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1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Perhaps this is just me, or I'm fishing for words of encouragement, but does anyone else have this problem: In August my power antenna dies. September brings a window regulator and power mirror controls onto the dead list. For October we add "the high idle problem" and a curious wiggle in the front end. November is fun! Very noisey brakes and no reverse when the car is hot! And the December cap-off: Runs perfect (minus the high idle) one day, doesn't run the next.
Due to working swing shifts, the upcoming holidays, and now the addition of bitter cold, I've barely gotten anything fixed. My one consolation at this point is that if the car isn't running, nothing else can break.
I really love this car...really want to keep loving it...but that Civic with no power and no character for sale down the street is starting to look better every day.
Guess I'm done ranting for now. I'll just leave with a thank-you for all you forum folks for making it possible to fix my own car, and for listening to my frustrated babbling.
 

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1989 300SE (Rear Ended & Junked) 1995 E420, Fully Loaded with Ortho Seats & Rear Sun Shade :)
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503 Posts
angry ... we all have our days. I currently don't have brakes, am waiting for ElRojo to send me a fuel sensing unit, vacumn problems, nobody answered my calls or emails in business, had a slinging fight etc etc .. hang in there ... it's just a storm in the teacup. The W126 beats all cars on the road and makes them look cheap, you know that. Consider one fact. After you've repaired your car, you are still better off with a car that gets envious stares & that will last longer than the ricer down the street :)

Cheers
 

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1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I appreciate the words of encouragement. I guess I'm letting my frustrations get the better of me. You're right, not a day goes by that someone doesn't check out the car, not a month without an offer to buy it. It's less "pimp" with the factory rims on for winter, but still turns heads ;-). I'll try to cultivate some patience.

In my limited time between work shifts I've been attempting to get this thing started and I'm having no luck whatsoever. The problem has to be something simple staring me in the face and I just can't see it...and I refuse to just throw money at it till it runs. Plugs, cap, rotor, wires, and coil are all new(ish) from a summer tune-up. Jumped the fuel relay and heard the pumps run but tried starting fluid anyway with no luck. I'm forum searching now for more options, but if anyone wants to chime in with ideas I'd certainly be happy to try them out.
 

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1983 500 SEC Lorinser 1971 280se w108
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1,963 Posts
If it makes you feel better I treat my car like s##t
Do a lot of mileage in it (Its my DD) and it lives outside and I have had no real problems over three and a bit odd years of ownership ;)
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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1,895 Posts
Let's see-- first of all, +1 on the patience thing. Second-- well, you're going to have to throw a couple of parts at it unless you're good at electronics testing. I'd certainly spend some time with the service manuals-- there are often test procedures that the DIYer can do that are laid out for you...

Model 126 - M116 4.2 L & M117 5.6 L Maintenance Manuals

I'm suspicious of the OVP and/or the coil from your symptoms. You seem to have fuel going in (and starting fluid), so it's gotta be spark or timing. Check for spark first. No spark = coil, or perhaps bad rotor/cap, but this seems unlikely. I'd want to see if the coil was delivering juice. It could be the EZL unit, but that's a later issue. Timing chain is also possible, but I'd think you'd have had other symptoms in addition to your "no start". If you still have the high idle, then it's likely to be the idle speed controller or the idle air valve. Either way, there are a few of us who've got some spares to sell at reasonable cost (myself, mclare, some others who I can't recall right off). I have a working EZL, ICV, ICU and an OVP on hand, if it comes to that.
 

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Registered
1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Joe: My D/D and kept outside also, with over 230k miles. I've considered it a rolling work in progress since I got it 2 years ago. With this forum's help I've done quite a few repairs and upgrades.

ElRojo: The coil is brand new (it was my first suspect, and it was the 20 year old original) I had a friend over who watched as I cranked and said he saw spark, but I'm beginning to doubt his opinion. It has also occurred to me that even a brand new coil won't spark if it's not being "told" to. Continued electrical diagnosis seems to be what I need, and it's an area where I'm fairly capable. I put a shortcut to the service manual link the first time I saw it. I knew it would prove useful. I'm currently taking some time to feel my fingers again while browsing through it. I'm very jealous of you west coast folks right now.
 

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Registered
1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I gave up and went old school. Pulled a wire and plug, grounded the outer sleeve and cranked it. Big beautiful spark. Back to fuel (how do you do starting fluid wrong?) or timing I guess. On a related note; I'm in the market for a new hat to cover the emerging bald spots.
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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1,895 Posts
Looks like it's time for the old school timing light. I believe that if it jumped a tooth that you would have other symptoms, but I've never been in that situation. I did have one other idea-- crank position sensor? Seems to me you'd get spark by just cranking, but the EZL might not be controlling the timing without a signal. If the timing looks good, and you still have fuel (pumps operating), then-- EZL?
 

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1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I think hair pulling is done for the night, I'm off to work shortly. Tomorrow's daylight brings crank sensor and whatever EZL tests I can do. I've got PDFs of the pertinent manual pages saved. Thank you very much for your suggestions.
 

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1990 420SEL
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138 Posts
I so hear you on the Civic down the street looking better and better. I think the only way I've survived W126 ownership is by having a 94 Honda Accord to count on when the 420SEL needs a little TLC. I adore my MB, but I just can't count it... Hang in there, Angry. Fletch
 

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Registered
1989 420 SEL
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
An update should anyone be interested: Finally gave up and took it to a mechanic. It was just too damn cold and I don't have the tools. Compression test came back ugly. Left bank an anemic 115lbs, right bank 50lbs. Either the tensioner gave or the chain jumped. I'm now preparing to spend $1000 more than I paid for the whole car to get it fixed. My rationale is this: I could spend the same money on a new (to me) car, and I would basically be getting a whole new set of problems. At least I KNOW what's wrong with mine and most of the time I can fix it myself. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Edit: The irony of my sig hit me after I posted.
 

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1972 350SL 1974 280C 1984 500SEL 1986 560 SEL 1987 420 SEL 1989 190E 1989 560SL 1991 300SE
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469 Posts
Keeping a 126, or any older car, alive is an honorable thing, IMO. May God bless you and turn you into Happy Jesus.
 
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