18th Jul 2010, 16:26
I just added another member to the family. A 1986 420 SEL! I found the car in a bad part of town, as I was driving past a run down house. My son was the one to spot the Mercedes sitting alone under the tree. I rushed to the door of the home and offered $500. He took the offer and handed me the key.
Me and my son got in the old car and it started right up. I was extremely surprised. After we got the car home, we looked in the trunk and were surprised to find at least 150 pieces of service history. I read them and found that the car was from Long Beach, California. Me and my son still have no clue about how it ended up in the bad part of town, but the car runs great and looks great!
19th Jul 2010, 15:51
The vibration could also be the steering damper. It is a part that is usually forgotten about.
14th Aug 2010, 17:50
I received my 1986 420SEL as a 16 year old kid. The car only had one owner prior, and they took immaculate care of it. It came into my family at 24 years old, with 145k miles. I drive this car about 30 miles everyday, between work and school. I have no complaints. My baby's in Arctic White, and is truly a subtle beauty. The biggest issue I face with the car is its fuel efficiency, getting roughly 15 miles to the gallon, and accepting nothing but premium gasoline.
It tends to shake when I crank it up to 60mph, but I'm not too worried. Idles a little rough, and sometimes struggles with shifting up on inclines, especially from a stand-still, or slow start.
I've had a few problems with the power windows and sliding roof. One of the pieces used to pull the right rear window up has broken, and needs to be replaced. The sliding roof may stick if pulled back too far, and the top does not want to pop (I have to manually pop it if I want some air). I've had the roof looked at, and it's been suggested that the rubber pieces within the sliding roof have dried and crusted, and lost their flexibility.
This is a big, and powerful car, but it is also extremely graceful. Maneuvers wonderfully for being over 17' long. Takes turns and curves like a dream. A real cream puff. Should be driven gently, however. Not meant to be driven in any drag races, but really knows how to haul itself on the highway. Fares alright in city driving, although fitting it in to a parking space can prove tricky.
A driver can really feel the power behind this machine, and all the precision that went into its design. Extremely safe and sturdy. Very ahead of its time, not only in safety, but pure luxury. Lots of chrome. If a kid can learn on this car, anyone can handle it. Taking this car to college with me.
One Satisfied Mercedes Driver,
15th Sep 2010, 22:58
I bought my 1986 MB 420 SEL in 1996 with 86K miles on it. I must say she "Sally" has been one of the best cars I have ever owned.
She has plenty of power even climbing hills and mine does not shake even @ 100 MPH. Of course I've had a few problems like brakes, new rotors every 50-60K because they warp and the car will shake when the brakes are applied.
I highly recommend using Mercedes parts in many instances. They are just made better. I've also had a timing chain guide break twice while starting her up in the driveway. Had to have the heads pulled and a few bent exhaust valves.
The rear window guide broke and had to find a new one @ a junkyard for $60 and the sunroof won't open. But the A/C works great, so does the radio and everything else... Cruise control too!
I've done much of the work myself and it's really not too bad. I know I even changed the alternator once too. But hey. They don't last forever.
She now has 220K and loves the drive to Aspen Colorado every now and then. It's built like a small tank and rides..well...Like a Mercedes. Wish they still made cars like this. It was way before its time when it was designed and built. If you have any problems touch base!
22nd Oct 2010, 13:27
I have my eye on an '86 MB 420 SEL 220K - it looks immaculate and drives very nice... Any hints on what I should check for first, so as not to be surprised?
Let me know... firstname.lastname@example.org
6th Jul 2011, 14:38
I own a 1986 420SEL. The headlight wipers work when the headlights are on, and the windshield squirts are actuated.
My 420SEL had 11,000 miles on it when I bought it in Nov. of 2010. It had been stored for 20+ years. New tires, seals, fluids, brake pads, brake lines, accumulator, rocker cover seals, belts, fuel distributor, and a few other age related fixes, and I have a new MB. It is a head turner. Paint and interior like new.
30th Jul 2011, 10:33
Have wanted a W126 Merc for many years now, and after 10 years of expensive new car leases, I decided I was done with car payments, and was going to find myself an old Benz. I wanted to find a 560SEC, but all that I looked at were either trashed or way out of my price range. So by chance I stumbled on a beautiful 89 420 SEL black over grey with 108k.
She has the common issues, including a rough idle (which is all but gone now after a strong dose of techron and a full tank of premium fuel), a shake over 65+ mph, and I have a SRS light on (have heard it's a connector that shakes out over time?).
All that said, this is by far the best built car I have ever owned! Until you own one, it's hard to explain.. But this old girl will be greatly loved and driven for many years to come!
It's also funny how many head turns and thumbs up I get driving the old gal! Can't go wrong with a 126 Mercedes, one of the finest cars ever made!
19th Aug 2011, 11:14
These 126's are one of finest cars around, I get comments all the time. I own a 1989 420 SE, 5 years now, 213k on it. Bought it with 154k, and I have not had the timing chain done yet! (knock on wood). It's the best vehicle I have EVER owned. You know the old saying, "you take care of it, it will take care of you"!
4th Feb 2013, 17:14
I am in Tampa - just purchased a 1986 Mercedes 420 SEL; I have a 1991 Mercedes 300E. Would you mind sharing the name of the mechanic you have in Tarpon Springs?
3rd Apr 2013, 10:00
What was the mileage when you offered the $500, as I have come across one with 116,400 miles and the owner is looking for $1,500, and I have him ready to accept $1,000?
10th Jun 2015, 06:33
Left sagging front seats on the MB 420SEL is common, and may in fact be a design feature to allow easy egress from the car. I have had two 1987 420SELs, and both have this issue or feature.