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  #1  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:23 AM
drbrandini's Avatar
GO DUKE!
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512
Your input needed before I write the check!

Hi guys,
Once again I am seeking the advice and assistance of my Mercedesshop friends. I found a 1986 420 SEL with 210,000 miles on the clock ....other than the timing chain problems what should I pay special attention to or check out thoroughly before signing the check!
By the way the gentleman selling the vehicle is retired executive assistant of a NC senator. Asking price...and I quote.."whatever" I finally got a number out of him after a lengthy politician answer to all my questions.. ($2,500) ha ha..No disrespect meant, he seems to be a very nice gentleman.

I think Ill offer him half of that if everything checks out!

thanks for your help
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2008 S550
1957 Dodge D100
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2001 Suburban
2004 Beach cruiser bicycle
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"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Patrick Henry 1776
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2002, 01:21 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
Posts: 2,225
Brandon,

Executive assistants don't make all that much money as a rule; only senators do. Iwould check the service history to see if all the maintenance was performed at a facility versed in the maintenance of MBs. If the owner has been having all the work done at GOOFY LUBE, I'd be wary. Take it to a knowledgable professional facility and get an evaluation. They should also be able to advise you on local market value. By the way I got a kick out of your joke about god and the nails thing. That is good tongue in cheek humor for a renaissance man.

Good luck,
Peter
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2002, 09:27 AM
drbrandini's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512
Peter,
I am not too concerned with the amount of his past paychecks. I am however concerned with the condition of his MB's. After owning 11 mercedes in my lifetime, I already know the importance of regular service and the use of original MB parts. I was looking for specifics on a 1986 420SEL. Thanks!

P.S. The quote at the bottom isn't a joke!

Thanks again
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Brandon



2008 S550
1957 Dodge D100
1967 VW Microbus 21 Window
2001 Suburban
2004 Beach cruiser bicycle
-----------------GO DUKE!-----------------

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Patrick Henry 1776
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
A person's occupation is never a good barometer for assessing how a vehicle is cared for during a person's ownership...there are doctors who can afford a Maybach, but don't know which end of a dipstick to hold...and there are guys (and gals) who scrub floors for a living but manage to get a used MB and can tell you how to rebuild the motor bolt by bolt.

Of course, knowledge of the vehicle doesn't hold water either. If someone doesn't know much about cars follows the maintenance cycles by the book, they probably have a better car by far, than the shadetree mechanic who can overhaul an engine, but only changes the oil when it's empty.

Either way, let your trusted mechanic tell you what you're getting into...

PS I LOVE your quote on your signature...and THAT'S no joke! (mind if our pastor uses it?)
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  #5  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
Posts: 2,225
Out here in the West where the crazies live,you learn to observe people in order to survive. New Yorkers are a gregarious bunch compared to Californians. My point with the paycheck and job description was to actually create a "barometer". His occupation and income level combined would caution me about the car receiving proper maintenance. My first thoughts would be that he doesn't know how to or care to work on cars. If he doesn't have the income to keep an S class serviced, there may be some missed maintenance. I never intended to attack anyone's income; I'm looking at the situation from the perspective of buying an expensive car that wasn't maintained. I'm only generalizing. If the owner lays a complete maintenance history folder on the table, or is a very good DIY, there is no problem. I still would highly recommend having the car checked by a professional. I can't count the times over the years that someone would call to tell me they bought a car over the weekend. Lot's of times it worked out well for me. Those cars brought thousands of extra dollars into the shop in order to catch up on neglected repairs and maintenance.
Good luck,
Peter
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2002, 01:33 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
A person's ocupation...

...may be a good barometer of how well his/her car was cared for. As a general rule, I like to buy used cars from pilots, they are fastidious, to the point of being anal, about maintenace. they fully understand how critical regular service is. Of course, their lives, and the lives of their passengers depends on regular maintenance by well-qualified mechanics. Engineers are also a fuzzy lot.

I bought my current 1991 420SEL from a studio executive here in So. California. The car was lovingly and regularly maintained. If the car as much as had a hiccup, they would bring a guy from Germany to burp it (well, that's a bit of an exxageration, but you get the idea). Every maintenace item was fully documented and no expenses were spared (I guess that is why we pay such high ticket prices, the studios have to cover their executive's overhead). Now every time that I go to the movies and see this particular's studio's logo on the screen, I thank them for taking such good care of my car.

I guess the point is, that anyone looking to buy a used car should first look at the service history and second have an trusted mechanic give it the once over.

As far as specific items to look for, I'd say that the dreaded timing chain is the single biggest area of concern. Next are A/C issues, compressor, controls, etc. The radiator may need replacement because of the famously (or infamously) weak plastic neck. Fuel pump(?) fuel distributor (?) and injectors (?) may also be issues of concern. And, if you care to, you may want to repalce the stock Benz Becker stereo.

Remember that 1986 was the first year for the 420SEL, so it may not be the finest example of an otherwise great car. Other than that, the 420SEL, in my forever to be humble opinion, is one of the finest cars ever made by Benz.

Good luck...

PS. DRBRANDINI, I am glad that Jesus took nails in his hands. I am far happier when I let him do all the driving. I know that with him at the wheel, I'll never take a wrong turn.
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  #7  
Old 06-04-2002, 01:41 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 571
16 yr. old car - 200K miles.

You can bet you'll be spending some $$$

I'd bet he's selling it because it's do for a high $$$ repair(s). If it weren't, he'd keep it.
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2002, 02:33 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta Ga
Posts: 281
Well Brandon, although my 126 is a 560, I'd also check for the radiator neck's condition. I got mine without inspecting it myself and luckily I was gonna replace it anyway and when I removed the hose to do so, I noticed that the PO (probably the one before the person I bought it from) moved the hose up closer after the neck broke so that it would still work.Luckily I was going to replace it anyway.

Also, I don't think that the person absolutely HAS to get rid of the car because of repairs it needs. In my case, the owner couldn't afford to crash it because she didn't feel comfortable driving such a big car since all she's used to is compacts (her husband bought it for her as an anniversary gift and she was sooo stressed trying to manuever it). Other issues she had was the gas she used because again, she nor her husband had a clue about keeping the leadfoot syndrome to a minimum (especially in town & on hills where they lived-lots of hills where they live)
Needless to say, her husband got her a Range Rover (an even worse gas guzzler-go figure) because she wanted to "ride high"

She's got almost 224k on her now and has purred like a kitten and although I've replaced things like the radiator, cold start injector, coil, and plugs,etc and some other engine compartment parts, that was because I wanted to and did it as preventive maint. I change my oil about every 2500 miles which coincides with another mshop member Larry Bible who says,"change it hot and change it often".The only thing that I HAD to "fix" was a $14 switch for my pass rear window because the switch light was out on the console and just this weekend a $20 coolant expansion tank.

Not bad for a 16 yr old car with so many miles. The car's near future will see a new timing chain and rails (although was changed at 178k) for her and a new Euro spec engine to be delivered from Metric Motors to be an "extra" engine waiting its turn to go into her (unless I find another 560 or even a 420 to drop it into... IMHO I think that if the car is pretty decent, $2500 or lower if you can get him down isn't a bad deal for it if you think its worth putting the TLC into it. I got all kinds of paperwork with my 560 but even with the meticulous documentation of what the PO before the folks I purchased it from had, it failed to mention that the neck was broken and only had on one of the pages a question from the MB tech that read: slight coolant leak, "is radiator neck broken?" My thought was if the damn tech thought it may have been broken, why didn't he just unscrew the clamp and look and then advise the customer of his findings-the 2 extra minutes it would've taken him was too much I guess.

Anyway, you'll probably be alright because they are some pretty good engines (if taken care of) and you may be rolling the dice on this one, but from the time YOU take delivery, YOU have to change the maintanence regimine of the car to reflect the care it deserves if it wasn't cared for previously. Kind of reminds me of taking in a stray dog that was abused all its life... It doesn't know how to act at first because its not used to receiving love until it is showered with it and eventually comes to know who cares about it and in turn gives the same love back even if it means giving its life to its owner!

Good Luck

Alan
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2002, 03:23 PM
drbrandini's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512
Hey guys
Thanks for the quick replys!
First off, I added the fact that the gentleman was a retired exec. assistant of a NC senator, because I thought it was a cool occupation and very interesting at that. I am on the same page as g-benz I dont beleive income to be a big factor! I am a good example..fresh out of college and not much $ coming in, but my benz gets supreme treatment....she drinks only the finest supreme gasoline while I usually treat myself to coke! yikes!

Here is the skinny on the 420SEL.. New timing chain and rails, new lower ball joints and tires as well as alignment. The body has a few dings and dents. Air conditioning is cold. Leather seems to be in good shape!! Oil changes by his buddy who owns a service station and the rest of the repairs and maintenance by the local MB dealership. It has passed my inspection. The next step is to get a second opinion by an Industry professional.
He is selling because he does the driving now, his wife is now a retired driver! Only one car needed and older of the two is for sale. So much for the stereotypes!
G-benz ...your pastor is welcome to use my quote!!
Benz LGB ..your right jesus is the best driver ever!
Djnewk2..thanks I will check the radiator neck. I had that problem too with my 300E. I appreciate the helpful hints!
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2008 S550
1957 Dodge D100
1967 VW Microbus 21 Window
2001 Suburban
2004 Beach cruiser bicycle
-----------------GO DUKE!-----------------

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Patrick Henry 1776
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