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... 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.
Agree with the first part, disagree with the Corvette part. Aside from it's engine that car is a heap. It was when it was new and it is now. Do you really consider a car from around the 2000's with body on frame and leaf springs front and rear well engineered? It may have been the ONLY non-truck car from that era still using leaf springs (at least the only one I can think of) nevermind sportscars. It was just old, not well engineered. The product of Chevrolet not putting money into actual engineering and improving that car where it counted, instead of decades of basically just repackaging it and putting a stonking motor in it. F-inay, Chevy didn't replace the leaf springs until THIS YEAR with the C8. Less problem prone? Maybe because it is so simple, but so is an abacus vs a computer. Do you still see people using an abacus? I don't see the point in comparing the R129 to a C5 Corvette, or a 60's Pontiac convertible.

Besides, ALL cars from the 90's are deteriorating by now. There is no car that survives today from that era that won't have failing plastics, drooping headliners, electrical problems, etc. These car are 30 years old. Let's not pretend the C5 doesn't have it's share of electrical problems. Unless you enjoy chasing down a myriad of grounding issues and bad sensors for sport.
 

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1994 SL600 AMG
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Agree with the first part, disagree with the Corvette part. Aside from it's engine that car is a heap. It was when it was new and it is now. Do you really consider a car from around the 2000's with body on frame and leaf springs front and rear well engineered? It may have been the ONLY non-truck car from that era still using leaf springs (at least the only one I can think of) nevermind sportscars. It was just old, not well engineered.
Yet both it and the C6 competed in performance metrics and by results on the track, with cars costing several times their MSRP. That sounds well-engineered to me. Sometimes old stuff works. Other GM sports cars stopped using leaf springs long before the Corvette. It's not like they couldn't.
The product of Chevrolet not putting money into actual engineering and improving that car where it counted, instead of decades of basically just repackaging it and putting a stonking motor in it. F-inay, Chevy didn't replace the leaf springs until THIS YEAR with the C8. Less problem prone? Maybe because it is so simple, but so is an abacus vs a computer. Do you still see people using an abacus? I don't see the point in comparing the R129 to a C5 Corvette, or a 60's Pontiac convertible.
Chevrolet put plenty of money into the Corvette. That's why it was frequently compared against, and often beat things like Porsche 911s in comparisons and on the track.

Besides, ALL cars from the 90's are deteriorating by now. There is no car that survives today from that era that won't have failing plastics, drooping headliners, electrical problems, etc. These car are 30 years old. Let's not pretend the C5 doesn't have it's share of electrical problems. Unless you enjoy chasing down a myriad of grounding issues and bad sensors for sport.
Correct, but they are generally far cheaper, far easier, and far fewer in-between. See my example of a beaten up Charger versus a well-maintained Audi of a similar sporting class.
 

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Don't get me started on environmentalism. It would not take me long to compile a very exhaustive list of things that worked fine before some idiot politician found a problem that did not exist and "fixed" it.
 

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I agree with most of what you say except for the hydraulics. The hydraulics on the earlier US cars was designed like hydraulics on commercial stuff. Things that had to work for a long time and go through constant cycling. Construction, farm, manufacturing equipment that probably cycles more times in a day than a Mercedes top does in a year. And that needs to do it year after year. The hydraulics on my Pontiac are neither clunky or rough. I unlatch the top move the switch to down and the top just goes down. no fuss or noise. In my opinion the reason that they found for re-engineering the hydraulics was the German obsession with re-inventing the wheel.

In over 60 years of working on cars, 25 of it professionally I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to repair the top operating system on an old American top, and most of the time it was a hose issue. My first car was a 56 Corvette with a power top, an almost unheard of option on the 56. The car was nearing a hundred thousand miles and the top hydraulics did not work., As near as I could determine it had been operated manually for a long time. I pulled the plug filled the reservoir on the pump and the top hydraulics worked for as long as I owned the car without problems or leaks.
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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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.
Head bolts are here
 

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They are the first place I tried, they called me back and said they were back ordered and cancelled my order. Still have the email. I will try again but I have a friend that is a Mahle distributor, he called Mahle direct and was told that they were back ordered with no estimated eta.

I have run into this before with AutohauzAZ where they show stock when they have none.

However two sets did show up on ebay today.

Thanks for thinking of me.
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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They are the first place I tried, they called me back and said they were back ordered and cancelled my order. Still have the email. I will try again but I have a friend that is a Mahle distributor, he called Mahle direct and was told that they were back ordered with no estimated eta.

I have run into this before with AutohauzAZ where they show stock when they have none.

However two sets did show up on ebay today.

Thanks for thinking of me.
Have you tried direct from a manufacturer?

Elring bolts are here
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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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.
But can the Vette do this?
2655828


I call her Christine 😁🙃🤣
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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Awww... No one saw the positive side to my photo? 🙃 ;)
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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1,277 Posts
You got it (y)
By chance I somehow managed to invert the colours on my iPhone with the home button, and I figured the photo of my 500SL engine looked kinda spooky as a negative image.
Reminded me of that Stephen King film. 😁
My SL don’t fix itself though 🙁
 

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Somehow I think you missed my point. I have come to believe that my SL is possessed with an evil demon so the reference is not a compliment.
 

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Somehow I think you missed my point. I have come to believe that my SL is possessed with an evil demon so the reference is not a compliment.
same here. Something is very wrong with my door locks. I remember back in november my door locks would pop up and down like crazy while driving. gonna need to have them scanned i guess
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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Does your radio turn on by itself?
 

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1992 190E sportline, 1993 300ce, 1993 300ce sportline, 1992 300sl
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What I always find so much fun is that with every drive something else is different! Endless list to look into and can never get ahead of things that pop up. Endlessly entertaining - is the only way to look any it
 

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1995 Mercedes S420, 1995 SL320, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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Things that are complex are going to require more upkeep as they age. Things that are simple are going to require less. This is basic logic.

As for the 'good engineering' question, that can go both ways too. You can look at an old Mercedes and say wow, look at how intricate and superlative these systems are, it really took some engineering genius to design it. Or you can look at an old Corvette and say wow, look how simple and effective this all is, it really took some engineering genius to design it.

It goes both ways. There's genius in complexity and in simplicity. I appreciate both quite a bit, and wouldn't be able to say which I thought was 'superior' because they both do what they're designed for very well. Is it more ingenius to design an advanced multi-link self-leveling suspension that keeps a 4600lb sedan stable and comfortable at 150mph, or to design a sports suspension system using dead-simple components that still manages to compete with the best in the world at half the price and twice the reliability? I sure don't have the answer to that, but both are pretty cool.

As for ownership, that's all down to personal preference. Some people just don't want to be bothered maintaining a complex old car that with a lot of needs. But some people take satisfaction in restoring and maintaining a complex old car because they enjoy the challenge and appreciate the build quality that went into them. Whether you like it or not, fact is that nobody builds cars like this anymore, and for some people that's just worth preserving regardless of expense or headaches.
 

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same here. Something is very wrong with my door locks. I remember back in November my door locks would pop up and down like crazy while driving. gonna need to have them scanned i guess

Good luck finding the solution to an electrical problem. After 5 months of chasing electrical problems on mine I can state two things for certain. 1. Mercedes wiring is the most convoluted wiring I have ever seen. You cannot just trace wiring because the wiring has to go through at least two complex modules that are impossible to figure out unless you are an electronics engineer. And 2. There is no logical or necessary reason for 1. The only thing I can figure out is that they want to calculate everything into the equation. What is the ambient temperature, what is the cabin temperature, what phase is the moon in, did you have an argument with your spouse today, did you holler at the kids, did you kick the dog (although kicking the cat seems to be acceptable) etc, etc, etc. It is for these reasons that everyone I know has vowed under penalty of death, dismemberment or drowning by spitting to take me out into the parking lot and shoot me if I ever look sideways at another Mercedes.

As for the Corvette/ Mercedes discussion I have an L83, which is essentially the same engine that you will find in the newer Corvettes, in my Pontiac. The donor vehicle had 140,000+ on the clock. It was necessary to remove the heads to delete the displacement on demand which I do not even know that they use on the Corvettes. The DOD is the only fragile thing on the engine. Judging by what I saw of the engine internals you buy a Corvette and drive it like you stole it for 100,000 thousand miles change the plugs and start over. You do not need to worry about launching a timing chain because it only has one camshaft and with roller lifters that camshaft has less than 25% of the turning resistance of the 4 cams on the Mercedes. You do not need to worry about plastic chain guides because it does not have them. Neither does it have plastic oil tubes in the cylinder heads. I realize that there are many of you that see all this, in my opinion, unnecessary horse puckey as an asset and to you I say keep driving the three pointed star for as long as you can maintain your sanity and stay out of the rubber room. As for me I will take the Corvette no less than 10 out of 10 times.
 
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