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Old 06-22-2002, 09:38 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: S.E. Tn.
Posts: 55
560 SEL Do I want it?

I have been looking at buying a 86 560SEl. The car is in good condition, or seems to be. But the other day I went to look at it
and when I unlocked the doors and then try to start it the alarm went off. We got it turned off but when I went to straret the car it started and ran for mabe 3 seconds. It did not start again for an hour or more. My question is, can the alrm cause this or does it have some other problem? When you drive the car it is very strong all vacum items work right. Like the AC system. I love the ride of the car and the power but have only owned diesls and am a little scared of the gas burners. It rides better than my sd that is for sure. And what kind of milage should I expect. And how long will the moter last? It has 1600000 on it now. Thanks
I like to Drive
77 Celica GT 295000 sold
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86 Crown Vic. 258000 cheap to keep
84 Ford Van 6.9 360000 sold Great
88 Ford Dulley 7.3 311000 still have
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82 300TD 1st Benz Great Car 205000Sold
85 300SD 245000 What a ride
84 300SD project car with son, Rod knock
85380SE What a RIDE
90 420SEL Nice Ebay Addition Great buy
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Old 06-22-2002, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
Like most cars, the value of this depends on the condition. They are nice, big cars and should be run on the freeway mostly. Mine got reasonable gas mileage, (~20mpg), on long trips at high speed. At 80mph, there was still plenty of power in reserve to pass or go up big hills.
It is a very big car, the size of a Suburban so it can be hard to park or manage in the city. You feel that you can never be hurt in an accident with the 560. It has a lot of complicated features such as the self-levelling rear suspension. The engine has a problem with the timing chain guide rails after they get old. Search for the link here, but know that they must be replaced or they will break and destroy the engine.
If circumstances were different, I might have kept mine, but the cost of operation was too high since I do little freeway driving now.
1967 250SL
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Old 06-22-2002, 01:44 PM
Posts: n/a
If you're not used to big cars, it can be a handful, esp when backing up. I've always had cars with long wheelbases, so the SEL is small to me My wife uses it primarily for work, all city driving and loves it. Safe as a tank!

If well maintained, it should last hundreds of thousands of miles. Makes sure you have records with the car. Have a good MB tech check the car over.

A/C repair can be costly, the most expensive part about the rear end on the 56SEL are the rear shocks (about $1000/pr) other than that, it's not a big deal-- spheres are cheap and can be done yourself.

I've found cost of ownership to be low, as I can do some work myself, but will leave the timing chain and guide rails to a tech (due soon).

Engine-wise, at 160k miles, I would hope the the chain/rails have been done and maybe new valve guide seals.
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Old 06-22-2002, 02:00 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: England
Posts: 1,841
Alarms are a complete pain in the a$$, ask.. pretty much anyone with an aftermarket one, possibly unless they owned the car when it was fitted. Or ask any garage mechanic. If it's giving problems, remove it. Don't let it affect your opinion on the rest of the car .
2.5-16v 1990 90,000m Astral Silver
2.0E 8v 1986 107,000m Black 2nd owner
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Old 06-22-2002, 08:52 PM
Posts: n/a
Oh yeah forgot about the alarm,

If it's $$ to fix, just unplug from the Motorola controller box behind the faux black plastic firewall on the passanger side.

Then again, there might not be anything wrong with. Just check the connections in the above mentioned location and make sure its not shorting out in the driver's door. There's a little plastic plug (for lack of a better term) inside the door, that you can pull out to check.
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Old 06-28-2002, 08:08 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 27
86 560SEL

Since i bought one used about 5 yrs ago I can give you thoughts-be careful of the following:
-as stated previously the timing chains and tensioners will need to be done at 100K miles. $800-900 .
-i understand virtually every one of these engines had bad head gaskets that will inevitably start leaking one side or the other. While the gasket alone isnt that bad u will find yourself in the mode of "while I got the heads off i might as well"- valve job, seals, etc. So be ready for that -$1600-2000 or so is cheap.
-the engine management system on these cars is the most complex design u can imagine. When they run they run but when they dont it is getting to the point where any honest independent mechanic will have real trouble figuring things out.
-shocks probably needed.
-normal rubber, wheels etc. take a look.

I must admit I have a love hate relationship with mine - at high speed i concur that the car is darling . The constant maintenance and the overly complex german design frustrates me to no end however. And the 86's were just the start. If you wait a bit you will be able to buy 500S's cheap that no one can maintain.
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