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  •   James Nicholls reacted to this post about 7 months ago
    At the doctor’s for a check-up

    CAR #1989-Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Convertible-R107 / #1989-Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Convertible / #1989 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Convertible / #1989-Mercedes-Benz-300SL-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz /

    OWNER Samantha Snow

    I’ve owned my 1989 #Mercedes-Benz-SL R107 for almost two years now and I wish I could find the time to drive it more. Because it was bought from a senior member of The Mercedes-Benz Club I’ve never really had it checked out properly, and during a chance meeting with Sam Bailey, owner of The SL Shop, based in Warwickshire, he mentioned that I should get the car inspected so that I would know exactly what I have got.

    The company offers a health check that provides a 300-point report of the car using a traffic light system: green for ‘good’, amber for ‘might require attention soon’, and red signifying ‘get it sorted now’. It costs £594 including VAT for R107s like mine and, as The SL Shop’s Bruce Greetham lifted my car on a garage ramp to begin his inspection, I was a little nervous about what might be unearthed.

    The first part of the examination covers brakes, suspension and steering. Unless the car is used on a regular basis, brake calipers can seize and the squeaking noise from my front brakes signified that the pistons inside the calipers were on their way. The options are either to renew or rebuild, and both are fairly expensive – £491 for a new caliper, £200 for a refurb.

    Fortunately my master cylinder and brake discs were all OK. The front suspension is complex and there are a lot of bushes and rubber components that will perish over time, all of which are critical to the car’s handling and ride comfort. The engine subframe bushes also play a key role in reducing scuttle shake, especially when the hardtop is off. Fortunately it was a green light for mine.

    However, the offside front shock absorber is leaking and will require replacing at the next service. The quality of the tyres makes a huge difference to how the car drives, but mine is on Michelins that are apparently as good as you can get.

    My 107’s engine bay looked pretty much concours to me but Bruce picked up a few issues. Timing cases tend to weep oil on 300SLs and mine is no different: it’s a small leak but labour-intensive to fix, taking up to three hours. The coolant also needs renewing. It’s often forgotten about, but its condition is important because it contains a corrosion inhibitor to prevent waterways furring up.

    Despite my car being one of the last 107s to be sold in the UK, it’s showing rust in the nearside passenger footwell where it meets the sill and this needs further investigation.

    Bulkhead corrosion is one of the most expensive problems to put right on a #Mercedes-Benz-SL-R107 and can cost thousands, but mine has been treated with seam sealer to prevent further deterioration. The whole car had already been entirely Waxoyled underneath in black, too, including the inner wheelarches where, annoyingly, you cannot now see the paint colour of the car.

    At the end of the inspection – which covers much, much more than I can describe here – comes a road test. Bruce reported that there is some play in the steering, although it’s not too bad. A refurbished steering box would cost £474 and another £373 for labour. He also picked up on the hardtop release cable, which looks like it has been repaired poorly.

    This is important because if the cable fails it will be impossible to release the hardtop. Chalk up another £72 for the cable and £107 for labour at the next service.

    Despite a list of things to do that’s rather longer than I’d have liked, Bruce cheered me up by saying that generally the car is in excellent condition and that, if he were to put it up for sale in his showroom, it would be at around the £35,000 mark.

    That puts the cost of the inspection into perspective. In my opinion, it was well worth doing because I now know everything about the car and how I can improve its condition over time. And I’ve learned that I need to drive it more!

    Left and below More frequent driving will prevent the brakes from seizing, one of several faults revealed by The SL Shop’s check-up.

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  •   Richard Truesdell reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    BUYING GUIDE #Mercedes-Benz SL R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107

    Why one of the most glamorous, luxurious ( #Mercedes-Benz-280SL-R107 and #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-R107 ) and reliable roadsters of the 1980s is even.

    The R107-series SL was launched in #1971 and offered stylish interiors, smooth, large capacity engines and peerless build quality. Initially only available with V8 power, the R107 was offered with six-cylinder engines shortly after in the form of the 280 SL, with a twin-cam 2.8-litre engine and the 3.0-litre 300 SL. These engines are reasonably economical and refined and quiet. Here’s how to get yourself one of the finest six-cylinder tourers ever made.


    The SL is a usable and dependable classic that still manages to make a statement. Values have been on the up for some time now so it’s time to buy one now, before it follows in the footsteps of previous SL models and gets out of reach of the average buyer. Six-cylinder motors offer much of the V8s’ torque and refinement but with lower running costs. Don’t be put off by the 280 SL’s ‘entry-level’ image; like the 300 SL’s 3.0-litre engine, its 2.8-litre ‘six’ is actually more than up to the task.

    Well-made interiors are durable, especially in MB-Tex trim.
    Torquey six-cylinder engine can easily last 300,000 miles.
    Sharply rising prices mean now’s the time to buy an R107 SL.


    BLUE SMOKE The six-cylinder engines offer a good mixture of refinement and torque, without the fuel bills of the V8s. Engines can last for as long as 300,000 miles if properly maintained. Blue smoke indicates worn valve stems. Look for evidence that they’ve been changed every 75,000 miles along with the timing chain and tensioner.

    KEEP IT COOL Check the car’s history and see if it’s had regular coolant changes. It’s important that the proper antifreeze with the correct inhibitors has been used as it helps combat internal corrosion. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge too – these engines run hot if the radiator is clogged with silt.

    SHAFT WEAR A loud clicking from the engine indicates camshaft wear. If the engine has reached this stage, then it’s likely the cam followers and the chain will be affected too.

    GEARBOX GRUMBLING You can buy an R107 with a manual gearbox, but automatics are more common and more popular. Early cars have a fluid flywheel that can struggle to select first gear, but this was replaced in 1975 by a torque converter. On either gearbox, listen for excessive noise or problems with selecting gears. Vibrations from the transmission are usually as a result of worn propshaft couplings.

    RUSTPROOFING Generally speaking, the later the model, the less likely you are to find major rust. Post-1986 cars are by far the best and pre- #1976 versions by far the worst, mainly because they were built before wax injection was introduced. Check the sills, jacking points, floors and box sections, together with the wheel arches.

    THE REAL THING All panels are welded, apart from the front wings, and most are available directly from Mercedes-Benz. Pattern parts are available, but the fit is often compromised. It’s a sports car, so it’s always worth checking front chassis legs and inner panels to see if they’re rippled. If they are, there’s a good chance the car may have been crashed.

    WORN BUSHES Sloppy handling is usually down to worn bushes. Shock absorbers will also need replacing on high-mileage examples. If the car’s covered in excess of 90,000 miles then it’s worth looking to see if the steering dampers have been replaced too.

    SUPERIOR INTERIOR R107s were always built to a high standard, so beware cars with tatty interiors. Four different trim options were offered; cloth is the least desirable, MB-Tex the most sought-after. Wet carpets could indicate a compromised windscreen, door seals or hood. Wood lacquer is prone to scratching.


    ENGINE 2962cc/6-cyl/OHC
    POWER [email protected]
    TORQUE 184lb [email protected]
    MAXIMUM SPEED 124mph
    0-60MPH 9.6sec
    TRANSMISSION RWD, five-speed manual

    Concours £30,000
    Excellent £20,000
    Usable £15,000
    Project £3000


    1980 MERCEDES-BENZ R107 SL 350, VALUE £12,000 45-year-old male, living in Cambs, club member, car garaged, 3000 miles pa: £82.31 or £99.54 inc Agreed Value.

    Rear valance panel £249.95
    Full exhaust system £1462.00
    Front brake disc £79.90
    Steering damper £24.95
    All prices from The SL Shop

    Mercedes-Benz Owners’ Club
    The Mercedes-Benz Club
    T&D Heaney Motor Co
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