Will buy a car this fall...suggestions?

bigsweezey

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What about a miata? Just a thought.
Yeah people call them a girl car, or your gay if you have one, but I drove a friend of mines and it's pretty fun little car. They had to pry my big american ass out afterwards, but fun none the less. They are pretty cheap too.
 

skr

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^I don't know about you but I have a feeling if you drive the E34, you'll fall in love with it. It has a potential to look very nice (but I have a feeling you're not planning to go down that route) and the 2.5l Straight-6 engine sounds really nice, however I don't know many E34 owners so I cannot answer your question about reliability, but I assume that it can't be that bad.
I have an 92' e34 525iA, it is the best car I can think of even though I had to replace the cylinderhead in January. The ride is much better and more direct than in any Mercedes of that time. The fuel consumption isn't too high, I can average 25mpg. The engine is just great but unlike any american engine there is not much power below 3500rpm. I covered almost 140.000km in 4 years in it and it never let me down (I noted the cylinderhead failure by the water consumption).

So if considering buying it, check the water level when cold, drive the car and let it cool of again and check it again. You might also check the front axle if anything makes any strange noises or the steering wheel is shaking between 50-60mph, if so the double wishbones/steering rods need to be replaced (can be expensive if done with the proper parts), somehow another weak spot of the car. Also check for rust on the tank filler cap, if there is any it comes from the inside and the whole sidepanel needs to be replaced.

If you have any questions concerning that car, feel free to ask :)

my 525iA:

 

Spectre

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Over here, the 525i is viewed as the "red-headed stepchild" of the 5 series range (in that era). The 535i is much more popular among drivers here. The added displacement fixes the "no torque at idle" problem. It was actually more popular than the successor car in the same body style, the 540i, and the 530i never sold well here.

I have experience with the 535i as well as the W124/W201 E-class cars (the 190E is technically an E...). The 535i (and the 525 by extension) is a wonderful driver's car - but as equipped in the US, they are fairly complex and they like to break far more than the Mercedes. Common problems here are water pump failures and the *very* expensive dashboard message center failure. Parts are also not cheap as BMW didn't seem to believe in parts bin engineering (lots of 5-series specific parts), and it seems like half the bloody things have to be sent in from Germany at great expense.

With the Mercedes, the parts are actually surprisingly cheap, and in some cases you can find more Merc parts in a parts store than a given Chevrolet model, a distinct rarity among European marques. This is probably due to the fact that Mercedes believes in parts bin engineering and in the W124/W201 era, parts from a 190E are quite often the same parts off the S-class, or the S-class parts will fit.

My personal take is that the E34 BMWs (the 87-96 5-series) is a better drivers' car, but the W124/W201 is cheaper to run, far more durable, and easier to sustain here in the US. And it's not too far off the E34 in terms of being a driver's car - certainly most of the difference can be made up by installing parts from the vast aftermarket for W124s and W201s - or by swapping in parts from a sports model of the same type.

By the way, it's not an "American" engine thing to have torque at idle or just off idle - the classical Brit engines are that way too. Best example of that, is, of course, the Jaguar sixes.
 

skr

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Common problems here are water pump failures and the *very* expensive dashboard message center failure....
Most of the times its the cable harness in the bootlid...can be fixed easily, it is an amzing feature though, don't know any other car of that time with such a complex control feature like the CheckControl, back in in 86 it must have been space technology ;).

The water pump failure is common here, too. The wheel was made of a very cheap plastic and it tends to break when older. The newer pumps have either a carbonfibre or metal wheel.

The e34 shares a lot of parts with the 7 series e32 (dash, suspension, seats etc.) so it is basicly a downgraded version of the 7 series. That doesn't make it cheaper though ;)

You also have to differ between the 2 525 versoins, one was the older belt driven m20b25 with 170bhp until 1990. That is a great sounding engine but the camshaft tends to cause problems.
The other one is the m50b25 which was introduced in 1990 and reworked in 9/92 with the introduction of VANOS, the variable valve opening. (both 192bhp)
There is not much difference powerwise between an 535i (211bhp) and a late 525i (192bhp), the 525i is much more fuel efficient though.
 

Spectre

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In my experience, it's not the cable, but the entire control unit that's died - or the display unit in the instrument panel. The IP display failure is *very* common down here in the Southern US.

We didn't get the later E34 525i with the revised engine. BMW instead replaced the 525i and 535i with the E34 530i and 540i, both V8s.

The only "cheap" BMW here, in terms of parts, is the 3-series. And even then, the Mercedes are still far cheaper in terms of parts.

The Jaguar XJ40 (XJ6 from 86-94 in Europe, 88-94 in the US) also had a message center like CheckControl.
 

skr

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1992 BMW 525iA, 1999 Ford Focus Estate Ghia 1.8
In my experience, it's not the cable, but the entire control unit that's died - or the display unit in the instrument panel. The IP display failure is *very* common down here in the Southern US.

That must have been the very first models with the grey back ofn the instrument panel, the tend to make problems but can easily be replaced with newer ones

We didn't get the later E34 525i with the revised engine. BMW instead replaced the 525i and 535i with the E34 530i and 540i, both V8s.

Both V8 were introduced in 9/92 to replace the 535i and to improve power overall (540i). Nonetheless has the 525i been on sale in the US until the e34 was discontinued in 1995/96.

http://www.carsdirect.com/1993/bmw/525
and another fine example of the breed:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1995-BMW-525i-CLEAN-NO-RESERVE-CALIFORNIA-CAR_W0QQitemZ320131399382QQihZ011QQcategoryZ6008QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

 
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Spectre

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I must have been in error about the 525i's availability - however, I stand by the rest of my remarks. My friend still has his 91 E34 and he's on his third dashboard.
 

justin syder

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Well guys thanks for the BMW info but that just gave me more reason to stick with a Benz.

Well, look at this, check out the old price of $3900 and the new price,
http://www.michaelsmotorcarsinc.com/detail-1992-mercedes~benz-190-e-1309444.html

I might have to buy now, how long do you guys think the car will stay available at that price? Should I buy now? Is it a good deal, does it raise any suspicions?

I think I found the car I want, it has been in the lead for a while and I might have to do the carfax and call the guy as I might buy now. Let me know if I need to act now cuz i think I should.
 

No Boss

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justin syder

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well i thought it through and i'll wait til after my vacation to buy it. I could only hope it wont sell before then otherwise come late Aug early Sept I'll be posting in the "Your Car" section of the forum with pics of MY very own car.

TO HELL WITH MASS TRANSIT!
 

Momentum57

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I think it is great that your are buying a car that makes you feel good. Its the most important part of the equation. Although i have one piece of advice: Find a local car enthusiast group that can help you with the technical and slight fixes. With a car thats body is in such good condition but with that high of miles, an engine swap would be worth it especially if you like the car. Swapping the engine with another brand might also be something to think about down the road. Subaru owner and VW owners love to stick their motors where you would least expect it.
 

justin syder

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I got a price quote for insurance on the 190E and it will cost me about or maybe less than $200 a month. A bit pricey but I can afford it.

The only mod I would do to the car would be to switch those ugly glasses looking lamps for the euro ones. I found some sites that sold them along with ebay as well.

This is prob my last post here for a while as there is nothing new to report and I will be on vacation in about two weeks. After that Ill let you guys know how the negotiating and purchase went, assuming the car hasnt been sold, cross your fingers for me!
 

cvrefugee

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Ah, okay. I was wondering because I only pay $450 every six months, but I've been driving for over 10 years now.
 

justin syder

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Well this really is the last post before I leave on vacation and I have my eye on a $5990 400E!!

When I started this thread I didnt think I might be able to land a 270hp 400E but it might happen if it is still on sale when I get back.

I am looking at 8 cars and 7 of them are under $3k. The 400E has 113k miles and looks great, nice gray, one owner. In late August or early Sept I will let you guys know what I bought and will post pics of my purchase and how it went down.

PS- I don't intend on paying $5990 for it, I WILL negotiate it down considerably.

Thanks everyone here for your advice and input it has been a nice thread. Can't wait for my first car man!
 

justin syder

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Well how enthusiastic I was with these posts...

Little did I know that I wouldn't have a chance in buying any of these cars as they have all been sold.

I GOT FUCKED... BY TIME!!!

Im back from vacation and was monitoring, almost daily, a damn good $10990 68k 1993 black on black Merc 400E...until this afternoon when I called the dealership and was told it had been sold...A FEW DAMN DAYS AGO!!! My damn luck!

Well Im looking at buying this week and I am looking at Merc SLs from $15,000 and less from 1989-1996.

Please give me some advice on this model because I will buy one this week. I have a few choices in mind but have to call the insurance company and the dealers to see if they actually have the cars but most likely Ill post pics of my car this or next week.
 

Austere

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Well Im looking at buying this week and I am looking at Merc SLs from $15,000 and less from 1989-1996.

Please give me some advice on this model because I will buy one this week.
My advice? Don't buy one of them unless you know what you're getting into. They're very complex and can be a real headache to maintain.

The engines are solid if properly maintained by a certified Mercedes-Benz mechanic but the electrics and hydraulics are often problematic.

You would need to find one that's in excellent condition with low mileage and a full service history from a certified Benz mechanic. You'd also need to be weary of cars that are being sold because a major service is coming up.

Even if you find a really good one it will still be expensive to own and maintain.
 

Vandal

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You went from looking at $3500 190E's before your vacation to $15000 SL's now?
You must have stopped by Atlantic City on your way home . . .
. . . and done well!
 

Adunaphel

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I'm with Austere 100%, the R129 SL featured a lot of cutting-edge technology when it was built. Not all of that was problem-free. The engines, as can be expected of M-B are rcok solid. You'de be better off looking for a slightly older SL or a nice E-class, they are less problematic with their technology. If you really want one, try to get one from a respected garage with ful service history, and i'm sure you'll love every bit of owning one.
 
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