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Discussion Starter #1
I am close to purchasing a 1994 SL600 (100,000 miles) relatively cheaply with known problems and wanted some help determining if I am getting a reasonable deal or buying a bucket load of grief :)

I am of course having a mechanic look over it this week but there are some issues that he may not be across.

Throttle Bodies

The engine bay wiring has the usual problems however the owner reports the that the engine 'hunts' on downhill roads and suspects that the TCB is not sealing properly -does this sound like a reasonable prognosis?

Transmission

When cold started the transmission 'clunks' -does this require a full transmission re-build (fluid levels are good) ?

Electrical

A new battery fully discharged in three weeks without the car being used -does this point to gremlins or is the usual drain quite high.

Interior

Apparently a roof seal on the windscreen needs replacing. The car also has a deodorizer in it and I fear it may be there to cover up something like rotting carpets. Is there an easy way to tell if the car has been excessively exposed to water inside?

Engine

The gold paint on the radiator cowling is starting to crack and peel. Is this usual or does it indicate overheating problems?

Miscellaneous

Is it possible to retrofit an Stability Control system?

Thanks for any help :)

Charles
Australia
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can probably get it for about $10,000 less than market value so that is interesting info...
 

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Outstanding Contributor Always Remembered RI
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From what you have posted it could cost between 8000 and 10,000 to put it right especially the transmission bit. Maybe more.:eek:
 

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Is there an easy way to tell if the car has been excessively exposed to water inside?

Is it possible to retrofit an Stability Control system?
Yes there is a way to retrofit the ADS system with a standard suspension. More than several extensive discussions have taken place. Please read 600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension

Could this car have had flood damage? I'm not sure how to check for it but I'm sure you could Google for an answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the advice and links. It is certainly clear to me that you don't buy this (or any other classic) unless you have the pockets to keep it running.
 

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Honestly cpcp from all the issues the car you are considering has I think you wouls have less pain if someone shot you in your knee. If you are buying it to keep it Id say run away but if you are buying to sell spares whell 10,000.00 seems to steep either.
Oh and retrofitting an ESP system I think would require a huge amount of work and a huge amount of money since you need to update the ABS system both hardware and software and pretty much change everything connected to it.
In the end, if you can strench your budget you should consider a 1999+ car that has everything stock.

Cheers.
 

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Greek God of the R129
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Why look for trouble.
When you know that trouble will always find you.
Regards.
aam.
 

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Why look for trouble.
When you know that trouble will always find you.
Regards.
aam.
A perfect running 600 would be lovely, but definately easier to buy a good 500 and you won't be dissapointed with it!

129's seem to me such good value that unless you were buying something extraorinary like a BRABUS that would always be something special in the marketplace, you're best off avoiding anything that sounds like trouble because costs/hassle and worry will precede any enjoyment!
 

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When it comes to cars, houses, boats, etc. my general rule (learned the hard way) is "Don't buy trouble!"

In other words, keep reading this forum and keep shopping for the right car. When you find the right one you won't feel the need to ask this motley crew if it makes sense. :D

Good luck,

Stuart

P.S. As is often quoted on this forum, "Nothing is more expensive than a cheap Mercedes!"
 

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I agree with the other posters.

You can easily find a nice example that needs nothing.

So, there is absolutely no need to waste your time and money trying to clean up someone else's deferred maintenance mess. It will invariably be more expensive, time consuming, and irritating than you first estimate.

Just avoid problem cars. The seller would literally have to give you the car for free to have it make any financial sense, when you factor in your time as well as all the money you will spend on the things you only learn that you will have to do after you buy it. Issues are like cockroaches...for every 1 you see there are 10 you don't.

Run the other direction.
 

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CPCP, I see you are in Australia and this should sway your decision. You are not going to get any cheap or secondhand bits here from my short experience and you could be unlucky and end up with a bottomless pit. When buying one of these cars its service history, service history then service history. Lowish miles is nice too. The car you are describing sounds neglected. I agree with the other comments so if I were you I would start looking for a SL500 and spend the contingency money for the SL600 on a newer SL500. If you want more power read TTune and Mert93`s exploits. Maybe Stuart Knight from the UK could give his opinion on the possible pitfalls. From my experience you will not be embarrassed with the standard SL500 performance, I can quite easily frighten myself on standard spec. Running costs so far are no more than a standard saloon and petrol consumption is more than acceptable. Whatever decision you make you will be joining a select few over here in Aus. In 9 months I have only seen 2 other R129`s on the road over here.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you everyone for your wisdom (and humour!)

The car is already booked into my Merc. mechanic who looks after many R129s and he is the type of guy that has seen it all and will give me the worst case scenarios.

I am all for not buying other peoples' problems but the economist in me says that if a good one is worth $100 and there is a worst case scenario of $30 repairs then double the $30 to $60 and don't pay more than $40.

Very few of these cars come up over here and especially with such straight bodies and fresh interiors.

I will definitely walk away if I smell a fish.

I'll tell you all what the mechanic says at the end of the week.

Thanks Again
 

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I own 2 SL600, a 93 and a 94, if you are not willing to put your soul into it and doing all the work yourself don't consider it. Both my cars were not in any good shape and if you go to MB they will just tell you:
We need to replace "everything"!

If you want more of a hobby then a car, go for it, you will probably find out (as I did) that it is cheaper to buy another one to get parts from then just buying the parts.

I don't know the amount of money you have to put up for this, but with all those known problems it has to be cheap, my first was cheap and has caused a lot of headaches. But I learned a lot, can't put a price on that...
Check the pictures in the links if you want to see what's ahead of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Hello GUSMB,

Thank you for raising a point that I should have mentioned (perhaps) much earlier. I do very much enjoy working on vehicles. I suppose I have a reasonable understanding of electronics and have a shop of tools (I am sure not all I need) including a 3D CNC milling machine.

Of course I don't want to spend my entire life rebuilding a car from the ground up and would often defer to specialists (e.g. transmission) but if there was a job that a shop would charge a great amount for 'replacing old with new' and I could isolate the fault to e.g a poor connection I would only be too happy :D

There is much experienced advice cautioning me against this move and I appreciate it; I am now proceeding with vastly more care.

Thank You

Charles

P.S. If you listen to women (IF!) they (two of them today -for Heaven's sake!) tell me you are all SO correct and that I should just get a simple little reliable Japanese car. I think they have school runs in the back of their sweet minds....
 

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Outstanding Contributor Always Remembered RI
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Hello GUSMB,

Thank you for raising a point that I should have mentioned (perhaps) much earlier. I do very much enjoy working on vehicles. I suppose I have a reasonable understanding of electronics and have a shop of tools (I am sure not all I need) including a 3D CNC milling machine.

Of course I don't want to spend my entire life rebuilding a car from the ground up and would often defer to specialists (e.g. transmission) but if there was a job that a shop would charge a great amount for 'replacing old with new' and I could isolate the fault to e.g a poor connection I would only be too happy :D

There is much experienced advice cautioning me against this move and I appreciate it; I am now proceeding with vastly more care.

Thank You

Charles

P.S. If you listen to women (IF!) they (two of them for Heaven's sake!) tell me you are all SO correct and that I should just get a simple little reliable Japanese car. I think they have school runs in the back of their sweet minds....
When you put it this way, then I too would say go for it. If you can do most of the work yourself then it sounds like more of a deal. But do make sure the carpets are not wet, as this would indicate a leaking heater matrix and if you can repair cars then this is not a major problem, but it does need the whole dash removal. You give it an whole new light when you posted this:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Hi too eric242340,

Yes a heater matrix can be a bear.

I remember the last time I had a to burrow back to the firewall for one.

When I took it to a good reconditioning shop and placed it on the counter the big Australian business owner stared at it with surprised open eyed recognition and just quietly said "I bet you had fun getting that out."

Don't want to go there again but if I enjoy discovering what else is in there and how it all integrates then the passion overrules the shop cost (plus the personal/company tax differential -if you know what I mean.)

Regards

Charles
 

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I didn't realize the OP was in Australia...That kind of changes things.

If 129s are rare enough over there this is really the only one you can get your hands on, and if you have already been bitten by the bug, then I guess you're going to end up buying it regardless of what is wrong with it or what we say. If you can't find another one, and are hell-bent on getting one, then you don't really have much of a choice.

If you can do some of the work yourself, then that helps, but still...make sure that all the deferred maintenance you will have to clean up from the previous owner is well reflected in the price of the car. I think you will be between 2 and 3 times the price of your initial estimates, by the time you end up getting it where you want it. There is no way you will ever find out everything that is wrong with it just from a couple short test-drives and one trip to a shop.
 
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