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When are miles too high?

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Former Member
Karim Morsli's picture
Rockville, MD
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Joined: August 25th, 2009

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7

Vehicles
2008 GL450 4MATIC
1991 300SEL
1972 300SEL

Hello all!
I am considering getting a very beautiful, one-owner 1972 w109 300sel 4.5 in really good condition.
My concern is the mileage, with over 300K miles. It's had R&R on cylinder heads, new valve guides and seals, and had the valves and seats machined at about 220K miles. It's also had transmission and torque converter replaced at 230K miles.
What good advice would you guys have?

Thanks in advance!

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Alex's picture
Long Island City, NY
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2004 Sprinter
2004 CL500
2004 C320
1981 300TD
When are miles too high?

Karim,

The answer to that question is, almost never.

My late M-B mechanic used to say that there is no Mercedes that can't be fixed and for which parts are unavailable.  As long as replacement parts are available for a particular model, so long can that car be kept in good working order, regardless of miles.  So parts availability is the criterion I use. 

You might contact the Classic Center to check on parts availability for that 39-year old car.

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Alex Rosner
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Member, MBCA Technology Committee

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Member
MTI's picture
Scottsdale, AZ
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Joined: January 2nd, 2009

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3193

Vehicles
2011 GLK350
1999 C280
1985 190E
You describe many power train

You describe many power train refreshes . . . however the other systems, suspension, braking, electrical, cooling, etc. should also have been refreshed by this mileage level as well.

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stricht8's picture
Weston, MA
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Joined: December 23rd, 1996

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1736

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2005 G500
1982 240D
1973 220D
1971 280SL
1971 220
1963 220SEb
1958 300d SEDAN A/T
If the car has been

If the car has been maintained and is in good working order mileage is rather irrelevant as stated above. In this case the high mileage will only have some impact on the value of the car but not on much else. I would definitely make sure that the suspension and front end is not worn. These can all be fixed of course. The M117 engine which powers that car is incredibly robust. I had a 1980 450 SEL (which had essentially the same motor) with over 330,000 miles on the original non-rebuilt engine.

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Karim Morsli's picture
Rockville, MD
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Joined: August 25th, 2009

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Vehicles
2008 GL450 4MATIC
1991 300SEL
1972 300SEL
Great feedback! Agree with

Great feedback!
Agree with you re:suspensions: everything felt right, and a lift at the garage should tell us more!
Stricht8: you mention something about value of the car. If I held on to this car for another 15-20 years, and continued to maintain it religiously as the current and only owner has, as well as do a full restoration at some point, can I expect it to appreciate a bit?

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stricht8's picture
Weston, MA
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Joined: December 23rd, 1996

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Vehicles
2005 G500
1982 240D
1973 220D
1971 280SL
1971 220
1963 220SEb
1958 300d SEDAN A/T
Sure it might appreciate but

Sure it might appreciate but that model will probably never be a big appreciator. If you maintain the car it is highly unlikely to lose any value. There can never be a replacement for a low mileage original car! A concours restoration however is kind of like starting fresh despite the mileage.

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Grubeguy's picture
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1973 280SE
A transmission with only 70k

A transmission with only 70k miles on it will likely last you a good long time.  Those tranmissions are known to be robust. 

That engine/transmission combo, unless severely abused, will go for a really long time.

The real issue you face with a 300 is the suspension.  The air bags are known to dry out and leak, and once the system starts getting leaky, it can be tough to chase down the problem(s).  Expect thousands of $$ to replace the bellows and associated parts.

As for parts availability, I've never had a problem finding parts for my car.  I steer clear of the dealership because of the expense, and easily find identical parts at Kragen, Napa and other parts places.

An old addage I've learned to trust is to buy the most expensive (good condition) Benz your budget will allow.

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Tom Hanson's picture
Arrowhead Farms, CA
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Joined: February 20th, 1997

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4755

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1970 300SEL 6.3
There are many of our cars

There are many of our cars out there with over a million miles on them. Just go for it.

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Tom Hanson
Supervisor, Parts Operations
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA
MBUSA, LLC
thomas.hanson@mbusa.com
949 598-4842 direct.

Prior MB cars: 2010 ML350 Bluetec, 2003 C320 Coupe, 1986 300SDL, 1971 300SEL 6.3, 1973 450SE, 1959 220S, 2011 C300

Former Member
Karim Morsli's picture
Rockville, MD
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Joined: August 25th, 2009

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Vehicles
2008 GL450 4MATIC
1991 300SEL
1972 300SEL
Tom, Thanks! I did follow

Tom,
Thanks! I did follow your advice a couple of months ago, and I couldn't be happier for it!
The previous owner treated this car like a daughter (or son...), and it shows.
I am going to enjoy it for the next year, then will start to work on it with the hopes of a full restoration...

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