Six Fast Facts About the Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL
- John Frankenheimer, a well-known television and movie director, owned a supercharged version of a 1998 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL. The vehicle was bequeathed to the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after his death, where it is occasionally put on display until today.
- The body of the 560 SEL was designed by esteemed Italian automobile designer Bruno Sacco. He firmly believed that cars should have horizontal and vertical affinity. Horizontal affinity refers to the common styling characteristics shared by all of a company's vehicles. This allows people to easily identify vehicles and the company that made them. Vertical affinity refers to designs that are "timeless," keeping them from being obsolete even after two or three decades.
- The 560 SEL gets its name from the engine that it's equipped with, the 5.6-liter V8 M117 engine. The power of the SEL's engine is due to a number of things: the use of a longer stroke crankshaft, pistons of different height, free-flow exhaust manifold with decreased pressure backflows, and two air intake ducts. The engine also uses an electric and mechanical fuel injection system with the ignition timing being managed by a microprocessor, allowing the engine to perform at its best. At the time of its release, it was one of the most powerful Mercedes-Benz vehicles available (the other one being the 560 SEC).
- A higher compression, or ECE, version of the 560 SEL's V9 engine was available. Vehicle that came with engine did not come with catalytic converters; but even so, these vehicles were capable of passing European emission requirements.
- All models of the 560 SEL from 1986 onward came with 15" aluminum-allow slotted wheels and 205/65-15 tires. This was an improvement over past wheel and tire configurations and allowed a smoother drive.
- The 560 SEL was part of S-class vehicles of Mercedes-Benz and was intended to provide quality and luxury that few other vehicles could match. Where other cars would use lights to indicate coolant and oil temperature, the 560 SEL made use of gauges. The design of the interior was detailed and plush and even included real wood trims. The 560 SEL also had an optional burl walnut grained trim for the center console. Heated seats were standard for the vehicle, and only optional for other vehicle models.
Mercedes-Benze 560 SEL Problems You Should be Aware of
It's been 20 years since the last Mercedes-Benz SEL 560 was manufactured. Getting one today usually means buying a second hand vehicle. Fortunately, quality brands like Mercedes have vehicles that could function longer than others, the 560 SEL included. If you're looking to get yourself a previously owned vehicle, it would be wise to know some of the problems affecting the it so you can deal with them immediately. Read on to learn more.
Stuck idle air compensator
The air compensator controls the amount of air that enters the engine of the 560 SEL when it is not running. At times, the compensator may become stuck and unable to adjust the amount of air that enters. As a result, either too much or too litter air gets in, leading to engine idle speeds that are either higher or lower than normal. Replacing the failed compensator is usually all it takes to solve the problem.
Fuel pump failure
A failure with the fuel pump or its relay means that the fuel will not be able to move to the engine. Turning the ignition key will make the car crank, but without the fuel, it won't be able to start. Replacing the necessary parts is needed, as usual.
A lapse in design has resulted in the use of inferior bolts to secure the brake strut support of the 560 SEL. This oversight means that the bolts of the affected vehicles will deteriorate and hamper the performance of the steering and brake system. This will make the car harder to stop and more difficult to control. A complete failure of both systems may also result in a serious car accident.
Production of the Mercedes-Benze 560 SEL was stopped in the early 90's. This means that all 560 SELs today are about two decades old or more. By this time, a number of these vehicles would already have a number of old and worn out parts, no matter how well maintained they are. If you're planning to buy a second vehicle, be sure to thoroughly check it to determine everything that you would need to have replaced or repaired. This is so you won't be caught flat-footed when faced with the possibility of having astronomical repairs fees just to be able to drive the car out of the garage.
Hunting for parts is another challenge unto itself. There are some companies dedicated to manufacturing parts for old or discontinued vehicles but the parts they sell will cost more, plus, you may have to wait some time before you can get them.
Two Most Common Gripes with the Mercedes Benz 560 SEL
Mercedes Benz is a name that many people very easily recognize. For decades now, they have made the finest examples of automobiles the world has ever seen. The Mercedes Benz 560 SEL-an integral part of their flagship line-is a fine example of this. A representative of the second generation of their flagship, the 560 SEL is popular among executives and anyone desiring a better level of class in their ride. As with any car created by the German giant, the 560 SEL has had little complaints over the years. Still, everything has its weak points, and we present you two of the most common for this ride-it pays to be informed.
Sagging rear end
This problem was reported with both the 1990 and 1991 releases of the Mercedes Benz 560 SEL. The trouble usually manifests itself in higher-mileage 560s, and was found to be caused by wearing on the rear spring. So far, the problem is little more than an annoyance but-given the central nature of springs to the suspension system-it could become serious trouble later on should the spring fail completely.
No recall orders were issued as the problem was observed far into the service life of the car. Odds are that it will be experienced long after the warranty has expired. A replacement of the rear spring can return the rear end to its proper height. It can be also suggested that a replacement be done before the problem occurs-preferably with a high-quality aftermarket equivalent.
Observed on the much older 1987 release of the Mercedes Benz 560 SEL, it is a rare problem that manifests around 220,000 miles. Simply put, what happens is that the air conditioning does no activate when the switch is engaged. Often it is the blower itself that fails to start. In most cases, the fault is found in a failed blower motor. In rarer cases, it's the electrical wiring at fault.
Once again, no recall orders cover the problem, and dealers usually do not repair the problem for free as warranties are likely expired. The good news, though, is that the parts involved are relatively affordable and easy to replace.
FAQs—Mercedes Benz 560SEL
My Mercedes Benz 560SEL has been having a hard time starting a few weeks ago. Then yesterday, it won't start at all. Is it because of a lack of fuel flowing into my engine?
Hard starts are a common problem of this particular model. This is likely to happen if you do not consistently maintain your vehicle. Failure in the computer that controls the ignition system and in a component of the electrical system could be the source of the problem. But if the starter is able to crank the engine, then perhaps the electrical system is fine. If that is the case, check the choke mechanism or starting sensor for damage.
How often should I replace the air filter in my 560SEL?
Mercedes Benz recommends that the air filter be changed every four years or 40,000 miles under normal driving conditions. If you usually drive along dusty or dirty road, it is better to replace it more often. Before removing the air filter, do not forget to clean the air filter cover and housing to maximize airflow into your engine.
How often should I change engine oil on my car? How do I do it?
It is best to change your engine oil every year or 10,000 miles. To perform an oil change, raise your car using jack stands and get under your car to remove the splash shield. Afterwards, remove the oil drain plug using a 13-mm. wrench. This will drain the old oil into the oil pan. Replace the oil filter and fill your engine up with new oil. Lower your car—and you're done!
All my power windows stopped working. They say it's a common problem on Mercedes Benz 560SELs. Is there an easy way to fix it? How do I make it work again?
If all the power windows cannot be moved, a blown fuse could be the culprit. So the first thing you must check is the fuse. A damaged fuse fails to operate the power window motor, and of course, the window glass will not budge. However, if the fuse is working and a sound comes from the motor, then your power windows may be having a mechanical problem. Check also the window regulator for damage. Replacing the faulty regulator may correct the issue.
Only a little air comes out of the HVAC system regardless of speed setting. Sometimes, there is no airflow at all. What could be causing it?
Check the heater blower motor. Do you hear a strange noise or feel a vibration while the heater blower motor is operating? That is a sign of heater blower motor failure. A leak from the evaporator or heater core may have damaged the blower motor. When installing a new heater blower motor in your car, make sure that you stop the leak first so that the new blower motor will not get easily worn. Also, meticulously check the electrical connections during installation to prevent problems in the operation of the new blower motor. On the other hand, if the blower motor is working fine, it might be an issue with the airflow controls.