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Old 08-11-2003, 12:33 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 36
420 v 560 (looking to buy)

Hello there-

I am new to the board and am also in the market for either a 560 sel or a 420 sel. I need to tow a trailer on occasion and I think the 560 will be better for that. I have heard that there are a few problems the 560's have that the 420's do not. Input? Does anyone know of a good car for sale?

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Old 08-11-2003, 03:26 AM
BenzMatic's Avatar
You can do it
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: OC S. California
Posts: 120
There are few difference other than the Engine, the 560 has Hydraulic rear suspension which would be nice for towing a trailer but it is very expensive to fix once it fails.
560 also has warming seats, and reclining back seat.
The wood panneling is superior than standard 420.
May be some body else can add to the list, but these are the differnces in both cars. And obviously, 560 does 13-17mpg while 420 do 16-21 mpg.
If you are in LA area, I am selling my Gold 1987 420SEL , it has 137K miles on it. If interested send me a PM.
87 420 SEL
Looking for a nice mid 80's MB diesel.
87 BMW 528e (Sold)
99 TOYOTA 4Runner
1989 Honda Accord (Sold)
1988 Honda Accord (Total)
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Old 08-11-2003, 02:39 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
When the rear suspension gets tired on the 560SEL it's usually the nitrogen filled spheres - easy to replace and about $200/pair. The hydraulic struts rarely fail. The 420SEL used conventional shocks - no cheaper. Both ride great.

1991 560SEL cars (last year) added ASR (no spinning wheels on ice, etc) which is nice. Not sure about the 420SEL.

The 560 will have more torque than the 420, which fits well with your towing situation. Just hope gas remains cheap.

Both engines need new chain guides and tensioner, maybe cam chain also, every 120k miles or so. Other than that, given regular oil changes and a functioning radiator, they are very long lived.

Wood panelling design is identical between the cars - 560SEL uses burl wood veneer which some say looks nicer. 420SEL is walnut veneer or zebrano - I forget. All look great.

Heated seats front and rear standard on the 560SEL.
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Old 08-17-2003, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Sonoran Desert, Arizona
Posts: 37
Allow me to add...
The 560 will not dissappoint you. It has the power for any driving situation, including towing. You'll pay about $140-$180 more per year for gasoline, but it's a small price to pay for the extra power. The 560 is the finest sedan ever built, IMHO. Even though I have a 500E, I keep going back to the 560 because it is such a pleasure to drive.
2002 ML320 (thereby making my 560SEL my "spare).
1992 500E, pearl black, 27,000 original miles as of 7/2003.
1990 560 SEL, black pearl metallic, sweetness to drive. Fully outfitted with driving countermeasures (Beltronics radar/laser detector and Uniden BCT-12 Bear Tracker scanner).
1985 Porsche 911 meteor metalic gray, a rocket to drive.
1988 Chevy Silverado pick-up (gotta have something to drive to the rodeo!)
1978 Corvette Indy pace car for show
1971 Opel GT for sentimental reasons
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Old 08-17-2003, 05:37 PM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 883
I wonder why you are considering only the two extremes of the V-8 powered range on the W126 series.

What about a nice 500 SEL?

The 500 has more power than the 420 (nice for towing), but it is relatively simpler to mantain than the 560.

Just a thought.
A. Rosich
CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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Old 08-18-2003, 11:30 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 164
ASR was an option on the 560 SEL in 1991. The 560 has a limited slip differential as standard equipment. All of the other items listed previously on this post are correct. Let's not forget 2 "biggies" that were standard on the 560 that the 420 does not have. 1. Adjustable tones for the horns and 2. The rear seat footrests.

Seriously, the power on a 560 is noticeably greater than what you will find on the 420 but the trips to the fuel pump are also much more frequent.
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