Date registered: May 2004
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How much should I invest?
I have a 280SE from 1971 which is in ok/bad condition but driving. I would very much aprechiate an expert opinion as to how much it is worth investing in a car like that.
Here is a "brief" summary of its condition:
- Power steering pump broken (a bearing) and a leak somewhere in the power steering system; presumably (I fear) in the steering box.
- Leak in the vacuum system. The leak is such that after turning off the engine the power locks work for about a minute, depending on wether or not I lock/unlock the door (I guess that means that at least one of the leaks is in one of the doors...)
- The engine takes some time to start, usually I have to try around 5 times. Could this be a vacuum problem? Or a fuel pump problem?
- It is probably fair to say that the exterior as well as the interior are in reasonably bad condition [:(] The windshield has a crack, one of the doors has been hit and there is rust in many places.
- Suspension is low on the rear left.
The odometer reads 36000 miles; I don't know how many times 100k I have to add. Once started, the engine runs fine, the transmission is ok, as far as I can tell (it shifts late but smoothly and reliably). Gasoline use is high (20 mpg on the highway, ca. 10 mpg downtown), but oil consumption is relatively low.
Most of the parts in the car seem to be original, including the radio [:)] but in all it does not look like a car that has been taken care for. I got it for quite cheap 2 years ago and repaired/replaced some things myself. I am far from being an experienced machanic and I have neither the tools nor the space to do major repairs (essentially, I can do things that don't take me more than 2 days and that can be done with the jack and tools that are in the car...)
I like the car, even though it is far from showroom condition. It still is a beauty, even if beaten up. But my financial situation does not allow me to dump thousands of dollars in the car and not get them back. I assume that no matter how well I get the engine to run, noone will pay more than $1000 for this car. Possibly, the offer by the state of CA ($500) will always be the highest... My fear is that if I start buying pieces to repair the things that are broken now (or have them repaired), the next big problem is just waiting around the corner.
What are the big things that could still break and how probable are they? Should I just dump the car and give it to someone who might want to part it out (you...)?
Thanks in advance for your advice!