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Looking to buy! Need advice/ guidance

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Hello everyone.
I am currently looking to get a 1980 280SE. It looks to be in very good condition both in and out, except the engine.. From what I’ve gathered from the owners, they say it starts (I assume they mean cranks) but doesn’t run. Are there any common faults that cause this?

I also read that the 1980 was a poor year for the W116 as the emissions restrictions caused problems. Any way to identify if it does have these restrictions?

I’m viewing it in 18.5hrs and wanted to also know if there were any specific items I should look out for?

Here’s a link to the ad, and there are some photos from the FB ad as well.

I appreciate any help as I’m new to classic cars and I am doing my best to make an informed decision about getting this as I REALLY want to get it but don’t want to be shooting myself in the foot financially with this.
Once again, thank you all for any help you can give me.

To check for emission related stuff you can look for the EGR valve that will be fitted on the exhaust manifold.  Also catalytic converters would be present then unless they were removed of course.  Overall from the pics it looks nice yes, nice colour too.
Engine not running can be myriad of issues, but likely it is fuel related, or spark, or both.  If the car sat for a long time, very common for cruddy fuel to have gummed up the works.  KJET is very finicky when it comes to pristine fuel to run right.  Tons of posts on here to help you.  So if the body is nice and has very little rust (hard to find a 116 with no rust) and the interior is nice, then of course if the price is right I would do it!

Hi Aussie lad.

My 2 cents worth.

If  I had to make a decision on this, online only, these would be my observations.

The advt information by the owner says WA registered until Feb 2022,  Further down the cars details says Registered. "No"  Which is it, -  registered or not?  Not a deal breaker.  Assume there's no registration.
For a 280se it has some little extras of the time. Headlight wipers, and sunroof. Nice touch, but strange it has no Tacho/clock combination. Usually the earlier models or lower spec had tacho only. Lets leave that alone because I don't have the explanation.
To me, if I can't get in and drive it, (then the engine turning over or not) means I cannot properly judge everything else that I would normally look out for on a test drive. Such as, smooth gearbox changes, air con working, does it drive smooth and straight or bounce around like a pin ball, + a host of other items.

If its spent most or all of its life in WA, then that's probably a good sign as over there you have a drier climate. Even so I would look for rust in the sills, wheel arches, lift both the front mats out completely, and check the rear wheel wells. Minimum.

Might pay to look under those front lambswool seat covers as well.

Then if you feel its still something you wish to buy, make an offer remembering there are NOT 100's of buyers queuing up to buy this thing. Its only a 280se after all.  You may possibly be the only one.

Non running mercedes engine, how much to fix?  Might be $120 problem, might be a $2000 problem.  I'm not a mechanic. However The advt does say "Rebuild the engine block"

Would I buy a Non running merc for 5k when I can test drive a running one for 6 to 8K? (in decent condition).                 Probably not.

If you're not mechanically minded (like me) and can't take a mechanic friend to help with the inspection. well..................

Personally if all the bodywork is in tip top condition like it appears in the photo, I'd be a keen buyer at $3500.  I'm a 280se owner and believe me, they aint worth a whole lot in oz. Now a 450 or a 6.9, thats another matter.

Good luck to you and keep us informed. Its always nice to know.

Hmm I just looked a the mileage, wow yes that is some galactic miles!  So now I would be a bit more cautious, for sure you will need a compression test.  If the values are low, then the motor is pooped and I would not bother then, rebuilding these are not worth the money IMHO.

mate, doesnt hurt to look but I would not be too enthused about this one.

looks like an import with headlight wipers on a 280 (the maths here means people in Aus didnt buy the poor mans version with options!)

the black interior looks cool, but then some one has cut into the panels with that stereo on the front door card. after a little bit of classic ownership, I reckon this will bug you when you realise black door cards are like hens teeth.

if the motor is rubbish, also a problem.  finding spare m110s nowadays is not so easy.

id keep looking, and if in perth, we catch up sometime.



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