1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E 4MATIC Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E 4MATIC as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

Refine by vehicle
Choose your vehicle
Known Problems

A rough running motor or lack of power can be caused by a failed distributor cap or rotor, ignition wires (or their resistors), or valve cover gasket leaks. If the valve cover gasket leaks, oil can pool where the ignition wire resistor connects to the spark plug. The resistor can fail and the spark plug may not fire because of a short circuit through the oil.

One or more blend door vacuum actuators may fail resulting in the incorrect output temperature from the HVAC system. Failed actuators will require replacement to restore proper HVAC operation.

A vibration felt through the center floor of the vehicle can be caused by driveshaft flex discs, which crack and shred, causing excessive driveshaft movement. Not repairing these can cause damage to the driveshaft center support bearing, or, in the worst case scenario, damage to the transmission or differential.

High mileage or older vehicles commonly develop leaks from the differential seals and/or cover. Our technicians recommend a complete reseal of the differential unit whenever these leaks are repaired.

Irregular and premature tire wear can be caused by the lower control arm bushings cracking and causing excessive movement at the control arm pivot point. Ball joints can also wear out prematurely, causing similar tire wear symptoms.

The emissions air injection pump can seize, causing a loud squealing noise followed by smoke from the drive belt. If the engine is not turned off, the belt will break, turning on the alternator/battery warning light.

The electronic throttle assembly may suffer an electrical failure. It is often cheaper to send the valve to a service center for repair that to purchase a new part.

One or more of the following steering linkage components may wear prematurely;  tie rod ends, drag link, or idler arm. Our technicians remind us the wheel alignment should be checked and adjusted if any of these items are replaced.

A coolant leak may develop from the water pump. When replacing the water pump, the drive belt tensioner should be inspected and most likely replaced as well.

Due to wear, high usage vehicles can experience ignition lock and tumbler failures. The ignition lock cylinder will generally require replacement to correct this concern.

A coolant leak may develop form the Radiator due to degradation of its plastic components. Replacement of the failed radiator will be necessary.

Internal and External engine oil & coolant leaks can develop from the head gasket and/or timing cover gasket; these leaks should be repaired before the engine oil and coolant intermix which can result in severe engine damage.

It is not uncommon to encounter premature failure of the anti-lock brake system (ABS) modulator assembly due to dirty brake fluid. Our technicians recommend flushing the brake fluid every two years in order to help prevent this problem.

Due to the size and material used on the brakes of these vehicles, the brakes may start to squeak around the 50 percent wear point. The brake rotor surfaces become uneven, causing a lip to form at the outer edge of the rotor. Because of this, the rotors are usually replaced when the pads are worn (pad life varies depending on driving style and terrain).

Due to exposure to the sun, lenses for head lights may become opaque (cloudy or hazy). This reduces the effectiveness of the lights. Our technicians tell us plastic polishes can improve the clarity of the lenses, but replacement of the lamp housings is the only way to regain the full intensity of the lights.