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From A 91' Ls400 To A 84' 190d - Wow!


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First of all, has anyone ever owned one of these? I would never own a 190E (gas), but from what I have learned and heard, these little diesel Mercedes are bulletproof.

Anyway - I gave my mother my 91' Lexus LS400 (so its still in the family), took her car as a daily driver (97' Oldsmobile), then bought me a 1984 Mercedes 190D diesel for my days off commuting. What a difference.... LOL. I love the little Mercedes though. This was the smallest Mercedes made in 1984, but still stickered for $24,500 - which was a costly car in its day. It was a 1-owner car, with 157K- which is nothing for a diesel. The PO had died, the car was not moved from the garage in two years and his widow just decided to sell it. It was on the side of the road in a parking lot that evening for about 30 minutes, then I drove by and seen it. Went and looked the next day and bought it and have already been offered $500 more than what I paid for it. :P

Now- the difference - SHE IS SLOW, but once you get going, she is fine. Its a 2.2L 4-cylinder diesel with about 93 horsepower, versus 250 horsepower from my 91' LS400. :) It will take some getting used to, but I will like the 34 mpg in town and 42 mpg on the highway. NOW, if diesel prices would just go back down below gasoline. :(

I am amazed at this little car. Absolutely NO squeaks or rattles (except the diesel engine rattles :D ). Smooth shifting transmission, sharp handling (drives better than my LS and rides as smoothly!) and no odd noises from the suspension and amazingly, NO LEAKS - which is odd for a diesel, especially one thats nearly 25 years old. This car was well-maintained and babied though, so that may explain it. NO rust- typical for a car around here, but she has suffered some hail damage from a bad supercell storm we had back in May of 2002. Unfortunately that night the storm hit, the car was not in the garage. The car was still like it was when the owner died. The widow drove it twice to church during the two years it set. She had a local Mercedes mechanic pick it up, drive it 30 miles to his shop and give it a "checkup" before she sold it and it got the green light. The ONLY thing that does not work is the A/C compressor is bad. Before the man died, brand new $$$ Michelin tires were installed and an expensive CD/XM radio. Then, she had a brand new Sears Diehard battery installed (huge battery). The car was very dirty on the outside; dead paint all over, so I washed it good, which helped 100%, then I waxed it. I am about 75% done with that. Shines like new. Trunk looks excellent and still stores the original spare that has never even been out of the trunk. ALL service records and books with the car, so thats a plus as well.

I am NOT wild about the color - its a ugly "butter yellow", but that was a popular color back in the mid 80s, especially on Mercedes.

It was getting dark, so no good exterior photos - but I will post more tomorrow after I get it waxed.

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Looks like it's in pretty good condition, They built cars like tanks back in those days. I wish I still had my 86 camry.

Yeah, its like a little tank and in VGC for an 84'. I am amazed that it is totally squeak, rattle and "pop" free. Its actually quieter inside than my LS400, but the engine is a little (well, MUCH) noiser, so that isolates some other noise, but from what I can tell, the interior is still really tight. Yeah, I loved those little 83-86 Camrys. I had a couple of 87' Camrys that I loved. Much better than todays Camrys it seems.

Also, these cars are very simple to work on. Mercedes cars really did not start getting complicated until the early-mid 1990s redesigns.

Must agree with dc...that car considering age is in very clean condition. You get a thumbs up for the find. And if you pick a car to down grade to from Lexus ...lol..j/k Mercedes isnt a bad second choice. Plus mom gets applauded for her new ride..

Yeah, she is really happy about the Lex.

Not bad at all.....it had only 93 HP....but how much tq? :)

:cheers:

Yep, 93 hp. I have no ideal about the torque. Its slow on take off, as expected for a 2.2L diesel. However, once you get it above 2500 rpms, its peppy and once you get going, it will really get down the road. One thing alot of people do not know about Mercedes is that they start out in second gear. There is a switch under the accelerator pedal that kicks the car into first if you depress the pedal to the floor panel. I never had to do this on my 85' 380SE (V8) however.

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Some FYI .... Before the 190E was introduced in the U.S., German spec 190E 1.8 liter engine cars were sold in the U.S. by gray market importers. Gray market 190E's seemed especially common in the Kansas City metro area and could be easily identified by their "tacked on" side marker lights. The U.S. dollar was particularly strong against the Deutchmark in the early 1980s so importing Euro spec cars was especially attractive. (I seriously considered buying a new gray market S-class sedan in 1983 but that's another story.)

157K miles is impressive for a four cylinder Mercedes diesel engine if the engine is original - I suspect that it was driven at relatively low speeds and engine rpms. I bought a new 240D diesel in late 1979 when I moved much further from work. By 140,000 miles, the engine was shot with very low compression and the car could hardly make it up steep hills. I had babied the 240D with 2,000 mile oil changes and proper maintenance and was surprised that the engine didn't last longer. The 240D was my 3rd Mercedes but the first that wasn't an "S-class".

When I asked a local Mercedes dealer if my car was typical, I was shown documentation from Mercedes that the expected life of a 240 diesel engine before needing rebuild was approximately 200,000 km -- about 124,000 miles. To say the least, I was surprised since I had heard so many Mercedes diesel "legends". Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised since the engine in my 73 450SEL was blowing through a remarkable amount of oil when it departed us in 1979 at about 150,000 miles.

Because the U.S. dollar was so strong, it was relatively inexpensive to buy a factory rebuilt 240 diesel engine and have it installed by the dealer. My rebuilt engine arrived from Germany fully assembled mounted in a steel cage. Mercedes did not sell factory rebuilt gas engines -- only diesels. Unfortunately, the newly installed factory rebuilt diesel engine failed with low compression after about one year and 25,000 miles - I was putting a lot of highway miles on the car driving to and from work.

After initially refusing, Mercedes paid to have a another factory rebuilt engine installed under the one year warranty. This third diesel engine did relatively well until I sold the car at around 200,000 miles and 10 1/2 years.

Coincidentally, I test drove the very first U.S. spec 190E 2.3 that was delivered to the Mercedes dealer where I bought my 240D. The main thing I remember about the test drive experience is that the plastic underdash hood opener lever broke when I tried to pop the hood to look at the engine.

Although a huge number of 190E's were sold here, I rarely see them on the road today. There are plenty of 1980s vintage S-class Mercedes around - until last year there were two early 80s Mercedes S-class sedans in my culdasac - a 300SD and a 420SEL. The elderly couple that owned the 420SEL now has two S500 sedans - a late 90s "panzerwagen" and a 2006 4-Matic.

Regarding the 190E's retail price .... When I exchanged my Merc 240D for a new LS400 in early 1990, the sticker price of my new LS400 was lower than a new 190E 2.6 (6-cylinder) sedan I had just seen at the Mercedes dealer. Getting a new LS400 for less than a new Mercedes 190E made the LS400 seem like an especially good bargain.

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Congrats on your new wheels. :cheers: Looks like you finally got the break you've been looking for. As for maintenance on the oil burner, all I can think of is make sure to regularly check the glow plug. What a relief it must be. Good on ya! :cheers:

ps - don't worry about the ls. She'll get used to mom in no time.

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Thanks for the info. Yeah, it is 157K original and the engine is original. The PO did drive it moderately... mostly on the highway... about 60 miles per day.

Yeah, I remember you talking about that "short lived" 79' 240D. So strange, because I have heard of so many 240D's going well over 300K-400K miles, at least thats what the folks on the Mercedes forums claim. I think that the 300D engine is supposed to be even better, as well as the early-mid 80s models, as opposed to the late 70s.

I had a 74' 240D years ago (late 90s). It had belonged to my aunt - she bought it new. I found it years later setting in a swamp (literally) after she sold it. Still looked like new, but the floors were rotted out (found this out after I drug it out) :rolleyes: . Engine had a BAD knocking sound. What had happened is that the guys wife had put oil in, forgot to put the cap back on and blew all of the oil out and ruined the engine. I was going to fix it. I paid $100.00 for it, sold it for $75.00! After I discovered the trunk and floor rust, I had no interest in it anymore. Thankfully the floors in this 190D still look like brand new.

So far, my little hood latch is working. Strange, I never thought of it before, but the latch on my 85' S-Class was metal and this car its plastic. Maybe its where the 190D stickered for $24,100 (stated on the sales sticker) and my 380SE stickerd for $44,985. ;)

Still this car feels more solid than my aunts 2001 Mercedes M-Class SUV. Her husband has a 1992 Mercedes 300SE - the big body, but with the I-6 engine. SMOOTH that car is and rides like a dream. His dad bought it new in 1992 and I think it stickered for around $70K? I could never bring myself to pay that much for a car. :huh:

157K miles is impressive for a four cylinder Mercedes diesel engine if the engine is original - I suspect that it was driven at relatively low speeds and engine rpms. I bought a new 240D diesel in late 1979 when I moved much further from work. By 140,000 miles, the engine was shot with very low compression and the car could hardly make it up steep hills. I had babied the 240D with 2,000 mile oil changes and proper maintenance and was surprised that the engine didn't last longer. The 240D was my 3rd Mercedes but the first that wasn't an "S-class".

When I asked a local Mercedes dealer if my car was typical, I was shown documentation from Mercedes that the expected life of a 240 diesel engine before needing rebuild was approximately 200,000 km -- about 124,000 miles. To say the least, I was surprised since I had heard so many Mercedes diesel "legends". Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised since the engine in my 73 450SEL was blowing through a remarkable amount of oil when it departed us in 1979 at about 150,000 miles.

Because the U.S. dollar was so strong, it was relatively inexpensive to buy a factory rebuilt 240 diesel engine and have it installed by the dealer. My rebuilt engine arrived from Germany fully assembled mounted in a steel cage. Mercedes did not sell factory rebuilt gas engines -- only diesels. Unfortunately, the newly installed factory rebuilt diesel engine failed with low compression after about one year and 25,000 miles - I was putting a lot of highway miles on the car driving to and from work.

After initially refusing, Mercedes paid to have a another factory rebuilt engine installed under the one year warranty. This third diesel engine did relatively well until I sold the car at around 200,000 miles and 10 1/2 years.

Coincidentally, I test drove the very first U.S. spec 190E 2.3 that was delivered to the Mercedes dealer where I bought my 240D. The main thing I remember about the test drive experience is that the plastic underdash hood opener lever broke when I tried to pop the hood to look at the engine.

Although a huge number of 190E's were sold here, I rarely see them on the road today. There are plenty of 1980s vintage S-class Mercedes around - until last year there were two early 80s Mercedes S-class sedans in my culdasac - a 300SD and a 420SEL. The elderly couple that owned the 420SEL now has two S500 sedans - a late 90s "panzerwagen" and a 2006 4-Matic.

Regarding the 190E's retail price .... When I exchanged my Merc 240D for a new LS400 in early 1990, the sticker price of my new LS400 was lower than a new 190E 2.6 (6-cylinder) sedan I had just seen at the Mercedes dealer. Getting a new LS400 for less than a new Mercedes 190E made the LS400 seem like an especially good bargain.

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Congrats on your new wheels. :cheers: Looks like you finally got the break you've been looking for. As for maintenance on the oil burner, all I can think of is make sure to regularly check the glow plug. What a relief it must be. Good on ya! :cheers:

ps - don't worry about the ls. She'll get used to mom in no time.

Thanks. Yeah, I love it. I cannot wait to get all of the oils changed, etc. I really wanted a 300SD, but this was a well-kept car and could not pass it up. My uncle has already offered me $500 more than I paid for it. :D

I really was looking for a 90-93 Celica or a 89-92 Toyota 4wd pickup for my next 2nd car, but like I said, this one caught my eye and I had wanted a diesel for awhile. I will still get a Celica/4wd, but it may be awhile.

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