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  #1  
Old 09-08-2003, 03:18 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Kingsburg, Ca.
Posts: 87
Rust/Timing Chain

Hello all,

I just purchased/inherited a 1980 450 SL w/ 92000 miles on it. I have two main questions, no, make that three:

1) Underneath the hardtop, there was a small rusted area about 3 inches in length, and a 1/4 " wide. What's the best course of action? The hardtop had never been taken off in the cars 23 year life, and obviously some moisture got under there.

2) I've read that it is imperative to chain the timing chain. How often do you reccomend this job, and how much should it cost for a fully qualified mechanic to do the job?

3) Sort of related to question #1, but how much would a high quality new paint job cost, including replacing the body trim pieces?

Thanks for your help,
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Chris Meyer
1980 450 SL (99k miles)
2003 Honda Odyssey (Family Hauler)
2006 BMW 330i (daily driver)
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2003, 04:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Deerfield, Illinois
Posts: 349
Hi Chris -- and welcome to the forum -- congratulations on your car. I know there are others who will answer your questions better than I could, but I wanted to ask the question -- how is the soft-top? did it emerge well after 23 years?


You should do a search on the forum for the answers to your questions, the following is what, briefly, I have read here: 1)depends on the damage -- is it damage to the car or the top? -- you can buy a new top on ebay if the damage is bad-- ($300 to $500). 2) the scoop is that the timing chain needs to be replaced at 100k miles -- however, you should consider that some combination of age and mileage will effect that number -- I have read that there are plastic parts on which the chain rides that may, by now, be brittle. 3) a fellow going by LOWMILE on this forum painted his 450sl and his car came out magnificently -- I think it was a 3 or 4k paint job --you should search under his name in this forum -- you can get a good job for less than that too -- his 450sl won first prize in a concourse here in Chicagoland.


Congratulations again on your "new" car!
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Dan

1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)

Last edited by DanielG; 09-08-2003 at 05:03 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2003, 11:15 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Kingsburg, Ca.
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Rust

Thanks for the input Dan. The rust is on the car, underneath where the hardtop sat.

As for the soft top, I was amazed when I pulled it out for the first time, I do believe it was the first time in the 23 year history of the car that it has ever seen the light of day! I bought the car from my grandpa, who had bought it from a friend 3 years ago, and neither of them had ever taken the hardtop off! I feared that depsite never being opened, it may have some damage, but the canvas was perfect, and the windows were a B+, just a little bit of discoloration in a few spots, most of which I have been able to get out already, the rest probably w/ a few more cleanings.

I thought it might be more to repaint, that's encouraging. I'm thinking about changing from the car's current white to a red. The interior is the brown leather, and the soft top is black, so I don't see a problem there. Any thoughts on chagning colors?

Thanks again,
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Chris Meyer
1980 450 SL (99k miles)
2003 Honda Odyssey (Family Hauler)
2006 BMW 330i (daily driver)
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2003, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Convent Station, NJ
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Chris,

Figure alot more effort and cash to do a color change. To do it properly you'd have to basically strip the car and prep/respray the bare shell and appendages seperately (Doors, trunk, hood etc).

If you go with the same color there are ways to save some money. First is to strip the body of all trim, weather stripping, hardware and lights. Look around and inquire at local body shops and see if they'll work with you. Additionally, ask your mechanic (or anyone who may be able to help) if they know of a good body/paint tech. If you are able to get a personal contact you may be able to work out a deal on the side. Many of these guys can do personal work after hours or on the side. This is where you can save big time.

Also, ask if they will use high quality materials for the repaint...eg: Glasurit, Sikkens etc. The use of an etching primer and zinc chromate will help keep rust at bay after it is dealt with through sanding, sandblasting. cut-and-patch or panel replacement.
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Rick

'85 380 SL (sold)
'85 Carrera Flatnose
'71 280 SL Signal Red/Cognac

Last edited by RickM; 09-09-2003 at 09:50 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2003, 09:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Deerfield, Illinois
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Here is the link to LOWMILE's paint experience -- the link takes you to page 2, near the bottom of which LOWMILE explains that the job cost $3250 -- but that other shops wanted twice the money for the job. Its important to shop it around -- I like RickM's advice about asking your tech and seeing if someone will do it after hours --that is brilliant.

I'm impressed that the top was in good shape after all of those years of storage.

Since your family only owned the car for three years, and its not an heirloom, you might consider selling it and finding another car in better condition (and the color you want) -- there are lots of 107's and putting a lot of money into one, when there are many in excellent condition, might not be the best use of your money. Its your call (and money). Keep us up-to-date on your progress -- the repairs and reconditioning that members of this forum do make for some of the best reading here.


Before Photo

best regards,
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Dan

1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2003, 10:02 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Convent Station, NJ
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Dan,

Thanks for the compliment. The after hours idea came after a casual conversation with a good friend/Auto repair shop owner mentioned another buddy looking for side work.

After a phone call I determined this guy was a very experienced perfectionist. He redid one of my cars in black with Glasurit paint products and then buffed it to a mirror finish for....get this...... less than $1000. The show winning paint job would have probably cost me between $7500 and $10k if I went to a shop off the street. Unfortunately he moved to Tenn for another job. He was actually recruited by a large dealership.

In any case, I found another guy who does excellent work for great prices. He works in a new car dealership body shop. They let him use the shop after hours....you know he has access to excellent equipment to do the job right.
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Rick

'85 380 SL (sold)
'85 Carrera Flatnose
'71 280 SL Signal Red/Cognac
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2003, 11:37 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Kingsburg, Ca.
Posts: 87
good Ideas

Thanks everybody for your great ideas! It's very appreciated!
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Chris Meyer
1980 450 SL (99k miles)
2003 Honda Odyssey (Family Hauler)
2006 BMW 330i (daily driver)
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