1965 - 1972: 250S, 250SE, 300SEb, 280S, 280SE, 280SEL, 280SE 3.5, 280SEL 3.5, 280SE 4.5, 280SEL 4.5, 300SEL, 300SEL 6.3, 300SEL 3.5, 300SEL 4.5
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Joined: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 4:46 pm
Model you own: w901-905
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Post by StevieD » Tue 24 Jan, 2006 5:51 pm

Hi there,

Currently grinning ear to ear, I've bought my first Mercedes a week ago, a 1967 white SEL300 3.0 to which I intend to build a long term, and hopefully rewarding relationship! She's very original, has a great body, and superb tan leather interior including 8 track cassette player mounted on rear parcel shelf! The original owner had her for 37 years, although I have no proof of that, but she's definitely been taken care of for most of her life. Perhaps someone knows this car?

Having driven approx 300 miles so far, probably a bad idea, but have started to make a list of faults I would like/need to sort out. I've owned a few old cars, but am still a bit of a tyre kicker, so any help much appreciated.

Having read a couple of strings, she seems to have the same faults as some others. Such as air suspension problem, I think mine really is shot - deflates within minutes, not months. And although the motor feels very smooth, I don't believe there's anywhere near the 170hp available when new.

Just one question for now if you don't mind, and perhaps a silly one, but can someone confirm that I should have four gears in my auto box and therefore feel/hear 3 gear changes from stationry. I only feel 2 and when manually shifting from 4 to 3, I do shift down, guessing I'm missing 1st gear? 70mph also feels like she's revving hard, is that normal?

cheers for now
1967 300SEL 3.0 (Ursula aka Honey Ryder)
1997 Honda VFR800FI

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Post by 420 SE » Wed 25 Jan, 2006 8:38 am

Welcome, sounds like a nice car.

I'm not familiar with that model but someone will jump in.
"I don't know, it's just some random dude..."

220 SEb - 1962 (Hilda - sadly gone to which there is no return)
420 SE - 1988 (Lucy) - back into service!
ML 500 - 2008 (the Doha desert Dame) - retired
ML 400 - 2015 (the new Doha desert Dame, or is that Princess?)
A couple of others not worth mentioning

Beware of fundamentalists

The 126 - undoubtedly the last, best large body MB

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Post by CraigB » Wed 25 Jan, 2006 9:02 am

Welcome Steve!

I think I remember that grinning feeling from my first Benz. Good isn't it! It sounds like a very special car and I would imagine fairly rare - well I haven't seen too many for sale. Hope you look after that bit of history and I love the period touches like the 8 track.

I can't speak with experience of the 3.0, but certainly the 2.8 (and my 113 for that matter) sound like they are revving at high speeds and you want it to change up (initially). It is supposed to be that way and that's how the engineers designed it. You will hear different opinions and some have chosen to find higher geared diffs (from the v8 I think) to bring the revs down. My thinking is that back then they designed it that way (and the cars had great respect) then I want to keep it that way. Now it doesn't bother me at all and I love the little (relatively) sixes whirring away at high speed and you really do get used to it. I think because they are big cars, people think of them in Oz/American car terms, with big engines slogging away at low revs. They are actually small capacity (for power output) shorter stroke engines and love to rev. My 113 with manual box is redlined at 6500 revs (from memory) and to me there is nothing finer than hearing it screaming up around that range - in the same league as the sounds my bevel Ducati makes (for me).

On the forum you will hear lots of views that sometimes differ and you can make your mind up from all the info. Hope my view helps.

And as for the gearbox, there is a recent thread on this and now I can't remember which one (in the 108 list). I assume you have the same MB 'box and it definitely has 4 gears. Nobody disputed what I said so how I think it works is that it starts off in second and hence it sounds like a 3spd. Now if you hold it back manually in the lowest position I think it will take off in stump pulling 1st. Also, I think if you really plant it, it may take off in 1st.

Can't help with the air suspension but there was some advice that was successful for someone recently. My thinking from what I have read is that in good order it is superb and for a gem like yours I would think it is worth a few bucks to get the system right and it will see you through for many many years. I missed where you are located but I would get a knowledgeable person to look at your spheres. My memory is that John Green can supply these for less than a set of new tyres and they will last a lot longer. Others will know a lot more on this topic.
Craig Baulderstone

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Post by Simon Dove » Fri 27 Jan, 2006 8:36 pm

Hi Stevie,

Welcome to the forum. Im only a newbie myself and have found the info provided here very helpful.

My 300sel has/is having air bag dramas and never does the same thing twice. Sometimes front goes down, sometimes back goes down, sometimes both go down. It all comes good with a good drive on the highway. Mine now pumps up after about 5 min. As was pointed out to me, read, research and have patience before spending the $.

Refer to the air bag thread for more info.


71 W109 300SEL 3.5
78 W123 300D
88 W126 420SEL

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Re: Auto Gearbox

Post by Stephen » Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:06 pm

When I first bought my car, I also thought it was a 3 speed and wondered why it indicated 2,3 & 4 on the gear indicator panel. Then a friend with more experience with MB's than me (like just about everyone) suggested as we were going up a particularly steep gradient, to push the accelerator pedal flat to the floor, as I did, I heard a click and lo and behold the gearbox changed down to the elusive 1st gear.(from 2nd)
To me, this was about learning to drive my car, gears can be selected manually, appropriate in some circumstances i.e. when driving up a steep and winding hill where the 'box may want to change up as you back off approaching the next bend, leaving the engine breathless to accelerate away as the corner straightens out.
But, on the other hand, if you are going up a steep and steady incline, push the pedal down till you hear/feel the click and the 'box will change to the next lower gear, 4 to 3, 3 to 2, whatever.
Many will think I'm stating the bleeding obvious, and I probably am, but unless you are told some things, it can be a bugger trying to work them out for yourself.

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Post by ADow » Sat 28 Jan, 2006 9:48 pm

If you manually select the equivalent of 3rd in late 60s transmissions, it also alters the change points of the lower gears - that is, it will hold on to first and second for longer, and will kick down to 2nd and 1st more easily and at higher revs (without needing you to flatten it and trigger the clicking kickdown solenoid), making the car more responsive (and thirsty) - Good for a fun fang in the hills when you don't really need 4th.
I don't know enough about your trans to say whether this is the case with yours but it may be worth a try.
1971 280SE 3.5 - Don Ottavio - sold
1980 300D (formerly daughter's) - Heidi - sold
1999 C200 Elegance (currently daughter's)
1981 300D (son's) - Hektor
1998 Puma Clubman with 225 RWKW SR20DET - Percy

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Post by StevieD » Tue 31 Jan, 2006 10:40 pm

Thank you all for your warm welcome and your tips. I'm getting to know the ol Mercedes, named Ursula - after the first Bond girl in Dr No, which appears to be the best thing to do in order to spend my hard-earned wisely. So I've limited myself to a Shirley Bassey 8 track cassette off ebay and an oil change for the moment. I'm taking her from Sydney to Byron Bay and back next month, I hope she behaves better than my passengers. Looking forward to spending more time in this space and many thanks for your responses.

Hey Big Spender
1967 300SEL 3.0 (Ursula aka Honey Ryder)
1997 Honda VFR800FI

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