Should I buy a used E320 or a E420?.... Year 93/95 or 96? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-24-2003, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Should I buy a used E320 or a E420?.... Year 93/95 or 96?

Hello,

I am a new member and was wondering if someone could direct me in the right direction with my choice of a used MB (thinking in spending $8,000 to $10,000).
Based on what I read on this very resourceful site, I think a model (with 124 chassis type) made in 94 of 95 is better than a 93 model or before, for the robustness (and repair costs staying as low as possible) while enjoying good performances at the same time; is this a good assumption?

Also, out of curiosity, I want to know more about a 1994 E420 someone in my neighborhood is trying to sell. However, I am afraid it would be more troublesome and costly to maintain than a E320, because they are rarer models (more difficult to find parts, V8 engine, etc...) Do my concerns make sense?

As a last questions, would it make more sense for me to put an additional $5,000/6,000 and get an earlier model of E320 (which has the oval headlights.... chassis 210 made betw 1996 and 2002) ? My goal is to have the most for my money in terms of robustness and performance, regardless which body type I end-up with (basically which year model should I be looking at between 1993 and 1996...?)

Thanks in advance for your time
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-26-2003, 09:40 PM
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I think for that kind of money you will have to settle for the W124 body ('94/95). Either the E320 or the E420 would be a good choice. Proven design, and engines. It boils down to wanting an 8 or a six. The E420 is a special car, but there is nothing wrong with the inline 6.

Supposedly, the 8 gets the same mileage as the 6 on the highway. Neither are stop light dragsters but both have gobs of smooth torque. Likely the E420 will have all the options like ASR (traction control) and rear sunshade etc. as that model was the flagship of the E Class line.

In '96 they came out with the next generation W210. I would stay away from the '96 b/c it was the first year. I have read that the directional stability down the road did not feel like the previous W124's. Some people believe that the W124 was the best Mercedes ever built then and now.

Buy the best you can afford, preferebly with a history and get it checked by an independent who know his stuff. Then enjoy.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-27-2003, 03:34 PM
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Even though the badge was changed to "E320" in 1994, the chassis changed in 1993.

1993 300E's have the same engine (3.2 liter M104) and same chassis # (124.032). The interior changes occurred in 1993, too: passenger side airbag, center armrest with flip-up lid, console box underneath armrest, etc.

1994-1995 models got the updated hood / grill, Euro-style headlights (but not real Euro's), and different front corner signal indicators and different rear taillights.

I don't think there is any disadvantage in buying a 1996 W210 chassis E320. It has the same engine and transmission as 1993-1995 300E (3.2) / E320's. What might make it more appealing is that 1993-1995 models have bad engine wiring harnesses. The insulation was faulty and flakes off, causing a lot of problems. If it hasn't been replaced in a 1993-1995 car, then you'll have to replace it ($550 for the part 2.5-3.0 hours of labor). 1996 models have the updated wiring harness.

What you'll have to deal with in any 1993-1996 300E (3.2) / E320 is the problem with the original head gasket. The original head gaskets in the 3.2 liter M104 engine were poorly designed, and leak oil externally at the right rear corner of the head (passenger side). It is just one thing to check before you buy the car.

However, if the head gasket issue and wiring harness issues have been taken care, there are no other systemic problems with this engine.

If you want a V8, you can buy a 1992-1993 400E / 1994-1995 E420. There was no V8 offered in 1996. The E420 was sold for one year only in the W210 chassis in 1997. Don't be fooled by the badge "400E" in 1992-1993. It is the same 4.2 liter engine as 94, 95 and 97.

My choice would be to spend the extra money and buy the 1997 E420. It comes with the 5-speed transmission and is my favorite W210 chassis car. I see them all the time advertised in the high teens / low twenties. I think this 4.2 liter M119 engine is a better engine than the M112 4.3 liter V8 that debuted in 1998.

Just my $.02 ( and another $0.98 will buy you a cup of coffee).
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-06-2003, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for your replies; I think might go for a newer E320 (model 97, chassis 210). I will ask for a loan and spend more than initially thought. I think the advantages of a 97 while being a newer model (and staying away from w124’s harness issues), are avoiding the 1st cars just after redesign, enjoying a newer engine technology (the V8 was not redone until the E430 came, but the 6 cyl was in 1996), etc. Does it make sense?
Is there something I should be careful about on this model/year? (I will of course only consider well-maintained cars and have them checked by an MB garage before buying)
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-10-2003, 02:43 AM
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I would go with an E420 just because its got more power than the E320. decent 0-60 time (approx 7sec) and its one tough little sucker. Our from '94 is still running strong.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-27-2004, 09:29 PM
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E420 HANDS DOWN . M119 ENGINE IN MY OPINION...BULLETPROOF
BESIDES OIL TUBES, AND LEAKING OIL LEVEL SENSOR GREAT
ENGINE
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