Ownership Verified: Mercedes 280 SE (1981) aka. the ugly duckling...

matyas

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Dec 23, 2006
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534
Location
Espoo, Finland
Car(s)
1981 Mercedes 280SE
Words can't describe how happy I am to own a w126 again. Then again, I have broken the first rule of the used S-classes...I bought it cheap. Really cheap. So I should be expecting a world of crap to fall on me/the wallet. However:

-The engine doesn't seem too thirsty, or the fuel meter/fueling station is showing wrong figures. At 80km/h I was doing 2500rpm all the way from Varkaus to Helsinki.
-It's a 4-speed manual, and the gearbox is good.
-There are TONS of receipts over 200e for the car. The car seems to have had a lot of mechanical work, and almost no cosmetical work. Fixes have totalled over 3000e over the past 3 years.
-A good Winter, and a brand new Summer tyre set. Summer tyres are from 2010.
-No cracks, no rattles at 100km/h, I love the w126 :)
-The car has 1 year of MOT.


280SEmk2.jpg


And some images done with my phone...

05012011739.jpg

Proof...ish?

05012011738.jpg


05012011741.jpg

Colour problems? :p

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05012011747.jpg

Need new HT leads...nice

05012011746.jpg


05012011745.jpg

Needs a new skirt...

05012011744.jpg


05012011743.jpg

Cracks and scrapes may hurt, but the phone holder is killing me...


On the 325km way back to the South of Finland the following problems have appeared:
-idle valve seems to have a problem, and the idle rpm is around 1000.
-the air intake box is rusty,and will need replacement.
-the economy meter doesn't work...what a relief, and the instrument glass is cracked.
-the vacuum operated central locking doesn't work.
-some of the door springs need replacing.
-the rear of the car is tail happy...really happy.
-there is a slight pull to the right side, so aligning the wheels will be on my list to do.
-some plastic bits are not straight, the interior has some problems, biggest of which is the drilled phone-holder and the dashboard crack.
-the door attachments need replacing in the front, as they are getting too old.
-rust...not sure how much, as I still need to clean it and maybe remove the chrome wheelarches...which brings us to the next bit...
-dirt. The car is ridiculously dirty. Mostly dust. It needs a wash badly.
-I also need a new radio....
-380,000km....worrying
-Windows don't like winding down...nice
-The air filter needs changing
-HT leads need changing, I think.
-The doors need greasing...at least the front passenger door needs to stop cracking as I open it.
-The electric mirror motor is working...in one axis :p
 
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public

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Despite the pic being so dark it could very well be a Saab 9000 in it, good luck on your reasonably-priced purchase. May it give you hours and hours of satisfying jamesmaying of the interior. :cool:

Note to frankiess: Matyas made a thread on the same day as he's bought the car! Good show.
 

Blayde

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Aw yeah, the W1XXs are taking on the MX5s here at FG, it's going to get messy

Note to frankiess: Matyas made a thread on the same day as he's bought the car! Good show.

:lol:

-the rear of the car is tail happy...really happy.

this can can be resolved with some opposite lock and POWERRRRR :D
 

Jupix

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Yay, another W126 driver :p

Really looking forward to a complete picture set!

Words can't describe how happy I am to own a w126 again. Then again, I have broken the first rule of the used S-classes...I bought it cheap. Really cheap.

But that's not a problem if you knew before signing the papers what you were getting into ;) A cheap S-Class made great after throwing money at it ends up cheaper than an expensive S-Class after throwing money at that...

-The engine doesn't seem too thirsty, or the fuel meter/fueling station is showing wrong figures. At 80km/h I was doing 2500rpm all the way from Varkaus to Helsinki.

My 560 only drank 12 l/100km on the hwy from Oulu to Lappeenranta. And that was largely at 100 kph. They're very frugal aren't they!

-idle valve seems to have a problem, and the idle rpm is around 1000.

Like you said it's probably the IAC, however there are other possibilities, like a vacuum leak or the "intake shutter" not closing fully. And my car has some kind of a idle control computer in the passenger footwell, I guess that can also break if your MY/engine has one. You might also wanna have the fuel mixture checked with an exhaust gas analyzer because I think it being even slightly wrong can cause KE-Jetronic to misadjust the idle speed. (I'm assuming your MY/engine has KE-Jetronic, I can't remember offhand!)

-rust...not sure how much, as I still need to clean it and maybe remove the chrome wheelarches...which brings us to the next bit...

You may be unpleasantly surprised once you remove those arches, as you may know they're often retrofitted to hide rust. I do urge you to remove them though, they're ugly IMO. If rust does exist under them, carry it with pride! :p


-I also need a new radio....

Buy my JVC once I upgrade, proven to work on a W126 :)

-380,000km....worrying

AFAIK really the only things you should be worried about are the timing chain, its guide rails and the diff. The first 2 obviously can cause the car to kill itself without warning and you can hardly ever be sure with these Nth-hand oldtimers when if ever they have been replaced. How's the diff on your car? Does it make any howling sounds at 60, 80 or 100 kph? Be sure to check its oil status if you haven't already :) (amount of oil and whether it's clean)
 
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nicjasno

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Luckily you have a rolled w126 that you can loot for replacement parts. :)
 
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matyas

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Dec 23, 2006
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Location
Espoo, Finland
Car(s)
1981 Mercedes 280SE
I sold that car 2 years ago. I had no job, no money, no repair facilities, I couldn't store the parts...etc etc etc. I have kept the Summer alloys, medipack and toolkit. I will however be calling the guy to whom I sold it to.

I filled her up today...from Heinola to Home, around 145km...11,6L...I think there is some gnome in the engine secretly filling her up :S

Something that is worth a mention is the fuel tank cover...we forgot to close it as we started leaving from Varkaus, and only noticed it as we were accelerating to the motorway. And it closed itself...at 60km/h :D

The differential is good, no noise at 100km/h Jupix. Oil and fluids are OK.

*Updated the fault list...
 
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nicjasno

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All in all not bad for a 29 year old benz. Looking forward to see the progres. It'll look much better when cleaned and fitted with the summer alloys. 3 more months...
 

matyas

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1981 Mercedes 280SE
More more months....

Anyway, I got in contact with the guy to whom I sold the previous car. He still has it, in bits. So I am going to have a look if I can salvage some parts. Also in the process of finding out his identity, I have noticed that the previous car was registered on his name 2-years before I registered this one on mine...TO THE DAY!
 

nicjasno

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No i ment 3 more months till the car can be cleaned and you can mount the summer alloys... Not till everything is fixed till you're satisfied. This will ofc take more.
 

matyas

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Espoo, Finland
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1981 Mercedes 280SE
Summer in Finland can start as late as the end of April, as in the time when you don't need studded anymore.
 

matyas

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Dec 23, 2006
Messages
534
Location
Espoo, Finland
Car(s)
1981 Mercedes 280SE
Changed the air filter...the new one has been made in the unified Germany :D But the engine still doesn't want to breathe through it :(

Old:
08012011762.jpg


New:
08012011764.jpg


And as usual, I have new problems...

Window seal is missing:
08012011766.jpg

Screw missing...:
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But my boot is clean, and now is the cleanest bit of the car:
08012011756.jpg
 
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sifu

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they have carried bodies in that trunk. thats why its so clean.
 

matyas

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Location
Espoo, Finland
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1981 Mercedes 280SE
I have checked it Jupix. It appears to be OK, but I will go over it with some silicone grease just to be on the safe side. It seems to have been repaired at some point. God knows how... At least there were no rust flakes at the top-rear of the boot (you know, inside the holes, where the rust starts).
 

matyas

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Location
Espoo, Finland
Car(s)
1981 Mercedes 280SE
Small update. After buying the wrong ignition leads, and essentially wasting a pile of money, I have ordered the new ones. The old ones are back in the car, and they sealed from the engine by a lego cardboard box...things are good :D

I also cleaned out the garage, and shoveled some snow...a lot of snow, so I could get the car in. It's....tight:

22012011780.jpg

Whoever designed this garage, probably had the blueprints for a w126....in 1965 :lol:

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Not a dignified entrance...

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I am sure I can get the car in by another 5cm or so, so I might actually be able to close/open the boot with one of the doors shut.
 
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