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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Discussion Starter #1
In my quest to find my next MB to replace the W210 that blew its tranny, I test drove today an 88 300SE. 144K miles, looks good, pretty much everything worked (AC/heat, electrical stuff etc.), engine sounded nice and healthy, some maintenance records and so on.

Now..., I'm not too familiar with 126s but have always admired them and wanted one. Just haven't studied them too much yet. The thing that confused me the most was the tranny and the way it worked.

I'm assuming W126s do have a 4-speed tranny, right? I only counted two gear changes when the shifter was on D and started from a dead stop. On the highway @ 70mph the revs were about 3500.

That can not be right. Right?
 

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1983 500 SEC Lorinser 1971 280se w108
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Do a search on first gear start
W126s take of in 2nd by defult
 

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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Discussion Starter #3
Oh yeah... The famous second gear start. Missed that.

But 3500rpm @ 70mph can not be right, or is it?
 

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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Discussion Starter #6
Hmmm... Okay. Thanks.

What is the 4th gear ratio, then? Is it 1:1? Just asking, because if I enter the tire diameter 25.5" as it has 205/65-15 tires, the assumed 3.07 rear end ratio and the assumed 1:1 4th gear ratio into an online calculator, it gives me 86.49mph at 3500rpm.

What am I missing or doing wrong?
 

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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Did some further reading here and looks like you guys are right. Seems like a pretty high revving engine that is in its power band from 3K rpm onwards.

Just a little surprising to me.

Now... Just need to think if the car is worth buying. Now knowing this, I might need to go driving it again today to see if I notice anything else that would worry me. If I can get the seller to go below 3K, I think I might go for it...
 

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I had a '88 300SEL.. same car, longer wheel base... and it was a GREAT car. I bought it with around 165k miles on it and used it for about 30k miles before it got totalled. It was a very easy car to work on and motor parts were easy to source as they were used on a number of Mercedes cars. In fact, its the car that got me addicted to the W126.

The high RPM's are normal... the only thing that I'd be sure to check is whether or not its not taking up a lot of oil. At high revs... these motors loved to use oil.

If the suspension on the car is nice and tight and the motor is healthy... I think its a good deal to get one for under $3k. Good luck!
 

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1984 300SD 1989 300SE 1998 740iL
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Because M/B decided to use a small gas engine in a fairly heavy vehicle, they equipped it with 3.46 gears. This gearing offsets quite a bit of horsepower loss by allowing the engine to run much higher in it's powerband. It also offers more torque to the drive wheels from a standing start.

The downside is that the transmission has the typical 1:1 ratio in fourth gear, resulting in high rpm's on the highway. This hurts the fuel economy in a big way and generally doesn't offer a good reason to own the six cylinder.

The vehicle would be perfect if it had five speeds with a .76 OD for fifth.

It would also benefit from the utilization of the mod to effect a first gear start under all conditions.
 

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99 BMW R1100RT, 05 MB C230, 07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the additional info and comments.

According to the maintenance receipts there have been some oil leaks in the last couple of years, but at least at the moment the bottom of the engine looked fairly clean.

I hear a slight clunk in the rear a few times, but it might have also been something moving in the trunk. The front was nice and tight.

The body had some blemishes, but it's still a nice three footer. TX car, so no rust anywhere. Interior is pretty much perfect. Just the driver's window is not working.
 

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1983 500 SEC Lorinser 1971 280se w108
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driver's window is not working
Often 10 minutes spent cleaning the contacts in the switch is all that is need to remidy non functioning windows
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Drove it again today and I still want it. We are 250 bucks apart, though. Seller is not budging and neither am I. They want 3000 and my offer is 2750. Dammit! Let's see what happens tomorrow...

Valve cover gasket is leaking a little bit of oil, but it looks like it is all burned by the exhaust manifold as it doesn't reach the ground. Shouldn't be a biggie. Other than that and the ones noted earlier, it seems to be a great car.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In that nick, I'd pay 3500.

You should get it, fantastic cars.
Yeah, I guess it could very well be worth 3500, but I'm such a cheapskate that many times it works against me.

The seller did come down but we are still 50 bucks apart, so let's see what happens. :) Maybe not worth possibly losing the deal over 50 bucks, but it has become a matter of principal now. :D
 

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1997 SL320; 1991 300SEL; 2003 ML350
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This hurts the fuel economy in a big way and generally doesn't offer a good reason to own the six cylinder.

Even with the low rear end gearing, I consistently get 18-19 MPG driving back and forth to work, seven miles each way on city streets, no freeway, and 24-25 MPG for straight highway driving at 70-75 mph. I don't think the 560's do this well, so the six is a little more frugal.

Adios,
Mike
 

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1991 560 SEC, Arctic White w/Grey Interior
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Tex,

Its your money and I don't have a dog in the fight, here; But, the interior looks well-cared-for and if the headliner is not sagging, this car has probably not been in the sun all the time. Fifty bucks, to my mind, is far less important than due diligence verifying, as best you can, the mechanicals (engine, A/C and tranny) unless you plan to resell soon.
 

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'73 450SL, '83 300CD, '01 E320 4matic
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$2750 is exactly what I paid for my 1988 300SE. I think it's a spectacular price.:D The owner wanted $4600 to begin with. I suppose after a couple years $3K may be fair.

The car is an excellent car. The M103 is not without fault, and if you plan to pile miles on it as I have mine, it'll require upkeep, but if you're handy, you'll enjoy owning it.

The engines don't start building good power until 3000 RPMs. At almost exactly 3000 RPMs, the engine will pull very well. Your observation about the engine speed compared with vehicle speed is spot-on. It'll cruise at 85-90 effortlessly, even though it seems like you should have another gear. Totally normal, and it's happy to do it.

Even with having needed to do the work that I've done, the car has been a good investment dollar per mile. You won't find a much better car for the money that you'll enjoy as much. Just take care of it and you'll have it a long time.

During the life of the car, expect to need suspension work, if it has not been done already, and a head gasket. If the head gasket has never been done, and it doesn't NEED to be done, take care of it in the next year, along with the water pump and bypass hose. If you take care of these things before they fail, the car will be cheaper to own. DIY price is fairly inexpensive compared to what it will cost you if it fails. The DIY is time consuming, but not overly difficult.

Make 100% certain it doesn't have green antifreeze, also. If it does, flush it asap and fill it with the proper yellow coolant.

Good luck with it. You won't regret buying it, even at the price the owner is asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Fifty bucks, to my mind, is far less important than due diligence verifying, as best you can, the mechanicals (engine, A/C and tranny) unless you plan to resell soon.
I fully agree with you. 50 bucks is nothing and I might even cave in on that, but when ever I have a set number in mind, I try not to go over it too much. Even if it means I might lose the deal. There is that there will always be the next one.

I started from 2500 and might have to settle for 2850, making it a bit over 3000 w/taxes etc. Even at that price I think it will be a decent deal.

As I have mentioned above, so far the mechanicals have checked out pretty good. As well as the suspension. Body has some scratches, a few hail dings etc. but nothing major really.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay... I caved in and pitched in the remaining 50 bucks. :surrender:

So, I guess I now own an 88 300SE pictured above. :cool:

Everything is iced/frozen over here in DFW right now so I didn't want to go slipping and sliding to pick it up, so we'll have to see about that tomorrow. I hope so. I want to go driving with it. :D
 

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1989 300SE (Rear Ended & Junked) 1995 E420, Fully Loaded with Ortho Seats & Rear Sun Shade :)
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Make 100% certain it doesn't have green antifreeze, also. If it does, flush it asap and fill it with the proper yellow coolant.
What's wrong with green antifreeze? What's is the brand name of the yellow coolant?

Thanks.

Cheers
 
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