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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 380SL is finally due for its first biennial California smog check under my custodianship. I'm nervous, as cars of this era routinely fail this test and require thousands of dollars in repairs, such as new "CA approved" cats, valve jobs, and the like. The PO supposedly smogged the car just before transferring title to me 18 months ago but I have my doubts as to whether her's was a legit test since my car's idle was so erratic before I found (and fixed) the Green Wire problem (a steady idle is required to go through the test).

I've been holding off on several big-ticket maintenance/improvements to my car pending this smog test for fear that my car could potentially be rendered a parts car by a FAIL that couldn't be economically remedied.

Any recommendations to prep for this? I have no test equipment on hand to measure my current emissions. Someone suggested CRC 05063 "Guaranteed To Pass Emissions Test Formula" in the gas tank prior to the test, and reviews on Amazon are promising. Of course, I'll be submitting the car fully warmed up, running on premium gas, with a fresh oil change. Any other smoking chickens I should be waving?
 

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check and maybey change the o2 sensor. On newer models california law mandates change of the o2sensor at 45000 miles. This doesn't apply to your car but if it is not right on the test may make your car fail. Have it checked out before test.
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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I've heard that one needs to "drive the snot" out of it immediately before the test, to insure engine and all exhaust, etc are piping hot. Make sure the shop is not covered up so you can get straight in afterwards...

Never have had to deal with this, and don't intend to ever have too, God willing...
 

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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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Your a sick man JR. Must be why we like you.

Put a can of tecron in it, drive the piss out of it and show up with it all warmed up.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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1,374 Posts
My 380SL is finally due for its first biennial California smog check under my custodianship. I'm nervous, as cars of this era routinely fail this test and require thousands of dollars in repairs, such as new "CA approved" cats, valve jobs, and the like. The PO supposedly smogged the car just before transferring title to me 18 months ago but I have my doubts as to whether her's was a legit test since my car's idle was so erratic before I found (and fixed) the Green Wire problem (a steady idle is required to go through the test).
I'd just move to a new state. You might as well, everyone else is--to Colorado, Texas, Montana, Idaho. Only move to Oregon if you have family up there that will vouch for you. Their governor had anti-Californian bumper stickers printed up.

All that being said, when my dad lived in San Fran, he used to laugh at how his mechanic would "adjust" his car so that it would pass the emissions test. It ran horribly, idled rough, but would pass. Then when he was done, he would drive it back to his mechanic and they would re-adjust it, after which it would run fine again.

Like I said, move. My family, all of them, moved to Oregon and loved/love it there.
 

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1981 380SL
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I wouldn't run premium. Your CR is around 8:1. It'll run better and have fewer emissions with 87 octane.

Somebody else mentioned freshening up the O2 sensor. They're only 20 bucks.

Check your ON-OFF ratio at idle with a dwell meter. Go between pin 3 on the round diagnostic connector and ground. You're looking for 50%. If you're way off, then you need to troubleshoot your lambda system to find out why (I'm actually doing that now).

Finally, check your main system fuel pressure. It's common for Indy's to put in a rebuilt fuel distributor and assume everything is good. But MB expects the fuel pressure to be checked and adjusted when needed. The fuel pressure regulator (a simple spring) lives at the fuel inlet of the fuel distributor. You shim the spring to achieve the correct system pressure. Super easy to do . . . 4 cent metric washers. If the pressure is off, there is no way you'll pass both idle and 2500RPM.

Oh, and check your timing. Specs on the emissions tag under the hood (mine is 5°BTDC at 500RPM vacuum connected). Speaking of vacuum, all vacuum connections tight?

Good luck.
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Discussion Starter #9
My 380SL passed the CA smog test today on the first try! It will soon be for sale if anyone is interested (I'll be posting it in the BW F/S section, probably this weekend).
 

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'71 250, '78 450SLC 5.0, '78 450SL, '81 380SLC 5.6, '89 260E, '15 Kia Sorento
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My 380SL passed the CA smog test today on the first try! It will soon be for sale if anyone is interested (I'll be posting it in the BW F/S section, probably this weekend).
Congrats. Why are you selling the car?
 

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1985 380SL(2) 1973 450SL
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Nathanso Translation:

What he said: Just bought the '75 and the herd now needs to thin.

What he meant to say: The fucking thing passed on the first attempt and I'm selling the POS before the next inspection, and seeing how SL's aren't exactly the hottest selling thing on the market, I'm starting now.


Hee hee.
JK
 
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