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  #1  
Old 08-09-2006, 06:03 PM
EZ
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 107
Should I make this purchase ('88 420 SEL) He needs to know tomorrow!

Hi all,
I was running thru craigslist when I found this ad

Quote:
MINT CONDITION MERCEDES WITH NEW FACTORY STRUTS WORTH $1200, $800 PERELLI RADIALS WITH LESS THAN 6,000 MILES. CHAMPAGNE PAINT JOB LESS THAN ONE YEAR OLD. TIMING CHAIN BROKE AND DAMAGED ENGINE. OTHERWISE, EVERYTHING ELSE FROM AIR CONDTIONER, TO POWER WINDOWS TO AIR BAG IN EXCELLENT CONDITON. $1100 OR BEST OFFER.
I went and saw the car and it is as described. Offered him 700 over the phone and he said yes. Told him I need a day to think it over. So what do you think? I own a '88 300 SEL. I was originally thinking of buying it as a parts car, but the body and interior are in such good shape that I'm wondering if I shouldn't just try to fix it up.
My car needs new tires. If I swap the Pirellis to my car, I get about 300 dollars worth of value. I ought to be able to get 400 dollars worth of value out of a car with top end damage in otherwise good shape right??? Then I've at least covered my expense. I'm just a student, so 700 dollars is a real amount of money to me, but I do love these cars. Please be brutally honest. Thanks, I trust your opinions.

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'88 300 SEL
'64 Ford Falcon
'99 Infiniti QX4
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2006, 06:29 PM
Sportlines
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Johnson City, TN
Posts: 985
It's pretty hard to go very wrong for $700.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2006, 08:59 PM
SKEE bo's Avatar
CHICAGO BENZ CLUB NO.74
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: CHICAGO
Posts: 16
I Would Do It !!!

sounds like a good idea to me, I paid $350.00 for my 89 420 sel , the guy thought it needed a trans but it just had to much fluidin it , so take a chance.
& good luck
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  #4  
Old 08-09-2006, 11:26 PM
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POS POS is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 2,506
Take all the good stuff for your car and make yours nicer - hard to do for only $700!
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1989 500SEL Euro
1966 250SE Cabriolet
1958 BMW Isetta 600
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2006, 12:15 AM
wbain5280's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Northern Va.
Posts: 3,386
You'll have to get another 420 engine. If you can do the work yourself then you have a good car. If you have to pay someone else, then the costs can really add up.

http://www.import-car.com/ic/ic40024.htm
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Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2006, 01:06 AM
Strife's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KY USA
Posts: 2,238
Sounds like it would be worth it just as a parts car for you, picking the "better" or lower-mileage parts of both cars (a junkyard will want a reasonably complete car).

But, a question: is a broken chain an "automatic" new engine? Seems to me the following could go wrong in order of likelyhood and the cost of parts: As a do-it-yourselfer, I'd stop at 2; maybe others would go further.

0. New chain, tensioner, guides (a given) (150+oil change, etc.)
1. Bent valves (one side) 800 for a rebuilt head, maybe 250 for all the gaskets, hopefully getting away with no helicoiling
2. Broken cam cover $30-100 used
3. Inaccessible broken pieces of guide requiring pan/subframe drop or engine pull (laborious, but maybe 50 in gaskets)
4. Broken cam(s) 100 used, $$$ new
5. Damaged cam towers $50 used, $$$ new
6. Both heads bent valves, another 1000
7. Damaged piston(s), forget it
8. Broken/bent crank, forget it

If just 0 and 1 were needed, this car really sounds like it would be worth repairing. Past 3 or 4....maybe not. Without ripping the engine apart, it might be a $1000 + a lot of time gamble just to do 0 + 1 and hope that the other parts are as good as they seem. Opinions?
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2006, 01:27 AM
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Good points. It depends on his skill level and his ability to pull the left head. From my reading on the subject, I have a W126 300SE, the valves get bent and need to be replaced. Helicoils need to be added to the head bolt holes and a drilling guide used because some of the bolt holes are at a slight angle. All this is detailed in the repair manual.

This work is the reason behind my recommendation of a replacement engine.

Maybe Mr. ericzacha has all the necessary skills and equipment or access to it. He says he is a student with limited funds.
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Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2006, 02:18 AM
EZ
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 107
My skill level is not very high I'm afraid, but I would like for that to change. While I don't have much money, I do have time on my side(this will just be an extra car and I won't really need to have it up and running any time soon). I'm not afraid to try things, but I do hesitate when I don't have good instructions. I think I could go as far as 2 on Strife's list. My problem is that I'm never sure where to get the info to get me started. Warren you mentioned that this is all covered in the repair manual. Which manual are you referring to exactly? With a good manual I would be interested in giving it a shot. I feel like if I cherry pick a few items for my car I'll have almost broke even, so fixing up the engine would just be the icing on the cake.
I spoke with the mechanic today and he told me that the car failed the compression test. I assume that means that it will need at least thru number 1 on strife's list. I go tomorrow to pick up the car from the shop. Are there any other questions I should ask the mechanic tomorrow while I am there?
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'88 300 SEL
'64 Ford Falcon
'99 Infiniti QX4
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2006, 04:07 AM
wbain5280's Avatar
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Location: Northern Va.
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the car certaily did fail the compression test since the valves on the left/drivers side are bent and need to be replaced.
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Regards

Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2006, 04:09 AM
wbain5280's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Northern Va.
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Silly me, I forgot the link to an excellect article.

http://www.import-car.com/ic/ic40024.htm

See:

http://www.peachparts.com/diy/mb_tools/mb_tools.html?cookieID=1KN038G9V1VC091HMN&source=www.peachparts.com&clientid=catalog.mercedesshop

page 7
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Regards

Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.

Last edited by wbain5280; 08-10-2006 at 04:16 AM. Reason: Add a link
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  #11  
Old 08-10-2006, 05:12 PM
EZ
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 107
Well, I just picked up my new broken down car. Thanks everyone for your advice. I think I may just try to pull the heads and do the valve job myself. I see many more posts in my future.
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'88 300 SEL
'64 Ford Falcon
'99 Infiniti QX4
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  #12  
Old 08-10-2006, 05:23 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,182
Last week a friend went to a junk yard near sacramento to pick parts for other cars...he said lots of 420 SELs there.

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