1993 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500 SEL from North America - Comments

8th Mar 2009, 10:16

This is so intriguing. Mercedes lost a class-action lawsuit over the early W140 body cars because of poor quality and a terrible lack of dependability, yet it's being described here as a "Benchmark of automotive industry".

I had a 1992 W140, and I was never more happy to get rid of a car in my life. Only had 101K miles and it was falling apart. Never again! I didn't mind the high finance payments, around $800 a month at the time, but it would have been nice to have been able to drive it a little, instead of keeping it in the shop constantly!

I'm back in my old W126, still going at 662K, and no signs of stopping. 1991 is the latest year I'd ever buy an MB car. Anything newer just isn't the same (despite all the nice little "show-off" trinkets they have)...

10th Aug 2009, 17:11

I have a 1993 500SEL and love it. Drive to the Desert from Canada every winter. Never seen the snow, or cold. Garage stored from October till February.

Car just turned 100K. Check Engine light came on, and the car started making a banging noise to the point were the scan showed 17 faults.

After checking all the faults, nothing turned up?

Any ideas? Timing tensioner is OK, chain OK, oil pump OK, cam sensor OK, air pump OK.

It's been in 2 shops and no one can tell me the problem.

Love the car. Big, smooth ride and 25mpg on the hwy, but no idea what the banging was. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the banging went away...

15th Aug 2009, 21:47

I have a 600SEL and it is the best car I have ever owned. It has had a few things go wrong with it, but I'm happy to maintain it because it is such a nice car.

12th Oct 2009, 09:39

I have a 1993 400SEL, and it runs great!!! And at 240k miles, no other car on the road can compete. I have several other cars and trucks, and they are just other cars compared to this one. I traded a camera system for it (roughly $1500), and couldn't be happier. I have had it for 2 years, and it has a small shake in the front, but other than that it runs perfectly. All you nay-sayers scratch your head on this one. It is 17 years old, and looks brand new. My only issue with MB is the fact that they do not offer cup holders in the front of the car. Silly aye??? AAAA++++

18th Sep 2010, 00:53

I think it's a pretty darn nice car, but not without fault though. Best words of advice I can give is to buy a code reader and avoid any Mercedes dealer, even if you have to let the car sit.

Doing your own work is satisfying, and these cars are not so complex that the average mechanically skilled person can't fix them.

Just learn it, look under the hood and try to understand what is what. Under the hood is not as daunting as some other models. The S cars are fairly well thought out for maintenance.

After 9 months of owning mine, I wouldn't be afraid to do any repair to the car. 211,000 miles now and it's still really a solid piece of engineering.

Would I recommend it for someone on a budget or with no mechanical skills? Absolutely not, no, never, not in a million years. Primary reason to stay away from a Mercedes that's growing old is it's going to be spendy to fix.

It's my 7th Benz, and I personally think the 190e with the 2.6 is more car pound for pound.

5th Nov 2010, 17:22

Hi, I have a 92 500 SEL with 170,000 on it. It runs perfect, but I have a problem; before the first shift, it sounds like a manual transmission, then it changes, and is leaking oil from somewhere.

23rd May 2011, 00:59

Having owned my 93 for the past 8 years, I immediately recognized this problem. Have the rotors (coils) checked and replaced as necessary - there are two. This was an acknowledged technical problem of this model.

22nd Jun 2011, 16:27

My SAAB 9000 got run into and totaled. My friend had a '93 500SEL for sale. It was leaking (any car will leak with older seals) oil and tranny fluid. Spent 2K and the car runs like the wind. Consumer Reports have a consistent bias against both American and European cars, and highly praise Asian cars. I find that Asian cars do not stand the test of time like Ford, MB, BMW or others (my father had a Honda that had several "silent" recalls, but you won't find that in the supposed unbiased reports).

22nd Sep 2011, 19:01

It may be your fuel pump.

7th Dec 2011, 02:39

I just brought a 1993 Mercedes Benz SEL 500 on 12/3/11, and I love it! I have owned a 1970, 2003 E320 and now this. I am a MB lady.

I purchased this car for less than $3500.00 with only 109k miles. Yes, I typed these numbers correctly. The double windows (some call them bullet proof) are great; I get no outside noise when driving.

This is a very good car; probably one of MB's best productions. I pray I will still have it, and it will be running well at 300k.

This car is bullet proof, so there is no sunroof, which is one of the things I really miss; I love a sun roof.

I took the car to my mechanic, and he put it on the lift and checked everything out, and told me I made a good, sound purchase.

It rides really smooth.

The radio has been replaced with an updated radio/CD player, and new speakers with the removable face.

Thanks MB

~G~ from New Jersey

3rd Feb 2012, 15:46

Yes, the 93 SEL400 is a fine car, but where in the Sam Hill does this poster have the nerve to say; "I'll bet a 93 Lexus LS400 drives like a tin can compared to the SEL400"... Please tell me: what would even prompt someone to make such a misinformed statement?

Does the Mercedes feel a tiny bit heavier? Yes. Does the Mercedes feel better? Well, no it doesn't. I have both cars and like to drive both. But for a Mercedes owner to make such a statement about a Lexus LS400 that they have obviously never driven is wrong.

The Lexus LS400, even in the early 90's, was and still is one of the best riding, and lowest cost to own cars ever built. My Mercedes is fine. But the Lexus is at 285k miles and has had almost no repairs (alternator, ball joint, power steering pump and fuel pump... that's about it) I've never had such pleasure in a car with nearly no problems at all.

If Mercedes owners want to make fun of another brand of car, it may be best to pick BMW or Audi who have yet to figure out how to get to 300k miles with low repair costs. The LS400 Lexus has proven to be so well built, and so pleasant to drive (I can't emphasize how amazing the LS400 is for in town and long distance drives), and does both at a very low cost of ownership. Mercedes and everyone else can only hope to achieve such excellence. Even though an S series is indeed a pleasure, it isn't wise to make fun of the Old Big Lexus.

3rd Feb 2012, 18:03

It's just the distributor caps and rotors. The CEL detects misfire, but cannot identify the obvious.

One more thing: if you wish to just clean the distributor cap, it almost always takes care of everything. But also remember to replace the plugs.

You will see that the plug gap has widened up to 45 and even 50/1,000ths. It should be closer to 28/1,000. When the plug gap opens, it will run just fine at cold start with a rich mixture, but once it defaults to the warm-run state, the leaner mixture will be hard to ignite when the plug gap is too wide.

So: get new plugs, clean the cap and rotor... and everything will be fine.

Be prepared to see quite a mess under the cap... you will wonder how it even ran with all the contamination under the cap.

24th Sep 2013, 01:57

I have a 93 500 SEL, and it has never seen the inside of a shop for anything other than normal service. It's the best car I have ever owned. It now has 127,000 miles on it, and still drives like new.

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