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Old 13th May 2009, 20:58   #1
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Default W124 Mercedes E220 ownership review

Note : Posts moved from the W124 purchase thread (A used W124 E250D? EDIT : Now bought. Thanks!)

Distance covered: 12,000 KM (in about 21 months of ownership – translates to a healthy 20 km per day average – I have been using it almost everyday!)

The Best Thing about the Car: The attention it draws to itself and that 3 pointed star!
Case-in-point: I had parked the car near the Worli seaface in a no-parking spot. When I came back, I found the traffic policeman and his tow truck standing next to the car. He said that they had towed away 3 cars parked next to mine, but decide not to tow mine away because the fender might get damaged!! I paid the fine (100 bucks) and thanked the man for his concern!

The Worst Thing about the Car: The attention it draws to itself and that 3 pointed star!
Case-in-Point: I have had the 3 pointed star stolen 6 times so far. I’m normally a person of calm disposition, but seeing my car vandalized gives me the murderous intent that a fidayeen would be proud of. I have successfully caught a gang of school kids who were trying to take the rear monogram off my car, and handed one of them to the local police station. I did not make a report, but hopefully, scared the kids enough.

Trips made: I have traveled to Hyderabad (a 1600 km roundtrip), Goa (a 1300 km roundtrip), Mahabaleshwar (Twice), Alibagh, and more than 5 times to Lonavala.

Fastest I’ve been: 190 kmph

Average Mileage: I’ve been religiously keeping a track of the mileage and I am satisfied. In winter, when I don’t use the AC much, it averages 7.6 kmpl whereas the summer average drops to 6.8 kmpl. On the highway, with the AC on, it averages a healthy 10.6 kmpl. For a car that weighs nearly 2 tons, I’d say that’s decent.

Modifications/Additions: Absolutely nothing. Period.

Big repairs: Apart from initial hiccups soon after I bought the car (battery needed to be replaced, fan clutch also – total cost 11k), the car hasn’t sprung any big surprises on me yet.



On the return journey from Hyderabad, the ignition coil system developed some problems and the car started vibrating heavily at low RPM as only 2 cylinders were firing. With over 400km to go and absolutely no workshop nearby (it was a Sunday and even the Pune workshops were closed), I drove on with only 2 cylinders. It is truly to the credit of German engineering that the car could make it all the way to Mumbai (cruising comfortably at 120 kmph on the expressway, in fact!). I then took the car to Autohanger who gave me an estimate of 36k for getting the car fixed. Not believing these chaps, I waited for my usual mechanic to come back to town, and he had a look and fixed the car for 800 bucks (yes, 800 rupees only!!).

Apart from that, I’ve had the car serviced twice, each time on average costing about 13k (including car waxing and complete interior cleaning (steam/polish/vacuum etc)). Recently, I had the main rear suspension bushes changed because of the noises (included in the servicing cost). For a 13 year old Mercedes, I am very happy with these kinds of costs! (knock on wood)!



Gripes:
  • I am not very happy with the hardness of the clutch. My mechanic tells me its natural for a car that’s 13 years old and has run as many km as it has. Beckham would be proud of my left foot’s muscles now
  • The engine is noisier than I’d like it to be, and I’ve had many people enquire whether it’s a diesel. Interior noise is much lower though. However, it does have a nice growl when you floor the pedal
  • The insurance covers only 50% of pretty much everything that can break in the car; because of its age (glass, rubber, plastics are 50% anyway!). It’s very frustrating.
  • There’s an irritating creaking noise that comes from the driver’s side A-pillar. I will get to the bottom of it soon.
  • The doors were a big let down for me. They are unusually hard to close and the hinges creak a bit despite a lot of greasing. Apparently, a common problem with this model – Can anyone confirm this?
  • Power windows keep developing some problem or the other. I’ve given up now.
  • The number of times I’ve had monogram’s stolen is seriously not funny (the damned things cost 1.5k each!!)
  • Mumbai’s weather seems to be causing problems with the paintwork after 13 long years – I noticed some corrosion near the tire well and in some other nooks. I have got the areas painted and am keeping a close eye on the issue.
Likes:
  • The car seems to go UP in value with time! I’ve received offers above my purchase price!!
  • The simplicity of design and the lack of unnecessary electronics make it super reliable (It hasn’t let me down yet!).
  • Mechanically, this is a tank. The engine is bulletproof and I’ve driven it for 400km with only 2 cylinders firing. Unbelievable. It’s also pretty sprightly for a car its size and age. I recently timed a 0-100 kmph run at 11 odd seconds.
  • I can never feel safe in any other car on the road now. Honestly, I feel that one could drive this thing into a wall and emerge unharmed. The fact that it still continues to be one of the safest cars in the world is great to know. On the highway, its weight is a great advantage as it stays planted at high speed. The braking is also expectedly top-class, as I’ve had the opportunity to find out!
  • When I bought the car, I was told that the ICE was only a tape player. After about 3 months, when I was getting the wheel’s balanced, I was sitting down on the floor next to the boot when I noticed, to my utter delight, a 10 CD changer stuck deep inside the roof of the boot! Woohoo!!
  • I’ve heard my friends and family say that the rear seat is to die for. I believe them. However, no way I’m letting go of the steering anytime soon
  • I love the AC. It’s very effective and I sometimes need to switch it off, even in summer. The dual climate zones thing doesn’t seem to work though – something I need to fix








Last edited by Rudra Sen : 14th May 2009 at 11:05.
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Old 13th May 2009, 21:02   #2
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Hi Friend,
Sorry for the late reply, was out of town. 250D is an amazing, rough n tough and low maintenance car, easy to drive and amazing looks. I got my jumbo modified. Actually, my younger bro did the modifications. Me and my bro went to Mumbai, pune and daman from Delhi by our 250D without any probs... and without any tiredness.
First stop was Ahmedabad and Second Mumbai...
Just ensure the car which you are planning to buy is good in condition else you have to shell out good money in getting the original beauty.
DO write me back.

Cheers!!
Amit
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Old 14th May 2009, 10:49   #3
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The "tank" is evidently treating you well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by E250Dreamcar View Post
I have traveled to Hyderabad (a 1600 km roundtrip), Goa (a 1300 km roundtrip), Mahabaleshwar (Twice), Alibagh, and more than 5 times to Lonavala.
Quote:
On the highway, its weight is a great advantage as it stays planted at high speed. The braking is also expectedly top-class, as I’ve had the opportunity to find out!
Using the car for what she was meant for. Germans really come into their own on the highway.

Quote:
it averages 7.6 kmpl whereas the summer average drops to 6.8 kmpl. On the highway, with the AC on, it averages a healthy 10.6 kmpl. For a car that weighs nearly 2 tons, I’d say that’s decent.
Par for a petrol W124.

Quote:
Absolutely nothing. Period.
What tyres is she running?

Quote:
I drove on with only 2 cylinders. It is truly to the credit of German engineering that the car could make it all the way to Mumbai (cruising comfortably at 120 kmph on the expressway, in fact!).
Rats had eaten into my turbo pipe once. The C220 went into limp mode (max speed about 140kph, would go more but take forever). Yet, she performed flawlessly and got us home. For whatever faults she's had, never once has the car left us stranded on the road.

Quote:
I then took the car to Autohanger who gave me an estimate of 36k for getting the car fixed. Not believing these chaps, I waited for my usual mechanic to come back to town, and he had a look and fixed the car for 800 bucks (yes, 800 rupees only!!).
LOL! You really should just stick to the after-market for such an old car. Out of curiousity, what exactly did he do for the 800 bucks?

Quote:
However, it does have a nice growl when you floor the pedal
You can say that again. The E220 has an addictive mechanical sound to it when high-revved.

Quote:
There’s an irritating creaking noise that comes from the driver’s side A-pillar. I will get to the bottom of it soon.
Quote:
The doors were a big let down for me. They are unusually hard to close and the hinges creak a bit despite a lot of greasing. Apparently, a common problem with this model – Can anyone confirm this?
My take : It's an old car and some creaks / noises will be inevitable. Don't let them bother you, turn the ICE up

Quote:
The car seems to go UP in value with time! I’ve received offers above my purchase price!!
The beauty of owning a classic!

Great review of a deserving car. Do keep giving this thread periodic updates. Lots of people out there wanting to own a W124, your thread will prove invaluable to them.
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Old 14th May 2009, 10:57   #4
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To the point review. She is treating you like you can expect her to. The W124 was the epitome of German engineering. She can still hold her own amongst the newer Mercedes cars. Another member Raja told me that he drove 700 kms with a coolant malfunction and the car didnt give up on him. Such is the reliability of this workhorse. Keep this thread going. It will be a treat for W124 enthusiasts like myself to read.
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Old 14th May 2009, 13:29   #5
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Yes please do keep updating on this thread. I am looking to buy a W124 Diesel. Once the liquidity situation is clear I'll start hunting around and would seek the help of fellow bhpians who are experts on this car.
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Old 16th May 2009, 10:57   #6
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Great review. May be you should include more pics of your interiors.

And I'm curious as well. how did the mechanic manage to fix a 36k job for merely 800bucks?
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Old 16th May 2009, 11:07   #7
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Nice review and a very well maintained car. Just like a few others, I am curious as to how that mechanic was able to fix the car for Rs. 800. I am amazed that you were able to drive the car with just two cylinder firing - a testament to the bulletproof reliability of the German marque.

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 17th May 2009, 10:55   #8
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT SPAM the forum. One-liners that add absolutely no value to the thread are strictly prohibited on Team-BHP.

We advise you to visit our board rules section before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 26th May 2009 at 18:10.
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Old 17th May 2009, 18:25   #9
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Very nice review indeed.
Its after reading review like yours, I get tempted to hunt, buy and restore one of these...
Amazing vehicles and I always used to like these one's with the rectangular headlights the best...
;-)
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Old 18th May 2009, 11:38   #10
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i absolutely love the 124 and the immediate family owned one till 3 years ago, when she was replaced by a c 200 kompressor and an s 350.

i was sorely tempted to pick it up rather than let it go out of our fold. she was 10 years old and had a full spec service history where each and every issue from a blown bulb to anything more major was handled and fixed at the merc dealership...

she was a dream to drive and i was really frustrated to see her go to a damn dealer at the princely sum of 4.5 lakh!!! my wife was the culprit in my not getting my paws on the black tank! *sigh*

anyways - someday!

congrats on your car btw... she looks spectacular in white. i can see you are making the most of her... in a couple of years, she should hit classic status - we're almost at cult already!!!!

cheers and stay sane.

a ~very~ envious admirer!
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Old 26th May 2009, 16:32   #11
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awesome update mate!! this will be a motivation to all merc lovers to own one .. especially a used one. this eradicate the myth of merc being a white elephant to own.

wish yo a happy journey together for ever after!!!
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Old 26th May 2009, 18:12   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harjeev View Post
Its after reading review like yours, I get tempted to hunt, buy and restore one of these...
Tell me about it. So, we're on the way to celebrate Mom's birthday last friday. Black 124 to the left of our car. Mom mumbles "now that's a Mercedes" (in Gujarati) . I've lost count of how many times I've come close to picking up a used W124 / W126.
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Old 26th May 2009, 19:21   #13
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Great review buddy. Having owned these cars for a while now (today i do not have any of them) i can vouch for their sturdy character.

A tank as GTO described them, comes very close to what they are,virtually indestructible.

I got a near 14km average on my drive from Bombay to Mahableshwar and back. You could imagine the grin on my face when i saw other cars in our convoy (an Optra, 1.6, a Corolla and an Accord) stop enroute to tank up while i just checked the air pressure in my tyres. When i reached Bombay, the reserve light had yet not come on.

The engine and gear mounts should be changed and if there is any vibration, it will subside. My car had done approximately 76000 kms when i sold it but it was still running the original clutch and in very good nick too. Besides this, the wire harness, fuel pump, fan belt shock are other items of concern which should be looked into.

Another thing i noticed was the top seems to come off. No worries, Rs:-2500/- will get you a new top and you wont be able to tell the difference. Perhaps i was keeping my car covered all the time, was the reason the heat accumulated and this happened...twice!! Stupid me. Keep her aired.

Enjoy years of togetherness!!

Last edited by V-16 : 26th May 2009 at 19:24.
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Old 26th May 2009, 20:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I've lost count of how many times I've come close to picking up a used W124 / W126.
Hahaha You are not alone. In fact when ever I come to India at least once doest this thought cross my mind.
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Old 27th May 2009, 12:10   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Tell me about it. So, we're on the way to celebrate Mom's birthday last friday. Black 124 to the left of our car. Mom mumbles "now that's a Mercedes" (in Gujarati) . I've lost count of how many times I've come close to picking up a used W124 / W126.
Infact I have an old associate who owns a white color E series. The guy wants to sell it but is not able to find a buyer for the past year or so. Once he also offered me I think that its a 1990 or something.

Now I am totally a layman in classifying them as W124/ W126... These are all numbers to me.
But what Ill do is take some pictures of his car and upload it on this thread to identify the beauty.
The second thing with puts the cork on the bottle and forbids me to take my thought process any further is the maintainence costs that are associated with owning the three pointed star. Actually its not the fuel cost that bothers me are the following points/ questions
  • What will be the restoration costs
  • will it be very expensive
  • the spares will be very expensive
  • Will it be a white elephant
  • where will I get parts for such an old engine
  • where will I get it overhauled
These are just some of the issues that swim to the top of my mind. The more I think the more I decide against buying.
But whenever I see a thread like this or see one of these beauties on the road my heart again starts to ride waves of it own
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