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View Full Version : First 500E. Parts availability, typical faults, what to look for, reliability etc



HaaJeHaa
08-27-2014, 04:58 AM
Hello all, just signed up!

I've owned several W124 (E320, 230CE, 300CE24V) and W201's (2.0, 2.3 16V, 2.5 16V) before and now after owning newer BMW's and Jeep's I really miss the good old merc's. Rides better and easy to work on yourself (+ you don't see the $1000 depreciation each month). I've never seen an 500E in person, but the "wan't feeling" has been present for a while now. Looking into purchasing it as a daily driver as I have enough ground up restoration cars.

How is your 500E ownership?

Are parts easily available? Servicing parts I expect is available, but how about ECU, relays and other parts that usually fails with age? Is it an idea to switch to Haltech, Megasquirt or similar systems to reduce error possibilities?

What are common faults on this model? I expect the "bio-degradable" wiring loom needs to be changed out as other merc's from the same era, how about other issues?

Is it well built or is the V8 conversion a bit of a fast job done by Porche? Heat issues, weight problems (structural) etc.

I see there are some low milage cars available on mobile.de (less than 50.000km). Is the extra money worth it compared to a well maintained 150k+ km car? If there was any production gremlins I expect it's sorted after 100k km.

Is there any years that's better than other? I do prefer the pre-facelift over the facelift.

Budget will be about $20-25000.

Thanks!

bing
08-27-2014, 06:20 AM
I will let others elaborate on technicals on this as there's a list of things to look out for.

However, if I may just say, you really have to drive one to understand the fascination of these cars. Yes they are well built with a good balance of rawness, solidity and smoothness. A feeling that you rarely get in modern cars.

Look at the For Sale thread here and you'll have an idea on values, along with opinions from experienced owners. With your budget I think you should be able to pick up a decent one , easily!

Here's one well within your budget which just came up : http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6511&p=80112#post80112

Welcome to the forum, btw!

gerryvz
08-27-2014, 07:22 AM
Welcome to the forum. All of your questions have been extremely well covered on this forum, so some searching would be a good idea so that people aren't repeating themselves as to ownership and buying experience, key repairs, and so forth. It's been covered here ad nauseum.

Porsche was not responsible for the "V8 conversion." All they actually did was some minor chassis engineering and fine-tuning in the development phase, some moderate modification & reinforcement of the chassis for the 500E powertrain, and the actual assembly of the cars. Porsche didn't actually do any production of the components used on the 500E. The 500E is 100% a Mercedes-Benz, that happened to be screwed together by Porsche.

MB made another related car, the little-brother 400E, that used a smaller-displacement version of the same engine used in the 500E, that they produced 100% in house at/by Mercedes-Benz in Germany, without any help from Porsche.

TerryA
08-27-2014, 08:09 AM
Welcome,

Having owned a couple of 16Vs and other MBs you should like a 500E although it is a bit more complicated than the 4-Bangers and the inline sixes the Mercedes concept is the same in regards build quality and systems which you should already be familiar with.

The 5 liter V8 is pretty bullet proof if it has been serviced and maintained properly.

All of the tech advice you want can be found somewhere on this forum. There are plenty of members that can and will dole out their opinions and advice.

Just don't let them turn your query into an oil thread. HaHa!!

Take your time choosing a car with your budget you should be able to select a real beauty. Keep about $5K back for updates to any car you purchase. There is always something that needs attention on a 20 year old car.

BTW where are you located? Giving that info will help members help you.

Good Luck with your quest.

Take Care

maw1124
08-27-2014, 08:17 AM
+1

I did the same thing you did before I bought my car 3 years ago. It had been on my list for almost 10 years, and I had been seriously hunting for about 3. Then, when I was finally ready to "pull the trigger" I joined this site just to troll around and get some "real world" feedback. There are some real experts on this site -- I wouldn't have bought the car without (1) a good reference site with knowledgeable users (not wannabees -- and for a rare car that's hard to find); and (2) a good indy mechanic who was familiar with the car (not wanting to pay for someone else's learning curve). About 6 months after I joined this site, I had both, and a well documented high provenance car with about 60K on the clock to boot. Of course, I didn't spend what you're likely to pay today. But that't not the point.

Reading the experiences of people on this site -- using it as my online encyclopedia for an uber-rare car -- was most of the joy of the buying experience. By the time I bought, I knew more about the car than most of the sellers I encountered. I encountered 2 sellers who were as knowledgeable about the car as I was, and I bought from one of them (the other sold the car I wanted before I could get there). It's a great community of which to be a part -- a fraternity if you will.

Welcome and enjoy the ride!

But I will take a stab at a couple of your questions:

(1) early models have a hiccup more power. I bought a '92 because of this -- Jan'92 build;
(2) early models have the more prominent grille, not the "integrated" grille of latter day Mercedes. I already have a "new-ish" car, so I preferred the "old school" look and bought a '92 because of this;
(3) most of the issued that showed up in early 90's Mercs (like the bio-degradable wire harness) showed up on these as well. But this was the only sedan with this performance, rarity and Porsche DNA;
(4) most parts are common to either (a) the basic W124 chassis sedans (Gerry pointed out the most similar 400E); or (2) the R129 SL500, both of which were made in plentiful abundance. So I have found that parts are fairly easy to come by. Good parts, well that's debated ad nauseum here. Used parts are sometimes worth it, sometimes not, again debated ad nauseum here.

That should get you started and on your way.

Cheers,

maw

samiam44
08-27-2014, 08:40 AM
Add positives on late model:

Better brakes
Better headlights(you can update an early to euro headlights for same results).
Modern belt tensioner instead of the expensive rubber one on the earlies.

HaaJeHaa
08-27-2014, 03:24 PM
Thanks guys for your input! I'll get started on reading up on the model right away.

I'm located in Norway so I need to purchase from Germany or the US. I've imported cars from both countries before with great success, so I guess I need to do my homework and then find the right car and right seller. The import tax is excluded in my budget and will be plus 35% of the purchase price.

I do have a habit of hoarding parts long before I have the car itself, so I'm guessing I'll be needing building another shelf area! My Datsun S30Z currently have 3 engine setups and 4 suspension setups..

gerryvz
08-27-2014, 03:34 PM
I'm located in Norway so I need to purchase from Germany or the US. Ahh, Norway. Well as an Unhinged Troll, I have a lot of roots in Norway, and have lived under several bridges there.

More seriously, you should talk with our member 500AMM (Arnt Malmo), or perhaps you know him already? He's an active member of the forum here. Arnt has a collection of wonderful cars.

He is also very well skilled in obtaining and importing parts from vendors in the US, Germany and other locales.

:arnt:

bing
08-28-2014, 04:14 AM
Ahh, Norway. Well as an Unhinged Troll, I have a lot of roots in Norway, and have lived under several bridges there.

More seriously, you should talk with our member 500AMM (Arnt Malmo), or perhaps you know him already? He's an active member of the forum here. Arnt has a collection of wonderful cars.

He is also very well skilled in obtaining and importing parts from vendors in the US, Germany and other locales.

:arnt:

Indeed, Arnt is the man in Norway. Longtime owner and very helpful.

There are few E500Es on mobile.de with asking price ranging from 10keuros high milers (200km+), 15k-20keuros sub 200kkm and 20k+euros sub 160kkm. A lot of low mileage ones are ex Japan cars and most don't have history, and like all e500es a thorough inspection is a must.

Here's one might be worth a look : http://suchen.mobile.de/auto-inserat/mercedes-benz-500-e-500-limited-gepflgter-zustand-wenig-km-kauern/194339414.html?lang=en&pageNumber=6&__lp=7&scopeId=C&sortOption.sortBy=searchNetGrossPrice&makeModelVariant1.makeId=17200&makeModelVariant1.modelId=144&makeModelVariant1.searchInFreetext=false&makeModelVariant2.searchInFreetext=false&makeModelVariant3.searchInFreetext=false&minFirstRegistrationDate=1992-01-01&damageUnrepaired=ALSO_DAMAGE_UNREPAIRED&export=ALSO_EXPORT&noec=1

Nice low mileage LTD, 60kkm, but I suspect it's ex Japan and seems a good starting price since LTDs command around 30k+easy (even with high mileage) in Germany.

modzona
08-28-2014, 07:03 AM
Hei!
Velkommen til forumet!
Sjekk ut blocket.se er ofte et par der til salgs.

http://www.blocket.se/pitea/Mercedes_E_500_W124_55244821.htm?ca=22&w=3
http://www.blocket.se/orebro/Mercedes_Benz_E_500_Samlarbil_52940322.htm?ca=22&w=3
http://www.blocket.se/orebro/Mercedes_Benz_E500_Samlarbil_OBS_Priset_53709903.h tm?ca=22&w=3

500AMM
08-29-2014, 08:26 AM
Thanks guys for your input! I'll get started on reading up on the model right away.

I'm located in Norway so I need to purchase from Germany or the US. I've imported cars from both countries before with great success, so I guess I need to do my homework and then find the right car and right seller. The import tax is excluded in my budget and will be plus 35% of the purchase price.

I do have a habit of hoarding parts long before I have the car itself, so I'm guessing I'll be needing building another shelf area! My Datsun S30Z currently have 3 engine setups and 4 suspension setups..

Hi mate - and welcome to the froum! :welcome5:

Nice to see new Norwegians here. At the moment it is only two active Norwegians here; modzona and myself. But I know there is many Norwegian lurkers around. We hopefully get another couple of members in here soon too. One is probably purchasing a veeery good looking Nautic Blue car, and the other guy is hunting for my previous 500TE.

Over the years I've built a small register of all 124.036 in Norway. But ownership is an individual perception and the unique existence of these cars may not be that important to all, so that makes it harder to keep track on them. There is a number of imported 124.036 stored away around in Norway, waiting to pass the 30 year limit and become veteran cars. Then they're exempt from the import tax.

I get severeal questions & queries from Norwegians during the year, and it is mostly during the procurement prior to purchase. To my frustration they mostly focus on the car price alone, and won't fully understand the importance for service records on these cars, and many don't fully believe the extent of unknown maintenance. You neither find the parts on eBay, nor at the breakers around in Europe - those parts are already gone, or outworn. Next is the fact that the 124.036 was never sold on a regular basis in Norway. It is rare bird on the roads, so the knowledge among the workshop staff is slowly going close to zero now.

So for owning a 124.036 in Norway it is beneficial to be patient and "self serviced" so to say. If you are looking for a DD, the shortest reach could be my Limited. It is for sale, but it is in a restoration/maintenance condition. However, feel free to contact me on PM for any question about the 124.036. But add your name and living place please, anonymous people are never answered.

Cheers
Arnt

Klink
08-29-2014, 08:35 AM
Once again I have read a post from a Nordman as Terje Rypdal is blasting from my hi-fi! This cannot simply be coincidence! Well, I suppose it could be coincidence. I have been a TR fan for 40 years and listen to him disproportionately frequently...

Best and welcome!

Melville
08-29-2014, 08:58 AM
Hi mate - and welcome to the froum! :welcome5:

Nice to see new Norwegians here. At the moment it is only two active Norwegians here; modzona and myself. But I know there is many Norwegian lurkers around. We hopefully get another couple of members in here soon too. One is probably purchasing a veeery good looking Nautic Blue car, and the other guy is hunting for my previous 500TE.

Over the years I've built a small register of all 124.036 in Norway. But ownership is an individual perception and the unique existence of these cars may not be that important to all, so that makes it harder to keep track on them. There is a number of imported 124.036 stored away around in Norway, waiting to pass the 30 year limit and become veteran cars. Then they're exempt from the import tax.

I get severeal questions & queries from Norwegians during the year, and it is mostly during the procurement prior to purchase. To my frustration they mostly focus on the car price alone, and won't fully understand the importance for service records on these cars, and many don't fully believe the extent of unknown maintenance. You neither find the parts on eBay, nor at the breakers around in Europe - those parts are already gone, or outworn. Next is the fact that the 124.036 was never sold on a regular basis in Norway. It is rare bird on the roads, so the knowledge among the workshop staff is slowly going close to zero now.

So for owning a 124.036 in Norway it is beneficial to be patient and "self serviced" so to say. If you are looking for a DD, the shortest reach could be my Limited. It is for sale, but it is in a restoration/maintenance condition. However, feel free to contact me on PM for any question about the 124.036. But add your name and living place please, anonymous people are never answered.

Cheers
Arnt

I consider myself an honorary Norwegian. My wife is from there and I've visited many times. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I was relaxing in a cabin in the middle of nowhere in Norway, counting reindeer and the occasional moose, fishing, gathering cloudberries, etc. It's a beautiful country. But the speed limits are too low and there are too many single lane highways were you get stuck behind a car with an 80 hp diesel engine!

HaaJeHaa
09-03-2014, 03:31 AM
Thanks for all the Norwegian love:hearts:

Arnt:
Thanks for your wisdom! Noticed you even have a smiley named after you;) I haven't really come to the purchase fase yet, and I'll be looking for a low milage original car with good service records. I have to many project cars that still isn't finished to take another project. It will be a daily driver during the summer months so I'll have another car for the winter and if there's any problems. I'll take you up on PM'ing you in the future!

Madzona:
Didn't know Sweden had such availability, I'll keep an eye out there aswell!

The import tax really dropped after 1 jan 2014 and by choosing "alternative calculation" the import tax drops 50%, so no need to store these cars anymore;)

500AMM
09-03-2014, 06:06 AM
Once again I have read a post from a Nordman as Terje Rypdal is blasting from my hi-fi! This cannot simply be coincidence! Well, I suppose it could be coincidence. I have been a TR fan for 40 years and listen to him disproportionately frequently...

Best and welcome!

He, He - it must be a spiritual affection, Klink. :D
You are really a great TR fan, 40 years is the greater part of Rypdals career started in the 60's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terje_Rypdal

Some of his music can be a bit special to me, but he is really among the world class professionals in his genre.

-a-

500AMM
09-03-2014, 06:35 AM
I consider myself an honorary Norwegian. My wife is from there and I've visited many times. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I was relaxing in a cabin in the middle of nowhere in Norway, counting reindeer and the occasional moose, fishing, gathering cloudberries, etc. It's a beautiful country. But the speed limits are too low and there are too many single lane highways were you get stuck behind a car with an 80 hp diesel engine!

Hah! You have Norwegian wife, Mel. :-)
Counting reindeers?...it's hard to guess where you have been since the reindeer husbandry are spread at several places over the country, especially in the far north. And it is still some wild population of the species too.

Yes, the road quality here can be quite frustrating. During the later 2-3 years it is introduced physical barriers between the lanes on roads with dual directional traffic. It is on the most loaded roads to bring down the accident rates, especially the frontal collision. It is like driving in a corridor with no chance to pass other vehicles, so there you go. But during this summer we got 8 roads with increased speed limit to 110 kmh - Hurra!
:3gears:

500AMM
09-03-2014, 07:31 AM
Thanks for all the Norwegian love:hearts:

Arnt:
Thanks for your wisdom! Noticed you even have a smiley named after you;) I haven't really come to the purchase fase yet, and I'll be looking for a low milage original car with good service records. I have to many project cars that still isn't finished to take another project. It will be a daily driver during the summer months so I'll have another car for the winter and if there's any problems. I'll take you up on PM'ing you in the future!

Modzona:
Didn't know Sweden had such availability, I'll keep an eye out there aswell!

The import tax really dropped after 1 jan 2014 and by choosing "alternative calculation" the import tax drops 50%, so no need to store these cars anymore;)

That sounds fine, I guess I hear from you at some point then. But I think low milage cars with service records may exceed your budget, you will end up above $30k.

Mobile.de is a good parameter to monitor the price level in Europe due to the high number for sale and variety in condition. The 124.036 are aging now and many are simply "consumated" and will disappear as run out wrecks, but hopefully become parts cars. So the well documented low mileagers are in the upper price level. But the 124.036 market is rapidly splitting up in 3 categories now:

1. Special versions like E60 AMG Limited, E60 AMG, E500 Limited - plus original low mileagers of both 500E and E500, regardless of MY
2. The greater middle group which in fact contains any version and all MY. And the price depends on condition, mileage and records
3. The drivers group - with anything from well maintained high mileagers with records, to bottomless money pits with deferred maintenace

These three groups/categories is nothing new, but has been a regular split all time long. But the scenario nowadays is that the split between the groups are more clear than ever. This is due to the age of the model and a major change in the demand from the public. That spreads the price level in both directions - higher up on good objects - and more down on the well driven objects. So, the good catch can still be done in the middle group, but that will rapidly change, I would say over the next 5 years.


:watchdrama:

Klink
09-03-2014, 07:32 AM
He, He - it must be a spiritual affection, Klink. :D
You are really a great TR fan, 40 years is the greater part of Rypdals career started in the 60's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terje_Rypdal

Some of his music can be a bit special to me, but he is really among the world class professionals in his genre.

-a-

Indeed, for the better part of his career, Arnt. Since 1973!