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Old 04-03-2002, 08:29 PM
Posts: n/a
1992 600 SEL - Good for novice MB buyer?

My brother is offering me his 1992 600 SEL and I've never owned a MB. Since I am in the Denver area, I am nervous about getting a car that is going to be costly to maintain. I've looked at some of the postings on the site, but I would appreciate your overall comments. He says it has only one problem that he knows of and that is the heater on the driver side doesn't work - and since he's in the south - and it costs $1800 to repair - he's not doing it. Any suggestions or comments? and are there good MB mechanics in the Denver area? Thank you.
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

I have never owned an "S" Class vehicle of that vintage, but if you do a search you will find they are a very impressive machine, but unusually complex even for Mercedes-Benz. As a result, they can be costly to maintain. The 600 model has a twelve cylinder engine, which is produced in very limited quantities and therefore parts are going to be even more costly than for other models.

I am curious as to how the automobile has performed for your brother? Has he been satisfied with its reliability and overall cost of ownership? If the car is free, I would not turn it down, but if I was paying the going rate for one, I might first consider what my needs are and what other cars are available for the same cost.

Keep us informed, and if you do buy it or take it as a gift, you can count on getting some help here. But just like those parts, owners of S600 models are kind of rare, and ones with grease under their fingernails from working on their own cars are even more so. Good luck and if this one is not the right car for you, I am sure another Mercedes-Benz will fit fine. Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 04-04-2002, 07:39 AM
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$17,000 spent on V12 in one year

I was looking for a MB with the V12 UNTIL I met a guy in the gas station with one, who told me he had spent 17K in ONE year. I checked with my local dealer in S.D. at the time and THEY refused to have ANY car on the used car lot with the V12. That cured me!!
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
The 1992 600SEL is the most $$$$ MB to maintain that was ever built!! WE have customers that have spent over $50,000. to maintain these cars!!!
MERCEDES Benz Master Guild Technician (6 TIMES)
ASE Master Technician
Mercedes Benz Star Technician (2 times)
44 years foreign automotive repair
27 Years M.B. Shop foreman (dealer)
MB technical information Specialist (15 years)
190E 2.3 16V ITS SCCA race car (sold)
1986 190E 2.3 16V 2.5 (sold)
Retired Moderator
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:19 AM
Posts: n/a
My next car will be a V12 BMW 850 series with 6 speed

After considerable research, I have determined that the '94 850 BMW with 6 speed is the only way to go if you NEED a V12 car! I have had such good luck with my W126 that I bought with 225k miles on it two years ago, that I mistakenly thought the MB V12 would be a great car to own. Already bought the service manual for it for my son who also is looking for one also. My W126 will eventually be my backup car. Don't ever drive a '98 750iL! You'll never get back in your car again.
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Old 04-04-2002, 09:28 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta Ga
Posts: 281
Alright I don't wanna scare you away, A 600 is one heck of a "first" MB, but yes dear, I'm sorry but it will cost ya to keep up. I've got a crazy bud down here that was given a 600 from his dad's passing away but he barely gets to drive it because #1 being the V-12 killer it is, just the cost of driving it is a mint in gas, each and every time he's had to even go to have something very minor done to it (like tighten the license plate screw or something), you can just hear the tech thinking "a 600 huh?... CHA CHING." $$$ MINT.

We switched up vehicles for a couple of days (because he wanted to use my 560 to pick up several friends from the airport and we know how much room the 600 has) and I couldn't stand the way that sucker drank gas! I'm not a lead foot and was very surprised that he actually wants to trade my other 560 for the 600 because it was more "economical" for him to drive:p

I almost took him up on it but I already hate the $$$ I spend on gas to keep the 560's going and that 600 was no joke! Of course he now has the 600 parked because he says it needs to be tuned up really bad and a tech says that some relay (that he has no idea what it is) is bad and will be about $740ish just for the part! It still drives with a slight miss but drivable. At one time he tried to get rid of it but even the dealers in the area wouldn't touch near what he wanted for it (which IS under the book value) because they say they'd have such a tough time selling it so...

As a bachelor he only drives it "out on the town" at times or for some special occasion as a "treat" for some woman to drool over while he drives by the lines at some club we may be DJing at on a particular night. As long as you can keep it maintained, I say go for it and if you can't afford to actually DRIVE it, make sure it LOOKS really clean, fully polished and waxed with wheels and tires prestine while it sits in the driveway. If the latter, also don't put it in the garage like anyone else with sense would do, just let everyone SEE that you have a 600 in your driveway so they'll THINK you've got it like that... You'd be suprised what people do, but then again, maybe not.

Good luck whatever you decide though!


P.S. Stu is the man down in your part of the woods though so you would have someone who is very capable and won't try to screw you (pardon the pun, but you get it)
1997 E320
1986 560SEL
1983 300SD
1972 220D
1970 250C SOLD
1971 250C SOLD
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Old 04-04-2002, 09:37 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
I think Stu has moved on and the shop is now owned by Mike.
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Old 04-04-2002, 10:09 AM
Posts: n/a
1992 SEL...

Well, from the majority of responses I received both here and on another MB site, it looks like I really should pass on this car - at least for a beginning car... sob... if even half of what I'm hearing happens - it wouldn't be so much fun for me right now to maintain... Thank you all for your feedback and time. Maybe I should stay with the BMW 5 series... it's a little on maintenance, but nothing like this...
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Old 04-04-2002, 10:51 AM
pmizell's Avatar
Benz Zealot
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
Original retail price on this MB was $128,000 back in '92!! That's alot of clams in '92 dollars.

If you can get it for the right price or free even, I'd say go for it. Drive it "soft" and you'll experience much less problems. I'd imagine most problems arise due to hard driving. People don't buy a V 12 to go for Sunday drives.

Good luck in whatever you decide!


'91 300E, 208k miles
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Old 04-04-2002, 06:57 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
Talking Get for free...

Trade it in for a "new" E or C class. Otherwise, run from it.
'86 300E
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