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  #1  
Old 02-07-2001, 10:38 PM
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Location: Southampton, NJ
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Hey there MBZ freaks! Last year I got the bug by purchasing an '85 300D and now a local has an '83 380 SEC for sale. I am wondering what may be concerning with these cars. The one I am looking at has 135000 miles, all original, good maintenance services, and a decent interior. The only noticable flaws found were the clock not working, the original single row timing chain, and the radio is malfunctionong on the tape drive. The owner is asking $7200, which seems a little high to me. KBB.com says the retail is $6100 and the trade in is $2200. I figure a fair price would be in the middle like $4000-$4500. Thanks for the replies.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2001, 11:06 PM
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Two years ago I test drove an 83 380SEC that an MB dealer was selling on condignment. They were asking $25,000. I test drove it and the only reason I didn't buy it was the price was too high. I test drove another one from a grey market dealer, and there was a noticeable diffence in power in the euro version. They only wanted 7 grand, but it was a grey market and I later found out the car had been rolled in an accident.

You don't really see many of these models. You'll see alot more 560SECs, but they are great cars. I think you will surely need to have the car converted to a double row timing chain. At 135,000miles I can't believe it hasn't been done. Be sure to factor that into the price you pay if you buy it. I don't think $7,200 would be too high a price at all for this car if it had the double row chain conversion.

Some things to check for are the seat belt extender. These cars early cars that offer the sear belts to the drivers have been known to have malfunctions. Which radio is in it? Is it the Becker Grand Pix? If you can find a Becker dealer see http://www.beckerautosound.com) they can easily repair and refurbish the unit for a reasonable price, if you are in a hurry they might do an exchange, a refurbushed unit for you current one, plus a fee of course).

Do a search for the clock, I'm not sure how hard a fix that would be.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2001, 11:35 PM
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Location: Indpls.,IN. USA
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I have owned a 82-380SEC for around 8 years. I bought it from a customer who had the timing chain fail at speed and bent about half the valves. Even doing the work myself, it cost me a couple thousand in parts alone. This failure happened at 105K. The proper chain conversion involves complete disassembly of the front of the engine, and knowing these engines as well as I do, I'm sure that the headgaskets need a close inspection. The left one very likely has begun to leak oil at the lower rear corner. That said I still would consider buying this car. However you Must! seek an inspection by a veteran Mercedes Tech. I love my SEC and have driven it about 50K without major problem, but the largest problem with mine is that it's starting to rot around the rear wheel wells. I'm afraid that the proper fix is new quarter panels and ajacent sheet metal. This along with paint work might approach the value of the car, if your numbers are correct. I guess we'll see how much I really love it.
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Old 02-08-2001, 08:33 AM
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Thanks for the ideas of what to look for. I forgot to ask, but what is the projected mileage from one of these cars?
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'85 300DT--215,000 miles
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2001, 09:06 AM
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These cars (provided they have no major rust problems) will last about as long as you are willing to keep them up. I have seen early 80s 380 and 500SECs with close to 300,000miles (500,000km) on. Once you have the car paid off, even spending 3 or 4 thousand a year on a car like that to keep it in top shape becomes cheaper than buying a new car. The car will last as long as you want it to.

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1999 E430
1995 E420 - retired
1986 420SEL - retired
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2001, 01:53 PM
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Location: Southampton, NJ
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timing chain update

As far as the update to the double row timing chain is Mercedes still responsible for that or would I have to pay for it. What could be the approximate cost of this? I just drove the car today and it is really nice, but it does have some small items to be repaired--new muffler, passengers side seat does not move up or back, but motor goes?! Seems like a nice car overall.
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'85 300DT--215,000 miles
'82 300DT--255,000 miles
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  #7  
Old 02-08-2001, 01:55 PM
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I am pretty sure you are responsible for the timing chain conversion yourself. There was an article on this in the STAR in the Sept/Oct issue I think.

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1999 E430
1995 E420 - retired
1986 420SEL - retired
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