Mercedes W123 230 E - Mr Fox
I am looking at a 1983 example of the above with a view to buying it, it has a full MOT and has covered 160 000 Miles

There are two concerns which I have about it and I'm hoping one of the backroom boys can alleviate ( or confirm ) them.

1. The Engine rattled slightly on start up and the oil pressure guage didn't go to the top until the car was driven, then it fell to halfway when ticking over. I took the oilcap off whilst the engine was running and some oil splashed out, - is this a buildup of pressure in the crankcase or is it usual ?

Also it smoked a tiny bit when I gave it some stick on a dual carriageway, however it pulled well and didn't feel tired.
I am concerned that the above points indicate worn piston rings or valve guides.

2. The steering felt incedibly vague around the straight ahead and a little bit wandery on the road at speed. in fact it was quite unnerving. it this normal ?

Otherwise the car is in fantastic condition with electric sunroof, original Mercedes alloys etc.

and the guy is only asking for £ 500.

Should I ??

I am looking at it as a long - term investment as a second car and a future classic.

What do the backroom boys reckon ?

Best Regards

Mercedes W123 230 E - M.M

I have always liked these cars. There is plenty of info about if you search for it.

I know little about the specific problems with these but guess you will have to accept a few faults at £500.

Be wary of engine condition if you want to keep it long term, a decent rebuild could cost three times the vehicle purchase price.

One of my contacts has just bought the same vehicle at (I guess) this sort of price. He is over the moon with it.

Oh yes the steering shouldn't be that bad. Tracking, tyre type/condition, tyre pressures, shock absorbers etc, steering joints??

David W
Mercedes W123 230 E - Mr Fox
Well I've bought it now, I looked at several others, one of which was so utterly rotten underneath, despite looking very nice on the surface, the seller was a lying shyster and it was only fit for scrap. It had failed its MOT in October but he caried on driving about in it,with the tax disc of another car in the window. Most worryingly this guy then took his kids to a party in it ! what would happen if there was an accident ?

Anyway I got this for £440 and it has a Blaupunkt CD player which must have cost £100 new plus 3 new tyres and complete service history, after a good run up the M1 the engine ceased to smoke and it drives very well.

Fingers crossed it will be ok for a few months yet !

Mercedes W123 230 E - THe Growler
I owned a 1983 one of these about 13 years ago and I can say it was arguably the most satisfying car I've owned and driven. The only reason I parted with it after 4 years in the Gulf was being posted to Hong Kong. The man who bought it from me kept it for 6 years without any problems. For my money the best Merc ever made, before they stopped making them bulletproof. Enjoy!
Mercedes W123 230 E - M.M
Well done Marc, give us some feedback when you've had it a while.
David W
Mercedes W123 230 E - Cardew
I owned 2 of these from new.

The oil pressure gauge does fall to mid scale on tickover so that is quite normal.

Mercedes W123 230 E - randy
Hi marc,
i've just read you're email about you're merc 230e, im thinking of buying one this weekend (20th sept 2003)but the the temp needle is just sitting above the half way line, at about 65% high. is this normal does you're merc temp sit at the same temperature? also could you recommend any other pointers to look out for when buying the car? (its a merc 230e saloon 1985)
thanks for youre time.

Mercedes W123 230 E - Aprilia
Running temp on gauge should be 82 degrees (just above 80 deg. line).
Engine faults - stretched timing chain (chain and sprocket kit costs about £90). Valve stem oil seals go (or guides, if you're unlucky) and oil smoke on start-up etc. They can rust a bit underneath too!
Mercedes W123 230 E - neilr
I've just come across this forum. I noticed you said valve seals & stems go on these & wondered if you could hazard a guess at what's gone wrong with mine. I have an '82 230E with 89,000 on the clock & a v.good service history. It was really a joy to drive - the most relaxed & comfortable car I've ever owned. Something went wrong with the engine recently. At about 75mph on the M25 there was a sort of quiet shrieking noise & the engine became v. lumpy. The noise eased off as I eased off the gas & I drove home. I've spoken to 5 'experts' ranging from MB dealers, to independents, to engine rebuild shops, to marque specialists & have 5 different explanations ranging from the big end, the little end, something to do w/ valves, a head gasket & a cracked block.
The compression on number 3 is way down, the car uses no oil, produces no smoke, doesn't overheat, uses a lot more fuel, has not mixed oil & water & is smooth & quiet at about 65-70 on the motorway. All the experts said I could not do her anymore harm by driving her into the ground, but she's only been used to visit the 'experts'. Any ideas?
Mercedes W123 230 E - Aprilia
Obviously without the opportunity to check and test the engine its difficult....
I would hazard a guess that you have some kind of valve damage - possibly burnt/eroded or a piece dropped out of one. There is also the possibility of some kind of cam/valve gear problem - is there any extra clattering/rattling?

Ring Crewe Engines technical advice line - they know about as much about MB engines as anyone. They also do top quality rebuilt heads at sensible prices.

Mercedes W123 230 E - neilr
Thanks for the reply. No, there aren't any new clatters or rattles. I'll try Crewe. Am I correct in thinking that if it's a big or little end this would have no impact on the compression reading? A friend of mine who was trained as an Army tank mechanic & now works as a specialist to the classic car dealers & auction houses in London also thinks it's probably something to do w/ valves.
Mercedes W123 230 E - Aprilia
Big or little-end wear would have to be very severe to significantly affect compresssion! You would certainly hear some odd noises if that were the case. Those of us trained on older motors have a good ear for 'big-end thump' and little-end knock.
Mercedes W123 230 E - Mapmaker

If you've got one of these cars, you should join

It's a trully excellent forum, full of sensible advice, and free from the idiots that sometimes take over forums (not this one, of course!)
Mercedes W123 230 E - neilr
Thanks for the tip - it is a very good forum & I have joined. Taking the head off my original car on Monday to see if it is the valves.
I bought another in the meantime. It's a one (now deceased) owner, 85,000 mile FSH from the same garage, 230E in chocolate brown/tan cloth w/ 4 headrests & 2 armrests, elec sunroof & crank windows. It needs a new bumper & the grille has a minor 'car park' ding in it, but apart from that & a really good clean is very presentable. I drove it the 600 miles home after buying it at up to 100 mph for short stretches, more often 80-85 ish & it behaved beautifully. Returned 26+ mpg for the whole trip, didn't consume a drop of oil or water & all gauges were rock steady. If it is just a head on the original, green/black car I'll get it fixed & have to sell one of them.

Value my car