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Thread: My 1989 Mercedes 560 SEC

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    Jupix's Avatar
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    My 1989 Mercedes 560 SEC

    Well, finally pulled the trigger on my all-time dream Merc... a 560 SEC. This one's from 1989.

    Pry wouldn't stop harassing me until I posted what I guess you'd call a baseline set of pics and info so here goes.

    As you know the SEC is the S-Class Coupe from the 80's, designed way back when the respective E-Class Coupe was the W123 body, not my W124. This means the SEC shares some styling details with the W123 E-Class. One of these are the taillamps which I never liked on the SEC.

    Nevertheless, there are things about it that I absolutely, wholeheartedly love: the wide upright grille, which has the air of early 20th century grilles that were designed for style, not cutting through wind in the most efficient manner possible. The large, vulgar, showy&shouty M-B emblem in the middle. The traditional Mercedes notchback Coupe stance when viewed side on, and most importantly, the 5,6 litre V8 under the hood.

    Let's make one thing crystal clear from the get go: it's a 1960s V8 engine. It's got some modernness to it, like the modern (for the 1980s) fuel injection system, the aluminium construction (the 5.0 M117 engine weighs 25 kg less than the M110 2.8 engine), and stuff like that, but on the whole, it's a thirsty and lazy engine. But... It's an M117. It's a V8, with the proper soundtrack. And god it's smooth when it's warm. It's like being propelled by a steam engine.

    Like anyone would care about the numbers with a car like this, but regardless, the big sleepy kitty of an engine should develop somewhere around 250 horsepowers and a bit over 400 torques. 0-100 kph somewhere between 7 and 8 seconds...

    So, it's got an engine that makes me all grinny and stupid. But how's the rest of the car?

    Well, it's old. It's got a lot of km's on it. The leather in the front is pretty worn, and some of the wood trim has begun cracking. There's also some wind noise from the pillarless windows that isn't there in the C124. And some of the instruments are beginning to wither and die, either losing the backlight or becoming hard to operate. But... It's got a V8. And it's great.

    There's a peculiar feeling of luxury inside the SEC. The C124 feels like a quality product, but the SEC feels like a luxury product. I can't really put my finger on it. Some of it has to be looks, some of it sound, but for the rest... No idea. But that's how it is.

    The last two PO's of this car have been car aficionados. The first one really took care of the car, even going as far as I did with the C124: changing parts that hadn't failed yet ... and the SEC's got a lot of stuff on it that's only a few years old. Radiator, suspension parts, engine bay hoses to name only a few. The next owner was a Yankee muscle guy who came into possession of the Merc because of a trade, so he didn't really need/want the car, nor did he really know what he had. This means that even though it's a very-soon-to-be-if-not-currently collector car, and doesn't appear to be a total time bomb, I didn't pay through the nose for it.

    So, where is this thing going now?

    Well, first off, it's a DD.
    That means there will be all the necessary services to make an old M117 into a realiable everyday powerplant.

    Second, it's not going to go back to bone stock any time soon. Though I have the utmost respect for Mercedes aficionados who keep their vehicles in original condition, I've always found it more satisfying to make the changes needed to get the car to suit my tastes... In the E Coupe's case, this meant nice, tasteful wheels and a Magnaflow catback. In the SEC's case, yep... you guessed it.

    That's not all, though: some PO was obviously lacking in the taste department: the car's got an AMG badge in the back and inside, and 17" AMG wheels. Both suck. They're about to go...

    As for new wheels, I'm thinking BBS RS. I was hoping to fit the E Coupe's wheels on the SEC, but realistically, because of some offset issues, it doesn't look like they're going to fit. A certain BMW driver is worried that I'm gonna get wheels that are too small, or disappear somewhere inside the wheelarches, particularly in the rear, but to be honest, I'm not too interested in that sorta thing.

    Onto the pics:


    Big Coupes of two generations having a staring contest. I'm getting mixed opinions on which is better looking. Personally, the SEC is more handsome, while the E-Class is prettier. Particularly girls seem to think so.
    (Since I forgot to take a proof pic, maybe this will do?)




    Don't you just love that front?


    Big AMG wheels suck.






    Note the interesting looking doorpanels that were introduced with the facelifted interior of this MY.


    Dunno how much rear legroom there is, I would imagine somewhere around the same as in the C124, certainly enough for a trip to the golf course.


    Same exact dials as the C124, except for the nice 80's onboard computer in place of the rev counter. The revs are on the left as you can see. Sadly the outside temp display is chipped


    And the most important thing: the 5.6 M117 engine.


    Later additions:

    Fuel economy graph:

    Last edited by Jupix; November 21st, 2010 at 10:28 AM. Reason: Thread title change: was "Jupix' new MiamiViceMobile"

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    Pry
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    Love the look of that car. I personally like those big AMG wheels; they add to the rolling middle finger effect that the aggressive stance, huge size, and big honkin' grille badge create. For once in my life I find that the bigger US bumpers add to rather than detract from the looks of a car, as they give the car a cow-catcher prow like you'd find on old steam trains. Still, yours is a handsome beast.

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    Pry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupix View Post
    As for new wheels, I'm thinking BBS RS. I was hoping to fit the E Coupe's wheels on the SEC, but realistically, because of some offset issues, it doesn't look like they're going to fit. A certain BMW driver is worried that I'm gonna get wheels that are too small, or disappear somewhere inside the wheelarches, particularly in the rear, but to be honest, I'm not too interested in that sorta thing.
    I was worried the E Coupe's wheels would go too far in because of the higher offsets. IMO 16" BBS RS would be the best looking option for the wheels. Larger wheels would look stupid on a 80's car. What I meant was too narrow tires would look a bit silly so I'd put at least 215's under it, probably 225's.

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    Love that car, there's one for sale here for around 7000$ US, and the AMG wheels are awesome, the clear indicator clusters are not
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    Mikko Oluenpanija public's Avatar
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    Holy crap, it has ein reiserechner. Amazing. I really like the wheels, too.
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    Amazing car! I am so jealous now, congratulations!

    Could you take some pictures of the small windows in the rear? It looks really technically interesting, especially with the chrome strip.

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    Amazing Merc, but for the love of God, get a wheel change. No offense, jussayin'
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    Wankel Wanker frankiess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupix View Post
    Big AMG wheels suck.
    Truth.

    Awesome car. Where the hell did you find one in such good nick? Good luck with this one, I'm thinking you'll have lots of fun with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupix View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labcoatguy View Post
    Love the look of that car. I personally like those big AMG wheels; they add to the rolling middle finger effect that the aggressive stance, huge size, and big honkin' grille badge create.
    Rolling middle finger effect! Hilarious And spot on

    For once in my life I find that the bigger US bumpers add to rather than detract from the looks of a car, as they give the car a cow-catcher prow like you'd find on old steam trains.
    For reference, here's one with the U.S. bumpers:


    Personally I find them too big, but then I suppose they're like girls with big tits, some guys dig it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pry View Post
    I was worried the E Coupe's wheels would go too far in because of the higher offsets. IMO 16" BBS RS would be the best looking option for the wheels. Larger wheels would look stupid on a 80's car. What I meant was too narrow tires would look a bit silly so I'd put at least 215's under it, probably 225's.
    Yeah, I'll probably go with 225s all round. The AMG wheels are currently 225 in the front and 245 in the rear.

    I bought the BBS's I most liked off eBay today, here's a pic.



    Quote Originally Posted by Blayde View Post
    Love that car, there's one for sale here for around 7000$ US, and the AMG wheels are awesome, the clear indicator clusters are not
    Yeah, apparently the clear indicators are getting mixed opinions. Personally I'd say they make the front look awesome, so it's relatively OK that they're a bit tacky in the rear. You can't mix clear and colored indicators obviously. Also of note is that this car isn't actually black, it's the "Italian Mafia Suit" grey, so I'm thinking colored indicator lenses wouldn't look as nice all round as they do on black SECs.

    Quote Originally Posted by matyas View Post
    Amazing car! I am so jealous now, congratulations!

    Could you take some pictures of the small windows in the rear? It looks really technically interesting, especially with the chrome strip.
    Sure, I'll post some one of these days.

    It's the same exact design as the E Coupe windows, just a fatter chrome strip I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by frankiess View Post
    Truth.

    Awesome car. Where the hell did you find one in such good nick? Good luck with this one, I'm thinking you'll have lots of fun with it.
    Thanks. Nettiauto, where else. Actually the pics are a bit deceiving, there's some things to nag about, but on the whole it's pretty good.

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    Pry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupix View Post
    You can't mix clear and colored indicators obviously.
    These guys did and I think it looks fine.

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    Well, sorta okay, but still a bit dodgey in my book. Also, that car's black, orange goes better with black than it does with grey...
    Last edited by Jupix; October 6th, 2010 at 7:23 PM.

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    Pry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupix View Post
    Well, sorta okay, but still a bit dodgey in my book. Also, that car's black, orange goes better with black than it does with grey...
    You mean like Dodgey Viper?



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    That Merc is one sexy beast.

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    There is drool all over my keyboard now I can't stress how much I love these old Merc coupes, especially the 5.6 SEC (which I've been trying to get a wallpaper of for the longest time *hint hint*). Theres just something about it that makes me feel "fizzy" whenever I see one of these coupes. Shame they don't make em like they used to. The new CL Mercs are much less attractive and cool imo. How can you afford to pay for the gas, considering this is your daily driver. You must be mad (but totally awesome)!!
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    Love that Merc. Thumbs up.
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    BBS RS for the win! I have two sets for my car! Those should look freakin' awesome on that Merc. If I ever had a buy a big barge for long roadtrips, I would be seriously tempted by a big Merc like this. I also go weak at the knees for any car with pillarless windows... even more for a car with no B pillar! Ultimate cruiser car!
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    It's perfect as is, honestly. If you do change the wheels, I'd use a different style of AMG Monoblocks. They just suit the car- I do agree with losing the AMG badge, though.
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    Jupix's Avatar
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    Weeeeelll, time to post some updates.

    First off matyas asked about the windows. Here's a short vid, hope it gives you an idea as to how it works and looks up close. Excuse the finglish...



    Quote Originally Posted by Wizegui View Post
    How can you afford to pay for the gas, considering this is your daily driver. You must be mad (but totally awesome)!!
    Well yes I'm completely insane running a car like this. No surprise there.

    However, surprisingly the vast majority of expenditures aren't actually gas or insurance. Having now lived with the car for a while, I've got some fuel economy figures and they aren't that terrible. I get 12 litres per 100 highway km's at mixed 80/100kph speeds, and as low as 15-16 l/100km cruising in the city. For this kind of engine/tranny, that's pretty good, no?

    Also, insurance costs LESS (about 25% less) than the E 320 Coupe insurance. What a difference 5 years and a popular boyracer chassis (W124) makes.


    Moving on. Some progress on the "DD-ization": I was able to source some used center console switches (air con, cabin air recirculation) to replace worn ones, and when those are installed (assuming they fit), the temperature knob lighting bulbs will be replaced. This should improve the overall look of the cockpit, currently it all looks a bit broken...

    This car is equipped with what Merc call orthopaedic front seats, meaning there are air bubbles inside the backrest which you can adjust to your desired hardness and vertical position. So front seats with lumbar support, basically. The air cushions are controlled by a control unit attached to the seatbelt lock. The air goes from the vehicle's pressure system to the cushions via air hoses, meaning as far as I can tell it's all completely mechanical. Problem with mine was, the driver's side control unit was leaking, so there was a constant hissing at regular intervals inside the car, like someone was breathing heavy all the time next to you. Yes, I checked the trunk and there were no FBI informants to be seen, so I concluded it was the lumbar support controller hissing away.

    A new one would've been 220 euros at the very least, at a finnish website selling OEM Merc parts, but again I was able to source a used one for next to nothing. Worked fine, installed easy and now there is some beautiful silence!

    I mentioned some "necessary services to make an old M117 into a realiable everyday powerplant". Well, actually there are things related to the engine, and some that aren't. Here's a list I cobbled up for me ol' trusty mechanic.

    Engine:
    - Timing chain & guide rails replacement
    - Oil & filter change
    - Fuel mixture optimization
    - Engine idle speed too high when warm, need to find out why (probably an air leak somewhere)
    - Install block pre-heater
    - Check coolant

    Powertrain:
    - Check transmission fluid and flush if necessary.
    - Need to adjust kickdown, it's a bit too sensitive currently
    - Check diff oil

    Center console:
    - Switches and bulbs, mentioned above

    Etc:
    - New headlight wiper blades (wanna guess how much these were at the stealership? Correct answer: 80+ euros a pop, no I didn't buy)
    - Blower motor replacement
    - The plastic panels running the length of the car need to be removed and the metal underneath cleaned up & derusted if there's rust
    The timing chain & blower motor were the most expensive parts at about 120 and 300 eur. There will be labor of course but in the end it's necessary that all the stuff there gets taken care of.

    After this maintenance visit (went in today, hopefully finishes early next week) I'll start working on getting the car rustproofed. Again a bit expensive but should pay for itself in mental health and less future rust repair jobs.

    Meanwhile, I've been pondering on the exhaust. Needless to say, Magnaflow - however, I was never quite sure what size stuff to get and what parts I actually want/need. Was actually even thinking of a freeflow cat but since they didn't really have a fitting dual in - dual out product with correct dimensions, and because I worry about emissions, I chose to again leave the original cat to its own devices.

    All became much clearer when I got a chance to view the underside of the car, and the exhaust that's currently on it. Turns out the OEM resonators have been deleted and there's some non-OEM looking pipe for a catback, with the OEM muffler. Judging from the attachment hooks it's also been removed at some point but has been re-installed.

    Here's a couple pics of the current exhaust.





    Is that not the simplest exhaust you've ever seen on a Merc? Makes it a lot easier to convert to a new Magnaflow catback, but I bet I'll still make a hash of it

    Here's what I settled on: OEM cat -> twin 14445 magnapacks -> single 12468 dual in - dual out muffler -> dual exit pipes as close visually to the ones on my E Coupe as possible. Pipe diameter will be 2.5".

    The mufflers will arrive the week after next so until then, let me know how I ****ed up

    Also, as a point of reference here's how the current, non-Magnaflow setup sounds:



    Sounds somewhat trouser-accidenty already but it's actually nothing like that inside the car, you can't hear anything in there. Want more sound.


    On to the the matter of wheels. Still waiting on the BBS's which I posted earlier. Should be sent out from Germany next Thursday, so also a new toy of week 46. The delay is due to the rims getting a complete overhaul done, takes a very long time and I should hope they look pretty damn nice when they arrive. Planning on getting the GoodYear studless winters, supposed to be the best.


    I've been thinking about the rear light clusters with clear indicators and I'm drifting more and more towards getting rid of them, and in search of options for the front indicators. Well, I was on the internet and I found this! A mint W124 500E with some interesting looking front indicators.







    I think those would look great with the OEM rear light clusters and orange wing indicators, while still making the front look awesome head-on. However, I've no idea where to get those orange-strip ones. If anyone has seen them somewhere for the W126, please let me know. Otherwise I'm even verging towards buying some new clear indicators (15 euros a pop or something to that effect) and having them painted, if that's in any way possible.

    That's about it for current progress

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