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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am new to the forum and am looking for specific advice on a 1991 420 SEL for sale near me. It has 122K, and has been garaged since new, has some service records.

Before I drive an hour to go look, are there any things that I should really watch out for? Big things that are a common issue with these cars. I am a good mechanic, have restored several cars, but am smart enough to know that every model has its specific quirks to watch out for. Obviously I will have the car inspected by my MB dealer, but would love to avoid spend the money on a PPI if there is something I can look for that would be an ender....

The car will be a daily driver for me.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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122k, garaged since new,and some maintenance records? sounds pretty good. These cars are pretty solid. I'd look in the service records for timing chain work and whenever i buy an older Mercedes i mostly look for cosmetic defects. Perfect paint, interior, and a solid under body usually have me sold.

With any old car i'd expect the small things to go wrong. I've seen a few 420sel's that have needed new rubber door/trunk seals, window switches, vacuum lines. overall great cars.
 

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1986 420SEL/1995 E300D/4 BMW’s/2 Vanagon’s
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Check for moisture under the floor mats.
Check that the idle is around 700 at warm idle. Car should idle smoothly too.
Check that cars goes into forward and reverse with a 1-1.5 seconds of shifter move.
Check Cruise Control.
Even though cars has 122k, make sure odo works and isn't just stopped on 122k.
Make sure Heat and AC work and blow from all vents according to ACC buttons.
Check for moisture in the in the wells of the trunk.
Check for rear window de-lamination and possible rust under the rear window seal.
Check production date of tires.

Not that any of the above are show stoppers but some are more troublesome than others to fix and could be negotiating points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
More please

Check for moisture under the floor mats.
Check that the idle is around 700 at warm idle. Car should idle smoothly too.
Check that cars goes into forward and reverse with a 1-1.5 seconds of shifter move.
Check Cruise Control.
Even though cars has 122k, make sure odo works and isn't just stopped on 122k.
Make sure Heat and AC work and blow from all vents according to ACC buttons.
Check for moisture in the in the wells of the trunk.
Check for rear window de-lamination and possible rust under the rear window seal.
Check production date of tires.

Not that any of the above are show stoppers but some are more troublesome than others to fix and could be negotiating points.
That is what I am looking for!!! I take it the moisture in the trunk would be the rear window seal?

More please!!

Mike
 

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2011 GLK350,1998E300D, 2004SL500, 2006CLS500,2006ML500,2006R500, 2002 S55AMG
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Check the Hydraulic suspension
 

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1991 w126 420SEL, 1986 w126 Euro 560SEC (option 822), 2000 E55, 2003 E55, 2003 SL55
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512 Posts
Speaking of hydro suspension. Just buy a 560. Although I love my 420 SEL as she was my first I have regretted it ever since. The power of the 560 in such a big car is nice. They sell for the same prices these days and if you find one with good working hydro suspension the upkeep is basically the same. I know my 420 will make a great car for my daughter when she can drive. Dual airbags, HUGE, and takes a bit to get to speed. All good qualities for her but I know that the 560 jumps on to an on ramp and takes charge. My 420 does it no problem but does it at her own pace so that I get lots of people coming by as we merge in their new cars.

Bottom line is that above they have listed many good things on the 420 or any w126. If your a gambler like me (actually I felt it was time sensitive) you buy without a full inspection where they can get it on the rack. A what ever happens "if" you buy it inspect the time chain guides for yourself. I have not had the unfortunate situation happen to me but many, many people have and can tell you of the destruction. Most w126 examples you could probably paperweight at that time as only the super rare or exceptional condition are worth fixing.

By the way if you did not figure out in first line 420's did not come with hydro suspension.
 

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1986 420SEL/1995 E300D/4 BMW’s/2 Vanagon’s
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That is what I am looking for!!! I take it the moisture in the trunk would be the rear window seal?

More please!!

Mike
Moisture in the trunk could be rear window seal, especially if there is a lot of rust underneath it. You should be able to pry it up just enough with your fingers in the lower corners of the window to see what's what. However, moisture in the trunk could also mean the trunk seal, antenna mast seal, seals around the rear lights, etc. Mainly, you just want to check to see *if* its wet, because that just presents a problem for you to deal with. If it is wet, you can negotiate/consider your options.

Despite what another poster said above, 99% of the 420's you see will not have hydraulic suspension; most, if not all, 560's will. 420's have your standard springs and shocks.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1991 560SEC AMG
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