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  #1  
Old 10-25-2009, 09:17 PM
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R129 buyer tips/advice ?

Wife and I have decided we would get more use out of a SL than the 911SC cabrio we currently have sitting here doing nothing.
She's no good with the 911s five speed and almost refuses to drive it so, it maybe time to sell and find a suitable replacement.
I know next to nothing about the R129 but have read the '96-98 cars were good due to the upgraded transmission.
I'd really like to hear from members familiar with this model SL.
What do we need to watch for??? Problem areas???
Thanks, Dan
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2009, 02:43 PM
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Should you buy a 96 to 98 SL500?

Well I bought a '95 nearly two years ago and if I weren't reasonably handy, this car would have cost a fortune. While it looks great, there is soo much engineering in this car, I would suggest you think about it twice. Make sure you find a very qualified MB mechanic familiar with the car to check it out first. I know this, there are engine wiring issues with the SL and others in the 90 to 95 yrs but I also know that cars in the 96-98 have had issues as well. I new harness will cost about $770 in material and than there is labor. My labor is free but the MB mechanic at the dealer is about $110 per hr. The convertible top hydraulics have been a problem. Very expensive to fix unless you can do yourself. The A/C heater core will leak freon at some point, it is behind the dash and you have to remove the dash to get to this. The labor is somewhere around 24 hrs. but the parts aren't too expensive. Believe me, I love my car, but I think I would have been better off with a domestic sports car. Check the cost of one fuel injector or a replacement computer module.....

This forum is about the best place to get info on this car. One bad thing about the MB line is the general lack of workshop manuals available to DIYers. The CD-ROMs and the ALLData info comes up way short unless one of the Pro's online here decide to help you out.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2009, 06:12 PM
Pete Geither's Avatar
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Have had a 95 also for about 7 years,,,, NO issues so far and I love the car.
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2009, 08:37 PM
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I am shocked at the low prices these are fetching. A 92 with 89K miles for 8K around here. I saw it and it was worth putting a few K into. An MBCA member got a 99 with 27K miles on it for 17.5. These were REALLY expensive when new.
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  #5  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeydan View Post
but have read the '96-98 cars were good due to the upgraded transmission.
need to watch for??? Problem areas???
Thanks, Dan
Make sure you get a good inspection, I had 2 SL's with blow trannies before 100k, one was a 92, the other was a 96 (which also had an engine failure). Other than those major caveats it was my favorite car out of all the cars Ive ever owned.
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  #6  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusfazekas View Post
Well I bought a '95 nearly two years ago and if I weren't reasonably handy, this car would have cost a fortune. While it looks great, there is soo much engineering in this car, I would suggest you think about it twice. Make sure you find a very qualified MB mechanic familiar with the car to check it out first. I know this, there are engine wiring issues with the SL and others in the 90 to 95 yrs but I also know that cars in the 96-98 have had issues as well. I new harness will cost about $770 in material and than there is labor. My labor is free but the MB mechanic at the dealer is about $110 per hr. The convertible top hydraulics have been a problem. Very expensive to fix unless you can do yourself. The A/C heater core will leak freon at some point, it is behind the dash and you have to remove the dash to get to this. The labor is somewhere around 24 hrs. but the parts aren't too expensive. Believe me, I love my car, but I think I would have been better off with a domestic sports car. Check the cost of one fuel injector or a replacement computer module.....

This forum is about the best place to get info on this car. One bad thing about the MB line is the general lack of workshop manuals available to DIYers. The CD-ROMs and the ALLData info comes up way short unless one of the Pro's online here decide to help you out.

Steve
How does the heater core leak freon? Are you refering to the AC evaporator?
Does the R129 suffer from this problem as well as the W140?
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  #7  
Old 10-27-2009, 06:47 AM
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Try as I might to push my wife towards an R107, if anything she wants an R129.
So, how hard are the hydraulics to fix for a DIYer? A friend at work has a '96 that currently has busted hydraulics, and I know she spent some money on cylinders a year or two ago...

Rick
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2009, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeydan View Post
How does the heater core leak freon? Are you refering to the AC evaporator?
Does the R129 suffer from this problem as well as the W140?
He said "The A/C heater core" and could have said the heater box assembly, which includes both the heater core and the evaporator next to it. That assembly has to come out to replace a leaking evaporator, which means removing the dash, console, etc.

The 124s have this problem also.
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  #9  
Old 10-27-2009, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeydan View Post
I know next to nothing about the R129 but have read the '96-98 cars were good due to the upgraded transmission.
Where did you read that? The "upgraded" transmission was the source of some problems and improved through revisions: When was the 722.6 sorted out?.

I suggest including '99 and newer cars in your search as well. Those cars have the M113 engine which is somewhat more powerful, though it has a lower peak horsepower rating.
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2009, 10:43 AM
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Wow, maybe we don't want a R129.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2009, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strife View Post
These were REALLY expensive when new.
They're REALLY expensive now, too.

To run, maintain, and repair that is.
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  #12  
Old 10-27-2009, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
They're REALLY expensive now, too.

To run, maintain, and repair that is.
Sound like they are definately worse to run, maintain and repair than the 911.

BTW, I looked at a '00 500SL, 49K miles today for $22K.
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  #13  
Old 10-28-2009, 03:05 PM
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We have put over 50k trouble free miles on our 96 SL600.
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  #14  
Old 10-28-2009, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
They're REALLY expensive now, too. To run, maintain, and repair that is.
This is true if you rely exclusively upon a dealer for maintenance and repairs *and* the dealer is marginally competent. The R129 can be an inexpensive car to own and maintain.
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  #15  
Old 10-28-2009, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobterry99 View Post
This is true if you rely exclusively upon a dealer for maintenance and repairs *and* the dealer is marginally competent. The R129 can be an inexpensive car to own and maintain.
Sounds just like many others I've owned. When I DID take them to the dealer they always found some related part that it needed. Typically it was something they broke in the process of fixing the actual problem.
For the last 12 years I've done all my own repairs other than the engine R&R on the 911 for a reseal.

I may keep looking.
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