it must be the season for HP PS hoses to go west...
Yeah, it was sitting in the Mojave desert for 2 years unmoved. Now that she's running every day, the warts are starting to show...
Like the leaves...
Oh yeah Henry - When you get one the first thing you should do is check for leaves down in between the firewalls. They collect there since there are two firewalls and it is not open to the ground much there. So they collect there over the years and on the drivers side under the Brake Master Cylinder. Under there is a A/C resister that can glow red hot.
Red hot wire+dried leaves=ENGINE FIRE on New Hears Day with your new GF in the car!
1st thing when you get it home is clean the leaves out of there. One of us will tell you/show you where to look and clean.
2nd thing to do is to get a good Halon Fire Extinguisher and KEEP IT HANDY. Know how to use it and make it second nature. If you get to the fanatical point that some of us are, we have the true Euro extinguishers mounted to the front of our seats like in Europe. Mine was not mounted yet, but it was close by. Get one and do not bury it. You can get one from Performance Products for like a hundred bucks...
Also, get a few of those little screwdrivers with the magnets on the end. The little tiny ones. Everything in a Mercedes starts pretty much by taking your little screwdriver out and sticking into somewhere and then that pops out or off and that starts the process of dis-assembly. The entire door panel starts by sticking your little screwdriver into the plastic piece behind the door pull. Pops off and your remove the screw behind. Same for the rear int panels. LSD into the window switch reveals the handle screw that needs to come out.
Big toolbox yes, but you need LSD's (Little Screw Drivers), Several.
If you are going to do your own work I would subscribe to EPC for 12.95 a year. You put your VIN in there and it will tell you every part number for your particular car. WIS you can get off eBay for like 25.00. That is all of the service manuals on disk.
I have the Electrical manual which I am scanning into PDF format and I think Ross knows the link to it online... (Ross?)
Like everyone has said, find a good mechanic FIRST.... One you can trust. That is invaluable. And when you start really looking at cars, be objective. It's like looking for a wife, because you are going to put out a significant investment in her and you will be spending a lot of time with her and you want that relationship to be a good one. Sounds corny, but it's true.
When you find a car, have your camera, take some pics and post them here. We'll all go over it, tell you what we think, maybe give you some questions to go back with, and perhaps tell you if we have seen or know that car. It's a small and tight community here and everyone tried to help out.