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Old 05-18-2003, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Columbia MD
Posts: 10
1983 300SD or 1987 560 SEL


Junior Member

Ok people I'm stuck with a decision. I've got 1983
300D that is serving me well. Always wanted the larger w126
body style though. Now got 3 little kids and the mini van thing
is not me or my wife for that matter.

Been looking at a few w126's. Considering what I've seen heres
two that have potential. A 1983 300SD. 172,000 miles with
also mint interior. Exterior is 98% ding/dent free but has been
previously repainted (paint is fading off too). Seller says A/C
disconnected due to compressor noise. Both front seat switches
broken. Noticed moisture at passenger rear seat floor area. Car
ran pretty good but didnt have quite the pick up my 300D has.

The other is a 1987 560 SEL. (My mechanic let me drive one at
his shop and I feel like I need a 560 SEL fix or something. Damn
I almost wish I never drove the thing. Cant get this car out of
my mind. OK back to the car. It has a little rust at the front bumper chrome cover and a small section at the bottom of driver
door. I noticed also a very small hint of blue smoke at the exhaust
when the seller first cold started the car (my mechanic told me to beon the look out) and it went alway immediately. I also noticed
a very suttle hint of burnt oil smell coming thru the ventilation as I was driving it (there was a little bit of oil leaking present at the passenger side valve cover gasket). Interior was mint just needed some conditioning being dark brown and somewhat dry looking. All switches and features were working except the
passenger side headlight wiper arm. My main concern that I
observed was when on flat ground the car accelerated fine but
when I floored her from a dead stop especially at an incline this
thing had no pickup at all and it gradually had to get up to speed.
I'm not sure if the transmission would kick down or what but it
did not accelerate like other 560 V8's I drove.

1983 300SD $2995 is willing to negoiate. 1987 560 SEL started
at $3750 now at $3000. Your opinion or advise is welcomed.

I admit I dont have deep pockets and I guess I'm looking for a
mix of dependability, safety, and luxury without the car draining me at the repair shop all the time.
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Old 05-18-2003, 11:51 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
Posts: 3,011
I have been trying to make the same decision. I found a 1986 560SEL that I like for $5500 (was $4500- long story) w/124K in VGC. I have located a few 83 300SD's for $2995 locally and a 84 300SD for $1500., but it has 348K. I would rather have a 300SD, as I hear they typically last longer mechanically and have better fuel mileage, but still have the luxury and style as the 560SEL, but on a slightly shorter wheelbase and the subtraction of a few options that most people would care nothing about. About the 300SD you are considering- I would say buy it, but the water in the front floor would worry me. Could be as simple as a leaky window. If it were in the front- I would worry, as it could be a heater core, but if it is in the back- it may be OK. I would lift that floor carpeting and check that floor pan for rust. The valve cover leaks and oil burning upon start-up on the 560SEL would be a cause for concern. Sounds like the valve seals are beginning to go bad. How many miles are on this car? This could be a costly repair. I would offer them $2000-2500 for the 300SD, if it seems like a good car. Good luck.
2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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Old 05-19-2003, 02:05 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
Even though they share Many parts the SEL is 4 inchs longer (rear leg room) than the SD,they are quite different cars to say the least.If you have been driving a deisel you have to learn a whole new bag of tricks to maintain and repair a MB V8 if you don't do your own repairs and both cars are in similar condition my guess is that it costs about half again as much to keep the V8 on the road.
Now the real hard part.If I had to choose between between selling my 81 SD or my 86 Euro 500 SE (has Euro 420 engine)I'm afraid the cost of weekly visits to a head doctor that specialiizes in dual personalities would far out weigh the selling price.
OHHHHHH that smooth power and the sound of that V8 as it climbs near redline while passing that Lexus. "I can't belive it took me so long to figure out that the best car on the road is an MB deisel" So watch half a dozen con man movies and then persuade your wife how buying both will bring you wealth and happiness...........
William (Con Man) Rogers.....
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