1986 Mercedes-Benz 300E

Mercedes 300E (5-speed)

300E U.S. Specifications

In June 1996 I bought this 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300E. This car is special because it is one of the few with a 5-speed manual transmission. Even though it's ten years old and has (gasp) 180,000 miles, it runs very good. The car has a driver's side airbag, antilock brakes, and tan leather interior.

(July 4, 1997)
Well, it's been a little more than a year since I bought the 300E. It now has ~194,000 miles. So far so good. Soon after I purchased it I replaced the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor. I've also replaced the tie-rods, idler arm bushing, steering shock and struts/shocks with new Bilstein Heavy Duty units. The ride is now much firmer and better controlled without being harsh. I also had to replace the water pump and fan bearing assembly. Next up are the brakes, exhaust system, and new timing chain. Fuel economy has been good, I've been averaging about 21 - 24 MPG in combined driving with a best of 26.2 on the highway. Worst mileage was about 18 MPG, I guess I was in a hurry :=)

(Sometime in August, I think...)
I replaced the front and rear brake rotors and pads. I thought I'd try a set of ATE PowerDisc gas slotted rotors on the front. These rotors incorporate a continuous gas slot on each surface. I opted to use Metal Master brake pads in the hope of eliminating the terrible brake dust that the OEM pads create. So far I'm very pleased with these pads. No squeals, no squeaks, just great braking and no dust. Even if I let the car go two weeks between washings, the front wheels stay reasonably clean. I also flushed the brake system and refilled with Castrol GT/LMA DOT 4 brake fluid.
Here's a picture of the PowerDisc...look through the wheel spokes:
ATE PowerDisc gas slotted rotor

(January 7, 1998)
Just had the clutch replaced. I originally planned on doing the job myself but after spending a whole Saturday under the car, I realized that it was a bigger job than I could handle in my home garage. Amazingly, the original clutch lasted over 202,000 miles! The clutch disk still looked fine, it was the release (throw-out) bearing that started making noise; it came out in pieces. But all is well now. Oh yeah, I also replaced the front flex-disk so shifts are not only smooth but clunk-free.

(March 6, 1998)
Had the local MB dealer replace the timing chain and tensioner. I was starting to get nervous since the car has so many miles on it. I probably could have done it myself, but I seem to be extremely short on time these days...

(March 21, 1998)
Replaced the shift-rod bushings today. Lately, it's been harder to engage first gear, there was a lot of play in the shifter. I determined the problem by crawling under the car and inspecting the shift linkages. The first gear rod bushing at the shifter side was gone. I ordered a complete set to replace all the bushings. The job took about 30 minutes and gear selection is smooth once again.

(March 31, 1998)
I recently bought some used Moda M1 (by BBS) wheels size 7.5 x 16, ET34. I ordered a set of Dunlop D40 M2 (225/50 ZR-16) from the TireRack and had them installed locally. What a difference. Combined with the Bilstein HD struts/shocks handling is much improved. The car feels transformed and looks better too.
300E with Moda M1
Here's another picture, taken with a Casio QV-11 digital camera.

(April 18, 1998)
Replaced both left and right strut isolators in my continuing effort to renew the suspension system. I also replaced the transmission mount just for good measure...

(July 2, 1998)
Installed new Ansa resonator and muffler from Bekkers. The Ansa pieces are direct bolt-ins to replace the factory exhaust which after 12 years and 211,xxx miles needed replacement. Let's see, I also changed the spark plugs...went back to using Bosch Supers (H9DCO) instead of the Bosch Platinums. All the MB mechanics say to stay away from the Platinums, but honestly, my car ran pretty well with them. Next job will be to replace the valve-stem seals...

(November 19, 1998)
218,xxx miles! The radiator gave out two days ago. Typical failure...hot side inlet on the plastic tank failed due to age and heat. Luckily for me it failed on the way home from work and failed in such a way that coolant leaked out very slowely. No indication on the temp. guage...all seemed normal. I only noticed it after exiting the car a seeing the puddle accumulate below the engine. I ordered a new radiator from Caliber Motors in Anaheim, CA and it arrived the next day! It took about an hour to install and all systems are go.

(May 15, 1999)
225,xxx miles. Finally got around to draining the transmission and refilling with fresh fluid. Shifts are a bit crisper with more of a 'snick' when changing gears. This maintenance was way overdue, the old oil was really dirty.

(May 15, 1999)
Well...I have to comment on Metal Master brake pads. After living with them for 25,000 miles, I have to say that I will not buy them again! In the last 5K miles they basically destroyed my ATE PowerDiscs...lots of surface grooving and warping. Just recently the car started shuddering when slowing from high speed. I pulled them today...for now, I'm using ATE OEM rotors and Mintex pads. Mintex pads behave more like stock pads with good cold bite but produce much less brake dust.

(June 13, 1999)
227,2xx miles. Spent today doing mostly routine maintenance...changed air filter, fuel filter, replaced viscous fan clutch, replaced front strut dust boots, and cleaned the stereo fader switch, and attempted to fix a window switch. Normally the switches can be taken apart and cleaned when they act up. In this case the front passenger window switch will need to be replaced due to a broken internal part...
That's about it for today.

(July 4, 1999)
228,xxx miles. During the last several weeks my fuel pump has been making intermittent vibration noises and has always been a little noisy. Last weekend, while visiting my brother in the Los Angeles area it decided to flake out. Didn't fail completely, car started but idle was rough and would stumble and shut down with even the slightest press of the accelerator pedal. I ended up leaving the car at my brother's house and ordered a new fuel pump (German aftermarket - Pierburg) and fuel pump relay. Interestingly, a couple days later, my brother drove the car and it was fine. Anyway, I installed the new pump on Sunday, July 4th and all is well again. The new pump is much quieter, all but silent. I haven't put the new relay in yet, I'm sort of waiting to see if the problem comes back to further pinpoint the problem to the relay as the fuel pump relay is known to cause problems.

SOLD June 2001

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300E with Lorinser RS90 wheels
With Lorinser RS90 wheels (modified with PhotoShop 3.0)