Sec Shop Buyers Guide

This page is designed to give an insight into the problems associated with the Sec Coupe

If you are considering buying a 126 Sec or Saloon why not contact me with regard to carrying out a full inspection for you

We have a wealth of experience with Mercedes-Benz Motor Cars and will be happy to assist you in deciding a purchase


Here are some useful tips to help you buy a sound used Sec or Saloon

Sec's were available in 380,420,500 and 560 versions. Most 560's went to export and were by comparison rare here in the UK as the smaller engined options were prefered. The 380 and 500 models were avaiable up to 1986 which is generally regarded as the change over year in which the Sec's were facelfted, now ommiting the 380 and adding the new 420, 500 and 560 models


Note: It is always preferable to buy an sec with a complete or at least sound service history including original service book stamped with either specialist and or dealer stamps.

Always use Your judgement here regarding history, sometimes complete service books are lost, if the car has been well cared for it will show, thus no service book is not a reason not to buy the right car. Cars with leather interior, lower mileage and higher option are generally more desirable. Colours such as Blue Black, Smoke Silver, and Blues are generaly more popular for resale



These may be hard to track down, here are some of the known causes:
Rear driveshafts, propshaft centre bearing, front brake discs warped and / or incorrect hub adjustment, wheels and tyres, and believe it or not ,engine misfires. An eight cylinder car running with one or two cylinders out can give the impression of a vibration at speed.

Check for abnormal tyre wear, i.e., scuffed edges etc, this may be a sign of incorrect wheel alignment or possibly a worn or damaged steering/suspension component.Steering components are generally not expensive.

Wheel alignment on these cars is a specialist job, basic "tracking" adjustment can do more harm than good and should not be attempted as a "quick fix" A four wheel alignement is the prefered method.



Due to our weather conditions and the amount of salt used on the roads here in the UK SEC`s are prone to rust, so its worth checking the following areas thoroughly:-

Lower edges of the front wings (Mud collects here and rots out the lower corners just above the bumper) Rear wheel arches (in the most part due to leaking rear screens), Chrome bumper trims rust through (especially on the older models) these are expensive to replace.

The boot/trunk panel beneath the rear screen, look inside the boot underneath the rear screen with a torch as rear screens are prone to leaking causing rust, a wet boot area and of condensation forming on the underside of the boot lid is a dead giveaway. Rear screens when subjected to damp tend to de-laminate ant the bottom corners where water collects, good used screens are hard to come by and new are very expensive to replace.

Tired boot/trunk seals also let water in and are also a common cause of exhaust fumes entering the car.



Engine rattles/clatter on start up, then dies away: This can usually mean a replacement timing chain and tensioner is required, this is a relatively inexpensive job and cheap insurance! If the chain should jump or fail, say goodbye to the engine, the cost of repair will be huge.

A constant clatter or tick: This would suggest a problem with a cam follower (finger), hydraulic element or camshaft. Check for healthy oil pressure at gauge.When oil changes have been neglected camshaft oil feed pipes can become blocked causing accelerated wear of the camshaft and components.

As a rough guide on oil pressure the needle on the gauge should be on the top mark (3) or as near as when cold. However the needle can drop to just over the lower mark (1-2) when hot but this is perfectly ok. The needle should then jump back up to 3 when the throttle is pushed.

Check for puffs of blue smoke whilst driving (particularly down hill when throttle is shut) and on idle, this can be a sign or worn valve seals or guides.Valve guide seals may be replaced in situ without the expensive job of head removal.

Worn gearboxes are prone to slippage or "flare up" between gears under load and is usually a good indication of an impending gearbox rebuild. Visually check the colour of the auto box oil via the dipstick,it should be fairly clean (cherry in colour) and not burnt and black with an accompanied pungent burnt odour

Harsh gear changes can usually be remedied by means of adjustment, although if the gears "thumps in", it can be a sign of an impending gearbox re build. These problems can also be the product of poor maintenance, i.e. fluid levels to high or low, and / or the possibility of a clogged transmission filter.




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