Author Topic: 560sl buying advice  (Read 5794 times)


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560sl buying advice
« on: July 29, 2015, 02:31:13 »
My brother has watched me have so much fun with my pagoda that he is interested in a 1989 560sl that he spotted by the road today. It has 103k miles and automatic transmission. Price is less than $5,000. Body seems to be solid yet it needs some paint work. He said it seems to run good so I am going to look at with him tomorrow. Any advice in the potential adventure?  It seems that most of the ones I see for sale are over $20k. The air does not work which I understand be a big project to fix.

He is mechanically savy and hopes to play with the car for a few years, fix whatever is wrong without a major restoration, and then sell it for a reasonable return for his time a effort.

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated.

John Krystowski
Avon Ohio
1968 Euro 280sl under restoration
2016 Jag F-Type R sold june 2021
1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS For sale
2008 E350
2007 GL 450
2019 BMW 540


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Re: 560sl buying advice
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 05:30:40 »
To be honest, the best r107 is the 500Sl, only gray market in the US.


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Re: 560sl buying advice
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 18:39:26 »
I agree that the 500 is the one to have.
As for what to look out for: rust in the bulkhead. The trouble is, even when you know where to look it's still not easy to see.
A good trick but not definitive is to pour a bottle of water into the air intake grills just in front of the windscree, then look inside the car (carpets up) to see if any water has penetrated to the inside.
There are plenty of pictures of the work required on my company Facebook page.


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Re: 560sl buying advice
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 20:04:23 »
I have a 107 currently that I bought having sold my pagoda last year. It's a great car, and I just got back from a 2.8k mile trip around Europe in it. It is old enough to feel classic / cool but can easily sit at 80mph for hours on the motorway. Mine has had the bulkhead completely repaired by the previous owner and it cost a fortune (was featured in the MB Club magazine whilst the work was done).
1966 230 - see my import story here

Jack Jones

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Re: 560sl buying advice
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 23:52:48 »
107 280SL 5 speed....great car!
Jack Jones                                                                                                   
1970 280SL 4 Speed
1984 280SL 5 Speed


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Re: 560sl buying advice
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2015, 21:27:24 »
I have a W107 380SL....super smooth motor mated to a 4 speed auto, but you have to make sure engine oil changes have been regularly carried out by the previous owner.  The 560SL is no different in its make up other than being more powerful and torquey obviously plus other improvements over the 380SL.  The most common things that will require doing on high kilometer cars are the head gasket, timing chain and all timing chain upper and lower plastic guides, valves and valve guides.  It is a big job which can be done by a knowledgeable individual  DIYer as the dealership will charge you around $15k+ for a proper rebuild with all genuine/OEM components fitted.  Around $5k + will buy you an upper engine rebuild which in my opinion is pointless.  The engine has to come off the car in order to remove the oil pan and then only you can access the oil pump, lower timing chain plastic guides etc.  If you go to the extent of taking out the engine you might as well check if the piston rings and crankshaft bearings are within specification.  The earlier engines were a lot more robust and less refined.  I have experience with the early D-jet (electronic fuel injection) W107s and the later K-Jet (mechanical fuel injection) W107s which were mated to an almost unbreakable 3 speed auto.  You have to request that the car is started cold in your presence to listen to any unusual noises mainly known as the famous "rattle" which means your guides and chain will require replacement.  Just my opinion on buying a cheap W107.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 21:42:03 by Yem »