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Old 06-24-2002, 05:34 PM
Posts: n/a
Question Question about 420 SEL

I have searched these pages and found them very useful, however, not knowing much at all about these cars, I'm not sure if what I've read applies to me.

I have never owned a Mercedes nor have even driven in one before (my only other car I personally ownded was a 97 Jeep Cherokee), so I am a total newbie. I have no idea if any of the problems I'm having are normal or not.

I just purchased on Saturday (June 22, '02) a 1986 420 SEL with 120K miles. Silver exterior and black leather interior. Pretty close to flawless in appearance, at least for my needs.

However, I've noticed some problems mechanically. At idle, the engine seems to "jump" every few seconds. I don't know how to accurately describe this sensation, other than I feel the car shake a bit when it happens. It also seems to shift a bit hard when going from 1st to 2nd. I did not notice either of these things when I first got the car; it only seemed to happen after driving several hundred miles, some time after my second fill-up of gas.

There also seems to be an incredible amount of heat coming from the engine. When I stop at a light or something, I can put my hand out the window and towards the hood and feel the heat. I know car engines get hot but this seems like a lot. Like I said, the only other car I owned was Cherokee and unless you put your hand on the hood, you woudln't notice it at all. I do not see any noticable change in the engine temp according to the guage on the dash and I have no idea if the engine feels this hot when I am running at high speeds.

Other than that, the car seems to run smoothly. Zero problems when cruising or racing the streets of manhattan. I even got it up to 100mph once (not in the city of course) and it felt great. When I purchased it, I drove it from Boston to New York, then almost immediately to Nyack (the giant mall there) 1.5 hours north and noticed nothing wrong at all with the engine.

Other things:

Steering feels a touch loose at high speeds. Not sloppy, but just not super precise. My only other comparisson (Jeep) was pretty good about this.

Gas guage bounces around below R when the tank is less than 1/4. I would assume this has something to do with the sensor in the tank.

Rear driver window comes up slowly and makes some noise.

Purpleish tint at bottom of windows. Window tint coming off?

How much am can I expect to spend on these things to get them fixed?

Is it difficult and beneficial to switch to motorized power door locks instead of the vacuum ones? Would motorized locks make it easier for an aftermarket alarm and keyless entry

What exactly does the factory alarm do?

I don't like the wood dash; does anyone know where I can get a a new dash, preferably black. What about replacing the headliner?

I like the smooth ride, meaning I'm not interested in turning this into a sports car, but I don't like the sway in the corners. Would anit-sway bars alone fix this problem, or would I need new shocks also?

Anyone know of where I can get body kits for this?

A warning on the car says that if I remove the radio, it will destroy the electronics. I could really care less about destroying the electronics in the original radio since it doesn't work that well anyway (I am planning on replacing it with an aftermarket Sony), but I don't want to mess up the rest of the car. How do I get that darn thing out!

What are the sizes of the front speakers in the dash? I cannot get a consist response from Crutchfield, Circuit City, Best Buy or anybody. How about the rear speakers? How difficult is it to replace the radio and speakers myself? Should I trust an installer at one of these places to do it right?

Anyone have any luck installing tweeters in the A pillar? What about installing speakers in the front doors?

I am currently in New York but will be moving to Deerfield Beach, FL soon; does anyone know of a good mechanic in the Fort Lauderdale area?

I am really, really sorry about all the questions, but this is my first Mercedes and I'm excited about it!! Despite the problems, I love this car!!!
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