Buying an old (1987 W124) Mercedes and need some advice on corosion

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New Member
Nov 25, 2023
2017 E-Class
I have always wanted a 1980s W124. I've saved for months, and I'm finally in a position to buy one.

I've found one that I have fell in love with. 90k miles. Great condition. But I wanted to get everyone's advice on some potential issues specific to the car.

I have looked up the car's MOT history. It has passed all of its MOTs, but in the advisories section it noted some corrosion

- Oil leak, but not excessive

- Brake hose has slight corrosion to ferrule all pipes front and rear

- Front Brake pipe corroded, covered in grease or other material both sides

- Rear Brake pipe corroded, covered in grease or other material both sides

- Vehicle structure is corroded but structural rigidity is not significantly reduced

- Front Suspension arm corroded but not seriously weakened both sides

- Rear Suspension arm corroded but not seriously weakened both sides

- Shock absorbers has a reduced damping effect all round

- Front Coil spring corroded both sides

- Nearside Front Outer Anti-roll bar pin or bush worn but not resulting in excessive movement

- Central Prop shaft joint worn, but not excessively

Does anyone know how serious these problems are? Is some underside corrosion to be expected given the car was produced in 1987? I am guessing things like coil spring and brake pipe corrosion would not be that expensive to fix if they did develop into a problem, but 'vehicle structure corroded' and 'suspension arm corroded' scare me.

Any advice about all this would be hugely appreciated -- especially from mechanics, DIY mechanics, and W124 owners. Thank you!
I have had several 124s in various body styles, all 6 cylinder petrols or diesels. They all suffered from rust to one degree or another and that was when they were 8 - 10 years old so they are going to be significantly worse now in general. Re the MOT advisories - you can't tell from those advisories - some testers seem to feel the need to mention every completely inconsequential spec of surface rust and the presence of undertrays (no sh*t sherlock) whereas others only mention the proper "ought to do something about that" advisories. My guess is that those comments fall into the former category - rear suspension arm corroded - yes but unless it is a garage queen they all will be. The only thing that you can do is to go and have a look and preferably on a ramp. You'll need to look in particular at the area around the rear suspension front mounts (just in front of the rear wheels), around the jacking points behind the little covers in the plastic sill covers, the wheel arches and in the inner wings just as starters. If you don't know how to inspect a car then you really need to find someone to teach you or you could easily end up with a wrong un buying a 30+ yr old MB.
They are great cars and generally reliable but they do go wrong and they can turn into money pits so do your research and inspect carefully.
Any pictures of the car or have you seen it yourself?

Rust seems to be subjective, seen many cars I consider rusty with zero advisories and the other way.

Is it priced accordingly, what engine / model etc?

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