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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I recently came into the favor of owning a 1986 560SEL. It has 150k miles and the body and interior are in perfect condition. Like any 26 year old vehicle, there are plenty of maintenance issues waiting to be addressed. I brought it into a shop today and here is a rundown on what they told me:

- Rear shock absorbers – The front were recently replaced, but I’m quoted on $330/ea for the two back ones
- Main steering gear box – this is leaking steering fluid, replacing the box costs $600
- Transmission box hose - $30
- Drive belts – 4 of them in total
- Diverter belt - $42
- Valve adjustment
- Spark plugs - $4/ea
- Rear brakes & rotors

I figured I’d need to put at least $1-2k on getting it fixed up, but want to make sure I get the big issues covered first. I’m thinking of taking care of everything except the rear shock absorbers and steering gear box. What do you guys think, any suggestions as I work on my first benz?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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1984 500SEC Euro: Midnight Blue w/ Cream Interior
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236 Posts
Do you know if the timing chain job was done in the past? If that has not been addressed it will need to be checked on to at least see how much the chain has stretched and the condition of the plastic guide rails. If that chain jumps time all those other repairs will be the least of your worries.

It is a flip of the coin if it was taken care of by 150k miles. My car had 146k and it had not been replaced. Just got to take the valve covers off and have a look.
 

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'87 560SEC: '86 AMG 560SEC: '87 560SEL - PAST: Heckflosse 190 & 230S
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+1 on Timing Chain

At 150K miles - confirming that the timing chain, upper rails, cam oiler plastic bits have all been renewed, would be my top priority (other than safety issues).

To test if they know their stuff, I'd ask what spark plugs they intend to put in ? But by saying they'll 'adjust the valves', I might look for a shop experienced with these cars. SEE: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s-se-sec-sel-sd/1396083-adjusting-hydraulic-adjusters-lifters.html#post3046988

Steering box - how do they know it's not just a seal/gasket ?
SEE: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s-se-sec-sel-sd/1641606-steering-gear-box-rebuild-replace.html#post5160271

Assuming yours is a US version, the rear does not use conventional shocks, but rather a hydraulic 'Self Leveling System (SLS).

Before shelling-out money to a mechanic, you'll want to learn how to avail yourself of the "search" function(s) for this forum. These are old cars, so the majority of stuff has been pretty well covered over the years. And research could save you mass $$$$'s

Welcome ! :)
 

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The 560 has SLS hydraulic struts in the rear and standard shocks up front. The SLS struts rarely go bad, but they can. You need to verify if they are leaking or what they found that warrants their replacement. Often times, it's only the rear accumulator spheres that go bad. They are nitrogen filled, and over time leak and causes a hard drive.
The nitrogen spheres are much cheaper than buying new hydraulic struts but be sure to use genuine spheres as the aftermarket ones don't last as long.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Appreciate the quick feedback. I’ll mention the timing chain while they look at the valve covers. Definitely will pass on the steering box until investigating further. Haven’t had any problems with the handling and it only has a slight oversteer to the right. Unfortunately I don’t have the service history on the car and am going in blind on these repairs… vulnerable place!

The noticeable problems driving the car were:
- Squeaking on startup after sitting overnight
- Clicking noise during acceleration
- Oil fume in cabin after 10+ min

Despite a few glaring mechanical problems, everything I’ve seen from the carfax to the rest of the ride has been very clean. I'm happy to spend what's necessary to bring it closer to ideal. I'll have them look at the suspension closer to see about replacing the nitrogen spheres instead. Anyway, you guys are super helpful and the “search” is only a click away. Time to research the ideal spark plug... Any other advice for a new owner let me know.

Thanks,
Steve
 

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1988 560SL (California Model)
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Unfortunately I don’t have the service history on the car and am going in blind on these repairs… vulnerable place!
Definately the timing chain, guides, cam oilers and tensioner. You'll sleep better at night. Would guess in the $1200-1600 range at an indy...much more at the dealer.
 

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1998 S420; 1990 560 SEL; 1988 300SE
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Clicking noise....bad cam?
 
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