1981 Mercedes-Benz SL 380 SLC from North America - Comments

1st Jan 2008, 21:09

Tell me more about your slc with 52k, the 81 slc is still for sale with that 34k miles and now down to $20k. I still feel this is way high. I will check back here soon. I am in atlanta where are you???

5th Jan 2008, 20:12

My 81 SLC was one owner when I purchased it this summer. Never out in snow or bad weather. Alwas garaged. Totally original right down to "first aid kit". I never planned to sell it, but conversation with other Mercedes fans is always intresting. Oh yes timing belt was upgraded. (very important)

Champagne outside, Brown inside, Exc. Cond. winterhawk@enter.net.

5th Jan 2008, 20:24

To Bob: Regarding your question as to checking for upgraded timing belt. One can see the timing belt if you remove the valve covers. However there is a good deal of "stuff" in the way so unless you are very mechanically inclined have a foreign car guy do it. My mechanic did it in less than one hour and reported that it was upgraded. Boy did that make my day. Good luck.

Ben.

19th Jan 2008, 17:20

I have just purchased a 1981 SLC with 120K miles. I do not know if the timing chain is original. If it is, then I will have it replaced. Does anyone know about what this will cost?

24th Jan 2008, 20:36

From my experience with the very same car you can expect to pay Min. $ 1200 to Max $ 3500. BUT it is a bargain compared to what can happen if it breaks.

4th May 2008, 14:46

I'm looking at an '81 380SLC, 179k miles on her. My question: What kind of mileage are you all getting, city/highway, average driving?

28th May 2008, 15:39

Where are the best places and what are the best ways to sell a 380SLC? I can't bear the thought of letting her go to someone who won't appreciate her.

Jscates@texas.net.

1st Aug 2008, 16:39

Folks, having double row timing chain on 81-84 models is really not necessary. Do not be misled with what you read on any message board. I talked to a few very qualified MB mechanics and they suggested that if you replace the chain and the chain tensioner every 60K miles, then your single chain can be just as bullet proof as the double chain.

In fact, it's much cheaper to replace the single row chain and the chain tensioner than it is to convert to double row timing chain. As long as you maintain the chain, then there's absolutely nothing to worry about.

Now, how many of you drive your classic MB more than 60K in 5 years? None? Then, don't worry about it too much!

Regards

'82 380SL owner.

14th Aug 2008, 18:29

I just bought an 81 380 SLC that has been sitting idle in a barn covered in pollen and cat prints for the past two years or so. The former owner needed to put about $1,000 into it for inspection and declined. Anyhow, I placed a new battery in her, filled it with about 1 gallon of gas (so low that the reserve light came on after a few minutes) and gave it a turn. The engine turned smoothly and sounded good however, it did not start nor was there any gas smell of gasoline. I'm thinking gas pump or thereabouts... any help is greatly appreciated. 114K.

Also, I own an '87 560SL with real sloppy steering, any thoughts about tightening it up. I took it to local mechanic and he reported a new steering box has been installed but could not get the steering to tighten. Has about 4" from left to right. He said I should take it to a front end alignment guy... and thoughts here? 105K.

Not to boast but have a daily driver '00 C-280 118k...wonderful vehicle. :-)

8th Dec 2008, 03:57

I bought a 380SLC a year ago in Singapore, fantastic condition, after a recent engine overhaul with timing chain change, the legendary car can reach 170km/hr effortlessly, indeed a marvelous car!

12th Dec 2008, 00:25

These are great collectible cars that will appreciate (but they haven't as yet).

This is a reliable durable car (once you upgrade the infamous timing chain or just replace the engine).

The performance of the rally versions is brisk (but this is simply the stock version).

9th Feb 2009, 01:36

I own a 380slc, have replaced the timing chain, and have about 150k miles on it. I am looking for a recommendation of a reliable mechanic in the bay area if possible. I've had several expensive rip offs with my car in the last 20 years and have just moved to the SF Bay area. Do I need to send an email address? Or can you recommend on this site? Thanks, an English teacher.

26th Feb 2009, 23:39

I bought a 1985 380 SAL Mercedes and it was driving great.

The timing chain made a noise and I have been told it will cost $1286 to replace it. I called Mercedes and learned they had fixed damaged rails under warranty in 1991. I read where Mercedes fixed the timing chain, single chain, defect for some. Does anybody have any info about this?

Please reply if you do. Thanks.

6th Jun 2009, 06:41

Mine's a 74 350slc (in Australia we originally got the 3.5 litre engine without the pollution gear) so I'm lucky enough to get the double row chain. In response to people's concerns, you can easily check your 380's timing chain -- none came with "belts" -- by sticking an inspection or "dentist's" mirror inside the right hand cylinder bank. Also, Mercedes reverted back to double row chains fairly quickly, so anyone with a later SL should not be too worried.

Another thing, you can't really put 350 Chevs in these things. Unlike Jags, which had space for a V12 and came with a GM gearbox, it's a complex, almost impossible job that the authorities (in just about any country) are not necessarily going to approve. In the end, after spending a motza, you will have spent a lot more than what's the car is worth.

Finally: Hey, mine says, "We can go a lot faster if you want to," as well. I think all of these girls have the same personality -- quite sassy!

10th Jul 2009, 22:58

I purchased my 380SLC a year ago with only 72K miles on it. I've added 3K miles since and runs great! The previous owner (17 years) used it in CA as a weekend car kept it garage, he hated to let it go and if you see it you'd know why and understand.

The main reason he sold it was that the grand kids were beginning to ask to borrow it, he did not have the heart to say no plus he felt they did not appreciate the car.

Therefore, I ended up with it in TX it's a beauty don't regret purchasing my little gas hog! Got to admit it waste more gas then my trucks.

The only issue I'm having is that the a/c is not draining out it is coming back into the car and the radio volume is set on high and won't come down, engine runs great scared my neighbor. (as it is so powerful) He says it sounds like a plane?.

Has anyone had the a/c issue that they can share?

27th Jul 2009, 01:51

Just to give you guys some inside info. The 1985 380 SL; look for one that runs till it gets to operating temp and sputters out and quits. You will pick them up cheap. Easy fix; change the idle control unit for about 200 bucks, easy to do yourself.

Also you may see these cars that appear to burn a ton of oil when they get old; a tiny seal in the drivers side valve cover dries out over time. Take the cover off; you will see 4 or so crews. Remove them and the inside cover comes off. Put some form a gasket on that tiny seal in the corner, and poof it's fixed. Great way to buy these cars.