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  #1  
Old 04-07-2003, 02:20 PM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
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Questons on the SEL's

Hi this summer I will be purchesing my first MB. I definintly want a W126 car with a long wheel base. What are the main diffrences between the 420, 500 and 560SELs. I would also like to hear from some owners, how do they preform and how difficult is the maintance? What types of problems should I look for with these cars? I know the timeing chains should be replaced at 100K miles. Also how long do these engines generally run before needing major internal work? Hypotheticly (sp?) if I by a 560SEL with 160k on it could I get another 100k out of it without a rebuild? I ask this because I am looking for a car to keep a long time, I only drive 9k a year so it would take many years for me to put 100k on it.
Secondly I want a car with guts! My current car is a Camry with a 2.2 liter 4 banger. It is so slow. I am looking for something that will push me back in my seat and does not run out of steam at 90. That is why I am leaning towards the 560. But how are the 420s and 500s performance wise?
Also last but most important, what can I get for 5-6K. I have been watching e bay and have seen very nice looking 420SELs with around 120-140k on then go for 4-5k. What can I expect to get from a 500 or 560 for that kind of money? I will do all of the work needed myself.
Thank you in advance for the help.
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2003, 02:31 PM
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The difficulty with setting a price and then wanting more car is that you will get less car when you pay less for more.

These cars can always go another 100k unless they are rusting apart. I have a 91 420SEL here today with near 700,000miles on the lower end. One trans overhaul and two chain failures (the last near 250k ago - he now watches those rails religiously).
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  #3  
Old 04-07-2003, 03:31 PM
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Thanks for the reply, you are right. I should not be trying to see if I can get a good 560SEL for what the 420s go for. 700,000 wow!! That is a lot of mileage for a gas car. How is the car itself holding up? ( interior, exterior, looks?) I take very good care of my things and want to get a car in good conditon cosmeticaly (sp?) as well as machanicly. Is this possible for 6K? What should a good 560 go for? Or 420?
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  #4  
Old 04-07-2003, 04:15 PM
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My Dad just bought a 1986 560sel , a very fast house on wheels, everything works like new on it and it has 80K on the odometer. He paid $6300. He held out until he found the one he would be happy with then drove a hard bargain- check out www.autotrader.com for a huge listing and don't settle for garbage... it seems to be a buyers market right now and the 560 sel is the best bang for the buck IMHO.

He also bought a 1986 500sl convertible. Also very very cherry with very low miles for around $7000. So for $14000 he got $100,000 worth of mercedes. Both are good DIY cars, not too complicated under the hood.

Set a price and hold-out.. the second you give in you will have regrets..
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  #5  
Old 04-08-2003, 08:54 AM
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You are definitely right about the drivability of v8 124 cars, but for the DIYer a 126 is really a generation earlier with much less daunting systems.
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  #6  
Old 04-08-2003, 10:08 AM
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A real W126 DIYer would be a 1981-1985 300SD. Granted, it will not move as fast as a gasser, but there is literally half the relays and wiring involved.
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  #7  
Old 04-08-2003, 12:17 PM
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S Class

They're all nice, but, the S class is in a class by itself! And once you drive it for awhile, it doesn't seem so large. Comfort, safety, and economy if you get a diesel (25 mpg in suburbs & city driving.)
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2003, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the replys. I was thinking about a diesel PaulH. I realy want a 126 car. The 124's are nice but I just love the way the long wheelbase cars look. Also since I will be doing almost all of the work myself I want something that is not to complex and not full of computers.
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2003, 04:02 PM
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I love my '84 SD. Easy to work on, built like a tank, and an awesome road car. Acceleration won't snap your neck, but I don't have a problem keeping up with traffic. And I can blow the doors off most of those pesky SUV's pulling up a mountain pass
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2003, 05:38 PM
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Yeh, the SD is a bit noisey at cruise. But not real bad. My wife has a '96 Chrysler Cirrus. Now that's a noisey car! The road noise at freeway speeds gets annoying real fast. Makes the diesel quiet by comparison. I've never ridden in a newer gas Benz. Must be whisper quiet on the road.
You just have decide what you want. Gas mileage, or power. I find the turbo-diesel to be a nice compromise. Sufficient power, very comfortable, and a consistant 25mpg no matter how you drive it. Plus I'm one of those crazy ones that just likes diesels. But my next Benz will probably be a gas-powered. I want something like a 560SEL or SEC, or a 560SL. That would be my boulevard cruiser
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past MB rides:
'68 220D
'68 220D(another one)
'67 230
'84 SD
Current rides:
'06 Lexus RX330
'93 Ford F-250
'96 Corvette
'99 Polaris 700 RMK sled
2011 Polaris Assault
'86 Yamaha TT350(good 'ol thumper)
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2003, 05:56 PM
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Thomaspin,

I would curious to hear more about why you would keep the SD over the SEL. Is it just ease of maintainence or expected life or something else?

We're looking at getting a SD (maybe) for my girlfriend, but haven't made any decisions yet.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2003, 07:19 PM
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Well put. I've tried to explain it to unbelievers, and always had a hard time. Then I finally came up with "It's more of an emotional experience than anything". (Although I realize that statement has a deeper meaning for you)
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past MB rides:
'68 220D
'68 220D(another one)
'67 230
'84 SD
Current rides:
'06 Lexus RX330
'93 Ford F-250
'96 Corvette
'99 Polaris 700 RMK sled
2011 Polaris Assault
'86 Yamaha TT350(good 'ol thumper)
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2003, 07:42 PM
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Lightbulb Ya' gets what ya' pays for!

I don't think you can find a finer series of cars than the W126 series. The 300 gas gets decent mpg, but not as good as the diesel. The 560 has more poop than the 420, but is potentially more expensive to repair.

You say you have a Camry: all but the diesel should outperform the Camry with no sweat, especially above 90 mph.

For what a mid-range new automatic Camry SE costs ($20K here in Portland) you should be able to purchase a fine W126 series car & have quite the bank account/repair & maintenance fund left: whether it would last +100K miles or 10 years is open to debate and probably a factor of how good the car really was to begin with... Good records should command a premium, but a cheap car that looks good and runs good may be a real find. When you buy a 12-17 year-old car there are really NO GUARANTEES, are there?

Air conditioning/climate control refurbishment, an engine top end & a transmission rebuild could eat that fund up in 6 months, but this would be a worst-case scenerio in Spades.

On the other hand, I bought a '91420SEL over two years ago and have spent less than $1,000 for a few VERY minor repairs and replacements of normal wear items (brake pads), all scheduled regular preventative maintenance (and then some!), a set of chromed factory wheels and studded tires in about 25K wonderful & troublefree miles.

It flew through D.E.Q., is reasonable to insure, my wife gets 20 mpg on her commute, I've carried 3 passengers and all our luggage up & down the mountains and to the coast in comfort.

I fully expect it will make it to 200K without major problems, but if it needs something done... Just do it.

One less thing to worry about. Worry more about somebody hitting you and having to find a replacement.

What will it be worth in ten years? Who knows? If it is in as good condition as it is now I'll just drive it for 10 more.
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2003, 08:03 PM
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Thomaspin 13-15 seconds sounds about right for a 93 Camry to get to 60. I like the diesels but I don't know if they will be fast enough to suit me. I hate haveing to floor it to get on the highway, and also hopeing for long entrance ramps. That is why I am leaning towards a V8 powered gas car. But I guess I should drive both diesel and gas cars and see what one suits me better.
I think I am leaning towards either a 300SDL or a 420SEL. These two cars seem to offer a nice blend of economy and preformance.
The 560 is somewhat of a dream car for me. The potential for problems with the rear suspension and it's thirst for premium fuel put it just out of my range.
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2003, 08:13 PM
BlackE55
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Hatterasguy,

I can't agree more with the previous comments!!

I wouldn't let the rear suspension of the 560 scare you off. Granted the shocks are pricey-- think I paid $900/pr installed. But the spheres etc. aren't expensive and it is a DIY job. I'm thinking about doing mine this summer, but the car doesn't sag and the ride isn't harsh, so maybe there's no need yet.

MPG *is* an issue -- if I drove a lot, the 560 would not be for me. Perhaps a 300SDL. Either one (and the 420), you can't go wrong!
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