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Thread: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

  1. #1
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    M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Hi,
    I am considering buying a 560 sl, American version as we didn't get the 560 in the sl shape.
    What should I look for, especially about the engine ? Is there a better year or a year to avoid ?
    Thanks

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    They're all about the same with the exception of the 3rd brake light which changed location after the first year. If you're familiar with the M117 and R107, nothing will jump out as unusual. These cars are still relatively cheap and the annual safety inspection process in the US is near to non existent.

    Expect a lot of differed maintenance to deal with when you take delivery.
    Last edited by alabbasi; 1 Week Ago at 11:40 PM.

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    M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Engine wise, the 560s are ESSENTIALLY all the same. If you can, I’d go for a 1988 or 1989 car just because it’s the most developed model.

    The 1986 and 1987 US models had a bulbous 3rd brake light toward the front of the trunk lid (close to the soft top storage area). The 1988 and 1989 models had a smaller light on the trunk lid that was moved to a position that was farther toward the rear of the lid (toward the license plate end of the lid). I used to own a 1987 560SL for 7 years and it was a fine car to own and drive, though it was a bit cramped to get in and out of.

    All of the US 560 cars are going to have the restrictive “crossover” US exhaust, which can be retrofitted with the European style “tri-y” system that is specific to the SL models. You can find these used in Europe, but they are expensive. But it will give you about 25 more HP.

    Other than that, the engines are quite good as long as you feed them motor oil with appropriate levels of ZDDP. And change the timing chains and chain rails and tensioner every 125K miles or so.

    Dashboard HVAC pods will be an issue if they haven’t been changed out.

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Watch out for any car that spent a lot of time anywhere road salt is used in winter. Request photos of the undercarriage, you'll know pretty quick if it may have cancer.


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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Its worth noting that US spec 560 is around the same BHP as a euro 500.

    If I bought one, id definitely ditch all the emissions stuff and change the exhaust manifolds to get all of the 560's power.

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    My 84 Euro 500SL has 240 HP not sure about the torque rating. More power than the American M117 560SL engine. Not sure what my particular car has since it now has duel CATS.

    The only problem with mine is that it has been setting in my driveway for about 4 years now and hasn't run. It ran well until it failed CA Smog and I parked it. It's resting now but ALL COVERED UP.
    Terry

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Neeeeed to do that top-end rebuild Terry!!

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Hi,
    Gerry, what do you mean by "I’d go for a 1988 or 1989 car just because it’s the most developed model." ?
    Were the 560 sl deeply improved between 1986 and 1989 ? In what way ? I can't find anything on that

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    If I may chime in, the Generation 2 (styling and updated hardware, electronics, displacement and innocuous intake improvements) were better post 1986, and being an icon of the 80's - the 88 and 89 embody the end of the era. However a 90-91 are the same but the end of the chassis series, and there were less 91 made than the 90, making them a bit more scarce. Interior of an 88-91 are identical, the 87 depending on build date were slightly more pedestrian. (not that the interior was all that flashy to begin with)
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    This thread pertains to the R107 chassis, not the W126.



    The M117 In 5.6-liter form wasn’t produced in the R107 chassis after the 1989 model year. For 1990, MB went to the R129 chassis.

    MB carried over the W126 chassis with the 5.6-liter M117 for two more model years (1990 & 1991) before introducing the W140 for 1992.

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    Re: M117, 560, what to watch for before buying an American model

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis View Post
    Hi,
    Gerry, what do you mean by "I’d go for a 1988 or 1989 car just because it’s the most developed model." ?
    Were the 560 sl deeply improved between 1986 and 1989 ? In what way ? I can't find anything on that
    The last years of any MB chassis are generally the most desirable due to having incorporated all of the running changes, fixes and improvements that MB phases in during production of any given chassis.

    I wouldn’t say that the 560SL was “deeply improved” during its four-year model run, but there were small changes made along the way both to the engine and to the chassis that generally made it better in small ways. Not a lot, but a few things.

    For the R107 chassis itself, the major changes/improvements were made with the 1986 models, such as suspension changes, HVAC system changes, and the more modernized CIS-E-based M117 engine, over the previous CIS-based 5-liter M117.

    So, while all of the 560SLs are pretty similar, the last years all things considered are going to be the most desirable and expensive.

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