Need opinions on 92 500 SL FS - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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#1 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:02 AM
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Need opinions on 92 500 SL FS

Guys,

I just test drove a 92 500 SL I saw on a local car lot. Car has 143K miles and was built 02/92. Here are my impressions while they are still fresh in mind:

Smoke silver/beige - paint is fairly nice but interior seems a little rough (seats show wear like split seams and some cracks in the leather. Door panels seem sort of loose and the panels that cover the seat switches are ill fitting. Driver seat headrest will not go up or down. Driver side window slow to operate. Door lock inoperable with key fob switch. Has aftermarket Alpine radio. Original spare and tools still in trunk.

Radio antenna is broken/missing.

Engine ran rough initially on start up with the yellow ASR and another light next to it lit up, but then what sounded like a relay clicked and the motor immediately smoothed out and the yellow lights went out. A/C works and was pretty cold.

Transmission was replaced with a reman unit around 50K miles ago. Initially, trans did not shift into D from P until I moved the lever to R. Trans then went into gear and went into D from R. Trans then seemed to operate normally.

Car drove well with plenty of power. Trans operated normally and down shifted on full throttle accel. Brakes seemed good with a firm pedal.

Also, the lights (headlights, side markers, rear corners) inexplicably blinked on and off several times and it was not due to the hazard flasher being toggled on. It did this uncommanded and then stopped on its own.

Could not check on top operation as hard top was on.

Question is should I even consider going further with this one or keep looking around. I'm not in any hurry to buy anything. Asking price is $6,595.00 Yes, I know the saying " a cheap mercedes is the most expensive car you will ever own".
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#2 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:10 AM
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I think this car could be a great buy. If you are not interested in it, then I may like to see it for myself. If the tranny is good and has just 50K miles on it, then this is a nice plus. I believe a modern Mercedes V-8 easily lasts well past 300K miles, but the trannies do not.

I have sent you a PM.

Many used parts available from a '92 SL. Email or PM for more information
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#3 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:39 AM
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Hi,

Some of my experience may be of use to you- being in the past, in the used car business, I feel the used car dealer has at least a $2000 mark-up so he should take something around $5500 or less. I would offer him $5000 and see where it takes you. After all, how many MB buyers are out there?

1. The top probably doesn't work. You can use the tool that comes with the car to pop the hard top off and with an assistant, help you take it off. If the top is not working, it will cost you around $400 (plus labor to remove the hydraulic cylinders from the car- or just use the top manually) to repair them.

2. I would change the trans fluid.

3. To redo the seat in my car, it cost $225. The rest of the interior can be repaired cheaply as can the antenna.

4. It is a MUST that you take the valve covers off and check the condition of the upper timing chain guides on the valve covers (new ones are about $9.00 each and real easy to change). Check the oil tubes too- but you probably have metal ones.

5. I think the car is a a good deal!

Peter C. Sessler
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#4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slandsecdriver View Post

Question is should I even consider going further with this one or keep looking around. I'm not in any hurry to buy anything. Asking price is $6,595.00 Yes, I know the saying " a cheap mercedes is the most expensive car you will ever own".
It may be cheaper to buy at $12,000.00 price range for a car with lower mileage and with none of the issues you noticed in this $6,695.00 car.

Last edited by edcarls; 06-10-2009 at 01:28 PM.
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#5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 01:45 PM
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Hi,

Based on the problems you told us about, I don't think it would be cheaper to buy a $12,000 car. The car you saw for $6,695 would cost you $6,695 if you got it right and even if you ended up paying what the used car dealer wanted, would still be less- and you would have all that "valuable experience" on fixing MBs.

Peter C. Sessler
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#6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter C. Sessler View Post
Hi,


1. The top probably doesn't work. You can use the tool that comes with the car to pop the hard top off and with an assistant, help you take it off. If the top is not working, it will cost you around $400 (plus labor to remove the hydraulic cylinders from the car- or just use the top manually) to repair them.

2. I would change the trans fluid.

3. To redo the seat in my car, it cost $225. The rest of the interior can be repaired cheaply as can the antenna.

4. It is a MUST that you take the valve covers off and check the condition of the upper timing chain guides on the valve covers (new ones are about $9.00 each and real easy to change). Check the oil tubes too- but you probably have metal ones.

5. I think the car is a a good deal!

Peter C. Sessler
Peter,

Are your cost estimates for repair of an SL in the US?

1) $400.00 to repair a Top that doesn't work! In my neck of the woods it would take that much to diagnose why the top doesn't worK. Also, it would cost around $30 to refurbish one top hydraulic cylinder x 12=$350 plus $50 shipping is already $400. How about the cost of labor to R&R?

3) Redo the seat for $225.- MB-tex front seat cover cost around $350.00 plus labor.

I have no doubt you can do it at that cost, I'm just wondering how.

Last edited by edcarls; 06-10-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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#7 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 02:10 PM
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Hi,

Dunnellon, Florida. The previous owner of my car included all her past invoices in the trunk- and she paid through the nose- typical for some MB owners. For example, changing spark plugs cost her $162.00 plus the plugs. She did leave the invoice for the interior and it was $225.

Now, she also left me leaky hydraulic cylinders and I saw them leaking- ergo my cost would be $400 plus I would do the labor putting them in and out. Now I know that MBs are not the world's cheapest car (as compared to my wife's Acura TSX) but that isn't the reason why I bought it, is it?

And I know that the initial cost really has no bearing on the subsequent costs- why does a person trade a car in because of numerous problems and then the car is resold to another customer and that person has no problems at all? The real reason why a person has problems or doesn't, is because of attraction- some people need certain experiences while others don't. Now I know this sounds ethereal or whatever you want to call it, but it's the truth.

Peter C. Sessler
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#8 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 08:07 AM
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slandsecdriver,

GO-4-IT I bought my '92 four years ago with 145K on the clock. I paid $11,500 and thought I got a good deal. Yes, I have repaired both windshield top cylinders. Everybody does eventually! Even the $12,000 model.

Yes, I have put on a new soft top, new seats, done all the usual suspension replacements. It has been a labor of love.

I now have 184K and it is running stronger than ever with a new set of injectors recently!

Buy the car. Then search the forum for Lynns' recommended maintenance items and do them all as quickly as you can afford them.

Happy motoring! When my car hits 300K, I'll race you for pink slips!

Mike

I don't downshift often, but when I do, it is next to a Prius so I can show them how I am hurting the environment! -

'07 CLS 550
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#9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edcarls View Post
Peter,

Are your cost estimates for repair of an SL in the US?

1) $400.00 to repair a Top that doesn't work! In my neck of the woods it would take that much to diagnose why the top doesn't worK. Also, it would cost around $30 to refurbish one top hydraulic cylinder x 12=$350 plus $50 shipping is already $400. How about the cost of labor to R&R?

3) Redo the seat for $225.- MB-tex front seat cover cost around $350.00 plus labor.

I have no doubt you can do it at that cost, I'm just wondering how.
I also am questioning those price figures.

If you don't DIY, then a fair price for the convertible top cylinders including labor and a full set of Dennis rebuilds is around $1100. Dennis charges $35 per cylinder, and figure $50 in shipping charges because they're real heavy, so you're at $500 or so just in parts, even if you DIY. And $ you $ can $ forget $ buying $ new $ ones $$$$$$$$$ ($3k).

A new convertible top is $400-$600 online, and labor is another $800 or so. It's a massive task, if you did a DIY it will take you at least one full weekend, maybe two.

Timing chain guides, are another $400 proposition if you don't DIY.

A suspension rebuild, using Lemfoerder or OEM MB parts (which trust me, is the ONLY way to go on anything with rubber in it, like ball joints, control arms, etc.), together with new shocks and strut mounts, is another $3-$4k proposition, with most of the cost being the parts. And unless you're really well equipped at home, then most of this isn't going to be a DIY-able task, since you need a lift, a spring compressor, etc.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I would still buy the car. The R129 is great, and you'll enjoy it. But still, keep your eyes open about what you're getting into. There are the few guys around the forum who will swear they've only spent $11.93 over the last 10 years on maintenance, but I don't really believe them and you probably shouldn't either. Cars like that either have not been driven much, or are the ones that I could spot probably $6k worth of needed work within 2 minutes of looking at it.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not that expensive to maintain an R129, if you have decided you want to own a Mercedes. Compared to other Mercedes models like the W140, the W220, or the early W211's, the 129 is actually a very economical choice. But even so, $9 to fix timing chain guides, redoing a leather interior for $200, etc., are really not realistic expectations.

"Veni, Vidi, volo in domum redire." (I came, I saw, I want to go home.)
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#10 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slandsecdriver View Post
I just test drove a 92 500 SL I saw on a local car lot. Car has 143K miles and was built 02/92. Here are my impressions while they are still fresh in mind:

Smoke silver/beige - paint is fairly nice but interior seems a little rough (seats show wear like split seams and some cracks in the leather.
Just bought this car, same miles, same colors, same price, Chamblee: 1992 Mercedes SL500 Convertible. Time-capsule car. Interior resembles a car just a few years old. You can buy it from me for $6800, but it will have different wheels.

Many used parts available from a '92 SL. Email or PM for more information
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