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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello gentlemen, I am looking at 2 560's sel's 89 and 90, both are black with similar mileage (between 120k and 140k) and clean car faxes. I am going to inspect the cars and test drive them and was wondering if there are any differences between the 2 cars and what I should be looking for from a mechanical and body viewpoint. I have read the detailed description on buying a 126 on the new members thread on page 1. Both are selling between 4k and 5k. My main concern at this point is that one vehicle does not have service records so I am not so hot on that one. The other one has service records, but has not been driven very much over the last couple of years (less than 20 miles) according to the records that I find.

Your thoughts would be sincerely appreciated. :bowdown:
 

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'82 Euro 500SEL, '85 Euro 500SEC AMG WB Cabriolet,'86 Euro 500SEC RUF
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9,487 Posts
I would opt for the one with service records even though it has not been driven much over the last 2 years. At the very least you have a baseline of what was done and when to the car. Expect to buy new tires due to flat spotting unless it was stored with the tires off the ground. Hopefully the owner drained the tank. My 380SE sat for 4 years and still started right up. I drove it straight to the station and filled it up with premium(what the PO used). Didn't have any problem with bad fuel. Had an ICU(Ignition Control Unit) but that happens with daily drivers as well. I did replace the timing chain and guides as the PO didn't keep records and could not remember ever changing the TC. (He hadn't). This car has been a daily driver ever since last Sept.

Not too much difference in the 89 or the 90 as I can see and both have relative low mileage. Do a PPI by a reliable Indy. Money well spent. With the records and the PPI you will have a great baseline from which to move forward.

Good luck with your purchase.
 

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1990 SEC
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4,193 Posts
If you've read the Buyer's Guide on the MBCoupes website, you know what to tell you mechanic to look for during the pre-purchase inspection (you are getting a PPI done, right?).

Buyer's Guide

Having owned a W140 you should be well prepared for W126 ownership. Depending on the condition and length of ownerhip of your W140, you might even be pleasantly surprised by the W126's lower cost of ownership. :cool:

The differences between an '89 and '90 are very minor. The last interior upgrade came with the '89 model so the cars should be very similar inside. The '91 came with a number of changes in electronics, audio system, etc., including a few you'd rather do without (ASR), but the '90 will not have those so you should be fine.

Have both cars gone through by a trusted and knowledgeable W126 mechanic and buy the one in the best condition.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1991 560SEC AMG
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10,146 Posts
As the co-author of the mbcoupes buyers guide, which was penned in 1998, I agree with all the advice given above, except buying both.

All things being equal I would personally buy the one with the books and records if they can't be located for the other.

But all things may NOT be equal. If they appear equally appealing, to help with the choice, then take them both through a carwash and then inspect the interior and trunks for leaks immediately afterwards.

Inspect them both with an eye towards rust and rot, and evidence of collision repair, and then buy the one that has neither, if possible.
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the info, especially about the car wash. If I get to a negotiated agreed price, then yes, I will have a PPI done, absolutely.
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Update - one of the 560's has an odometer problem with inconsistent mileage so that one is out. The other 560 with the service records is looking good, all service records complete, garaged, and owned by an auto lover like us. However, I have also been looking at BMW 740IL's as well because I need a daily driver, but the wife would kill me if I bought 2 cars.
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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Both seem to be good choices, given equivalent pricing. I love the look of both, considered a 740iL before purchasing my 560, but felt that the Benz had a bit more going for it than the Beemer. Driving a 126 gives you better vision of the road, good power and handling, and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. The Beemer has a bit more sportiness, equal if not better power, but I remember feeling a bit more crowded in the pilot's seat, and the trim/switches/doodads to play with all felt a bit cheaper and breakable.

Considering this forum, I think you're going to get some rather biased opinions, but I remember reading a thread where a member said "get the benz. Been there, done that, with a beemer. Benzes are more logically laid out, easier to work on, parts are easier to get and less expensive, and there's less electronic issues to deal with." Something to that effect, anyway.

Go with your gut-- and have fun with whatever you choose!:D

D
 

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w126,2jz gte twin turbo engine,6 speed gearbox, aero 1, zender spoiler, 0 to 100mph 11.5 s, LPG
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190 Posts
Both seem to be good choices, given equivalent pricing. I love the look of both, considered a 740iL before purchasing my 560, but felt that the Benz had a bit more going for it than the Beemer. Driving a 126 gives you better vision of the road, good power and handling, and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. The Beemer has a bit more sportiness, equal if not better power, but I remember feeling a bit more crowded in the pilot's seat, and the trim/switches/doodads to play with all felt a bit cheaper and breakable.

Considering this forum, I think you're going to get some rather biased opinions, but I remember reading a thread where a member said "get the benz. Been there, done that, with a beemer. Benzes are more logically laid out, easier to work on, parts are easier to get and less expensive, and there's less electronic issues to deal with." Something to that effect, anyway.

Go with your gut-- and have fun with whatever you choose!:D

D
i agree with this post ,
i have a 750i sports pack , in england , but now i live most of the year in thailand with my family i bought a w126 sel with a supra twin turbo engine and gear box , and find it a joy , for one with the low elec on the merc i can leave it for months , and it starts first time , now i know a 7 series bmw , will not do this , last of the true merc , yes i like that , the clock works perfectly and losses no time , great , i love both the 750i and the w126 , i would say get both , horses for courses,
 

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CL500, CL500, 190E 2.6, 420 SEC, 350 SL
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Get the W126 - from owning both a 140 and 126, don't expect them to drive the same.

Expect them both to give you a real feel of certainty.

Haven't driven anything else (including current 215) which is more reliable. Or solid. These cars "go on". I have a pal who has an BMW 850, he can't talk enough about my 126'w staying power.
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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Discussion Starter #12
Update, I test drove a 1999 740IL and liked it and of course it was a harder drive because of the sport suspension. The interior is nice, but I have to say, I drove my 140 afterwards and man what can I say, it is obvious why the MB's hold their value. The 140has more power, at least mine vs. the 740 i test drove, the interior of the 140 is much nicer and more elegant than the 740, quality - no comparison, the MB hands down. Don't get me wrong, I liked the 740, but it does have the reliability issue at high mileage. I am going to test drive a 126 and hopefully, I will fall in love with it and drive it home. There is one slight problem, I have been looking at TR's for awhile and the wife is about to kick me out of the house. If I get the TR, I am sure she will have a change of heart once I take her for a ride. Will follow up soon. Thanks.
 

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1991 560 SEL / 1991 300te 4matic / 2000 e320 4matic wagon
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The w126 and the w140 will be similar because they are both big mercedes s class. The 740 is a BMW and will be different. It is purely your taste. I know user Twalton has a s500 and a 560sel. You could send him a pm and ask him what he thinks of the two. He also had a 740il for a while. His input would be very valuable here.

And you looking at Triumphs and w126s? Two kinda opposite ends of the spectrum there. Fun cars though.:thumbsup:
 

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R129 SL 500 97, W124 E320 Coupé 96, W124 300E twin turbo 90, W126 300 SE 91, Ford Capri 2.8i 84
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Check out the buyer's guide and model history here too:

Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse Club e.V.

Rot under the rear window is one obvious weak spot on all 126 models, visible from within the trunk (get in with flashlight and look upwards).

Can't recall the exact reasons, but one very knowledgeable and experienced contributor to another forum (an automotive consultant and author) repeatedly advised people that the big BMWs were trouble, not that he was biased in favour of MBs, but he did have comparative hands-on experience (trading and servicing & repairing).
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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Discussion Starter #15
Update - I test drove the 1990 560 SEL that is currently on EBAY in Maryland and was disappointed. The car looked good on the outside, but the pics of the interior are very decieving. The interior (leather and carpeting) need to be redone, the center console was not attached and just gave the appearance that the owner did not care for the interior. Also, the rear window seal had some rust and the passenger door had a rust spot with a poor attempt by someone to make it look not that bad. The car drove well and the tranny was smooth, but the car was hard to steer from a dead start, the power steering was very stiff. I don't think the car is worth what they want, just my opinion because the interior speaks volumes about the previous owners. I own a 1986 Audi with 228k and that interior looks 100 times better than that MB's. So, I am still looking for a decent 560 sel, does not have to be a show car, but at least well maintained and not a garage queen.
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
hi bruce,

I sent you an email, please call me to discuss the 126's - 703-747-0750
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Update - I looked at another 560 SEL and am getting disappointed. It appears that the good ones, nobody wants to sell and the ones that are for sale have to many issues. Thus, I have now been looking at the 92 to 95 E series and I have found a 400E that meets all the requirements at the present moment.
 

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07 GL 450, 00 E320 Wagon, 99 S500, 93 400E, 87 EURO Testarossa
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Discussion Starter #19
Update - the 400E checked out and I have a contract to buy it. It is original owner with all, and I mean all service records. A car guy that is selling because he is buying a 2009 porsche 911 carrera S and only has a 2 car garage (the other bay is for the boss). I really like the 126's, but I just could not find one to my liking. I could not pass up this 400E from a car guy that has babied this car since it was new. I needed a daily driver to take the kids to school and work. Thanks for all the support and believe me, I wish I would have found a nice 126. Maybe next time.
 
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