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380SL's

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monarchd's picture
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Being a new suscriber to the forums I have a question or 2 on the 380SL series cars that maybe someone can answer for me.

I currently have a 240D & am considering moving up to a 300CD or a 380SL. I've written up a note on the 300CD in another forum & I know them better than the 380SL. I do know about the dual timing chain problem on the pre 84 380SL's but don't really know anything else about the mechanicals & electonics of these cars.

My mechanic who used to be a Benz dealer mech said they are very reliable & didn't know of any big problems affecting all of the 380's. Since they are a pretty complicated gas engine car I wonder how long you can expect an engine to go without major work? Same for the transmission & the electronics. I see a lot on AUTOTRADER & in the STAR from 50,000 miles & up but wonder where you start to have major problems on a well taken care of car.

Any info on the 380SL's will really be appreciated

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The 380SL, from what I know, is not going to be as reliable as your 240D. We have considered moving up to the 380 from a 300D and have found that it will not be worth it. Yes, they do have the timing chain problem, but also are expensive cars to work on. I think that you will find that the benefits in power, looks and so forth are not worth the extra maintenance costs.

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Al,

I drive a '85 380SL with about 79,000 miles on, last Ocotber I replaced the timing chain (dual) and, yes I spent about a grand, but with that log of miles I do not believe that it was bad, after all there is a wear if you drive the car.

That the engine is a bit more complicated than the 300D is a fact, I do not have an argument, and certainly more expensive to service.

My brother il law owns a '80 300TD and believe me there is no comparison they are two, completely, different kind of cars. Beside I do not believe that service a diesel engine would be much cheaper tham my 380. However, the diesel engine noise, the smell, the performances do not stand up the reputation.

I had my car for about 8 years now, and even I drive the car only 6 months out of the year (I'm in Minnesota) I do not think that thousand dollar service is too bad. Other expenses were only for oil change, sparkplugs and a set of new Michelin tyres.

Hope this help.

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380SL's

Hi Gabriele, Got your note on your 380SL & I agree with you that the 380 & diesels are 2 really different types of cars. I have a 240D now which is my 1st diesel after 50 years of gas vehicles from a 37 Packard, a 40 ford convert, a 48 dodge coupe, a pink, white & black 55 Ford convert (a real head turner), a 55 Lincoln, a 220b Benz, a 67 Pontiac tempest , 4 vans, 4 beetles , a jaguar 140, a TR-3 to a 73 Karmann Ghia.

I like the diesel concept, operations & maintenance but also like the sportiness of a roadster so I'm mulling over replacing my 240D with a 300CD coupe or a 380SL. I agree on your maintenance costs thoughts as I've spent about $ 2000 on my diesel over a period of 6-7 years.

I guess WE (my wife gets a say in this also) will figure out which one to buy in a few months after the Minuteman chapter MB show in Boston in Sept as I'll look closely at the 380's there & talk with a few of the owners.

Thanks for your comments.

Al in MA

1983 240 D w/124,009 mi. (mine)

99 civic(hers) & 01 Montana (ours)

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Just go for a 560SL and get it over with. Exciting car, and lots of power / handling that the other 107 models can't match.

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Prior MB cars: 2010 ML350 Bluetec, 2003 C320 Coupe, 1986 300SDL, 1971 300SEL 6.3, 1973 450SE, 1959 220S, 2011 C300

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380 SL

Tom, Got your note on the 560 SL & will look at them in detail at the minuteman fall show & talk with a few owners there although I'm not wild about getting 15 or so miles a gal of premium at the current & future prices.

MA has such tight emission standards that the new diesel won't even be sold here so getting a less than perfect 380 or 560 past the test here could be pretty iffy but I'll give it a try in the fall I think.

Al in MA w/a 240D at 124,100 mi

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The 560 won't be that much different in economy. You don't have to push as hard on the throttle to get it moving. The 380 is a good car, just like most any MB, it's just that the 560 was a legend. The best of the series. Same goes with the sedan and coupe variants. Some cars are just worth the price of admission. And they are really good cars too.

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Tom Hanson
Supervisor, Parts Operations
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA
MBUSA, LLC
thomas.hanson@mbusa.com
949 598-4842 direct.

Prior MB cars: 2010 ML350 Bluetec, 2003 C320 Coupe, 1986 300SDL, 1971 300SEL 6.3, 1973 450SE, 1959 220S, 2011 C300

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Al:

My daughter has a 1980 240D, which she does not drive, but has stored. The car, which she has named "Elvis" just is not very reliable after 24 years and about 175,000 miles!

My question is this. "Elvis" is just about the slowest car I have ever driven! I don't know if it could outrun our old Allis Chalmers tractor or not!

Is there something terribly wrong with "Elvis" or is that just a characteristic of a 1980 240D with an auto trans.?

Thanks,
Richard:confused:

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You got that right Richard, there's no car slower the the 240D. Even with manual transmission. Pretty relaiable engine, lots of miles with a gallon, but speed? torque? what are these??

If the car is in good shape you can keep it for your grand children as training car. I'll assure you that they will not have speed problems.

Cheers.

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Gabriele

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dolebludger, Hi my 240D likes to go 65-70 on the expressways around Boston. It smooths out at about 60 + & runs quieter than at 60 . It is pretty slow accelerating I'll admit but I'm pretty slow myself nowdays. Mine had a minor problem for awhile, there is a 90 degree elbow in the throttle linkage located on the fire wall & mine wasn't working properly so I never really got the RPM & power (all 67 horses) Manfried has. With a new part in the linkage my mech said I would think I have a turbo.

Well it ain't quite that fast, but with my manuel xmsn I can get it up to speed on the xway on ramps fast enough to merge ok.
check your linkage to the engine as you may have slippage as I did.

At 175,000 the car should run well if it has been taken care of as they have gone well over 250,000 in Germany as taxi's. mine uses a pt of oil in 3,000 & about 6-8 oz. of water a year as there is no overflow tank to recycle it. I may give mine back to my daughter in Ponte Vedra, FL for her son who will need a car in 3-4 years as it will be a safe kids car.

Al in MA w/240D at 124,200

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