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Hey all... been over a decade since I posted here, new account and new car. Wanted to run this by the epxerts. Since this is definitely pertinent, let me get this out of the way... I can buy this car today for $10k

86' 560SL with 124k miles on it. It's in really really good shape. No damage, paint is still good (could use a polish), chrome is good, mechanically it drives flawlessly. I've been driving it for almost two months, probably put 500 miles on it give or take. It wasn't to demo it, I just ended up storing it for someone at my place and he said 'drive it like you stole it'. Cloth top is in good shape, as is the hardtop.

Only thing on the car that doesn't work is the AC, it needs recharging and I can't find anyone in Tampa that will/can do it... which leads me to my questions.

1) The blower works, but it is SUPER low pressure. The heating element works, but even then, you can barely feel it. Is that something that can be fixed/upgraded (the blower) assuming I recharged the system with R12?

2) Is there anything on these cars that are prone to needing replacing? Current owner replaced the power steering pump, all the seals around the windows/top. Not sure if I need to have anything else looked at

3) The radio. If I bought this I would 100% put a much better aftermarket radio in the car and upgrade the speakers. I have no clue how many total speaker mounts there are (two work), but I'm curious if anyone has upgraded their audio to something that sounds really good and if so, did you insulate the trunk and install any type of low freuquency subs in it for some added 'umph'.

4) Is $10k a good deal for this car and assuming it runs and hasn't been in an accident (it hasn't - he's owned it since the 90s), would you jump on this?

Thanks all.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,153 Posts
If not done recently it is overdue for timing chain system service. Do you DIY? If not this is kind of expensive to pay a shop to do it. As for the A/C there is no upgrade that I know of just repair. You can switch over to Enviro Safe instead of R 12.
I wouldn't "jump" on it. It's an average price.
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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If it is a nice 560SL, $10K is a fair price in my neck of the woods, not a steal.
I paid $5,200 for my 560SL in May 2013 - new paint, top, interior, tires, no hard top.
It had over 180K miles but drove nicely and had great potential to be the nice 560SL she is now.
The reason I got her so cheap was because it was a restoration project a guy was
doing for his wife and just gave up before "going the last mile". Like Amazon knows, that last mile is an expensive part but well within most DIYers with minimal to moderate skills.
With my car it was a lot of niggly items like broken trunk lock,
no Master key, Radio not working, hood latch, hood stop, AC, one headlight, etc.
Being very well done color change to Signal Red while looking nice still hurts its value.
Now she don't look the miles or age and most everything now works.
But, I would say less than 95% of these SLs are well sorted to the state where "everything works".

Regarding AC, you might have an issue with the blower motor. Easy enough to remove - under the bonnet, under a cover on top of firewall.

My AC was not working but I fixed it with the advice of folks on this forum.
I charged mine with Enviro Safe freon - an R12 equivalent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If it is a nice 560SL, $10K is a fair price in my neck of the woods, not a steal.
I paid $5,200 for my 560SL in May 2013 - new paint, top, interior, tires, no hard top.
It had over 180K miles but drove nicely and had great potential to be the nice 560SL she is now.
The reason I got her so cheap was because it was a restoration project a guy was
doing for his wife and just gave up before "going the last mile". Like Amazon knows, that last mile is an expensive part but well within most DIYers with minimal to moderate skills.
With my car it was a lot of niggly items like broken trunk lock,
no Master key, Radio not working, hood latch, hood stop, AC, one headlight, etc.
Being very well done color change to Signal Red while looking nice still hurts its value.
Now she don't look the miles or age and most everything now works.
But, I would say less than 95% of these SLs are well sorted to the state where "everything works".

Regarding AC, you might have an issue with the blower motor. Easy enough to remove - under the bonnet, under a cover on top of firewall.

My AC was not working but I fixed it with the advice of folks on this forum.
I charged mine with Enviro Safe freon - an R12 equivalent.
Thanks for all the feedback. I’ll definitely take it into my decision making.

The envirosafe Freon that I’ve found says r134 ‘replacement’... is that the same thing or do I need to find r12
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,784 Posts
Thanks for all the feedback. I’ll definitely take it into my decision making.

The envirosafe Freon that I’ve found says r134 ‘replacement’... is that the same thing or do I need to find r12
Yes, that is what I used in both my 560SL and 380SL.
Its compatible with both R12 and R134A.
If your AC is 100% original, you need to screw in R134A adapters on the Hi and Lo ports - Amazon, Auto Zone, etc. If you have gray or black plastic caps, you probably need the R134 adapters. If you see Blue and Red caps, you probably already have the adapters installed.

I purchased my AC manifold gauges and Vacuum Pump from Harbor Freight.

Below shows the Enviro Safe and Hi Lo ports for the AC to charge with Freon.
2617048
2617049
 

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1973 450 SL
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+1 on Envirosafe. Speakers before radio, both are well covered here:

107 Audio Thread

I like your friend's sales tactic - he has you interested in these cars. Price seems a tad high to me for stated mileage but I am not in the market. These cars are money pits unless you are willing to do some work yourself. Ironically, when you take the DIY leap, you end up more hooked on these fine machines.
 

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1986 560SL
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I bought my 86 560SL with 100K for under $10K. Mine was in very nice shape with original paint. I also had some minor issues (including heater/AC) which ended up being easy to fix (bad fuse for blower and Enviro-Safe for AC). I think $10K would not be a smoking deal. You may want to counter in the $7-8K range.
 

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1988 560SL
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Even though it's someone you know, I would still recommend a PPI from a good indy shop who works on the older MBs. I would also definitely ask if you can review all the service records the seller has, and go over those carefully to see what has (and hasn't) been done. You mention that he current owner has owned the car since the 90's, but only indicate him replacing PS pump and seals around windows. If the car drives as good as you say, there has probably been a lot more replaced over this period than that (seals, bushings, hoses, ignition wires etc). You have a very unique opportunity to be able to thoroughly test car, but it's hard to put a price on how much good maintenance records are worth for a 30+ year old car. Regardless of all that, I second what cushjbc says about being willing and able to do a lot of the future maintenance/repairs yourself, or you probably find that $10k was just a down payment.

While it's hard to compare two cars, I'll give you an additional data point. I paid just under $10k in May '98 for my 88 560SL with 155k miles. Paint was original with a few chips and a fadeing spot on the hood, but no dents. Interior was good except for a crack in dash. Soft top looked great, but I have found if you're not very careful these will tear easily (I think mine is original, and now has a couple of stitched tears), car ran good and nothing major on the PPI. AC did not work (freon leak), but PPI confirmed compressor worked. Owner had all service records since original owner, and car had been maintained very well, but nonetheless I created a long list of things that had not been changed that over past 16 months I've been working through (Belts, hoses, vac lines, ignition wires, timing chain guides, fuel pumps had a hum so I replaced those, first winter radiator started seeping a bit when cold so replaced that, front brake caliper started squealing when driving so replaced that, current project is I'm about to replace all the injectors to hopefully take care of a slight mis at idle). I've put about $3k in parts into the car, and done all the labor myself (which was part of the reason I bought the car in the first place.. they're a great car to work on). On the plus side, when I took the cam covers off all the cam lobes looked like brand new mirrors. Even though I've replaced a lot, I think I got a fair deal on a well maintained car, and the car has never left me stranded (I use it for daily transportation to/from work which is a complete blast! I'm absouletly positive car gets more second looks and compliments at gas station and stoplights than exotic supercar). It's hard to tell what will start to leak, humm, shake or outright stop working on your car, but most likely something (or a lot of things) will, and as long as you know and accept going in that wrenching is part of the fun of owning 30+ year old MB, you'll grow to love the car more the more you fix/replace.
 

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1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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Hey all... been over a decade since I posted here, new account and new car. Wanted to run this by the epxerts. Since this is definitely pertinent, let me get this out of the way... I can buy this car today for $10k

86' 560SL with 124k miles on it. It's in really really good shape. No damage, paint is still good (could use a polish), chrome is good, mechanically it drives flawlessly. I've been driving it for almost two months, probably put 500 miles on it give or take. It wasn't to demo it, I just ended up storing it for someone at my place and he said 'drive it like you stole it'. Cloth top is in good shape, as is the hardtop.

Only thing on the car that doesn't work is the AC, it needs recharging and I can't find anyone in Tampa that will/can do it... which leads me to my questions.

1) The blower works, but it is SUPER low pressure. The heating element works, but even then, you can barely feel it. Is that something that can be fixed/upgraded (the blower) assuming I recharged the system with R12?

2) Is there anything on these cars that are prone to needing replacing? Current owner replaced the power steering pump, all the seals around the windows/top. Not sure if I need to have anything else looked at

3) The radio. If I bought this I would 100% put a much better aftermarket radio in the car and upgrade the speakers. I have no clue how many total speaker mounts there are (two work), but I'm curious if anyone has upgraded their audio to something that sounds really good and if so, did you insulate the trunk and install any type of low freuquency subs in it for some added 'umph'.

4) Is $10k a good deal for this car and assuming it runs and hasn't been in an accident (it hasn't - he's owned it since the 90s), would you jump on this?

Thanks all.
Check the AC ducts. Make sure with the AC on the air is blowing out the center vent. Very big job to remove the dash and fix internal vacuum pods. Also if you car still has the factory original tape deck I might be interested in purchasing it if you decide to upgrade.
 
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