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1994 Mercedes Benz SL500
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73 Posts
There is absolutely no comparison between the two cars. The C5 was my 4th* Corvette and it was superb. I never took it over 150 mph but could have easily gone faster because the reserve power indicator said I could. I was on a decomposing part of HY 8 (Driving east from SD to El Centro on a business trip) and it was like driving at that speed on loose gravel and the car began to skate a bit so I decided that 150 was enough. It had superb handling and stability.

I used to be invited to an annual Corvette session when I was still living in California and was able to drive one on a water slick surface. I did hit one pylon but did stop before hitting anything solid. Then a professional driver took me around the course and I was sort of like being in a NASCAR race. He did things I couldn't have done. At one of the events I met Larry Shinoda of Williams and Shinoda. They were an independent company at one time. If you don't recognize the name, just look him up.

Some time later I was in the middle of one serious accident in California before I bought the SL from my son-in-law. I was driving peacefully on the 3rd lane of a 4 lane highway. (I am counting from the center/left lane). I saw a sequence of brake lights in lane one up ahead and thought I was completely safe, but I was wrong. Cars were spinning all around and one hit my front and moved me over one lane. The car stabilized itself in the new lane and I was feeling fine but then I was hit from behind and knocked up an off ramp where I went half way through a Toyota pickup. (no one in the passenger seat of the Toyota). Of all the cars in this event the Vette was the only car that didn't have to be towed. I took it to a dealer and they completely stripped it and only replaced one structural member, a cross frame up front. It had only a 1/2" dent in it and I said to ignore it but they replaced it anyhow. The Vette did not need a front-end wheel alignment after that event. I have pictures of the car at various stages of rebuild and it's clearly superbly built. The final step was paint. DuPont sent a rep down to San Diego from LA to supervise (or maybe do, not sure) the final paint job. The car was just like new. If anyone wants to see what a Vette looks like when naked just sent an email address and I will send pictures.

Now, my son-in-law had this 1998 SL500 and I was impressed with the brand so I sold the Vette and bought the SL and now you know why I am on this forum. I really appreciate the forum for all the help it has given me and will stay here to keep the SL and ML running. Now long retired at 88 and living on a retirement budget I need to do as much maintenance on the two cars as I am able and the forum has saved me a lot of money. Finally, and I don't mean this in a cruel way, I have spent more money and effort on the 1999 ML320 (bought new) and the 1998 SL500 than I did in owning 12 years of Corvettes. Actually, thinking back and looking at my car folders, I didn't pay for any repairs on any of the Corvettes, just oil, lube, etc.

*I didn't actually buy 4 Corvettes. The insurance company bought one for me after one was lost in a house fire so I really paid for only 3.

I owned a 89 C4 even took a trip to the Corvette museum before the structural collapse. Traded it for a 1986 500SL. I too am recently retired so my fun money is very limited.

When I bought this car I was looking at vettes also. I couldn't turn this one down. One owner, under 100k miles, nice interior, everything works, even the remote rear view mirror control.

I love the car I just would like a vette.
 

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2002 Black SL500, 1998 Red sport SL500, 2005 Silver (A209) CLK500
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1,066 Posts
If so, I want that steering wheel :)
Pictures of this much sought after steering wheel please! Been looking for a flat bottom steering wheel...combination of wood and leather...using the existing air bag. Companies I've contacted...get conflicting answers.
 

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1995 Mercedes S420, 1995 SL320, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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1,932 Posts
I've actually been looking at C4's also. They're going to be the next big pop in the collector market, along with the Jaguar XJS. They're already not as cheap as they used to be... the time to get in is now.
 

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2002 Black SL500, 1998 Red sport SL500, 2005 Silver (A209) CLK500
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1,066 Posts
Nothing special. Just wood inserts with flat bottom.
Can you provide a part number, seller info for this steering wheel? Thank you!
 

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1994 Mercedes Benz SL500
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73 Posts
Can you provide a part number, seller info for this steering wheel? Thank you!
I don't have that info available. I bought it from a gentleman who was parting out his car. Wheel has been installed so I can't give you part number.
 

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M113 SL500
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532 Posts
Am I the only one who thinks a C5, aside from the LS motor is a steaming pile? With sports car pretensions, it has leaf springs front and rear? It was pretty much the last in line amongst it's competitive set of the time in how it drove. It was only the best at being a bargain. Chevrolet, including Corvettes at any point in time had superb build quality? Simple maybe. Superb? I don't think so. You can't even close the hatch unless you crack a window or open a door. Then there was also the ignition lock cylinders that would go bad and lock up your steering column....while driving. Perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The r129 does have deteriorating plastic trim at this point. I'd rather deal with fixing or replacing common R129 interior issues and have a Mercedes interior than live with the all plastic everywhere rattletrap corvette interior, which also breaks, but in the form of broken knobs and switches. The C5 interior feels and looks like any Chevy interior of that era, meaning not good...at all. I think if you're going to complain about the R129 by comparing it to a C5 corvette, rhetoric was probably not your major.
 

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1994 SL600 AMG
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671 Posts
I will say - in regards to reliability - I went from a 1995 $1500 garbage heap of a S600 to a 2011 Audi S6 with perfect documentation and about $40,000 in receipts for warranty replacement of parts.

I sold it a year later and bought my 1994 SL600 because the Audi cost at least twice as much in upkeep (repairs) as the S600 did and parts were harder to find.

I also, during some of the same period, owned an SRT8 Charger from new in 2013 until selling it in 2019 with 100,000 miles, driven extremely hard, and never replaced a part. So I easily believe his remarks on Corvettes. You get all (or most) of the performance, but certainly not the luxury or feel (I enjoyed my S600 so much I didn't drive the Charger much at all while I owned the S), without virtually any of the upkeep.
 

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Departed 1998 SL500 (and the Pano is in Bogota)
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I recall some Forum member posted here (may be a few years ago) about German cars :
You maintain MB and Porsches, but repair BMW and Audi
 

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M113 SL500
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532 Posts
I will say - in regards to reliability - I went from a 1995 $1500 garbage heap of a S600 to a 2011 Audi S6 with perfect documentation and about $40,000 in receipts for warranty replacement of parts.

I sold it a year later and bought my 1994 SL600 because the Audi cost at least twice as much in upkeep (repairs) as the S600 did and parts were harder to find.

I also, during some of the same period, owned an SRT8 Charger from new in 2013 until selling it in 2019 with 100,000 miles, driven extremely hard, and never replaced a part. So I easily believe his remarks on Corvettes. You get all (or most) of the performance, but certainly not the luxury or feel (I enjoyed my S600 so much I didn't drive the Charger much at all while I owned the S), without virtually any of the upkeep.
But a Charger is a Dodge based on Mercedes parts, not a Chevrolet. Maybe I'm missing something you're trying to say here? I secretly love the Scat Pack Widebody. (y)
 

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1 Bring socketset and ideally your light tool bag with you, particularly on a shake-out ride.
2 When buying used parts from an Auto Salvager; Don't get your hopes up that you FOUND the part. I'm 0 for 3 in items listed as available (even after receiving an initial confirmation during a phone call)

Background: During my initial 60miles (over two days), throttle felt mushy (Not an aftermarket carpet restriction which my first inclination)

Relieved that motor & tranny performed better than anticipated, figured she was was ready for NJ's famed (Springsteen references have a lot to do with it) Interstates.
I punched the throttle at the onramp and hit the Interstate at a whimpering idle - Throttle cable bushing crumbled leaving me to complete the entirety of an exit at 700rpm (on a fortunately clean & unobstructed shoulder)

Surprised local dealership did not have the high profit margin $8 bushing in stock. Used nylon tie-straps* as a stopgap until delivery from FCP for $2 (orig OEM)
*Not my MyGuyer'ing idea. Youtube provided the guidance for the solution used. I was ready to build-up/pack w/some rubber and even contemplated a wad of gum
 

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I recall some Forum member posted here (may be a few years ago) about German cars :
You maintain MB and Porsches, but repair BMW and Audi
Thank you for clearing that up for me. I am glad to learn that the constant flow of electrical problems, the heater core, the heat/A/C control problems the off again on again asr light and corresponding throttle in limp mode the broken plastic radiator (which took out the head gaskets) the broken ign switch which happened taking out the dash and probably a half dozen other things I could probably mention that I have been fighting over the last 5 months are actually maintenance issues. That puts my mind at ease, if they were repairs I would be pissed as I could be.
 

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2001 SL500
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543 Posts
Thank you for clearing that up for me. I am glad to learn that the constant flow of electrical problems, the heater core, the heat/A/C control problems the off again on again asr light and corresponding throttle in limp mode the broken plastic radiator (which took out the head gaskets) the broken ign switch which happened taking out the dash and probably a half dozen other things I could probably mention that I have been fighting over the last 5 months are actually maintenance issues. That puts my mind at ease, if they were repairs I would be pissed as I could be.
Did you go with a cfs aluminum radiator?
 

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1994 Mercedes Benz SL500
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73 Posts
For cars that are supposed to be quality built to run over hundred thousand miles I don't understand using components such as plastic for radiators, chain guides, oiler tubes and bio-degradable wire harnesses. Built in obsolescence at it's finest.
 

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Trying to gather parts for the head gasket replacement and there is a world wide shortage of the head bolts. No I am not kidding. I have checked as far as eastern Europe and the middle east and everyone is out of stock. I did find one person that had a set on the shelf but that leaves me one set short. I plan to put one head on with the new bolts and one head with the old bolts using the seat of the pants torque system. Us old guys used to do that all the time. As I have two sets of old bolts I should be able to find 1 useable set. When or maybe if the bolts once again become available I will pull the cam cover on the head with the old bolts and replace them one at a time. Don't seem to have a choice.
 

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1996 SL500, 2000 E430
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And what I’ve read the C-5 is supposed to be a heck of a bargain these days

The first Corvette with the modern engines

Watch something on YouTube and the guy said there’s really some older years you want to stay away from because there’s some critical electronic component component that you can no longer get.

but I think the last two or three years are OK
 

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1994 SL600 AMG
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671 Posts
ABSOLUTELY. Made in china, I only hope it does not reject the recipient vehicle
Jokes aside, I would caution that Chinese parts on these are....even more notorious than Chinese parts in general. Fan clutches are known to have a 2 month replacement span for the Chinese versions, for example.
Thank you for clearing that up for me. I am glad to learn that the constant flow of electrical problems, the heater core, the heat/A/C control problems the off again on again asr light and corresponding throttle in limp mode the broken plastic radiator (which took out the head gaskets) the broken ign switch which happened taking out the dash and probably a half dozen other things I could probably mention that I have been fighting over the last 5 months are actually maintenance issues. That puts my mind at ease, if they were repairs I would be pissed as I could be.
It sure as shit beats $10,000 manifolds that just....die, lol, or entire new front ends, cooling systems, and removing the front clip (fenders included) to do anything. Audi is literal hell. Don't make a mistake - you're in the right brand.
But a Charger is a Dodge based on Mercedes parts, not a Chevrolet. Maybe I'm missing something you're trying to say here? I secretly love the Scat Pack Widebody. (y)
That's actually a reason I picked the Charger instead of the Challenger - the chassis was almost entirely developed by MBZ and given to Chrysler, whereas the Challenger is that chassis then mucked with by people who didn't know how it worked (and subsequently everyone finds that the Charger handles far better - who'da thunk? :))

The point I'm more making in my original post is that when you distill out all of the stupid shit that fails - hydropneumatic suspension, bleeding edge electro-mechanical components such as partial-electronic TBs, etc. it turns out the solid bones of a well-engineered car can last a long time without any fuss: that's exactly what the Charger and Corvette are.
 

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Don't make a mistake - you're in the right brand.

You came closer to the right brand at the end of your post. The Mercedes is my old SL that I made the BIIIIGGGGG mistake of giving to my granddaughter as a throw away first car. I am in my 5th month of trying to get the POS back on the road. Every time I fix something on it two more things break.

My personal car is a 1963 Pontiac convertible. 57 years old still has the original wiring that is not falling apart, the original top hydraulics that work fine and no plastic. But the engine and trans are out of a 15 Silverado. With a cam change and deleting the displacement on demand, that stupid shit that fails, it starts every morning hassle free, gets 17-19 MPG on regular fuel and will probably see me out.

The Chinese radiator has a lot better craftsmanship than I would have ever expected. But I would not use anything Chinese that has moving parts or electrons running through it.
 

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1994 SL600 AMG
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671 Posts
My personal car is a 1963 Pontiac convertible. 57 years old still has the original wiring that is not falling apart, the original top hydraulics that work fine and no plastic. But the engine and trans are out of a 15 Silverado. With a cam change and deleting the displacement on demand, that stupid shit that fails, it starts every morning hassle free, gets 17-19 MPG on regular fuel and will probably see me out.
A solid part of the reason that things like hydraulic issues, etc. happen on newer stuff and not older is that the old stuff was viewed as too clunky, too rough, and not luxurious. Thus they introduced new methods for these things that felt really good when they were new - but ran into longevity issues compared to the simple, clunky stuff.

Oh, and environmentalism sneaking its way into material science. That sucks.
 
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