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  #1  
Old 07-30-2011, 12:38 AM
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Thinking of buying W111 or W108

Hi,

I have have been a closet-MB fan for years, but I have never owned one. I have a company car, a classic car, and a 'daily driver' that I don't drive because I have the company car. So I was thinking of replacing the daily driver with a W111 or W108/109 Benz.

I would like to know what is the ownership experience like for these cars, how much does maintenance and upkeep cost, and what to look for when buying one? I'd like to buy something that needs little or no work, although my budget is a bit limited.

I am a very skilled home mechanic, I do everything myself except for paint. I have rebuild dozens of engines, manual trannies, suspensions, even set up a few differentials, so I plan on doing all/most of the work myself.

Thanks in advance.

Csaba
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2011, 01:31 AM
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The 109's had an air suspension and were a little more plush inside, leather, different wood. The 108's were virtually the same car with MB Tex interiors and regular suspension. I would look for the best 108 SEL I could afford. Long wheel base, V/8. The Se's were a shorter wheel base and less rear seat leg room. ALWAYS LOOK FOR RUST!! or rust repair. I had a 72 280 SEL 4.5 as my only car for about 2 years. Other than lousy mileage it never failed me.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2011, 04:44 AM
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A great place to start:

http://mercedesw108w109.com/buying.html

Its a buyers guide to the 108/109 chassis. Thanks to Tom and his great site.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2011, 09:48 AM
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Thanks, I found his site yesterday, it does give great info.
bye,

Csaba


Quote:
Originally Posted by muleears View Post
A great place to start:

http://mercedesw108w109.com/buying.html

Its a buyers guide to the 108/109 chassis. Thanks to Tom and his great site.
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2011, 01:25 AM
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Looked at 2 cars, question

I drove a '65 220S with 4 speed standard tranny and a '73 280 4.5.
It is amazing how much this model evolved in just a few years!
The 220S was nice, but it was too early for me to buy something. The '73 was a total project, so I decided to look for something better.

I have a question about the automatic transmissions. Have I observed correctly that V8 cars have a 3 speed auto, and 6 cyl cars have a 4 speed auto? Any rhyme or reason on where the shifter is, floor or column? I've seen 4.5s both ways.
I've also seen auto tranny floor shifters with a reversed pattern, P is all the way back. Any reason for this?

Are the auto transmissions generally reliable and long lived?

What mileage do these cars get, both 6 cyl and V8?
Thanks,

Csaba
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2011, 09:36 AM
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I bought a W108 (1973 280 SE 4.5) last year. It has become my favorite car. I put 5000 miles on it in the last 12 months, including a 2200 mile, eight day roundtrip from MA to SC. I am amazed at how really driveable it remains almost 40 years later. It gets around 13 mpg and has been relatively trouble free. Parts seem to be widely available. As is always recommended, but the best one you can afford and have a pre-purchase inspection done.
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  #7  
Old 08-17-2011, 06:20 PM
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I would suggest determining what you want (6 or 8cyl, 2 door or 4, auto or stick) and seek out that car. You will be more satisfied in the long run.
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2011, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandor View Post
I have a question about the automatic transmissions. Have I observed correctly that V8 cars have a 3 speed auto, and 6 cyl cars have a 4 speed auto?
That is correct.

Quote:
Any rhyme or reason on where the shifter is, floor or column? I've seen 4.5s both ways.
I've also seen auto tranny floor shifters with a reversed pattern, P is all the way back. Any reason for this?
I don't know why they did it that way.

Quote:
Are the auto transmissions generally reliable and long lived?
In my experience, NO. Mercedes automatics didn't start getting good until the late 70's IMO.

Quote:
What mileage do these cars get, both 6 cyl and V8?
Thanks,

Csaba
Better than the domestics available at the same time, but by modern standards, not so great. My W114 got a pretty consistent 15-ish mpg regardless of driving style or conditions. I'm told all the gassers from this era get pretty close to the same mileage, with the 4 banger 115's only getting a little better than a V-8 108.
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2011, 11:54 PM
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Automatics

>In my experience, NO. Mercedes automatics didn't start getting good until >the late 70's IMO.

Any idea on the cost of a rebuild? Or do I just pull one from the junkyard?
Do the later ones fit? Probably not...
Thanks,

Csaba
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2011, 12:03 AM
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Shifter, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony H View Post
I would suggest determining what you want (6 or 8cyl, 2 door or 4, auto or stick) and seek out that car. You will be more satisfied in the long run.
I want you car :-) A Coupe with standard trans :-)
Unfortunately I am unlikely to afford one :-(

That is why I am looking at different cars, so I will have a better idea of what I want. The earlier 111 series cars (fintail) have much more of an 'old car' feel than the 108/109, but the latter are more 'fancy'.

I am not sure if I should hold out for an affordable Coupe (like the one that sold in Florida for $5k in great shape, just hasn't run in a long time, so it needed a total going through), or buy a nice sedan and enjoy it now.

I prefer a standard trans, but those are rather hard to find. BTW, there was a Coupe on eBay with a standard trans, and the floor shifter was a black plastic affair. Was this stock? I would have expected the thin chrome rod, like on the Pagoda SLs.
Thanks,

Csaba
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  #11  
Old 08-18-2011, 02:14 PM
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get the best you can afford. even a super shape sedan that runs nicely can chew up a few thousand in simple things like exhaust/bushings/tuneup/tires/brakes etc
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2011, 04:00 PM
Brian Ostosh
 
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If you are in my neighborhood you could test both, I prefer a 72 280SE 4.5, short, rocket, or the 64 220SE coupe, manual, econo, fast, classy
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2011, 04:56 PM
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Transmissions

The rebuild on mine only cost about 700 bucks but there were mitigating factors. Figure on about two grand. I did not have good luck with the junkyard unit I bought.
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Anyone who thinks a 300D is fast drives too slow.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 360,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 28,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
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  #14  
Old 08-18-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwostosh View Post
If you are in my neighborhood you could test both, I prefer a 72 280SE 4.5, short, rocket, or the 64 220SE coupe, manual, econo, fast, classy
I am in Texas, so it'd be a long drive :-) But thanks anyways.

BTW, is the '64 Coupe a fintail? I ask because in '64 a sedan would still be a fintail, but I have never seen a fintail Coupe.
Did MB adopt the Coupe's rear end treatment when they changed from the 111 to the 108/109 cars?
Thanks,

Csaba
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