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  #1  
Old 04-07-2003, 04:57 PM
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Location: Lynnwood, WA, USA
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600 Sl

I have noticed that many early 90' 600 SL are selling at or lower similar years 500 SL. Does the 600 have more problems? Much higher maintanance costs? And more expensive repairs?

Tommy

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  #2  
Old 04-07-2003, 06:32 PM
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Location: Northumberland, UK
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I have no doubt whatsoever that the 600SL/SL600 is a dream car.

But...

It is the ultimate; but the 500 is pretty damned good anyway. The 600 is more expensive for parts and servicing. It is much rarer. The engine bay is more cramped. And I have heard it said that the V12 often slips out of tune. Ultimate motor=potential for ultimate repair costs. It uses more fuel than the 500 for little performance gain. It is more expensive to insure.

The 600 will be cheaper than a like 500; just as a 500 will be cheaper than a like 300. For the used buyer, the 500 is much cheaper to run than the 600; the 300 is cheaper still.
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  #3  
Old 04-07-2003, 09:30 PM
Travis129
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Well...to quote Bill Lumberg in "Office Space," "Uhhhhyeahhhhh, well, Bob, I think I'm going to have to sort of disagree with you there..."

I have been loving a '97 SL600 for a bit more than 2 years and 20,000 miles. Maintenance issues have been limited to brake pads, a battery, oil changes, and one of the rubber elbows connecting the air meter to the inlet plenum on the left side developed a crack. That's it. The battery, brake pads, and oil changes would've been the same on a 300 or 500; the rubber elbow doesn't even know what kind of engine it is connected to.

I've not yet heard a first hand report of anyone experiencing problems with a 600. I have to believe that if they were in any way a maintenance headache it would have been reported by now. My opinion, supported by my experience and that of the couple of people I know who have them, is that this is a state of the art, cost no object, design that is pretty much bulletproof. If you think I'm wrong, cite some examples.

As to the performance: I didn't fall in love with this car for its performance so much as for its elegance and unbelievable smoothness. But I can assure you that there is more difference in performance than there is in fuel economy! I have to confess that I've enjoyed dusting the occasional Z28 or Corvette (haven't tried a Z06 yet; probably get spanked when I do...though I do believe that my SL600 runs as hard as my ZR-1 did...)

As to the prices: you're right; the 600's are approximately the same price as a 500 on today's used market. What a bargain! It reminds me of the time 25 to 30 years ago when you could buy a '67 427/435HP Corvette for less than a basic small block car. Try that now! I gotta believe that the 600 will come back to be the one to have in time. Get one while they're cheap!

Please know that I do not intend to disparage the 300 or 500 cars in any way; they are magnificent themselves.

Travis
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  #4  
Old 04-07-2003, 10:53 PM
elau's Avatar
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Travis,
Stop teasing me! I have been thinkig to upgrade to the 600 lately due to price drop.

I don't think maintenance and fuel cost will be of any of my concern since I only drive my SL less than 2,000 miles a year.

I would love to test drive one before I trade mine in just to be sure. I cannot find one from my dealer and they said they will not get any used one in their lot because the demand is low (go figure) and they don't want to keep it in the inventory. They will, however, get me one if I put a deposit down.

The SL600 is a rare beast for sure.
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Old 04-07-2003, 10:57 PM
Travis129
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They don't seem to be all that rare. You need to be prepared to travel for any SL; not just the 600. The best car is almost always somewhere else. It's a small price to pay for getting the right one...

If you want to come to Texas you can drive mine all you like. I'm tellin' you, you won't want to give it back!

Travis
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  #6  
Old 04-07-2003, 11:04 PM
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Travis,
You are right. There are plenty of them on e-Bay. I just think it is kinda risky to buy anything so far away even with someone local checking it out. I have heard plenty stories about car being damaged shipping across country. As a matter of fact my old boss shipped his 633CSI to CA when he was transfered, and the car was declared totaled by the time it got to West Coast.

The SL600 is sort of rare in my part of the country (DC/VA/MD). Mostly 500s. I think I have only seen one 600 in the last two years. There are plenty of Ferraris aorund here though.

I will take up your offer if I am in your neck of the wood any time soon for business
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2003, 11:27 PM
Travis129
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I'm serious about the offer; come drive it.

Not sure why you're concerned about buying one somewhere else; you get what you get no matter where you buy it. You have to check it out carefully and then...take the plunge. Yes, there's risk, but you're getting a helluva car for about 1/3 new price! If you found one at your local dealer the risk is the same.

I know what you mean about Ferraris everywhere. I had friends with F512M, 550 Maranello and 355. Drove all three extensively; they're neat in a way, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade my SL for all three of them if I had to keep what I took. Not a roadster in the lot, and that means tons to me. My SL is about as fast as the 355, maybe faster than the F512M. No question but that the 550 is mucho faster though...but the top doesn't go down, so I just lost interest...

Travis
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2003, 01:10 AM
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the R129 SL600 engine was very expensive to make. There were not a whole lot of them, that is why the parts are expensive. You are fortunate to only have put very little money into it because most things on that car take at least 20 hours. They are a mechanics dream. If the $2 hose at the bottom of the intake plenum goes out it costs 2k to get to it.

R129 SL500s have plenty of power and they are very reliable and typically they keep a higher resale value comparitively to SL600s. My dad's friend bought a Starmarked SL600, and he spend 6k in the first couple months fixing stuff it was always in the shop. He sold it and went back to buying new corvettes. He says the creature comforts of the SL600 were really nice, but he wanted a car he could actually drive.

I have seen the amount of work it takes to work on an SL600. When I hang out with my friend at the Mercedes shop, I get to watch him work on SL600s, S600s, etc, and I know everything takes forever.
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Former Mercedes in the Stable:
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1984 300CD Turbo Diesel 150 k mi sold
1982 300D Turbo Diesel 225 sold
1987 300D Turbo Diesel 255k mi sold
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1992 500E 156k mi sold
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2003, 09:52 PM
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sl 600 maintenance hog?

It is a PITA to work on anything serious under the hood on the R129 600. They started with the engine crankshaft and built everything out from there, and then built the car around it.

Biggest shock will be the wiring harnesses--insulation on the wires inside the black covered bundles turns to dust and $$$$ fly out the window. Each of the 2 electronic throttle actuators ($2500 each) will have the failure, as will the main and engine wiring harnesses. Totals can go over $15K at a Dealer for parts ($8-K) and balance labor.

The electronic modules are also very dear --over $2K a pop--and they do fail. I am down on Bosch they were building tinker toy experimental junk with these cars--lots of undiscovered 'bugs' in the very complicated Car Area Network (CAN) that requires new microcode/parts, which means lots of different part numbers for the modules and lots of incompatibilities.--which means each car is nearly a unique prototype. "Sorry--that $1000 module is no longer available, and the replacement requires that you also replace these 1,2, ? other modules at the same time !!

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