Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
91 300e
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought my first 126 a year ago – a beautiful ’91 560SEL with 85k original miles. After owning and loving two 124s I was so excited to find this low mileage 126 in such great condition. It looks and drives awesome. Based on my previous experience with the 124s I was expecting with good maintenance at least another 100K+ miles before any of the really big ticket jobs showed up.

But alas, 14 months later at 99K my mechanic tells me I’m looking at about $6K for a valve job, timing chain, air conditioning compressor, and sunroof guides!

Apparently a valve guide has developed a leak and is throwing oil into the #4 cylinder. He replaced the seals, to no avail. It’s burning about a quart of oil every 1000 miles and I replace the fouled spark plug every time I add oil. Of course if we tear off the head to replace a valve guide it makes no sense to not do a complete valve job and most likely the injectors too if they need it. Total cost for this part- $4K+.

I know the timing chain is part of regular maintenance at around 100K, but the air conditioner and sunroof are a real surprise. All together they add another $2K.

Needless to say I’m pretty bummed. I paid $10K for the car and I’m not sure its worth sinking that kind of money into it. I never would have paid $16K for it originally, and the thought of having that much invested without any custom stuff leaves me cold. And then who knows what’s next?

What do you guys think? Any thoughts on what I could get for it if I sold it as is?

Thanks, Gary
 

·
Premium Member
1990 SEC
Joined
·
4,110 Posts
I hear you.

Roughly the same scenario in my case, but I have less of an excuse as the car I purchased had about 190k miles on it and I should have known better.[xx(]

That being said. If your car looks good (nice interior, good paint and bright-work) you can probably get $3,000-$4,000 for it. Who knows? You may even find someone who falls in love with your car and pays you $6,000 for it.

The question is; what do you buy for that kind of money?
I think the answer is; exactly what you have already, but without any history.

I think it is unusual that your vehicle should have such expensive needs at its mileage (and that certainly does make for an uneasy relationship with both the vehicle and its previous owner...), but if you have a mechanic you trust who can get the car back in shape, I think that is still you best option.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

·
Registered
1991 300 SE
Joined
·
18,534 Posts
This is very disheartening considering the purchase price – one pays that price expecting not to encounter $6000 worth of repairs. What kind of car can you buy for $16,000? A good new/used Accord or Camry? A new car will cost at least $25,000. This is just me but I’d be inclined (gulp[xx(]) to spend the money. I’m not interested in driving any other kind of car and the high quality, long-lasting nature of the 126 – and other MBs of this era – makes such an expense feasible. My 500 SEL is 20 years old and has more than twice the miles and remains reliable and a joy to drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,648 Posts
Two things - IMO the W126 rides much nicer than a W124. The only reason I'd pick a W124 is if I were back in Germany in my family's hometown where parking is an absolute nightmare. But in the US I'd keep and fix the W126.
Next the more I read your post the more it sounds strange. Why is only 1 valve guide bad? My Euro had 277K on the clock (possibly rolled back at that) and never did that - wear them all out - yes it did, only 1 no. And even with them decidedly worn the plugs never fouled - well I don't drive slow either. So is it possible your clips are popped and you are flooding one bank? Especially since it's number 4??
 

·
Moderator
1991 500SEC sub 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 150K mi. 2018
Joined
·
4,292 Posts
Hi there fellow MB W126 enthusiast, Zyzzyx,

As others have pointed out (+ or -), I don't think you can get a better car for the $. As others (more informed than I) have posted ($ for repairs ......... What can you get for it?..............

One of the cheapest Toyotas will cost you a comparable amount to purchase new.[xx(] Yup, I'm biased.

1) Why would YOU get a net cheapo Toyota?

2) What about sales tax?

3) How about Excise Tax? MA is mandatory.

4) Insurance premiums on a comparable car?

5) Insurance (full coverage) on the Toyota?

The expected $ outlay is mainly due to the purchase of a 'elderly' car. That is to really to be expected overall. Every auto has a bunch of stuff that will need attention over a period of time. You fix - not expected to reoccur for a some time.

[:)] MBL

You Fix ---- NO stinkin' Toyota! :eek:)
 

·
Registered
1990 420 SEL
Joined
·
84 Posts
So often people just look at the purchase price, but forget the maintenaance cost.

Mind you for a 1990 420 SEL say, it was worth AUD $190,000 when new, and about AUD $20,000 now for a top confition one. Reasons behind are that you need to factor in the on-going maintenace cost. It is why you can pick it up CHEAP ! USD $10,000 for such a rock solid car. If the interior is good, it is still a bargain. Have Faith ! You will have it all fixed one day.

Like mine, I have spent over AUD $30,000 in the past 7 yrs to fix my 1990 420 SEL, Engine overhaul twice, Rebuild Tranny once, rebuild Power Steering.....etc

Please Note
My car's interior is still fresh and new, and it has done over 510,000 Kms !
 

·
Registered
380SEC EURO
Joined
·
1,430 Posts
At least if you go ahead with the repairs you'll be certain that the car will last for many more years and hopefully give you many years of trouble-free motoring. If it were I, I would go ahead with the repairs and enjoy the car.
 

·
Registered
1987 420 SEL
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I feel for you but I would do the repairs. I'm going to have to plunk down about $2500. - $3000. within the next few weeks. But, it will be worth it. I know that it gets frustrating but how many other automobiles do you see still operating daily on the road with a 100,000, 150,000, or 200,000 miles on the clock and still in great condition?

Sometimes I think to myself what the hell am I doing spending all this money on this automobile? After the repair is done, i'm happy all over again!!!

[:D]
 

·
Registered
Two '87 570SECs, one '87 560SEL
Joined
·
4,448 Posts
First, the car is worth the repairs. I had a serious oil consumption problem on my '87 560SEC with 150k miles. When I replaced the timing chain/guides (a DIY job), I put in a set of valve seals - voila, no more oil usage. I'd suspect you still have a bad valve seal. Get somebody different to replace the seals on #4 cylinder. Once they are in there far enough to check them, just go ahead and put a new pair (intake & exhaust) on the engine.

If you have a noisy A/C compressor, then it should be replaced but... my other '87, the 560SEL, had a leak on the Nippondeso compressor that turned out to be two o-rings on the high pressure side of the top-hat, the lump on top where the metal freon lines connected. The system was empty of freon, so I took the compressor off the car and started to dissassemble it to see if there was something I could do. There are six o-rings associated with the freon line entry/exit on top of the compressor and all were replaced. Cost - about $10. I had a shop recharge the system with R134 and it's still good a year later.

The sunroof work can also be done by you, then take the car to a dealer to set it up right. There is an upgrade to the sunroof mechanism that should be installed - newer designed rails, etc., but you might be able to find those in a salvage yard.

ALL of the problems you describe could be done by yourself, with a huge savings from mail order parts and your own labor.
 

·
Registered
1988 560SEL sold:
Joined
·
4,717 Posts
Two things:
Can you ask another mechanic for a second opinion? There are many forum members from SoCal area and they all have their favorite mechanics whom they can refer to you, some even claim to be themselves. Ask around and get a second opinion and pricing. I made a bad mistake of relying on a mech whom I now consider reporting to BBB and because of him, I sang the blues until I found a better mechanic. For example, can Eddie aka Cyberdrakon look at your car?

Living in SoCal, AC and functioning sunroof are probably must haves, but in my opinion, they could wait until you have more comfortable spending buffer.

I think previous posts have a point in that at least with your current car, you know its history and behavior whereas another purchase will force you to start from zero and you could sing the blues again.
 

·
Registered
91 300e
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My thanks to all of you for your replies - and encouragment. I am inclined to agree that there isn't another car I'd rather drive for $16K. This one looks really good and gives me true pride of ownership. Nothing I've ever owned drives quite like it. (I'll try to attach some pix)

I appreciate the DIY info, but I'm not much of an auto mechanic. I can take apart a computer with no fear, but digging into an engine, especially a Benz, is more than I would tackle myself.

I think the second mechanic idea is a good one - especially if it turns out to be only seals after all. That would be great news. If any of you can refer me to a good SoCal mechanic that you trust, please let me know. I'm in Long Beach if you happen to know the area.

Thanks
 

Attachments

·
Registered
'90 560SEL
Joined
·
2,551 Posts
Have no doubt that your car is worth maintaining, for a comparitive look at the w140 forum should convince even the most cynical Benz owner that our W126 is a machine made to last. Yes - shit will happen, but not again when fixed properly. Everything about our cars is ageing, yet I thank God we do not suffer through crappy electronic hassles that plague every Merc from W140 on. The expense on these cars make our grumbles truly trivial.
 

·
Registered
Two '87 570SECs, one '87 560SEL
Joined
·
4,448 Posts
Some of the best and worth the drive from Long Beach! Carl & Steve are very, very good.

http://www.bergwerks.com
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top