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  #1  
Old 08-18-2003, 08:54 PM
EricSilver's Avatar
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Yet another S600 Question..

Every six months or so I ponder a replacement for my very happy and trusty 260E. I always end up gravitating to the W140 S500 or S600 sedans, with the 600 currying the most favor since I like the idea of a V12.

If I buy that car I understand that my fuel bills will be high, but I accept that. What really concerns me are potentially catastrophic maintenance issues.

Mechanically - body, suspension (?) etc. I realize the car is identical to an S500 and should not be more costly in that respect. The engine - or perhaps I should say "engines" -- since the V12 is two sixes joined together - is what concerns me since, from my research, it seems to have two of many engine accessories - coils, distributors, etc. What engine components does it have two of, and what does it only one of? (I would imagine a single, albeit much beefier starter, for example.)

I am wondering how truly reliable the car is so I don't walk into a nightmare with my eyes wide open. I do not object to routine maintenance, and the additional cost for the V12, but I would not want the car being out of commission for more than a day. I suspect that few mechanics/technicians are qualified to work on it, but, at the risk of being presumptuous, I cannot see how an intelligent technician could be challenged by working on what is essentially two six cylinder engines joined together.

Your good thoughts and experiences are welcome and appreciated. Oh, and the years I am looking at are 1995 and 1996 (I love the pre-97 body style).
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2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2003, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Your good thoughts and experiences are welcome and appreciated.
If it's GOOD thoughts and experiences you want, i am sorry I can not help.

Repeat after me: "I do not want the glory wagon. I do not want a 140 chassis, especially with the V12. I want something elllllse.
Maybe a nice E420. Maybe a nice E430. Not a 140. Nooooooo 140!! No Veeeeeetwelllllllvvvve!!!"

Gilly

ps Although much of the technology is shared with the M104, it's not really accurate saying that the M120 is a pair of 6 cylinder engines.
Some things I can think of that are duplicated are the engine control modules, ignition control modules, throttle motors (and control units for the throttle motors), intake manifolds, that's about it other than the real obvious things (heads, exhaust manifolds etc. It IS a V12 engine though, just 1 block.

Last edited by Gilly; 08-18-2003 at 09:18 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2003, 03:59 PM
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Just when I thought it was safe to pull out the checkbook...

That's quite a condemnation of the W140, but as a tech you know best. Is that true of just the W140 or the newer S-Class as well?

Simply put, I want to be king of the road (at least within the confines of my own imagination). An E430 does not quite accomplish that unless, perhaps, it is a Brabus or Renntech version.

Hmmm, what to do; what to do...
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2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2003, 05:24 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
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Well, consider an . . .

S500 instead! Both cars are the same with the expection of the V12. They look the same from the outside and it has a very reliable V8 that most anybody can 'fix'.

It's a good compromise especially if you get a late model '97 and on.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2003, 05:25 PM
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If you really want to go bankrupt in a flash, go for an S 600

My S 500 L easily triples or cuadruples my E 320 T maintenance bills (including gas costs). And we are talking regular maintenance, when something goes wrong with the V140, it really goes over five to six times the cost it would take to fix the same thing on the S124.

Believe me, there certain little gizmos that will drive you crazy on an S 600, like a peculiar computer module that monitors tire inflation values. If the any tire pressure falls below 30% of its acceptable ratio, the engine will limit itself to 3,000 r.p.m. (at least the euro version has this gadget, which prevents the driver the blast the car at high speeds on the autobahn).
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2003, 05:26 PM
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The 140 V12 always looks like a "good deal" (Gee, I can get into the S600 sooooo cheap!) Don't do it! There's a reason they are cheap to buy, because it's ready to eat you alive!

The jury is still out on the 220 S Class V12, time will tell. Even the 140's did OK while they were still under warranty.
I just can't help thinking that it can't get a whole lot worse. But in 5 years we may all laugh at that prediction.

King of the Road, Hmmmmm. As a replacement for a 260E?
Maybe a 560SEL, latest model you could get was what a 1991? Those are pretty nice. If you reallllllly want the glory wagon, you could maybe try for a S500 (140) instead of the V12. The engine is a lot more dependable, only main concerns would be the AC evap and the steering gear box, both cost about the same to replace (some people will try resealing the steering gear box, but replacement with an MB reman ((if available)) is a more dependable repair). If you wanted to get a 210 chassis E Class (good choice), as far as a glory wagon, you could try for an E55 AMG, but a couple other good choices would be a 97 E420 (210 chassis with a 119 motor--awesome and unappreciated car), or an E430 is also a fun ride, maybe you can find an E420 or E430 Sport version.

Gilly
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2003, 05:28 PM
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I think Mr Rosich is referring to 220 chassis S class

Gilly
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2003, 06:17 PM
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As an owner of an SL600 and a 99 S420, I can tell you the V12 engine is marvelous but it is almost impossible to have nothing less than $1000 repair job. The suspension of the 600 are all special order also. Also, not that many techs have much experience with the engine so they start replacing parts to fix an underlying problem. If you want a W140, you must get a 99 V8!! I wouldnt look at any non 97+ 140s regardless of the bargains. The 99 rear lights are just as regal as the previous edition lights.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2003, 06:08 PM
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560SEL. Or 560SEC if you like coupes.

IMO, cheaper, prettier, inexpensive to maintain, timeless.

Incremental cost of gas (compared with your 260E) is immaterial compared to increased cost of maintenance on the W140/V12.

Spend the saved $ on a Ducati or an MV Agusta.
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  #10  
Old 08-21-2003, 10:07 PM
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i have been driving my 560sel since i purchased it in 1986. it has 250+k miles. it was my everyday car for most of its life.

i have a 1987 560sec with 82k miles. i only started driving this car 3 years ago at 52,000 miles.

i have a 1995 e320cab. 10k miles.

and a 1979 6.9 with 50k miles.

in april, i acquired a used 1997 s500coupe. with 20k miles. it is the more sophisticated chassis. it is the quietest. i think it may even be the fastest.

all the same, there are some things about it that cause me to think about selling it every day. one aspect that drives me crazy is that it has a center console that is like a box[unlike all the others - i even converted my e320cab to recover the open center and removed the passenger airbag, replacing it with a locking glovebox]. so, if you want to drive with a cup of coffee or tea, you have to lift the lid of the center console and drive with it upraised.

driver's seat has less travel than any of my other cars save for the 6.9. as with the 6.9, i am always wanting another inch of leg room.

seats are not as good as the others. the 6.9 and 560sel both have orthopedic seats and are much less fatiguing. 4 hours in the s500 is a more painful experience. and that includes the e320 and the 560sec.

this w140coupe also has more blind spots than all the others. it requires a lot more attention, especially when backing and changing lanes.

on the other hand, this w140coupe is a gorgeous car. i prefer it to the roadsters of the same vintage. it has luggage room. it runs more smoothly over road irregularities.

had i been able to live with and drive this w140car for a week, i might have passed it up. not having that luxury, because it was a one-owner car with a very elderly owner[woman], with no mileage, starmarked at a very fair price, i bought it. i agonized over the acquisition for 2 weeks before i wrote the check. i am still agonizing over it.

if i could uncover another one-owner, low mileage 1986/1987 560sec[in the right colors] i might divest myself of the w140.

if i do that, keep your eyes tuned to john olson's sl marketletter. it will be noticed there. it will have less than 25k miles. it will have a full starmark warranty. it will probably be priced at a nominal $40k.

it is immaculate and since i acquired it has been residing in an airconditioned garage.

lastly, still, when i want to make a high speed run for business[you can find my posts entitled WHAT A GREAT CAR] for any distance on back roads, i generally take my old blue beast, the 560sel with 250,000 miles. all i can say is, what a refrigerator of an automobile. always does it. very untempermental. very honest. i used to own and fly a beech baron - the 1986 560sel is a similar machine.

the 560sel has some creaks, but mostly they are from the right rear leather seat fretting and can be eliminated by the judicious application of lexol and/or connolly hide food[lubricant].

i trust that you will find this informative.

a votre sante,


a votre sante
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2003, 01:36 PM
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Hmmm, back to the drawing board.

I like the E55 but do not want to project a boy racer image. I would, however, consider getting one and replacing its wheels with standard E320 rims, and maybe debadging it. (I want to be King of the Road, but don't want anyone other than me to know it.)
__________________
2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2003, 01:45 PM
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It seems also that I hear nothing but good things about the W126, particulalrly the 560. The only problem is that it will be difficult to find one in excellent condition. Are they really that good?
__________________
2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2003, 01:53 PM
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>>97 E420 (210 chassis with a 119 motor--awesome and unappreciated car), or an E430 is also a fun ride, maybe you can find an E420 or E430 Sport version.<<

OK, I need an education here. How is the 119 engine different from other E320/430 engines, aside from the obvious size differences? And is 1997 the only year for the 420?
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2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2003, 02:47 PM
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Yes, 1997 is the only year of the E420 in the W210 chassis.

In 1996, the only model was the E320.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2003, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
In 1996, the only model was the E320.
(Or the E300D)

The E420 has the 119 motor, which was a unique motor (as compared to the M112/M113, which I will explain).
The 119 was used in a few different chassis and a couple different displacements. It is a dual overhead cam, single plug per cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, and earlier versions were CIS-E, like what was used on the M117 (560SEL) and 103 (like the 124 chassis 300E for example) and later they had them with different versions of SFI (Sequential Fuel Injection). It was a very tough motor, capable of putting out ALOT more horsepower than Mercedes actually tuned it to.
The M119 (I informally refer to it simply as the 119), was found, in the US version vehicles, first in the 1990 500SL (later it was called the SL500) up until I believe 1999, after that it was still called the same thing, but the newer M113 motor). It was also found in all V8 140 Chassis S Class, (400SE, S420, 500SEL, S500, etc), it was also the only V8 put into the 124 chassis, such as the 400E and 500E.
And of course out subject car, the 1997 E420 also used the 119 motor. Here is a link to motor specs on the 97 E420:
http://www.mbusa.com/brand/container.jsp?/overview/overview_engine.jsp&yearModelCode=97_E420&class=97_E&rnav=012345678&subNav=overview&menu=3_2&spec=2&category=0

Now in 1999 they started using what is loosely referred to as the "Modular" engines. What this means is that they used similar technology and even some common parts to make up either a V6 (Mercedes first) or a V8. The V6 differed mainly in the amount of cylinders (obviously) and a counter balance shaft. Some of the parts you can see shared between the V6 (M112) and V8 (M113) are things like pistons and rings, connecting rods, wrist pins, valves, valve springs, some of the timing parts, fuel injectors, some emission equipment, etc.
The M112 engine was first found in the US on the 1998 ML320 (It came out quite a bit before the cars did, although same model year). The 3.2 liter version of the M112 was also found in the E320 and CLK320. they never put it in the 140 chassis or the 129 (SL) chassis. They did eventually put it in the 170 (SLK). They also built a 2.8 version of it for in the 202 chassis (C280 in 1998).
The M113 V8 came out in 1999. Again, never put into the 140 chassis. The 140 chassis retained either the M104 inline 6, or the M119 V8. This is I'm sure mostly due to that they knew they were replacing the 140 chassis is 2000 anyways, so why bother engineering the motor change? They did however drop it into the 129 chassis SL500, with no change in badging. Most everything else that the M113 would fit into got it though, in either 4.3 liter or 5.0 liter. First few examples were the ML430 and the E430. The 500SL was joined by the new S Class (220 chassis), which you could get in 2000 in either 4.3 or 5 liter sizes (S430, S500).
They also managed to cram the 4.3 into the 208 chassis (CLK430). The M113 is also the basis for the V8's used in the AMG versions such as the ML55AMG and E55AMG.

Here is a link to the engine in the 98 ML320:
http://www.mbusa.com/brand/container.jsp?/overview/overview_engine.jsp&yearModelCode=98_ML320&class=98_ML&rnav=012345678&subNav=overview&menu=4_7&spec=0&category=0

Here is a link to the engine in the E430, just to compare the E420 to:
http://www.mbusa.com/brand/container.jsp?/overview/overview_engine.jsp&yearModelCode=98_E430&class=98_E&rnav=012345678&subNav=overview&menu=5_1&spec=3&category=0

I prefer the feel of the older M119 a little better, it has a narrower torque band, but I kind of "like" finding the peak torque.
The M113 has a flatter torque curve, it's a nice runner though.

Gilly
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