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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased an 85 gray market 280sl in great condition, lovingly kept in a temp controlled garage.

I've had 6 cylinder cars before so I expected the pickup going on the highway, etc., to be more powerful. This almost feels like a diesel in that it takes a while to get going. Is that normal for this vehicle/age?

I used to drive my boss's 80s 450sl 8cylinder and that thing shot on the highway like a f-ing cannonball. I don't need that much power but I thought there would be more zoom to this.
 

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450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500se+500slAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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Sounds like it’s not running right because while the 280sl doesn’t have the torque of a 4.5, it should pull hard above 4000 rpms. Take it up to that 6500 redline when you can... as long as it running right.
 

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1984 280sl 5spd, 02 E320 4matic, 79&79 450sl part-out, 78,79,81,83 300CD, 79 280CE
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If the car has been sitting for anytime at all. Two bottles of HEAT, 2 bottles quality fuel injection cleaner, and a full tank of non-ethanol premium gas. Also check throttle linkage for full throttle thru the peddle. The M110 has a fork type linkage in the engine bay that has plastic connectors that the linkage forks fit into (can not find my pics) If the pieces are missing you will only get about 75% throttle. Last new wires, plugs, and distributor cap. My 280SL will keep up with my ROW 450slc up to about 60 MPH, then the 450 will walk away from the 280.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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I purchased an 85 gray market 280sl in great condition, lovingly kept in a temp controlled garage.

I've had 6 cylinder cars before so I expected the pickup going on the highway, etc., to be more powerful. This almost feels like a diesel in that it takes a while to get going. Is that normal for this vehicle/age?
Automatic..I'm guessing?

Post some pics of it...and maybe a couple of the engine bay.. Who knows what garbage was installed to "federalize" it.
 

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1985 280SL
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While her 280SL won't hang with my 560SL for all-out acceleration, I've never once felt like that inline 6 was underpowered at all. The power band really starts coming on at around 3K and pulls HARD to as high as I care to rev it. Handling is pronounced as well, hers is a lot more nimble with the lighter front end.
 

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I purchased an 85 gray market 280sl in great condition, lovingly kept in a temp controlled garage.

I've had 6 cylinder cars before so I expected the pickup going on the highway, etc., to be more powerful. This almost feels like a diesel in that it takes a while to get going. Is that normal for this vehicle/age?

I used to drive my boss's 80s 450sl 8cylinder and that thing shot on the highway like a f-ing cannonball. I don't need that much power but I thought there would be more zoom to this.
make sure when the gas pedal is at floor , that it is open all away at linkages at engine .also check ignition timing , vacuum advance for proper function .that is the first thing to do .this car will run on premium gas only , even at time our octane level is not quite enough .it is possible that it was running on regular with retarded timing .also if this thing has a catalyst , is it ok [ not restricted ] .this car if modified for us specs , it had a frequency valve , it buzz when ever the engine is running , if for some reason it does not , that make the engine run super lean .
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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30,409 Posts

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
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30,409 Posts
I've never once felt like that inline 6 was underpowered at all. The power band really starts coming on at around 3K and pulls HARD to as high as I care to rev it.
Ha! Exactly. Even more fun with a stick. 3rd gear is the go to acceleration gear. I've been too chicken to redline it, though. Had it up to 5800 ish a couple of times.
 

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1986 560SL
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According to “The SL Experience” a 280SL has a 0-60 speed of 9.2 seconds and a top end of 127 MPH compared to a 560SL 8 seconds and 137 MPH. A Euro 500SL is top banana at 7.4 seconds and 140MPH.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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30,409 Posts
280SL has a 0-60 speed of 9.2 seconds and a top end of 127 MPH
I'd run out of gas before hitting 127 mph. :) And I'd have to pack a lunch.
 

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2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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786 Posts
Do you have information on when your car was imported and what was done to qualify it for U.S. requirments? Did the car go through an emissons modification at the time of import? Some did and some were able to get a one-time/ per person 1 car - 25 year old exemption and some did not. Those that went through the emissions modifcation do not run well. a number of detrimental modifications were made to the fuel and ignition system and these were not consistant. The 110 motor produces great horsepower at higher rpm when in its original European configuration.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If the car has been sitting for anytime at all. Two bottles of HEAT, 2 bottles quality fuel injection cleaner, and a full tank of non-ethanol premium gas. Also check throttle linkage for full throttle thru the peddle. The M110 has a fork type linkage in the engine bay that has plastic connectors that the linkage forks fit into (can not find my pics) If the pieces are missing you will only get about 75% throttle. Last new wires, plugs, and distributor cap. My 280SL will keep up with my ROW 450slc up to about 60 MPH, then the 450 will walk away from the 280.
Pardon my ignorance - what is HEAT? I tried google and got the obvious, non-related results. The car was sitting for a while, driven maybe 5 miles a month. I did put in one bottle of fuel injection cleaner - I'll add another - and the 93 octane gas. I'll try the other things too!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Do you have information on when your car was imported and what was done to qualify it for U.S. requirments? Did the car go through an emissons modification at the time of import? Some did and some were able to get a one-time/ per person 1 car - 25 year old exemption and some did not. Those that went through the emissions modifcation do not run well. a number of detrimental modifications were made to the fuel and ignition system and these were not consistant. The 110 motor produces great horsepower at higher rpm when in its original European configuration.
I don't know, Rick. I'm trying to get the info and the original paperwork now. Hopefully i'm not in a situation where the car was given the OK 35 years ago in Il and get a rejection here in California, which is more stringent.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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30,409 Posts

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
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30,409 Posts
Automatic..I'm guessing?

Post some pics of it...and maybe a couple of the engine bay.. Who knows what garbage was installed to "federalize" it.
Think you can oblige? 4 or 5 picks of the engine bay might reveal some clues
 

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2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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786 Posts
Registering in California can be real pain. This is the land of evil smog police and they do not like grey market cars.
This would be a function where I would support the "defund the police" movement.
 

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1984 280sl 5spd, 02 E320 4matic, 79&79 450sl part-out, 78,79,81,83 300CD, 79 280CE
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Pardon my ignorance - what is HEAT? I tried google and got the obvious, non-related results. The car was sitting for a while, driven maybe 5 miles a month. I did put in one bottle of fuel injection cleaner - I'll add another - and the 93 octane gas. I'll try the other things too!
Try HEET, it is a water remover from fuel, use a lot of it up here in the winter
 

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Huh? 220,000 miles later on regular. I must be doing something wrong.
if you read the MB requirement , the gray market cars due to higher compression ratio , and hotter cams should use premium .you can put anything you want , but that does not mean it s right .
 

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1984 280sl 5spd, 02 E320 4matic, 79&79 450sl part-out, 78,79,81,83 300CD, 79 280CE
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if you read the MB requirement , the gray market cars due to higher compression ratio , and hotter cams should use premium .you can put anything you want , but that does not mean it s right .
The only time my 280SL gets premium/non-ethenol is the last fill up before it is parked for the winter. Also run the ROW 450SLC on regular.
 
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