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Old 01-16-2003, 10:29 AM
Posts: n/a
Which large benz for wife

Hi all,

My wife likes the large body style benz's and with our first baby on the way I am thinking it may be time to look for one for her.

As you know from my signature I have a 1992 300e.

Which large body benz would you recommend? I am hoping to spend no more than $10,000.

I want safe and reliable.

I am hoping you can suggest year and model.

Personally I like the look of the 420 SEL.

I don't know a thing about the motors in these cars, but will learn quickly.

Also, any pointers on things to look for would be greatly appreciated, for example on my car I would tell the potential buyer to be aware of leaking valve seals, top timing chain cover lip seals, idler arm bushings, etc.

Thanks guys,
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:03 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: La Quinta, CA
Posts: 271
Personally I like the look of the 420 SEL.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The 420 and 560 SELs look the same. The major difference is the engine size and some suspension pieces. Both are great cars. Check out this forum for info on what to look for when buying one of these models. You can save yourself a lot of time, trouble, and money by doing a little research before you buy.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
Don't be scared by the hydraulic rear suspension on the 560SEL

Rockman59 prompts me to add that the 560SEL hydraulic rear suspension (the 300, 380 and 420 use conventional shocks) should not be a cause for fear if the PO's records indicate timely hydraulic oil changes. At 80-100k typically, per this list, the rear nitrogen cells ('accumulators') lose their gas and the car gets a pogo stick ride as a result. Replacing the cells ($100 each, vs $50 each for shocks) is very simple - easier than shocks IMO. The system is self bleeding, so once changed, replace the fluid and filter (the reservoir is under the hood and very accessible) and off you go.

I did the job at 90k and it was a breeze. I used the MB OEM hydraulic fluid, not knowing of compatible alternatives.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:45 AM
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I'm certain you know enough to stay away from early w140's, so by default, it's the w126.

Which one? You are more likely to find a good 300SE in your price range than a v8 model. You probably would be more familiar with the engine in this model than the M116/117 engines. I always thought the 300SE was the most "Euro" of the w126 models, due to the inline-six and shorter wheelbase.

Try for a 1990-1991 (dual airbags).
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:05 PM
haasman's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
The 300SE/SEL are great sedans. I like the idea of the 6 cylinder in terms of economy. Parts are very available and they have very good performance....

... but all said and done, I think the 124 bodies are the best all around comination. Easier to get into the trunks almost exactly the same cabin interior room (other than SELs) and solid.

My 2 cents,
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 563
I've been pleased with my 300SEL. It has the same engine as your 300E, only more room to work on it.

$10k should get you any W126 SEL except for a later 560SEL cream puff. A 300SEL shouldn't be any more than $5k or $6k in pristine condition. I got mine for $2900. It needs new seat covers and I've put about $300-$400 into the engine. The exterior is outstanding though.
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Mike Heath
1988 560SL Black/Palomino
1988 300SEL Black Pearl/Burgandy
1984 500SEC Anthracite Grey/Palomino
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
I checked

...for S Class 1986-1991 cars within 150 miles of NYC (don't know your zip) just now.

21 are listed - 8 over $10k, the remainder under. Mileage range for the latter is 95-213k, where stated. Most are at ~120k. Median price looks to be about $6k - all flavors - 300SDL/300SE/420SEL/560SEL.

At 120k with a few $ into the engine you s/b fine. I would try to find the best body and interior - engines are cheap to fix, bodies are not.

These are true bargains if they have good records. No need to rush - lots and lots of these out there. You could always opt for a west coast car (better climate) and have it shipped, and still get in under $10k.
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Old 01-16-2003, 05:14 PM
Posts: n/a

Hey Thanks guys,

I hadn't thought much about it but I do think it would make sense to stick with a motor I know.

I do like the performance and fuel efficiency of my car.

sounds as thought the 300 SE and SEL are good starting points.

The search will begin.

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Old 01-16-2003, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 776
Two things to consider on the 300SE: it's a lot heavier than the E and is an absolute slug from a red light - trying to walk the line between a reasonable start and not tripping the neck-snapping downshift to first gear is a learning experience. Also, it is geared VERY low for hiway cruising, about 3500 rpm at 70 mph is disconcerting. That being said, we've had ours for 12 years and my wife loves it.

S-Class Guru
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