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Old 12-28-2002, 01:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1
Unhappy My '77 450SL has problems starting after sitting a while.

I have a 1977 450SL (California emissions compliant). It's fuel injected, and I usually have no problems starting it up from a cold start or after it's been sitting for more than two or three hours after running. Also, I can readily start it after i'ts only been sitting for up to 4 or 5 minutes after i'ts been running. But anything between 5 minutes and 3 hours requires lots of cranking and throttling to get it started. It seems to be purely a function of time. I've seen another 450SL with this same problem, leading me to believe that I'm not the only one experiencing such difficulties. What's happening? Is there some sort of vapor lock that is occurring (possibly from a catalytic converter)? I would love to hear any suggestion and/or any solution to help alleviate this symptom. I'm on my third battery in 5 years and already had to replace the starter as a result of this excessive cranking.

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Old 12-28-2002, 06:55 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Portsmouth UK
Posts: 170
Yes - I have similar problems but I think it is my knees - but then I'm a 1953 model - been thinking about a new battery though!
230 TE (W124) 1989 with 153,000 miles on the clock - hoping for at least another 100K
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Old 12-28-2002, 12:21 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 56
What you have sounds like a stereotypical problem for that vehicle. I quote (without permission) from Frank Barrett's fine "Mercedes Benz -- Illustrated Buyer's Guide". You should pick up the book. Its ISBN 0-7603-0451-3 from MBI publishing.

"The 450SL had excellent performance, but early emission controls strangled the engine. Performance, drivability, and fuel-efficiency suffered. The 1972-1974 U.S. models could use leaded or unleaded gasoline, but 1975 and 1976 models had the most vapor lock problems because their catalytic converters were in the engine compartment, where airflow was restricted by the tight-fitting engine hood. For 1977, the catalytic converters were moved back beneath the floor. [...] To help prevent vapor lock, for 1980, the air conditioner was used to cool fuel being fed to the engine. Earlier cars can be fitted with a switch to run the electric fuel pump and circulate cooler fuel from the tank before starting. It helps to keep the tank full, if possible. If vapor lock occurs, try turning the ignition key off and on rapidly. This starts the fuel pump and may move cooler fuel into the injection system. Another way to do this is to disconnect the plug on the airflow sensor safety switch and let the fuel pump run with the key on to flush the system. If all else fails, pour cold water on the injection system."

I can say that the fix they did in 1980 must've helped, because my 1980 450SL has never acted up in this regard, even on the hottest summer days. Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2002, 12:43 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 550
According to what I've found on this site, your (our) symptoms are probably related to a faulty fuel accumulator. Try a search. Supposedly its not a bad DIY job, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.


82 300 SD
77 450 SL (gone)
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