1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SE (W126 SWB) 3.0 liter in-line six from North America


A reliable german tank


Common reasonable wear and tear: Valve cover, flexdisk, motor mounts, oil seal gaskets, shocks, ball joints, and few minor wear and tear items, which do not require immediate attention.

There are a few things that will need restoration for the age of the car, but not urgently. There is few paint oxidation showing on top of the roof, a small tear on the front armrest and front driver's seat along the left corner edge.

General Comments:

For a short wheel base sedan, the rear and front is reasonably roomy with comfort. The ride is very smooth and quiet.

For a large heavy sedan, the acceleration is reasonably responsive, including braking. Since this is a short wheel base version of the W126 body style S-Class, merging into another lane is relatively quick and smooth.

The car does feel heavy when making rapid sharp narrow turns.

The original Becker Grand Prix factory radio system with the cassette player, sounds crisp and clear for the age.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th May, 2012

1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420 SEL 4.2 V8 from Australia and New Zealand


The car that started it all off


Ignition module died (expensive (r) fix).

Fuel pump relay needed replacing.

R/F window motor had given up the ghost.

That's pretty much the major faults.

Lots of DIY maintenance by me and some by independent MB specialists.

Timing chain guides and tensioner @ 406000 km.

Need to change the chain itself (which is available with me).

R/F window motor and regulator replaced, but it's noisy and unrefined.

Air filter @ 390000.

Ignition leads, rotor, cap @ 392000.

Engine mounts @ 393000.

Fuel filter @ 393000.

Oil changes every 3000 - 6000 km.

Transmission filter and filter @ 395000.

Fuel pumps are noisy.

A/C not working.

Valve-train noise.

Fuel distributor dumping in excess fuel me thinks, therefore 20L/ 100km fuel economy (and/or the high mileage issue which may be causing this).

Slight lumpy idle in gear when the engine is warm.

Suspension and steering needs a bit of attention.

Wheel bearings look and sound OK, but need to change for a peace of mind.

Brakes are starting to squeal slightly.

1st gear sounds like a straight cut (transmission needs replacing), but car starts off in 2nd gear anyway, so not much of a problem.

R/R window regulator has a damaged plastic sliding jaw.

Paint is starting to show its age.

There are a lot more problems.

General Comments:

I have brought this car from my dad for $4g two years ago.

My main daily driver, which I have maintained to the best as I could possibly have done with my limited (or none at all) earnings (I'm a Uni student).

When my dad had this car, the ignition module went, so $2000 later (module, coil, various useless parts and diagnosis :P), this took 9 months to find a replacement module.

My dad had enough of this car, that's where I stepped in.

This car changed my life (and shrunk my wallet just as fast); the car noob that I was before is no more, and I have gained knowledge in the automotive field, and am currently studying to be a auto engineer.

So far I spent around $2700 in the two years I had this car in parts (not including the oil changes/ filters).

Older Mercedes are relatively simple to work on (if not time consuming) yourself, and with the info that is on the net, more affordable than sending to the dealers on a regular basis. I have calculated for the work I have done myself, I have saved over $5000 in the two years of ownership for the work done.

But there are some jobs that I cannot do myself, and had to send it to a Mercedes specialist, which was actually a bit expensive, but I did not mind as it was only a few jobs (engine mounts, and fuel filter while the mounts are being changed).

I don't plan on selling this car, will just get the car back to good condition as it should be; it seems like a lost cause, as the car has done more than 400000 kms, at which point most people would just scrap the car.

But I'm not "most people".

Maybe later AMG kit, AMG 3 piece rims, Recaros, m119 engine (or m120, or a 5.5 AMG V8) and other goodies, but that's just a dream for now.

I would gladly buy another W126 (if I had the money) and another non W126 along with it, as long as it's a SEC and/or a 190. But I will not sell this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th March, 2011

22nd Sep 2012, 22:32

The SEC's are still W126 bodies.

10th Oct 2012, 11:19

By definition.

Or C126 to be exact.