Battered W124 260E/300E Sportline 5-speed - purchasing advice

ApexSeal

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Hello people. I am currently looking for purchasing advice on a Merc I found for sale in my country (Argentina, South America), and hence resort to MB forums for oppinions (after having read several posts previously).



Here´s the thing. I found a '92 W124 260E Sportline for sale (300E 2.6 for the US market, M103 engine) with manual transmission (717.433) and Alpaca grey leather seats in pretty rough shape (234,000kms). As I couldn’t find any similar specimen (not even on internet images), I think this one could be a rare combination (260E w/ Sportline package and M/T), so I would like to hear your opinion about the vehicle.

The other day I went to personally see the car. Details are as follows:



Front fenders and hood have intense sunburns that de-coloured the paint [see pictures], as well as one of the rear quarter panels (although strangely not in the roof) and paint cracking and falling off on the rocker panel on one side, that together with small chips on other parts of the car (including door edges) underly a whiteish basecoat, making me think the car was repainted and has some body filler.

Both front fenders and hood have fading paint/severe discoloration (same with top quarter panels, not that much), but strangely enough not the same with the roof and trunk lid. Paint is slightly chipped, underlying a whiteish base in some spots (possibly body filler, although I am unaware if W124 use a white base and/or clearcoat), and elsewhere some rust where there is a chunk of paint missing. One rocker has paint falling off [see pictures] for whatever reason I don’t know. Hood hinges are slightly tweaked so the hood itself doesn’t close properly, and radiator support is barely bent, which, together with fading paint on the front makes me think the car was involved in an accident and these three panels were badly repainted. (Also missing fan shroud, and the date of manufacturing of the expansion tank is ’97 while the car is ’92, but frame rails don’t appear to be bent and original factory stickers are still in place).



Onto the rest:

-Grille is cracked, one headlight has a crack on the glass, sunroof is inoperative, same as the controls on the driver power seat and one of the rear windows, has driver seat torn on a couple of sewings and left bolster.

-Squeaking noise coming from the rear but as the car seems to had lack care for most of its life, it could possibly be differential, wheel bearings or brakes (state inspection sheet highlighted some issues with the effectiveness of the braking system and whole suspension), I’m afraid fixing this isn’t cheap at all.

-A/C doesn't work (or "it needs a recharge"), although the owner told me the system engages fail safe mode when it runs out of gas (I doubt it works)

-Car is running now on a Ford carburetor (because the owner installed CNG), although he still has the original Jetronic injection system stored.

-Headliner is not peeling off and the dashboard appears to have no cracks

-Shift knob is missing

-Oil pan is wet

-No severe visual rust on body (only superficial)

-Wiring harness has some patches, but I am not sure if this specific vehicle is affected with the MB wiring harness loom.



Should I give this car a try or is it better to stay away from? If it were a regular 300E A/T in such conditions I wouldn’t even consider the purchase, still it appears to be a more “rare” version that might (just MIGHT) be worth saving. What are your thoughts? Planning on doing part of the work myself. W124s here are not so common to find as they are in Europe or in the US, so the idea would be to have a car like this one as a project, hopefully not that expensive as I am planning to do some work myself if its really worth the effort. A "rare" version of the vehicle is, at least for me, more valuable (perhaps not in economic terms but I feel it is more special).


I am very aware there are many many w124s in far more better condition at a fair price, though I couldn't find any other odd yet interesting spec throuought the last two years I've been simply browsing for old Mercs. So, if it can ultimately be parted out and recoup the money (if it's not worth fixing), I may give it a try.



Thanks in advance!



-Model: 260E MY 1992 (124 542 27 68)

-Engine: 103.940 (E26), Gearbox: 717.433 06 009896

-Alpaca grey Sportline leather seats (078a, two individual rear seats)

-Paintcode: 199 (Black Pearl Metallic)

-VIN: WDB1240261B649683



Images I referred to are in the following link (hopefully it works):

Neglected W124 260E/300E
 

a111r

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Welcome! That's a parts car, IMO.

It's way to rough to warrant a restoration project, unless it was an E500.
HTH.
 
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ApexSeal

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Checking VIN for Mercedes-Benz WDB1240261B649683 | CARInfo

As described its had a bad paint job and the injection system has been removed. Lack of originality of components always presents problems for restoration work. As advised best avoided

The owner still has the KE-Jetronic system stored (supposedly complete), but yes, these tend to be very very tricky to adjust and install correctly. Still tempted in this one, as I have been searching for a 199 Blauschwarz metallic W124 with manual transmission. Only particulatrity of this one is the Sportline package, otherwise I would instantly walk away. W124s are not that common to see around here, plus, I have not even found on Google another specimen of a W124 260E/300E Sportline with manual transmission.

What about a 300E-24 that hasn´t been running for a while? More problems, right? And there´s no way to test if the transmission is sound (bodywise is in far much better condition, although not same colour). If I get to know more about this one, perhaps I will open another discussion about the vehicle. Thanks.
 

grober

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A lot of people don't realise the Sportline option came in 2 flavours
1. a suspension only package-lower profile tyres 205/55 on wider wheels 7Jx15, lower firmer suspension* and a more direct steering box [£1504]**
2 suspension + interior package- as above plus 4 individual sports seats in leather or cloth, smaller 390mm leather steering wheel and gearshift [ £3932]**
Looks as if the car in question had both. The key body areas FOR RUST on these W124'S are around the rear sill jacking points and where the rear subframe front mounts mate with the main body
* Revised several times on initial introduction.
**1990 prices
 
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optimusprime

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Apexseal it up to you ,,but parts for these W124 are getting very rare even over here in the UK .
And it is so hard to find someone that can fix them if you need a fault fixing .
You will have your hand in your wallet for years to come .Ask me - i know
 
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ApexSeal

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Apparently yes, it comes with a more extensive Sportline package. I did search the internet for specifications about the Sportline trim but hadn´t found anything specifying there were two options, though I could spot these differences among other W124 models (say, 300E-24 sportline, only with 7Jx15 rims -probably lower suspension, but can´t notice that only with pictures- and perforated leather seats as the 500E for 5 occupants, standard sized steering wheel). The only similar equipment I found was on a W201, but the 2.5-16v version, but it´s a completely different vehicle.

If I end up purchasing this "garbage", it will be a kind of budget project restoration, as I am not willing to pour huge amounts of money (neither do I have much) to leave the car in great conditions but ending up selling it later for a major loss. I am aware this one most probably needs a full respray to restore the looks, and an excellent paint job will cost around $3,500-$5,000, which is not worth it.

As I said, this particular car is -up to what I have seen- a quite rare version to encounter (haven´t even found any similar full sportline W124 260E/300E on Google), so this is the only reason why I am considering buying the car regardless of the condition in which it sits. It is not even close to a 500E, hence in mint condition it won´t be very valuable.

Only things I am afraid of is great expenses and, as you said, parts availability. W124s are not so common around here, and salvage vehicles are pretty much nonexistant (they keep running untill they catch fire or eventually rust out -not that common as we have no snow around the area). Only options would be getting used parts [budget build] from other W124s and possibly body panels from another matching paint code car. Not sure about the Sportline suspension, but I've heard there are Bilstein shock absorbers as matching replacement. Yes, there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes, however this "unicorn" might be worth a try. If things get too complicated (either for repair costs and/or parts availability, specifically trim related) and I can part out the car and retrive the whole sum spent, then that would be great.
 

optimusprime

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Nice to know your willing to save yet another W124 . So much information can be gleaned from the forum .We are all hear to help you . And you can find good info from people that have done what your doing nowjust by looking on to youtube in video form .
 
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ApexSeal

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Nice to know your willing to save yet another W124 . So much information can be gleaned from the forum .We are all hear to help you . And you can find good info from people that have done what your doing nowjust by looking on to youtube in video form .
Hopefully yes. I have seen a bunch of Youtube videos with some tutorials, although W124s are not as popular as E36s on the internet (at least YT), but I think these forums and repair manuals can come in handy.
 

optimusprime

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Did you get a free W124 manual google - Model 124 Maintenance Manual Index . Look through it for information of what to do if you get one,, before you buy one .
Oh i am not as gain as some members on the forum they would have posted a link to make it easy to find it .
 
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ApexSeal

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I found a couple of scanned repair manuals, however they are either too short (less than 150 pages) or had some faults in the download process. I will keep looking for "free" w124 repair manuals on the internet, though these are not as common as, say, BMW E36 ones. If I decide to buy one of these Mercs, definitely I'll need a proper complete workshop manual before attempting to even disassemble something.
Just need to keep searching the internet.
 

optimusprime

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ApexSeal Did you check it out ??? Well whats wrong with the one i gave you in my post above did you google it .Nothing wrong with the workshop manual i use it all the time. There is very few manuals about for free . And to day you dont get anything without paying for it
 

CCAALLVVIINN

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It might be easier to take the box, suspension and interior and place it into a decent running car, I can confirm that the manual transmission installed on an m103 engines car transforms it, I can see why you like this car, but I think it would possibly never run again
 

optimusprime

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ApexSeal Do you see many of these W124 cars in your part of Argintina ? you will need a good source of spare parts to keep her on the road . Ask some one that owns a W124 over there ,, how they get on for spare parts .
 
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ApexSeal

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ApexSeal Did you check it out ??? Well whats wrong with the one i gave you in my post above did you google it .Nothing wrong with the workshop manual i use it all the time. There is very few manuals about for free . And to day you dont get anything without paying for it
Yes, I had previously been checking out these online manuals, however the format isn't very useful "just to look around" (probably the most practical format available if you have a computer or a tablet along with you as you work with the car). I may end up buying some repair manual just to have with me, apart from using the free ones I can find on the internet.

Thanks Grober. I have browsed for the first one in the link but not the other one. I'll give it a look.
 
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ApexSeal

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It might be easier to take the box, suspension and interior and place it into a decent running car, I can confirm that the manual transmission installed on an m103 engines car transforms it, I can see why you like this car, but I think it would possibly never run again

This one is currently "running" (w/o the original KE-Jetronic injection). Yes, the car is in very rough shape and it will take many hours of work and a bunch of money to leave it in decent conditions. Not sure about the interior, as the driver seat is heavily torn and probably unfixeable (already searched for various repair methods on cracked leather). If that can be saved, it's a win since I have NEVER seen other 078 Alpaca Grey individual rear seats, not even on the internet. The design is similar to the ones on other sportlines and the 500Es, but the one on this car has no perforations (all plain upholstery).
Suspension-wise, I am pretty sure many components are worn. I have seen the state inspection sheet with the result of braking and suspension tests and it was clear things weren't operating as they should (lower effectiveness, inappropiate damping). Can some "wearable" items be replaced with other quality parts easily found on the internet? Or these Sportlines have very specific components one must pay a lot for?



Optimusprime: No, W124 are not common thing to see around here because parts availability (yes, I am fond to buy problems ;) ). From what I have searched, there are few w124 being parted out. Not a single one with the same paint code nor sportline trim. I must get in contact with local old MB mechanics to see if I can get info about a similar car being parted out, and then evaluate the potential purchase and potential problems I will encounter. Cheers!
 

CCAALLVVIINN

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This one is currently "running" (w/o the original KE-Jetronic injection). Yes, the car is in very rough shape and it will take many hours of work and a bunch of money to leave it in decent conditions. Not sure about the interior, as the driver seat is heavily torn and probably unfixeable (already searched for various repair methods on cracked leather). If that can be saved, it's a win since I have NEVER seen other 078 Alpaca Grey individual rear seats, not even on the internet. The design is similar to the ones on other sportlines and the 500Es, but the one on this car has no perforations (all plain upholstery).
Suspension-wise, I am pretty sure many components are worn. I have seen the state inspection sheet with the result of braking and suspension tests and it was clear things weren't operating as they should (lower effectiveness, inappropiate damping). Can some "wearable" items be replaced with other quality parts easily found on the internet? Or these Sportlines have very specific components one must pay a lot for?



Optimusprime: No, W124 are not common thing to see around here because parts availability (yes, I am fond to buy problems ;) ). From what I have searched, there are few w124 being parted out. Not a single one with the same paint code nor sportline trim. I must get in contact with local old MB mechanics to see if I can get info about a similar car being parted out, and then evaluate the potential purchase and potential problems I will encounter. Cheers!

The sportline is lower than standard with stiffer springs and dampers, still no sports at but fun to drive. An interesting difference is that it also has a quicker ratio steering box, so it turns in quicker.

Those rear seats are rare indeed
 

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