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Old 05-10-2001, 11:29 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Grand Marais, Minnesota
Posts: 8
I'm considering purchasing a '72 280 SE 4.5 sedan. It's an AZ car, excellent body and runs fine. Vinyl interior is in great shape with sunroof, nice wood, etc. The asking price is $3000, seems a good deal. I've never owned a Mercedes and I'm wondering if the 4.5 is prone to any problems or is there something I should know about this car before buying it? Thanks for any help, and feel free to send e-mail. Jeff
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Old 05-10-2001, 02:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Okay, Let's see where do I begin. I bought my car back in 1976 with 40k miles on it. After putting over 350K on it I still drive it today. It is by far the best car I have ever driven. The only thing ever done to the engine besides tune ups and oil changes (every 3k) was a valve seal replacement at about 250K, about a $400.00 job.
These cars are in my opinion and others one of the best Mercedes ever made.
I recently bought for my wife a '00 E430, nice car but in my opinion no where near the quality and feel of a 280SE 4.5
So if I were you I wouldn't waste much time waiting, however I would recommend doing a compression test and checking a few other things (air conditioning, heat system, wipers, etc.) since all of this can add up to a lot of money if they need replacement. Good Luck! You won't be sorry if the car checks out. The best 3K you'll ever spend!!
'72 280SE 4.5
'72 280SE
'92 190E 2.3
'00 E430
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Old 05-10-2001, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 91
4.5 is the One to Own

I agree that these are great cars. Truly an engineering marvel for the time. And fortunately they are an affordable classic.

Your biggest enemy will be rust, both in body panels and the frame. If the car has been repainted I would make certain you investigate all the usual spots very carefully. Repairs can be costly, and clean body parts are hard to come by. I know, I learned the hard way.

The 4.5 engines are unbelievable. However there are some things that are the "nature of the beast".

Expect to get 10-12 mpg.
The fuel delivery/injection system only operates at about 1/2 the pressure of newer cars. With such a thirsty engine, 8 injectors, and an unprotected fuel ring exposed to the engine heat maintaining the fuel delivery system is key to performance. This may be even more critical if you live in AZ or some other hot climate.

I took my 72 280SE 4.5 with 215k to a MB "mechanic". It smoked a little, but ran great. He pulled the plugs and told me I needed a valve job and full top end replacement. Instead I replaced fuel lines from back to front, filter, injector seals, 2 new injectors, and had the tank purged. New set of plugs and $300 it was a completely different car - true Deutscher Muscle!

Unfortunately I did not look closely enough at the body, and after falling in love with my classic, I had to let her go because the body repairs were astronomical. There are many good ones around with little or no rust and I am now looking for a replacement.

Viel Glueck! Michael
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