Hi to everyone. I'm new here and so I thought I should introduce myself and more importantly my car.
I've already had a good look around the forum and I've already gathered a lot of great information. Seems like a close knit community.
So this was originally a NSW car, from York Motors. It wound up in a dealership in Canberra which is where I bought it. I saw it advertised on carsales and it looked like the one for me. I'd been looking at W116's pretty casually (but with desire) for quite a while. I'd even bought a scale model of one to see if it would fix my need. But it didn't.
So I'd seen a lot of them, or at least a lot of ads for them, but I'd never seen the right one. I'd gone and looked at one that was for private sale locally - it was a 350SE - and I took it for a test drive but there was just a few too many things I didn't like about it. It was gold, which I liked, because it's very 70's, but it had very obviously been badly resprayed at some point. There was overspray all over the place. It also had a few mechanical issues. It was hard to start and the heater had been disconnected and cut off. It also had nearly 400,000 kilometers on the clock, and that seemed like a lot. But, it did give me an impression of the W116. It gave me an example. A benchmark. So I kept looking at ads, hoping to see one that felt right. I do tend to prefer the six cylinder models because in my view they're stronger and more authentically German, somehow, and I just like the way they sound and look, plus they're cheaper to register and run, which is a plus. With that said, I would have been perfectly happy with a nice V8 had it come along. A 6.9 would be a dream car of mine to own but... It's just not realistic for me at this point in my life. (I ain't got no money)
mmmmm, that's some nice s-class.
So yeah, it was in Canberra and I'm all the way down in Adelaide. It looked good from here tho.
I liked the semi-low kms @ 213,000. There seemed to be a premium on ones with less than 199,999 clicks. This one is just over that mythical, arbitrary threshold, into the two-hundred-thousands, far enough into them that there was no real premium on the price, and they weren't pitching it as a "low mileage example" but you and I both know that 213 thousand on a one-one-six is nothing. I feel like I got a low mileage example at a high mileage price.
Another thing that caught my eye in the original photos on carsales was the fact that it had no tow bar. It seems like a lot of these cars were used for towing back in the day. I can completely understand why but I was reluctant to take on a car that might have been used to tow a horse float or a caravan god knows how far, up god knows how many steep hills. So I had this vague sense that it had had a relatively easy life and shouldn't be too beat up.
It also looked really straight, from the photos at least. I could see there was a few dents and scratches but nothing major. Nothing structural. It didn't put me off too much and I figured it might even give me a way to get the price down a shade. The interior looked good too. The dash was cracked but other than that it was wearing its age and miles very nicely indeed. I also really liked the color combinations. Obviously color preference is a very personal thing and I don't want to say anything against any of the other colors, but I've always liked how these cars look when they're painted metallic brown or green. I like manganese brown and Milan brown, probably because of Ronin, and I've always liked silver green a lot too. I also really like the cloth seats. I like the look and feel of them and I like the colour of the interior of this car a whole lot. As a matter of fact, if I could go back in time and order a new W116 (and who hasn't fantasized about doing that?) I'd pretty much go for this exact specification, so I really feel like I've got the perfect car for me.
The photos really don't do it justice. The backseats look as though no one has ever sat in them, ever. There's a few small stains in the front and the carpets up front could do with a good steam clean but I'm waiting for summer to come round for that. Some of the interior trim is coming away and the previous owner's answer to that was to drive stainless steel phillips head screws into them.
At least he put them neatly in the middle?
It has a really good service history. It has all the original books and they've all been stamped and more recently it has pages and pages of receipts from work done at a Mercedes-Benz specialist. It seems like the previous owner didn't spare a cent in taking care of it mechanically.
But so yeah, I ended up buying it without seeing it in the flesh. Or in the metal or whatever. Which was a pretty big risk. I have family in Canberra and they took a look at it for me and took it for a test drive and they couldn't see or hear anything obviously wrong with it. It's got electric windows and an electric sliding roof and tempomat - all of which were working. So I took a deep breath and called the dealer and started negotiating. I wouldn't normally divulge the nasty business of money but i figure we're all in the same enormous German boat here so why not share? they were asking $5000 but I offered $3000, take it or leave it. The dude basically laughed and hung up on me. Then he called back 15 minutes later. We made a deal at $3250. I feel like I got a good deal on it.
I had it shipped here on one of those land-ships. I believe they call them trucks. here it is the moment it arrived and I saw it for the first time:
I was mildly upset that it didn't get the primo spot on the bed of the truck but oh well.
Despite being a good one, it still has its problems. The rear suspension is going through hydraulic fluid at an alarming rate and when I turn on the heater, steam cascades up the inside of the windscreen. Also, right after I got it, it started making this awful sound. Just awful, like it was eating itself. It was horrendous, I assure you. It was this really high frequency impact sound, like something was hitting something at every single revolution. I called a mechanic, and over the phone without hearing the noise he suggested that it was the timing chain and tensioner, but my gut told me that's not what it was. Plus, I was of the view that that's a problem that plagues the V8's much more so than the six's. It turned out it was the engine fan striking the bottom of the cowling on the radiator. I took it to some other mechanic (Barrie Green, in Norwood, which isn't too far from where I live) and he had a good look at it. While he had it up on the rack I took a good look underneath and it's very clean and very straight. He said that fan banging problem can occur when the engine mounts are shot but he said mine "weren't too bad" and he wasn't keen to replace them so he just hacked a bit off of the ends of all the fan blades. Eh, whatever, it made the noise go away and was a cheap simple fix.
The problem came back a week later though, with a vengeance, so yesterday I got underneath and I hacked a piece out of the bottom of the cowling with the Dremel. Again, not an ideal fix, and I don't like to use the term "hack" to describe work performed on my Mercedes-Benz but... it's better than having to remove the engine. And probably fractionally cheaper too, I'd guess.
There's also a weird groaning noise that comes from the front suspension whenever I go over a speed bump, no matter how slowly. Seems like it might be coming from the right side. Barrie greased around there and the problem went away but now it's coming back too. The car also seems to pull ever so slightly to the right sometimes so I'd reckon these problems are related.
I don't want to end on that down note... Usually after I've driven the car for a while and it has warmed up, it runs very smoothly and quietly and all those noises disappear. Last week I took it out on the open road to let it out a little and to play around with the cruise control. It's a wonderful car to drive. You can see my number plates in the photos, so... Let's say I stayed within the posted speed limits... yeah, definitely stayed within the posted limits.
So yeah, I've only owned it for a month or so, so this is only the beginning of my ownership, learning experience and financial ruin. I'm looking forward to it.
If you have a sense of Deja Vu when reading this, it's because I posted it already over in the wrong section.