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1972 350SL 4.5, car #917
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys - time for new tires and wanted to get your thoughts. I'm thinking that since the cars are somewhat soft already going with a stiffer tire would be a good idea.

I have alloy Bundt on her rather than original steel rims, which makes them 14" x 6.5" correct?

Thanks!
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Better check the alloys. I just found the ones on my '72 were 14 x 6 instead of 14 x 6.5. Better to be sure.
 

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Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
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Lots already posted here on the slim pickin's in what remains of the 14" tire market. Just search here for tire threads and ye shall find.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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it depends on how you intend to drive it. These cars originally (as far as I can determine) shipped with a Pirelli VR speed rated tire. You won't find anything in a V rated tire anymore in that size. It is hard to find one in a 15" tire. I retired my bundts for the 450 and right now it has the incorrect 15" rims from the 560 on it. Not what I want long term, but the tires were a whole lot better and the car feels much better. It will feel even better when the BBS rims go on it. Wider wheel base and fatter tire makes for a whole new driving experience.

I guess I am saying that I think you would be better off boxing up the old bundts and getting new rims and tires for her. Push the rims as far out as possible and feel a vast improvement.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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Thanks guys.



Fast road and touring use, handling is important.
Well, I put 16" Pentas with Eagle GT tires on the 560 and it simply rocks. Not only does it look bad ass (they are wider than any other 16" tire that is the right profile) and, once broken in, stick like glue. For some reason, some people here pan them, but those that do have not used them, so I take it with a grain of salt. All I can say is, the handling was so much improved, it was like a different car. It had the stock 15" rims on it with used Michelin tires on it that were not speed rated--H i think, which is just a normal passenger tire.

The problem with the 14" bundts is that all you will find available out there are essentially trailer tires. You will not get any good handling or heat resistance. I think, given this tire situation, it is not money well spent to buy tires for them. Also, from what I have been told, 15" will soon be in that boat. Thus, it is best to start looking for a new set of 16" rims and then buy tires for those. In the long run, you will be happier.

Possibly keep the bundt for a spare tire.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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14" tires are not difficult to find and there is nothing wrong with the bundts. I just replaced the 15x7 ET44 wrong wheels with 14x6.5 OE bundts on the 280SL I bought. 205/70-14 tires. Drives and looks better. You just need to pull a wheel to make sure of the width.
 

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Premium Member
'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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14" tires are not difficult to find and there is nothing wrong with the bundts. I just replaced the 15x7 ET44 wrong wheels with 14x6.5 OE bundts on the 280SL I bought. 205/70-14 tires. Drives and looks better. You just need to pull a wheel to make sure of the width.
There was a long discussion here about tires for the early cars. Apparently in Germany, they have to use original spec or approved tires/rims in order to register the cars, or something ?? There was a lady here (Judy) who knew all about it.

Anyway, in that discussion names of various tires that fit the original rims came up. Might be useful to do a search. Here goes:

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1590221-wheels-tires-allowed-go-your-107-a.html

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1585912-tires-early-107s.html
 

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1972 350SL 4.5, car #917
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Discussion Starter #13
Might be useful to do a search.
Thanks Graham.

I do use search a lot (both here in other forums), but keeping the discussion going even if the topics are not totally original helps keep forums vibrant.

In any case, thanks for the links.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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14" tires are not difficult to find and there is nothing wrong with the bundts. I just replaced the 15x7 ET44 wrong wheels with 14x6.5 OE bundts on the 280SL I bought. 205/70-14 tires. Drives and looks better. You just need to pull a wheel to make sure of the width.
Your AMG has 16" wheels on it, doesn't it? Which feels better to you? To me, there was a huge difference in the car.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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There was a long discussion here about tires for the early cars. Apparently in Germany, they have to use original spec or approved tires/rims in order to register the cars, or something ?? There was a lady here (Judy) who knew all about it.

Anyway, in that discussion names of various tires that fit the original rims came up. Might be useful to do a search. Here goes:

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1590221-wheels-tires-allowed-go-your-107-a.html

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1585912-tires-early-107s.html
Umm-did anyone notice the price on the VR rated tires on the links Judy provided for them? It isn't worth it. It's cheaper in the long run to get new rims and buy a modern V rated tire. Those tires didn't cost that much back in the early to mid 80's. They didn't cost that much because there was more competition in that tire size. Just so you know, the VREDESTEIN were 275.00/each and the Michelins were 575.00/ea. I have no knowledge of the VREDESTEIN tires. But you can get mainstream (Pirelli, Eagle, etc.) V rated in 16" on sale for a whole lot less than either of those.

"T" rated tires are for trailers--55MPH limit on them for extended periods of time. H is okay, but is not what the cars were built for. They are a much stiffer rubber than V rated tires. They last longer, but the price is less agile handling.
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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"T" rated tires are for trailers--55MPH limit on them for extended periods of time.
Trailers? Many domestic cars use S or T rated tires. And some BW members have used T rated on their cars ;)

Tire rack says:

L 75 mph 120 km/h Off-Road & Light Truck Tires
M 81 mph 130 km/h Temporary Spare Tires
N 87 mph 140km/h
P 93 mph 150 km/h
Q 99 mph 160 km/h Studless & Studdable Winter Tires
R 106 mph 170 km/h H.D. Light Truck Tires
S 112 mph 180 km/h Family Sedans & Vans
T 118 mph 190 km/h Family Sedans & Vans
U 124 mph 200 km/h
H 130 mph 210 km/h Sport Sedans & Coupes
V 149 mph 240 km/h Sport Sedans, Coupes & Sports Cars

I am still driving on my now 11 year old Michelins. Should look at something new one of these days, but tires still look like new (very little UV exposure)

Last time we had this discussion, it seemed the Sumitomo HR200 were the budget choice. Interested to hear what current thinking is.
 

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1978 450SL--117K
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Trailers? Many domestic cars use S or T rated tires. And some BW members have used T rated on their cars ;)

Tire rack says:
You're right, I'm wrong. When searching for tires for both cars, the 14" tires readily available were for the most part trailer tires. A few "H" tires were out there, but the brand and quality did not impress me. The prices of the tires listed for you by Judy is outrageous and while Michelin is a good tire, the German tire I have never heard of and would be unwilling to spend 275.00/ea to find out why it is not a "known" tire. I know Germans drive fast, but until I see the tire on a something like a Porsche, I won't go there. I found no T rated tires in a 14".

In the end, you can either hang on to the 14" rims and either buy less and less of a tire, or spend outrageous amounts on those Judy linked to--and still have an under performing car, or go with a larger rim and a better tire and far better handling. AMG got it right, MB did not. That Penta is a perfect size rim for these cars--including the offset. So, you just have to find an approximate rim and use spacers if necessary to get the offset right. Sooner or later you are going to end up there anyway. Might as well be the next tire change.
 

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H rated tires tend not to be "sticky" soft rubber tires in my experience. They are merely passenger tires--not performance tires. He wants spirited handling. That requires, IMHO, a V rated tire to get the feel he wants and, that was as close to the original tire that these cars came with. The original tire was a Pirelli VR tire. The same was true of the 560s in a 15". That tire was also standard issue on a Porsche of the mid 80's and that I can attest to as far as feel and handling. The H tires and even the T tires are nothing like those Pirellis--not even close. Dunlop VR tires of the same period were, again, waay far and away superior to what people are putting on these cars.

While these cars are certainly not Porsches of the same time period, they do deserve a better tire than they seem to get.

:)
 

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T
I am still driving on my now 11 year old Michelins. Should look at something new one of these days, but tires still look like new (very little UV exposure)
Thats really dangerous Graham. I read that thread. cracking does not have to be present for the tire to be dangerous. It isn't just UV rays but age itself. Both of the 107's here had perfect, never used original spare tires in their trunks. No one would certify those spares regardless of how good they looked. The 560 had ten year old Michelin on it as well when we got it--they are long gone. The tread was fine, the sidewalls were weak. and they vibrated at 60MPH. I could get a Pirelli V rated tire for the factory 15" rims for it. Those rims are on the 450 now. The new tires and the change in offset made a big difference on the 450. The BBS rims and an 8.5" tire will feel even better.
 

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Speed ratings are a heat rating--how fast you can drive for extended periods of time without the belts coming apart and the tire exploding. It says nothing about the tire's handling performance. I know people think they are never going to go "that fast" so they do not need a tire that can go that fast. But that isn't the point. Tires are made to do certain things. High performance tires are made of softer rubber so they stick to the road better. They also have stiffer side walls so they can corner better at higher speeds. You are not going to find these qualities in a tire that was made for a standard passenger vehicle. If you want to feel what your car was supposed to feel like new, then you are going to have to put a modern V rated tire on it. That matters to me. No H rated tire or less is going to do that. They won't because the cars they were made for were not meant to do that. Is your car a Honda Civic or a M-B roadster? T rated tires go on things like a Prius or some other tiny, emasculated Toyota, but not a Roadster.

BTW, those speed ratings are not the recommended speed for those tires. M rated tires, for instance, state clearly that they should not be driven above 60MPH. H rated tires are not recommended above 85MPH. A T tire is good for cruising at around 65MPH.
 
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