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Old 11-13-2015, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 607
1977 280se thoughts

Have an opportunity to pick up a 77 280se on barter

Not familiar with these vehicles.

Owner claims 100,000 miles. New engine put in at 70,000
From being run with no/low oil.

Haven't seen it yet. Going tonight.

Any tips on what to check?

Common failure parts?

I have learned quite a bit about the diesels on these fora

But know next to nothing about the gas engines.

Thx gents!
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:18 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 678
PM member JeffreyNMemphis.....he knows these cars.
'89 260e (212K Mi.), '92 400e (208K Mi.), '92 400e (not a misprint) (146K Mi.), '95 C220, '81 240D--Sold
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:08 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 11,015
The valves need manual adjustment just like the diesels. If you hear a clicking from under the valve covers and the engine runs a bit rough then you will need to pull the valve cover and look at the cam and cam followers.

If they are gouged out then they will need to be replaced. If the lobes are still smooth but the followers are dished out then perhaps some new followers and a valve adjustment will be all it needs. But if a cam lobe is dug out the only cure is a cam replacement and this car has two of them.

When the engine is running if the exhaust sucks back now and then and I mean a big gulping suck then an exhaust valve is not seating like it should and is very likely burned.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:47 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 607
good to know.

I checked it out, dark out though so couldn't really see much.

paint looked look, had the hub caps with emblems. not bundt wheels.

hood foam destroyed, but should be an easy fix.

no battery, so couldn't test drive it.

will report back
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Old 11-22-2015, 10:10 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Phoenix Arizona. Ex Durban R.S.A.
Posts: 3,658
RUST. Make sure about the rust. If it's in NorCal I'm assuming it's had plenty of time to rust since 1977. Pull the carpets and if possible remove the rear seat squab. Check for rust inside the cabin and under the car. Behind the front wheels and under the car. Take a screwdriver of something with you to poke/prod the rocker panels and under the floor pans beneath the car. The underseal dries out and traps moisture between it and the metal which then proceeds to rot. Softness when you prod it is a bad thing.

It's good that it's an SE not an S as the Solex 4A1 carb on the S was a nightmare. I had one and I'll never have another. Assuming the body is structurally sound it's a great car to have. I used to do crazy speeds in mine on intercity trips back home in SA. Rather like flying a jet plane just over the surface of the earth.

The only downside in terms of it's equipment would be the chrysler screw up climate control system which they had in 77. Pity it's not the earlier manual climate controls which were car more reliable.

- Peter.
81 240D stick. 316000 miles at purchase. 342000 now
2000 GMC Sonoma
2002 Kia Rio. Worst crap on four wheels
1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
1979 116 280S
1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1971 108 280S
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Near Sublimity, Orygun
Posts: 96
These were great cars way back when. Comfortable and classy. Wife & I survived a bad collision with a city transit bus in one. Both front doors opened normally and we walked away relatively unscathed. The climate control system was trouble free, but maybe just not enough years had passed to be unreliable. don
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 607
thx for the responses.

yes, rust was a concern. unfortunately I saw the car at night and didn't have a flashlight handy.

the hood and trunk seemed to be sluggish. not sure if the springs can easily be replaced. it seemed that the hood just wanted to drop down when opened.

I may have another chance to see the car in daylight this weekend. I will take and post pics if possible.

apparently he's had it since '78.

aside from the engine replacement, doesn't seem like much has been done.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,148
Hi Jab,

Has the car been sleeping inside or outside? The windshield seals are notorious for leaking at this age. If it has been outside you may see water damage at the dashboard and hat shelf in back.

You should plan on replacing a lot of rubber bits like brake hose, coolant hose, fan belts, tires, and most importantly fuel lines. It is unfortunate how often the vintage cars catch fire when they have been brought back on the road with dry rotted fuel lines.

Can't wait to see your pictures... I love sweat equity deals.

1962 220Sb ~ The Emerald Bullet
1957 Ponton 220S

2001 S600 Daily Driver
The Universe is Abundant ~ Life is GOOD!
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