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  #1  
Old 04-25-2002, 11:12 PM
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1986 500sel EURO Good or Bad?

Hello everyone,

I am looking at buying a 1986 500sel euro car that has about 120000 miles and still has the german inspection for this year. Is there any major differences in the US version that can be a problem in the future? How this engine rate on a scale of 1 to 10?

The car is fully loaded, charcoal on black leather and has original paint.

This is the info I have about the engine:

4,973cc, 96.5 x 85mm, V8-cyl OHC, type M117, Bosch fuel injection
245bhp at 4,750rpm; 286lb.ft at 3,750rpm

Seems to me that is is very close to the US model 560...
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2002, 12:36 PM
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Location: Orlando, FL
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Well that 245 is only for non-cat versions on an 86. I assume this has one since it is over here. The cat version was rated at 223HP. An 87 and up cat euro 500 had 252hp. US 560s have 238. You could easily do some exhaust work with high flow cats and mufflers and gain back most of that. If I am correct, this car should have true dual exhaust. The differences between the US and Euro cars is, of course, the motor for one. It probably has an E/S switch next to the transmission. This will enable you to start in first gear. Other differences...the bumpers are shorter and cleaner looking. The better headlights, this one might have been converted to US lights, but it can easily be converted back (what I am doing with mine). People will tell you that they will be a problem in the future with parts and all that, but I can tell you from my experience that it is really not that bad. Member Benzman500 can back me up on that one. Probably better than 95% of parts are interchangeable. I'm just guessing here, but I haven't had any problems. Look at this post for some views of "the other side" if you will, Why do Euro cars go for less?

Personally, I think they are making it out to be a little worse than it really is. Just my opinion.
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'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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  #3  
Old 04-26-2002, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Plattakill, NY
Posts: 137
I have a 1980 280se that is based on the same chassis. Mine is a manual transmission with manual windows, very base model. I have not had any problems getting parts, but it is dificult getting them locally. I have a local parts guy that can get about anything, but they are available via the Parts Shop (link above Phil is great) and Benzbin. There is nothing you should have any problem getting. If the car is nice I would say go for it. I was able to get the clutch and other things that were never available here in the US.
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Currently
1991 Mazda Miata 174000
1991 Subaru 189,000 Winter beater

got rid of:
1984 VW Vanagon 195,000
1976 350SE Euro 185,000 KM
1973 280SE 4.5 (boy do I regret that)
1980 280SE European W126 4 speed manual (miss it)
1989 BMW 735iL 119000 (good riddance)
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2002, 01:47 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 91
I concur with what mbtjc stated. I suspect you should have no more/no less effort maintaining a euro 500SEL than I do with my 85 US version ( I have the euro lights because it is the right thing to do ).

One caveat. You stated it still has a current German inspection. Does that mean it is a current transplant, and has not yet been licensed in the US? If so, depending on where you live you could have some hoops to go through local agencies to get emissions/safety inspections prior to vehicle licensing.

As far as engine goes - remember this was the flagship version for MB in their own back yard.
Can you say autobahn
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2002, 02:25 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
wondering:

>are Euro versions tuned to Euro petrol standards? ie timing, air/fuel mixture, computers, etc...

> do Euro versions use different block metals/ materials/ tolerances vs. US versions due to petrol differences?

-fad
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:06 PM
Benzman500
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The cat version of the 500 is rated at 185-200 BHP and gets far less gas milae than I ever got in my 500. As for parts not at all a problem you can actullay switch most 560 parts into the euro 500 is what I found. People call the 5.0 engine the money pit espically the euro 5.0 that is a bunch of bull of course it is more than a chevy to fix but the parts last twice as long. Personally I rate this engine as a 9 to 10 just because It seems perfectly balanced as well as the rest of the car. (rear end slids around with no weight in the rear when fast you take fast curves) And the High speed driving is great! I rember my dad going 130mph with 3 people in the car and the a/c on.
personally I would go for it but then again its me.
Euro bumpers below
Attached Thumbnails
1986 500sel EURO Good or Bad?-24_24.jpeg  
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:18 PM
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Location: Orlando, FL
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Dan, are you sure on that HP figure or were you talking about US verions? I got those figures off a German website. The 86 euro 420 has 204 hp, and the 500 would not be less.
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'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:20 PM
Benzman500
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that is with a cat I got them from MB germany. I know without a cat it is 245hp. they said it depends mostly on what cat you put on and how it is put on but I could be wrong.
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:22 PM
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My figures were factory fresh cars. If you're right on that, that would be a cat that saps 45-60HP. Geeeezzz! Time for the cutting torch!
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'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:25 PM
Benzman500
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Thats why I loved my 500 imported before the goverment got hard on imports still had euro lights bumpers no cats etc.
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:31 PM
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Location: Orlando, FL
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You should strangle the crackhead that wrecked it. If I someone wrecked my one of a kind Benz (like yours was), I would find it very hard not to shoot him. Not like it's some Chevy you can find around every corner. Sorry man.....
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'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2002, 11:07 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 326
I have a 560 SL and noticed that my HP seems to have dropped off...clogged cat was my first thought...how can you tell?
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2002, 11:11 PM
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I'm not really sure. Maybe cut it off and see what happens? I have heard that bad cats usually rattle or something like that. If it's old, maybe you should just go ahead and replace it with a high flow unit. Just a thought. Anyone else?
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'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2002, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 126
Thanks mbtjc
I appreciate all the info. I'm glad someone else feels the same as I do about the euro cars. I have been warned so many times about the parts issue, but honestly, I don't buy used parts and so when it comes to new parts almost everything is available in regards to regular service and if I need any special euro-only parts, well I guess I can wait the 2 weeks to get them. I will see the car at the end of this week for the first time and be able to get a better idea. This car is still completely euro right now-no changes whatsoever.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2002, 12:53 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 126
Thanks SIlver Boat
I will remember to check with Phil at Parts Shop and Benz Bin when looking for parts.
I actually drove a 280se like yours years ago and remember the car being great. It had ABS, might have been a 1985 or older.
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