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1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo Diesel
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings! I've been offered a lovely 1997 500SEL. I don't know anything about this model. I was hoping to get advice and an idea about any possible hidden issues or potential time bombs associated with this model. I am a proud owner of diesel w123 and looking to get a second car. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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22,007 Posts
I’m no w140 expert, but became enamored with the chassis after owning and driving a 1993 300se. I know the 1996-1998 m119 r129 are supposed to be some of the best years to own since they have both the m119 and the 722.6 transmission, I believe same as the 1997 5.0 w140. So that’s a good starting point IMO.

The plastics of the age are pretty delicate and many parts on an r129 will break when you look at them the wrong way, but most of the biodegradable wiring harness parts should have been phased out by 1997 i the believe. A 1998 or 1999 w140 might make me feel more comfortable with that respect, but again, I’m no w140 expert.
 

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Premium Member
1997 C140 S500, 2003 CLK430 Cab, 2005 E320 4MATIC Wagon
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110 Posts
The W140 is a solid reliable automobile if it has been maintained. With age items will deteriorate (plastics, rubber, etc.) get a PPI from a Mercedes shop and you will be aware of what if anything requires immediate attention and what can wait. The biodegradable wiring harness is not an issue after 1996; however, the wires to the outside mirrors maintained the wiring and need to be shrink wrapped before they fail.
 

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Greetings! I've been offered a lovely 1997 500SEL. I don't know anything about this model. I was hoping to get advice and an idea about any possible hidden issues or potential time bombs associated with this model. I am a proud owner of diesel w123 and looking to get a second car. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Wiring issues are abundant as the insulation crumbles when you touch them
 

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Registered
1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo Diesel
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The W140 is a solid reliable automobile if it has been maintained. With age items will deteriorate (plastics, rubber, etc.) get a PPI from a Mercedes shop and you will be aware of what if anything requires immediate attention and what can wait. The biodegradable wiring harness is not an issue after 1996; however, the wires to the outside mirrors maintained the wiring and need to be shrink wrapped before they fail.
Thank you!
 

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W140 Moderator
"CHRIS" Merc 92 600SEL / Sold > 93 600SE / 93 S500 / 89 560SEL / 413CDI / B180-CDI /A170-CDI
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7,533 Posts
Greetings! I've been offered a lovely 1997 500SEL. I don't know anything about this model. I was hoping to get advice and an idea about any possible hidden issues or potential time bombs associated with this model. I am a proud owner of diesel w123 and looking to get a second car. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
If it is a 97 W140 ,it cant be a 500SEL but an S500 . This model does NOT suffer from Biodegradable Wiring except side mirrors .
AC Evaporator could be the only problem on this car , Ask seller if it has been repaired . Other then that just look out for how the car has been maintained . That year model is pretty solid if you overlook the way Mercedes downgraded the quality parts installed on later models to save money . Nothing to big ,like Chrome parts on earlier models to later models receiving Plastic parts like Ashtray / rear trunk handle etc .... .
 

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Premium Member
'97 CL600
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2,854 Posts
Harness problems solved with the '97's? Not in my case. I ended up with a new harness in my '97 CL600 because while they changed all 40-50 wires over they DIDN'T change the 6 coax cables in my harness. One of them had a disintegrated outer covering and shorted out. Try though we may, we couldn't find a replacement coax.
Was I just unlucky or have all the '96 and up harnesses used the old coax?
Anziani
 

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1993 W140 S 500
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I know this is an old thread, just wanted to say that I own a ‘93 W140. Had it for 9 years now with no issues other than the air conditioning not working. They were the “ King of the road”. Just don’t build them like they used to.
 
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