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  #1  
Old 11-12-2003, 02:14 PM
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How reliable are the 560SEC's?

Some backround. I am going to college next year and have been working towards a MB purchase to replace my Camry. I have decided on a W126 and am leaning towards a 300SDL or SD. But I really like the 560SEC's. I talked to the insurance agent and it costs the same to insure an SEC as the SEL. (3k a year) So here is my queston what does a 560SEC in good condition with say 100 to 150k on the clock cost to maintain? What kind of gas milage can I expect? I am looking to spend about 7-8k on this car I think I can get a good one in this price range. Also what about the 500SEC's are they similer to the 560's?

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  #2  
Old 11-12-2003, 02:56 PM
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560 SECs for the U.S. market ran from 1986-1991. *Reliability* on a 12-18 year old car?? Anticipate repairs and regular maintenance to be higher than on your Camry. Nice examples are fetching $15-25K.

Just noticed. Your insurance is HIGH!! Do you have a lot of tickets/accidents?
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2003, 03:24 PM
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el presidente
"Just noticed. Your insurance is HIGH!! Do you have a lot of tickets/accidents?"
No tickets, one accident not my fault. I'm 18 thats why it's high. My Camry is $2400 a year for just liability and theft. A 300SDL would cost me $2680 a year for the same coverage. I was very surprised a 560SEC would only cost me $3000 a year I was thinking 4-5K. I know it is not going to be Toyota reliable I just don't want to be stuck dumping 5k a year into it to keep it on the road. I didn't think the nice ones still had such strong resale! Maybe I should start looking for mint SDL's again! I did find a few SEC's on autotrader.com for 7k with about 110k on them. Condition is unknown though.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2003, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hatterasguy
I did find a few SEC's on autotrader.com for 7k with about 110k on them. Condition is unknown though.
Hopefully you'll find something you like

Whatever you decide, find a competent MB shop for your PPI.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2003, 04:21 PM
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You can expect regular and semi-costly maintenance from a 560SEC. It'll over time run you several multiples of what a Camry will cost.

That being said, the 126 SECs are pretty reliable, particularly if you purchase one that has been well taken care of and hasn't had the holy h*ll modified out of it, which many have. On a car of this vintage, you want good and lots of maintenance records. Otherwise, no go.

Expect to pay a minimum of $15K for a car that I would consider a very solid, well-cared for car. Sure you can get away with a $7K or 12K special, but you are going to have problems. Remember that you get what you pay for. You want a car with less than 150K on it if you can help it, though they do last far far beyond that. Anything higher will likely have been driven hard, but on the other hand many of the normal SEC problems will have surfaced and been taken care of, so it's something to consider.

If $15K makes you flinch, then go and buy a new Honda Civic, and be done with it. I don't mean to be harsh here, but an SEC (particularly a 560) is a complicated machine with some significant needs. If meeting those needs will put a dent in your pocketbook, it is MUCH advised to keep or buy a new automotive appliance (aka Japanese car).

In addition to purchase price, you will need to budget about $3-5K per year, plus insurance, plus gas, to own a 560SEC. If you need to know more about specifics on maintaining an SEC, there are plenty of people here who can tell you what the issues are.

Expect around 15 MPG, possibly 17-19 on long freeway drives.

Good luck. This is a commitment, not a trivial buy. For a student, it's a lot to bite off and chew. Think long and carefully. Most importantly, BUY carefully. If you don't, the pain will be much greater than it would have been by just waiting an extra X amount of time and pounding out an additional $5-7K for a correct car.

Cheers,
Gerry
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2003, 04:24 PM
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P.S. That insurance quote you got is triple what it should be ! Perhaps it's because of your age, but you might want to have them twiddle with some of the variables (deductibles, etc.) to see if you can bring it down to a reasonable level.

P.P.S. As I said, decent later SECs (the most desirable 560s are the 1989-1991 cars due to an interior facelift & more luxurious appointments) start at $15K, and the lowest mileage ones go on up to the $40K range. I know of a black 1989 model that sold last year for $40K in northern California; it had 14K miles on it.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2003, 06:45 PM
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Don't own a 560SEC, but I too would like one. My research has brought up the camshaft prob on higher mileage cars, and A/C evaporator or condenser(don't remember which one now). Both items are supposed to be pretty spendy on these cars.
But the w126 series are built like tanks, and last a long time if not rusted out. Might try an SD, or maybe a 300SE/SEL for something that'll do better on gas. The SDL has a spotty history with cracking cylinder heads. (Do a search over in the diesel forum.)
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2003, 07:09 PM
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Cam wear, climate control system, idle control box, vacuum, small electrical issues, and diligent attention to timing chain are key issues for the 560SEC/SEL and related cars.

Typically -- higher-mileage cars require replacement of chassis/suspension parts such as subframe mounts, ball joints, steering linkage, bushings, swaybar mounts, etc.

Again, with a higher-end car, with a more caring owner, more of this kind of stuff would be done, rather than being put off.

To a significant extent, it's the load of deferred maintenance that makes a 560SEC worth $7K vs. $15K.

Cheers,
Gerry
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2003, 05:11 AM
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My 1991 560 SEC with 79,000 miles has ben dead on reliable. No problems at all.

This year we entered 3 car show`s . One at MB`s headquarter`s in NJ , one in Saratoga Springs NY, First place at both. Then at the Museum of Transportation in Boston we won Best of Show.
These cars are a joy to own, but you might be better off with a newer car like a Kia or similar car.
That might hurt, but Idrove a Vega in College. Had the cylinders sleeved and put 250.000 miles on the engine in to different cars.

John
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2003, 09:09 AM
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Imagine buying a beautiful 560SEC. Now imagine what that car will look like after 4 years of college life mixed with New England winters.

Buy a beater and save up (if that is possible during higher eduacation) for an MB when you graduate.

MIke
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2003, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for all the honest advice! Thats why I like this forum. Well I guess I can cross the 560SEC off the list. It is some what of a dream car. I saw a few in my price range and thought hmmm.
Thanks for the advice I think I will just strick with the older diesels. My Camry would last me through college no problem, but I have wanted a MB for years and now am going to buy one. I hate japanese cars! Thanks rickg I am very familer with the 603? head cracking issues. They don't like to be overheated, but what engine does? Anyway here is my final list 300SDL, 300SD, or 300E/D. Thanks again!
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2003, 11:53 AM
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Thumbs up

Post pics when you get something Best of luck in your shopping
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2003, 12:31 PM
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Hatterasguy:

I think that you are making a wise choice walking away from the 560SEC at this moment. (better save your money for pizza and beer) But if you are really dead set on a MB, a well maintained older deisel could well be worth it.

My father, way back when, had a 300CD. It is also a coupe not as sporty or nearly as fast as the 560SEC but a very reliable car.

But remember, you are going to be in college and the reality is that you may be lugging around your college comrades and they may not be so nice to your car as you. Which could be a reason for getting a "disposable" car.

I also think that your insurance rates are way out there! Have you looked into getting a "Good Student Discount?" Furthermore, if you have a car that is worth 3-4k why get full coverage? Better to get the top of the line third party coverage and not pay an additional $1,500-$2,000 for the full coverage which is basically 40%-50% of the value of the car.

This is just my humble opinion.......

Iggy
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2003, 12:51 PM
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euronatura I don't have full coverage, just liability and theft. I am begining to think my insurance agent is riping me off I will look around for a better deal.

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