01-02-2013, 10:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hannover Germany
My Ride: the evil-diesel
my grandfather and uncle have owned 80's 90's Mercedes for as long as I can remember and I happen to know a collector as well. On top of that I own a 95 W124 Station Wagon and used to own a 93 W124 Coupe. So I can say that I know these cars pretty well.
Originally Posted by cowmoo32
Went to check the car out tonight and it's in good shape minus a few small things that I wanted to ask you guys about. The rear windshield heater is corroded, not sure if it still works or not. I'm not very worried about the cosmetics, moreso it if could damage the glass or the seal around the edge and let water in.
The paint isn't bubbling here but I wanted to get a second opinion just be sure that there isn't rust under there. The rest of the paint looked pretty solid for a car that's 28 years old. I couldn't get my phone to focus very well
Last but definitely not least, the driver's power seat isn't working. Is this common at all? What are the chances it's just a fuse?
1. The rear window heater is not corroding, the two layers of glass that the window heater grid is sandwiched between are separating due to the glue that is failing to do it's intended job over time. This is common for W126's and W124 Coupes. It only spreads to the spot where the glass goes from being curved to being flat. The flat part will remain clear. So apart from the cosmetic downside the glass is fine. Water has nothing to do with this issue.
2. Even if that is rust, (the quality of the picture doesn't allow me to tell for sure) that spot would be easy to fix and has nothing to do with the integrity of the car. You should look for rust in critical spots like the sideskirts, access holes for the jack, spring perches, and metal fuel lines. Faulty fuel lines will also cause a gas smell in the cabin when the engine is cold, so be sure to look out for that.
3. Non-Working Power seats are a common issue on these cars. Unfortunately the chance of only having to replace a fuse to get them working again are really slim, especially since only one seat is out of order (both front seats share the same fuse). It's more likely that you have to replace one of the following:
- Comfort Module ECU under the rear drivers side seat (not 100% sure that it's in the same location on the w126)
- Seat wiring harness
- Actual seat adjustment motor
If you do try to replace the fuse I would suggest replacing all of them right away. The electronics for comfort features are a weak spot on these cars, fortunately they never have any impact on the running condition of the car. These cars are unlikely to let you down in terms of not being driveable at all.
As for general reliability:
The diesel engines are literally bulletproof. They will run on the crappiest quality fuel with zero maintainance in the roughest conditions.
The Inline 6 Gas Engines are amazingly reliable aswell... but they need to be maintained to last. Regular fluid and spark plug and filter changes are a must. The engine wiring harness and the headgasket are pretty much the only things to go wrong... both are fixable and they don't happen out of the blue. Unsteady RPM's at idle which get worse over time are a good telltale sign of the wiring harness goin to crap for example.
With any 80's to 90's Mercedes I would stay away from the 5 speed automatics if you can. These tend to have problems with engaging 5th gear over time. The electronics in these gearboxes tend to go haywire at some point. 4 speed automatics will last forever as long as you do a transmission oil change every 30,000 miles.
If a working A/C is something you want in a car you might have a problem. The AC coolant in these cars is very corrosive and eats up the AC lines and connectors. Usually the AC needs to be rebuilt and refilled.
Here in Germany newer Mercedes are pretty much considered crap by anyone who truly knows about cars. The W124 is considered the last true Mercedes and I can completely understand why. I love how solid mine feels. Everything about it just screams German quality and craftsmanship. If for some reason buying that w126 doesn't work out I would suggest getting a late model W124. These cars are young enough to be a trouble free daily, yet they still have that old school Benz feel. Modern cars just don't compare. Here's my mint 95 E320 Wagon with a couple of subtle mods:
let me know if you need anything else...
Last edited by 330performance; 01-03-2013 at 12:19 AM.