2nd Feb 2004, 21:29

I'm planning on buying a 1991 420 SEL in Canada for approximately $5000 US, the car has 100,000 miles and seems to be in very good condition. I am not quite sure if this is a good price for this car as I've never owned a Mercedes before and I don't have much technical knowledge.

Is there anything important to consider (other than the timing chain problem) when I inspect and purchase this car? Any advice greatly appreciated!

16th Mar 2004, 18:10

I am about to Purchase a 1986 420SEL with 151,000 miles and have never owned a Benz before. I would like to restore it and have it in perfect running condition. I have some mechanical skills, but I have never worked a Benz before. Can anyone tell me where and how I can get advice on engine/ parts details and installation trick and tips? Is there a service out there for people like myself for this car specifically? Also, does anyone have original color brochure of this vehicle inside and out.

22nd Jul 2004, 11:31

I am looking at buying a 1987 420 SEL from a friend who has really loved and cared for this car. He has records of all of the work done - and he has really done everything (he put in a new engine). He estimates that he has put about 7,000 into this car. He is willing to sell for $5,000. I am a medical student on a limited budget, but I need a safe, reliable car to last for the next 7 years. I"m willing to keep up with the TLC.


3rd Aug 2004, 21:35

I have looked at a 1986 420sel with 134000 miles on it. the car turns over, but will not start, it is said the cause for this is the timing chain. how do I determine if the engine is damaged without it running? can you steer me in the right direction please?

17th Sep 2004, 13:13

I purchased a 1987 420 SEL 4 years ago with 225,000 miles and currently have 270,000 on it. It is mainly driven for pleasure and is a complete joy to drive. The maintenance has been reasonable. The failure of the air condition compressor has been the only major problem I have experienced. I haven't changed the timing belt, but I do notice at times while attempting to start it sounds like teeth are missing in the fly wheel. Is this an indication that the timing belt needs changing?

8th Mar 2005, 00:49

I bought my 420 sel with 128k miles eight months ago for $ 5500.00, not especially cheap for the year, but it had the look I wanted. I have had few problems with it, the valve covers leak a little oil and the transmission leaks fluid. It is a most enjoyable car to drive, not cheap on gas. when backing in reverse, the car seemed to be very slow compared to other cars, I was worried the transmission might be getting ready to shell out, but a mechanic told me that mercedes have a governor on reverse to prevent backing accidents, sounds reasonable, but I don't know if he knows what he is talking about or not. other than that the car looks almost showroom new and drives like a new car. considering the original price of almost 60k new, I will settle for the few leaks and hope to double its mileage before I'm through.

2nd Oct 2005, 01:05

I recently replaced my 1993 600 SEL V12 with a 1987 420 SEL and could not be happier. Though the 600 had tremendous performance and was loaded with features, it was a nightmare financially to maintain.

I was very careful with this purchase as I viewed over 15 cars and insisted on looking at all available records. Ultimately, I purchased a local car with 97,000 miles on it for $3500 (after some lengthy negotiations). The previous owner had extensive records and had replaced the timing chain at 90,500 miles a year ago.

I know that I have made a good decision because I previously had a 1986 420 SEL that I sold prematurely without ever having had any significant problems with it. Lesson learned...

Truly, the only two things the car needs to be excelllent in every way is a better stereo and cup holders!!

25th Mar 2006, 07:20

I don't think that getting a 20 year old Mercedes for a first car is a good idea. While I can appreciate that you like the recognition that comes with the brand, the maintenance on it will be far to much. It is going to be difficult and expensive to find parts for the car when it breaks down. If you buy this car your asking for trouble. It will turn into a money pit. Just my.02 though.

25th Mar 2006, 09:04

While I agree with most everything you have said, it will not be difficult to find parts for the car (albeit they will be expensive).

Mercedes has always made a pledge to its customers that they will continue to stock parts for their vehicles 25 years after they go out of production. For this car, I believe that means parts will be available from Mercedes until 2016 or so.

Plus, there is a new center in Irvine, CA that is dedicated to restoration of Mercedes cars and is run by Mercedes. More are supposed to pop up around the country.

25th Mar 2006, 18:23

It is wonderful that Mercedes will continue to provide parts for their vehicles for 25 years. However, I do not think that a 17 year old kid should be driving a Mercedes that is older than he is. He will never be able to maintain this vehicle unless his parents are well heeled. German cars are wonderful until they are about 10 years old. After that this poor fella is going to be going from one expensive repair to another. He should look at getting a used Japanese or American economy car. But, for some people prestige is more important than practicality.

26th Mar 2006, 09:06

Of course I agree, my only point was about the availability of parts.

Any 17 year old considering an S class as his first car is kidding himself on a numerous levels (gas cost, repair cost, etc.). At the very least he should consider a four cylinder 190 from the same era and then see if he can handle the repair costs.

Big German luxury cars are very seductive as they depreciate like mad and seem like good values. But unless you are well aware of what the maintenance costs are, you are in for a sad time indeed.

I'm surprised his parents don't have better sense.

2nd Apr 2006, 01:14

An 86 S-class for a first car is fine. I got one for my 16th birthday, although mines a 1988. The 420sel had only had 69,000 and was owned by an older couple who had all records. I now have had the car for 3 years and have driven it all over, my longest journey was from California to South Dakota and back. The car ran just fine. The A/C went out on the car 6 months ago which was a hefty $3000.00 repair. Parents did help me out. Id say go for the car. Just be careful your buying it from a Mercedes dealer and not a curbside car dealer specializing in Mercedes. My brother made the mistake of buying a Lexus he got for an amazing deal. Turned out the car had been in an accident and repaid unprofessionally. If your parents say yes then id buy the car. Gas is the only thing that might hurt you. Car runs on premium fuel and get only about 14mpg. Good luck.