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#1 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 09:49 AM
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engine swap?

does anyone have any advice on a late model engine swap? I have an 88 560sl and I've been thinking about dropping a sl500 or 550 engine in maybe a 430. any advice? thoughts? has anyone done or seen this before? i think it would hott!
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 02:00 PM
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does anyone have any advice on a late model engine swap? I have an 88 560sl and I've been thinking about dropping a sl500 or 550 engine in maybe a 430. any advice? thoughts? has anyone done or seen this before? i think it would hott!
I have heard that an M119 from the earlier 129's wont fit. But then again I herd that an M120 wouldn't fit. It also appears to be generally agreed that an M113 will fit. A late supercharged M113 would be a cool swap indeed. You could be the first.
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 08:52 PM
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Sounds like a pile of money.

With best regards

Al

Check out the W114, W115 /8 enthusiast forum http://www.stroke8.org

My 280SL restoration
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 05:51 AM
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Engine swaps are very popular...among those who have never done one

Having swapped a couple of engines in a couple of cars, I can say that I'll never do it again. It's always takes far more time, money, and effort than you first think. Then you run into trouble with servicing, etc. And you almost always greatly reduce the value of the car.

Just not worth it IMNSHO

If you like the R107, just find a clean 560SL and (if you're dying to swap something) put on some Euro headlights and bumpers. Then add some 16x8" wheels with 225 rubber and call it a day.



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#5 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 03:55 PM
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Engine swaps are very popular...among those who have never done one

Having swapped a couple of engines in a couple of cars, I can say that I'll never do it again. It's always takes far more time, money, and effort than you first think. Then you run into trouble with servicing, etc. And you almost always greatly reduce the value of the car.

Just not worth it IMNSHO

If you like the R107, just find a clean 560SL and (if you're dying to swap something) put on some Euro headlights and bumpers. Then add some 16x8" wheels with 225 rubber and call it a day.
It did take me 2.5 years and a $#$t load of cash. But no regrets.
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#6 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 12:12 PM
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As with any project of scale, you have to make it clear in your own head what your problem statements are for what you have now (e.g. not enough power, fuel economy relative to power in the pits) and what your intended uses will be in retrofitted form (daily driver? Plaything for Sunday drives, race track?), take into account any deficiencies that may result and decide on the correct course of action.

What does a later model engine give you that you really want/need? Are you after fuel economy, emissions, power, a more attrative airbox?

What kind of rewiring will be necessary to bring the ECU, harness, sensors and so on into the car? Later cars may have all sorts of tricks wired deep into the chassis that will not be practical to retrofit, can you life without them?

What are your transmission/rear-end implications? How is the transmission controlled, is it a common controller with the ignition/fuel mappings? If the rear-end is not ideal with the selected engine, what are your options and costs to change these? How much alteration to drive shaft/yoke will be required? If the new transmission is a 5-6 speed, how do you plan to accommodate this with the 4 speed shift gate?

If the car receives a later engine with OBDII, do you care that your dash lights won't necessarily reflect the engine codes?

How different will the weight of the new engine be to that of the current motor? What are the suspension implications?

Will the current engine and transmission mounts work, or will you have to fabricate new mounts? Will the plumbing for transmission or engine oil cooler be retained, if present and can you plumb this to your chassis?

Will the engine chosen physically fit and will you be able to work on the engine at all without dropping the whole subframe? Will it clear the inner fenders, including the space for the exhaust manifolds, intake air box, intake air pipes, oil pan, starter, etc? There is a difference between shoe-horning the motor with not a centimeter to spare and having some room for air-flow and access for hands and tools.

Is your radiator adequate for the new engine? Newer engines often run hotter and the current cooling system may simply not be adequate, particularly with AC compressor engaged. Do you have room for the auxiliary electric fans that may be required?

Do you intend to retrofit the AC condensor, pipes/tubes, sensors and so on? Will these parts fit? The current system was designed for R12 and isn't all that great when fully functional. The newer motors and compressors will be for R134a and the expansion valve, receiver drier, hoses and sensors will be designed and optimized for that refrigerant.

Will your brakes still be sufficient for the new power of the engine (if that was your objective)? You may have to upgrade the brakes and check the front/rear bias to counteract the additional weight/engine power as any car should be able to power brake at wide open throttle.

How much change will be required to the fuel pumps if the newer engine requires a higher pressure/greater flow pump? Can you retrofit the newer cars fuel pump assembly?

Given the cost/complexity and even if you plan to do most if not all work yourself, you'll likely spend far more time doing the conversion than driving it. A year isn't unreasonable.

To stay within reason, you could probably get more bang for your buck using another 5.6L M117 motor, like the M117.968 which had, among other things, all the same wiring of your current motor, same fuel injection system, same transmission and can use the same rear-end, won't weigh any more than what you have now, but will give you more power and not be all that different from the current engine to service or repair. The M117.968 have versions for the 560SEL/SEC with 10:1 compression pistons, may have one of two camshafts (one hotter than the other) and with a little head work reach 300+ HP. There is even an outfit in Astonia that can make you stainless headers to fit to a custom exhaust to open up the exhaust and probably get you another 10-20HP/15-30 ft. lbs with that (e.g. in the territory of the stock M119 dual overhead motor of the W129 without the horrors of fitting it).

There are a lot of these M117.968 motors around and you can probably budget a fraction of the funds and around 25-28 hours or so and be done with it.

Cheers,
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#7 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzHacker View Post
As with any project of scale, you have to make it clear in your own head what your problem statements are for what you have now (e.g. not enough power, fuel economy relative to power in the pits) and what your intended uses will be in retrofitted form (daily driver? Plaything for Sunday drives, race track?), take into account any deficiencies that may result and decide on the correct course of action.

What does a later model engine give you that you really want/need? Are you after fuel economy, emissions, power, a more attrative airbox?

What kind of rewiring will be necessary to bring the ECU, harness, sensors and so on into the car? Later cars may have all sorts of tricks wired deep into the chassis that will not be practical to retrofit, can you life without them?

What are your transmission/rear-end implications? How is the transmission controlled, is it a common controller with the ignition/fuel mappings? If the rear-end is not ideal with the selected engine, what are your options and costs to change these? How much alteration to drive shaft/yoke will be required? If the new transmission is a 5-6 speed, how do you plan to accommodate this with the 4 speed shift gate?

If the car receives a later engine with OBDII, do you care that your dash lights won't necessarily reflect the engine codes?

How different will the weight of the new engine be to that of the current motor? What are the suspension implications?

Will the current engine and transmission mounts work, or will you have to fabricate new mounts? Will the plumbing for transmission or engine oil cooler be retained, if present and can you plumb this to your chassis?

Will the engine chosen physically fit and will you be able to work on the engine at all without dropping the whole subframe? Will it clear the inner fenders, including the space for the exhaust manifolds, intake air box, intake air pipes, oil pan, starter, etc? There is a difference between shoe-horning the motor with not a centimeter to spare and having some room for air-flow and access for hands and tools.

Is your radiator adequate for the new engine? Newer engines often run hotter and the current cooling system may simply not be adequate, particularly with AC compressor engaged. Do you have room for the auxiliary electric fans that may be required?

Do you intend to retrofit the AC condensor, pipes/tubes, sensors and so on? Will these parts fit? The current system was designed for R12 and isn't all that great when fully functional. The newer motors and compressors will be for R134a and the expansion valve, receiver drier, hoses and sensors will be designed and optimized for that refrigerant.

Will your brakes still be sufficient for the new power of the engine (if that was your objective)? You may have to upgrade the brakes and check the front/rear bias to counteract the additional weight/engine power as any car should be able to power brake at wide open throttle.

How much change will be required to the fuel pumps if the newer engine requires a higher pressure/greater flow pump? Can you retrofit the newer cars fuel pump assembly?

Given the cost/complexity and even if you plan to do most if not all work yourself, you'll likely spend far more time doing the conversion than driving it. A year isn't unreasonable.

To stay within reason, you could probably get more bang for your buck using another 5.6L M117 motor, like the M117.968 which had, among other things, all the same wiring of your current motor, same fuel injection system, same transmission and can use the same rear-end, won't weigh any more than what you have now, but will give you more power and not be all that different from the current engine to service or repair. The M117.968 have versions for the 560SEL/SEC with 10:1 compression pistons, may have one of two camshafts (one hotter than the other) and with a little head work reach 300+ HP. There is even an outfit in Astonia that can make you stainless headers to fit to a custom exhaust to open up the exhaust and probably get you another 10-20HP/15-30 ft. lbs with that (e.g. in the territory of the stock M119 dual overhead motor of the W129 without the horrors of fitting it).

There are a lot of these M117.968 motors around and you can probably budget a fraction of the funds and around 25-28 hours or so and be done with it.

Cheers,
Great list of questions for eliminating the idea of swapping to a larger and later engine.
Don't mean to steal the thread but how about an 85 500 engine, either from a W126 sedan or a coupe, into an 82 380SL.
The timing chain on my car starting to make clunking noise while the engine is running. I bought the car with an invoice of over $2800 from a local Bay Area showing the work for the dual chain conversion was done but I found out later that the engine oil was leaking through the chain guide tensioner's bolt (the big bolt on the passenger's side engine bank right behind the alternator). I had the tensioner replaced by another MB mechanic and he said that who ever did the job did not know what he was doing. I am beginning to doubt that the conversion was ever done. The PO was a friend who did not know anything about cars and I think he was ripped off by that shop (more likely I am the one who got ripped off)
I am thinking about a 500 engine and start looking for a good used one as a spare until the current 380's chain decided to give up.
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#8 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 01:25 PM
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I too have a 380 SL - installing a 5.0L engine does sound very interesting. I've already had my engine converted to dual roller chain but quite a bit more than $2800. If there was an option to dump the 3.8L and replace it with a 5.0L engine, I might have went that way instead.

Like you, I am curious about the difficulty in installing a 5.0L engine in a 380SL and especially one tuned to high compression specs.

Carl
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#9 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cwmoser View Post
I too have a 380 SL - installing a 5.0L engine does sound very interesting. I've already had my engine converted to dual roller chain but quite a bit more than $2800. If there was an option to dump the 3.8L and replace it with a 5.0L engine, I might have went that way instead.

Like you, I am curious about the difficulty in installing a 5.0L engine in a 380SL and especially one tuned to high compression specs.

Carl
As long as you don't have local restrictions on engine swaps or emissions compliance, the 5.0 liter swap isn't at all bad for pre 1986 US spec motor going into a pre 1986 US spec 380SL. After 1985, you have the conversion to KE Jetronic and that adds another layer of complexity that's really not worth the effort. You can mix and match a bit with using the K Jetronic parts on a 4.2L or 5.6L post 1986 motor, with a few caveats, if you really want to.

A second option with almost as much power and similar fuel consumption to 3.8L is the later 4.2L. the 3.8L intake parts all bolt right up to the engine, as will the SL's oil pan and oil filter pedestal.

If you can find a recently rebuilt (top end rebuilt, the bottom is nearly bullet proof and hardly every needs rebuilding) 4.2L as an alternative to the 5.0 liter mills, I would seriously take it into consideration. 4.2L is a stroked 3.8l, in the same way that the 5.6L is a stroked 5.0L. The 5.0 intake manifold and K Jetronic pieces will bolt to the 5.6, but I'm not confident if that is true between the 5.6 and 3.8. I'll have to check the bolt patterns and dimensions.

In your case, you could convert to a whole other engine (from the single chain 3.8L of the '82 and earlier to dual chanin) for the price of dual roller chain conversion and get more omph, assuming no regulations would make that illegal or impractical. Possibility two is to leave the 3.8L as single chain and just replace the chain every 50K miles, which is a lot cheaper.

If you really aren't happy with the 3.8L and you don't accept the 3.8L's torque and horsepower curves (torque, in my view, being the more important of the two for day to day driving), there are a few things you can do that are a lot cheaper than flipping motors.

If you don't plan to tool around at the 120 MPH top speed and are willing to accept a higher RPM at cruise and a top speed of around 105-110MPH, you can go with 2.72:1 and 3:06 rear-ends. An open diff is easier to find than a limited slip version to find (diesels have 3:06 rears pretty often, sedans often have the 2.72 and 2.85 rears), which will give you more off the line. It will also work great if you decide later to go with a 4.2L or 5.0L motor, at the expense of some fuel economy and an out-of-calibration speedometer (shops that service VDO speedos can adjust this).

Cheers
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#10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 05:55 PM
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I don't get you guys that want to swap motors in sl's. John I can understand to a v12. But you guys are nuts change a sl motor for a sl motor. There are so many sl's out there just buy the one you want (3 months searching should do) and you'll probly save $4k and two sl's.

PS. I can only hope your sl's c's are driving as nice as mine is

Ah that magic feeling of being post mortgage and zero debt. (between repairs)
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