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  #1  
Old 08-18-2003, 11:20 PM
BigPoppaBenz
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help me restore an sl...

Alright, so I just finished rebuilding my friends small block Chevy engine with him today and now I've got the fever. I'm a college student so funds are a little tight, but I'd really like to rebuild an r107 next summer.

I've been looking at places to get the obvioust replacement parts (valve train, bearing sets, gasket sets, etc) and I've noticed that the parts are pretty expensive.
Right now I'm leaning towards a late seventies - early eighties 450 sl because there are rebuildable ones around and there aren't a lot of electronics to get in the way.
I would be doing this for pleasure and probably can't afford to keep a second car around so I would put it up for sale when I was done with the rebuild.

So here are the questions:
1) Does anybody know of a place to get cheaper parts (looked at adsitco, partsshop)
2) Am I out of my mind? Will I be able to at least make my money back after the rebuild?
3) Does anybody know of a car near them that is rebuildable and for sale?
4) What is the difference between engine #046686 and #046685? Parts are a lot cheaper for engine 046685 so I'm guessing it's smaller displacement. Am I right?

I am aware that owning an sl will cost more money than imagined but I am just looking to have a little fun. As long as I can get my money out of it or even make a little bit then I will be a happy camper.

Thanks for you time

Peter
1988 420sel
1988 300e
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2003, 11:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Contact Potomac Pat. He participates on this site.

He works at a Mercedes Benz recycling yard and can get you good used parts.
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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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  #3  
Old 08-19-2003, 11:46 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 563
Lets tackle the easiest one first
Quote:
2) Am I out of my mind? Will I be able to at least make my money back after the rebuild?
Not necessarily and no. You will not make your money back. You're only out of your mind if you think there's a business in this. The R107 chassis has too many good examples out there for people to pay a premium. If you really want to do this, your best bet is to find one that has an excellent paint job and interior.

BTW, in the U.S., the models are:
450SL '72-'80
380SL '81-'85
560SL '86-'89

And I wouldn't say that any of them are overburdened with electronics.
Quote:
4) What is the difference between engine #046686 and #046685? Parts are a lot cheaper for engine 046685 so I'm guessing it's smaller displacement. Am I right?
Those are engine serial numbers, so the displacement is probably the same. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it was when the fuel injection changed from EFI to CIS. That was around 1976, I believe. Actually, I'm not sure why parts would be any cheaper.
Quote:
1) Does anybody know of a place to get cheaper parts (looked at adsitco, partsshop)
If you're looking for new parts try www.peachparts.com, www.***************, or www.epsparts.com. For used parts, Potomac Auto and Silver Star Recycling are the first two that come to mind.
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1988 560SL Black/Palomino
1988 300SEL Black Pearl/Burgandy
1984 500SEC Anthracite Grey/Palomino
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2003, 05:46 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
BPB,
If you can rebuild a SBC why don't you try a SB Ford and stick it into an sl/slc? You will not only end up with an engine with a lot more HP but one that you can afford to drive and maintain. SBC are a bit too wide in the V and the bell housing is a bit large to fit into an sl/slc but I understand that the V on a Ford engine is slightly narrower and might be easy to fit in. There are a lot of really good engines out there, some like the new Chrysler with ohc, that might be easy to adapt. Even many V-6s now a days have upwards of 250 hp which would make an sl/slc mive right along.

Unfortunately you won't get your money back out of either a rebuilt MB or a Ford swap but the experience might be interesting. If you did an American V-8 you might document it. I bet that there are more people out there besides myself that would be interested in the project. This could be the very winter project that you have been looking for.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2003, 02:49 AM
BigPoppaBenz
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Thanks for all the replies. That's a good idea Kip - too bad to hear the chevy won't fit because my friend has an extra 283 just waiting to be rebuilt.

Anyway, if possible I would like to stick to the original engine but we'll have to see.
I'm currently talking to a guy about buying his 280sl which has a pretty rough engine with average paint and interior.
My thinking is that rebuilding this engine will be a lot cheaper because its a single cam instead of dohc like the v-8's. Unfortunately it's kind of a small engine.

In terms of an engine rebuild, is it ever possible to have cams reground/balanced while installing a new valve train or is it always recommended that they be replaced with new?

Thanks again

Peter
1988 300e
1988 420sel
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2003, 10:26 AM
M D Nugent
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Lightbulb Another alternative

How's your electronics knowledge? That's about the only difficult area in swapping in a newer MB engine.

There MIGHT be a profitable business opportunity finding guys with 380SL's (who are disappointed with the performance) and replacing their engines with 5.6 V8's . . . . The only serious drawback I can see would be in locations where smog testing would make the transplant illegal. That displacement increase - from 3.8 to 5.6 - would be the most dramatic of all 107 SL projects: 3.4 seconds off the 0-60mph time!

Anyway, to get an idea of what's involved, see http://www.carcentric.com/MB2MBswap.htm - I think it's fairly complete.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2003, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
Peter,
You might want to check www.preformanceproducts.com and look at their 450 long blocks. They are upwards of $5-6,000 before they even leave the shop. I think that most of the 450 to 560 MB engines that you would find, even with 200K + miles on them would be good enough to run w/o tearing into the bottom end. Maybe a valve job and new hoses etc., but once you get into the "I'm this far in I might as well..." syndrom you are looking at BIG bucks.

That little radiator fan clutch that cost you $40 on a SBC will set you back about $270 on a MB, and the list goes on. Plus you need a handfull of specialized tools.

In the long run, unless you are going for collector quality, the sl/slcs are just not worth putting that kind of money into. There are too many of them on the market. Check out www.collectorcartraderonline.com to see more sl/slcs than you have ever seen. It is odd that the sls are worth half again or more than the slcs.

Before I bought my slc I looked for one with a blown engine so that I could make a Ford conversion, but, MB owners take pretty good care of their cars. I bought my '77 slc in Houston for $4,000 and it is a real bargin. I have put about $3,000 into it for seat covers, suspension, timing chain, engine wiring, etc., and now it goes like the wind. I can get a speeding ticket just as fast an any Corvett.

Good luck on your search, but you might want to check out parts prices before you but. I have a 1973 Euro 350 slc 4 spd manual trans. parts car if you are looking for running gear. Apparently the Euro engine is supposed to have about 240 hp as compared with the US version of the 450 that has only 180 hp. I was going to put the trans. in my 450 but it runs well now and I am working on going to Kuwait for a job for a couple of years so all projects are on hold.

Kip
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2003, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 563
Quote:
It is odd that the sls are worth half again or more than the slcs.
In most cases, a convertible goes for more than its coupe counterpart. Look at Corvettes. Even in '63, I think the convertible has more value and that's the year of the split rear window in the coupe.

Unlike the Corvette, I'm pretty sure that a hardtop was standard equipment on all 107 SLs.
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Mike Heath
1988 560SL Black/Palomino
1988 300SEL Black Pearl/Burgandy
1984 500SEC Anthracite Grey/Palomino
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2003, 06:31 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
Fortunately I don't share the general public's enthusiasm for the convertables. I think that not only are the coupes better looking and more stylish than convs. but vandals have a much harder time getting into a coupe with a box cutter. And, something tells me that a coupe might stand a slightly better chance of survival in a roll over.
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