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Old 03-03-2003, 02:16 PM
Posts: n/a
Conversion Kit?

Does any one know where I can find information on a conversion kit to maybe perhaps drop a chevy motor in my 380SL?
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Old 03-03-2003, 03:14 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Posts: 576

Hi there,
I performed a conversion on my '82 300D, because the car's engine was worn out and I couldn't afford a new one... I installed an astrovan 4.3L V6 and T700R4 transmission in it, and have been extremely satisfied with the results. I'm not sure it would be a wise conversion for the much more desireable 380SL, though. It seems to me that you might want to keep the car pretty original, and I've seen several engines from time to time that would fit your vehicle at reasonable prices. If you are sure that you would like to do the conversion, however, I'd be happy to post the info from my conversion for you. I had it up on a web page at one time, and could reinstate it for you...
My conversion cost around $900, and gave me a very well balanced vehicle, that is fun to drive, and that has been completely trouble-free since the conversion almost 2 yrs ago. It gives me around 28 mpg on the freeway at speeds of 75 - 85, with 4 people in the car and the AC on, and around 20 mpg in town. The T700R4 is an excellent transmission for the car, but it's about 10 inches wider than the Merc tranny was, so I had to widen the tunnel by 10 inches. I accomplished this by jacking it apart - it only needs the width at the very bottom. I was able to use the stock mercedes engine mounts, and made some adapters to fit the chev engine mounting points, which with the V6 sit nicely centered right over the Merc motor mounts. I had to shorten the front of the pan by 2 inches, but since then have noticed that the pan used on Blazers with 4WD would most likely fit with no alterations. You'd need to also use the Blazer oil pickup. I use my car almost every day, and have driven it on several long distance trips, and it continues to provide much satisfaction - nice, very quick car with loads of comfort.

Richard Wooldridge
'82 300D/4.3LV6
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Old 03-03-2003, 03:44 PM
Posts: n/a

I will be shocked if there are kits available for this conversion. The Chevy in Jag has been quite popular and there used to be a company in Dallas, Johns cars, that had very nice kits that almost made this swap a driveway, Saturday project. To my knowledge there are no such products available for an SBC in MB.

I have seen pictures and read extensive description of Richards project. It was a beautiful job! Richard is obviously a very savvy and experienced engine swapper and fabricator with an adequately equipped shop. If you don't have his skill, experience and equipment, this would be a tough undertaking.

If you do have all these ingredients, then go for it.

Good luck,
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:00 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
I to have looked far and wide for info on a MB conversion and found nothing. I understand that the 350 SB Chevy is just a bit too wide to go into the sl/slc. Apparently, Ford 351 (5.7 l) engines have a bit narrower 'V' and might be a candidate. I don't know about the Chrysler 5.2 (318 ci.). If they fit these would seem like great engines. It wouldn't take much in either time or money to get 300+hp out of one of these dudes. As mentioned, the width of the tranny might prove a headache unless one could adapt the MB tranny.

You realize that the main problem with the above is that you would be forever banned from the MB board. Of course with one of these engines you might not need to refer to this board as often either.
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Old 03-04-2003, 01:50 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Posts: 576
Correction on tranny dimension...

Hi again,
Please let me correct the transmission/tunnel dimensions! The t700R4 is about 2 inches wider, not 10 inches!! So, I had to jack the tunnel about two inches wider, which I did using a 10 ton jack, for a distance of about 10 inches into the tunnel!! The metal on the passenger side folded into a nice Z fold, which I hammered flat, and was able to do the whole thing with no holes or cuts. The fold ended just in front of the passenger seat rail, so the seat wasn't affected by the operation.
Sorry for the mistake in my previous post!!
Another interesting thing is that the 4.3L V6 passes emissions in the State of Washington with NO catalytic converter or A.I.R systems installed.

Richard Wooldridge
'82 300D/4.3L V6
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Old 03-04-2003, 01:22 PM
rdanz's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,158
Why would anyone want to ruin a good car is beyond me.
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Old 03-04-2003, 02:46 PM
Posts: n/a
There certainly are engine swaps that indeed RUIN a good car. But like anything else, there are the good, the bad and the ugly.

I have seen a number of engine swaps. I have certainly seen some butcher jobs that did indeed ruin a good car. I have also seen some that looked factory. I have seen the pictures of Richards job, the pictures coupled with the fact that he has driven this car for two years with no trouble tells me that this was a first rate job and did not ruin his car.

It's all in the quality of the work.

Have a great day,
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Old 03-04-2003, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503
If you want to transplant an American V8 into your chassis, a small block Chevy would be a poor choice. The oil pan sump is at rear on a Chevy, and your Mercedes engine has a front sump. The distributor on the Chevy is at the rear, too, and would be troublesome to fit against the firewall.

A small block Ford, like a 302, would be a better candidate as the distributor and sump are at the front just like your Mercedes engine.
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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