Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
1982 380 SL
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I inherited a 1982 380SL (approx 153000 miles on the odometer, but it had stopped working a year previous, so closer to 162000) two years ago. Before my father-in-law passed, I had known that there was some upcoming work needed to keep it in good repair on the engine side, but later found out it seems to be more serious than I thought. I used the car for about a year, trying to keep it strictly local driving, not much over a 15 mile radius, after taking it to be serviced at the shop it was normally taken to. There I found out that the exhaust system is toast, rotted and rusted out, and needs to be replaced. The shop owner went through most of the engine problems that need to be adressed, from the fuel management to the exhaust. Starting with the fuel management, I was told that the entire thing needed to be rebuilt, and a story about no one local to socal does it anymore, and a dealer build would cost 2k. Going into the engine, there was an oil consumption problem, possible to do issues with the piston rings, but short of pulling the heads off, just a guess. Gradually, the engine started smoking, and most of the time it was minimal, but before I started just storing it, got bad. Further inspection showed that the fuel management was dumping fuel to the #7 piston, and it was wearing out, as well the fuel management being frozen? The shop offered me a better deal than I have been able to find elsewhere, with an estimate of 6-6500 to get into the pistons and change out the fuel management, and replace the exhaust out with a dual pipe replacement(on this one, I have been told by specialty shops as well as the original mechanic that to switch to the single pipe setup can lead to a failure again of the catalytic converter and failed smogs after a few years.) At this point, not having the funds to go through a shop, I am at a loss of what to start on or where to go for help. I know that I cant get into the exhaust until the fuel management and pistons are fixed, but honestly wouldn't know where to begin. Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.
 

·
Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
·
29,540 Posts
Hello all, I inherited a 1982 380SL (approx 153000 miles on the odometer, but it had stopped working a year previous, so closer to 162000) two years ago. Before my father-in-law passed, I had known that there was some upcoming work needed to keep it in good repair on the engine side, but later found out it seems to be more serious than I thought. I used the car for about a year, trying to keep it strictly local driving, not much over a 15 mile radius, after taking it to be serviced at the shop it was normally taken to. There I found out that the exhaust system is toast, rotted and rusted out, and needs to be replaced. The shop owner went through most of the engine problems that need to be adressed, from the fuel management to the exhaust. Starting with the fuel management, I was told that the entire thing needed to be rebuilt, and a story about no one local to socal does it anymore, and a dealer build would cost 2k. Going into the engine, there was an oil consumption problem, possible to do issues with the piston rings, but short of pulling the heads off, just a guess. Gradually, the engine started smoking, and most of the time it was minimal, but before I started just storing it, got bad. Further inspection showed that the fuel management was dumping fuel to the #7 piston, and it was wearing out, as well the fuel management being frozen? The shop offered me a better deal than I have been able to find elsewhere, with an estimate of 6-6500 to get into the pistons and change out the fuel management, and replace the exhaust out with a dual pipe replacement(on this one, I have been told by specialty shops as well as the original mechanic that to switch to the single pipe setup can lead to a failure again of the catalytic converter and failed smogs after a few years.) At this point, not having the funds to go through a shop, I am at a loss of what to start on or where to go for help. I know that I cant get into the exhaust until the fuel management and pistons are fixed, but honestly wouldn't know where to begin. Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.
You're not going to like the advice you will recieve.

What is the rest of the car like? Because your repairs are worth WAY more than the car itself.
If you were a DIY kind of person, you might be better off with a known good used engine.

And depending where you live, you can't just dick around with exhaust systems. You can go to a muffler shop and just get your system fixed using cheaper parts, if it's money you want to save.

Unless this car is a mint example and you have a sentimental attachment to it...it just might not be worth it.

Of course, maybe you need a second opinion, as well. Not every mechanic knows the ins and outs of these cars.
 

·
Registered
380SL diesel
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.
You could always do what I did with the 380SL I picked up with a bad engine...



Put a Mercedes diesel in it.:)

Seriously, unless you're a DIY kind of person, the maintenance and repairs on these old cars can absolutely be a money pit. I think you'd probably be money ahead to just sell it as it is and get something more practical.

There is hardly a finer car to drive around, but realistically you need tools, work space, skills, enjoyment hanging around junk yards and get a sense of satisfaction out of doing something yourself.

Just my $0.02
 

·
Registered
1993 600SL, 1973 450 SL,1998 SLK 230,2018 C300, 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie, 1968 Firebird,
Joined
·
5,288 Posts
The previous post is damn good advice. All that being said if the car is in otherwise nice condition and is sentimental, find a good used engine. That will be a couple of grand. Perhaps a good donor car will have a good exhaust as well.
 

·
Registered
1982 380 SL
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the responses. The body is actually pretty clear, the couple of smal dings are being finished out and paint is actually being redone from age. interior was redone before father-in-law passed away, and is clean except for taking out the non-functioning stereo that was after market anyways. I actually have the lift bar to take the hard top off and the ratchet/pulley system for a garage. only other major cosmetics would be to replace the window seals on the hard top, and re-chrome the rims, and an update to the AC. it wasn't functioning well when my father-in-law purchased the car, and while the fan blows well, the compressor has died. From the little research I can find elsewhere before this site, converting to R134 is not an option, so that would be the absolute last thing on the list for a total restoration. I have gotten highly confused going through the different blogs on her searching out what can be done with the fuel management, with some suggesting it can be rebuilt cheaply while others suggest it being dealer only type problem. The car does have sentimental value, had hope to pass it on to my daughter since she was only 6 mos old when he passed, but cost wise that may not be possible. Has anybody heard or had issues after refitting to single pipe exhaust for smogging here in CA?

Thanks again,

Leo
 

·
Registered
Previous: 1989 190E 2.6, 1997 E420, 1985 380SL, 1975 450SLC
Joined
·
747 Posts
My 1985 380SL's A/C was converted to R134a by one of its POs, so it is certainly possible. R12 is also available at some A/C shops; it's just more expensive on a per-pound basis.

I wouldn't accept that advice that there were no remaining mechanics in all of Socal who understand your car's fuel system.. that sounds like baloney. Up here in Norcal there are many independent repair shops specializing in Mercedes of your car's era and earlier. The K-Jet fuel system was used on SL's and many other MBZ models for many years.

Now a word of caution: Even though with some phone calls you're likely to find a qualified indy mechanic, be prepared for their shop rates to be in excess of $100/hour (a bargain compared to the stealer, right!) Parts -- especially OEM -- can be very expensive.. and with a V8 motor, sometimes that means expensive parts X 8. In other words, your engine repair to a relatively high mileage 3.8L motor could quickly race into the thousands of dollars, and along the way you're going to be told of this system and that that should also be replaced/rebuilt.

So I concur with the previous posters.. be patient and locate a running/driving parts car with a properly running motor, trany, and exhaust. Go for a 84 or 85 to get the benefit of the updated double-row timing chain or else plan on $1200-1500 additional to replace the timing chain and related bits on the donor motor prior to installation.
 

·
Registered
1978 450SL--117K
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
I take a somewhat different view of these cars than others here do--but where I live they fetch more money due to rarity than they do other places. But, from a purely practical standpoint, what kind of car can you buy for $6,000--to $15,000.00 ? In truth, not much. If it's a high end used car, it might possibly give you good service for a few years before you have to start dumping money into that one too, so....

If you stop to think about it, a) you received the car as a "gift" and as such it has cost you only gas and minimal maintenance. If the car is rust free--or at least no rust holes, you have that going for you. If the interior is in good shape, the is another of the three main areas handled. Others have spent a lot of money on the bodies and interiors because the engine/mechanicals were in decent shape. At any rate, suppose you end up with another $10,000.00 into it? What can you buy for $10,000.00 that you absolutely know is not going to cost you another $5,000.00? It doesn't take much now a days--a bad tranny can cost anywhere from half that to all of that depending on the car. And just think of the look on that little girl's face when you give it to her someday--priceless. You have at least a decade to put it to rights. No big hurry.

I would look for a rust bucket with good mechanicals and go from there. And I would not throw the existing engine away. I would, when I got time, rebuild it and keep it for a spare. I really would. You can learn how to build it yourself. It isn't that hard and it beats the hell out of watching TV.
 

·
Registered
'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
Joined
·
1,553 Posts
For a used engine, keep an eye out for a running 84 or 85 380SE (W126). They usually sell for peanuts unless they are immaculate (in which case they rarely sell) and the engine will swap to your SL.
 

·
Registered
1979 450 SLC 5.0
Joined
·
486 Posts
ANY system can be converted to R-134A

update to the AC. it wasn't functioning well when my father-in-law purchased the car, and while the fan blows well, the compressor has died. From the little research I can find elsewhere before this site, converting to R134 is not an option,
Leo
I second the not true on this one.

I just converted the A/C on my 1979 450 SLC 5.0 to 134A about 2 weeks ago.

Did it myself, paid $14.00 for the conversion fitting, and I have very nice A/C down here in the heat of GA.

JetPaul
 

·
Registered
1979 450 SLC 5.0
Joined
·
486 Posts
Others that used CIS K-Jet

in Norcal there are many independent repair shops specializing in Mercedes of your car's era and earlier. The K-Jet fuel system was used on SL's and many other MBZ models for many years.
Don't forget, that Porsche 911's, 928's and Bmw 3, 5, and 7 series cars from the early 80's all used CIS K-Jet Injection. Heck for that matter, VW Rabbits, Scirrocos, Quantums, and Audi 80/100's etc. used it as well.

Having someone tell you that nobody else can do the do the job, is a HUGE red flag to me.

The principles and basics are all the same for each car, just different placement of some of the components.

JetPaul:surrender:
 

·
Registered
1973 450sl
Joined
·
1 Posts
I am looking at it this way: Shelling out $10,000 to get your old car running right may not be such a bad idea. Granted, it might be more than the car is worth, but if you like driving the 450sl, why not spend the money. You would be hard pressed to find a replacement newer car for that amount and such a car would not be a classy as the 450sl.

I have a 450 sl that needs work - 1973, it isn't in pristeen shape, but I think I want to keep it instead of buying a POS newer car.
 

·
Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
·
29,540 Posts
If the OP could do the repairs him / herself....my opinion would be different.

If, in fact, there are some serious mechanical issues... more than half of the repair $$ will be for labour making my SL worth about $40K.

:)
 

·
Registered
1978 450SL--117K
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
I seem to remember a post on here some years ago with the advice to someone looking at buying one to the effect that "one way or another, you will end up with about $24,000.00 into it." Or something like that.

If it were me, I would park it, wait till the right donor car came along at the right price and go from there. A little girl getting grandpa's car someday is worth waiting a few years to fix it.
 

·
Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
·
29,540 Posts
I seem to remember a post on here some years ago with the advice to someone looking at buying one to the effect that "one way or another, you will end up with about $24,000.00 into it." Or something like that.

If it were me, I would park it, wait till the right donor car came along at the right price and go from there. A little girl getting grandpa's car someday is worth waiting a few years to fix it.
I beleive it was me. Of course I might have heard it somewhere....but I certainly have lived it.

And my car still needs a de-dinging and a freshen up paint job. Pretty sad coming from a 30 year painter.
 

·
Registered
1984 380SL
Joined
·
2,336 Posts
$25K sounds about right. :( I have that much in mine which I got for free and it mostly sits these days because I can't figure out what is wrong with the exhaust, a heavy ticking sound indicating a leak. My suspicions center on those 'bellows' in the manifold but it is mighty hard to find that leak.

I'll get to it once the weather cools down a little, summer in Key West is no time to go tooling TD anyways. On Sundays I take it around the block to get a NY Times and work the brakes, get the oil circulating, run some fuel through it.
 

·
Registered
1981 380SL
Joined
·
256 Posts
IMHO, DIY is the only way to go with these cars. You should see some of the Indie "repairs" I've had to fix.

DIY isn't for everyone.

Agree with the park it recommendation. But if the OP isn't committed to picking up DIY skills and knowledge, then sell it. If you think it's expensive to get that car up to speed using Indies now . . . just wait until that little girl is driving. By then, there really may not be any Indies left in LA that know Bosch K-Jet.
 

·
Premium Member
450slc 1979 Honda civic type r 2002 53 ford f100 truck
Joined
·
375 Posts
I beleive it was me. Of course I might have heard it somewhere....but I certainly have lived it.

And my car still needs a de-dinging and a freshen up paint job. Pretty sad coming from a 30 year painter.
You use your car to the full nobby. maybe if it was pristine That would all change. mine owes me about £16'000 an is as new as I can get it but now I'm scared to leave it anywhere or get it wet, sort of defeats the object of having it. May be the way to go is have the mechanics a1 and leave the bodywork with a few warts
 

·
Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
Joined
·
29,540 Posts
You use your car to the full nobby. maybe if it was pristine That would all change. May be the way to go is have the mechanics a1 and leave the bodywork with a few warts
That has been my philosophy...due to some common sense and financial restraints.

I've owned a show car and drove it 8000 miles in 8 years and was paranoid everywhere I went.

The PIG?

Loves the gravel roads and Walmart parking lots.

Oh ya, and the kids bikes.....I have a new ding due to the garage door hitting the back wheel of a poorly parked bike and tipping it into the right rear quarter panel.

Ho Hum.
 

·
Registered
1986 560 SL
Joined
·
7,390 Posts
After all, it's just an old car.
Family life and I turned my 450SL show car into a beater over my 15 year ownership.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top