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SL Buyer's Guide
Here is a list of items to look for when purchasing a 72-80 SL Mercedes.  The prices quoted may vary from model to model, but use this a guideline as you begin to negotiate the price of the vehicle you can subtract those items needing repair from the asking price.

As an overall general guideline before purchasing any used Mercedes vehicle is to have the car inspected by a good independent Mercedes Repair shop.  Additionally have the car inspected by a body shop.  

 

Description

Price

1.

Rust, Rust, Rust and more Rust.  Look for it in the following places:
  • Rocker Panels
  • Trunk
  • Under the rear bench behind the seats in the well

$$$$

2. Soft Top Condtion
  • Check for rips, tears or signs of holes beginning to develop.
  • Plastic Windows, they should not be cloudy or heavily scratched.  If they need to be replaced you are most likely looking at put on a new top.  They can be replaced but the top has to come off of the frame. 
$800 - $1,000
3. Dash Pad
  • Check for Cracking
  • Also check for an aftermarket Dash Cover, if installed correctly they look nearly as good as the original
$800
4. Rubber, Rubber, and more Rubber  
  • Seals around the softop and hardtop. Check for water leakes if possible, a brushless car wash would be a good test.
  • Hoses in the engine compartment, look for dry rot.  May look perfect on the outside, but deteriorated on the inside. 

$$$$

5. Interior Wood Trim (Console and dash trim) $400
6. Carpet Condition $400 interior

$400 trunk

7. Seat Belts (have a tendency to fray due to getting catch in door jam) $350/pair
8. Sun Visors - should have a firm core. $200/pair
9. Door Panel Skins

$$$$

10.

Paint Condition (repaint versus original)

Look around gas filler door, this is a good place to detect repaint.

$$$$

11. Subframe (SL's from 1972-1980)

Have it inspected by a MB dealer. There is a MB Warranty recall on the subframe. If it is cracked they will replace at no charge, if it is not cracked they will weld a support in place.  The only cost involved is for the rubber subframe mounts (about $40).

Warranty
12. Timing Chain, Upper Guide Rails and Tensioner

Will need a MB mechanic to inspect these. Have to remove the valve covers to inspect and/or replace these. Chain and rails need to be replaced ever 100,000 miles.  Keep that in mind when your looking at the mileage on the car.

If the guide rail breaks it will put lots of bits of plastic into your engine and then your looking at really big bucks for a repair ($4,000)

$300 DYI
13. Cam Shaft

Ticking noise coming from the right valve cover. However you may hear a ticking noise when the car first starts up and this is not to be confused with the Cam Shaft.  This is merely the lifters filling with oil, but the ticking noise should stop in a few minutes as the car warms up.

$600
14. Hardtop
  • Check to see that the paint matches the rest of the car.
  • Check for any damage to the chrome from taking the top off/on.

$$$$

15. Alloy Aluminum Wheels

Check the condition of the silver paint.  Over time the paint starts to peel. The wheels can be stripped and repainted.  Also, check for brake dust that has become impregnated into the aluminum, this is almost impossible to get out.  (Note:  All MB's brakes give off large amounts of brake dust)

$600 set of 4
16. Heater and Air Conditioning

A real problem in these cars.  Servo and amplifier units to heater a/c control units.

$600-$1,000
17. Chrome
  • Bumpers
  • Around Windshield
  • Window Sills
  • Grill Area - make sure Star Ring is in tact.
  • Hardtop, lots of chrome there.
  • Chrome plates where the hardtop attaches to the car.
  • Side Molding Strips (also check for cracked or shrunken rubber)
 
18. Grille

The black louvers in the grille have a tendency to get broken.

 
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