When I first bought my 1985 190E 2.3-16v (back in 2010), the A/C worked. It didn’t work all that well though, and I assumed it was a bit low on refrigerant. It spent a year or so up on blocks while I did a bunch of things to it which should not have taken a year, but after getting it back on the road the A/C no longer worked. Inspection showed that the system was completely empty now (zero pressure at all).
After our extreme 4AGE failure at the last race we decided to go forward with our engine swap project. After visiting the junkyard and researching online we settled on an early model 1MZFE engine. At my favourite u-pull-it junkyard (Henry’s Used Auto Parts in Blackstone, MA) there were around 25 of these engines available. Most were in Avalon’s but some in Camry’s or ES300’s. We settled on a ’97 unit which was mostly complete and had only 115k miles. Some of the Avalon’s there had over 350k, so this one should last us quite a while!