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Old 08-01-2003, 12:01 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
Posts: 1,743
I'd have to agree with Willy on this one. I would be furious if I knew what you knew. Definitely read the details on the carfax and determine if there is anything they can do.

Side Note: Carfax doesn't really provide accurate information, only a piece of the puzzle. When I did a carfax on my current vehicle it was also vague like yours for the first 5 years. I requested the PO supply me with a VMI to determine the mileage history as well as service/warranty history on the car. This combined with previous service records completed the puzzle.

Also you never did mention if the mechanic that did the compression test provided you with numbers. This is imperative to determine if he actually did the test and if the engine needs extensive work or not.

If you had a choice would you return this car to the PO and ask for your money back or would you keep the car and ask for $$$ to cover unexpected repairs due to his dishonesty?

02 C32 AMG

92 500E
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:14 PM
1991300SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 545
Placo1 hit the nail on the head. Carfax reports are ambiguous.

His chances of winning any sort of restitution are slim to none for 3 reasons.

- Carfax - ambiguous info - do you think this will hold up in court?
- As I stated earlier - lawyers - no legitimate legal talent is going to jump on board over a $2000-$3000 issue.
- Distance - the car came for So. Cal. - it's now in Seattle. Ever tried litigating long distance over $2000-$3000???

Don't get me wrong. The guy got screwed. No question about it and I think he should try to pursue this. But unless the "original" owner caves in, his chances of any restitution are slim to none. The owner can play dumb and any defense lawyer can supplement his "play dumb" approach quite easily.
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:26 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
Last year I bought an 86 Euro 500SE at a very reasonable price as it needed work and had been abused by it's second owner. It had originaly been brought into the country by an Air Force General (March Air Force Base sticker still on windshield).The car is diamond Blue (nice Color) and has power everthing and a very good dark blue leather interior I'm not sure if this is common or not in an "86" Euro.
I rebuilt the front end,new belts and hoses, flushed raditor,new rotors,new pads,bebuilt rear caliper, new tires (Yokohames) did some body and paint work.tune up. Then I decided to do a cover off timimg chain. What I found when ordering the chain was instead of a 117 500 Euro engine the car had a 116 Euro 420 engine! I did the cover off.For a long time I felt dissapointment, anger, and felt cheated.
But after driving the car for a year I love it with a capitol L.It gets good milage,has classic style,handles better than any of the 30 odd cars Iv'e owned,It has been very dependable and I plan to keep it till I'm a hundred and twenty.
You said your car had a good body and interior so in my opinion even if you had to put a crate MB 560 engine and tranny in it you would still be on top when you see the gimmick ridden cars being sold at outrageous prices, you have one of the best automoblies ever built bar none.......
William Rogers.......
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Old 08-02-2003, 10:29 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: West Linn, Or
Posts: 341
Wink Look at the bright side!

My "new, to me" 1973 450SE has 2 HUNDRED & 72 Thousand miles on it, not the 72,000 "original & correct" the seller maintained...

But, "He's in the Jailhouse, now!"


p.s. You have a situation where you need to do some further investigation, but...

You have one of the finest vehicles ever produced to begin with.

The Auto-RX advice was very good: the absolute 1st thing I did with the 450SE was an oil and filter change, 8 quarts of Pennzoil LongLife 15W-40 and 16 oz. of Auto-RX in the engine, drained a quart of ATF and put 6 oz. in the tranny.

After about 1000 miles a complete tranny service (drain the torque convertor, new filter, etc.) & another oil change and filter. Then, after 2,250 miles on the oil, add the 2nd Auto-RX 16 oz. treatment, drive for 750 miles, oil & filter change and I'm done.

I'm goin' for the 1/3 million mile mark, boys & girls!
'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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Old 08-02-2003, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 196
buyer beware

shame,,, all this has happened ... i feel for you brother...
i have been trying to sell my 92 turbo diesel 124 body since last nov... she has 203k and is just breaking in! has been mantianed 100% and looks and runs like new.. but everyone is SCARED of a car with high miles... I myself would not lie to anyone about my cars history but seems like the P.O. has.. pity..

p.t.barnum had a rude saying,,, a sucker born everyday///

caveot emptor sounds nicer than p.t. barnums line

bottom line

buyer beware

if you can prove thru the vmi stuff that the buyer misrepresented the vehicle you may have some recourse.. but if you bought it as is,, where is,,, condition get out the vasaline!:p
1994 S-350 6cyl Turbo Diesel 158k

1998 300d 6 cyl Turbo Diesel 143K

1993 2.5 124 Turbo-Diesel 236

1990 2.5 124 Turbo-Diesel 228k


SOLD 1977 Jaguar XJ6 Coupe Antique Roadster 85K

SOLD 1993 2.6 6 cyl 190 E 150k

SOLD 1992 2.5 124 Turbo-Diesel 204k

RIP 1992 124 300 TD 265K OIL PUMP QUIT @ 85MPH
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Old 08-02-2003, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I hate to say it but I don't see anything wrong in that picture.

The wear area of the cam looks good and the small in focus area around the one visable spring has no build up other than amber color, which I would expect.

If you wish to double check the engine number send me the chassis number and I'll find you the original engine number.

Your first statement said the car was checked and "valve seal" found to be a problem. If the 750 included this repair I presume it was botched if you still use oil.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 08-02-2003, 05:40 PM
Posts: n/a

Thanks all for mature and comforting words,

I have as stated before found out what the deal is.
The engine was replaced at one point. The carfax shows no rollback, but is very sparse on history for the first 10 years.

I call up the PO and confronted him with the news. Remember he had always claimed to be the original owner.
When I confronted him with the fact of the engine swap, he became on the phone very vague and I could hear him say "oh no , oh god". It was evident he had something to hide.

I asked him point blank when he got the car and who sold it to him. He was now very short and said oh a year ago from some guy.

However the carfax shows that he bought it 02/05/03.
(yes, I did not pull a carfax before buying the car. I was taken by his description and the fact that my father in law meet with him, looked at the maintenance books, and he appeared as a trustworthy person. Car had religious vanity plates (so what!!!)and the mechanic, who I paid good money and repair bill ( 850 in total ) claimed to have driven the car and said good for it.))

But who buys a car 4 months ago. Tells lies to the mechanic and buyer (father in law) and tries to sell the car long distance and then claims ignorance.

He knew and the mechanic got mislead and did a bare inspection job, I am afraid. And I am stuck with the lemon. This is not right.

I had two days where I honestly thought I was gonna be sick from this. Couldn't sleep, stomach ache etc. I paid top dollar for this car expecting only minor repairs.

How much would you guys have paid for a california 63000 miles original perfect interior/exterior black on grey 560 sel -89?
Be honest.

Now you know how I have felt for the last couple of days.

But thanks to all your responses here:

wjm - thanks for the encouraging words. I will take the fight.

placo1 - I would return the car as this was not what I was willing to pay top dollar for - and BTW the compression came back with:
1:150, 2:150, 3:150, 4:150, 5:160, 6:150, 7:160, 8:160.
Is 160 the number from new??

William Rogers - thanks for sharing your experience - made me (and my wife) feel better. I know it's the best car ever built.

STORMINORMAN - I truely hope I will develop the same feeling as you, thanks.

stevebfl - This sounds encouraging. One Q: can the rest of the engine be just fine although we know nothing of this engines history?? Can somebody help me figure out where the engine came from?

I am listing the Vin and engine nr so that any of you proud and honest people can perhaps help me find info on this issue:

vin: WDBCA39E2KA478524
engine: 1179681201045

All info you can dig up I would be more thankful than you can ever imagine. I love MB's and I feel mostly horrible over the fact that this guy could post as a true MB enthusiast and do this to another MB enthusiast. To me this was more than just a car.

Finally I will ask you on the matter of the mechanic.
My beef here is that I spoke with him on 2 different occasions and at both times did he ensure me that he would be able to tell a good car from a bad one. He even said that he wouldn't hit me up for money if it was a bad car. This mechanic has a major shop in LA. The reason I am not mentioning a name is that I have spoken with him about the issue here and over the last week he has ensured me that " don't worry, Jari. I WILL help make this right, we will get the money from this guy. I just need to get the car back here to LA in order to start pursuing this matter. I spoke to my lawyers today". No I have no specifics yet as I don't think he knows yet what can be done. But I am hoping he will come through as I think he was taken too.

The reason I am turning to him to press the case is that I get the car up here and my mechanic as the car has low milage, he immidiately popped off the oil cap and seeing the buildup he went for matching the engine with the car. Also he drove the car for about a min before saying that the rear felt bouncy. He got out and jumped on the fender and the car bounched and bounched and some more....

This leads me to believe that the mechanic did a very sketchy job of testing the car. If he knew his stuff and knew these cars behavior he would have done better than he did. Now he will not admit to this ( I have not confronted him ), but if I am left with no recourse I will have to mention his name here as he could easily have saved me the experience. Instead he wrote me up for $750 worth of misc repairs that I totally trusted.

I WILL take both parties to small claims court if that is my last resort.

But I do believe the mechanic and I have some recourse as it seems that the original owner sold it only 5 months ago. And he must have something to tell about the seller.
Also I would like to know why the PO is so secretive about when and who he bought it from. I just have to prove that he knew of the engine issue and he is legally obligated to hand back the money.
- Or if he was so truthful we would both go after the original owner.

All, One thing is for certain. I will not go away quetly as this is very wrong. And I will let the people know this.

Thanks for your advise and comforting words.

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Old 08-02-2003, 06:03 PM
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wjm wjm is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Suburban Detroit, MI
Posts: 692
The carfax shows that he bought it 02/05/03.
I take it, then, that you pulled the carfax after buying the car, right? Otherwise you would have questioned his honesty about being the original owner.

Also, if you want to find the original owner, it's in the VMI. You can also go to your DMV and do a title search. Here in Michigan, it costs like $6 and change for each copy of title that comes up.

I'm sure the original owner might give you more insight.
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Old 08-02-2003, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I would be glad to check to see if the chassis and engine number match (on Monday), but I can tell you right now that the engine number is one diget short.

We need one more number.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 08-02-2003, 07:54 PM
Posts: n/a


Sorry a typo on my behalf.

engine: 11796812010145

I already know that the number does not match the chassis.

What I would be interested in is where did this engine come from and what happend to the car it orignated from.

This way I might be able to match info from the donor car with the owners and/or mechanics and figure out what the PO and original owner knew.

In hindsight I begin to feel like I should have started my car search here.

Steve, in your role as a mechanic, do you have experience with detecting fraudulent cars like this??


PS. If nothing works out for me I might just start and maintain a website, that informs and provides legal forms for buyer and seller that can protect both parties and I will mention names of the parties involved in this case....
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Old 08-02-2003, 08:49 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
all i know is this, if it helps. i had a 1987 560sec that probably only was driven 4,000 miles a year. it probably never saw 55mph.

i took over its driving in 2000. when i started driving it my way, its oil consumption was similar to my hard-driven 560sel that did approx 20,000 miles per year. within 4 months of daily running, i found it blowing huge clouds of white smoke upon pedal to the metal acceleration after decel or from rest. lube oil consumption was about a quart per 500 miles.

pulled the heads. saw all the evidence of an engine never used. thick gummy carbon deposts on piston crown and valves. scuffed and scored cam lobes. totally deteriorated valve stem seals.

cylinder walls were good.

cleaned piston crowns. replaced valves, guides, stem seals, cam shafts, timing chain tensioner.

since that overhaul, i have put 30,000 high speed miles on the car. engine is tight. lube oil is changed at 3,500 mile intervals - virtually no oil consumption during this interval.

morale of the story: engines are meant to be used. fix the engine. you'll love the car.

next time, though, rent a bore scope. pull the plugs and examine each cylinder before making the purchasing decision.

happy running.
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Old 08-03-2003, 12:30 AM
Posts: n/a
jari, sorry to hear of your dilema.

if you really like the car, the previous advice to set it straight and look forward to many miles is good.

as our ever popular SPOCK says: live long and drive a MB!

if not, a couple of thoughts as to recourse:

#1 carfax is basically a complilation of public DMV records. they do offer a guarantee, but only that the info they pull is correctly reported from the those records.

#2 the 1st mech: it sounds as if he made have performed a less than through inspection, but unless he was an actual party to the purchase agreement, i think he is out of the loop. however, he would be liable for charges if he billed you for work that was not performed.

#3 the PO: when he signed the title, he either checked "actual" milage or not. if he received the car under an "actual" title, and didnt change the motor or speedo, he did not perger offical documents. he may have lied about being orig owner, but was not in that case, the one who "cooked the books". dishonest at least, possibly criminal.

an understanding MB dealer (or possibly one of the techs here who have friends in high places) can pull the "master" file for the cars VIN, and that along with any previous title info may give you the opportunity to reach the origional owner (and any intermediate owners) to determine the cars "real" history.

good luck either way. - benton
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Old 08-04-2003, 11:14 PM
Posts: n/a
Steve, did you find any info on the numbers

Hi steve,

I was wondering if you had any luck with digging up history on the donor car for the engine I have?
I sure would like to know how many miles it has on it!

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Old 08-05-2003, 02:35 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 5
A friend of mine, (he was actually a used car salesman), once said to me about one of the cars he was selling..."This car's had one careful owner, the other nine didn't give a stuff". I thought that was funny but I certainly don't think what you're going thru is.
I have just bought a 1987 300SEL from a caryard over here in Australia and what you're going thru is what I would consider my greatest nightmare. I too would be feeling sick but you know what, it will sort itself out in your favour. Hey MB4Ever, I truly feel for you and hope it works out for you.

I'll read this thread with much interest and I'm sure I'll read one day in the not too distant future you'll have a win.

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Old 08-05-2003, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I did verify that the motor was wrong for that chassis number. It doesn't work the other way. I can say that the engine you have is about 100k motors new than the one that should be in it. That doesn't say anything about mileage.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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