1987 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 420 SEL from North America - Comments

29th May 2008, 23:43

I have a 1990 420 and it is fantastic! They don't build cars like this anymore-not even mercedes benz! It is true that things need to be attended to, but what car doesn't? The car is a classic and probably the safest car on the road next to a Rolls Royce. Mine has 98,000 miles on it. My technician says it is just broken in. He has a customer who has over six hundred thousand miles on his. The bottom end has never been done!

11th Jun 2008, 09:51

Bought my first Panzervagen 20 years ago - after 2 Fiats (both 6s), BMWs (also both 6s), Alfas, Holdens, v8Fords & Datsuns + 1 Studebaker, Jaguar (MkII 3.8), Peugeot & Renault... and am now on my sixth Benz.

The 6.9 was the brute/beast - way better than the Harley.

Benz timing chains MUST be attended to before they let go. If Benz donks make noises, they should be listened to (the same if they leak..anything. Other cars have a slop factor and certain levels of leaking are normal.. not so with a Benz (and don't talk to me about leaking Jaguars!) - and also please let the fuel lines pressure up (ie turn on the power but don't hit the starter motor) before engaging the starter motor. Wait at least 2 seconds after turning on the ignition. If the fuel pump (in a 420 it is pumps - plural) keeps buzzing after say 3 seconds then it's telling you it needs attention.

Benz donks (especially older ones) hate being put to work before they get hot - keep doing it and you will shorten their lives. Please tonk along at low revs at least until the thermostat opens - then make 'em work - and they love it! I recall a 6.3 in the 1970s being taken in for 'service' from a leafy suburb because it was running very roughly despite its low mileage. The lady owner was using it as a shopping cart, hence it had coked up. The service dept took it around the block a few times in 1st at 4500 rpm. When the black exhaust smoke stopped they handed it back - smooth as ice-cream...

Benzs are just different - hence 'Panzervagen'

16th Jun 2008, 02:30

I own an 87 560 SEL, and I have to say that this is the best car I have ever driven, even considering it has 279k miles on it! They sure don't make them like they use to...

17th Jun 2008, 04:08

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I do think Americans can have unrealistic expectations of a car. If the servicing is completed on time, a old Mercedes will run to huge mileage, and is better built than anything with Ford/General Motors stamped on it.

29th Jul 2008, 04:35

My grandma recently gave me a 420 sel blue wit silver trim very well kept up love the ride & it is comfortable, only thing wrong is needs head done valves I think car smokes what do you expect after 300 000! yeah shes really a bute tho!

21st Nov 2008, 17:50

HELP! I have a 1987 420 SEL which won't start after it's been driven. It starts cold with no problem whatsoever, but if I then drive it even for a minute and shut it off, it won't restart. It will crank and crank and crank but not start.

I've replaced both fuel pump check valves, replaced the ignition coil, cleaned the fuel injection doodads, replaced the crank position sensor (bell housing), put in two new fuel pumps and the fuel pump relay, and changed the coolant temp sensor. STILL WON'T START under the above mentioned conditions.

Once I wait 30 minutes or so, it starts.

My head is going to explode and my husband is tired of me whining about my car. Needless to say I DON'T WANT TO GET RID OF IT, I just want it to start.

Appreciate any help -

Viviana - San Bruno CA.

3rd Mar 2009, 10:54

To the lady with the hard start problem after driving around the block, will the car start warm if you press the accelerator pedal?

I have a 420 89 model with the same problem. The tech says the fuel distributor is the problem. They start to leak with age, and that causes too much fuel to be dumped in the cylinder, causing a flooding like symptom. After about 30 minutes, does the car start fine? The units cost 2000.00 and up from Merz. There is a company that rebuilds them called Jaytan (www.jaytanindustriesinc.com), phone # is 1-888-652-9826. They cost for the 420 $449.99 + 100.00 core charge. Returned when you send your old unit back.

Good luck, hope this helps you out.

30th Mar 2009, 16:55

I have a 1990 420SEL and it is fantastic! It has 106,000 miles on it. I am looking at head gasket replacement, valve job, transmission overhaul, replacement of main seal and gaskets on my power steering pump. It will cost almost 7000 dollars, but what can I buy for that little money? Nothing at all like the 420. Mercedes, itself, recognizes this as one of the best motor cars they ever produced in Germany. I will keep mine forever. The cost of a car like this today would be around one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The new all electronic cars are trouble from the start. If one takes good care of a 420, it will take good care of them. The solidness of the body, the interior integrity, and the craftsmanship of the car as a whole is nowhere to be found in today's manufacturing of cars. I know, my friend drives a 2005 E320 and he spends about five thousand annually on repairs! I have spent little on mine since the day I drove it off the lot. My repairs are from being a 19 year old car, not poor engineering and workmanship. One can't go wrong in getting a nice vintage 420.

17th May 2009, 23:27

Need help. I have an 87 Mercedes 420 SEL. My problem is the motor is accelerating too much, and when I put it in drive, the car jumps and makes a loud noise, and when driving on a flat surface, it goes at 40 miles an hr without pressing the gas pedal. Please can somebody tell me what I need to fix or change?

Thank you, my e mail is mansiel@verizon.net

23rd Aug 2010, 15:13

I have owned a 1989 420 SEL for last 15 years with 275,000 miles on it. I have had to do a valve job, replaced the starter, idle control valve, transmission idle switch, ignition lock cylinder, and the alternator twice (made by Chevrolet). The alternator goes out without warning or any indication. Not bad for a 20 year daily driver.

I travel a lot on business and end up renting new cars (usually less than a year old) all the time. Let me tell you something what a joy is to drive my 20 year old 420 SEL compared to those new rental cars Japanese or American. I wish MBZ had kept up the tradition of making cars like this. Now I want to replace it with another MBZ, I don’t think they make them like they use to.

30th Aug 2010, 22:23

My dad gave me his 1986 420SEL. I love this car. He never abused or misused it.

Aside from one door ding the car is like new. I have a Jaguar of the same vintage I would love to hurl into the sun.