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1998 Jag van den Plas, purple!
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Discussion Starter #1
So...

I am a former Audi driver, now driving a Jaguar. My neighbor has a 1991 MB 500 SL for sale. Gold with brown top.

110k miles, cosmetically excellent. New original top 18 months ago, he claims it runs well, has new tires, wheels and a new battery. He was asking $8500 but would take $6000. (He has 7 vehicles and 2 parking spaces, is getting older and is just trying to unload...)

What do I need to ask the mechanic? Is the timing belt/chain/tensioner a required 100,000 job like it is on other cars? Any serious recall info I should know? Is this going to be a bargain joydrive? Or a maintenance nightmare?

Any thought are appreciated. I know little about cars and nothing about Mercedes. I am thinking this might be a great weekend alternative to the vbig ol' Jag on the weekends!

Thanks in advance... :bowdown:

Julie

ps Can anyone recommend a mechanic for the once-over? I am in the West Los Angeles/South Bay area.
 

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1990 500SL, 1990 V12 XJ-S, 1996 DB7 I6,
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My 1990 500SL has just completed 100,000 miles. The timing chain was dangerously worn. I found this when I replaced a head gasket. I would suggest a very careful pre-purchase test. Heads gaskets, timing chain project has cost US$4,000 so far ... I underestimated parts costs big time. I still have the leaking hydraulic suspension to fix ...
 

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Sith Lord
72 280SE 88 560SEC 92 E500 6.0 95 SL320 14 GLK350
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11,813 Posts
300SL did not have the hydraulic suspensions.

As for Julie, you may want to check for oil leaks where the softop meets the front frame.
The softop is hydraulic, not electric as opposed to other brands.

Mercedes-Benz are pretty much rock-solid and more reliable than anything else out there.

Cheers,
 

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2007 CLS 550, 1998 Harley Road King, 2011 F-150 EcoBoost, '65 Shelby Cobra
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978 Posts
My '92 has 190K on the clock and is going strong. It has timing chain, not belt. You do need to change the tensioners however.
 

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1991 500SL V8 NEOKEN modified T/B. 2000 F350 4x4 V10. 1995 SL500
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201 Posts
Does the 91 have a hydraulic locking mech where it meets the windshield frame. You best check to make sure the top operates properly. I have had a handful of issue's with mine but It's worth 6 grand even if it's not perfect
 

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Sold1990 500sl - 1992 300sl 1999 sl 500
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1,545 Posts
So...

I am a former Audi driver, now driving a Jaguar. My neighbor has a 1991 MB 500 SL for sale. Gold with brown top.

110k miles, cosmetically excellent. New original top 18 months ago, he claims it runs well, has new tires, wheels and a new battery. He was asking $8500 but would take $6000. (He has 7 vehicles and 2 parking spaces, is getting older and is just trying to unload...)

What do I need to ask the mechanic? Is the timing belt/chain/tensioner a required 100,000 job like it is on other cars? Any serious recall info I should know? Is this going to be a bargain joydrive? Or a maintenance nightmare?

Any thought are appreciated. I know little about cars and nothing about Mercedes. I am thinking this might be a great weekend alternative to the vbig ol' Jag on the weekends!

Thanks in advance... :bowdown:

Julie

ps Can anyone recommend a mechanic for the once-over? I am in the West Los Angeles/South Bay area.
Sounds good has it got the hardtop as well, I think you will enjoy it,my 90 has 135000 miles and few probs with it I would go for it :thumbsup:
 

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1998 Jag van den Plas, purple!
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Discussion Starter #8
Like a hole in my head...

Ok, I am so leaning toward this car! :bowdown:

It feels a bit crazy, I'm a middle aged woman, I live along, but the car is a beauty. I justify it by thinking I could disperse the miles I drive (many) by having the 2nd car...

I just found out that the timing issue was handled at 90k miles. So... I hear ya' about the hydraulic top, I'll look closely to see if there is any seepage, but I will also take it for a pre-purchase inspection.

For 6k, I just can't see why not to buy the car! I live in the Marina, could toodle around in this on the weekend. I also spend time in Palm Springs, (golf!), and I have a spare parking place...

Any other thoughts????

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the help!

Jools :p
 

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Departed 1998 SL500 (and the Pano is in Bogota)
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At $6K you can't go wrong by very much. Leaky top hydraulic can be fixed (I think Klaus can replace them all for ~$1K ?) But if you take it to the Dealer, then it is $1K per cylinder.
 

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1992 MB 500SL
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223 Posts
1991 SL Opinions needed

Hi,

Yes, the timing chain (actually, not the chain, but the chain guides ($10 each) have to be changed at 90,000 miles) and the hydraulic cylinders most likely have to be changed (Dennis Ficken charges $40 per cylinder last time I checked- [email protected]).

Other things you can do: changed the vacuum lines on the engine (pretty cheap) and also do a transmission oil change as well.

Other than that, just check the usual maintenance items that are supposed to be done at that mileage.

Good luck!

Peter C. Sessler
 

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1997 SL500, 1948 Rover 75 P3, 1984 Citroen 2CV, 1953 BSA Bantam D1, 1966 Velosolex Moped
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For 6k, I just can't see why not to buy the car! I live in the Marina, could toodle around in this on the weekend. I also spend time in Palm Springs, (golf!), and I have a spare parking place...
Any other thoughts????
Jools :p
Are you married? Sounds just like my sort of lifestyle! Sorry Jools, I had to ask although MY wife might object. As a 'toodle around looking cool' sort of car, a SL is unsurpassed. If you are not going to drive it hard, or put lots of mileage on it, it should be relatively inexpensive fun. They can be expensive to fix so get a thorough inspection done, and find a local 'indy' (independent garage with MB expertise) who you can trust. And most important of all, if you buy it post a photo of youself 'toodling around' :thumbsup:.
Good Luck and Happy Christmas
Steve
 

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1999 SL500, 2004 CLK500, 2006 Cadillac SRX
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Are you married? Sounds just like my sort of lifestyle! Sorry Jools, I had to ask although MY wife might object. As a 'toodle around looking cool' sort of car, a SL is unsurpassed. If you are not going to drive it hard, or put lots of mileage on it, it should be relatively inexpensive fun. They can be expensive to fix so get a thorough inspection done, and find a local 'indy' (independent garage with MB expertise) who you can trust. And most important of all, if you buy it post a photo of youself 'toodling around' :thumbsup:.
Good Luck and Happy Christmas
Steve
It wasn't until I first bought my wife a CLK that she backed off on me buying a 'toodle aroung looking cool' sort of car. She loves her Benz so much that it is Loverboy1 and I have become Loverboy2 (which is okay as long as there isn't a Loverboy3 or 3+):D
 

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'03 SL Kleemann, 1997 SL320 Pano Top, Tesla Model X
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the hydraulic cylinders most likely have to be changed (Dennis Ficken charges $40 per cylinder last time I checked
Peter, the latest info I have would be that Dennis currently charges $50/each, or $600 for the full set on this car. He started out at $30/ea. Correct me if I'm wrong. Top Hydraulics charges $550 for the set. Dennis' workmanship is very good, but I'm certain that Top Hydraulics' seals are far superior. We have seen plenty of Dennis' seals in the cylinders that we are rebuilding, so I think this statement is qualified. They are better than the original seals from MB, but they are still standard molded Polyurethane.

I'll create a separate post soon about Matt, the traveling mechanic who replaces hydraulic cylinders at your home - we have had nothing but raving reviews about his work, and he currently charges $500 labor for the complete set, plus actual travel expenses... :)
 

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1991 500SL
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86 Posts
Buy it!

I have had my 1991 SL for 16 years (216K miles) and they are great cars. Since the timing chain has been done (have you seen receipts for about $4k?) all that you will experience is the typiucal aging of seals like hydraulic top cylinders, P/S pump seals, etc.. A good independent mechanic can rebuild all of those things pretty reasonably.

I am in the process of getting a new top and leather interior done over the next year to enjoy top down driving. For 6K...what else would you rather be "tooling around in"?
 

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1995 sl 500
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Prices of these cars are coming down

I just got mine for $4500 and it is straight. I need brakes and belts to pass MD inspection. At 147k it runs very smooth. I am curios to what to look for on the timing chain. The car doesnt leak and it is whisper quiet and this is why I bought it. The interior was very clean also which led me to believe it was not abused. Hope you enjoy the 91. I had a 92 an it was very good and I never had a mechanical issue except for the injector seals. this made the car hiccup off a red light stop. 20 dollars in seals later it ran like new again.
 

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'93 SL500 (sold), '88 GMC Sierra 360,000 miles, '86 Yamaha FJ1200 (criminally fast)
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It sounds like a good deal...... As he is your next-door neighbor, I will assume he will be truthful about the condition. Ask him who serviced the SL? That person will have knowledge on the mechanical service history.

I ( and a couple members) could suggest a couple good indy mechanics just south of you in Orange County.
 

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1998 Jag van den Plas, purple!
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Discussion Starter #19
So I took it for a quick spin!

Saw it yesterday in the light after a wash and took it for a spin. Wow, what a growler under the hood! It is a very sexy car to drive! The gas pedal requires a bit of heft and I was afraid I'd take off and gulp a gallon or 2 of fuel!

The drive was brief, really I wanted to look under the hood and listen to the engine. It sounds smooth and looks pretty clean. The interior is another matter, somewhat. Generally it's clean, but he was a smoker and the car needs a really good detail;. It's a darn good thing he didn't drive it much!

He doesn't have records. He bought it at 93k, approx 10 years ago, and it now has 119k. He encouraged me to have it inspected so I'll do that

Would love those references in OC or in LA if possible.:surrender:

I have good reviews about Stepke in Culver City/WLA, and Rudi Mueller there worked at Simonson for 3-+ years. He drives the same car and affirmed what you all have said about this year/model.

So after the 1st of the year, that's the idea. Next step pre-purchase inspection...

Julie :cool:
 

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'93 SL500 (sold), '88 GMC Sierra 360,000 miles, '86 Yamaha FJ1200 (criminally fast)
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770 Posts
Julie.....

It seems like the mechanic in Culver City, since he owns the same car as you, is your best bet for your new car. He will know the symptoms & issues.

If your dashboard has no 'service' lights, lit up, you will be good!!

One MB mechanic I know is in south Orange County ( San Juan Capistrano )- Stephan ( born in Germany)..... he has the 'real' diagnostic computer to attach to your engine computer system, if needed.

Feel free to PM me if you think you should have him take a system test.
 
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