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1984 280se w126
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi im in Australia so all prices below are in AUD (or dollerie-doos)
I just bought my 1st merc, a w126 280SE 1984. I have been looking for something for a while, missed out out on a couple of v8s but this 6cyl came up and i think it was a good buy. Fingers crossed.

It was traded to a local dealer and sold as traded i watched them drop the price 1k every 2 weeks from 7k to 4k. I offered them 2k today and they took it, they just wanted it out of the yard i think. Im hoping it was an ok decision!? I'll list pros and cons and you can tell me:

Pros:
-115000ks
-ALL electrics work: mirrors, sunroof, all windows, air, antenna motor, cruise.
-no noises or wierd feeling in steering
-brakes feel great, no shudder or noise.
-mercedes (factory?) Sheep skin covers front and back, im thinking factory because seats and armrests are in amazing condition, maybe been on its whole life!
-starts great everytime
-It was only $2k

Cons:
-not a v8 :)
-peeling paint on rear bar
-dash is cracked, badly. has a cover on but theres no coming back.
-cold idles a bit lumpy (hoping leads?)
-paint overall is faided and matte. (I was always willing to respray, no biggie)
-has some very minor rust near the rear winow seal /boot. Also will ivestigate.
- it was still $2k

Will be sending for service/tune this week and will get abnormallities diagnosed. Will update if anyones interested. Also it has an 'Elagance' shifter, was this a trim option?
It will never be a show car but hopefully something fun to play with, tidy up and cruise on the weekends when its too cold to ride. I'll keep digging through the FAQs but in the meantime let me know if ive bought a solid project or any mistakes you or others made early on so i dont!
All advice welcome, my experience is mostly bikes so far! Id love tips on where to start ater a full service and clean up to see where im at. Cant wait to start.

I will now attempt to post photos
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1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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5,461 Posts
G'day & Welcome to BenzWorld!

You'll have some fun with your new charge I am sure..

Tons of info on this site for you..

MBL
 

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1986/1990 W126
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16,961 Posts
Oh nice. And welcome.

Someone has fitted that shifter from a later Merc.

There will be a rusty window lip on the rear window there. It's really common. Open the boot and look upwards into those circular holes to see how it looks under there.
It's all fixable.

There's a rust thread on here, have a look at that I would and you can check those items on the car when you get around to it.

Personally I love the 280 motor, Its a traditional MB gem of a six cylinder.

Hope you have fun with it. Love the white and blue too.
 

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Get all new tuneup parts , correct mb non resistor plugs , leads , coil , distributor cap and rotor . These cars eat tuneup parts every 30k

use por15 or similar rust converter on the rust .

that paint may actually polish out very nicely but may need a color sanding

take off the chrome wheel arches they are aftermarket and trap rust

the radio and shifter are parts from a newer Benz
 

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1986/1990 W126
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16,961 Posts
Yes if it's original paint it will buff right up.
 
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1984 280se w126
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Get all new tuneup parts , correct mb non resistor plugs , leads , coil , distributor cap and rotor . These cars eat tuneup parts every 30k

use por15 or similar rust converter on the rust .

that paint may actually polish out very nicely but may need a color sanding

take off the chrome wheel arches they are aftermarket and trap rust

the radio and shifter are parts from a newer Benz
Thanks, just ordered por15, will track down and original shifter too.
 

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1989 300SE 239k miles
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2,355 Posts
Hmmmmm…. Wonder how they put that shifter in… You’ll find info on that in the r129 forum. The original years had the shifter that should be in your car. The later years have the shifter that is in your car. They mount and replace totally differently. And there are people there that swapped them.

Just because those seat covers have the MB logo doesn’t mean they’re MB. But that’s the “I don’t like seat or steering wheel covers” in me being critical. If you like them, enjoy.

I’ve only owned the in-line 6 cylinders in my MB’s. They’re responsive, pretty indestructible, and I love the balance they offer.

If that mileage is in km’s, my car has 4x’s as much. So you have a lot of years left. And these engines chew up plugs and distributors and rotors.
 

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1982 MERCEDES 280SE AUSTRALIAN DELIVERED RHD
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170 Posts
Hi Bp,

I bought my 82 280SE from a restorer in Bendigo for $1k, who sold it as "too nice to wreck".

Brought it to NSW & here's what was done:

Was given the name of an MB specialist & had to wait for them to come back from xmas break.

They agreed to have a look at the car but not commence upon anything without my ok - here's the list:

Few globes (knew about that)
4 new tyres @ @100ea = $400 (knew about that)
Wiper brush assembly (original price $280, dropped to half on enquiry)
Gear lever bush
Rear brake hose (nipped on outside rubber but not leaking)
Flush brake system
Window motor 2cnd hand ($160)
Hydraulic pump reseal
Hydraulic fluid
Nitrogen cell x 2 $500
Battery Clamp
Blue slip

So, nothing earth shattering except nitrogen cells, which I knew nothing about, and it wasn't the switch for the drivers window it was a faulty motor. Total cost $2,805.00 including $440 labour & Fed government tax.

It was ready in 10 days, all old parts were on a desk for me to look at. Also a free Merc calendar.....

Comments on necessity & cost are welcome.

They also claimed to have done the following for free:

Front wheels are mag wheels & they said touching handbrake shoes - rotated to rear, rear wheels to front & test, remove/supply & fit new handbrake shoes. Handbrake shoes (worn) were on display.

Washed & covid disinfected the car, nice & clean on pick-up. Always a good sign, I always found being given back a dirty car was a sign of sloppy work.

In the boss's opinion it is "a nice car, with a few more dollars it will be a really good one".


I'd repaint under the bumper on yours, the paint looks to just flaking but you may find more when you get into it.

NB: I see rust bubbling up under the rear window, follow the boot line where someone is pointing and you'll see a bubble of rust, and more as you go around the window line. I'd take the window out & have that repaired, there's a good youtube on a 280 donated (In Tassie too) to a restorer & they start with the back window.

When you get time, I'd love to know how your aircon & blower works, yours is the same as mine but mine doesn't doesn't blow air through the open vents, no matter how I set up the buttons.

Good luck with the car, pics are great & I've enjoyed lots of good help from this forum, you chose the right place !
 

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1984 280se w126
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When you get time, I'd love to know how your aircon & blower works, yours is the same as mine but mine doesn't doesn't blow air through the open vents, no matter how I set up the buttons.
Ignition? Noticed my key has to be in the perfect position and all air will stop if its moved slightly.
Just an observation.
Thanks for all of your info. Will def be coming back to your post when i need to!
 

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1989 300SE 239k miles
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2,355 Posts
Ignition? Noticed my key has to be in the perfect position and all air will stop if its moved slightly.
Just an observation.
Thanks for all of your info. Will def be coming back to your post when i need to!
This is a hidden but known thing. It’s common across MB’s of this time period. I first came across it when working on an r107. Where the AC stops working with movement of the key in the ignition. You need to replace the ignition starter switch.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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16,961 Posts
Yes the weight of bunches of keys kills the switch in the end.
My little Citroen started gliding gracefully to a halt after corners at about 80k miles, turned out it was the same thing! Took me a while to figure that out.
 

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1982 MERCEDES 280SE AUSTRALIAN DELIVERED RHD
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170 Posts
Thank you all for ignition mention, yes weight of keys does eventually wear a gap in the ignition that breaks the circuit. Learned that the hard way on a left-hand curve on a steep hill, the power just cut & I had to fight the wheel to make the curve, coasted down the hill & luckily there was no on-coming traffic, so I could cross the road & stop at a service station. Lucky.

There is no power to fans in the console when playing with switches, the only thing that works is demist, which works fine. To my mind that means power, and all should work especially when the key is in "right" position (it it a tight fit with no play whatsoever). Someone was kind enough to mention having all vents open which has been done, but still only demist works no matter what combination of buttons are pressed. Being a RH drive I haven't worked out which fuses are odds or even, the manual says those heading one way but that is for LH steering. It would help to know if the fuses nearest radiator are odd or even, that would eliminate doubt. I've twiddled the fuses with my one good hand, will probably (when I have time) replace all the fuses, but it must be something else.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Odd or even?
 

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1989 300SE 239k miles
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2,355 Posts
Only demist means a vacuum leak in the climate control vacuum system. This is the system that controls direction of airflow through the vents. When there is a problem, the system defaults to defrost (demist). This keeps your windshield clear, which is the highest priority.

To fix this, you’ll need to track down and repair any and all leaks.
 

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1982 MERCEDES 280SE AUSTRALIAN DELIVERED RHD
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Odd or even?
Fuses are listed as odd one side, even the other, in the coffin box. From the manual "Starting at the engine side and moving outwards, RH row odd numbers 1,3,5,7 and so on. LH row is 2,4,6,8 etc".

That's fine. The picture, though, is a LH steering vehicle. Standing at LH guard/fender with radiator on the left/front.

So is it simply mirrored, or rotated ? If it is mirrored, then the front fuses (closest to radiator/front) will be even - 2,4,6,8 etc.
 

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1991 500SEC 55K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 153K mi. 2020
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5,461 Posts
Fuses are listed as odd one side, even the other, in the coffin box. From the manual "Starting at the engine side and moving outwards, RH row odd numbers 1,3,5,7 and so on. LH row is 2,4,6,8 etc".

That's fine. The picture, though, is a LH steering vehicle. Standing at LH guard/fender with radiator on the left/front.

So is it simply mirrored, or rotated ? If it is mirrored, then the front fuses (closest to radiator/front) will be even - 2,4,6,8 etc.
I totally hear what you are saying, but I doubt MB would have 'mirrored' the fuses LHD/RHD...Just too confusing I feel..

Thanks to your fellow Aussie W116/126Guy, there is a fusebox diagram posted for your car.
280se & 380se fusebox charts

I hope that sheds light for you..

MBL
 

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1982 MERCEDES 280SE AUSTRALIAN DELIVERED RHD
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170 Posts
I totally hear what you are saying, but I doubt MB would have 'mirrored' the fuses LHD/RHD...Just too confusing I feel..

Thanks to your fellow Aussie W116/126Guy, there is a fusebox diagram posted for your car.
280se & 380se fusebox charts

I hope that sheds light for you..

MBL
Thanks to both, yes that makes sense, have changed fuse 10 on "both" sides & still nothing but a faint breeze, so probably as per isthenew's advice. I'll try the horn fuse one day & that will settle it...
 
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