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Discussion Starter #1
So the 86 420 I'm looking to buy currently has an indicated 133,000 on the clock which lines up with the clean Carfax.

Good service records throughout with all of the prior owner's work done through Mercedes dealers (for better or worse).

Previous owner, since 100k miles (just the major-ish stuff):

  1. Right tie rod end replaced
  2. Steering damper replaced
  3. Front wheel bearing/hubs replaced
  4. Transmission serviced (don't know if that means they did anything major or not)
  5. Oil pressure sender switch replaced
  6. Valve cover gaskets replaced
  7. Alternator replaced
  8. Spark plugs replaced
Current owner, all within last 5000 miles:
  1. Timing chains/tensioners/guides
  2. rebuilt the power steering box
  3. replaced power steering lines
  4. replaced EHA
  5. trans reseal
  6. new OEM a/c compressor
  7. a/c compressor relay
  8. new OEM mono-valve
  9. all belts replaced
  10. new OEM ignition coil
  11. re-wired ignition
  12. Brand new brakes all around
  13. brand new wheels and tires , less than a thousand miles on them.
Everything in that last group was performed by a reputable independent Mercedes shops and the seller and has the receipts for all of that work.

Car also has Bilstein shocks and lower aftermarket springs. Not slammed at all .... just a nice stance and something I would have wanted to do. Don't know when that happened though.

Any other (mechanical) problem areas I should be looking for when I finally see the car in person?

Once again ... thanks for any help!
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1990 350SDL, "Grandpa's Roadster" Project Car
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Look for rust. Just about everything else can be repaired to "new" condition.
 

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1991 560 SEC Black/Black
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131 Posts
Speaking from experience it would be worth your while to make sure your windshield and rear windshield seals are not leaking. you can verify this by picking up the carpet and the sub floor carpet on the passenger and driver side to ensure there is no water there also in the trunk look in the two wells on either side of the trunk, if there’s water in there , than your rear windshield is leaking I mention this because I’m having this issue now !! Yikes
I also don’t see any mention the cooling system you might want to check the condition of the antifreeze. I myself, would do this by opening the radiator drain valve to see what comes out of the bottom of the radiator. If you have a lots of crud sitting down there you’re probably going to be looking at a new radiator in time.
If the car has SLS is the SLS fluid reservoir full? If so, is the fluid clear? Or black. If the hydraulic fluid is black you were going to most likely need new hydraulic accumulators. AKA Bulls Balls.
Do the rear shocks have any Evidence Of a hydraulic fluid leak. Also check the SLS valve linkage you should be able to rock that from left to right to insure it is not frozen
And speaking of linkage, give your anti sway bar linkage a look at also. There should be no play in then as well. In my case, mine were shot beyond belief and the rear clunking went away.

If you have any body weight to speak of kneel on the rear bumper while the car is started and see if the rear comes back up. This system is not hard to service but it is a little pricey.

These points of interest are from my own experience

Good luck
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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Open oil cap, with a light and small dentist or mechanics mirror, check the color of the timing chain guides.
edit, just read your list re timing guides, but would look anyhow.
Transmission serviced, should mean tranny and torque converter drained, transm filter with gasket replaced, and new fluid?
Does brakes all around include new rotors?
Let the car idle for about 10 minutes, and hit the gas. If you get a lot of initial smoke, your valve stem guides are leaking.
Don't forget a compression test will tell the health of the engine
Rust: open trunk lid and feel the bottom of the rear window frame from below.
From outside, look for white discoloration near bottom of rear glass.

I still think the $250 - 300 for a PPI by a mechanic who is familiar with these cars would be the best money you can spend.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just wanted to give a somewhat belated thanks for the advice/feedback. Thought I had lost out on the car but through a somewhat odd sequence of events ended up buying the car from the person that beat me out for less money than I was going to originally pay and he delivered it to me so my genius mechanic who knows these cars inside and out could go over it and gave the car a big thumbs up.

So I'm officially a W126 owner now!
 

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420SE
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Nothing about fuel filter, fuel pumps or the rear hydraulic balls in the PO work done.
If she sits ok (not down at the back) speaking from experience. First thing I would do is replace fuel filter and pumps, then get a new fuel pump relay and keep it in the glovebox.
 

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Yes let’s see this beauty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Between work being busy and the weather being really uncooperative haven't had as much time to spend on the car as I'd hoped but have managed to knock out a few things on my list.

I had initially just been focusing on a Gen II (like the interior better) 560 but this 86 420 showed up on Craigstlist a few hours away and came with receipts for all of the work mentioned at the beginning of this thread. Plus it already had a few of the things that were a must for the look I wanted:
  • Lower panels painted to match the main body color
  • Lowered/sport springs
  • Different wheels - I'm not normally into shiny wheels and never would have thought to put something like these on the car but I love the way they look. They're just cheap Alzor BBS knockoffs but the quality seems OK. Thinking about painting the inside spoke area to match the car and the fact that they're cheap means I can just order another set if I don't like the way they look and no big loss.
Ultimately decided the pros on this particular 420 outweighed the extra power of the 560 since I already have something that's pretty good at being fast when the need arises.

Dropped it off with the mechanic mentioned above this past week just so he could give it a thorough "going over" and address any immediate needs it might have. One of the things I was curious about was the suspension. The car feels really tight. Handles nicely (graded on a curve) and still does well over rough surfaces but I have no documentation of what was done when the springs were changed (or when it happened). But he said all of the components and bushings are in great shape and that whoever did the work "did it right" and used good parts so I can take that off the list of things that will suck up any of my project $$$ in the immediate future.

So ... pics. None of these are meant to be money shots .... just documenting my progress.

First weekend after I bought it removed the headlight wipers and motors. The body pieces they are mounted to were pretty pitted so just cleaned them up and wrapped them with vinyl as a temp fix but looks close to perfect from anything more than a couple of feet away.

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Someone did a really half-assed job of repainting the bumpers at some point and didn't get things lined up properly on the front one when putting it back on so pulled that the next weekend and took it apart. The chrome wasn't in great shape and I've been thinking I want to take the bumpers all gloss black so wrapped the chrome pieces while they were off just to see how it looked.

And in the last few days did the mirror housings to match the car and the grey part of the door handles in satin black.

Only other exterior change I might try to do before winter is getting the bumpers painted. Now that I've cleaned up some of the other bits around them the crappiness of paint on them is bugging me more. Managed to buff them to get a bit more shine today (pictures below are before that) but there's just not much paint to work with and could already see spots where it was showing a little of the plastic or primer underneath.

Have a Gen II donor car on the way and gong to at least swap out the door cards before winter so I can have those extra speaker locations in the front. So far all I've done is put in one of the Pioneer AVH-3500NEX head units and cleaned the factory fader but want to do a few upgrades to the other pieces.

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1986/1990 W126
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13,371 Posts
Well you're well on your way then. Congrats, that is a very sexy looking car. They wheels look great from here.
 
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