Buying review Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W126) 1979-1991 Common Issues Engines Inspection

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Hi everyone, today we will take a look at a classic Benz, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class made for the 1980’s with the internal code W126. This car went out of production 30 years ago. The car is from the era that Mercedes probably built its best cars, so what does this mean after 30 years ? Could this still be an interesting car to buy in 2021 ? And how does built quality in combination with age shaped this car.

This W126 was the second generation of S-class. The S-Class is the absolute top of the bill when it comes to Mercedes, many technological innovations debut on these cars. ABS was a innovation that was only available on The S-class in early 1980, now all cars are equipped with ABS. Also this generation was the first to be subjected to crash tests.

As always Bruno Sacco was responsible for the design. Personally I think this cars aged well. Lets go over some of the attention points together.

One more thing, we talking about the technical state of the W126, in fact this generation was a well improved version of the first S-class the W116.

Some people call this the last real Benz that Mercedes ever built. There was no cost cuts or too much electronics that could fail for this generation.

Let’s start with the obvious, the car is more then 30 years old. Mounts, rubbers, pipes, plastics, leather. Everything will become more fragile and brittle over time. Even some body parts are past their expiration date.

Depending on the state of the vehicle the weaker points of the W126 include;

  1. Timing chain guides

2. Chain tensioner

3. Rust is a concern mainly at the rocker panels and wheel wells.

Then there are balance issues in the drive line of the car, especially noticeable when Mercedes introduced the larger 15″ wheels on the car in 1986. Newer tire technology and the balancing of the wheels helps to minimize these problems.

So alignment of the wheels and balancing is extremely important to have a good riding car. This seems to be even more important in this generation S-Class.

Then the seats, after all these years they can be sagging. Headliners too. Often the dashboard has cracked or broken wood trims due to age. Leather seats from the 80’s will often be worn down by now.

The good news is that many parts are still available to this day when it comes to this Merc. Original parts are the best and most reliable but will cost more than non-original parts for obvious reasons.

Can you daily drive this car ?

I think you can, the engines in these cars might be old but are bulletproof, they come from an era where things were simpler and more mechanical instead of all electrical. That being said, if you want to daily drive the car make sure chains, tentioners, engine mounts are good, full up the car with good oil and try to fill the car most often with premium petrol. Mileage on a car that is well kept is not a big deal. Well kept examples will still be pricey, you can cut cost by doing some of the maintenance yourself. Sometimes it will be a good idea to do specialized maintenance by a Mercedes dealership itself. Your average mechanic might not fully understand the engine and weaker points. If you keep all this in mind you will be able to daily drive the car and it will be reliable.

All gasoline W126s came with some form of K-Jetronic CIS-E electro-mechanical fuel injection. Fuel distributors and pumps can see aged seals, which could lead to fuel leaks under the hood and underneath the tank. Rebuild kits are readily available and a Bosch pump costs about the same as a W116 gas model, which is the predecessor of this car.

Hope this video was useful for you if you are in the process of finding yourself a W126 and hope I gave you so useful tips. If you find these video’s interesting subscribe to my channel to stay updated with the latest car buyers reviews. Thanks for watching.

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