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Old 11-07-2006, 01:20 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
Posts: 3,015
May have to sell my 85' 380SE... at a crossroads though....

Despite it having 268K - I still love to drive my 85' 380SE - for the entire year I have owned it. It still seems like such a good car - it has some problems though that needs to be addressed. I thought I would keep this car for many years (at least until it died), but I am getting a new truck and my driveway is packed. NO ROOM. My other three cars are classics, that I will never part with- so if one goes, it will be the MB. I am sure the car is not worth alot in the marketplace, but I would like to see it go to a good home - to someone that will restore it. I am wondering if someone would tell me a good asking price for it locally.

As mentioned, it is a 85' 380SE. It has 268K. Most everything works save for the A/C, as it does not get cold. The only other things I can think of is cruise control, auxillary fan. Also, the rear driver window motor works, but its like the window is off of the track. It will go down though, if you press it down with your hands. Also- all air from the HVAC comes out of the defrost/dash vents- which is a common problem? It has not been that big of a deal to me though. Cassette player original and inoperable. Engine runs good, but is has an occasional stalling problem when it warms up.... also- I have NO idea when the timing chain was replaced, so that would be a very soon must. Also- it has some lifter chatter/peck..... I have been told that the passenger side camshaft may be worn causing this. It has not gotten any worse since I have owned it. There is NO oil leakage anywhere and it stays full between the 3K changes. Transmission shifts like a Mercedes should. Firm shifts when cold, but not as firm when it warms up, but there is no slippage/flaring. Rear brake pads need replaced- have new pads, but not installed yet. Oh, it has the ABS option.... sometimes the "anti-lock" light will illuminate.

NO rust, save for some on the upper side of the trunk, (inside) below the rear window, where the antenna seal had been leaking.... I have replaced that though- no leak there now. Also, a small bubble starting near the rear wheel well (in a central area - not near a seam - so a very easy repair)- but that is all. Interior is still very good - has the dark blue MB-Tex which seems to never wear out. Dash has some cracks I assume.... I do not know, because it has a custom cover on it that was in place when I bought it. It is silver - decent paint on sides, but dead paint on top sides. I am guessing I could probably get more parting it out, but I would rather see someone buy it, do some maintainence on it and drive it for 10-15+ more years.

So, what would a good starting price for this car be? Or... should I jyst keep it? Park it at grandpa's and let it set and ruin? I do not want to pay insurance on 4 cars.

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Old 11-07-2006, 06:54 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 64
I owned a 1985 380SE for six years. I put a fair amount of money into it. I loved that car. Bullet proof. Trohpy winner at the local Benz club meets. Diamond Blue/Dark blue interior. Simply got to a point where if continued to keep it I would dump more money into the body. Did a complete valve job and other things $2,800, Removed all dings and had rear 1/4 panels de-rusted $2,500. Sold it for in 2003 $6,000 at 165K miles.

Sell it have a going away party. Buy another Benz 1991 300SD or a 19887 E 300D.

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Old 11-07-2006, 08:35 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Rockville MD
Posts: 833
The only way these cars make financial sense is if you do your own wrenching for most of the repairs and maintenance. I'm actually having a dent taken out of the front fender and some rust repaired on the frame for $600 but its something I can't do myself.

My A/C was also broken. It turned out the wire to the compressor was disconnected, but it was impossible to see from above. The defroster vent staying on all the time was due to a bad switchover valve located to the right of the radio (there are 5 or 6 of them in a row that control the various vents and they eventually burn out).

A lot of things on these cars are more complicated than they ought to be. I guess thats part of the challenge (fun?) of keeping them on the road.
1985 380SE Blue/Blue - 230,000 miles
2012 Subaru Forester 5-speed
2005 Toyota Sienna
2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible
1999 Toyota Tacoma
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:28 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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Yeah, thanks for the replies. I hate to sell it, but its not practical now for me to keep it. Luckily, it is a solid southern car, so hopefully that will be a good selling point. Maybe someone could use it for parts, but I would rather see it restored, or at least driven until it dies.

I was thinking of asking $1400 locally.... I could always come down on the price. I think I should be able to part it out for that. I think someone could spend $800 on this car- new timing chain, guides, etc and drive it for another 100K - I really do. Good transmission, good interior, dent free body, and other good parts and the engine still has life in it. I drive it daily.... it just has that unknown timing chain change issue and the engine ticks/knocks- and the occasional stalling when the engine is warmed up- which I think is a vacuum issue. However, after a year (of easy driving), it (ticks) has not gotten worse.

Hard to belive this car sold for $44,000 new in October of 1984.
Ew, I hate to sell this car, but I think I will probably have to.
NO room for my truck that is on the way.

If I did sell it- its not over. I would buy another Mercedes in a few years- when I had more room. Next time though, I would probably buy a 81-85 300SD / 86-87 300SDL, or perhaps a 86-91 420SEL.

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