W116 vs W114 - advice? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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W116 vs W114 - advice?


I've been weighing this question up for a long time, and am finally getting close to a decision.

I'm looking at buying an old Benz as a daily driver. Not doing huge milage or anything, but need something to reliably get me there and back. I'm not expecting completely trouble or cost free motoring - if I was, I'd buy a two year old Japanese car. So, please avoid the comments along the lines of "go buy a W124".

Fuel economy is not a huge issue.

This is probably at the top of the list. I know that the carbs cause problems - but how bad are they? I've basically been told not to touch a carburetor fed example. I have a low milage (just under 100,000 miles), fully serviced, great condition example in my sights. These are cheap cars to buy, I love the shape.

Does anyone own a 250 or 280 that I could have a chat with?

Pros: Cheap to buy, love the look, plenty around that fit the bill.
Cons: Hard to find an injected example, carbs cause problems, under powered.

I'm quite keen on the idea of a W116, would look at both 280s and 450s. Probably the most reliable of all my choices. However, it seems as good as impossible to find one in a decent colour combination - I don't want thistle green, and I don't want a tan interior - this limits my options considerably.

Pros: Plentiful. Fuel injected, and even in 2.8 form, there's enough power. Fully optioned - cruise control, sunroof, etc, are all there. Relatively modern, well engineered car.
Cons: Heavy on fuel. Hard to find a decent colour combination. Definitely the least classic in appearance. Possibly a little large (not a huge problem though).

Basically, I'd love to hear people's opinions - I'm returning to Australia in a month, and have driven a W116, but not a W114.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 01:26 AM
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I have a W116. It isn't a daily driver, I use my W124 for that. the W116 is a VERY underestimated Benz so you'll be able to find a really reasonably priced one. Just watch out for rust on the door bottoms a la W108.

P.S.: Don't be put offf by the Solex...it's not easy to work on but not impossible!

Last edited by Benz in Brazil; 11-19-2008 at 01:29 AM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 08:36 AM
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W114 vs. W116


I've had both. They are very different beasts. The W114 is nimble and taught while the W116 is more of a handful but a lot less difficult to drive than people expect.

The W114 has a very different style and while stable, does not offer the more advanced front suspension of the W116. OTOH I find that W116s have tires that are too small for their weight. Both cars rust but in different ways - in both cases, a little bit of rust means a lot of hidden rust...

Otherwise, it is much a matter of taste. I have lived fairly happily with the Zenith 35/40s of the W114 AFTER rebuilding them. A fuel injected W114 is going to be D-jet - a potentially expensive proposition in terms of maintenance. On a W116, get fuel injection. If you really want minimal maintenance, get a diesel but be ready to be cut off by Fiat Pandas

You really must drive a W114 to decide. Over the years, I had concluded that the W114 was a bit "dull" while the W116 a bit "loud" in its looks. A matter of taste. Given a choice for reliable daily transportation, I'd buy a bare bones, no frill 300SD or 220D.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 10:33 AM
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116 or 114?

Sound, reasonable advice from Diespora. Question: if the W116 has too small tires, what can one do to "improve" that situation? Bigger wheels and tires? If so, where do you get them and what will fit the 116?
Garland, Texas, USA
Actually, when I bought my '78 280SE, I thought the tires/wheels looked a bit small for the car (which, by the way, I love!).
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Well, my search for a W116 that fits the bill seems fruitless, yet I still have a lovely, 100,000 mile, 'tangerine' (orange) with ivory interior, 76 model W114 280 in my sights, that has full history, all the original books, air con and power steering.

I'm really, really keen to buy this car, and I probably will.

Thanks for your thoughts, particularly Denis - the carburetor issue doesn't phase me as much as it should - personally, I'm of the impression that carb'd old cars tend to present less trouble than FI old cars, and if things get really bad, you can always put some Webers on that'll do the trick.

Aesthetically, I prefer the W114 - it's more 'classic' than the 116. Ideally, I'd have a W108, but I fear it'll cause me more grief than either of these two.

Fingers crossed this orange W114 checks out!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-25-2008, 09:42 AM
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Check the W114 for rust throroughly. A decent handling car than the W116 due to the weight and I think one of the best interior layouts since it's a basic and yet functional design.

If you get it please do post photos!

1977 - W116 - 6.9
1974 - W115 - 240D /8 - 4(M) OM617.910 + Turbo + 300D FW - Completed 7/8/10
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 05:21 AM
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W116 wheels/tires

Hi folks,

Re : Beverly Sharp's question : look for classic rims of the era : AMG and Lorinser come to mind. I once had a 350SE with a set of italian rims that were quite nice and made especially for the W116; they were 8x16 with 225/50x16 tires and ET11. Make sure that the ET is 11 or more.

Also check what fits the W126 - most resonable sizes are the same on both cars.

Good luck

Lion sur Mer
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 02:58 AM
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If you re entering OZ,Look for a good W114 280 E ,it's a 130 MPH rocket. The Americans never got them so they don't know what they missed. Unfortunately they are also a real Cult car in OZ nowadays so the best ones fetch top money. I don't bother looking at W116's unless they are 6.9's and the present economic crap going on they're plentiful and reasonbly priced by desperate sellers.

I still have my fully rebuilt 280SE 3.5 ... [:-)]
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 07:14 PM
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I have owned a 1973 280 W114 for 20 years. It has 140,000 miles and is driven occasionally. I have never worked on the carb, other than the accelerator pump diaphram and a dash pot. I also own a 1974 280C which was not Solexes in the trunk. I bought a kit for the Solex and rebuilt with the best parts from the two carbs. It now runs well. Only problem with both carbs are the need to pump the accelerator several times before starting if it is not started for several days. These cars are fun to drive but do not get good mileage - 15 to 20.

1973 280 W114 (Driver - 140,000 miles)
1974 280C W114 (Now running - driven off and on this summer)
1968 200D (Engine rebuild planned)
1964 200 (gasser parts car) & 1966 200D (complete car - Got to run. Now to see if clutch can be repaired.)
1980 300D W123 (Parts car - engine runs, but trashed)
1981 240D W123 4 speed ( In sad shape when bought - many parts from '80 300D has back on the road. Needs work, but shows promise.)
1988 300TE W124 (Does not run. 180,000)
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 01:21 AM
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it depends on which model and how much you enjoy driving. after owning 6.9 for a few weeks, i cannot imagine not driving this magnificent machine, it's so addictive.
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