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Hello all,

I am a first time owner of a used Mercedes. I just received a 1990 300 SEL. The car is very attractive and most everything seems to work. It has the inline six cylinder gas engine with 150k miles. The car seems to have just bee driven - no signs of abuse but no signs that it was pampered either. I'm really excited to have such a nice car, but it certainly seems different than my Park Avenue which I sold. So I have several questions which experienced Mercedes owners may be able to help me with:

1. The ride seems harsh for a car this large and luxurious; in the rear it seems to thunk over bumps. Should I have it looked at? Or is this common for a European car which is 14 yrs old? :(

2. I don't even know what size engine this is. Can I still get an owners manual for this car on ebay or somewhere else? Is there any recommended reading or manuals I should try to find?

3. I'm kind of nervous about reliability in a car this old with so many miles. Besides a dealership, what kind of mechanic should I take this kind of car to. Are there any specific suggestions for the Iowa City or Des Moines area? I live in a rural community where most drive Chevy and Fords so I'm afraid my regular mechanics may just say "Sorry I'm not familiar with those." :roll:

Although there is nothing obviously wrong with the car, I wonder if I should just trade it in on something a little newer. But I really like the car and hope a little advice can build my confidence.

Thanks in advance,

Maine
 

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1) the ride on your car will be a little stiffer than that of a softly sprung american car. it was engineered to travel at higher speeds and handle better, so there will not be as much compliance in the suspension as a lincoln or, as the case may be, a park avenue. there should not be a harsh ride at all though. is is quite possible the suspension is worn from the mileage accrued and the bushings might be dry and cracked from the rubber aging. have it looked at if for no other reason than to guarentee in your mind that the car is completely safe to drive.

2)your car most likely has a 3.0 liter inline six (referred to as the 103 motor, the chassis being the 126). it should not be difficult to locate manuals for the vehicle.

3)These car are made to run. especially the older models, it is not uncommon to see wel over 200k on these cars and still have them run strong. make sure there are no big leaks on the vehicle, as that is about all that will keep it from reaching that point. the parts can be expensive and you do need to find some one familiar with the car to service it (i don't know anyone out in Iowa). Due to its age, the systems are not nearly as complex as on the newer models and an independant facility should be able to handle any and all mechanical concerns you may have (provided of course they've worked on them before).

In the future, if you have specific concerns regarding the care of your vehicle, please contact the forum, as the pooling of knowledge can be very helpful in keeping our cars running properly. i will ask around and see if by an off chance any of my techs have friends out in Iowa.
 

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Phaedrus,

Thank you for the reply. I did find an owners manual on ebay which is on the way. I finally thought of someone who may be familiar with European cars and intend to ask him for a reference regarding a good mechanic (when he's back from vacation).

In the meantime I'm getting more excited about the car. I don't mind spending some money to make it more enjoyable. I'm glad to hear that it's not a terribly complex machine.

One person told me that parts for MB can be surprising economical compared to Cadillac... if ordered through certain parts suppliers. :D Is this true?

Thanks again

Maine
 

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absolutely. there are of course a few systems that can be expensive to repair, but mainly because they do not often break. all your conventional leaks, suspension concerns, etc. are relatively (in the luxury car world) reasonable. The cars from that era are probably the best in terms of long term quality that MB ever built. I currently have a client whose '86 560SL just reached 640,000 miles and is completely original. he's obviously spent some money to keep it running, but it is his daily driver, starts everyday and still does 80+mph on the highway.
 
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