Below are some questions that are often asked in this forum. If you find that a question you have is not shown bellow, please do a search in the archives by typing in your keywords at the top of the page. Chances are your question(s) has/have been asked and answered before.
- [*]What is a W126?[/*]
W126 reffers to the Mercedes chassis #. The w126 was a car designed by the famous Italian Bruno Sacco. The w126 was a car that was designed and developed in the mid-late 1970's and did not go public until 1979 in Europe. The w126 was not available to the US market until 1981. The w126 remained as the flagship class mercedes until 1991(a very few were titled as 1992's) when it was replaced by the w140. Reportedly, it was said that a South African plant continued building the w126 until 1994. In all, the w126 was one of the longest running production mercedes chassis stemming from 1979 to 1991(officially),1994(limited number).
[*]I am about to purchase a car, what should I look for?[/*]
There are many things to be taken into consideration when purchasing an older car like a w126. The biggest advice I can give is buy the best car you can afford. If you plan on purchasing a cheap old mercedes, the chances of it being a never-ending money pit is high. For a summary of what to look for, I recommend reading the following on this page.
[*]Whats the difference between a 1981-1985 and 1986-1991 model?[/*]
The 1981-1985 w126's are known as "1st generation". These models included the 280S, 280SE, 300SD, 380SE/L, 380SEC, 500SE/Land 500SEC.
The 1986-1991 models included the 280SE, 300SE/L, 300SDL, 350SD/L, 420SE/L, 420SEC, 500SE/L, 500SEC, 560SE/L and 560SEC.
For the most part 1st and 2nd generation w126's are physically similar in appearance. Exceptions include..
[if someone has a complete list of differences, please PM and I will post them here.]
[*]Whats the difference between a "SE", "SEC" and "SEL" or "SD" and "SDL"? What do the letters/numbers mean?[/*]
First, the "SEC" reffers to the coupe(2-door) version of the 126 chassis. The "S" reffers to the S-klasse(Class); the "E"(from the German word "Einespritzer" meaning fuel-injected)indicates that this is a gasoline powered car, while "C" reffers to "Coupe". There was never a factory made diesel version of the coupe.
The "SE" reffers to short-wheel based version of the gasoline powered w126.
The "SEL" is just like the "SE" except for one noticable difference, the length. "L" in SEL stands for the German word "Lang" meaning long. The L comes from the additional length of approximately 6-7 inches of rear leg room. Thus, the rear doors on the SEL model is noticeably longer than the SE.
The "SD" reffers to short-wheel based version of the DIESEL powered w126. "D" stands for "Diesel". Both the "SE" and "SD" are of equal dimensions.
The "SDL" reffers to the long-wheel based version of the DIESEL powered w126. Both the "SEL" and "SDL" are of equal dimensions.
The model number found before the "SE/L,SD/L,SEC" reffers to the displacement of the engine in Liters.
A 3.0L engine would be called a "300", a 3.5L engine would be called a "350", while a 5.6L engine is called a "560". The engines and transmissions between the SE/L,SD/L and SEC were the same provided that they share the same model number(i.e. a 300SE engine/transmission is the same as a 300SEL's). The only exception is with the 300SD and 300SDL. The 300SD was a 1st generation car with an iron block 5 cylinder engine, while the 300SDL was a 2nd generation car with an aluminum head 6 cylinder engine.
[*]What does "greymarket" mean? Whats a "Euro" car?[/*]
Not all w126 models were available for sale in the US market. Models such as the 280SE, 420SEC and 420SE were not available for sale at dealerships in the US. Ironically, the diesel version w126's such as the 300SD and 300SDL were not available at the European market and was primarily sold to North America.
If a car that was not originally sold in the US market is brought over to the US, it is known as a "Greymarket" vehicle. Many greymarket w126's in the US are 1st generations. Very few are 2nd generations.
A "Euro" reffers to the European-spec w126's. These cars had physical features that were different than the US-spec ones. These included Euro's H4 all glass lens headlights, shorter/smaller bumpers, higher compression engines and a different exhaust/emission systems.
Due to the less restrictive exhaust system and higher compression engines, the Euro w126's provided much more horsepower than the US version. Unfortunately, certain states(i.e. California) require strict emission controls and in a lot of cases, the Euro 126's in the US will show less power than it originally came with.
[*]What are "Euro" lights? Where can I get them?[/*]
Euro lights reffer to the H4 bulb headlights that were originally found on NON-US market w126's. At the time, the US had a law(now defunct since 1992)that required US market cars to have sealed beams.
The Euro lights offer better lighting primarily due to the beam pattern on the glass lens. They offer a near feature which allows you to adjust the height from the interior using an adjustment knob by the headlight switch. However, this feature only works if all parts from a Euro car or purchased separately are retrofitted into the US version car.
Not only do you get better lighting, these light assemblies look 10 times better than the plastic framed US headlights.
The original Euro lights are made by Bosch(made in Germany). There are several aftermarket companies that still make "Euro" lights, such as TYC and DEPO(both made in Taiwan), but in my oppinion the quality is not as good as the orignals. The positive side is that these aftermarket lights are priced considerably less new than the original Bosch units.
I took pictures of my own car when I changed my headlights to Bosch units. The thread link below shows the difference.
[*]What wheels will fit my car?[/*]
Because newer Mercedes models have an offset thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s much higher, most newer wheels will not fit properly on the W126 without spacers, if at all. In order to fit properly, the wheel needs an offset (ET) of no more than 25. Some consider an offset (ET) of 11 to be the perfect one for these cars. Anything over 18Ã¢â‚¬? will require some suspension tinkering to fit right and may cause driving problems. It is not recommended to go bigger than 18Ã¢â‚¬?. If you have a rare AMG Wide-body coupe, you can run wheels that have an offset of ET-11(negative 11)
[*]How do I know what the offset is? What is an offset?[/*]
All wheels are stamped with the width diameter and offset such as 8J x 16H2 ET11. Offset tells you the distance from the center of the wheel to where its bolted. The higher the ET#(offset), the further in the wheel will be. If the wheel is too far in, it will rub against suspension and steering components. The lower the ET#(offset), the further the wheel will stick out.
[*]Where do I find wheels?[/*]
Check here in the main Ã¢â‚¬Ëœfor saleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ section or auction sites. Newer wheels can be found with online vendors. Some rare wheels will be hard to find, and may require to be purchased overseas.
[*]How do I remove the door panels?[/*]
Please follow this thread where I wrote a detailed step-by-step instructions.