Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
1990 300SE
Joined
·
275 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How long do these W126s last? More specifically the 560SEL. Can the engine and transmission be expected to be running smooth up and above 250k, 500k+ miles?
 

·
Registered
1984 500SEL
Joined
·
91 Posts
Really all about maintenance. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying. The 560 is the biggest engine of the bunch, but I've had numerous W126 that were 6 cylinders still running nice and strong at 250K. It's not the engine/trans that start going it's the stuff around it. Electrical crap, the alternator/water pump, etc... My current car, a 1984 500SEL has only 144,xxx on it and the transmission is starting to slip a bit, with shifting into 2 gear getting a bit more difficult. However, I've only owned her for a year so no idea what king of upkeep she experienced before. I have heard that the trannies start going between 200 and 250K on the earlier models (pre 90) but have no way to confirm or deny that.
 

·
Registered
Two '87 570SECs, one '87 560SEL
Joined
·
4,477 Posts
My '87 560SEL is at 255K miles and is going strong. Tranny died five years ago and it's had some minor problems generally related to old hard o-rings but is a great car. I rebuilt the front suspension in 2003 and it needs lower ball joints now, which for me is a DIY job.

I get the exorbitant rate of 13-14mpg in town and around 18mpg on the highway (80-85mph) but this isn't a gas mileage car. It's a gorgeous car that is incredibly safe, and it's paid for. A friend just bought a used Prius for $17,000 and is bragging about his 52mpg. Until my gas bill gets anywhere near his loan payment, "frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn".
 

Attachments

·
Registered
280S long weelbase
Joined
·
21 Posts
Thers is no dubt that w126 is the most reliable Mercedes benz was made. My friends 280se worked 950 thousand km and its engine is standard and not rebuild . just cylinder head rebuild
My 280s is too. not rebuild even cylinder head .
Of course I heard 560 and 500 (m117 ) that has nikasil cylinder must rebuild each 300 000 km . Does it true ?
 

·
Registered
1990 300SE
Joined
·
275 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, guys! Makes me feel confident in my 420SEL since it's a much less complex car than the 560SEL. So as long as I correctly maintain my W126, it should last quite a long while to come? Sounds great!

My dad has always loved the W126, previously owning two 560SELs, and I've caught the W126 bug as well, with my 420SEL. :p

We've been looking around for a second W126, a 560SEL this time, so I wanted to know what the life expectancy of these vehicles were and what I'm getting myself into. Thanks, everyone, Benzworld is fantastic. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
'87 560SEC: '86 AMG 560SEC: '87 560SEL - PAST: Heckflosse 190 & 230S
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
longevity spot-check

Thought it would be interesting to sort current 560's on eBay by their mileage (highest 1st). One assumes these are all still-running cars ;)

Got 205K + change on one of my SECs now.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
91 560 sel

How long do these W126s last? More specifically the 560SEL. Can the engine and transmission be expected to be running smooth up and above 250k, 500k+ miles?
just passed 181,000 although just went thru a major batch of repairs, trans rebuilt AC rebuilt, pods, EHA, cruise, timing chain, rr axle, lots of suspension parts, speakers, Now - runs amazing. Solid.
 

·
Registered
Too many to list
Joined
·
9,014 Posts
These cars need repair just like any other old car -and at this age they need lots of maintenance , way more than any modern car . At least $500-1500 a year in maintenance and repair

The tranny usually needs to rebuild at 200-250k miles

the difference is that most Mercedes owners are willing to spend on major repairs , replace a tranny , etc while other cars get junked . Partially because the cars look so good even when aged whole other cars look like they're falling apart at 25 years old
 

·
SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
Joined
·
14,320 Posts
I can't agree with the more maintenance thing. The modern car = no maintenance thing works for some people, but you have to be lucky I think. In my experience modern cars have to go to the garage all the time.

My boss and me have an amusing thing going where he thinks I should buy a modern hatchback. (Seriously, like i need one.) The amusing thing is he uses me as transport for when his new car goes to the garage, so I know exactly how often he has to go... His last Audi A5 coupe, what a nightmare that was from new. Continual visits to the workshop for various issues/rattles/leaks/warning lights, some of which were never resolved so had to be put up with. Sold the car in the end, a week later - new engine needed :(

He's now on a 4 series hardtop convertible, which is a bit better but has had to go the garage quite a lot and its not even a year old yet. The side panels filled up with water recently and it started spilling out at the rear side window seals into the interior. Had to be low-loadered away due to electrical risks! The other week it needed the electronics replaced in the roof as they broke. Meh, its a pain in the arse.

We have a new car every three years at work and I've been here for 12 years, every one of those bar one, has been a pain in the arse. They all basically started and worked, but there were hesitations, electrical problems, broken air con that was never the same again even when repaired, continual trips to the garage and having to get the train home.
Of course, its not always the case - the Citroen Berlingo we just got rid of needed a total of one headlamp bulb in that whole lease time. Fantastic and completely problem free.

"Its all covered on the agreement" says my boss and the lease company, but what they aren't taking into account is how much bloody time you have to spend dropping the bloody thing off.

I met a guy who was selling his Audi 3l diesel. It was on its THIRD new engine! In about as many years.... Not even the Japanese cars are trustworthy any more, the most ridiculous and hugely expensive problems seem to be common now. (The Nissan Qashqai over here would be a good example.)

I have to say I don't have any of these problems with my cars, they've been fantastic. With these its probably more about catching up with the stuff nobody bothered to do. Deferred maintenance, so again partly luck of the draw. There are big ticket items at certain ages too I guess, but big ticket items on these seem to pale in comparison to the modern stuff with dealer rates etc and so little DIY possible.
 

·
Registered
Too many to list
Joined
·
9,014 Posts
Not only is it catching up with deferred maintenance , things like distributor cap rotor and plugs need replacement every 20/30k Miles on a w126 but almost every modern car gets 100k+ out of the original plugs , and no cap and rotor anymore since cars are distributor less .

Then you have all the rubber hoses and vaccuum lines needing replacement in the w126, timing chain , suspension bushings , etc Etc. most modern cars under 10 years old will not need these things for a long time , while the w126 is 25-30 years old probably overdue for their replacement of all these things . It gets very costly very quickly
 

·
SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
Joined
·
14,320 Posts
The distributor cap etc stuff would most definitely hold true for the M103. Not for the V8's though if genuine parts are used. 100k is easily possible. I just changed the wires on my SE, looked to be original to me, same with the dizzy cap. Very old and MB, nothing actually wrong with them I just thought it was due. Just as well they last so long, not cheap!

Suspension, I am seeing rusted suspension arms needing replacement on cars as young as 7 years here. I drove a 2010 Civic recently and it sounded clonky just like my old 200k miles SEC - in need of front end work! 70k miles I think on that one, elderly driver. It needs all new rubber at the front.
My SE has had a control arm on one side and new shocks all round at about 140k miles. Cheap as chips to do.
Otherwise all original rubber, and rides beautifully. (I've cut the springs and adjusted the height though.)

You do seem to have a lot of vacuum problems in the US. I have come to think it must be the heat? Its all I can think of, we just don't get the same problems here in the same way. Timing chain is a bargain compared to many, not to mention the frequency.

Just consider me not sold! :)

Personally I just worry that do-gooders will prevent me using it as sensibly as I do, one day in the not too distant future. This will be sad for me.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL, '04 S2000, '99 LS400, '90 244DL
Joined
·
66 Posts
I just got my 1988 560 SEL last month, but I've caught up on some overdue maintenance and she drives like a dream. Has 319,000km on it (about 198,000miles) and you don't feel it. All of the electronics work, from the rear powered sunshade to the electrical antenna.

It needed some TLC (fluids, etc), it has a minor power steering fluid leak, and it burns a little bit of oil.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SL (California Model)
Joined
·
5,104 Posts
You do seem to have a lot of vacuum problems in the US. I have come to think it must be the heat? Its all I can think of, we just don't get the same problems here in the same way.
Heat and for some of us humidity or the lack of. During the summer months here it's not uncommon for temps to be 110F or greater with the humidity in the 4-5% range. Dry rot can be a big problem. You wouldn't think it would effect rubber parts like vacuum connectors but it takes its toll. I agree with you that heat/heat cycles is likely the number one suspect.
 

·
SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
Joined
·
14,320 Posts
Ha, its going to be 30 celcius here in the next few days and we are preparing.... :)

You'd think they tested all this rubber stuff in the extreme heat - testing being one of the reasons the cars are so good. I guess nothing compares to actual years of it though. The flip side for us is obviously we have rust! Its thick metal so takes a lot longer than a normal car, but still, its probably what has killed off a lot of W126 over here.

Galvanising is better now isn't it, along with other general rustproofing. (As long as you don't buy a newer Merc from the problem years! lol.)
 

·
Premium Member
1991 560 SEC Black on Grey
Joined
·
1,898 Posts
Here in No.Va. we have high 90s and high humidity fairly often during the summer, no point in even going outside let alone driving. That desert sun is certainly no friend to cars, or anything for that matter. The cars don't rust but everything else takes a relentless beating.
 

·
Registered
'84 SEC EuroCoupe, '85 200T EuroWagon, 2012 Nissan Maxima SV Sport
Joined
·
3,172 Posts
We have a new car every three years at work and I've been here for 12 years, every one of those bar one, has been a pain in the arse. They all basically started and worked, but there were hesitations, electrical problems, broken air con that was never the same again even when repaired, continual trips to the garage and having to get the train home.
/QUOTE]
The limo service that I work for in Toronto also likes to get new cars every 3 years and a few years ago when they stopped making the Lincoln TownCar decided to buy/lease 10 of the these 5 Series hatchbacks.



They're all almost gone now because of the high maintenence and repair costs except for this one which had T-Boned some idiot that ran a red light.
It's being used for spare parts.




Almost all of his sedans are the Lincoln MKZ's along with four 'S' Series Benz.



 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top