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Discussion Starter #1
hi all,
i looked at old 1983 380 SEL. the car looked real nice.. (from a person who knows nothing perspective)

77,000 convert. the guy wanted 17,9

Im looking for an older sporty car to have as a fun car..
I see the 500 SEL's they have 5.0 liter motors where the 380's have 3.8 liters?


That is about the extent of my knowlege....


Any advise on what to look for where what not to look for?

are these things super expensive to service? fairly reliable? hold their values?


Thanks for any info..
SJ


Are these cars
 

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R107 1986 300SL Euro
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64 Posts
Dear John,

Lordy now you've asked for it!!
OK, firstly I assume you are in the US.
If that's the case, I would AVOID a 380SL (i think you mean SL and not SEL otherwise you're in the wrong forum).
The reason I would avoid a 380SL is because they have dual timing chains that absolutely have to be changed every 100,000 miles. To be honest, if a car is over 10 years old I would change them in any case as, according to other unfortunate people on here they can sheer inside the engine and cause about $6000 worth of damage.
YIKES.
$17,500 for a 380SL is expensive. It has to have a full servicing history with a MB garage otherwise I wouldn't recommend getting it unless you know the car.
I would recommend a US 560SL as this seems to be the preferred model which has all the luxuries and will hold it's value.
Or you could simply get whichever car you want and enjoy it.

Best of luck.

James
 

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Discussion Starter #3
RE: new and interested in an SL

thanks James..
yes from the US. and yes it was a 380 SL not SEL.


and would i be afraid to purchase one of these cars a 560 SL with over 80,000-100,000 miles?
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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7,159 Posts
Red300SL - 5/10/2005 6:47 PM

Dear John,

...The reason I would avoid a 380SL is because they have dual timing chains that absolutely have to be changed every 100,000 miles...
James
James,
The 450, and the 560 (and many other benz V8's)also have dual-row timing chains that are recommended to be changed at or around 100k miles... Perhaps you meant to type single-row, which was the case for the 81-83 380SL...

John,
100k miles is not necessarily the best determinant factor for chain replacement. Only a check on the stretch, coupled with complete and accurate maint. records can predict chain condition. The guides are more of a concern! The plastic gets old and brittle with TIME. A broken guide can lodge in he chain at the cam sprocket and break the chain (or cause a jump in time), which can destroy an engine (interference design).
 

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R107 1986 300SL Euro
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OK Ears, I bow to your superior knowledge.
My point would be that whatever country you live in, with gas prices going the way they are, I wouldn't get a Mercedes R107 with a V8 engine.
If John can get his hands on a 280SL or a 300SL (they will be grey market imports into the US from Germany) he will end up with a car which one day will end up probably more desirable because it will be affordable to run and maintain in a way that cars with a V8 most likely won't be.
The engines are just as powerful and let's face it, unless you're going to start racing your Merc at the lights, why do you actually need a V8?

I see from lots of other forums on other sites that lots of people seem to want to get shot of 450SLs because the running costs are begining to bite.
For some reason the 380SL seems to be causing more problems to it's owners than other SLs, the impression I get from people is that it's one to avoid.
That's all, just trying not to steer someone wrong.

Cheers,

James
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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James,
That's cool... There is lots of confusion and, sometimes, mis-information concerning these cars... If people are beginning to want to get rid of a 450, then the market may be getting right to buy.
You are correct to recommend passing on any V8 107 if fuel economy is a primary concern. Not likely any V8, 107 will get better than 22 mpg, and older 450's not that good!

John,
I would not be afraid of a 560 with high mileage IF maintenance records were present and accurate (and up-to-date). James does offer an intresting suggestion that you look for a 280... grey market, but can be found. Nice engine, but still not real fuel efficient from all reports. State of tune is very important, so check throughly... The hunt is a big part of the fun!
 

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'82 380SL+'02 ML320
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As a 380 owner with a single chain (replaced it, guides and sprockets when I bought it at 70k), the engine is the least of my worries.

First off, 17,900 is WAY out of line, high. Second, I am not convinced there is a bottom of the 107 market re: pricing. Third, maintenance on a rag 107 will crush you. I have been extremely fortunate, but my number is now about to come up (smog pump, muffler, water pump, air compressor all waiting their turn).

If you work hard, for 18,000 you can get a nice 129. Work harder and you can get a 90's e-class convertible. I think that could be a great option.

Good hunting.
 
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