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Old 04-03-2000, 01:09 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
Posts: 214
My godfather's father passed away recently, leaving him with a 380SL. I don't think my godfather really is interested in using it: first, he's a BIG guy and the 380SL is a pretty small car; second, he just bought a 502-HP motor for his early 80's Impala, which will probably keep him satisfied for a while.

I'm considering approaching him and asking whether he would consider selling/giving the 380SL to me. It's currently sitting his his barn - in the dirt, covered with a plastic tarp. I would really hate to see this car sit out there and rot.

So, what should I look at in this car to make sure it's worth my trouble? I don't want to take a car that's full of problems, more trouble than it's worth. My financial situation right now won't allow me to pour thousands into repairs, at least not for another year or two. The only cars I've ever owned for any length of time have been 240D's, so I know them pretty well, but am not sure where to start looking on the 380SL. I don't even know what year it is; I expect it's early-mid eighties, but I haven't even looked at it with the tarp all the way off.

Any help? Thanks.

- Nathan
'83 240D

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Old 04-03-2000, 08:47 PM
Posts: n/a
I would be glad to help you. My advice is stay away from this car. Better let me handle it, please send me name, address and phone number for your godfather!

But seriously, I am about to start looking myself and would like to read these responses. If it does not work out for you, why don't you have him post it on the swapshop BB?

87 300TDT
150,000 miles

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Old 04-03-2000, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I would rather have at least an 82 as they changed to the modern A/C controls that year. The 81-83 models had the single row timing chain. Normally I would say it had to be changed or broken by now, but maybe not if it has sat a lot of its life.

That brings up another problem with stored vehicles. They often wind up leaking everywhere as setting causes all kinds of problems with rubber products.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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Old 04-03-2000, 10:47 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Posts: 154

I am looking at SL's and found out that Steve is correct. You need to see if it has a double timing chain. Some of the 81 - 83 models had them retrofitted before they became standard in 84 (maybe thats why its in the garage?). If not, I read where the single chains need replacement each 40k miles.

Watch out for Deezel. He just might avoid any problem by dropping a diesel engine in it, really grossing out everybody following behind him! jk

'75 240D 300000 miles
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Old 04-04-2000, 12:38 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Texas transplant in Idaho
Posts: 69
Diesel in a 380SL? Sounds like something I have contemplated! Know anyone who has done so, how hard was it?

Roger, see your in the Alamo City, are you a member of Benson's Mercedes club? Drop me an e-mail I would look forward to meeting you.

'89 300E 3.0
'82 350SD

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