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  #1  
Old 07-29-2003, 04:01 PM
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Question Need advice on buying an S series - used

Thinking of purchasing an S series without breaking the bank. My thoughts are something late 90s with 50-75K.

Are the S series reliable?

More expensive to repair?

Currently own a C280 - good car but a few things bad. Need something bigger.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2003, 07:07 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Re: Need advice on buying an S series - used

Quote:
Originally posted by sgyorffy
Are the S series reliable?
Late '90's - Generally yes. Best of the series, by far.

Quote:
Originally posted by sgyorffy
More expensive to repair?
Than a C-Class? You bet. By a mile.

Remember that the S-Class was not designed as "normal" person's car, no matter what the used market prices them at. Service and repair costs were never considered part of the buying decision, so they were never part of the engineering decision, either.

A W140 S-Class can give years of trouble free service, but when something does go wrong, it may cost a lot. These are complex cars and problems can require huge labour sums.

If you need more interior room, but want a reasonably economical car to look after, you might consider an E-Class.
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1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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  #3  
Old 07-29-2003, 11:44 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 41
For what it's worth....

I purchased a 93 500 SEL from a family friend on June 1st. It had 119K miles at the time, and I knew going in that I would have to do a few things to get it up to speed. To date, I have spent over $4,000 on it at a very good inde shop. The list reads:

Wiring harness
Valve cover gaskets
New p/s gear box
new seat belts
flush and fill radiator
new thermostat
Oil pan gasket
New serpentene belt
PVC kit
Oil and filter cartridge
rotate tires

Now, after discovering this forum, I would do some of these things myself. But at the time, I was "scared" of this big, expensive car.

So, after 6 weeks and about 100 gallons of fuel (did I mention it only gets 17 MPG?) what's the verdict?

I LOVE IT!

I had a Lexus before. It was nice, but nothing exceptional. In the 6 weeks I've had the Benz, 2 different total strangers have commented to me about how nice my car is. One lady (at the gas station..imagine that) circled back to my pump, rolled down her window, and asked me "What kind of Mercedes is that?" I told her, and she just shock her head and said "Well, that sure is a beautiful car!" Nobody ever said that about the Lexus.

There is nothing like driving the w140 big Benz!
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1993 500 SEL 121,000
2003 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 Limited (Sweet!)
1995 Ford Bronco 351 Windsor 135K miles (Hunting truck)

Past Vehicles
1999 Landrover Discovery II 46,000 (Sold)
1998 Lexus ES300 (Sold to get my Benz)
1973 Chevy Nova SS (drove it till the body fell apart in '87)
1971 Chevy Camaro (wrecked in high school)
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2003, 12:28 AM
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Location: Raleigh, NC, US
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my first Mercedes was a 91 300E. What a great car. Any problems I had and there were very few, were easily repaired. Unfortunately, that was one was totaled. I searched for another one (a little newer) but couldn't locate one that met my criteria. I did find a 96 s320 and the price was right for a car that was in great shape. Haven't had any real problems, only minor ones. This car, as I'm sure you can find out through a little research is not engineered like others and could be a little harder for self repair. Parts a harder on the wallet. If you want a larger size that is a great pleasure to drive anywhere I would recommend it.
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2003, 01:15 AM
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Familiarize yourself with all the features before you go shopping and go page by page through the owner's manual making sure everything works as it should. That's over and above a proper prepurchase inspection. Don't dismiss a car over a little thing but make sure you know what the little thing costs to repair.

Sixto
95 S420
91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2003, 02:41 AM
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I can park my ageing 126's next to a new 50k Caddy SUV and get more admiering looks than the giant guzzler.........
William Rogers........
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2003, 09:30 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 154
PLEASE...Do yourself a huge favor and get

a Mercedes Starmarked car. I purchased a 1995 S420 that had 80K miles and had previously been under (original or extended) it's entire life. All books and records were there but even with all that over the last 10 months Mercedes has spent over $20K in repairs! The scary thing is that none of this work was major.

For example:

AIR pump clutch bad - $1500
New shocks - $1500
A/C pushbutton - $1000
Many engine oil seals - crankshaft, valve cover oil pan, etc...
Idle control valve - $1000

etc, etc, etc......

The starmark doesnt look like alot on paper but it actually covers alot more than they claim. Out of all these repairs my total out of pocket has been $300 for a couple of bad vacuum hoses and maintenance.

The upside is that now the car is like new and I dont expect to have many more "issues" going forward.

Oh, the other good thing about starmark is that they also do a thorough service...new belts, fluids, alignment.......

Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2003, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: West Linn, Or
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Lightbulb I'd buy a W126 Series S-Class

The nicest, cleanest, low-mileage one you can find!

One with great maintenance records: have it inspected by a reputable shop before you buy it. Drive it for a couple hundred thousand miles.

Go ahead! Pay a premium price for it. They're well worth it.

Take all the rest of the dough you would have had to originally spend for a later model S-Class and see how many years (decades?) worth of service and repairs that covers. Then, when that runs out, you can enjoy how much less expensive it is to have a W126 car worked on vs. what you would have spent on one of the newer ones.

Cheers!
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'91 420 SEL @ 199K, '92 SVX @ 181K, '93 SC400 @ 86K, '93 Kaw ZX-11 @ 30K, '87 F250 @ 181K , 2001 Valkyrie Interstate @ 6K, Y2K Honda NightHawk 250 with 1.5K, '88 420SEL I.@ 179K & the 2nd latest, an '88 420SEL II.@ 210K runnin' parts car, '85 F150 300/NP435
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  #9  
Old 07-30-2003, 12:51 PM
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Location: New Jersey
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Red face The Best advise I've heard ...

The best advise I have ever read in a forum - addressed to me - was ...

There is no cheap mercedes!

You will either pay now or later.

With that said I have purchased a 1993 500SEL 2.5 years ago and 40K miles.

I have invested about $9,000 in repairs, then there was the God blessing - the deer kicked my front radiator - $5,500 additional (new radiator and air conditioning components)

I love the car - it is so much better than other cars in the drive and comfort.

My next car will be a E class, with a V8.

This car was never ment to be inexpensive! As others have posted - "small" things are expensive and I have not had a computer break yet - which is my real fear.

I've replaced the ...
air pump
rear blaters (shocks were recommended to be replaced - but I said no and live with a sqeek)
transmistion ($3,000 from mercedes)
front suspention
electronic fuel control
alternator
and other items -

I would go with the Starmark car - more money and better warranty. I did puchase an aftermarket warrenty that paid most of my expenses.

Has anyone advised you that the air conditioner dryer for the 140 chassis is behind the dash board - 2 days labor just getting to it.

Summary - I'm glad I have it, I wish it didn't require the maintenance it does - but with the work done - I'm keeping it.

I purchased it with 92K.

There ois a cooling concern with the 140 chassis - as the engine is aluminum - if it ever over heated - it may be warped - bad news.

If you find a 140 that you like - be sure to remove the plastic at the back side of the front wheel wells. If the car ever overheated there will be some oxidized aluminum there.

Comment - my car didn't have the aluminum there - but shortly after I bought the car it did start overheating. That is when the deer (really a deer) kicked my front end - insurace replaced the radiator - andd I have had NO over heating issues since.

Good luck - sorry for the long message.
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Thanks for the help
Bill Fisher

'86 560SL (186K) - Now a 'classic' : Registered as an Historic Vehicle
'95 E420 (198K)
'99 E320 (80K)
'03 LS430 (Lexus)
- - - - -
'95 E420 (231K) Sold to a happy buyer, new to Mercedes
'90 300E (65K) Sold to an Mercedes Lover
'92 190E (215K) - retired to the salvage yard, sigh
'93 500SEL (214K) - Moved to another family, still runs like a young pup
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  #10  
Old 07-30-2003, 04:24 PM
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Location: Queens, New York, USA
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Once you drive a MB, your taste change for ever. I'm planning to replace my 83 300SD sometime in the Spring. I want to spend about 20-22K. I was considering buying a new Toyota Camry. However, I've decided to get a used E320 instead. I have not decided if I should get the gasoline or the diesel engine. Which one of the two is better?
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  #11  
Old 07-30-2003, 04:37 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Better for what? E300D is better for mpg, E320 is better for mph.

Sixto
95 S420
91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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  #12  
Old 07-30-2003, 07:32 PM
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
Once you drive a MB, your taste change for ever. I'm planning to replace my 83 300SD sometime in the Spring. I want to spend about 20-22K. I was considering buying a new Toyota Camry. However, I've decided to get a used E320 instead. I have not decided if I should get the gasoline or the diesel engine. Which one of the two is better?
Do not buy a W210 3.0L diesel. There are more than a few owners on the forum here that regret buying one. (Including me) They have many, many problems including glow plugs, suspension bushings, Air Mass Meters, cracking dashes, engine seals and on and on. The gasoline cars seem better. The 3.0L turbo engine is terrific when running, but in our house, that was a rare event.
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  #13  
Old 07-30-2003, 11:26 PM
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Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
'Twer me I would look for the best kept,with all records 90 or 91 560 SEL.if you want an S class and buy anything else even though there are many fine other models you'll never rest easy when you see one on the road.........
William Rogers......
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  #14  
Old 07-31-2003, 10:47 AM
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Location: Queens, New York, USA
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Thanks for the advise guys. I was under the impression that MB with diesel engines are more reliable than gasoline.
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2003, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
Thanks for the advise guys. I was under the impression that MB with diesel engines are more reliable than gasoline.
Generally yes but then you have the exceptions like the ill-fated S350. But the 240D and 300D hold true to the name.
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