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  #1  
Old 06-17-2001, 04:03 AM
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Location: Surrey, Beautiful British Columbia, Canada
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are you guys happy with your 420SEL?
are they expensive to maintain? found a listing
of an 88 420SEL for $3000!
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2001, 12:54 PM
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Location: Omaha, NE
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Joel,
Prepare yourself for a lot of replies, I'm guessing. The W126 chassis has a very passionate following, and is considered by many to be the finest long-range cruiser Mercedes-Benz ever built. As with all cars, there are some weak spots, but overall it's considered to be bulletproof.

Although I own a W124, I have looked at many 420 and 560SELs over the last few years and very nearly bought a couple. The only thing that stopped me is needing to sell my 400E to pay for the bigger car. I do love the 124's, and have decided to keep mine, but if I were doing it all over again and buying my 1st MB, I'd definitely get a W126 of some sort (but probably a 300SDL).
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2001, 12:58 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
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I'm...

...happy with mine. My 1991 420SEL is my third Benz. I am very happy with it and would highly recommend the 420SEL to others.

I am only the second owner. Its first owner was a company executive and the car was religiously maintained. If the car as much as hiccuped, they'd bring in a guy from Stuttgart (sp?) to burp it. Regular maintenance is very important for these cars.

When I bought it, it only had three "problems." Noisy A/C aspirator fan, air noise from windshield and rough cold idle. All three problems have now been fixed at a minimum cost and the car runs and rides as it was designed. Given the price I paid ofr it, I feel that I am still way ahead in terms of value received for dollars paid.

I think the 420, from the w126 series, represents some of Benz's best engineering, design and execution. The 560 is more powerful and somewhat more luxurious, but then there are also more power accessories to go bad over the years. In my experience and in my research I found that the 420SEL is not overly expensive to maintain or run. The mpg on the 420 is slightly worse than in the 300SEL and somewhat better than in the 560SEL.

I'd check to make sure that the timing belt on your proposed purchase has either been replaced, along with the rails, tensioners, etc., or that you have a mechanic inspect it for signs of wear.

If the car passes an exam by a trusted mechanic, then I'd buy it.

Good luck and enjoy!
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2001, 05:31 PM
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I would say that if they are asking $3000 the car must have some serious problems - like maybe it doesn't run. A 420SEL that won't run is worth about that much for salvage. Have you seen the car? I love my 420SEL. I can't compare repair costs as it is the only MB I have owned, but certain things can be expensive. If the car is well maintained and has never been in an accident (no body damage), rust free, etc, it should be worth at least twice that much regardless of mileage. I would be pretty suspicious unless this is a forced sale (death or divorce).

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1999 E430
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1986 420SEL - retired
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2001, 06:45 PM
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Location: Buffalo, New York USA
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Bought my 88 420SEL 1 1/2 years ago from its first owner. Had 100,000 miles on it at the time,a couple of small rust areas, and wheels are a little rough for $9000. Would probably go around $8000 now with 123K on it. Only serious problem was AC didn't work, and I had it converted so it has been fine since then. I have snows on it in the winter, and it's just as good as any other car if driven properly. I had the rust fixed this summer, and its styling is still strong, doesn't look like a 13 year old car. The ride is fabulous, mileage around 18 MPG. Not a jack rabbit starter at the green light, but pleasant enough. Only remaining problem is either starter or flywheel loud noise about 25% of the time when started. But,it's done this since the day I got it, so what's the hurry. $3000 seem suspicious.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2001, 07:13 PM
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Doug41,

I had your same problem with the starter noise. It might be a good idea to get it replaced right away. It may last a while, but it can damage the ring gear and that is very expensive. I changed my starter before the ring gear was damaged.
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1999 E430
1995 E420 - retired
1986 420SEL - retired
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2001, 07:17 PM
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Location: Buffalo, New York USA
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Hadn't thought of that - good thought. I just bought a 560Sl, so the 420SEL may go anyway, perhaps before the winter. Can I be sure it's the starter and not the flywheel?
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  #8  
Old 06-17-2001, 08:29 PM
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I was thinking flywheel too when my problem first surfaced. I have learned that the starters are much more likely to fail than the flywheels. However, I know nothing about your particular car so it is really just a guess. It is probably still worth checking out, even if you are thinking of selling it. A new starter (or whatever it takes to fix things) will make it start perfectly - which is what will impress potential buyers.
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