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Old 09-05-2007, 10:35 AM
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"SL" a bad bet?

Consumer Reports Magazine lists the SL as bad bet for making it to 200K miles. Mine is just a little more than half way there, but I see no reason why, properly maintained, my 1991 300SL won't run as long as the "good bets" on the list. What's your mileage?

Consumer Reports' "Good bets" for making 200,000 miles: Honda Civic, Honda CR-V, Honda Element, Lexus ES, Lexus LS, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Prius, Toyota RAV4

Consumer Reports' "Bad bets" for making 200,000 miles: BMW 7-series, Infiniti QX56, Jaguar X-type, V8-powered Mercedes-Benz M-class, Mercedes-Benz SL, Nissan Armada, Nissan Titan, Volkswagen Touareg, V6-powered Volvo XC90.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:00 PM
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Only have 56K on the SL now, and doubt if it will see 200K under my ownership, but have no idea where that idea comes from. I perceive the SL being built as good as any other Benz we have owned. They surely didn't scrimp on parts or engineering in the assembly of a $92K car.
95 SL500 Smoke Silver, Parchment 64K
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:21 PM
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If you read Consumer Reports long enough and with a view of their prejudices, you will see that they love all things Japanese. US and Euro products of any kind take a hit from them. The "bad bet" Nissans are probably there to give the impression impartiality.

My '92 500 SL has over 170K on the clock and is running like it just came out of the showroom.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:00 PM
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I would take Consumer Reports' claim with a grain of salt. The SLs are pretty solid performers.

As to longevity, I think entropy will have more of an affect...i.e., old rubber suspension components, brittle wiring harnesses, and just plain old wear and tear.

I know old wires (especially those residing in the engine compartment) give the most grief when trying to troubleshoot phantom electrical issues.

This usually starts after major high-mileage service is being performed that requires disturbing wire bundles to remove parts or gain access to such.
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:17 PM
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Thumbs up which SL though

Ahh but which SL do they mean?

There's a world of difference between the 107 and the later models before they started to try and match the BMW's etc on price - plus if they take into account those people (not form this forum I might add) who neglect their "chain and guide maintenance" on the V8's it might be true BUT take a nice pre 89 SL keep it maintained and it should go round the world a few times.

Mine's done just over 120k miles and it still meets the 2001 UK emission standards


Keep your Motor runnin'

Jim's '88 300SL

Last edited by coleyjf; 09-06-2007 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:45 PM
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I Have A Friend With 456k On A 1991 500sl With No Major Problems Since He Bought It In 1993 With 20k On The Odometer. Mobil One Every 5k. His Recent Leak Down Numbers Amazed The Hell Out Of Me. Great Compression Across The Board. He Also Has A 5 Speed 1987 735i With 300k On It . Same Results - Same Oil. Funny Thing Is His Daughter Has A Honda Accord With 87k On It . Engine Had To Be Changed At 50k Due To A Thrown Rod. Imho - 129's Are Damn Near Bulletproof If You Do The Oil Changes And Maintenance As Prescribed. Now The 230's - That's Another Story
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:54 PM
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I have 194k on my 86 560SL and 150k on my 88 560SL. The 86 was burning oil when I pulled the engine. But I only pulled the engine to put in a V12. Nothing else was wrong with it.

John Roncallo
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:35 AM
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My '96 SL600 has 105K miles and had a bunch of problems when I picked it up at 82K miles - some caused by previous owner; some caused by MB (either design engineering or manufacturing). However, these are all fixed now and the car is quite solid. While it is too early to tell if this particular car will go 200K, I would lean towards saying ‘yes’.

On the other hand, my ’94 SL500 has been fabulous, except for the infamous engine wiring harness fiasco. I’m working through that crap now. Discounting this issue, the car has been a dream; only minor issues needing attention. Currently, it’s at 165K miles and I’ve owned it since 114K miles. It will easily make 200K and beyond.

Overall, I think the R129 model is solid and with proper maintenance will easily go 200K+ miles. Proper and rigorous maintenance is key – the more proactive maintenance done to the car, the longer it will last. Just common sense, really.

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Old 09-07-2007, 06:05 AM
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I would take any consumer report regarding benzes with a large grain of salt.

If the niggling electrical issues are kept after the underlying mechanicals will go for a very very long time.

Tom W
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:06 PM
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I think CU basis their opinion on car reliablility from their results for cars five years old and newer and we all know how much trouble new mercedes have been.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:24 PM
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If you're saying that my SL is going to cost me money, then I'm selling the thing right now...
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by POS View Post
If you're saying that my SL is going to cost me money, then I'm selling the thing right now...
That's just an ugly rumor, don't listen to it. SLs never break down, and even if they did, the parts are all free.
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by POS View Post
If you're saying that my SL is going to cost me money, then I'm selling the thing right now...
I think it's going to cost you alot of money especially that 500SL AMG. You should sell that one to me right away.

John Roncallo
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:06 PM
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sl a bad bet

I hope those mentioned Hondas last because I have both. But let me tell you as far as I am concerned they cost me twice as much to maintain as my 300SL.And my Toyota Siena was a Joke.Nice van but it was costly,and for that I would blame the dealer, but then Toyota should have stepped up to the dealer problem.They once wanted to bill me for FIVE wiper blades. Hate to gripe.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:18 AM
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My wife is a librarian and not a car person. She uses the consumer reports used car guides every time she wants a car (except the latest).

So far, with three cars, they've been right on the money. That's because they look at the money spending patterns and the happiness as viewed by the owners.

Will an SL reach 200k miles, if you want it to, yes. If you're willing to pay to fix it when it breaks, sure. Will it need something major in that time? Probably. Will anybody here that fixes his own cars care? Not one bit.

It's all about perspective. We have a mercedes bias, my wife Liz is less enamoured. Her last used car was a chevy Lumina, which was rated a best buy 6 years back. It sure was. They said the brakes would annoy us with constant repairs, it sure did. That's the level of analysis they perform. It's a good read if you need a used car.

Take it with a grain of salt? Sure. It's just a published opinion, like this or like the others already present in this thread. Your milage may vary.

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