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  #16  
Old 11-05-2003, 06:27 PM
lynn tassin
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I agree but Im not one of them. If there are any tinkerers in the DC area fel free to contact me
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2003, 07:07 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 766
Your results may vary...

Actually, my experience to date has been that there are specific things to be expected at certain points, and a few known weaknesses to be addressed either preventively or when they happen. In my case, I didn't know enough to ask the right questions when I bought mine, and therefore have done the timing chain/guides/tensioner, steering box and the radiator, in addition to a major maintenance and replacing shocks which I more or less expected. I added a few thousand in bills onto the purchase price, but it's still appraised at more than I've spent, and it's fundamentally been fairly well taken care of in the past. Now it's pretty much up to snuff, except for brakes (eventually needed for any car) due next Spring, and a new top (eventually due for any convertible).

Having said that, it's never left me immobile anywhere, and it's been my daily driver from May until now. It fires up immediately, runs faultlessly, and entertains me constantly. I love driving it and expect to hang onto it for a decade or two. I'm about to put it away and drive my away-at-college daughter's Jetta for the winter, and I'm already eager for next spring.

If I wanted an appliance for transportation purposes, I certainly wouldn't have the Benz, and the model does have its little quirks--but I actually enjoy them, and I couldn't buy anything half as much fun for what I've got in this!
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Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2003, 07:09 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Lynn,

I'm really curious as to what problems you've experienced in your 3 months of ownership.

Can you look at your repair bills and list what's gone wrong?
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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".

Last edited by suginami; 11-05-2003 at 07:56 PM.
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  #19  
Old 11-05-2003, 07:55 PM
Rayson
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Paul, I am with you on this one. I too would love to see Lynn post a list of all the problems. Lynn, sorry your experience with your SL has been so sour.
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2003, 08:10 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,527
Lynn -

First off, we're all sorry to hear about your problems. We all take it a bit personally when one of "our" cars doesn't treat someone right. That said, I suspect your problems are more a lack of competent service personnel than a car that truly needs that much work.

Second, I would encourage you to sell the car. A 20+ year old car - any 20 year old car - is only suitable for someone who is a DIY. If you're the type to Pay The Man, better off with something newer.

An FX45? Seriously? Those ride hard, really hard. Infiniti was serious when they put the sport in the suspension of those things. The first year depreciation alone will swamp the cost of owning the 380SL. That's the tradeoff with owning new cars; I personally don't find them worth the cost.

- JimY
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  #21  
Old 11-05-2003, 09:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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Lynn,

Jcyuhn is largely correct in what he writes about the maintenance requirements of an older car.

You probably just got "unlucky" in the sense that the car you purchased needed a lot of care that the previous owner didn't give it. A 23 year old car is going to need replacement of parts that are at the end or past the end of their usefull service life. A PPI (pre-purchase inspection) might have revealed a lot of these problems before you bought the car, but it's too late to speculate now that you've bought the car and spent money repairing it.

Last, his comments on depreciation are right on the money. Depreciation is the most expensive component of car ownership. It is always overlooked by car owners because it happens to us passively. Everyone tends to over-emphasive the cost of repairs in maintenance within the total cost of car ownership. People usually sell a car when they feel they get "nickel and dimed" on repairs.

The fact is that maintenance and repairs are low on the list of car ownership expenses - less than the cost of depreciation, insurance, and fuel.

About the FX45 - believe it or not, you will incur more losses in depreciation in the first year of ownership than you spent in fixing up the 380 SL. The retail price on this car is about $45,000. This car will lose half it's value in the first three years. That is a loss of $22,50, or $7,500 / year.

See what I mean? You won't think twice of buying an FX45 and losing $7,500 per year for three years in a row, but are indignant in spending whatever amount you've spent fixing up the 380 SL.

I'm not trying to persuade you to keep the 380SL. It's probably a good idea to get rid of it considering what you expect out of a 23 year old car.

Instead, it's probably advisable to buy a 2-3 year old car, preferrably from a dealer's lot that has been put through their certification program. They usually come with some kind of warranty, even up to 100,000 miles. Mercedes calls their program "Starmark", and it is usually worth every penny.
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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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  #22  
Old 11-05-2003, 11:05 PM
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Posts: 133
Couldn't agree more Paul.

I'm an accountant and couldn't have made those points any better.
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  #23  
Old 11-05-2003, 11:59 PM
Black129
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Like everyone else I agree that an 20+ year old car will need maintainece but comparing it to a 20+ year old toyota or ford is like comparing apples with oranges. Mercedes has always been on the fore front of technology and with technology comes problems that are unavoidable. If you think of the technology in the mercedes compared to a ford is HUGE, believe me I had a 90 LX mustang with 350hp and I knew that car inside out. I now have a 97SL500 and I only do a few things to it(all filters and plugs). Unless you have the skills or guts to really dig into these(mercedes) cars, it is better to leave it to the pros. Any time you have an item that is on the cutting edge of the technology curve you will run into problems. That is the trade off for having such an advanced car.
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  #24  
Old 11-06-2003, 10:20 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Convent Station, NJ
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Lynn is right about cars this age needing alot of work/care. The responses have been well thought out and logical.

What scares me is that this "one thing after another going wrong" phenomena is what's happening to brand new Mercedes all too often. I cringe to thing about a DIYer 20 years from now trying to keep their head above water.
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Rick

'85 380 SL (sold)
'85 Carrera Flatnose
'71 280 SL Signal Red/Cognac
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  #25  
Old 11-06-2003, 11:05 AM
lynn tassin
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You use the term ADVANCED. I had to laugh. My whole point is I wouldnt mind spending even $70,000 on a car but you know what ... IT BETTER RUN. A car this price should be non stop quality. I mentioned the older american cars and stressed that at the same age, they are spending lots of enjoyable time on the road unlike me and my counterparts. It speaks volums that you guys even have to have a forum or "support group" to reign in all of the problems. Im gonna check online and see if there is an old ford or toyota support group lol. Those guys have $7000.00 cash in thier pockets, Ive just got the bills. Im not sure but I think they're having alot more fun than we are, and laughing all the way to the bank. Ill be in my "STIFF" infiniti which gets more stares and jaw dropping than I ever had in this old heap. I wonder what I was ever thinking.
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  #26  
Old 11-06-2003, 11:36 AM
lynn tassin
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Ill list the problems, in hopes it will help some other sucker

Full tune up all plugs plug wires distributor rotor replaced

Car has low speed miss. MB mechanics determined no head gasket leaks. In fact car has no leaks at all. ALso when stopped like at stop sign etc, the car jumps. It literally moves up and down. Sometime it eventually kills. PLease read my other posts titled 380 sl jumping on idle.

They have now replaced the timing chain , tensioner, guides etc. car still jumps

Current repair bill is at $6400.00. That puts me at about OH $17,000.00 including the puchase price and its still jumping. I think the best thing to do is bring it in for appraisal. It should appraise high because it looks great and in great physical shape..(as long as they dont drive it). THEN I think the best thing to do would be for me to drive it down to the projects and leave it there with the keys in it. So you see at $6400.00 in repair in month 3, thats the same price as the FX45 depreciation and I have a flawless car that I can use to pick you guys up on the road when YOURS breaks down. I love this country lol
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  #27  
Old 11-06-2003, 01:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North Central Kentucky
Posts: 1,068
Let's see, we've had our '88 560SL (123k at purchase) since Christmas and in 10 months and 7k miles I've replaced:
-Oil and filter (twice)
-Sunvisor tabs
-front brake caliper (knew was bad when I bought car) & pads
-Spark plugs
-Air filter
-floor mats (old ones looked ratty)
-power antenna mast (backed under something)
-license plate light bulb
-windshield wiper blades
That's it! Truely sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your car. I hope your next one gives you many years of ultra-reliable service. As to a 20 year old Ford, I suspect most 20 year old Fords are running fine...as two year old Chevys. By now they have been recycled at least once. I think if an accurate count was made of the percent of 1981 cars still on road, MB would be near the top.
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  #28  
Old 11-06-2003, 01:31 PM
lynn tassin
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I think there are more ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAd, rather than on it.
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  #29  
Old 11-06-2003, 02:28 PM
Black129
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Lynn... where are you finding a 20+ year old infinity at. Last I looked infiniti started building cars in 1990. And just to let you know, you wont be picking me up just looking at my tail lights when I scream past you. Have fun in you Sudo Utility Vehicle.
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  #30  
Old 11-06-2003, 03:27 PM
lynn tassin
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Black try to read the post carefully before thinking of something clever to say. I think I hear your rear main seal about to go out. better go check it. FX 45 is a brand new Infinity. Ive now learned my lesson not to buy somebody's old junk
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