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  #1  
Old 07-28-2003, 06:31 PM
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1975 450SE Being Considered

After viewing some of the forum threads, I am having second thoughts about a 1975 450SE with 83,000 miles I am about to purchase. Are they as unreliable in the FI and suspension areas as I am reading? Being in a non-smog testing state isn't there a way around the cat within the engine compartment? Thanks in advance for any/all advice.
Steve
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2003, 06:43 PM
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IN my opinion the 1975 450SEL/SE/SL's were among the worst cars that MB ever made. That being due to fuel system quality & excessive add-on smog equiptment.
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  #3  
Old 07-28-2003, 07:41 PM
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MB Doc
Thanks for the opinion. Do you believe there is a low enough purchase price that allows consideration for corrections or are the problems such that it would be a money pit? Though the threads indicate problems w/the cat. being located within the engine compartment and you mention "fuel delivery" I am curious for more info.

The purpose of purchasing the/a MB is for unique and occassional transportation for the special needs (at risk) teens I work with. Presently I use my VW VR6 and '77 VW Type 2 (7 passenger bus) for the purpose. One is too cramped and the other too precious for constant use. Any suggestion on a more appropriate MB for roominess and reliability that would also be somewhat unique for these teens (they would probably never otherwise ride in a MB)?
Thanks again.
Steve
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2003, 10:43 PM
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Steve, there was a strange tone to your thread. How is purchasing an MB going to help at-risk teens, and what special needs do they have that require a 450SE?
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2003, 12:09 AM
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The EFI will run for years with no trouble, then cost you a couple thousand all at once, typically.

Body rust is the other big problem, along with climate control failure ($500 for a new servo box).

I'd not bother impressing at risk teens, they need common sense and good example more than anything else, catering to them is only encouraging bad behavior. Parenting is what saves them, very little else, and that only works when they are young (speaking from experience here....).

By all means, buy it if you want, but it will be a gas hog, and very few kids are impressed by my 280 SE 4.5, which is a much more noticable car than a 450 SE.

Best of luck!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
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1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
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  #6  
Old 07-29-2003, 04:11 AM
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Thanks "kestas" and "Sfred" for the input (and concern). To "kestas" the idea of the '75 MB 450SE is not to help the teens I work with other than give them 4-doors w/o climbing over each other and a large trunk for me to stow their bags/sporting equipment. What started as a vintage Volvo wagon search took a detour to this particular MB due to its overall (observable) condition. You are both correct about "impressing" them. They think most of the vehicles I buy/drive are "ugly" or "cheese-wagons" or several other names. I happen to enjoy some of the less expensive, European vehicles and have had great times working/driving them. I have never ventured into MB ownership yet have been impressed w/their safety and in my eyes design. So . . . I would prefer diesel, 4-doors, vintage yet not collectable, and relatively reliable. As I continue looking, I was hoping to get some suggestions on which models/years might provide some fun/interesting yet utilitarian experiences.

Sfred - if style impressed these teens that I work with in the same sense we tend to view it you would be correct about the SL. The SE is not in the same class yet on the surface fits the passenger/cargo aspect (with roof rack for Kayaks and Mountain bikes).
Thanks again and I'll keep looking for "other than the '75 MB
Steve
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2003, 10:02 AM
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Steve, I might suggest looking for a good 126-bodied diesel--the diesel version of the high-line sedans from the early-mid 80's (the correct dates escape me at the moment). Significantly newer technology along with all the MB virtues; like any MB, expensive if not maintained by the book, but otherwise good and solid with the usual characteristic that the expensive repairs are usually those that last a very long time. Also, significantly more rust-resistant.
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'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
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'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2003, 10:29 AM
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If you consider it, check very closely for rust damage, even at 83k in NH. Rockers, floors, lower A-pillar (around e-brake pedal).
The mechanicals can be overcome, but this stuff makes the car (economically) not viable.
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  #9  
Old 07-30-2003, 01:41 AM
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The perfect Diesel would be a 1986/87 300SDL -- tons of room, very reliable, decent performance, and excellent milage. There is one for sale at the small lot near the lab (they handle many of the local trade-ins from the dealer), asking 8995, but it's been there for weeks and will probably go for less.

My borther bought one two years ago, and all we've done to it is change oil, change a blown (corroded) climate control fuse, tires (died of old age) and a set of rear pads because the pedal was getting hard.

Has 150,000 on it so far....

Look around, they are out there, and can be had for decent money. Check the coolant tank for oil -- cracked heads are the only real problem.

The 81-85 300SD is the same except for trim, headlights, and a shorter rear floor pan, and it has the 5 cylinder 617 turbo rather than the 603 turbo diesel -- still a very good car!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2003, 09:33 AM
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CBDO and PSFRED
Thanks to both for the advice. I am now actively searching for a 1986/87 300SDL w/my eyes also open for '81-85 300SD. As I search, I will heed your caveats. Breaking into the world of diesel and more particularly MB is already adding another highlight to my day! Having owned, maintained and enjoyed an array of imported vehicles, this is going to be a new/exciting chapter for me. I have considered the higher costs of MB parts and that hasn't daunted me. I guess after having owned a couple of vehicles that occassionally required custom replacement parts to be manufactured it will seem easier to be able to order them!

One item I have not found addressed in the forum is advice on reliable cold-starts in the NE winters. My hunch is there are certain mechanical and/or electrical components requiring special attention. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.
Thanks again,
Steve
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2003, 09:44 AM
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My Dad had two different MB diesels, the last being the 3-liter 5-cylinder turbo that went in the 123 cars in the early eighties. No particular cold start problems here in MI as I recall, and AFAIK there shouldn't be much trouble if everything's running right. If all else fails, add a block heater!
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Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2003, 08:55 PM
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Make sure the block heater works, and use it.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #13  
Old 07-31-2003, 09:03 PM
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M.B.DOC - I think JD Powers might tell you that some of the WORST EVER Mercedes are being made RIGHT NOW!
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2003, 01:12 PM
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I saw that at a Saturn dealership recently. They show Saturn as #1 in two JD Power surveys. Mercedes is way down there.

Problems with cars that are built to a price point rather than the ones built back when Mercedes used to say "Engineered and built like no other car in the world."
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2003, 02:03 PM
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Don't forget that the JD Powers "survey" is a customer satsifaction survey, so not being happy with how much you paid for it or believing that you never have to change brake pads during the duration of a lease will cause a serious downgrade in score.

I've known many a japo car to go 100,000 miles on a set a brake pads. Of course they don't have good braking, but things like this lead to the "perception" that MBs have "problems" that are normal maintenance. If every new owner of a Benz lists "excessive brake work" as a complaint because they ahve to replace pads every 30,000 miles, down goes the rating.

Lousy gas milage when fuel costs go up is another big "complaint", as if the owner couldn't read the sticker on the window at the dealer. When it says "19 city 20 highway", don't expect more! Benz doesn't exactly make econoboxes.....

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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