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  #1  
Old 08-26-2003, 01:18 PM
Gary Ganaway's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 367
1990 500SL potential purchase advice

I have already searched and have found somethings to look for on SL problem areas. I have seen one in my area that is a 1990, 39K orginal miles and appears to be in great shape. I already have a '95 E420 and know some of the issues that this model has( yes, the evaporator is out), but my wife likes the SL's and is interested in taking a look at this one. Can you tell me what the critical problem areas it may have? We started out looking to replace our SUV(Jeep) but can't get excited about the new ones and thought,,why not keep the Jeep and look at a Benz convertible to keep company with the E420.

Appreciate all comments pro and con. Thanks
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95 E420 ( 76K) SOLD
85 380SE(125k)
95 SL500(72k)
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2003, 04:08 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: UK - South East Coast
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Gary

Have a search on my name as I too have just bought and asked similar questions here before.

I have a 500SL '93 and she has only one minor problem - need a new window motor and gearbox. Sounds bad eh...but it's not. Easy to replace and only 100UKP from my local dealer.

Things to look out for:

600 isn't recommended as engine isn't anywhere near as good as the 500.

500 is the most solid engine, with no written warranty failures to date.

Check hood travels in/out without hitch - bear in mind that this procedure could require the button to be pressed twice. There are handles in the soft top to just ease her into position if the roof doesn't close in one press. This isn't a problem - says so in manual!

Check soft top doesn't leak - mind you I get a little condensed water in the passenger footwell occasionally when air con is on max - not sure if this is a problem, but it's only a very minor amount.

Check hard top sucks in and seals in one button press.

Check cables in side of soft top that pull the top into the body - mine need replacing. If they have snapped (guess a design fault here) then the soft canvas doesn't fit snug onto the body and you will here a little wind noise above 40MPH - but this isn't a real problem.

Check oil pressure rises immediately - should be 3 bar at 2K RPM when hot.

Check for excessive oil in engine bay - again I've looked a 6 500's and found not a trace in any - even one's which cosmetically are in real poor shape.

Whooops... seem to have wondered into general things to check for, and not necessarily applicable to SLs - that's because they are great cars!!!

Once driven, forever smitten take my word!!
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'93 R129 500SL-32
'89 190E 2.6 - sold in 2002

http://antron.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/i...nature/Sig.jpg
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2003, 04:37 PM
Gary Ganaway's Avatar
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Learoy: Thank you for the comments. I'll keep you posted on what I do.
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95 E420 ( 76K) SOLD
85 380SE(125k)
95 SL500(72k)
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  #4  
Old 08-26-2003, 08:04 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
Look for leaks in the steering gear box and also the pump. The pump isn't too hard to get fixed, but the steering gear box is big bucks.

Make sure they have the hard top.

Check the soft top for cracks in the rear plastic windows.

Check the power seats for proper function (tilt ahead position, like for getting to the rear stowage boxes)

Check the inside rear view mirror for looseness/vibration and also color match (they fade after awhile, and also they can break loose inside and are real pricey to replace.)

Ticking in the engine can mean the oil bridges are busted. Cheap enough to fix, you may get a good deal if the owner believes it has something major going on and just wants to dump the car.

Gilly
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2003, 02:57 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Genolier, Switzerland
Posts: 172
Niggles

As can be seen from my signature, I have one. I am sure you have seen the advice in the forum that you should have the car fully inspected by a mail dealer. If the seller does not agree, you should walk away.

Mine had no faults when I bought it four years ago from the dealer. Since then, it has had a variety of small niggles, some of which are not yet fixed. It will be in for its 60k km/36k mile service on the 10th and 11th of September.

The faults:-
- Leaking hard top. Didn't leak last winter after I followed a tip here about applying vaseline along the seals before putting it on. Have changed employer, and will have outdoor parking this winter, so we will see.
- Driver-side headreast gear slips, so headrest does not go up and down.
- Driver-side orthopedic seat air currently not working. Can hear air leaking at valve.
- Two radio antenna masts so far, as they just seem to lock up.
- Tempremental remote locking. (Once a month, the lock lights stay on after operating, of course not while the dealer is checking it, and the passenger side receiver no longer seems to work.)
- Leaking radiator expansion chamber. Leaks where the metal part that supports the cap meets the plastic part.
- Bulb behind external temperature LCD has blown.
- Driver-side heated seat blows fuses regularly when I switch it straight to high position. Fine if I start off on low heat.

The car is still a pleasure to drive. Everything mechanical is wonderful! It's "character" (meaning the things above) irritates my wife. She spotted a 12-month old new SL at the local MB dealer, which is what ultimately led me to order the CLK500 convertible, as I need more than two seats. 9-month lead time. Delivery April. The new E should arrive in January.

Momo
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1990 500SL 65k km - until May 11 2004
2004 E320 4-Matic wagon
2004 CLK500 Cabrio from May 11 2004
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2003, 03:31 AM
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Location: UK - South East Coast
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Gilly

What are 'oil bridges' and what sort of ticking in terms of volume?
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http://antron.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/i...nature/Sig.jpg
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