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  #1  
Old 09-08-2003, 11:15 AM
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First drive Impressions

Thanks to all who provided feedback on my possible purchase of a 91' 300 SEL. Have had the car all weekend and put many miles on it. Just scheduled to drop it off to my mechanic tomorrow for a pre-purchase inspection. Actual mileage at about 96,700. As many of you offered, its a dog off the line, especially compared to my 86' 735i BMW (not that the Bimmer is fast). However, the car rides incredible. More body roll than I would like, but again, its not a sports car. As I stated in my previous post the car is almost mint. One small door ding (repaired) and a small front bumper scuff and thats it. No leaks, window noise, rattles, all service records since day one. Its smoke silver (pewter) with the creme interior. Very classy. My BMW is in very good shape for an 86' with high miles (190,000), but its loose. It just doesn't feel new like the Benz does.

We ahvn't talked price yet so that may still kill it for me. I will have to sell the e23 plus my parts car (87' e23) and still come up with cash I'm sure. Any feedback what the 91' is worth - assuming a clean bill of health from the mechanic?

TIA
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2003, 01:26 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Difficult to tell over the course of a weekend or PPI but the M103 engine is known for oil consumption as it wears. Valve seal deisgn or materials were changed over the life of the M103 and a 91 should have the latest iteration. Still not a hermetic seal.

The 100-150K mile range is when oil consumption starts to pick up. MB considers up to a quart in 1000 miles to be normal. Even says so in the manual, I think. Mixed reviews on whether synthetic oil helps or hurts. Changing valve seals is a ~$400 job that doesn't require pulling the head and will curb consumption for 20-50K miles, maybe more. Not a bad DIY job but not fun as I define it (and replacing a tranny by myself is fun for me).

Trannies typically go 150-200K miles. Those that last longer are on borrowed time, IMO. Most often it's a slow death and it will be unpleasant to drive before it's impossible to drive.

And to save you a post, expect the engine to turn more than 3000rpm at 65mph. It's a 4-speed AT with second gear start and 1:1 fourth gear. First gear will let you climb a wall.

Sixto
95 S420
91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2003, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I noticed the higher rpms on the interstate. Now explain the second gear start thing? I'm not familer with that in an AT. I noticed the console shifter is labeled 2, 3 and D.

And how about that becker radio/cassette. PO didn't get the CD option. Should I try to find an old OEM cd changer or not wait for the Becker to go out and get an aftermarket setup? I like the look of OEM, especially as most aftermarket car stereo components look pretty ridiculous these days.
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:31 PM
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MB should have made the 300SEL first gear start. It NEEDS it.

When you want to take off briskly, shift down to '2' then back to 'D'. This will start the car out in first gear. This is really useful if you have to cross two lanes of traffic with no middle lane.

Otherwise take off from the suicidal 2nd gear and give the car a quick half-pedal throttle. The transmission senses the urgency in your actions, and drops to first automatically. At least mine does. You do not have to floor it.
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2003, 10:58 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 19,759
A 91 should be pre-wired for a Becker Silverstone CD changer. You must really love Beckers to put up with one of those - won't recognize some store CDs, won't recognize most home burned CDs, about a minute to skip to another CD. Must have been great back in 91 but not today.

Check with Becker USA on availablility of rebuilt units. I doubt you'll find any new. I believe they're $5-600 from Becker.

You'll have to scrounge around for factory/dealer brackets and the carpeted cover if you're going for that fully original look.

In my case a Sony RF changer works well enough.

Sixto
95 S420
91 300SE
87 300SDL
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