good car unless they are emigrating.