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560sl
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Discussion Starter #1
I have recently imported MB 1986 560SL with 116.000 miles on it from US to Europe. Would like to increase HP (20-40 hp increase). Locally we have NO problems with emsission regulations. So for the start I can remove cat...What else should be changed: cam, exhaust system, valve timing, K&N filter etc. Any thought would be appreciated!

Thank's!

Balsa
 

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1984 Euro 500SL
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I'm curious. Are you in Europe, and if so, why import an American market SL when you can find more powerful models there? I own an Euro 500SL that I bought because it has more hp than the US market vehicles. You won't gain much more power with your listed mods but an increase should be seen.
Mike
1984 Euro 500SL
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes I am in Europe. I decided to by a US car because of the following reasons: price difference due to EUR/USD exchange rate (almost 30% savings), my car is from Florida where are better weather conditions than in Europe, also the car has more equipment than Euro 500 sl model. The 500 SL in Europe costs around 16.000-20.000 EUR. Compered to the $10.000 I have paid in US it is a big difference... I know that 500SL is more powerful but not by much..Since there is no strict emision regulations localy it whant be hard to increase HP. In my opinion the 560sl is underpowered mostly because of the cat...

Thanks,

Balsa
 

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83 380 SL,
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BRNN53 - 3/2/2005 4:04 PM

I'm curious. Are you in Europe, and if so, why import an American market SL when you can find more powerful models there? I own an Euro 500SL that I bought because it has more hp than the US market vehicles. You won't gain much more power with your listed mods but an increase should be seen.
Mike
1984 Euro 500SL
I am curious what you are basing your answer on? I have been asking for cam data on another thread regarding the 380, and while I do not mean to argue, your answer seems very typical. Who cares why he bought a US car? Our dollar is weak as crap right now and there will be a flood of our cars leaving for Europe as a result. Sadly, with our EPA and safety laws, many will never be allowed to return.
If there is anyone out there who really wants to look into this, consider that a US 560 is only generating 41 HP per liter. This is so rediculously low as to be a joke. A Geo Metro makes more power per liter. I own a 380 and am looking into a cam change for it. I realise its a bit low on compression, but it should still respond well if what it has now is what I believe to be drastically advanced camshaft timimg with narrow duration and low lift. I havnt found anyone with any data on any MB engine regarding lift, duration, or valve timing. If I find some, and people stop slamming me or calling me thick for asking, I will post anything I find.
I own a 77 Ferrari 308. The 308 is presently spread all over my garage for rebuilding. There is a vast amount of information from fellow enthusiasts, that show that cars with the CIS system were generally given advanced valve timing and short duration for several reasons. One was emissions, another was reliability, another was that reversion with hotter cams can fool the CIS and screw up fuel management. But in dyno testing different cam profiles, it was shown that mildly hot retarded cams would still drive well, so that the reversion problem may not be a great issue. Lucky for me I have a carb version with hot factory cams.
The 380 SL I own, I plan on doing something to bring up its performance. I dont know where it will go, as it seems there are no enthusiasts interested in hotting up a 380 MB. But I would rather install a couple cams and live with some better performance, than change the engine out. Man, with the cost of a good repaint alone at $6-8K, a 380 is a bargain if it can be made to at least move out of its own way.
I think hot cams in a 560 could make a drastic difference in performance, especially if there is some knowledge of what has worked in the past. I know Renntech was making some cams for 380,500,560, one size fit all, but I have no knowledge of the profile. As far as removing cats, they probably wouldnt make a great difference until you reach higher HP which will by nature require greater flow. I mean, looking at it as two four cylinders, its only 1.9 liters. A 1.9 should easily make 100 HP with no trouble, so your 560 could make 300 HP with little trouble, all things being equal. Thats still only 52 HP per liter. A little bit more than a big Briggs and Statton industrial engine makes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have no experience with tuning up MB's. I just shared my amateur opinion on the topic. I belive that experienced mechanic would give some reasonable soulution. I just whanted to hear opinion on other SL owners. Since the SL's do not have web pages with quality engine upgrade forums it is hard to find any reliable info. But anyway thank you for sharing you opinion.

About the dolar weakness don't worry too much its short term anyway and as I have read somwhere the U.S. deficit was lowered mostly by car exporting!
 

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83 380 SL,
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Well, once cars that cant ever return to the US have gone to Europe, it wont really matter much what the dollar does after that.

Does anyone have technical data manuals on 380, 500, and 560 motors? I was told these small booklets were available years ago by MB and have valve lift and valve timing data.
 

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1980 450SL
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Installing a mandrel bent, larger diameter, free flowing exhaust will make a difference. Many of the cars of this vintage were extremely choked up with smog and mileage equipment. The same tricks that are tried and true with american muscle cars will work on these machines. Advancing the timing, cold air intake with k&n filter, hotter spark, electric fan to remove parasitic loss and weight reduction were possible. Running aal synthetic fluids will also free up a couple of horsepower. The greatest improvement not in hp but acceleration is a lower rear gear swap. The stockers are very high, great for fuel economy not performance. Running lower gears will put you in the power band quicker.
 

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The first gear start from Bergwerks will give you the perception of more horsepower. I made a homemade version for myself and am very happy with it. In terms of "feel" vs cost, it is very inexpensive.
 

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Well, I saw this thing from Bergwerks on another MB board - the issue is, US 4-speed automatic 560SL's (and many other MB's of that era) actually come off from a standing start in second, not first gear. The "B" you see in the gear selector is actually 1'st gear. This might have been for gas mileage or to stop "bluehairs" getting the cr** scared out of them when they hit the gas pedal and spun the tires.

A way to trick the tranny to start in first is to go to "B" at a stop light and then return to "D" before starting. Essentially, the Bergwerks unit does this automatically for you, among other things.

I didn't have the money at the time to but the Bergwerks unit, so I figured out what it did and made a workalike (this is on my signature web page).

I would probably have commercialized this myself except I was a little concerned about liability issues and, well, I didn't invent it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the valuable info. I have read about the Bergworks module and sounds as good and valuable upgrade that I will ad for sure. K&N unfortunatelly only offers filter and not the cold air stuff. I will also plan to take out the catalyst maybe since localy there will be no problems with emissions regulations. This was the info that I needed to hear from you folks. Thank you all once again!

Balsa
 

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Depends on the day!
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The exhaust on the SL is not nearly as bad as the 126's w/ an M117. You can get a nice true dual system fairly easily into that car. You may want to look into Euro manifolds though, they are more akin to headers etc and should give you a few HP. Also, adapting a dual snorkel intake from an SEL or SEC would help. These cars are starved for air w/ the standard set up. Lastly, the US cars come a touch on the lean side from the factory. Remove the EHA, pull the backing plate (flat head screw) and give the 3mm (i think) hex head a 10th or so of a turn.. The adjustment is Very Very sensitive.

Also, when it comes time to rebuild your transmission you can have FGS built into the valve body, it's a very easy mod from what my trans guys have told me.

With all of that I would think you should find your 20+ HP..

I would wager you could track down some AMG cam specs or the cams themselves for a bit more kick.

Jonathan
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'88 560SL..'92 300CE
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When I had my timing chain system gone over, I sent my cams to Crowler in California and they did a street grind on them. Now my car has a slight lope to it when idling. After you get on top of the cam (around 3k rpm), it really pulls! My mechanic had to put some shims in when replacing the cams. I also put in a rebuilt rearend that came out of a TE. 3.06 ratio, I think. The neat thing is that due to the new clutch pack in it, when you turn a corner, the tires will squeal a little. I imagine the clutch packs are worn out on all 560s by now.
 

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Balsa,consider the other side of the power/weight ratio.I believe in searching for ways to cut the weight of the car.I have seen Porsche guys spend thousands to get another 100 HP.Look around for ways to get the weight down...within reason,of course,don't take the seats out!

I went with Euro bumpers on my 560SL for obvious better appearance but also to save some weight.I will get rid of cat as soon as I can to cut back pressure and weight.Leave the hardtop in the garage.Modern tires don't usually fail so why haul the spare and jack forever?

Consider the weight and parasitic loss of the air pump.Run the lightest wheels you can find.Get a first gear start and set 1-2 shift at 15 mph or whatever is good for you.

The 107's will never be known as 0-60 sprinters but do what you can live with.

I always admired Colin Chapman(Lotus cars)and his "simplify and lighten" goal.

Just some food for thought.

Best Regards,ch7ckc
1987 560 SL
 

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Some good ideas here, the exhaust being the cheapest first fix. Shedding weight is also good, but pretty much destroys the car if enough is shed to make a difference. Diff gearing can also do some good, but at the cost of mileage and top speed - if you are in a country that allows speeds over 70mph keep this in mind.
I would like to add though - for what it's worth - squeezing more tangible horsepower and torque from the 560 is a pretty straight forward deal, like with any well designed gas motor. It can be done using turbo(s) or supercharging, and in both cases gutting the K-Jetronic fuel system in favor of true engine management. Motec is a good system - my choice anyway, but there are others. Any system's fine that allows real-time mapping of fuel and ignition, and is boost compensating. The ability to also control alcohol injection will allow you higher boosts without increasing fuel burn time (octane). If you go this route, you don't need a very exotic exhaust system. Ditching the cats and installing two 2 1/2" pipes will be fine. You can shed the stock mufflers for turbo type baffles both to reduce resistance, and because the turbines quiet the exhaust to a certain extent. The car will still be relatively quiet. The factory shape and length of Y-pipes are fine, the turbo motor won't care. Twin small turbine/compressor assemblies are better for a street car and easier to install on a v8 in a tight engine bay. You'll want to lock out your distributor advance, as most systems electronically control advance and maximum rpm within settings. The stock ignition is good for twice the rpm your motor will ever survive, so leave it. Considering your motor's mileage, and the greater combustion pressures, you would be wise to service your heads, helicoil the block and have copper O-ring'd head gaskets made up for it. Depending on the climate conditions in you're area, you may or may not need a larger capacity cooling system. All this is expensive . . real horsepower is expensive. With the addition of an intercooler, these modifications would net you about 400hp and a 70% increase in torque with conservative boost on pump gas. The 560 has pretty efficient heads - leave the combustion chambers alone. If you play with cams, keep duration short and go with the highest lift you can swing. Don't mess with timing or lobe centers - it's a waste of time. You'll have to clay your squish area to see what lift increase your motor will handle, but close to a half inch total lift may be possible, but longer springs and shimming to reset geometry will be required. Maintain at least .050 clearance to the piston crown to accommodate rod stretch at high rpm. Greater lift doesn't necessarily require harder springs if you keep the rpm within factory limits, but use only US Manley or German springs, and test/measure them before installation. If you're a real menace, you might think about sending your pistons out for a ceramic coating. I did this on a 2.4 ltr Scat motor I built for my 58'Carerra. It's been reliable so far . . . The tiny thing grunted out 290hp at 6000rpm on the tired old dyno with only 10lb boost. . . and torque to the moon. If you go with a supercharger, consider the Eaton. It bypasses intake air under light loads, so the charger maintains a cooler static temperature and has longer life. Mercedes, Ford, GM, and Volvo all use the Eaton supercharger on various trucks/cars. Again, exhaust is less of an exotic issue here as long as flow is not too restricted. Too bad you’re not here in Southern California where we can’t leave anything alone. A buddy of mine is a Mercedes independent. He has a great chassis dyno at his shop they use for such enterprises. He races an old 300SL. I just butcher old German cars 'cause they're easy victims :)
Jed
 

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You can get a nice true dual system fairly easily into that car. You may want to look into Euro manifolds though, they are more akin to headers etc and should give you a few HP. Also, adapting a dual snorkel intake from an SEL or SEC would help. These cars are starved for air w/ the standard set up.
Do you know of any dealers/wrecking yards/recyclers that carry euro manifolds? Specifically those that would fit a 560SL?

Also, when it comes time to rebuild your transmission you can have FGS built into the valve body, it's a very easy mod from what my trans guys have told me.
The First Gear Start Module - seems expensive - and like a quick way to wear the tranny and kill mileage.

Does anyone have any more info on the results of installing the Bergworks Mod?

I would wager you could track down some AMG cam specs or the cams themselves for a bit more kick.
I have read a couple posts discussing swapping the stock cams for some with a low duration and high lift.

Anyone know where to find these and/or some AMG cams for the 560SL?

Sorry for all the questions.

I'm new to Benz but you all seem very well versed on Mercedes and the SL.
 

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We can get Euro SL tri-y's but they are Pricey new. I may have a lead on a used set, contact me should you be interested.

FGS modules are actually quite cheap...don't really add much in the way or wear, nor do they effect mileage IME.

Bergwerks units are NLA at this point.

We have AMG spec cams available, but the way to REALLY wake these engines up is with a mechanical lifter conversion..it makes all my other 16V setups feel tame.


Jonathan
 

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I got linked this site recently, its pretty good for ideas, look at their parts list they might have some stuff u could get to make a big difference on the car, SLC Racing : manufacturer of Mercedes SLC 500 Rally Cars
The aluminium bonnet/boot lid would be good starts depending on their cost, tho i dont know how street legal their exhaust would be seeing as its designed for a race car :D
 

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I'll bite - my 500SL is screaming for a mechanical lifter conversion!

Where/how??!
I take it you have experienced engines w/ said conversion before...I echo your enthusiasam ;-)

You can read up on it here:
Blue Ridge MB and AMG East 89 W126 560SEC with AMG cams, 10-1 pistons and full AMG exhaust 200K on the clock

Also, there are quite a few posts in the 126 section... I need to get the dyno w/ the latest car but everyone else's projects are keeping me Busy!

If you like, drop a line, [email protected] or give a ring 404 805 1357 we can chat about it..I'll be @ the shop and available @ that number all weekend.

Jonathan
 
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