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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was going to wait until I had some pictures of it, but I guess not...too many questions I need to ask....

My wife and I just bought an '85 380SL ...picture 904 dunkelblau over grey.
We bought it from the original owner, the widow of a Swiss ambassador. They bought it new at Park Place Mercedes in Palo Alto , and brought it here in 2003.
The car has 145K miles on it and is in pretty good shape for what we paid for it. I thought the paint was original- after a lot of poking around, I guess not, but it's that good. Needs seats, though.

Anyway, I am a stranger to the R107, but not Mercedes of this vintage in general, as I have been seriously wrenching on 3 W123 and 1 W116 diesels for 8 years (and other cars including VW, Triumphs, and Citroen for another dozen). I strongly prefer to do everything possible myself, whenever possible. Last thing I just touched was rebuilding the alternator on my '91 Jetta Diesel (needed bearings), and before that, I rebuilt the injection pump. I have a 722.315 transmission sitting on my bench that I rebuilt myself (was going into wife's 300D turbo- but now more likely the 380SL when needed).

My wife was getting tired of her '83 300D, and really wanted a new car, but had nothing specific in mind. We made the circuit of the usual Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, but nothing really impressed her (until we got way into the 25K range). Frankly, I am really not thrilled with the turn new cars have taken in the last few years (too much electronics) - I am not one to change cars like underwear or visit the "friendly" dealer for a cup of coffee, obfuscation and ritual bleeding. So I suggested that for around 10K we could get her a really nice R107 and I could wrench on it.

So we started looking... Of course we had different goals. She wanted one pretty and ready to go and an automatic. She didn't care about engines, euro bumpers/lights or any of that. Me, on the other hand...well, I have an M110 flywheel and gearbox in my garage but no engine, if you catch my drift.
Given that it had to be an automatic, I was hoping to find a 280SL that I could convert if she ever tired of it. But, this was going to be her car, so I had to butt out this time. I wanted to stay away from D-jet cars and also not too familiar with KE-jet.

We started looking 2 months ago, in the local central Florida area. Each outing was an ordeal as we had to drag dear daughter (age 10) around and shifting them both was painful. We came close to buying a Green/green euro 500SL, but had rust suspicions (saw one big bubble).

We finally ran across this one and it seemed reasonably sound and "pretty enough", so my wife pulled the trigger and did the deal for less than half the budget.

We drove it back home and I put it over my friend's grease pit and checked it over. It needs flex discs badly ( have some German ones coming and will install this weekend perhaps) and the timing chain will need replacing NOW (notation on her last bill by mechanic was to change it). I also fixed a large very odd surface area-only rust spot above the front passenger side jacking hole (didn't come down from the fender- weird) and a little in the convertible boot cover seal- that's it for rust. This car has had the front subframe upgraded and seems like the front end was rebushed (yay!) and has new steering gear. Will need new brake hoses, shocks (gonna be Bilsteins) and rear subframe and diff mount rubber as soon as I can get to it.

Anyway- it's not really the car I want (would have liked a 280SL or an iron-block late 450SL), but it seemed to make her happy and I can deal with it, I think.

I have been doing a lot of reading here, and I am impressed by the member's capabilities and accomplishments. I hope to add to the knowledge base (as I think I have done over at the diesel forum on Peachparts) as I get up to speed.

I have some questions- I have looked for answers, but haven't found exactly what I need.

This car needs tires, badly. It has 10 year old cracking Michelins on it now on crappy chrome 14" bundts. I like painted bundts and have a pile of them already, but I want to invest in 15" wheels since 14" tires seem to be on the way out. We also have ground clearance issues- living on an unpaved road :eek: That crossover pipe looks like a great target....
I want to get a set of the 560SL- style wheels (what do you call them anyway?) and understand that the car needs ET25 offsets, right? I am no stranger to the local junkyards (wish I could get an annual membership).
Am I correct in thinking that the W126 560SEL, 420SEL, 500SEL had the same wheels?

Another question- there is a grommet in the center of the aircleaner that must be the mixture adjustment for the CIS fuel distributor. Is that supposed to be open or is there supposed to be a plug in it? When I opened the aircleaner I saw a bit of dirt in the intake hole and that was the only place I could think it might be coming from.

Well, I am droning on and on. I am going to leave it there for now and hope you gurus can provide some guidance. I am sure I will need some help soon on the timing chain when I get to that. If you have gotten this far, thanks for your patience...

Rick
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,329 Posts
Fraternity? As in Animal House? Anyway welcome to 107 land. Sounds like you could teach us a thing or two. No plug in the grommet that I know of. ET 25 is correct for the wheels.
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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7,166 Posts
I have some questions- I have looked for answers, but haven't found exactly what I need.

This car needs tires, badly...
Welcome. You will find no shortage of opinions here, and usually, some good sound advice. Anyway, its worth what you pay for it :). We will look forward to pictures...
As to tires, I favor Michelin and Toyo, and have Toyo presently.

I want to get a set of the 560SL- style wheels (what do you call them anyway?) and understand that the car needs ET25 offsets, right? I am no stranger to the local junkyards (wish I could get an annual membership).
Am I correct in thinking that the W126 560SEL, 420SEL, 500SEL had the same wheels?
Not sure about the other models referenced. The 560 wheels are often referred to as "15 Holers", or "Flat-Face"... They are ET25, 7Jx15H2.

Another question- there is a grommet in the center of the aircleaner that must be the mixture adjustment for the CIS fuel distributor. Is that supposed to be open or is there supposed to be a plug in it? When I opened the aircleaner I saw a bit of dirt in the intake hole and that was the only place I could think it might be coming from.
Rick
Just for kicks and giggles, I put a plug in mine. I found a red one from an old Kerosene fuel can, that fit perfectly... It is the grommet thru which you would adjust the mixture on the CIS. I do not know if a plug was originally installed or not, but it can't hurt if you add one... Seems appropriate to me.

Once again, Welcome to the asylum...
 

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Registered
'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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1,553 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
If any of you were concerned about the lack of a plug in your air cleaners- the EPC doesn't seem to show one. Seems to me that the design might allow for some dirty air to pass through though. I am going to look at the car again.
The VW K-jet on my '81 Cabriolet ( a fuel system disaster, BTW- at least I have the tester) has a plug through the adjuster.

The EPC also shows that the 420SEL, 560SEL and 500SEL had the same part number wheels as the 560SL. The likelihood of finding SLs in the boneyards around here is virtually nil. I have seen 3 in 20 years ( and I bought seats out of one of them on spec a few years ago- would have been the wrong color).

My question on wheels is more like this- I know the front suspension changed pretty radically on the 560SL from the 380SL. So, is the 560SL wheel (A1264003402 or 3002) an ET25 wheel and plays well on the 380SL?
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,329 Posts
It appears that the 3402 was superseded by the 3002. The 560 wheel will be fine on the 380. The change was to accommodate the dual piston calipers on the 560. Early wheels won't fit the 560.
 

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1979 280SL, 1984 280SL
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5,654 Posts
You don't even need a 107 to hang around here, just an interest and thick skin!

IMHO, the 560 wheels look right on the 107; Bundts are so W123.

Nothing wrong with an '85 380 vs a late 450. You'd likely never see any tangible benefit from the iron block. The 380 is quite a bit lighter, has better fuel economy and about the same horsepower. The '85 even has a double row TC (get it changed, as it is an interference engine). Also, if I remember correctly, the last 450's had that damned Chrysler climate control that can be a never-ending headache.
 

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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
If we keep this car long enough, I can see a need to pull the heads off and rework them. THEN the iron block will be nice to work with. OTOH, I can probably find a decent 380 engine in the boneyard. I can't tell you how many I have seen over the ages (pre-cash for clunkers). There have been plenty of M110s sent to China, too-. Had I known, I would have grabbed one of those...I have a 722.112 transmission that went behind one that I used the TC from for my W116 300SD)

Yeah, I know all about the Chrysler servo, but I have a spare rebuilt one stashed away (was going to spare my W116 300SD with that , too)
 

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1987 560SL
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249 Posts
rs899 ; Welcome to the funny farm. I've been lucky so far found 2sl's at ace pick a part on north main in Jax over the past year and a half. One up there now lot of water damage inside. Check there website.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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Being a diesel guy, you may be able to source 15" bundts, if you like them. They were installed on (IIRC) early 300SD models, and have the correct offset for the 107. I've been lusting after a set since I saw some on a 300SD at a GTG, but the guy was bigger than me and looked like he could probably kick my ass if I knocked him down and tried to steal his wheels.
 

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82 380SL 96 SL500 03 SL500
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As for the clearance issues, the wheels won't really matter. All the wheels mentioned will have the same tire diameter. Just make sure the wife takes it easy over the bumps.:D

BTW, Welcome to the forum.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1979 280sl 4 sp w/ac 1957 MGA 1998 volvo xc/70 2004 F150
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6,050 Posts
Welcome, I have 2 280sl's and sometimes go up to 123 land as there ae more M110's up there ( they haven't thrown me out yet ), but this place is more fun.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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29,498 Posts
Alright!

A newbie that wrenches.

A breath of fresh air.


Welcome to the forum.
 

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
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973 Posts
Another question- there is a grommet in the center of the aircleaner that must be the mixture adjustment for the CIS fuel distributor. Is that supposed to be open or is there supposed to be a plug in it? When I opened the aircleaner I saw a bit of dirt in the intake hole and that was the only place I could think it might be coming from.
On my '87, the air cleaner plug is part number 1029970086. It's not essential--in theory. You see, just beneath it is a doughnut-shaped seal (part number 0010949580) that snaps into the air cleaner lid. The setup allows a screwdriver to pass through the air cleaner to the adjusting screw beneath the air cleaner.

If that seal is young and springy, kein problem. But if it's old, stiff, and receded, then there's a good likelihood that air--and dirt--will enter the air cleaner from below. And if the plug is missing, from above as well. And both air streams will be bypassing the air filter element.

I replaced both the plug and the seal recently. Belt and suspenders.

Good road,
 

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Premium Member
'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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10,331 Posts
My wife was getting tired of her '83 300D, and really wanted a new car, but had nothing specific in mind.
Welcome - I have two and I think there may be others here too that also have diesels. Those 123s and 126s were MB at it's best.

Had same "problem" with my wife - she complained about the 300D not having A/C. So mistakenly, I read her an ad about a 2006 MB diesel with just 43k km for $7900! She thought that was a 'good' deal! Anyway, the car is a Smart CDI (not sold in USA) and she just loves it. So do I, but I don't get to drive it! Neat little CDI engine tucked under rear (70mpg on highway!)
 

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1981 300SD, 1976 300D
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918 Posts
You are in good company. I too like a late 380SL for the wife to drive daily and a nice OM617 machine for my own ride. A little more DIY spirit around here is always nice. BTW, I don't think you're missing anything having a 380 over a 450. They perform about the same and the 380,unless it was an '81, doesn't have the climate servo...
 

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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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1,553 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
OK- I see that plug on the 560SL EPC. That must have been one of those "improvements" you 560 guys are talking about:D. The 380SL EPC doesn't show it on the first page of "air cleaner" and doesn't list it, but then when you go to the second page - there it is. But then when you click on it it says "not applicable". I am going to put something in there, to replace my duct tape. I'm not much of a purist when it comes to things like this (unless I can find it at a junkyard).

Yeah, I am trying to make this acquisition as painless as possible. I now have a "third world" fleet of 12 cars:eek: and I am not looking forward to emptying my wallet on this one (although my wife may have other plans). I thought the late 380SL might be the most practical choice, given the fuel economy, the battering ram bumpers (which my wife doesn't mind, but I do), the 722.3xx transmission I have for it and the better availability of used parts for the M116.

On the topic of bumpers, are the '85s still the 5mph impact bumpers with the shocks as on the earlier cars, or did they weaken them when standards were relaxed in the early 80s?

I like the Smart, and I could see having one in Cdi, but my wife wouldn't stand for it. She cringed at the "bumpers" they had on the Toyotas , Nissans, etc. She thought she was "too close" to the front end, relative to her 300D. Enter, the 380SL....


Rick
 
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