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  #1  
Old 08-02-2004, 08:31 PM
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Found a local 1985 500SEL w/106K $3800- better than 1987 420SEL w/178K for $2995?

Today I found a local 1985 500SEL sedan for $3800. The car is in excellent conditions and it has 106K miles. What trouble spots occur on these particular Mercedes cars? Does this seem like a reasonable price for this car? I was considering the 87 420SEL for 178K, but I am afraid with that many miles- it may soon need work. Which of the two typically seem to be more reliable? Thanks for any information.
Here is a photo of the 1985 Mercedes 500SEL.

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Found a local 1985 500SEL w/106K 00- better than 1987 420SEL w/178K for 95?-30sabc01.jpg  
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
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1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:31 AM
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Not to be a jerk but I have posted a few times in the diesel forum about the W126 trouble spots, do a search. As for the gas engine I will leave that to someone else I really don't know much about Mercedes V8's.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2004, 12:30 PM
Jake
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The 560 will burn more fuel. Either engine is good if maintained properly. Check cam chains and tensioners.

560 also has hydro-pnuematic rear suspension, can be $$ to fix when it fails.

I have a 420 SEL with just over 200K on it and no major problems, but both these cars usually need a little front end work at this age. Have a mechanic check them out, both are fabulous cars, the best MB ever made (W126)
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Old 08-03-2004, 01:38 PM
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My question should have been more detailed, as the engine (drivetrain) overall is what I was actually referring to. I know about all of the other areas I should look for. I do not think they would know about too much of that in the diesel forum. Thanks.


Quote:
Originally posted by Hatterasguy
Not to be a jerk but I have posted a few times in the diesel forum about the W126 trouble spots, do a search. As for the gas engine I will leave that to someone else I really don't know much about Mercedes V8's.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:11 PM
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I am really sorry if I sounded rude, I really didn't want it to read that way. Ok 86560SEL I have been reading your posts for awhile now and hear is my advice I mean it in the nicest way, do you know what you want? You seem to come up with some nice sounding cars, the 560 you found a few months ago with a bad trann,y that sounded decent. This 500 could be a nice car. It seems to me at least that you are looking for a response that we cannot provide. Take the 500 for a ride if it looks and sounds good go for it. A V8 W126 is a lot different than a diesel W126 in the way they feel and what the cost to keep going. Come on man we need to get you into a W126 Take the plunge!
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2004, 10:58 PM
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I know you did not mean to sound rude- don't worry about it. I know when someone types a message here - it is easy to type something that sounds rude, but is actually not. I heave read a lot of your replies to other topics and I know that it is just the way you reply and you mean nothing bad by it.

Actually- you are right- I am really not sure of what to buy, which is why I have been slowly gathering opinions on different models. I am also considering many other cars besides Mercedes.

I passed on that 86 560SEL needing a transmission, not only because it was going to cost $2000 for a transmission rebuild, but because the woman said the car was out of gas and she could not get any- which seemed strange to me. I am guessing something was also wrong with the engine as well, so I passed. I passed on the local 87 420SEL, because I was hearing discouraging reports about it- that led me to believe I would have $1000s invested in a 17 year old car.

I have talked to one of my uncles who has a early 90s Mercedes 300 gasoline wagon. He has owned several Volvos and diesel Mercedes, as well as gas models. His son has a 85' BMW 633i, which is also a good car, but since my last BMW was a junker, I am trying to stay away from BMW. My aunt (his wife) only drives Volvos- which are also good, but I am not crazy about the styling on the older models, although I really like the 99 S80 sedans- which I am also considering. He said I would be better off getting a older Mercedes diesel model if I buy a German car, especially for what I would be using it for- which is really what I wanted anyway. So- I guess I will continously search for a good 81-85 300SD locally.

Thanks again for the information. You always have good, helpful information and I value your opinions. This is a great site that seems to offer a lot of folks help.
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1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2004, 01:40 PM
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Forgot to ask- not to sound stupid- but what exact models are the W126's? The 81-91 S-Class models? Thanks again.
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
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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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  #8  
Old 08-05-2004, 01:47 PM
LarryBible
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I am not a 126 chassis guru, but I would like to offer some general advice.

You should not make up your mind between these two cars based on the technical or feature merits of one over the other. These are well used cars. This kind of mileage on such cars is not high mileage, but they are indeed used. As with any used car decision the top three most important categories in selection are:

condition,
Condition,
CONDITION!!!!!!

You are looking at used cars in the $3000 range that have engines that can EASILY cost double the purchase price. That said, the engine is only PART of the car. There are many other expensive components and subassemblies to these cars.

Considering the downside that you will deal with if you have a major problem, it would be WELL worth the cost for a pre purchase inspection to be done by someone you trust who is FAMILIAR with these cars.

End of lecture,
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2004, 06:26 PM
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Ok 86560SEL now maybe I can give you a better answer, this is coming from my ongoing W126 project and from people I have talked to. W126's are awsome cars, I think one of the best ever made they drive great have awsome brakes and in the 560 trim haul ^*^! Not to mention the very high build quality, and the fact that they are simple to fix. Now the downsides they are not cheap, if you buy a $3k W126 I don't care what model expect to put $3k into it in the first year or two if you want a real nice car. These cars require constant attention you always have to be on top of them, however as I am finding out once something is fixed it tends to stay that way for a very, very long time. You really have to want a W126 to own one at this point in their lives. Their getting to be old cars and will need a lot of work to keep them on the road. The newest W126 is a 1991 so 13 years and around 130k miles with normal use. If you want a problem free W126 that you could just drive them look for a perfect early 90's one, these seem to go for $10k-$15k, but you will have a mint car with all of the service up to date. $3k W126's will need work unless you get a killer deal. However now that I said that, model choice has a lot to do with how much money you will spend.

Figure 420/560SEL's to be about the same to run, both big V8's 560's probably have more features although not always true.

300SDL's/ 350SDL/SD-are great but they didn't make many of them so some 603/SDL specific parts are big$$$(think radiator $395/ Oil cooler+lines $650) Not to mention that 350's hold their value, try finding a nice one for under $8k, and the well known rod bending issue.

300SEL's are nice some people say their slow, but I think the W126 is a great car for an inline engine(this includes the above SDL) Their is a lot of room under the hood with the six's.

The 300SD is probably the cheapist one to run, the 617 seems to have no weak points, other than it is a loud, slow, diesel. (not a bad thing!)

Then you get to the pre 85 W126's/ 380SEL/500SEL, I don't know much about these other than the 380 had a bad single row timeing chain. The 500's seem to be nice cars.

My advice is the forget about the mileage and year and just buy the nicest one, look for one with a lot of recent work. That means you will have to do less updating yourself.
A few major points:

Rust, rust, rust, it is a cancer and will kill the car. I would pay a lot more for a true rust free car. (Look for my W126 post in the diesel forum, I outlined the trouble areas)

Don't buy a $3k W126 unless you can/plan to put $3k into it, look at it this way it will be better than a $6k car when your done.

Condition and service records, the more records the better, same with condition.

Be ready to work on them yourself, it would cost way to much to pay someone to do everything. (at least in my view)

Other than that their great cars, and yes it is worth it.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2004, 01:40 AM
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Thanks for the detailed reply. Sounds like the 300SD is the way to go, but hard to find around here these days. I think I may go take a look at this 85 500SEL this weekend. May be able to talk them down to the lower $3000 range. Still, at 106K, if it is in as excellent conditions as he says, it should be worth the $3800 asking price. Thanks again.
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  #11  
Old 08-07-2004, 08:53 AM
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Hatterasguy hit the mark! I had to convert my 82 380 to dbl row t-chain and head gaskets too. When all said and done, I spent about 3500$ doing all work myself. An investmest now knowing I will be able to put another 100k on a vehicle w/ 128k on the clock. Rock solid machine! A good thing about most of the early w126 is that they don't have the hydro suspensions and intricate electronics: abs, asr, airbags. Also 21.5 mpg respectively. les
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  #12  
Old 08-07-2004, 11:37 PM
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Thanks for the additional reply. I was hoping since the car had 106K, that it would be in good working order, if the maintainence is up to date. Actually, I think this car has the driver side airbag and ABS options. I think it was first offered in 1984 on the USA sold Mercedes- perhaps even earlier on the European models, because I once seen a 1981 S-Class sedan (European model) with a driver airbag. Thanks again.


Quote:
Originally posted by lesrrt
A good thing about most of the early w126 is that they don't have the hydro suspensions and intricate electronics: abs, asr, airbags. Also 21.5 mpg respectively. les
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
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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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  #13  
Old 08-17-2004, 02:33 PM
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To update- I called about the 87 420SEL. The owner said he just spent $1000 on A/C repair. Car runs good he said, but it has a transmission leak, which concerns me. I asked about transmission shifts, and he said it was "rough" because it was a Mercedes- which also concerns me to the seller to say it was rough. I really need to go look at it for myself, but I will have to wait until I have time to make the 1 1/2 drive up through rural southwestern Virginia to look at it. Have also recently found a couple of 300SD, as well as another 87 420SEL, I am also going to look at. Thanks again.
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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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  #14  
Old 08-18-2004, 07:23 PM
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I asked about transmission shifts, and he said it was "rough" because it was a Mercedes
________________________________________________________________
I drive a 1986 560 SEL with 135K miles on it.....and the transmission shifts very smoothly......I would pass on the car with the "rough shift" tranny.
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  #15  
Old 08-18-2004, 09:42 PM
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A rough shifting tranny could be a number of things.. My inital thought would be a vacuum leak, 2nd, a bad modulator valve..3rd, someone is trying to hide a bad trans by cranking the hell out of the mod valve resulting in Very high line pressure (hiding slippage etc..)

Ask him if bits like the door locks etc work.. Also, where is the economy gauge when the car is idling in D. It should be sitting at zero if All is well.

Jonathan

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