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1988 560SL
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just bought a 1988 560SL with a seized engine, owner ran it out of oil and supposedly both cams are broken? Body and Interior are in great shape for a car this age with 132k on the clock. Has been sitting for a couple of years, but still looks good. I wrench on my own cars, however, have never touched a Mercedes and am wondering what I have to work with. I see used engines available in the $2-3k range on eBay and re-manufactured long blocks in the $5-6k range. I paid $500.00 for the car as it sits, so don't think I can go to wrong buying an engine for it. How difficult are these engines to work on? Anything I need to be on the lookout for? Sources for engines, parts, manuals, etc...

Thanks for any insight.

John
 

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1998 ML320, 1975 280C
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45 Posts
I've just done the maintenance on my two cars, but if he did run without oil, buy an engine! Trying to put the block back into proper shape will probably cost two times as much, and take four times as long.
I have rebuilt a few engines in my time, and am working on an inline 4 motorcycle at the moment.
 

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Premium Member
1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,258 Posts
You can download a manual from the "Sticky" section on this site. From what you describe it would be worth removing the complete engine and gearbox. There is heaps of advice on this forum if you use the search function. It does sound like an engine swap is the best option.Good luck
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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1,389 Posts
Yep, get a working engine and move on - spend the time saved on rebuilding the seized one on other upgrades 👍👌
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,742 Posts
If you purchase a good used Engine, you might want to consider selling parts off the seized Engine.
Many Mercedes parts are usually quite pricey.
 

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1973 450 SL
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1,885 Posts
Or . . . save the spare parts on that seized engine and use it to familiarize yourself with these cars. When you pull that engine, you have a test bed and clear view of everything people write about on this forum.

Excellent $500 score - welcome to the forum. We like pictures here.
 

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1998 C280; 1987 560SL
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471 Posts
Yes, $500 for the car could be recovered quickly, probably by stripping the engine alone of usable parts (Fuyel distributer, valve covers, oil pan, chain tensioner, etc). Don't even think of trying to rebuild the existing engine - too expensive.
 

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1988 560SL
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the insight! I'll definitely be using the existing engine to learn on. Have some pictures, but will add more as the project develops.
31C72656-5A4C-416E-8F09-9BAE0312406A.jpeg
C765DCB8-858A-462B-8E73-0B42539E149E.jpeg
 

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1979 280SL, 1984 280SL
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5,641 Posts
Looks good! You can source a 560 V8 from a 126 series (560SE, SEL or SEC) and use that. They should be fairly plentiful. You would need the oil pan and oil filter adapter from your SL engine, maybe a few other bits. You could find yourself in a nice SL for a pretty reasonable amount!
 

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'85 300tdt (sold),'64 220b,'63 220Sb ,85 monte carlo ss 406SBC(4 sale),1976 vega wagon(sold)
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251 Posts
That's quite a score for 500$. Where are you located? I have a couple 560sl engines. Both under 100k. One out of the car and has been picked at a little bit but is a complete long block. No oil pan but you can use yours. The other comeplete in the car. Both have been sitting awhile but that shouldn't be an issue. Any engine you pick up regardless of from where should get new timing chain,upper sprockets, guides, tensioner and cam oil tube plastics. These are the Achilles heel of the m117/116 engines. Otherwise they are bulletproof(with oil in them)! If you have the engine out and want to go alittle further the lower sproket and guides wouldn't hurt, but most of the time the uppers are replaced and they keep running forever.

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1988 560SL
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Looks good! You can source a 560 V8 from a 126 series (560SE, SEL or SEC) and use that. They should be fairly plentiful. You would need the oil pan and oil filter adapter from your SL engine, maybe a few other bits. You could find yourself in a nice SL for a pretty reasonable amount!
That's great news! Does the transmission bolt up the same?
 

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1988 560SL
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
That's quite a score for 500$. Where are you located? I have a couple 560sl engines. Both under 100k. One out of the car and has been picked at a little bit but is a complete long block. No oil pan but you can use yours. The other comeplete in the car. Both have been sitting awhile but that shouldn't be an issue. Any engine you pick up regardless of from where should get new timing chain,upper sprockets, guides, tensioner and cam oil tube plastics. These are the Achilles heel of the m117/116 engines. Otherwise they are bulletproof(with oil in them)! If you have the engine out and want to go alittle further the lower sproket and guides wouldn't hurt, but most of the time the uppers are replaced and they keep running forever.

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I'm near Houston TX and would be interested in your engines.
 

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'85 300tdt (sold),'64 220b,'63 220Sb ,85 monte carlo ss 406SBC(4 sale),1976 vega wagon(sold)
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251 Posts
I'm near Houston TX and would be interested in your engines.
It would be approx 200 to ship to a frieght Depot or a place with a loading dock or fork truck. Residential with lift gate truck service is considerably more expensive. You can email me at

[email protected]

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'85 300tdt (sold),'64 220b,'63 220Sb ,85 monte carlo ss 406SBC(4 sale),1976 vega wagon(sold)
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251 Posts
That's great news! Does the transmission bolt up the same?
They do. You need all your exhaust and outside parts from your bad engine. Maybe accesory drive as well, they could be in different locations between chassis, I don't have a 560se/SEL here to look at and compare. Not too complicated to swap though. The 560se/sel and especially sec are getting a little harder to come by though. They are the only w126 that are actually worth anything.

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1975 280SLC
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54 Posts
Only my opinion but if it's the original engine I wouldn't junk it or sell it.
Get a spare engine in and enjoy some miles behind the wheel.
Get a manual and strip the seized lump to get a full idea of how serious it is ( or not ).
If it is 'fiixable' you can have matching number status!!! as per the book. Some will pay a premium for that. Those cars stopped 'breeding' a long time ago. 😆
 

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'85 300tdt (sold),'64 220b,'63 220Sb ,85 monte carlo ss 406SBC(4 sale),1976 vega wagon(sold)
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251 Posts
Only my opinion but if it's the original engine I wouldn't junk it or sell it.
Get a spare engine in and enjoy some miles behind the wheel.
Get a manual and strip the seized lump to get a full idea of how serious it is ( or not ).
If it is 'fiixable' you can have matching number status!!! as per the book. Some will pay a premium for that. Those cars stopped 'breeding' a long time ago.
Yes, i wouldn't get rid of the original. Also if you can get or have service records from the previous owner or where it was taken care of that is gold. Literally will double what the car is worth.

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1975 280SLC
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54 Posts
Great idea, think I'll do just that.
I unfortunately didn't follow my own advice a good few years ago. Bought an old E type 3.8 with a really noisy crankshaft and replaced it with a 4.2 unit.
Afew years after selling it I found out it was one of the original what are called now flat floor models. Only 150 made I think.
Don't want to think of what it would be worth now in good condition.:cry:
 

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1975 280SLC
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54 Posts
I unfortunately didn't follow my own advice a good few years ago. Bought an old E type 3.8 with a really noisy crankshaft and replaced it with a 4.2 unit.
Afew years after selling it I found out it was one of the original what are called now flat floor models. Only 150 made I think.
Don't want to think of what it would be worth now in good condition.:cry:
Just checked 357 made.
Now rare as hen's teeth
 

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'85 300tdt (sold),'64 220b,'63 220Sb ,85 monte carlo ss 406SBC(4 sale),1976 vega wagon(sold)
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251 Posts
Just checked 357 made.
Now rare as hen's teeth
They made shitloads of 560sl. The only car is bringing real solid money are gorgeous and usually have lots and lots and lots of paperwork. Anything else nice seven $8,000 Max.

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