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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’m looking at a very nice 95 s600. I know all the differences and I prefer the 96 and up car mostly for the 5 speed auto box and updated climate control.

Would the auto box be a good reason to skip on an ice 95 ? Which one is more reliable.

I prefer the 95-96 look of wheels and lights out back.
But I really like the 96 and you tranny which is real 5 speed unlike the 4 speed box that starts in 2 Nd.

Thanks.


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The 96 is the 1st year of both the MEI engine management system, coil-over ignition, and the five speed gearbox, the 722.6, on the S600. The 722.6 boxes are generally more rugged than the 722.3, but as MAVA here will tell you, the 722.6 was updated and improved substantially in the later years, particuarlly in the W220. The 5th gear is nice to have.

The 96 models should be free of the disintegrating wire problems.

96 up models have OBDII connectors, but only engine parameters (maybe some transmission parameters?) are there. Everything else, and some engine related items, require the 38 pin connector, and a STAR system.

However, given all the above, I'd take a well maintained and driven 92-95 S600 over a 96 up model with lots of deferred maintenance any day. Catching up on deferred maintenance on an S600 will eat you alive if you don't do your own work. On any pre-96, I'd ask for either receipts showing the harnesses had been changed or upgraded, or look for the Delphi tags showing they are new. I'd also ask for proof that the throttle body wiring had been repaired or the bodies replaced with ones that don't have the issue. The only harness hard to check is the lower body harness, but only a few wires go bad there. A replacement harness there may be a brand other than Delphi; one of my S600 coupes has another brand replacement.

I don't see any advantage either way on the HVAC controls. The early system works fine.

The only other significant issue that early S600s had was a leaky breather pipe under the intake manifold. Most have been replaced by now. It will manifest itself as high and/or unstable idle.

The basic engine is essentially unchanged and is robust, and doesn't have chain guide issues like the M119.

Most common issues I'd look for on any S600 are loose idler arm bushings, collapsed engine mounts, and rear outer lower arm spherical bushings. The idler arm bushings are not hard to replace. The rear arm bushings aren't hard with the correct tool. The driver's side engine mount is a bear to replace. Unfortunately after market engine mounts from Lemforder/Sachs/Boge have dried up in the last 2 years, and quality mounts are dealer only items. All are DIY items if you are so inclined.

Make sure the ADS ride control system is working with no dash lights. Verify that the shock sport/comfort mode switch actually works. If the rear feels very bouncy, you probably need new accumulators.

They are wonderful and reliable cars when sorted, great for long, effortless trips.





Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much.

I have this itch to own a v12 car once in my life on top of an itch to get a w140 again to keep my w126 company.
I was thinking about a 95-97 jaguar xj12. But those are rare and I already have a pristine xj6. Also, xj12 owners chime in and said the power advantage is not that impressive over a xj6.

Car in question is silver like my 126 and looks well cared for. I think I’d have to drive it to see how it feels.
I rember my frustration with lack of gears on my 92 500sel. Same with my current 420sel. Just knowing that a 5 speed box makes better use of the power in a smarter way is a bit annoying. I suppose with v12 power this could be overlooked.

Most of the time the first gear is never used in pre 96 cars. Even in my 90 420 SEL. So essentially it’s a 3 speed gear box. On a v12 car assume I’d never get into first gear at all unless I want to. I’m not even mentioning fuel economy as it’s not important to me. All my cars are weekend cars and I enjoy them equally for their motoring qualities.

I agree a well cared for car is not to be overlooked just because of that.

My favorite w140 is the first gen 92-94 one. Front the lights to side moldings.
95-96 is second best as it still has the wheels from 92-94 which I think are the best looking.

So ideally a 96 would be my favorite and most desired year.
5 speed box, wheels and yellow blinkers out back.

Thanks for you time.

I’ll chime in if I end up owning it.


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I have an add on box that was available in the early 2000's that can start the car in 1st gear all the time. It upshifts pretty quick, but it is nice for quick starts. But I generally leave it in normal mode. I understand that there is a thread somewhere on how to DIY the mod.

Jon
 

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From Mercedes Enthusiast - the later gearbox is definitely more fun to drive but also reported more problems/problematic compared to the early version 4speed.

I have driven both (albeit different engines) and the later transmission has better pickup in my opinion
 

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The M120 combined with the W140 is far more reliable and robust than the Jaguar V12. Plus MB supports all of their cars.
 

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no contest, reiterating someone else's previous tech oriented post, get the 1996, the transmission isn't much of a reason either way, it's the ignition that's better on the '96, it has coil on plug ignition, not distributors/caps/rotors/wires. coil on plug is far superior. it's the standard of the auto industry today. my '94 has distributors and a tune up costs $250-$275 even if you low buck it. with the coil on plug deal, all you do is change spark plugs for $36.
as stated earlier, the 1996 is bona fide under-dash obd2 connector, you can buy a cheap $100 or less scan too from AutoZone or Advance Auto, and pull codes and live data. I wish mine was so easy, the 38 pin under-hood connector on the '94 gets to be laborious to connect, and take for a ride to check problems. with the obd2 connector, you just plug in under the dash and can drive down the road getting live data, with the windows up. no laptop or online service needed.
the '96 also has the improved wiring harness. I had to repair the wiring harness in my '94.
 

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ps- one downside of the '96 is they have inferior throttle bodies that tend to need rebuilding or replacement. that's the only downside I see, but it is a noteworthy one. beware that issue cuz they are pricey to replace or repair. and a big hassle too.
 
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