1981 380SL Engine restoration - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 2001 S500, 1981 380SL
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1981 380SL Engine restoration


I'm new here, so I hope I'm posting in the correct forum. I just bought a very neglected '81 380SL and I'm looking for suggestions on what to do to make the very oxidized parts on the engine look good.

Specifically, I'm looking for the best way to clean/remove the oxidation, from the air cleaner/valve covers etc, also what to do with them once clean, e.g. paint, if so what colors.

Does anyone have a good picture of an original or restored V-8 of that era?

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 04:24 PM
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take a close look at this car before you start , 81 could still have a single row timing chain , also if it is high mileage , poorly maintain , dont start .you can get a descent 380 sl around 6 k .
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 06:40 AM
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As stated above, the first thing to do is check to see if it is a single or double row timing chain car. If it is a single row, it can be converted to double chain by a competent mechanic. The single row are prone to failure and that is a bad thing.

That said, the valve covers were not painted or polished, they were just aluminum. If they look bad, I would invest the $12 for new valve cover gaskets. Pull the valve covers and clean them using steel wool first then some metal polish until they shine like you want them to. It is not hard and can be done in a few hours of rubbing. They will shine as much as you are willing to polish them. While you have them off, look at the timing chain.

Same with your air cleaner.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! Very helpful, this is my first MB restoration. I'll pull the covers and look for the timing chain(s), I assume there's a kit to upgrade me from single to dual if needed.

I'll also invest in a box of steel wool and some good polish.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 11:46 AM
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 10:33 AM
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