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Old 31-10-2016, 09:13 PM   #1
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1983 280 SL Advice for a Newbie

Hi,

I'm totally new to the marque so go easy...

But an opportunity to buy a 1983 280 SL has come up from a known, local, trusted source.

I'll get the detail in a few days (history file, service record, etc.) and the opportunity to inspect it up on a ramp...but what are the big issues with this model? Rust, I imagine!

But what else should I be looking for?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 31-10-2016, 09:19 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Rusty bulkhead, inner wings, base of ddors, bumpers - if the bumper rubber is lifting there's very likely to be rust in the join. Chrome lifting (all chrome expensive).

Check out engine mounts, bushes, steering linkages etc. Rubber seals - check for perishing etc.

Can't say I know enough about the M110 engine with K jet to comment on what to look for there.

Last edited by Charles Morgan; 31-10-2016 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 31-10-2016, 09:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Welcome!

Rusty bulkhead, inner wings, base of ddors, bumpers - if the bumper rubber is lifting there's very likely to be rust in the join. Chrome lifting (all chrome expensive).

Check out engine mounts, bushes, steering linkages etc. Rubber seals - check for perishing etc.

Can't say I know enough about the M110 engine with K jet to comment on what to look for there.
Thanks Charles - appreciated.
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Old 31-10-2016, 11:23 PM   #4
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Yep...rust. Mainly the bulkhead which is mostly undetectable without some stripping down although any damp or sour smelling front carpets are a dead giveaway. To add the Charles's list: boot floor, sills, front Xmember (not the subframe but ahead of that). Many critical parts are also becoming very hard to get and mega expensive. These things are a money-pit.
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Old 31-10-2016, 11:39 PM   #5
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Great choice for a first Merc. Keep it covered or preferably garaged , they can dissolve overnight if left out in the rain. Watch out for the very rare diesel models . ( only available in Scotland where they do not like to buy fuel too often ).
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Old 31-10-2016, 11:59 PM   #6
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Is this the 'Bobby Ewing' style SL?
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Old 02-11-2016, 03:11 PM   #7
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Is this the 'Bobby Ewing' style SL?
Yes.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:32 PM   #8
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M110 is a pretty solid motor. As everyone stated, rust is a big problem in your region.
If you can pull the headlights off, I'd inspect the buckets.

The engine is strong but can suffer from cam wear if oil is allowed to sludge up. It has mechanical valves so can be noisy if out of adjustment.

If the car runs right then don't worry about CIS, it's a pretty reliable system and there is too much to discuss so better come back to us with symptoms if it's not running well and we'll help you figure out.

Take the car for a drive and check suspension , steering wander etc. Front subframe mounts will rot even on a car that sat in a garage and collapse. Tie rods, control arms, shocks. All cheap and simple work for DIY'er.

Just about everything is still available for these cars as they made what seems to be millions of them.
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Check out theW114 and W115 /8 enthusiast forum http://stroke8.org
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:41 PM   #9
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At 1983 its likely to have the Mexican hat 14" alloys which restricts tyre choice. For that reason and because these cars tend to be run on fair-days and holidays with low annual mileage means the tyres can be quite old. Tyre wall black can cover a multitude of sins so " tread" carefully --- and check that spare!
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:03 PM   #10
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By coincidence there was a late 420SL in for work at Project Shop today - very clean looking, no chrome issues, bought recently at auction. The car was in for a misfire and heater fan noise. The former looked to be a poor dizzy cap with cracks and corrosion, the latter had yet to be investigated but opening the fan housing revealed a lot of corrosion around it, the metal was crumbling. The front carpet was water stained and smelled musty. Without stripping it down the full extent of firewall corrosion would not be clear, but it was not looking good for the new owner - and this was a 1988 car.
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:21 PM   #11
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There's no telling Charles. Some of the newer cars are the worst. And there's no logic to where they rust. Mine had completely rotted out floors, sills, front and rear Xmembers, rear wings, yet the bulkhead and fan chamber is completely free of rust.
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:39 AM   #12
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Distributor cap and rotor could be it, these cars are very vacuum sensitive and so if there are vacuum leaks it would cause a misfire.Check the two pipes that run across the sides of the cam covers as they can rot.

If it's not ignition, then it could be a failing fuel distributor which could cause a miss at low speed. Been through this a bunch of times.
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:16 PM   #13
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Thanks, all, for the advice so far.

Does anyone have any thoughts on price?

Some more details:

- Three former keepers (last owner for many years who always kept it garaged - one or two rust spots only, e.g. around the base of the aerial)
- All MOTs present validating the 76,629 mileage
- MB service stamps up to 73,326 then an indie
- 1,300 spent in last few weeks on new radiator, water pump, etc.

Haven't driven it yet and will obviously do a proper inspection of all the weak points raised in the above posts, but assuming nothing adverse is uncovered, what would you consider a reasonable price for this car? It's white, btw!
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:39 PM   #14
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I could not see a price listed and have no idea what 107's sell for in the UK. They are starting to fetch decent money in the US. Nice thing about these cars is that they're mechanically very simple to fix.

Take it for a drive and see how you like it. Look around the classifieds to determine what it's worth have it inspected (if you're not mechanically inclined) to get an estimate of what it would take to make it where you're happy with it.

Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:45 PM   #15
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The seller's opening suggestion is 14,500 which seems a little high to me.

Given that two 280 SL cars from 1983, with similar milages, sold at Classic Car Auctions last weekend for 11,000 and 8,417 respectively.

1983 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL - Classic Car Auctions

1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SL - Classic Car Auctions
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