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Old 07-18-2007, 06:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: South Jersey/Phila
Posts: 276
1988 420sel

Hi All

Going to look at an 88-420SEL tomorrow.

The car is a 1 owner vehicle with good maintenance records.

Owner states 79k miles, no rust visible. From the photos it looks great.

What were some of the problem area's with this model year??

Owner is asking $5500.00. Is this to steep for even a MINT? version ?

I love the body style on these models. Can't seem to locate a well kept example. Please advise and opions please.
Happy driving.

joe moon/95Benzman
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:18 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: South Jersey/Phila
Posts: 276
1988-420SEL purchase advise Needed Asap

looking at a one owner, 79k 420SEL tomorrow.

The owner has all service records.

Cars looks to be a 9 out of a 10.

What should I be concerned about?

I know my E320 Cabriolet like the back of my hand, but nothing about the W126. They R ASKING $5500.00 IS THIS A LITTLE steep?
Please advise on problem area's and value of this 20 yo benz.
Happy Driving.
joe moon/95Benzman
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
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If you are willing to part with $5.5K for a almost 20 year old car then spend $150-200 for a through PPI. I would even remove a right side valve cover to inspect the timing chain!
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 158
Some people consider these to be the best Mercedes ever built. That might be a bit of a stretch but I bought a 420sel last year and have been very pleased with the car. The cars are generally pretty bulletproof if the maintenance has been kept up.
Read this article for a good background on what to look for in by a W126
Just note that this was written in the late 90's so some of the information on pricing etc is a bit dated.
Don't be taken in by the appearance of the car. These cars are well built with high quality material that hold up over time. An afternoon of sweat labour can turn a piece of crap into pretty presentable looking cars.
One thing to look out for is for the rear window leaking. These cars are notorious for having leaks develop in the lower left or right hand corners. To test spread some newspapers in the trunk and then run a house over the back part of the roof and the trunk. If there is a leak it will show up as drips on the newspapers. If its under the hinge there is a window leak. If it's under the anttenae ( spelling is wrong I know) its likely the antennae gasket, and if its by the rear taillights its the gasket around the light. Antennae and tail light leaks are generally cheap to fix. Rear window leaks can be pretty expensive.
The other weak area is the head gasket which seems to be an issue with Mercedes in general. When you have a PPI done make sure they check for the issue. Its not that common a problem but it is common enough and somewhat pricey to correct on these cars.
As for pricing I cant really say as prices for these cars are all over the place but, if the car has full maintenance records, is as good as you say it is, and comes out with a favorable PPI $5500 sound pretty reasonable to me. Just remember the adage " a cheap mercedes is a very expensive mercedes" . Better to shop around and pay for a well kept example than one with a poor or no history as repairs can kill you.

Last edited by London380sl; 07-19-2007 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:34 PM
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I spent nearly that much for my wifes 90,420SEL then spent anther 2000,just to get it up to par,So if you are sure it is in good running condition go for it, though I would look into the service to see if the intake system has been rebuilt, all those rubber parts will need it they get hard and brittle with age.

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