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  #1  
Old 03-29-2003, 12:02 PM
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Location: Washington, D.C.
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Thumbs up General Comment on W126

I just researched a fuel odor on my 560 SEL. Removed the rear protector of the fuel tank in the trunk to check for leaks. Found none. Looks like it was a spill at the gas station.

I have to marvel again at the fabulous engineering and quality of these vehicles. Having worked on so many cars, old Datsuns (I rebuilt a 1200 once, and after I dropped the engine in, the body rusted out within a few months), a Dodge Dart, several Volvos, the VW Dasher (OUCH! A nighmare!), I can't help but feel this is the best built car I have ever taken a screwdriver to.

Everything makes sense. And there is a simplicity to the sophistication. The materials look like they have been installed yesterday - and the car is 12 years old. The ntus are still shiny, the paint looks like new, even the trunk liners are of excellent quality.

It really was a $75k car when built. I highly recommend this series for anyone who is looking for a classy and roomy sedan. And you can get a great one for under 10k nowadays.

The only car I'd replace it with, if I ever had to, would be an newer Audi A8. And that's only if someone twisted my arm.

What a beauty to behold!
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Henry Bofinger
1989 560 SEL (black/black)
2001 Audi TT Roadster (silver/grey)
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2003, 01:19 PM
Bruce B's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: east of Atlanta, north of Macon Ga
Posts: 185
I hear ya......

....on that hbofinger, the BEST car I've ever owned, even with the few problems I'm working on (and what 12 year old car has no problems) it shines like a new one inside and out (a co-worker thought it was brand new), runs like a champ and gets good mileage not to mention the comfort. Not having much gone wrong, so far, it has been simple to work on once you figure out where everything is and what it's supposed to do.

I GOTTA ADD THIS......couldn't find the thread. My daughter was being given a hard time at school about me working there, I drive a bus and work in the cafeteria. She turned and told this kid "well, my Daddy working here can afford to own a Mercedes..." That stopped this kid in her tracks with jaw hanging.
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1991 300SE (my ride, 279,000 miles, looks almost new
1954 Cadillac (21 yo son's car, he bought when age 15)
1972 SeaBird 19 ft runabout (old but solid, slant six, Volvo sterndrive perfect condition, undergoing complete overhaul and refit)
1998 Toyota Rav4 (my sons daily driver when he is in the Continental US, PROUDLY serving in US Navy)
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2003, 01:56 PM
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Bruce B,

I bought the car because we needed something with trunk space and to pick up friends at the airport with - we bought a new TT roadster, which is a great two seater convertible, but has the obvious drawback in space.

I kind of figured the Benz would be a project car, like a hobby of sorts. We could have spent more and gotten something different, but we weren't in the mood.

Now this car has turned to being a daily driver instead of a project. It has been wonderfully reliable, and still turns heads. The squawks have been minor, and I have take care of them mostly myself.

Another bizarre side effect - even though the TT has the Quattro drive, it is terrible in snow because of it's lightness. I learned that the Benz, though it is rear wheel drive, performs much better because if its weight. Another bonus!

Anyone on the board know about the build quality of the newest large body Benzes, such as the S500? Are they still as great as this series? Are they "future classics" also?
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1989 560 SEL (black/black)
2001 Audi TT Roadster (silver/grey)
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2003, 02:15 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
You sure got that right a double yes from me! one for my 81 SD and one for my 86 SE. AS I do all my own repairs and upgrades from complete front end rebuild on both cars to cover off timing chain on the SE. I started working on cars at 15 and now at 62 have worked at one time or another on just about every make from Jags(yea gads) to VW Bugs.
After moving to Oregon I even had a small shadetree auto shop, but after two years of cussing Toyotas I now only work on my three MB's and my Blazer. When friends stop by and I have the hood open they stare with disbelief when I tell them that the 126 is a true pleasure to work on.........
William Rogers........
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2003, 10:23 PM
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Location: east of Atlanta, north of Macon Ga
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Sounds familiar hbofinger, I bought mine when my truck (in the list) was getting rather unreliable. I knew the Benz, as I bought it from a lady I used to rent a house from and knew it had been well taken care of. I don't like small cars and figured the price was right sooooooo. To date it starts with a mere bump of the key, idles so smooth you have to put your hand on the fender to even know if it's running (just turned 191,000).Oh yes, it does turn heads out here in the sticks and most don't believe it's 12 years old. I agree with you about a heavier car in the snow but here in Ga all we get is muddy roads after a rain (wash bucket here is always in use).

So far I've replaced 2 fuses, 2 light bulbs, idler arm bushings, and the blower brushes. On my to do list is tie rod ends, ball joints, A/C fix, door lock problem and check engine light (came on 2 days ago). Any other car I've ever owned was ready for the crusher by this time, 12 years and 191,000 miles.
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1991 300SE (my ride, 279,000 miles, looks almost new
1954 Cadillac (21 yo son's car, he bought when age 15)
1972 SeaBird 19 ft runabout (old but solid, slant six, Volvo sterndrive perfect condition, undergoing complete overhaul and refit)
1998 Toyota Rav4 (my sons daily driver when he is in the Continental US, PROUDLY serving in US Navy)
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2003, 11:13 PM
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Location: Littlestown PA ( 6 miles south of Gettysburg)
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I can't really comment on the 126, as my experience is totally on the 123 chasis. But I share your appreciation for how well thought out these cars are. I am a new owner and working thru a liost of "bugs". EVERY time I investigate a system, or component I am impressed not only by the quality, but just the amount of thought that went into the design. Latest example--I changed the auto trans filter. My experience with all other cars is how difficult it is to line up the gasket and the bolt holes. MB solved it simply by keeping the bolts out of the gasket and fitting the gasket over a formed lip that keeps it from slipping from its intended location.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2003, 02:12 AM
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To all of you - great thing knowing this secret, isn't it! Ms Fowler - that's EXACTLY what I am talking about. Things that look like crap with other manufacturers, on things that ought to be easy, are as plain as common sens on these models. That's engineering!

Of course there are flaws - nothing is ever perfect. But once the problem surfaces, can you get to it? Can you address it?

On these cars you can! You are almost invited to!
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1989 560 SEL (black/black)
2001 Audi TT Roadster (silver/grey)
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2003, 03:33 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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I too spent a recent weekend looking for a fuel leak. Didn't find one. Car still smells a bit like gas, but the smell seems to be going away.

Had a great time crawling around under the thing, taking off panels, looking at the rear fuel pump.

At one point I found myself inspecting a seal around the fuel line where it enters the body. To get the seal back on, I ended up hugging the drive shaft with the crank case inches from my face, working blind to get the rubber seal back on.

I've never hugged the driveshaft of a car before, and I didn't really intend to, but the sentiment is there.

It's a great old beast.
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'88 260E ~200,700 miles
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2003, 01:43 PM
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I am also a new W126 owner. And I'm already in love. We had one of these 'motivational speakers' come in to work the other day- I suppose some are good but this guy stunk. Anyway he asked the group what their definition of sucess is and everyone sighed and looked pained. After a long pause I felt bad for the guy and piped up with 'Not owning a Saab anymore'. All my co-workers who have listened to my complain and whine for two years cheered and clapped!

I've never enjoyed diggin into a car this way before. Athough the car runs beautifully, at idle you would think it was turned off it's so smooth. But every week I'm still thinking of new ways to tune her up or clean her up just a little more. I love feeling passionate about my car again!
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2003, 02:20 PM
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Have owned my 126 for about 4 months now. A 1982 300SD. Ha! Love this car. Simple to work on, not too hard to figure out, lousy CD service manual,a great number of diesel-heads willing to help on this list, many great sources of good inexpensive parts, and a nice hand wave whenever another is seen. (Have a 97 C280 Sport too, but nothing like this going on with that car) Some kind of franternity-type thing going on with these cars! Wife says I'm nuts. She's probably correct. I think I'm going to have this car till at least 500,000 miles. Has just under 155,000 now. Can't wait to get my first badge!
Fred
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2003, 02:31 PM
BlackE55
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Can't complain about mine-- been a great car, easy to work, esp. with the resources of this forum and a shop manual. I especially appreciate the safety, since my wife drives it much of the time and we hope to have "little ones" in another year.

Which leads me to a quick story. I was at the gas station last fall, and a middle-aged woman was gassing up her grey 560SEL. We struck up a conversation and she told me that she was in a bad car accident with her Honda (don't recall, but it was either that or a Camry) and has hurt quite bad. Apparently went through many months of painful physical therapy to get back to daily life. Through much research and consult with her husband and mechanic, she decided on a used 560SEL. I looked in the back seat and she had 2 kids past the age of needing a car seat and a younger child strapped into one! Too cool I thought, forget about the typical minivan!
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2003, 02:45 PM
rob_frick
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I would also just like to add how great the 126 diesels are as well. My daily driver is a 21 year old 300SD that is like new with almost 200k on it. And what a joy to drive. We just got back from a 1000 mile tour of Texas and it averaged 28 mpg.
I love the 126 sedans!
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2003, 11:15 PM
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Location: Connecticut
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Here's a neat site with the S-Class timline documented briefly from beginning to end. One great quote:

'W126 retained its title as The Highway Loss Data Institute's "The Safest Passenger Car of the year" in 1989.'

Its just reassuring to know. Back in college I drove an ambulence as an EMT for two years, I've seen some terrible accidents and now that I have my own long commute to work I wouln't drive anything else.



http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Flats/2188/Timeline.htm
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  #14  
Old 03-31-2003, 02:07 AM
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yes, you are so right...

my 1986 560sel has 248,000 miles. immaculately maintained. bulletproof and unbeaten.

my 1987 560sec has 79,000 miles. wonderful car.

if you like big cars that remind you of a lotus, these are the ones.

most citizens of the usa, however, preferred a cushier transporter. that is why lexus jumped into the market so fast and so strong.

then you could acquire the benz alternative, the w140 series.
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