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  #1  
Old 04-20-2004, 07:40 PM
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Will 83 500 SEL wheels fit on an 83 SL?

While wandering the earth from junkyard to junkyard in search of various dodads and widgets for my 1983 280SL, I came across a 1983 500 SEL, a magnifcent behemouth forgotten against the far back fence of a huge Houston junkyard, finding its final resting place beneath an enormous oak. The car still has magnificent set of original curb-rash free 15" alloy wheels which I think will be perfect once the tree sap is removed. Does anyone out there know if these will fit on my SL or how I can make them fit without compromising the car in anyway? If it helps, the tires mounted on the wheels of the 500 are p215/65/R15. My SL currently has the common 14"x7" rims found on most early to mid 80s SLs.

Thanks in advance!

Kirk Vining
83 280 SL
84 Porsche 944
And a bunch of various oriental cars the kids and wife drive

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Old 04-20-2004, 08:01 PM
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Just to be a little clearer, my SL has the "bundt cake" style wheels, while the 500 SEL has the flat surface alloys.
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:21 PM
Fimum Fit
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Chances are your 280SL (grey market?)

has only 6" wide rims, unless it's actually an SEL or a 380SL, in which case they might be 6 1/2" at the most (properly measured between the inside of the bead seats). But the critical issue is offset (30mm ET on your stock rims, probably -- it's stamped on the back) and the 500SEL will almost certainly have rims stamped either ET 25 or ET 21.5, either of which will work fine, moving the wheels outward on the hub only about 1/4 inch and thereby providing a little extra road feel, etc. If the car happens to have some of the aftermarket wheels with ET numbers more in the BMW style of the era -- as low as ET 16 on some AMG special models -- then you had better look closely at the fender clearance on the outside and expect a lot of road feel, a need for extra careful wheel balancing, and maybe some objectionable kickback on bad roads.

PS!! If you want the look of having the heads of the wheel bolts visible at the face of the wheel (the OE look), be sure to get the 500SEL's bolts when you get the wheels -- they are becoming a scarce commodity.

Last edited by Fimum Fit; 04-21-2004 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 04-21-2004, 09:40 AM
Fimum Fit
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One possible problem I just remembered

Some of those heavy SEL cars had 14mm bolts instead of 12mm (diameter), but I have no idea which years and series they are.
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Old 04-21-2004, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I will check the offset stamp and the bolt size before I shell $200 clams out. I think they are stock wheels because they have the fancy blue-circle Mercedes badge in the center. BTW - I thought all SLs where 7" tires. Mine has 70R/14" on the rim. I thought 70 meant 7 inches, but in this metric world I may be behind the times.
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Old 04-21-2004, 02:57 PM
Fimum Fit
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"70R" should be a designation on the tire, not the rim

It would indicate a radial tire in which the height of the theoretical oval shape of the tire's inside wall is 70% of its width -- in other words, reinterpreting this very carelessly, a 70 series tire of 205mm width will have the belts roughly 145 mm above the bead seats, if it's installed on the rim size for which it was designed.
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Old 04-21-2004, 03:19 PM
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Thanks again. I guess my best bet on determining the rim width is not going to be trying to deduce it from the tire size, but by getting out a ruler! It does sound like I can use your math to dtermine the correct tire to put on it to keep the overall wheel diameter the same, regardless of rim used, so my speedo stays correct. One last question, where on the back is the offset stamped? I have a lot of tree sap to deal with so I need to home in on it!
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Old 04-22-2004, 08:07 AM
Fimum Fit
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If you're talking about a wheel like M-B part #1264004102,

it'll be moulded into the back of one of the webs between the spokes, just below the hole -- probably on the same spoke as the complete size designation ("15 X 6 1/2 JJ ET 21.5"). Note that M-B puts this on the BACK of the rim, so you have to take the darn thing off the car to read it, unless you're really skilled with one of those little mirror-on-a-stick gadgets. SAAB and BMW put the designations right on the outside, in the bolt circle area.

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