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Old 12-26-2006, 07:57 PM
lilblkbnz's Avatar
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Trying to come back!

My 89 420sel destroyed itself a few months ago. Dropped a valve in the right rear cylinder and completely destroyed that piston as well as the block. Now I'm looking to get it back on the road. The car itself is in decent condition but not mint. I've been looking for a donor motor to refurbish. I've found two cars. Here's where I'm looking for advice. The first one is an 87 420 with a rough body and 187K miles but still runs and drives good. The second is an 85 500SEL with a very nice body and runs well with 112K miles. The tranny is slow to shift especially when cold. This one has the short bumpers and euro headlights. I don't know for sure if it's a gray market car or a true euro model. I noticed it does have black valve covers. The interior is not cloth. Any advice on spotting a true euro model would be appreciated. Big question is would the tranny from my 420 work in the 500? If I get either one of these, the top end and timing chains will be done prior to installation. I guess my big question is what would you guys do in my situation?? I really miss my Benz

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Old 12-26-2006, 08:37 PM
Jim B.'s Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilblkbnz View Post
My 89 420sel destroyed itself a few months ago. Dropped a valve in the right rear cylinder and completely destroyed that piston as well as the block. Now I'm looking to get it back on the road. The car itself is in decent condition but not mint. I've been looking for a donor motor to refurbish. I've found two cars. Here's where I'm looking for advice. The first one is an 87 420 with a rough body and 187K miles but still runs and drives good. The second is an 85 500SEL with a very nice body and runs well with 112K miles. The tranny is slow to shift especially when cold. This one has the short bumpers and euro headlights. I don't know for sure if it's a gray market car or a true euro model. I noticed it does have black valve covers. The interior is not cloth. Any advice on spotting a true euro model would be appreciated. Big question is would the tranny from my 420 work in the 500? If I get either one of these, the top end and timing chains will be done prior to installation. I guess my big question is what would you guys do in my situation?? I really miss my Benz
In some states it's not legal to install a earlier model engine into a later model car, (emissions reasons are usually given as the reason for it) so find out the answer before you transplant the '87 motor into the '89.

There were quite a few '85 500SEL euros brought into the USA, so this car could be one of them. Very likely this is one, if it has the euro bumpers and euro lights. A dead giveaway would be the cruise control stalk, it's writing is in German, it's a Euro car for sure. Sometimes the registered importer of the euro cars had a sticker on the door jamb, look for it. The federalization process on the euro cars usually included changeing the KPH speedo to MPH, so do be aware the true mileage should have encluded the euro miles added onto the speedometer when it got changed, but can't always verify it.
The euro bumpers are very hard to find used in the USA, so chances are good it was a Euro car.

The 500SEL is a VERY frisky car, it has even a little more power than the 560 engine, but same caveat about the 85 motor into an 89 body applies here.

WBDCA.....it's a US car, but if it's something else it's likely a euro. Also, CARFAX will spit back a request for a run on any euro car, it's not set up to run their serial numbers. Run the serial number on the Russian website that gives the free serial number checks, see what comes up.....

If you have an "in" with your dealer, have him run a VMI (Vehicle Master Inquiry) on the car with the motor you like, it will give warranty work done on the car when taken to the dealer.

You roll the dice with a used motor, but if either car, has books and records, that can help the odds in your decision....
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:29 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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i suggest you contact david poole, a member here. i think he said recently he had several v8s lying around his shop.

tom w
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:38 AM
lilblkbnz's Avatar
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Thanks for the tips. I went back and checked and the writing on the cruise is German. The car is in better shape cosmetically than my 420. The only issue I can find is the slow shifting tranny. It shifts through all gears but the 1-2 shift is really late when the engine is cold. It gets better as the car warms up. I drove it with the owner in the car and he told me to go ahead and punch it, which I did. 120mph came really quick! No shakes or rattles. He says the tranny has been that way for the last five years. Does anyone know if the tranny from my 420 will bolt up to this motor? If so I think I'll go that route and drive this one. So much more power than the 420.

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