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Old 02-06-2004, 06:47 PM
WANT '71 280SEL's Avatar
I'll Go Upside Your Head!
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,378
I am going to look at 420SEL w/ 140k miles

Tomorrow night I am going to look at an '87 420SEL with 146k miles. It is located in Chicago. My dad just spoke with the mechanic at an indy there named Carlos, my dad is suppose to call the mechanic back becasue Carlos said he wants to look through the paperwork. So far Carlos won't tell us what it needs or anything simply because he has a good customer. The car is a company car and it sounds as if this company has quite a bit of business with this mechanic. What should I look for specifically when looking at this car. I know about the guide rails and that is the main reason that w called this Carlos guy. The name of the indy is C&H Auto?

2000 Honda Accord V6 137k miles

1972 300SEL 4.5 98k miles

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Old 02-06-2004, 09:32 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 681
make sure the srs and all the other idiot lights come on before starting the car. many an srs bulb has been pulled to fix a problem. good luck, chuck.
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:53 PM
wbain5280's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Northern Va.
Posts: 3,386
Timing chain guides, maybe a chain, tensioner, water pump?, check the tie rods, ball joints, brake rotors and listen for some rumbling noises in the front end. It could mean bushing time and those suckers are big.

I'm going to have to replace the bushings and ball joints soon.


Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL


Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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Old 02-07-2004, 12:28 AM
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I used to own a 420SEL. Leaks Leaks Leaks, check for leaks. Trans, headgasket, oil pan, rear seal...all these are prone to leak after several years. As far as rust, the most common I've seen is on the side of the car where the front bumper meets the quarter panel. Also I can't emphasize the transmission enough.

Good luck
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Old 02-07-2004, 12:39 AM
fahrgewehr2's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 1,264
Most overlook the front end when checking out a used car. There are some pricey items up front such as the brake strap bushings (track rod mounts) and uppers ball joints. If the front end hasn't been touched, budget $1000 for a front end rebuild. New shocks will run you a few hundred dollars; more if you don't do them yourself.

AC will be at least $1500 if it doesn't blow cold. CC control panel is a few hundred (the pushbutton face). If the sunroof doesn't pop up you are lookin at $200 per lifting angle. There are 2 and it is a big job. If it needs new tires, budget $400. If it hasn't had a valve job, it will need one- or at least new seals. Top end on the V8s is much pricier than the inlines. Also, you will need to worry about chain breakage. I stopped by the local shop to pick up a buld the other day. In his bay was a 420sel. Had 60k on the clock and was getting new valve guides. They were shot.

If you want this car to be 'right,' it might take big dollars.


ps- on your test drive, go in a parking lot and turn the car hard and load up the joints in various ways. Loose joints often won't show up unless you load them up enough.
'90 300SE 298k
-300K and it gets put into retirement.
'80 300D 255k Purchased new by family in 1980.

Had a:
1973 220 (gas)
1980 300SD
1992 400E
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