1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 560SEC V8 from North America


One of the best Mercedes' available!


White smoke was originally diagnosed as a blown head gasket or cracked block.

Front suspension was loose.

Door vacuum lock (passenger) non-working.

Oil leak.

Smoking engine compartment.

General Comments:

I bought the car knowing that the previous owner thought that there was something major to be done to the engine. The "White" smoke was a faulty vacuum modulator ($40) and I replaced the valve cover gaskets. No more smoke nor oil leaks. The car is fixed!

I love this car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th July, 2002

1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420SEL 4.2 V8 from North America


Best car ever had!


I had the callipers replaced.

General Comments:

For a car that is 15 years old and has 273k miles, and considering it has the original engine and transmission, I am constantly blown away at the acceleration of the car. Getting out of a tight spot on the freeway requires nothing more than slightly pressing on the accelerator as the car picks up speed with ease. The suspension on the other hand is not tight, as the car does not grip the road especially around corners.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2002

1986 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SDL 3.0L turbo diesel from North America


Best car in the world. Period


Most problems are age and mileage related - bearings, vacuum (rubber) hoses and diaphragms, etc. The engine and drivetrain are in perfect working order. I live in Florida, but the car is from Penn originally, and it's in great shape.

Some major items fixed:

Tie rod ends, misc. bushings - $500 - 270,000 miles.

A/C vacuum system and re-charge (major overhaul) - $1,200 - 261,000.

New head on the engine - $2,500 - 225,000 (in records).

Other than that, it's mostly been minor items ($50- $350) for comfort and convenience items.

Also, forget the dealers, who are ridiculously expensive. If you're in a larger town, there will be a Mercedes specialist who will do better work FAR cheaper. Mine charges $60/hr for labor, and lets me bring my own parts. WOW!

General Comments:

This car is amazing. We call it "the beast" because it takes abuse and keeps on ticking. 14 years old, 271,000 miles, and the IDEAL daily driver.

It's important to buy one that has been properly and regularly maintained, as an older S-Class that's been neglected will easily cost more to get back into perfect order than it cost to buy. I consider a car with accurate and complete maintenance records (mine is one) much more valuable than one without.

If you're looking for a car that will provide a lifetime of service without killing you in maintenance and repairs when it gets older, do yourself a favor and consider a 1986-1991 S-Class Mercedes Benz. The gas models will be more expensive to buy and maintain, and the diesels will last forever. I plan to will mine to my grandkids, and I'm only 30.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2000

22nd Jul 2001, 09:01

Great review,we just bought a 1986 300 sdl, its great to see a great review.

3rd Oct 2002, 20:10

I have a 1987 300SDL and it is a wonderful car especially on the highway. I bought it used and have accomplished some needed work which included repainting, tires, stereo system. I now have 156,000 miles and the engine runs OK. I plan to replace the injectors and glow plugs because she burps a little on the highway. It is noticeable at night in the rear view mirror, but seems to usually occur after my wife has been putt putting the car in the city. These cars were meant to be driven on the Autobahn and are geared accordingly. I have found that by putting the car in third gear and running it for a few miles on the highway it clears out most of the cobwebs. Someone wants to buy my car, but after reading some of the articles here I think I better hold onto it. My fuel economy is about 25mpg, but I think replacing the injectors will help this to improve. I have read that in Europe injectors are replaced/rebuilt after about 60K miles. In speaking with the local dealers they say they replace them when they go bad. Sounds kinda fuelish (pun intended) to me considering that when the injectors go bad they usually ruin a few other parts in the process. Well that's my two cents worth for the common good. Happy Motoring.