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  #1  
Old 10-08-2001, 01:49 AM
clmiller
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Feedback wanted: 1988 300SE - Good or Bad?

I've already searched on 300SE, saw a post on a '91 300SE vs an '86 300SD. But I want more feedback. I want to get opinions, was '88 a good year for the 300SE? Are there any known problems?
I saw one today with 135,000 miles, super clean, carfax checks out, etc. They are asking the top end of the Kelly Blue Book. It is at a very reputable local import dealer.

Thanks in advance,
--Craig
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2001, 02:17 AM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
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Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 576
In my opinion, the 300Se is the best all around choice of the 126's. The '88 is far enough along in the life of the model that the bugs were worked out. (Not that there were many).

Things to look for:
1. The transmission, if serviced properly, should be good up to 200K, if not serviced properly,150K. $2500 replace or $1K to re-seal

2. Check to see if valve seals have been replaced/updated. $400

3. Check the timing chain cover for oil leaks. $400

4. Has the A/C been replaced/updated? If not, $2000 lurks ahead.

5. Does the A/C blow out the center vent and not the defroster? If it blows out the defroster, big$$ (labor) or foggy windows in the morning.

Since you may have to pay top dollar, all of these should be verified as being replaced or properly serviced. A nice one can be had here in Texas from $5-8K.

Mine has 260K on it. The tranny was replaced @ 215K valve seals @ 195K. It looks and runs better than almost any new car on the road. These are awsome machines!
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Mr. BILL

91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2001, 02:31 AM
ymsin's Avatar
Driver, Mercedes-Benz
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
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Like any used car, there are bound to be problems associated with wear and tear consistant with usage.

The W126 has one of the most excellent built record in that there arent many electrical components thus making maintanence a better task than the later versions of the S-class.

As BILL put it in his checklist the things to look out for, I have this to add:

1. check for rusting beneath the floor mats and in particular the bottom edge of all doors and boot area.
2. oil leaks - another very common problem;
3. smoothness in transmission change and check for leaks around the gearbox;
4. steering freeplay - for this age might be due for a change of steering box;
5. engine mountings and general condition of the engine - does it start well, and idling fine?
6. alignment of doors - as these cars are very sensitive to windnoise if one door is out of alignment;
7. condition of tyres - uneven wear would indicate either tie-rods or undercarriage suspension problems.
8. fuel pum and relay - does it hiss loudly when started?

There would be many more to consider.

But I would encourage you to get one of these marques as it would be fairly difficult to get these cars at such top end value.

Another bonus - its durability and proven reliability at very low cost. You have another advantage when it comes to parts: new and used.

Do check out this site for further info: www.w126.com

Cheers!
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... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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  #4  
Old 10-08-2001, 08:07 AM
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Location: Motor City. MI
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'88 300SE

All around, possibly the best MB 'value'. Big car ride & features @ economical running/maintenance. here's one to check out.
http://www.buyanad.com/viewitem.asp?ID=10117
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2001, 03:06 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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Good car, but check out what M.B.Doc had to say about when the engine received upgraded valve guides/seals. The one you are looking at may have never been redone. Even if it has, you're looking at a 13 yr. old car that may need a valve job irregardless of whether or not one was done in the past.

Pecking order/ history for M103 ?
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1991 300-SEL - Model 126
M103 - SOHC
"Fräulein"
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2001, 04:25 PM
clmiller
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Link to car

Thanks for all the input. These forums have always been a wealth of information and ideas. I appreciate them all.

The car can be seen at: http://www.tilocars.com/mercedes/car09images/mercedescar16.htm

--Craig
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  #7  
Old 10-08-2001, 07:41 PM
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Craig,

I love my 91 300SE. Even if mine isn't perfect, it doesn't grieve me with the ailments that commonly afflict other MBs... based on the posts I read in this forum anyway. My main area of disappointment is fuel economy -- 17.5mpg in my commute, rarely on long freeway streches. I can probably squeeze as much fuel mileage from a more powerful W126.

Sixto
91 300SE
81 300SD
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  #8  
Old 10-08-2001, 07:51 PM
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Sixto - 17.5 mpg for stop-n-go ain't bad. I get 20 mpg in mostly highway situations.
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1991 300-SEL - Model 126
M103 - SOHC
"Fräulein"
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2001, 08:18 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Mike,

When you compare the fuel mileage of a 300E and a 300SE/L, the M103 is out of its eficiency range in a W126 if a W124 gets 30-40% more miles out of a gallon. When introduced, the 300E gave the Corvette a run for its money. I haven't heard the 300SE/L described as peppy.

Sixto
91 300SE
81 300SD
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2001, 08:43 PM
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Sixto:

You're right; however, I bet it still does better gas-wise than it's bigger brothers. All that weight doesn't help, but 20 mpg from a big, heavy car is not too shabby.
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1991 300-SEL - Model 126
M103 - SOHC
"Fräulein"
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2001, 08:46 PM
clmiller
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Just drove the beast!

Mike and Sixto,

I just got back from a test drive, now I know what you mean by not being peppy. I didn't realize how big the car is!

The car drives very smooth, the 3.0 can get it moving. But I will not be burning rubber at the corner.


--Craig
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2001, 08:55 PM
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Not being able to burn rubber at corner??

Wait till you get to know what the 300SE can really do when you're in the mood for burning rubbers!

* *
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126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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  #13  
Old 10-10-2001, 07:29 AM
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Location: Motor City. MI
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300SE

If you drive a 300SE in a dignified manner, you'll easily get 24-25 hiway mpg. ( then again, MB's were never meant to be 'economy' cars, efficient-yes, but if you have to ask how much.....) If you want performance, it'll respond in kind...you just have to get used to that big body..need to think ahead a few seconds. Burning rubber is not what these are about. The real joy is driving an S class for the maintenance costs of a Corrola!

Bar none...this is the best dollar value on the road, IMHO.
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2001, 07:47 AM
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Driver, Mercedes-Benz
 
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The joy comes also from the comfort and security on freeway drives.
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... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2001, 01:36 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Are you suggesting that a 300SE is capable of the same fuel efficiency as a 300SD?

Sixto
91 300SE
81 300SD
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