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Old 08-28-2003, 02:03 AM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,275
w126 owners! Need some advice. '91 300se

Hey fellow W126 owners. I am checking out a 1991 300se.
Silver exterior and grey interior.California car. No rust.
No dings ecxept for one on front grill.

New shocks and brakes and rotors all around and injectors, dist cap and tune up 2 years ago.(adjusted towers)
Body is straight and paint is good.
Driver's side window does not work. May be the switch but sounds like it may be the mechanism or motor or both.
Heater does not heat real well and air does not blow, so it may be the monovalve.
Needs new antenna.
Needs new right side headlight glass.
Driver's side rear window works OK but seems slower than other windows.

Tires OK but needs front end aligned , front shows edge wear.Tires need rotating.
Passed smog 3 months ago.
Has 146ooo miles.
Has cd stacker in trunk., ALPINE

Has front motor seal oil leak, typical of this engine.

Engine does have dips in idle , again which is typical of this engine.Interior is OK Seats are good, carpets a bit dirty.
Has some discoloring along the top of interior door panels adjecent to window glass. Looks like dirt but may be sun damage???
Interior wood trim good except for the wood around the shifter.
This is cracked all over.
Sun roof works, seats work.
Former owner was a smoker.

A/C seems to work but one of the shop records recently indicated a problem with air blower shop record of it being fixed.Most recent shop receipts but not all.
Not sure if the auxiliary fans work for the radiator.

Kelly Blue book for a good car is about $6,075.00

title seems clear of misgivings. seems to have been a 2 owner car with my friend being the third owner.He got it 2 months ago as
a payment for work done.
San Francisco Bay area car.
Trans seems to shift fine but no idea what has been done to it.
Nor how long it may last.

So, I need to check the car listing sites for price ranges.

What opinions do you folks have about price, what to look for etc.
If and when I decide whether I take the next step, I'll have a PPI done.

Although I have a 1989 300SE with about 111,000 miles, this is a
request for opinions and assistance.Does this vehicle have other problems beyond 150,000 miles?????$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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Old 08-28-2003, 07:15 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North Central Kentucky
Posts: 1,065
Prices on 126 series cars have dropped quite a bit in the past couple of years.
The climate control problems are the big deal, I think on the car you are looking at. If you have the tools, time and ability to troubleshoot and fix it yourself, maybe not too bad. If you have to pay to have it fixed, could get expensive real fast. Drivers window probably needs a new motor. Not cheap, but can be a DIY for moderate skills. I had to replace the one in my driver side door recently. All the difference in the world.
Only other issue to me is the P.O. being a smoker. Would matter to me, but I'm picky about that.
Other problems seem minor and fixable. Clean the carpets and then order a new set of factory floor mats, front and back. Antenna is $25 or less for the mast. From what I can tell, they all wear tires funny.
For what it's worth: My 560SEL has 342k miles on it. Had it up over 100 recently. Felt great. Cruised at 90 like most cars at 50. Crazy thing seems to get its best mileage over 80mph. I can hear it now "Honest officer, I was just trying to get better gas mileage!"
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Old 08-28-2003, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 197
300 SE

I don't know if you are having any oil consumption problems with your current 89 300se, but that seems to be a problem with most straight 6's found in the 300 series. I have an 89 300se with 187k and a 90 420 with 106k. My 300 has the oil problem. It consumes about a quart to a quart and a half every 800-900 miles. This is very annoying on a trip because you have to constantly stop and check the oil, due to the light coming on the dash. My 420 has the v8 and (knock on wood) does not consume a drop of oil. I love the 300 series, but if and when I buy another 126, it will be a 420 or above. The ride is better, the 420 does not get that bad of gas mileage for the motor and I don't have to deal with a oil problem. It sounds like on the 91 that you found, there are quite a few small problems. I agree with the other benzer, if you have the tools and can do some of the checking/fixing yourself, the problems would not matter that much because the car itself, if taken care of, will go for a long time.
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Old 08-28-2003, 10:14 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 197
300 se

I forgot to mention some of the things you might have to repair/replace on it, considering the age. They are great cars, but can be expensive if you don't have the tools to do a lot of the jobs.

Blower motor-may need new brushes(fairly inexepensive)
IF the blower motor itself is worn out(armature), you are looking at a minimum of $250(good idea if bad to replace fan, motor and everything-all one unit)

Motor seals could be a little expensive if you have to pay to fix.

Motor mounts, considering age, will probably need to be replaced. Mounts for motor and tranny will probably run you somewhere around $40-$60 for all three plus labor.

Flex discs may need to be replace because they are rubber and lose their workability over time. You will hear a drone/thumping noise a lot of times when you pull out or going into second. (guess-ti-mate-----cant remember) $30-50 each(2 of them-front and rear)

Ball joints may need replacing if you hear a screaking sound when you hit bumps at a slow speed, such as speed bumps or when you turn the car(putting the suspension in a bind). You are probably looking about $25 per joint(one on each side) and my mechanic charges about $85 labor to do each side.

Control arm bushings--not real expensive. Labor would be probably under $100

Headlight glass--if this is the frames that cover the fog lamps and around the headlights, I replaced mine myself with new ones that cost $32 including shipping.

alignment--it seems that there were never any adjustments on the rear and if for some reason the car was curbed or something and bent the underneath slightly, the only way to correct it is to have a pro-shop heat and bend to get it into alignment. I had to have my 300 done.

If the shocks are already replaced. This is good. Brakes--I suggest when replacing, using Pagid brakes. There is no squeak with these.

Hope this is not too long, but as you can see, these cars can potentially get expensive because with all cars, parts wear out. My luck has always been everything happened at once and I had a big bill repairing and replacing. If one thing happens and then another down the road, they are not real bad. Hope this will help you in your decision. But, if your current 300se has only just above100k, I would keep that one and fix all these parts on it versus the higer mileage car. Once you get everything replaced, you car will run forever.
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Old 08-28-2003, 01:14 PM
1991300SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 545
Sounds to me like you're going to spend some $$ in order to get the car tip-top. Just how tip-top do you want it and what will go wrong or be noticed next week that doesn't fall into the elective category?

Any near 15 yr. old car irregardless of make; maint. history is going to need work.

You could spend $1000, $2000, $3000.......who knows?

In my opinion, this car is far from mint condition.
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Old 08-28-2003, 04:13 PM
unkl300d's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,275

Thanks guys. All good points. No hurry on my part. I am just checking it out at this point.

I agree that some items can get pricey.
The bluebook value may not reflect the asking price.
I don't know what the asking price is yet.
anyway, I will help him out with some tinkering maybe this weekend or next week.
I'll get a better clue on the car later.
In general it seems to run well with no noticeable squeaks or groans.

My 300SE does consume oil on long trips. Yes this is a general problem with these cars just like the bumy idle.
So I can only presume that this car does consume oil besides the oil loss from the front engine oil seal.
I'll keep you all posted and maybe post a pic in case anybody else is interested.

1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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