Author Topic: 165 Mile trip in an unknown car....what should I bring/take/check?  (Read 1860 times)

John Hubertz

  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 697
  • Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Well, I pick up Max either Friday or Saturday of this week  ;D

I'll be driving him from central Michigan to my home in NE Indiana, and have been assured by the current owner that he is roadworthy - all evidence indicates that he is both started and driven regularly and has been maintained religously.

What do you recommend I check first before departure, take with me as an emergency spares/tool kit and other tips to make the trip the most likely to be completed without trauma to my car or my psyche?
John Hubertz
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
(Hunter S. Thompson) 

1977 450SEL (Max Headroom)


  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 180
  • Location: Finland
Hi John,

just made a trip 800 km far up north to Lapland and back with the w116 and my check was:
- Check that temperature level stays correct
- All fluid levels correct
- Tire pressures
- Charging measured from battery terminals between 13.2-14 volts

To take with you:
- car manual ( and some reindeer)
- Tools and a simple electric meter
- 'Jesus tape', well the tape you can use anywhere to fix anything
- rope and battery cables
- some coolant pipe and spare pipe connectors
- brake fluid, motor oil and coolant fluid already mixed.

Well thats what I had. Luckily I did not need them, but you never know when its your first drive as it was also in my case.
good luck  8).
MB 450 SEL -80 (oldtimer for the class)
MB E220T -95 (daily driver)
MB 230E -82 (a present for my son)


  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 433
Tomi said good stuff.  I wanted to draw particular attention to his item #1: make sure you keep an eye on your water temp gauge.  When I bought mine, I noticed I was running over 190 degrees on my first 100 mile drive.  I was a little worried, but didn't know what temp my thermostat was supposed to "pop."  It turns out it ought to be around 175.  The culprit?  I needed to recore my radiator.  The mechanic told me the original radiator was about 40% blocked and corroded.  Now she runs nice and cool.  Thirty years is a looong time to go on the same radiator.

I recently purchased a non-contact laser thermometer which would have been nice at the time.

Tomi is also quite right about checking your charging system.  Bring your volt meter along, and check the battery before (should read 12V) and after (13.2-14 as Tomi said) starting the car.

You might also want to bring some fluids (oil, trans fluid, radiator fluid) to top off as needed.

If your concerned, you might see if someone can go with you and follow you home in your (other) car.

Good luck with Max!  May he be healthy and strong for years to come!


  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
  • Location: Des Moines, WA USA
You could do it my way.  When I bought Ben Carter's 450SEL in March, I flew down to Dallas on Monday, bought the car Tuesday around 10AM and was home in Seattle by 4:30PM Friday.

Didn't take any tools, no parts, nothing but a VISA card, the wife and 8 month old Alex.

Me thinks the Gods were smiling upon me.  Oh yea, I also got 16+ MPG all the way home at better than 75 MPH.

1976 450SEL
1971 250C
1976 450SEL, 116.033  Sold it to buy a '97 Crown Vic.  Made sense at the time.
1971 250C, 114.023      Sad but true, it's gone to a new home.
1976 280C  Stolen by the City of Seattle, sort of.
1970 250/8, traded in on a 1993 Land Rover Disco


  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 923
  • Location: Australia
A pack lunch with a bottle of orange juice can be handy while you are waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

 :P ;D

I don't think there is anything intelligent to add to the list, make sure your mobile phone is charged up and I always have one of those small VCR tape size first aid kits in my toolbox. It is easy to slice your finger on something when you are poking your head around under the bonnet trying to mend something. I wouldn't rely on the 30 odd year old Mercedes first aid kit.

1977 W123 230 
1977 W116 280S *new*
1980 W123 250
VW Beetle "Oval Window"
VW Golf Mk1
Volvo 240GL
Volvo 740GLE