Mercedes-Benz Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
89 300SE
Joined
·
357 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Never owned a Mercedes. Always loved the W126 body. Currently have the opportunity to buy a 1989 300SE from my neighbor. Car has 51K miles. One owner, bought new at the end of 1989. Car is always garaged during the winter, and serviced by MB technicians. He is asking $7K. I've been looking online (cars.com, autotrader, ebaymotors, etc.) for a 1991 300SE with low mileage.

1) Would you please tell me the major differences between the 1989 and the 1991 300SE?
2) Any problem areas I should be aware? (e.g., transmission, engine, suspension, electrical, etc.)
3) Mercedes engines/transmission have a reputation for durability when properly maintained. How many miles before I should have to deal with transmission or engine rebuild.
4) Any rust problems with this model year
5) Any othe advice

Finally, Is this a reasonable price for this model with the existing mileage?

I am a car enthusiast. I do all the maintenance and some of the mechanical on my cars. But I've never worked on a Mercedes.

Thanks,
Guido
 

·
Moderator
Mercedes
Joined
·
9,049 Posts
The m103 engine in that car is a good one. Its high revving, but dependable and easy to work on.

There is no major differences between a 1989 and a 1991. 1989 is the 1st year of the last facelift for the w126.

Check the car out for rust... undercarriage and wheel wells.

At 51k miles... thats a very low mile car. Not that many w126's out there with that mileage. The $7k price in my oppinion is very good. Good luck
 
  • Like
Reactions: fanboy

·
Moderator
Mercedes
Joined
·
9,049 Posts
JDC, there is a difference between a normal mileage car and an ultra-low mile one. They are in separate categories, with different values and looked at differently. If these are ACTUAL miles, I am confident the car can get up to $9k on ebay or some other public selling page.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
748 Posts
Well, in my house we also baught a 1989 EURO 300SE back in the day, Paid $54,000 for it plus delivery to Venezuela (yup, baught in Germany). We had the car until 2 years ago until it was sadly crashed, well[V], by me. Decided to sell the car to my cousin since he was dying for it and I baught my moms 86' Euro 300SE from her and kept that one (current project car) which was also baught since new.

These cars were always driven hard, (autobahns, city, mountains, etc) by a VERY heavy foot. I can say that these cars (except for the Hydromat rear suspension) ARE EXTREMELY RELIABLE and VERY easy to fix. One thing with the engines in these cars, is that they are very high reving, thus they need a strict oil and filter service or you will KILL IT. Aparts from that, no mayor problems at all, some electrical things may fail, or things like the radiator reservoir cap my go bad and cause the car to overheat (they tend to run very hot, specially where Im from, at 90-100 degree constant weather), so If you live in ultra hot climates I recommend you to add an additional high-performance cooling fan from flex-a-light.

All I can say is that its an awsome car, if its been well takenm care of, serviced and pampered by good mechanics that know and understand the car, you should not have problems with it. I DO recommend that at the moment of purchase you do get all your filter, fluids, caps (oil and coolant), spark plugs and spark cables replaced...this will give you peace of mind and will set you off with a nice fresh start.

One thing many people dont know about the 300SE, and probably every other Old mercedes, is that in order for them to stay healthy, THE NEED to be driven hard at least once a week, I nice FULL THROTTLE once from 0-80mph and it will really help the car get rid of alot of crap. In fact, if the car is not driven for a long while, and you go out and do that, you will see alot of smoke come out the exhaust.

To give you an idea, if these cars are serviced properly, the engine should last you 200K miles+. I would recommend a head-rebuild at 100K miles, probably things like water pump and even oil pump, to make sure they wont fail on you and cause further damage. The tranny, well...I never had a problem with it so I cant say it will fail, but We used to change the fluid on it probably every 3-4 oil changes which were always done every 5K miles or 6 months, using fully synthetic Castrol 15W-40.

If the car is in GOOD conditon (paint, interior, electrical and mechanical) I think 7K is very fair for the year and miles. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
1989 MB 300SE

Hi

I am not sure how to make a post, but clicked on "Reply" (but I am not replying to anyone) so I am not sure if I did this correctly. Anyway....

I have an opportunity to buy a 1989 MB 300SE with only about 35,000 miles on it for $7,000. It has one owner and has been very well cared for.

I am not a mechanic. I am a senior on a modest retirement. I know service can be expensive, but I am interested in an older MB because I have no interest in the new, high-tech, paper thin, tin foil cars on the market today. This car is $7k. I am thinking I can invest another $28k in maintenance into it before I have paid what my sister did for her new Ford Fusion.

I welcome any advice on this potential purchase. Thank you.
 

·
Premium Member
07 E350, 80 240D 4 speed, 90 300SE, 87 260E
Joined
·
2,838 Posts
Hi

I am not sure how to make a post, but clicked on "Reply" (but I am not replying to anyone) so I am not sure if I did this correctly. Anyway....

I have an opportunity to buy a 1989 MB 300SE with only about 35,000 miles on it for $7,000. It has one owner and has been very well cared for.

I am not a mechanic. I am a senior on a modest retirement. I know service can be expensive, but I am interested in an older MB because I have no interest in the new, high-tech, paper thin, tin foil cars on the market today. This car is $7k. I am thinking I can invest another $28k in maintenance into it before I have paid what my sister did for her new Ford Fusion.

I welcome any advice on this potential purchase. Thank you.
If it really has 35,000 miles, then that would be a great price.

I would run Carfax to try to confirm the miles (unless seller can already document low miles).

What is the condition of the paint?

What is the condition of the interior?:nerd
 

·
Premium Member
16 Silverado CC LT 4WD, 12 BMW K1600GTL, 11 Infiniti G37, 10 Infiniti G37x
Joined
·
5,830 Posts
As already mentioned, the price is a bit high-ish. Unless the seller can prove it has only 35K miles, is in mint condition inside and out and all maintenance is up to date. Really need more info and pictures would help, too.

Even if it has been taken care of, you still need to plan on spending a few bucks to make sure things are good to go as a daily driver. These things were meant to be driven, so the low miles is not necessarily a good thing.

Also, since you are not that familiar with these things, you might want to list your location in your profile. There could be a knowledgeable member close by to assist you in making an informed purchase decision.

Good luck! :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Too many to list
Joined
·
11,606 Posts
If it looks showroom new inside and out , and has 35000 miles it's well worth $7000.
This usually means a car that was garaged since new .


These cars are still old cars so even with the low mileage you'll have many more mechanical issues than a modern car. Seals and gaskets have become old and dry , electronics fail, etc. plan on at least $1000/year in upkeep
 

·
Registered
'91 560SEC, '91 300SE (sold), '98 Yota, '02 S-10 Hauler
Joined
·
9,502 Posts
Yes a 2nd on posting your location and a 2nd on condition with maintenance records with low mileage 7K is a good price

I can attest to the durability of the 300SE's as I had one for 12 years, clocked almost 150K miles on it and did all the maintenance on it myself. Once you learn and figure out how they were put together these cars are a breeze to keep up with basic hand tools, yes some things will need special tools but those are for more major repair items which are still relatively simple to do. Bottom line is starting with one that has already been taken care of, one that's been beat to death will be nothing but headaches (as with any car)
 

·
Registered
Too many to list
Joined
·
11,606 Posts
The major issues with an old car compared to a new one is that even with the low mileage, you're going to have vaccuum hose Leaks, need regular distributor cap and rotor replacement (modern cars don't use these) , have head gaskets that need replacing (my low mileage 89 300se needed it done at 60k miles) and valve cover gasket leaks etc.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
With a car this old, how it's been treated and what services it's had and so on matter a whole lot more than the make and model.

In the Range Rover world, it's said that all that matters when buying a Range Rover "of a certain age" is the past two years' maintenance, and that the proper price of such a vehicle is exactly equal to the money paid for the past two years' maintenance.

So don't worry so much about researching those models in general and comparing one model or one vintage against another, but worry about specific specimens and how they've been cared for.

Using yet another analogy, imagine that you were evaluating a potential romantic partner. Would you be more interested in what they were like in 1989, or in how they've been spending the past few years of their life? Exactly.
 

·
Super Moderator
1986/1990 W126
Joined
·
20,693 Posts
I'm not sure I could agree with that fully. It's very important obviously, but the make and model matter a lot.
Now, with a Range Rover, you need all the help you can get so that rule would help.
 

·
Registered
1972 280 SEL 4.5 (sold) 1971 280 114 Coupe (sold) 1988 300 SE 2005 jag XK8
Joined
·
2,218 Posts
In my experience low mileage old cars don't get complete maintenance as a rule. They get religious oil changes but rarely coolant changes or brake fluid flushes. If I were to purchase one, I'd change the brake fluid and ALL hoses to the calipers before I'd consider it a daily driver. This engine WILL seep oil from the front of the cylinder head to block but its not a major concern IMO. Rubber vacuum hoses don't know low mileage, they deteriorate over time. I would replace the tires if over 5 years old. I use Shell Rotella 15/40 wt. oil in my car. The oil is changed at my local VW dealer, the same filter is used on newer Jetta's. My trans failed at 200,000 miles because I used an oil additive to swell a gasket leak! My car is driven weekly and driven hard. They turn 3200 RPM at 70 MPH.
 

·
Registered
'84 SEC EuroCoupe, '85 200T EuroWagon, 2012 Nissan Maxima SV Sport
Joined
·
3,172 Posts
Never owned a Mercedes. Always loved the W126 body. Currently have the opportunity to buy a 1989 300SE from my neighbor. Car has 51K miles. One owner, bought new at the end of 1989. Car is always garaged during the winter, and serviced by MB technicians. He is asking $7K. I've been looking online (cars.com, autotrader, ebaymotors, etc.) for a 1991 300SE with low mileage.

1) Would you please tell me the major differences between the 1989 and the 1991 300SE?
2) Any problem areas I should be aware? (e.g., transmission, engine, suspension, electrical, etc.)
3) Mercedes engines/transmission have a reputation for durability when properly maintained. How many miles before I should have to deal with transmission or engine rebuild.
4) Any rust problems with this model year
5) Any othe advice

Finally, Is this a reasonable price for this model with the existing mileage?

I am a car enthusiast. I do all the maintenance and some of the mechanical on my cars. But I've never worked on a Mercedes.

Thanks,
Guido
I'm just curious, did Guido buy the car 11 years ago? :wink:wink
 

·
Registered
'84 SEC EuroCoupe, '85 200T EuroWagon, 2012 Nissan Maxima SV Sport
Joined
·
3,172 Posts

·
Registered
1989 300SE
Joined
·
417 Posts
Differences between 1989 & 1991 300SE

- '89 is last year to use virgin steel.

- '89 is last year that doesn't have annoying air pump or EGR, so easier access in engine compartment.

- '89 is last year that has regular fuel pump relay & klima relay instead of MAS

- '89 has antenna switch for half height, great for FM transmitters (like my XM portable uses), to not get station reception interference. '91 does not have it.

- '89 is last year for rubber gasket on shifter wood.

- '89 comes with Becker 780, some late '89 had 1480 that takes a code. '91 has 1432, needing separate tuner.

That's just off the top of my head.. :)

Of course the stipulations of value based on it being a 6 are incorrect in the assumption that a V-8 is automatically worth more. I've seen too many same condition cars, some the 6 is higher, some the V-8 is.
Many find the reliability, simpler issues, and ease of engine repair/access more valuable than a very few seconds of quicker acceleration.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top