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  #1  
Old 10-26-2006, 11:44 PM
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What to look for in a late 300sl/500sl?

I am thinking of getting a late model 90 or later 300 sl or 500 sl. What are the problems that I should look out in these car? Are these cars money pit to be avoided? Which is a better model 300 vs. 500 sl? Any advice would be appreciated.

John
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2006, 05:52 PM
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On the early 129's, look for rust on the bottom insides of the doors behind the rubber seal. It's the only hidden rust area on these vehicles. My 1991 SL300 with 105K miles has not been a money pit; the previous owners maintained it well. The vehicle does have a lot of "charactor"; i.e. , idiosyncrasies which you may love or hate. The six cyclinder is only adequately powered to get the car moving, but pulls hard when the revs come up. It gets decent gas mileage. I average in the low 20's. On the highway the six cruises smoothly at high speeds, with plenty of power and gets about 26 mpg. The SL300 comes with a 5 speed auto, the SL500 has a 4 speed. So, look for good maintenance, sound mechanics, and low visible wear and tear on the interior. Buy from a seller who loved this car.
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:24 PM
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I will second teqboys point on buy from someone who loved it. It must have all maintenance records period. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap mercedes. You may have to pay a little more for one that has the records but it will keep you from having a "Money Pit". In my personal reasearch the best models were from 96-98 pre 96 it was a 4 speed tranny instead of 5. There was a issue with wiring harness due to the recycled material they used to wrap it. If you do go with early nineties make sure it has been replaced or negotiate to have it done. Post 98 changed engines less horsepower. We went with the 98 because the climate control is digital and garage opener is intergrated into the mirror. And we got a good deal on a 98

P.S. don't be afraid of high miles on a well maintained car. Chances are it may have been driven enough for all the quirks to be resolved.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbilt View Post
I will second teqboys point on buy from someone who loved it. It must have all maintenance records period. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap mercedes. You may have to pay a little more for one that has the records but it will keep you from having a "Money Pit". In my personal reasearch the best models were from 96-98 pre 96 it was a 4 speed tranny instead of 5. There was a issue with wiring harness due to the recycled material they used to wrap it. If you do go with early nineties make sure it has been replaced or negotiate to have it done. Post 98 changed engines less horsepower. We went with the 98 because the climate control is digital and garage opener is intergrated into the mirror. And we got a good deal on a 98

P.S. don't be afraid of high miles on a well maintained car. Chances are it may have been driven enough for all the quirks to be resolved.
What is a good deal on 98 SL ?
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Old 10-28-2006, 08:17 PM
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Check kbb.com and edmunds.com

Gilly
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2006, 06:40 PM
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which is better sl 320 or sl 500?

Other than wiring harness issue. How are the engine/transmission/AC on these car? I am seeing prices any where from 16k-24k for either cars with less than 60 K miles '94-97 models. I was thinking of a 2006 S2000, but these SL's intrigue me.

When does the timing chain/rail need to be replaced? Any head gasket issue/ main seal/ electronic bug? Is the I-6 easier to work on than the V8?

John
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:52 PM
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I think prices are lower than that. I've seen 98 500s in the low 20s. I think the sixes are a little easier to work than the V8s but they also seem to need a little more work. Both timing chains are good. The V8s never seem to have a head gasket problem. There really isn't any clear brilliant answer here - it pretty much depends on which one you like to drive.
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:25 PM
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The SL320's do have an issue with the original headgasket and timing cover seals. They tend to start leaking oil somewhere between 50-100k. The OEM replacement parts are re-engineered so the fix should be a one time deal.
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2006, 12:13 PM
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Bought a 92 500 sl with 190k MILES 7,200 BUCKS. Best car Ive ever had. smogged as clean as new in california Bay area, tough spot for smog checks.
Paint is great, interior has acouple of small issues. Great power.

Had to replace the radiator, cost me about 500 and did hoses and thermostat.

Buy the 500, much more fun than the 3.2 liter. get's up and goes. mileage is approx 20 all around. I've seen a few 90's 92's models in the 10 k range in the Bay area with no rust to speak off.

Had a 450 sl 73, have a 83 380 sl, had a 93 300E 3.2, head gasket leaked on the next owner after the previous owner had repalced it at MB dfealer in texas to the tune of 8K.

500 SL best car of the lot.

Good luck
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