Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cars I Have Known VII

Here is one of those apparent good deals that requires close study. I know what this guy is talking about, Been there, done that.

Well, still doing that actually. Several years ago a guy offered me a 1988 Mercedes 190e for 300 bucks. I thought it was a steal. It was only after a few repairs that i found out which one of us was the actual thief.

Don't get me wrong; it is a fantastic car. It'll hit 70 in a heartbeat, rides like a cloud and still has some sport manners in the corners. But it has..... ISSUES. Some are because it is 24 years old. Some seem to be designed in.

Like the fuel pump relay. The electric fuel pump will quit randomly, and usually at the most inopportune time. Usually where there is no where to pull over and you have a line of cars behind you. It is a simple fix. Open the hood; pull the cover off of the relay housing; pull the fuel pump relay; jump pins 3 and 8; replace the relay; start the car; replace the relay cover, close the hood. Except sometimes you have to repeat steps 3-6, as the car won't start the first time.

So why not just replace the relay? Because the problem could either be the fuel pump relay or a separate relay that controls voltage to the automobile. each relay is $120, and I have a problem throwing $250 at a $300 car. Luckily I am still finding a few of them in the junkyard. So between finding used parts cheap and doing the work myself I have been able to keep it going.

But I can see where paying somebody to maintain an old MB can bet expensive. Parts are available to repair almost every aspect of the car. But those parts are expensive, and a good MB mechanic is at least $75 an hour. You can count on dropping a grand each and every trip to the shop. If you have that kind of money, paying somebody else to keep your old car on the road may be worth it.

But you can easily see how a car that a few years ago sold for 50k new, is now worth $300; if you can get it.

The picture is not my 190e, but mine is red. And I think it is that red color that has attracted the attention of the local constabulary.

I have been stopped by police exactly 4 times in the last 20 years. All four times I was driving the 190e. all four times I got a ticket for not wearing my seat belt. All four times it was the same cop.

Yep; driving a Red Mercedes can get expensive.

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