Welcome at the buyers review of the Mercedes-Benz SL. For many people this is the definition of a classic Benz. If you have to own one classic Benz for the summertime, this is your answer, at-least when you ask me. Internal code for this car was W107, these cars where built between 1971 and 1989. If you can, go for the models from the 80’s. These are reliability-wise the best. Prices for these cars have been going up over the years, they are from an era that a Benz was associated with the best engineering and best engines, comfort and style. What we have to try to answer today, it this a reliable car, what are its weaker spots and what about running costs. I want to start with a general remark about these cars, the years, miles, number of owners, they all matter, but what is most important for a car like this is how it drives, how it looks, if it has a well documented history. Well kept examples will probably still drive on sundays in 20 years from now between mostly electric cars. Neglected cars are a nightmare. Partswise, there are still parts available to this day, thanks to Mercedes-Benz.
The obvious first, this is an oldtimer or classic, old cars need attention even if they do not drive many miles each year. Check service history, check oil changes, try to gather information about the previous owner. Preferably an owner who had a passion for this car and now has a good reason to let it go. Avoid cars with a doubtful past as this will most likely turn out to be an expensive headache. Good news, people that have knowledge about cars and have the tools, these cars still can be worked on by skilled engineers and you do not need computers to tell you what is wrong. These cars are mechanical and parts are still available. The SL has a cult following so to speak. Let’s go over some of the weaker point of the SL.
Vague steering is an issue that is talked about often, this often has to do with either the steering box, the mechnics behind the steering wheel. Or it has to do with the steering damper, often slightly adjusting the steering box, in other words calibration is the answer. And please check this, it will really improve the ride and the satisfaction of your ownership.
Place some good fresh tires on these cars, even if you are planning not too drive many miles. Old and worn tires make driving not only dangerous but effects the overall dynamics of the car, negatively.
Next, check the condition of the head lights and head light washers, these are fragile points off the W107.
Some owners complain there cars do not run smoothly, symptoms are high revving, an uneven tickover, low revving, rough running, flat spots, misfire popping from the exhaustpipe. These problems can be caused by electrical issues ,so check for instance the sparkplugs, distributor cap, HT leads. If these are not the issue then it’s very likely that your fuel system requires attention.
Other electrical problems can be caused by a falty ABS sensor, water ingress due to poor rubbers and seals. Squeaking noises coming from the brake pads indicate worn discs, they need replacement after all due to age and usage.
With this review I have instructed you about the most common problems, remember, this car has a cult following. These cars are extremely well documented, the cars are loved all over the world. Prices are high due to its image and the fact that Mercedes from these era is built to last. There are basically two engines to choose from, the inline 6 and v8 engines. Both bulletproof, the car deserves the v8 in my opinion, but for cruising the inline 6 will be sufficient and lets face it, an old lady like this does not deserve it to kick the pedal to the metal, but if you do, it will not disappoint. Sure it is not a high performance car but the way it gathers speed and the stability of the whole package makes it a perfect cruizer.
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