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Old 11-15-2008, 09:22 PM
Biodiesel300TD's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Albany, OR
Posts: 4,845
Looking at a 60 220Sb

Monday I am going to go look at a 60 220Sb. I'm not to familiar with these, anyone have suggestion on this to watch for and pay attention to?
'04 Jetta TDI Wagon
'82 300TD ~ Winnie ~ Sold
'77 300D ~ Sold
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Old 11-16-2008, 12:16 AM
Wodnek's Avatar
Vintage Mercedes Junkie
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
Posts: 1,658
Rust is about it. Look in hard to repair areas like the spring perches.
1959 Gravely LI, 1963 Gravely L8, 1973 Gravely C12
1982 380SL
1978 450 SEL 6.9 euro restoration at 63% and climbing
1987 300 D
2005 CDI European Delivery
1995 E300D Handed down to daughter
2006 CDI Wifes

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Old 11-16-2008, 01:49 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: brisbane,Qld.Australia
Posts: 2,042
Look for's 48 years old so everything will need to be looked at.
Budget for a complete suspension rebuild .
Brakes...does it have the older t50 remote booster? they are 2500 euro new.
Drive shaft wear.. flex disc and center bearing and it's mount.
Has it been used on a regular basis ?
A car that has been sitting for a while will need work just to get it running.
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Old 11-16-2008, 01:42 PM
Todd Miller's Avatar
1966 250SE Coupe Owner
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SoCal
Posts: 293
Originally Posted by Biodiesel300TD View Post
Monday I am going to go look at a 60 220Sb. I'm not to familiar with these, anyone have suggestion on this to watch for and pay attention to?
These fintails are fantastic cars, but you really have to be careful when you buy them. You're better off paying 6 grand for a really nice one, then to pay $500 for one that "needs work."

As has been mentioned, rust is the #1 issue. Everywhere the tires can throw mud and water needs to be closely inspected. As do the wells on either side of the trunk. When the trunk drains get clogged, the trunk wells fill up with water and rot out. Under the rubber trunk mat will also rot from sweating if the trunk has gotten wet from bad drains. The windshield rubber gaskets dry out and leak, and then the carpets get wet. This rots out the front and rear floors, so lift both the carpets and the insulation and look at the actual floor metal. I've seen floors rotted out on the inside, but they hadn't broken through the thick rubber undercoat on the looking under the car, the floors looked great. But lifting the mats showed there was nothing left of the corners of the the rear floors.

If the engine runs, check for blow-by by removing the oil filler cap when the engine is running. If the wind is chugging out of the valve cover like a steam locomotive, you know she's worn out inside. Sometimes this condition will improve dramatically by driving the car alot after a hot oil change and replacing 1/2qt of engine oil with ATF. But you'll only see an improvement if the blow-by is due to the piston rings being gummed up from the engine sitting and not driven. If it's all worn out, there's no cure other than rebuilding.

All of the rubber around the doors, trunk and windows will likely be shot, as will the cloth windlace around the door openings. All very expensive to replace.

It a car that would take 30k to restore, and only be worth 6k when finished, so be picky and buy the nicest one you can find.

They are fantastic to drive and get the looks and the compliments where ever you go........definately worth owning and you can step up to 14" wheels and big tall tires and make them a very nice daily driver. You can also slip a w108 4.5 V-8 car's rearend assembly under them and have even lower rpm's out on the freeway (I've done this to my coupe, and it was already on 14's.)

If you'd rather own a diesel version, the people who bought my 1968 w110 (one of only 500 built in the last months of w110 production) fintail 2 years ago are looking to sell it. It's really in incredible condition: white with a perfect red interior. 4 on the column, $1,000 worth of brand new German Square Weave carpet in red, and a Becker am/fm with matching slave cassette deck! It also has a/c, but the compressor is not mounted. New tires, and I'd just rebuilt the engine prior to selling it to them. I think they've put 1,000mi on it in 2 years.
1966 250se Coupe
DB268 Blaugrün/electric sunroof/4 on the floor
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:38 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 158
I have read over all the warnings, etc. for what you should look for-I guess if I had to do it over again I would have been a little more careful buying the the 280se I have now.......................
But that is a different story.
I owned a 60 220sb for about 3 years back in the mid 70's. It was owned by some nice 'hippy types' at the time who put me up at their house until I could get the papers for the trip to my college dorm. I absolutely loved that car. It rode like you were sitting in your living room, drove smoothly, and got decent mileage on Hi-Test gas. If you have 30K to spend on a $500.00 car then just enjoy the fact that in prime condition you probably wouldn't get the ride for twice the price in today's generic automobile environment.
Sit on top of the hood in the lotus position and spend some time there.
Afterwards, ask yourself if you and this 61 220sb can live together!
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 511
Right on man. Some things of the top of my head that initially scared me about my 230S which ended up being nothing:

Loose steering, damn I thought I had bought another american luxo-barge type vehicle when I first got it. Turned out to be the rubber flex coupling in the steering shaft, after changing it I suddenly loved recirc ball steering! Changing the same decrepit bushing in my old american cars did little to nothing in comparison.

Running hot, I was afraid I'd need a new radiator and it was going to cost a wheelbarrel full of our devalued currency. Turned out that old benzes have easily rebuildable/restorable radiators. $45 at a reputable old school radiator shop and I'm back in business.

Carbs, they were so lambasted by other owners that I initially wrote them off as worthless and bought some Webers for almost $900. This was an expensive regret, and my Zeniths were actually more than up to the task and simply needed some new gaskets and a general de-gunking. An older model would have dual Solexes, and I've not heard anything about those carbs specifically. If it were me, I'd stick with the originals and just give them some general care and proper adjusting.

Things that were not as easy:

Gas tank, mine was full of sludge and this causes all sorts of problems with whatever carb you have. Besides silting up your carbs it also ruins the gas guage. Almost everyone has/had this problem with their cars.

Driveshaft, causes a vibration on the highway and above 35mph if it's going south and is also dangerous. There are a few rubber mounts/carriers that degrade and a U-joint or two. Due to the short gears these cars have if yours is bad you'll really notice it!

Valvetrain noise, another thing that is very noticible on the highway if bad is the noise of a bad rocker/stud/cam. What seems like a harmless "click" amongst the general valve noise at idle becomes much more annoying when you're travelling 60 and the engine's a spinnin. Similarly, manifold/exh leaks add to an already busy engine sound. If all is as it should be, it is suprising how nice it is at the rpm's they like to run at. That said, these things can be (and often are) let go because they are not dire or safety issues. The engine can run many miles making a racket, but how long can you stand it at 4000rpms?

As far as smoking, leaks and rust, well I can't speak to any of that. I guess I just got lucky!
1967 230S automatic
Boston, MA
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