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Old 01-11-2001, 06:18 PM
dale a
Posts: n/a
I have been in the automotive industry for 22 years and have been impressed with MB quality & durability, but other than preventative maint. have not had much mechanical experience. any possible pit-falls to be aware of on a mid to late 80's 500series? 80-120k miles? i have read about possible casting problems with late 80's 4spd automatics?
any truth. looking at 84 EURO 500SEL W/124K. any clues would be great thanx DALE
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Old 01-12-2001, 02:35 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Posts: 238
Hi Dale . . .I have a 1991 500SEL with the 5.0 ltr M117965 engine and I guesss I got lucky with a good one. Mine is one of the last few thousand 126 chassis cars built and spent it's life in Japan and now has 116.000 kms on the clock. The engine I am told needs a chain replacement about 100/120 K miles and for this a car with a full service history is a bonus. My 4 speed auto box is the only option really with this engine and I choose to change the oil in this almost as regularly as the engine oil. There is also a filter assembly which can be changed too. Look for blowing white smoke from the exhaust with a hot engine and signs of high oil consumption and external leakage. Regular oil and filter changes are a must and I tend to change it 2 or 3 times in quick succession when I get a new car to flush out the contamination that perhaps a previous owner didn't bother about. Corrosion around the rear window frame is common on these models as there is a bit of a water trap at the lower corners. My car tends to ' groan ' at the doors when drive hard over rough ground and I put this down to door liners and trim as I have adjusted the doors all I can. The design of the car is fairly ' agricultural ' with none of the heaps of computers the S class has and is easy, I think, to keep running well. Everything is fairly straight forward to replace and parts in my part of the world are cheap and plentiful. I certainly have no regrets and paid US$8.000 last June. If you do choose one, enjoy !
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Old 01-12-2001, 02:45 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Oakland, CA USA
Posts: 221
I believe that the timing chain is supposed to be changed every 100k miles or so. That is about a $1000.00 repair, so ask if that's been done. I would also check the sunroof (VERY expensive if there's a problem), and of course look for any signs of rust. Other than that, as long as there are records of all regular maintenance, you should be fine, those cars are pretty much bullet proof.
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Old 01-13-2001, 02:43 AM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,028
Ask fz500sel about timing chain replacement...

...better not, his failed on him, and I think the odo showed less than 100k. Now he has a repair estimate for close to $4k. Besides that, he is happy with the car, and may chime in once he sees this post, and add his own two cents.
"...rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos." -Nash

04/71 280SE 195k
09 Jetta TDI
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Old 01-13-2001, 01:56 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Lynnwood, WA, USA
Posts: 178
Hi Dale - I have an 84' Euro 500SEL with 176K. I replaced the transmition at 132K and the timing chain at around 140K. My car has the hydropnumatic suspension and they are VERY expensive to replace. I would advise you to have the car inspected by the dealer. Make sure they take the valve covers off to inspect the timing chain and the tensioner and railings. I have heard that most of the problem with the timing chain is related to the plastic railings breaking. Also a compression and leak down check are necessary. Since this is a gray market car make sure you have the EPA paperwork and all the emission control system in place. However, my car has been converted back to Euro spec and it still passes our bi-yearly emission test. Good luck.
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