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  #1  
Old 02-04-2007, 08:30 AM
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Location: Northeastern North Carolina
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Smile new 85 500sel owner

just bought a (new to me) 1985 500sel and was wondering if there was any more owners willing to share their owners experience with me. It is pearl black w/124000 miles on it. It was a one owner car and is in near perfect shape. I have been throughly enjoying the automobile so far. Tell me your story about your 500sel. What are some of the things to look for when owning this automobile. I have been driving mb diesels for the last several years. Thanks in advance. I will be having lots of questions in the next several days.

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  #2  
Old 02-04-2007, 01:13 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
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i have had a 84 500sec for four years. i bought it with 80k. 2nd owner. it now has bout 134k. it is in good original condition. the exterior is rust free except for a bubble under the ds rear window. interior is good except for one burnt place in the rear and a little place on the ps front seat that is kindof chewed. a few seams in the leather are weakening. it runs very strong. i used it in about 6 autocrosses last year and suffered no failures in the time. it now has a hole in the exhaust. i suspect i may have damaged it taking it on and off my trailer last year since i put slicks on it and didnt drive it to the autocrosses.

i have owned 29 benzes most diesels 123 body. this car has been the cheapest to operate of any of them so far.

and since it uses regular it really is no penalty on fuel cost either.

a sweet riding sweet handling energetic beast!

tom w
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2007, 01:34 PM
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Location: Manteca, CA
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I recently purchsed an '81 500SEL. It is a grey market that does need some work. The body is in near perfect condition, but the interior shows a lack of care for the dash and the leather seats. Even though she needs a really good tune-up and that I have not been able to pass Califoria emissions, yet, the car is an excellent ride. The odometer shows 180,700km.
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  #4  
Old 02-05-2007, 12:12 AM
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Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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I have a 85' 380SE, which is essentially a "shorter wheelbase" 500SEL, with a smaller engine (3.8L vs. 5.0L). I have nearly 270K on mine and still running decently. I have a engine misfire now that I am trying to tackle. Its been a pain in the neck. Still does not burn or leak any oil of any kind, which I also find amazing.

As far as body goes, it is rust free (as expected for a southern car) and the interior is excellent (save for a cracked dash top panel- imagine that), but a cover over it does nicely. Electrical wise- also excellent (so far)- which seems unusual to me, (because all of the problems I have heard on older MB's in the past). All of the windows, lights, gages, odometer, trip odometer, etc. are in perfect working order.... I am just waiting for something to go bezerk.

I did have a problem with water getting in the trunk and RR floor panel, but a new antenna seal took care of that problem at once. I also had a recent and massive power steering leak from the steering box. New seals were $22. and I had to pay my mechanic $50 to replace. I am also currently needing to install a new thermostat.

Enjoy your new 500SEL. I really like the longer wheelbase model.
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  #5  
Old 02-05-2007, 12:17 AM
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its the best car (second to the 560 SEL) ever made by MB period, no inherent problems what so ever, except for the usual ware and tear.
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  #6  
Old 02-05-2007, 08:05 AM
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Location: Northeastern North Carolina
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Amazing!!

I am amazed at the way that people in my area literally think that I am driving a car in the 2000's. They can't believe that it is actually 22 years old. The previous owner kept it garaged the whole time. He had 3 more newer benzes in his stable. He only had a three car garage and 4 benzes so he sold the oldest one. The v8 power is amazing. I have to almost ride the brake to keep it under 60 mph. How fast have you guys driven your 500sel's. What is the most that you have seen on the clock. Keep this thread going. I do not have any 500's in my area. I need some company. Enlighten me!!.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2007, 12:35 AM
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Oh? Thats wonderful. Must be the difference between the 3.8L vs. the 5.0L, as my car is no more powerful than a 4-cylinder car, pulling a small car. Its no powerhouse, thats for sure. It does have 268K however, so that may have something to do with it.

When I had my Lexus LS (1990) a couple of years ago most people thought it was a late 90s model. I wish I had of kept that car. Now, that was one powerful car I had.

Enjoy your 500.... sounds like a nice one. You will have to post photographs of it soon and show it off......

Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 500sel View Post
The v8 power is amazing. I have to almost ride the brake to keep it under 60 mph.
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2007, 01:36 PM
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Replace timing chain guides if you are the anal type.
Does yours have the rear seat recline?
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82 300D....went to MB heaven
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2007, 02:38 PM
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Wow!!

Yes I have the rear seat recline. I never knew that technology existed. The features that this car has is amazing in terms of 1985 technology. We're talking 22 years old. The Americans have still not caught up to this 1980's technology. I just discovered the headrests are powered! Wow. Excuse me if I sound a bit too excited, but I am still amazed. I just love my new baby.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2007, 02:40 PM
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Posting Pictures

I would love to post pictures of my 500 sel. Can someone tell me how? I just bought a nice canon digital camera and I would love to post pictures. The last time I tried the picture was way too big.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2007, 08:20 PM
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Well, you need to first resize the photos with your cameras system on your computer.

To post here from the site from your computer, you have to scroll down abit and click on "manage attachments".

Or, to post the photo already here at a good size, you should download them at photobucket.com, then post the "IMG" link here.
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2007, 08:24 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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I had totally forgot about that. I did not know mine had it either until I was checking the little buttons on the door panel.

I think mine still work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 500sel View Post
I just discovered the headrests are powered! Wow.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2007, 10:56 PM
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Hi all, been a while since I logged in (over 2 years!), but stopped in, saw this thread, and decided to post since I also am a recent owner of a very nice US-spec 500SEL, 9/1985. 115K, "diamond blue" metallic in great condition... and mechanically, its been pretty much unmolested aside from regular servicing.

As has been said, they're great cars, and the W126 is one of the nicest Benzes to look at, IMHO.

Downsides...

The 560 is quite a bit more potent. (Actually, even the 420 has more ponies than the US 500.) The US-spec exhaust in particular really strangles these things. Runs well enough though, and pulls uphill strongly at cruising speeds.

I *really* dislike the early US headlights.

Post '86 models had quite a few little improvements (I miss the ACC "recirc" function for one), but on the other hand, the US 500 is a quite a much less common sight than the later 420/560.

There are others, but they are all minor quibbles... any nice example is worth owning and maintaining, IMHO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 500sel View Post
just bought a (new to me) 1985 500sel and was wondering if there was any more owners willing to share their owners experience with me. It is pearl black w/124000 miles on it. It was a one owner car and is in near perfect shape. I have been throughly enjoying the automobile so far. Tell me your story about your 500sel. What are some of the things to look for when owning this automobile. I have been driving mb diesels for the last several years. Thanks in advance. I will be having lots of questions in the next several days.
Sounds like you got a nice one, congrats. There are indeed a few things to look out for...

Worn suspension parts, shocks, ball joints, etc...

Leaks -- P/S box, pump, and hoses all leak eventually. Cylinder head gaskets will rot and leak oil from the rear of the heads (some more than others, and a little seepage is normal).

Really too much to list, but for the most part, nothing terribly serious, and nothing a competent MB tech hasn't seen a thousand times. Overall they're *very* reliable cars, especially if you take good care of them. (They're a little hard on engine oil BTW, so you may want to stay on that. In the "old days" it wasn't uncommon to see worn cams, but that's pretty rare now with today's oils.)

Enjoy your nice Benz!

Cheers
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2007, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by langpfeife View Post

The 560 is quite a bit more potent. (Actually, even the 420 has more ponies than the US 500.) The US-spec exhaust in particular really strangles these things. Runs well enough though, and pulls uphill strongly at cruising speeds.

I *really* dislike the early US headlights.

Enjoy your nice Benz!

Cheers
That's the nice advantage of the non USA 500's- more power than the domestic 420 AND 560's, plus euro headlights.

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