Chevy or 350 SL motor for a Finnie? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Chevy or 350 SL motor for a Finnie?

hi guys. I am a recent owner of a 1967 W111, so it has a long 2.3L six, coupled with a short nose / engine compartment. There is not much room to even put a socket on the crankshaft nut to rotate the engine. I am not happy with the power of the six, nor with the rear end ratio. I row thru all 4 gears by 40 mph, and the engine is turning too fast on the highway. I guess I have the 4.1 diff.

Coincidentally, sitting in my garage is a 2001 5.3L V8 and a six speed t-56 gearbox of Chevy origin. These motors can be equipped with a front sump oil pan that came in GTOs. sSo I am tempted. However, due to the short nose body, I don't have much room for a larger radiator, and the t-56 is a massive gearbox.

I would prefer to stay mercedes though. Would the V8 engine from a 1972 350 SL bolt up to my 4 speed Gearbox? would the rear axle or diff from the 350sl fit the Finnie? would a MB 1985 5.6L V8 bolt to the Finnie 4 speed box? Yes, given the choice, I would like to retain the 4 on the floor gearbox.

Thanks for your ideas.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 02:13 PM
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Please don't contaminate that nice Benz with a GM motor, it won't like you if you do.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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W107 vs. W111

Yes, I really would prefer to stay with a MB power plant. I have an opportunity to buy a 1972 350SL (W107 I think) so I was wondering how compatible that drive train would be to the Finnie (W111). Anyone know how much stuff is interchangeable?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 02:45 AM
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Hi mate,
I have written a few replies to threads on W111 and W108 V8's (quite similar), so you can do a search for them. There is also a good thread on W111-W108-W113 mods.
The 350 motor would work fine, but I am afraid there are not many options for a manual trans from MB. You would have to try to find an MB 4-speed (there were a few 5 speeds, but rare as and $$$) from a V8.
The 107 rear end won't bolt up - I think the mods thread has a pic of a finnie with one installed though, but it is all custom fabrication. If you want a simple solution, find a W108 4.5 V8 and use the engine arms on the 350, 450 or 560, the trans, the diff, steering box, engine management, fuel pump/filter/accumulator, brakes, master cylinder and some of the wiring.

The short nose car will need a custom radiator for a larger V8. A modern, more efficient one with the thermo fan should be ok. My car is running too warm, but i think it is due to a suss water pump impeller.

So do a bit of a search and if you still have questions, sing out. This will not be a quick project but if it is something you really want, then it is definitely do-able. Have a look through my photobucket page for some pics of how I went about it - note though that you don't need to replace all of the trans tunnel like I did, only part of it.
Cheers,
Drew
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Drew, thanks for ur response. I did look thru ur photobucket, hence my desire to keep the 4 speed box my Finnie now has:-) u r quite talented, and that amount of fabrication is way above my skill level. Based on ur response, r u saying that my 4 speed box will not bolt up to any early MB V8?

Also, outside of the Finnie family L6 (230, 250, 280), will my box bolt to any other MB L6? In my research, I think someone said the later MB DOHC L6 would bolt into the Finnie with little trouble, but would I be able to retain the Finnie 4 speed? I wouldn't be against using a 5 speed and a DOHC L6 if that combination bolts in. Is the 5th speed an overdrive?

Randy

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 01:54 PM
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You can drop your final drive to 3.27 by dropping in a axle from a 280SE 4.5-anything lower is a lot more trouble. As mentioned if you want a V8 and a stick shift you will need a V8 flywheel and manual transmission. I don't think that combination was ever imported to the US but there are some over here. The V8 manual only fits the Iron block varity of V8's with the exception of the very rare 5.0 from the 450SLC 5.0. If you keep your feelers out long enough you will probably find what you need. You might also need to cut the transmission tunnel and use a different brake booster.

Tony
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Stick shift
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5.6 Iron block build in progress

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 02:02 PM
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If you are overall unhappy with the car why not buy the 107 and drive it for a bit, then maybe just sell the finnie? It sounds like it functions just fine, which is rare.

If you did use the v8 you would need better cooling as mentioned, maybe even add a flex fan and shroud to aid in that respect, but the tight confines will always mean heat is being built up, what if you go through all this effort to find it's undriveable? That would be my fear unless you can find this exact transplant. The Benz transplant will at least make it viable to someone else down the road, people are becoming more interested in these swaps it seems as long as they are marque compliant.

-Marrs

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"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 03:35 PM
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Hi again,
Your trans would not bolt to a V8. You could try emailing/ringing around various MB clubs and forums to see if any proper V8 kits are lurking around out there, but as Tony suggested, they are not common.
The easiest hp upgrade for you would be to get an M110 6 cylinder motor, especially the one with D-Jet - this is basically a DOHC version of the finnie and 108 motors. I will have to check for sure about its ability to bolt up to your trans - I know an auto from a finnie will not bolt up to an M110 without swapping various bits.
If you wanted a really cool (but expensive) option, there is a guy in Poland making kits for putting in a brand new 6 speed ZF gearbox behind the old 6 cylinders, including the M110. He was on ebay, and targeting the pagoda crowd.

I think the cooling issue should not be an insurmountable problem - MB squeezed the 6 cylinder 230 into the W110 short nosed cars by modifying the radiator support panel piece. Mercmad6.3 (who i will ask about your trans) put a Rover 3.5 V8 into a W110 last year for a guy and just modified this panel. It fit ok. A mate has a high compression 500 motor in his finnie with the standard radiator and it is fine - so I don't know why mine runs hot (up to about 110 de, but doesn't boil).

Will get back to you later. Cheers.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 06:50 PM
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Why stick with a Mercedes engine if you aren't happy with it? There is only one person whose opinion matters about your car, and that's you. I love the lines of the classic Benzes, but not the power - the 6 cylinder, in my opinion, was woefully underpowered (diesels were laughably worse). Staying "marque" is a nice idea, but if the marque only produced a couple of decently powered engines for those years (I'm thinking of the 6.3 and later the 6.9) then go for a Chevy engine. If it breaks, parts are easy and cheap to get. Mercedes engine parts are much more expensive, and I can speak from experience

Same thing with a transmission - non mercedes trannies (American ones) are a dime a dozen and can be fixed at your local Aamco or replaced from a junk yard in an afternoon. I had Aamco rebuild my mercedes transmission years ago, and it took them eons to find parts and the know how to do it.

Go Chevy - easily upgradeable, easy to put a supercharger onto, easy to find upgrades and repair parts.

Ever searched for a turbo kit or supercharger for the M117 engine (commonly found in the 108s and 109s)? Unless it's a one-off, you won't find one - same thing for the inline 6's. Search this forum to see how many people run into dead ends when asking about upgrades or performance enhancers. Open the first three pages of any hot rod magazine and you'll see gazillions of adverts for Chevy upgrades.

I say go for it - put a Chevy 350 into your car, make it look classy, and guys like me would buy it off you in a heartbeat.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hi all, thanks for all your comments, and here is my general thoughts. I like the Finnie, it's 4 on the floor, but not the acceleration ( or lack of) when I press the gas pedal. I wouldn't want to cross contaminate the Finnie with a non-MB power plant, but if I had a less desireable Benz, I may not be such a purist.

in terms of under hood / bonnet space, accessability to work on the motor, and potential cooling issues (remember i live in Miami, Florida) I am kind of leaning toward the DOHC L6. That being said, I haven't had an opportunity to measure the outer dimensions of one yet.

I would like to add air conditioning, so an engine that comes with an a/c compressor from the factory is a plus. I looked at a 1970 280S in a junk yard, and that motor had a/c and a 3 grooves pulley; the a/c was on the front most pulley. my 230 motor has a 2 grooves pulley, and precious little space between the pulley and the radiator. Only the rearmost pulley is used, for the alternator. I am wondering if a 3 groove pulley motor would even fit in my car. So now I realize that my car is a W110. Did any W110 with L6 come with a/c?

Also, I was only considering the w107 as an engine donor.

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