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Old 09-15-2002, 11:37 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Wadda ya'll think of the 300SL SL320 R129?

In her search for an SLK, my wife has happened upon a co-worker's husband's 1991 300SL. It's an original owner car with 105,000 kilometers. Great service history.

She's a little afraid of such an old car, but it is in terrific condition. She drove it tonight, and likes it.

Any known problems/caveats we should looks for?
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 09-15-2002, 11:57 PM
elau's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: MD.
Posts: 1,725
As long as the car as FSH as you said, I would say the car should be fine. The only thing I will be cautioned is the hydrulic (sp?) for the roof. There has been some mentioning on the earlier model SL recently on the roof mechanism going bad.

Otherwise, the car is built like a vault. I love mine so much that I passed up trading it in for a 993 C4 Cab with less mileage.

Make sure you check to see if there is any oil leak on the head gasket. The earlier model has that problem, but its no big deal to fix.
95 R129
04 Infiniti G35.5 BS
10 X204
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Old 09-16-2002, 05:11 PM
Posts: n/a
I love mine

I have a 1992 300SL - and I just cant get enough of it. Mine has similar mileage 58,000 miles and feels rock solid. They are not the cheapest car to get spares for, and you already know about stealership prices !

There are a lot of knowlegable people on the forum and even roof problemscan be tackled

If it has the std corners - get them changed - it makes a big difference to how the car looks


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Old 09-16-2002, 07:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: North Wildwood, New Jersey
Posts: 84
I purchased my 1990 300SL in March of 2000. It had 25,000 miles at the time and I' now have 48,000 miles on it. All in all it's been a great car and I plan to keep it for quite awhile. You do need to keep in mind that some things do wear out with age. This year, I've had to replace the top switches and the water pump and repace the air conditioner expansion valve. When you do need repairs, they're usually expensive, but these cars have all of the features you'd expect to find on new luxury cars. I wouldn't trade mine for an SLK.

BobH 90 R129
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Old 11-01-2002, 05:30 AM
spinedoc's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: North Grafton, MA USA
Posts: 700
Hey guys, Im looking at a 1990 300SL, any comments on how the 3.0engine moves the 4k lbs of weight?

This one has about 60k, has both tops and will run me $17,900.
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Old 11-01-2002, 05:28 PM
Marc-1's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Spencer, MA
Posts: 80
I own a 1991 300SL and I couldn't possibly put into words what this car does for me
Problems??!?!? NONE!
The car is a dream.... Oh, before I forget, at sometime I read about it being slow.... Try pushing the gas pedal! Really, if you push it about 1/2 inch from the floor you feel a mechanical 'click' and pushing it past this regulates full torque from the transmission and also engages the first gear. If you look at the red line it will up-shift at about 6500.... Now hold it there for 5 seconds and call me from prison with the results
Try 40mph to 120mph in about 3 seconds.....UP HILL.
And I get followed alot with people who want a closer look.
The beach.... Let's just say I can feel the eyes on me. Big sunglasses and my ball cap on backwards, (keeps me focussed on the road)
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Old 11-01-2002, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Everyone may already be aware of this, but the 3.0 liter engine in the 1990-1992 300 SL's is not the same 3.0 liter engine used in the 1986-1992 300E's.

The 3.0 liter engine used in the 300 SL's is the early version of the 24-valve DOHC M104 engine. It still uses the CIS-E fuel injection system, so they still have a distributor with one coil wire and 6 spark plug wires. This is a mechanical injection system with electronic control.

The 3.0 liter engine used in the '86-'92 300E's is the 12 valve SOHC M103 engine, and also uses a similar version of the CIS-E fuel injection system.

This 3.0 liter M104 engine was also used in the '90-92 300CE's.

The "modern" 3.2 liter M104 engine was used in all 1993 and later 300SL's, 300E's, 300CE's, 300E Cabriolet's, and 300TE wagon's. Note that all 1993 300E / SL / CE / TE's are misbadged as the engine is a 3.2 liter engine. The badging error was corrected starting in all 1994 models, but only the logisticians at Mercedes have the answer for this one. It is for this reason that all 1993 models are a good value.

This engine uses a different ignition system - HFM (hot-film mass air flow sensor), fully electronic with integrated electronic ignition and sequential fuel injection. This system combines fuel injection and ignition control in one module. HFM-SFI systems use coils that are mounted directly on the spark plugs, replacing the distributor at the front of the engine. Each coil pack provides spark to two spark plugs at the same time, one connected directly to one plug, and the other with a short high tension lead to the next spark plug. So there are 3 coil wires and 3 high tension lead wires.

HFM fuel injection systems are designed so that idle speed can't be adjusted. Idle speed is completely controlled electronically. This HFM injection system also has adaptive technology that compensates for conditions such as engine wear and unmeasured intake air and is designed to maintain driveability as the engine ages.

Last, HFM-SFI can retard engine knocking to just the knocking cylinders, unlike EZL technology, which retards spark timing across the entire engine. This keeps the ignition timing point as advanced as possible for maximum power output.

The early M104 engines are nice, but the advancement of technology is just so great starting from 1993, that if at all possible, try to get in a 1993 or newer 300 SL / 1994-newer SL 320.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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