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Every since I was a wee one, I have yearned for a MB SL, now I think it's time to scratch that itch. I started off shopping on autotrader and quickly realized that, in this case, ignorance is not bliss. I found an interesting link:

http://fly.hiwaay.net/~gbf/107/rt.html

It has helped clarify matters and suggests that I want a '72 or '73 350 sl and that I should stay away from the later 380's due to low power. It also suggests being wary of the later 450's due to the timing chain.

Now it's time to seek expert opinions from those who actually have the animals. Would you folks be so kind as to lend some advice.

Thanks much
Litton
'90 420 SEL
 

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350SLC, 500SLC, 300TE, 190E2.3 Sportline
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107 purchase advice

I have owned my 1973 350SLC for nearly 20 years now and despite neglect by previous owner(s) and high mileage (which allowed for affordable price for me at the time) it has been and continues to be reliable. Experience here in Australia suggests that the early iron block (350 & 450) engines stand the test of time better than the all alloy (380, 420, 500, 560) engines do. There is also a feeling here that the 3.5 litre (350) tend to outlast the 4.5 (450) although remember in your market all were 4.5 irrespective of badging. The pre late 1976 models here (D-Jetronic and very early K-Jetronic) also lacked emission controls which meant better performance, fuel economy, reliability and ease of maintenance and servicing although again in your market all models carried more emission controls than those sold in Oz. Exhaust catalysts did not appear here until 1986. Over the long term though, engine life will be more dependent upon maintenance issue such as oil change, filter replacement and coolant replacement intervals rather than which version it is.

On the other hand some buyers prefer the later models so as to get a younger car with more features such as climate control and cruise control (both expensive to repair if they fail) and nice touches like the wood console.

Over and above all this though, I would buy on condition. Especially body condition and lack of rust and problems like water leaks. Unfortunately, 107s are prone to water leaks and ultimately rust. These problems can end up costing more to rectify properly than most mechanical problems. The only really expensive mechanical problem would be the need to rebuild the bottom end of the engine or replace it entirely. Fortunately, like most MB engines, the bottom end of these are long lived apart from accidental damage through loss of oil through a holed sump or piston damage through timing chain failure.

Find a good one and you should enjoy years of relatively trouble free motoring.
 
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