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Old 10-18-2001, 05:12 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 102
Question Need tips for choosing the 560sel

Dear All,
I am now interested in a 86 560SEL with over 200k Miles for sale in CA for $4000. I really want to know what i should know when i go test driving the car? which area i should beware of? How can i know the engine, tranny or AC are in bad condition by some easy inspections coz i don't want to end up paying another $4000 just to fix the car.
thank you very much for your opinions and look forward to hearing from you guys soon!
have a nice day!
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Old 10-18-2001, 11:49 AM
Posts: n/a
I think the most important thing you should know is that this type of vehicle is the perfect candidate for a pre-purchase inspection by either an experienced independent Mercedes shop or a Mercedes dealer. Spend a few hundred dollars for a professional evaluation. It will be the best money you have ever spent. You don't indicate if complete service records are available, and/or if major systems have been overhauled at least once during the life of the car. I would want to be sure that the timing chain (wears and slackens with use/age), chain guide rails (loose chain hits rails, which are plastic and embrittle with age, breaking rail and jamming pieces between chain and cam gear, breaking chain, causing pistons to hit and bend mistimed valves, ruining engine), and timing chain tensioner (weak tensioner allows timing chain slack to become excessive, slack chain abuses tensioner in turn, accelerating failure of tensioner which contributes to events described above)have been replaced within the last 50,000 miles. If not, either set aside +/- $1,000 for replacement of these components, +/-$6,000 for replacement engine, or just run away from the car. Often, but not always, the cosmetic condition of the car is an indication of the overall care lavished on it by the previous owner. A mechanical pig can be well detailed and fool you, but if the cosmetic condition of the car is crap, I doubt the owner fussed over mechanical maintenance. When you drive this car, it should ride smoothly. If the back end seems stiff or rough, certain components (such as the nitrogen accumulators) may need replacement. Verify operation of the cruise control and give the climate control system a good workout. The 560 is a well-made, but complex car for it's era. If it's in good shape, it's a great car. If it is in rotten shape, it's an unparalleled opportunity for personal bankruptcy. Spend the two dollars and find out what you have before you buy.
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Old 10-18-2001, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 301
If you are in SoCal I would recommend you bring the car to Enrique at Mr. MB Motors in Tarzana, Do a search in the Good Shops forum for other suggestions.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-18-2001, 03:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta Ga
Posts: 281
I agree with Paul C but would like to say that the 86 560SEL I got for 2k here in Georgia had a little over 208k and yes it had all records-- although the interior/exterior did look like crap,all it really needed was elbow grease and now she's complimented daily so much its rediculous. I guess I was lucky because I pulled a carfax report,got all of the info I could from MB USA and traced it back to its original dealership (from Cali's Hoehn MB) and was original stickered at a little over $70k in 86! I pretty much do all of the work on her myself and its mostly preventive.The only thing I HAD to fix was to replace a $14 rear window switch in my console but other than that, my big ticket $$$ went towards 18 in wheels/tires, TV/DVD,audio and tint. I now have 214k on her and she purrs like a kitten. I will replace the chain although in its records it was changed at 158k. Basically, these cars are tanks as long as you KEEP THEM UP with simple maint. I'm anal and change my oil every 2k miles on my cars (I've also got a couple of 250C's and a 220D "turtle" to roll around in).Keep up the oil,both engine and transmission fluid and you'll be good.Other stuff will wear just because its OLD anyway but I've detailed damn near everything in the engine compartment and treat hoses,etc to keep them from getting brittle. Just changed the oil/ air filters and will switch to a K&N as well as Custom exhaust with Dual AMG mufflers with double chrome tips on either side.Oh, do your research on these cars also.I found out about how the radiator necks were not that enforced and prone to breakage and upon examining mine,found that the neck was broken (just enough of the neck was left that the hose could be clamped on tight and forced upwards to make it work-that is until I drove it in 90 degree heat with the A/C and it finally popped off) and its failure can result in bad crap happening that will cost you $$$$$. Just the radiator at the MB dealer was $600 bucks but got an aftermarket (same maker as the one I removed) that was reinforced so again,prevention keeps the car more so than HAVING to because you get in a bind.Hopefully you'll be just as lucky as me with your purchase of an SEL because you can't be em! I wouldn't really get into one needing extensive bodywork because that repair can be 3-4 times more than the engine would cost.Example: I wanted to get an estimate just for the heck of it to just redo her with the same color,paint (NO BODYWORK MIND YOU) and was quoted 5k to7k (says because they don't mask,they remove everything). Oh,to be fair, I did also NEED some little vac piece by my distributor (that I broke detailing the engine-that's what I mean by old brittle parts) and the thing was no bigger than my index finger but was $30 and my MB antifreeze was $16. So as you can see, stuff adds up but you'll ride forever! Hell, none of my buddies' newer cars don't make it to 100k miles before they damn near blow up and die. Good luck and keep us posted with what you do.I'll help you on my end and I'm sure you'll get more help from the "family" here
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Old 10-19-2001, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 102

Thanks for the opinions guys! I will try to test drive the car tomorrow hopefully.
The ext. of the car is not good (pretty bad for such a luxury car) but the int. is still ok when i saw it outside from the windows. The leather seat are still in good condition with no tear except for the driver seat(just minor tear) however, there is a crack at the dash board and the central concole (the wood color) was fade.

BTW what kind of information i can get from MBUSA? DO i need to pay anything for those information?

Thanks again and i will let u guys know after test drive the car
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Old 10-20-2001, 06:44 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Oakland, CA USA
Posts: 221
This is just info from my experiences...
I bought a 1987 560SEL with about 155,000 a little over a year ago. The first owner had it until a year before I bought it and maintained it to a "T". The second owner did NOTHING aside from one oil change for the year that he owned it. I had it checked over by an independent shop before buying it and they quoted me all the work that was needed. They charged me $75.00 for a full look over, and found a few things (leaking PS hose, accumulators needed replacing, front and rear brake pads, valve seals, sunroof angles, and a few other very minor issues. After working out the price with the seller based on these problems I bought it. Since then (I know it's only been one year) the only problems I've had is that the rear passenger side window screwed up (small plastic piece-cost: $6.00, but lots of work and grease to replace). I've driven to and from L.A. three times (I live in the bay area) and I've put just over 20,000 miles on it in the last year. Like Paul C. said, these cars will run forever as long as they are maintained well. Even if everything checks out, be prepared to spend some cash if needed, it's a great car, and for that reason, parts aren't cheap. In a short time you will be able to do some work on your own, saving yourself lots of cash. That is my rant...good luck!
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Old 10-21-2001, 06:22 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 102

Hi Justin,
thanks for your information...however... the car was sold already... i lost a chance to own such a great luxury car in the world! I do hope i can find another 560 at a good price but now i guess all i can do is to wait for another chance.
anyway can u recommand any good mb shop to me in oakland?
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