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  #1  
Old 09-10-2007, 12:09 PM
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Thoughts on a 380SE

Wife want a gasser.
Any common problems on these? Weaknesses?
I am looking @ an 85 380SE, rust free, with 216k on the clock.
What should I be paying for this....ballpark?
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2007, 12:21 PM
MattBelliveau's Avatar
Gotta another one...
 
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When I was looking at one of these, and doing research, I remember hearing about having a troublesome engine: under-powered; single row timeing chain/rails, which are prone to breaking. I've also heard many people have updated these to a double row timing chain which would probably lead to a severely empty wallet...I'd say your better of with a 300se (proven to be a great motor) or a 420 (proven to be a great gas hog).
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2007, 02:03 PM
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Who's flying this thing ?
 
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For starters, check the buyers guide on the 560SEC, which is a decent guide
to the W126ers. Even though it is written for the coupes, it could still apply to the sedans in large measure.

I co wrote that with the site owner back in 1999, so the prices are not current, but there are some other good ideas and a checklist in there.

http://www.mbcoupes.com/buyersguide/buyersguide.htm

For 1985 the cars did NOT have the troublesome single row chains in them, they wsere double row.. Nonethless they should be changed at about 100,000 miles, so if you have no written evidence of it, plan on timing chain, tensioner, and guide rails.

They are pretty slow in US trim, (and you won't win any drag races with only about 200 hp under the hood of a large car like this) but in most other respects you would get all the virtues and faults of the 300SD other than its motor.

Actually, the car is very safe, reliable and roomy, and makes a good choice to potect a woman in an accident.

With no pictures and no indication of condition, and mileage it is hard to talk about price, but they could go for $1000 to about $5000 depending.

Runaway from one with rust. Run it through a car wash and check for leaks into the interior and trunk. AC and sunroof are biggies to fix if they don't work.
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Last edited by Jim B.; 09-10-2007 at 02:13 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2007, 04:44 PM
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I've owned two 380SE cars. Both 1985, one was a US spec car with 200K+ on the non-working odometer when it was totaled out by a side impact.
The other a euro 380SE which I still own, would not call slow and at 200K miles it still does 20-22mpg.
Look for records of timing chain tensioner replacement and oil changes.
Run from any "ticking" sound or rough running ones. Cams will go flat if oil changes have not been done properly. Otherwise, they will run as long as a diesel.
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2007, 05:32 PM
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Thank for the comments. The one we went to look at was a total POS.
although rust free, that was the only thing going for it. Int. stank, pass. side exterior looked like it was painted with a spray can by a 5 yr old. massive exhaust leak. etc. etc. etc.
But, she does like the w126 style. Thats a good thing. now I can concentrate on finding a good one.
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81 Mercedes 300SD 289k.......SOLD
82 Mercedes 300CD 252k......slow ride

82 mercedes 300 SD...mi Unknown
83 Mercedes 300D ????ksniff..gone too
84 Mercedes 300D 148k........SOLD
85 Mercedes 300TD 386k and holding some one elses project
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2007, 09:44 PM
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I wouldn't buy one, they were a dog.

If you want a gas W126 sedan go for either:

1989-91 420SEL/560SEL/300SE/L.

I think a late 420SEL is a great bargin, you can pick up really nice examples for a song. They have enough power, yet don't burn to much fuel.
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2007, 09:55 PM
ForcedInduction
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For W126 gassers, I prefer the 560SEL but 15-ish MPG on premium isn't very attractive these days.
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  #8  
Old 09-10-2007, 09:57 PM
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I'm guessing that a 300SE/L or 380SE/L would leave behind a 300SD or 300SDL pretty easily..... So it may be slow compared to the 420/500/560's....but not compared to the diesels....
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2007, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForcedInduction View Post
For W126 gassers, I prefer the 560SEL but 15-ish MPG on premium isn't very attractive these days.
That's on a GOOD day. That M117 is one thirsty bugger (I owned a 560SL for a stint).

I second the notion for the 420SEL or 300SE/SEL. But the 420 is much easier to live with as it has plenty of torque just off idle. This is quite useful when you have to deal with the 2nd gear start. All MB I6 gassers have peaky power bands, IMHO, and are not for everyone.
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