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W126 Mercedes as daily?

  • 14-07-2020 2:27pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    In the past year my commute has reduced to a meagre 12 mile round trip a day so I've been tempted to buy a classic car as my daily. We would have a second car in the house anyway so it seems like a nice opportunity.

    Lately I've been drawn to the idea of a W126 Mercedes - maybe a 280Se or 300SE. I know that people will say that its underpowered for the body and that I'd be better off going with a 420 or even 500 but that wouldn't bother me. From what I've read online, the right W126 can be a durable and reliable car, particularly if the body is free of rust etc. There are no guarantees with anything though, so I'm fully aware that it could end up being a money pit.

    I did a quick calculation last night and if the mileage was limited to 4k a year (which it should really considering we have the second car) the running costs work out at a few hundred more than my 2.0 TDI (€56 tax vs the €570 I'm paying at the moment; 18mpg merc vs 35mpg VW). I haven't taken depreciation/appreciation into account - I just wanted to see roughly what it would cost to run based on mileage.

    But for now I'm just wondering if people think I'm made and if anyone else has gone down this route - how has it worked out? If needs be I would have a garage for the car if I wanted to store it out of the elements.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Rust will be a problem if you drive it daily, even if you have a garage. But the car (and any other well bought Mercedes of that era) can be used daily easily from a reliability point of view.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 942 ✭✭✭ outfox


    I used a 230ce as a daily about 15 years ago, for about 5 years. It was perfectly reliable, comfortable, and got some attention. One thing I noticed, which is relevant to your query, is that I had to spend about €1000 a year on keeping it in good shape. Replacing things here and there. So you might need to budget for that.
    Personally, the absence of airbags would put me off using a classic as a daily now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    outfox wrote: »
    I used a 230ce as a daily about 15 years ago, for about 5 years. It was perfectly reliable, comfortable, and got some attention. One thing I noticed, which is relevant to your query, is that I had to spend about €1000 a year on keeping it in good shape. Replacing things here and there. So you might need to budget for that.
    Personally, the absence of airbags would put me off using a classic as a daily now.

    You're right about the 1k a year. I had a lovely e46 but once it got over 10 years old I was putting close to that a year into it, our of maintenance and catching things in time before they turned into problems. It never left me down to be fair


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭ brucky


    I have one and I use it when required but I cycle most of the time so it’s used on dry weekends or holidays or into town every now and then. It’s quite good on fuel better than my other 3Ltr classic on a longer run. The power is more than adequate as it’s not the sort of car you thrash, it just feels wrong to do so, a very relaxing drive. Rust can take hold, electrics do exist such as a small module and an ABS module which mine has but all are fixable. You can easily get all the spare parts for them. They can be prone to the head gasket failing. There are some sh1te boxes out there so buy the best you can afford, or contact one of the independent Merc specialist who will look over one for you or many know of a good one for sale. Don’t buy one for 1k it will break your heart and your bank balance. To be harsh, if running cost are a high priority don’t buy a classic, period, as when you factor everything else in your never going to run one cheaper than a modern eurobox.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    brucky wrote: »
    I have one and I use it when required but I cycle most of the time so it’s used on dry weekends or holidays or into town every now and then. It’s quite good on fuel better than my other 3Ltr classic on a longer run. The power is more than adequate as it’s not the sort of car you thrash, it just feels wrong to do so, a very relaxing drive. Rust can take hold, electrics do exist such as a small module and an ABS module which mine has but all are fixable. They can be prone to the head gasket failing. There are some sh1te boxes out there so buy the best you can afford, or contact one of the independent Merc Specialist who will look over one for you or many know of a good one for sale. Don’t buy one for 1k it will break your heart and your bank balance.

    Great to hear it's serving you well. I had earmarked a Lichtenberg Classics just outside Dundalk to look over one for me if/when I get that far. I've seen people recommend them on here. Can't beat a professional opinion. If I was to buy one I'd definitely invest in a good one (7-10k) rather than a 1k "bargain". You'll pay for it one way or the other. I'm aware that they cost a lot more to run than a modern car. I was just curious to see how it compared is all. Its either a classic Merc or else I take the wife's Auris and she gets my Tiguan as she had the longer commute now and I prefer the idea of the kids being driven in the VW and not the Auris. So my plan is to shift the Auris for something a bit nicer!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Double post


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭ brucky


    Sending you a pm


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    I've a W123 280CE so same engine as the 280SE. From a mechanical point of view I'd have no problem using it every day, my take is that's what they were made for. I've had mine since Jan and it has not missed a beat. But yes, I would plan to spend about €1k a year to keep it that way. I do as much as I can myself, so so far it's just been parts, mostly paint etc for touch ups. Passed the NCT last weekend first go so that was good news.

    However, I'd be reluctant to use a 30+ years old car in the winter. Maybe if you really take good care of it (like get the underseal replaced properly before winter, and are all over it with a fine tooth comb for any start of rust), then, perhaps. Also drains, see this guys youtube channel https://mercedessource.com/

    +1 for Lichtenberg Classics, he looked after my car before I took ownership. There is also Ben Cosgrave who checked mine out for me. I'd strongly suggest joining the MB club for the contacts alone.

    Finally, if you live in Dublin and drive into the city, I'd expect worse than 18mpg.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    There is the potential to use a garage for it a few miles away but kinda defeats the purpose - no harm in know its there though. Lot to learn about these so I'll take my time in researching the right one - thanks for the advice


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man


    I've been using my 300SE as my daily over the lockdown period and only just started using my company car again. The 300SE is a lovely car to drive on a regular basis but if you get 18mpg in town then you need to get it looked at. I've had my car for 15 years now and its been totally reliable but its been serviced regularly using the correct brand of parts. Its still on the same head gasket after all these years. Its not rusty anywhere and is dry as a bone inside. The work on it is shared between myself and my Independent in Wicklow who served his time in MB during the good times! He knows his stuff on the 80's products.

    Ben Cosgrove knows these cars very well so he would be my 'go to' if you want a car looked over. Genuine parts are starting to become an issue and some parts prices would make your eyes bleed.

    Be careful what you buy.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Great to hear success stories. I'm interested to see pics of yers now out of curiosity. When I went to see one, one thing that really struck me was the sound of the door closing. I know that's a small detail but it just oozed quality. You don't get that anymore really!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    w124man wrote: »
    but if you get 18mpg in town then you need to get it looked at

    Was that directed at the OP or me? I'm getting about 15 around Dublin, and not driving with a lead foot? Could I be doing better you think? What would be the first things to check?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    bemak wrote: »
    I'm interested to see pics of yers now out of curiosity

    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2058042810


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man


    Was that directed at the OP or me? I'm getting about 15 around Dublin, and not driving with a lead foot? Could I be doing better you think? What would be the first things to check?

    Yours is a 280, yeah? I would get about 22 to 24 about town but there was sod all traffic about.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    Yes, a 280 (E). I just filled up this morning, last tank gave 16.5MPG. I've not had it on a long run yet, as, as soon as the winter ended, we where hit with covid. Which of your fleet are you getting 22 to 24 in? I don't think you have anything with an M110, do you?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    I don't know how you could possibly get 24MPG around Dublin in a car like that unless you're slower than driving Miss Daisy. That said, maybe you can these days as traffic has been very light since COVID-19.

    Nothing wrong with your car MrCostington. Sub 20MPG in Dublin city traffic is par for the course in any older petrol car with a big engine.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,339 ✭✭✭ tc20


    Just to chip in re running costs - I had a W123 280E as a daily driver for about 4 years, so same engine in a slightly lighter car (M110 I think is the MB engine code for the 2.8)
    Mine was in v good condition to begin with, apx 133k miles when I got it.
    Serviced regularly & maintained by the aforementioned Lichtenberg Classics.
    I seemed to average 20-24mpg whether I did the short work commute, or a cross country spin to Galway. I didn't spare the horses on the m-way either.
    As others have said here, i'd budget €1k a year for upkeep.
    Best of luck with the search OP


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man


    Yes, a 280 (E). I just filled up this morning, last tank gave 16.5MPG. I've not had it on a long run yet, as, as soon as the winter ended, we where hit with covid. Which of your fleet are you getting 22 to 24 in? I don't think you have anything with an M110, do you?

    Mine has an M103 under the bonnet. Best I ever got was 32 mpg whilst trundling around France but I regularly get 28/29 unless I open her up on the M11 and bring her past 119 kms/hr. I would do a run into D2 from Wexford twice a week during lockdown. I kept to the speed limits as the M11 has become a cash point for the cops at the moment. Keeping the ignition components up to date and the fuel system serviced is important. The secret ingredient of course is Dipetane.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    Thanks 124!

    Re Dipetane, can you use it on petrol cars? Is this something you use all the time, or just the odd tankful? I just filled up yesterday, do you put it in on a full tank, and empty one, or while you are filling. Any specific brand? Sorry, I'm clueless on this.

    What is there to do on the ignition, check leads and plugs? Same on fuel?

    Your M103 is a newer design than my M110 and I'm driving in Dublin city, I think realistically 20MPG is the very best I could hope for. I doubt the traffic in Wexford is as bad as here (assuming that's where you are?)

    OP, sorry to derail your thread, but hopefully you will find this useful too!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    OP, this may be of interest https://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-Essential-Buyers-Guide/dp/1787114023

    I got my 123 version in Kennys


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    OP, this may be of interest https://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-Essential-Buyers-Guide/dp/1787114023

    I got my 123 version in Kennys

    That's interesting. Thanks for the link!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man


    Thanks 124!

    Re Dipetane, can you use it on petrol cars? Is this something you use all the time, or just the odd tankful? Any specific brand?

    What is there to do on the ignition, check leads and plugs? Same on fuel?

    I use Dipetane on every third tankful (on a petrol car) and I only use Circle K fuels as I have their fuel card. MB made very good ignition cable but the end connections can build up resistance so I change them every 12,000 miles as a matter of course when I service the car and it makes a huge difference. I only use MB supplied plugs as well. The M103 burns out distributor caps and rotor arms as well so I keep an eye on those too as the MB replacements are very expensive and the aftermarket ones (Bosch, Beru, Bremi) are rubbish.

    https://i.ibb.co/prgMpW9/IMG-2634.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    Many thanks 124, I'll have a good look at that and thanks for the tip re leads.

    What brand of Dipetane do you find good, or are they all the same?

    The pic you posted is of your 126, which is nice to see of course, but was it supposed to be something else?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,093 ✭✭✭ hoodie6029


    I'll give you experience of daily driving an old car for a few months.

    I have a 1990 MK2 Golf 1.3. I daily drove it for about 6 months a couple of years ago, about a 40km round trip.

    It was grand for the first coue of weeks but that's when the issues started to appear. Nothing major, I had just shook them out by driving everyday.
    Front shocks had to be done, carb tuned to sort rough running, wheel bearing replaced, alternator belt snapped and a couple of other minor bits I can't quite remember.

    Only other thing was that I could never be confident that it'd start every morning. It was ok as I could work from home if this happened but if I couldn't, it would've been a big issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man



    What brand of Dipetane do you find good, or are they all the same?

    There is only one Dipetane!

    The pic you posted is of your 126, which is nice to see of course, but was it supposed to be something else?

    Not sure what you mean. Its just a gratutious pic of my w126 !!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭ MrCostington


    Thank you again 124, I was not sure if Dipetane was a generic product. I'll invest in some and look at the HT system too, thanks.

    And your pic is very welcome, look great!


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    w124man wrote: »
    Its just a gratutious pic of my w126 !!

    Very nice indeed! On a side note - I thought Johnnie Fox's was the highest pub in Ireland?! :confused:

    Just had a look at the cycle layer openstreet map which has contours. I've crosschecked these before with topographical surveys and they're quite accurate. According to them Johnnie Fox's lies between +270-280m while Vartry House is slightly above +240m.

    The cheek of them!


  • Registered Users Posts: 942 ✭✭✭ outfox


    Top of Coom pub on the Cork-Kerry border near Kilgarvan claims they're the highest.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Looks like Johnny Fox's is only the third highest pub if you count all 32 counties :p

    Linky


    Bit off topic though! :D

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



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