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  #1  
Old 10-01-2007, 06:00 PM
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380sl

why are 380sl's so cheap? every time i see one, in seemingly decent condition with reasonable miles, it seems very cheap. are they unreliable?
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2007, 06:53 PM
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Not unreliable at all. They are solid cars, but in a market of reduced demand for cars that use more gas (hi test) the 380SL is not as highly sought. The 560SL is also suffering from flat prices, but the 560Sl has a few "modern" features like air bag and ABS that the 380Sl does not. The Climate control system of early 380SL's were prone to issues (some also on the 560SL) and climate control parts are expensive. Find a nice one that has been well-cared for without rust with everything working and it will be a fine luxury sports car.
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Old 10-01-2007, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ayrtonsenna View Post
why are 380sl's so cheap? every time i see one, in seemingly decent condition with reasonable miles, it seems very cheap. are they unreliable?
380SLs are considered the least desirable of the US spec 107s. Mostly because of the single row timing chain they used from 1981-1983, but also because they have the least power of any of the 107s. However, they also get the best gas mileage apart from the Euro 6 cylinder models.

The problem with a single row timing chain is because MB designed an interference engine. At different points in the engine cycle, the pistons and the valves both occupy the same space. If the chain stretches and jumps a tooth they can meet catastrophically and you wind up with a very large paperweight where your engine used to be. All MB engines are susceptible to this, but the 380SLs made 1981-1983 with their single row timing chain are more likely to have a problem than earlier or later 107 models that used the double row chain.

If you take proper precautions, a 380SL can be a very cost-effective way to get a 107. You need to make sure the engine timing chain and guides are in good condition and get replaced every few years. If you can't verify the work on a car you're considering, it should be the first maintenance you have done to the car. Costs typically range from $300-$600, depending on the shop. You should note that this is required for all 107 models, it's just required more often for the single row 380 than the others.
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Old 10-01-2007, 07:10 PM
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High mile engines..

^^^^What he said. Very good explanation in all respects,

The 380 Block itself is a good one. There is one in an '83 380SEC that was bought new by a shoe salesman in the midwest who couldn't take his samples on the airplane. It is still running and has over 925,000 miles on it as I recall. It was shown at a car show in Cincinnati a while back.

Autoweek tested it for a month, and gave the owner a brand new E320 as a loaner. They said it took 2 or 3 times to crank over but when it did, it ran fine.

The owner of the SEC returned the new E class loaner at the end of the month. He had put 6,000 miles on it.
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2007, 11:14 AM
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I might be biased since I have a 84 but I think the later 380sl (84-85) are the second most desirable cars in the 107 series. The timing chain issue was solved and the a\c system was changed to a more reliable system. I find that they have more than enough horsepower for tooling around town in and the gas mileage (18 city/22 highway) is pretty decent for an almost 2 ton car with a v-8. They are marginally slower than the earlier 450's and probably faster than the later 450's which were stuck with 3 speed autos and cobbled on anti-pollution equipment. Both the 450's and 560's are gas hogs.
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As for the timing chain issue I personally think its been blown out of proportion. Change it every 40 -50,000 miles and you should be okay. With the amount of driving I do on my car that works out to be about once every 15 years.
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Unless you have a need for speed buy a really nice 380sl and get used to a goofy grin everytime you'll get from driving on a sunny day and thinking about the money you saved
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by London380sl View Post
I might be biased since I have a 84 but I think the later 380sl (84-85) are the second most desirable cars in the 107 series. The timing chain issue was solved and the a\c system was changed to a more reliable system. I find that they have more than enough horsepower for tooling around town in and the gas mileage (18 city/22 highway) is pretty decent for an almost 2 ton car with a v-8. They are marginally slower than the earlier 450's and probably faster than the later 450's which were stuck with 3 speed autos and cobbled on anti-pollution equipment. Both the 450's and 560's are gas hogs.
.
As for the timing chain issue I personally think its been blown out of proportion. Change it every 40 -50,000 miles and you should be okay. With the amount of driving I do on my car that works out to be about once every 15 years.
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Unless you have a need for speed buy a really nice 380sl and get used to a goofy grin everytime you'll get from driving on a sunny day and thinking about the money you saved
I happen to agree. One of the online newsletter (or was it Sports Car Market) said that the 380sl was building in value because of it's decent gas mileage.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2007, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by London380sl View Post
I might be biased since I have a 84 but I think the later 380sl (84-85) are the second most desirable cars in the 107 series.
Well, everybody has their bias. I wouldn't trade my 78 450SL for any other 107. That one is my baby, and the 75 is just a car to work on.

I also think the timing chain issue is overblown. If it was the only engine that would self-destruct if the timing chain went, I could see it, but it isn't. Any of the engines will scrap themselves if proper maintenance isn't followed. And there is that mileage issue to look at, especially with the current cost of gas.

So, I agree with you - drive your 380 and enjoy it. And it doesn't really even matter if it's got a single or double row timing chain. Whichever one it has, replace it when necessary and don't worry about it the rest of the time. As far as resale value goes, worry about that if you ever decide to sell it.
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