Most reliable SL?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OtleyDominic, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. OtleyDominic

    OtleyDominic New Member

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    Hi All,

    I am considering getting a convertible mercedes. Not too worried about fuel economy, just want the most reliable convertible made by Mercedes. But without spending a lot of money.

    Which years provided the most reliable SLs?

    Thank you for any thoughts

    Dominic
     
  2. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    the R107 would be hard to beat in that respect.. A lot depends on your budget.
     
  3. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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    Bodywork issues pretty common with the R107 though?
     
  4. DSB SL AMG

    DSB SL AMG MB Enthusiast

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    without doubt the winner is the R129! final series edition SL500 probably the very best, 2000/01 MY
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  5. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    what is your budget?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    OtleyDominic

    OtleyDominic New Member

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    Budget wise, with only 5k GBP, is it recommended to look at other Mercedes convertibles than the SL?
     
  7. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller MB Enthusiast

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    I would think a Clk is the way to go on a budget.
     
  8. stevieb15

    stevieb15 Active Member

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    "Budget wise, with only 5k GBP, is it recommended to look at other Mercedes convertibles than the SL"
    Oddly enough I doubt it, the SL should be pretty bullet proof(although I had an engine go I think I'm pretty unique)
    Regular and conscientious maintenance is essential, if it needs doing do it.
    Most R129s will have been well looked after from new, they were very expensive after all, it's the 3rd 4th owners you need to worry about.
    My wife's CLK320 has been a money pit for the last 3 years and a well looked after R129 could be your best answer.
    In all fairness other than some cosmetics which I chose to do rather than necessity and the engine mines been very cheap to run over the last 50000 miles...drinks a bit but not much depreciation.
    Find a FSH 1,2,3 owner example, post 96, in great nick and you should be ok...but it took me 18 months to find one that satisfied those criteria.
     
  9. jamesfuller

    jamesfuller MB Enthusiast

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    It seems for half your budget a 230 Kompressor in reasonable condition is a common sight. Then the other half could be spent on bringing up to perfection or fixing hidden faults as you find them (remember these are all old cars now, you never know)

    Or you could get a V8! or

    Mercedes CLK 200 Kompressor Metallic Black 2004 (54) | eBay
     
  10. SL300-24

    SL300-24 MB Enthusiast

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    If you really want an SL then at £5k you should get a decent 129 providing you buy carefully.
    Forget 107's at this price they will need lots of work. Good 107's are now at least double your budget.
    R129's are I think on the bottom of the depreciation scale and in the long term you should at least get your £5k backwhen you sell if you look after it.
     
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  11. WG M-B

    WG M-B Auhorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    I gotta say R129 myself. One hell of a car!
     
  12. DSB SL AMG

    DSB SL AMG MB Enthusiast

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    As mentioned above the R129 is at rock bottom at the moment, I think due to the numbers out there for sale....a budget of £5k is more than enough to secure a very nice example....with budget in mind I would go for a 1997 MY...if you can wait until dec / jan you will pick up an even bigger bargain with the traders....:thumb: nice example attached....

    Mercedes-Benz SL Class SL320 2DR AUTO [5] WITH HARD TOP FSH 3.2 1997
     
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  13. IanA2

    IanA2 MB Enthusiast

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    Another vote for 129....:thumb:
     
  14. tanuie

    tanuie MB Enthusiast

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    I have to agree, although a bit biased, I would go for
    the 320, I think they have enough power for what most
    people need and quite good petrol wise.
    A very good car.
     
  15. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    5k would buy you an early, rather scruffy SL500 or a clean late model 320 v6.

    I would go for the V6 over the straight 6 myself.
     
  16. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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    Yup I would also say R129. If fuel economy isn't an issue (as stated in the OP) then hold out for a 500 as this is a 2-tonne car and the smaller engines have to work harder. Usual caveats - buy the best looked-after example you can find, and check everything works (particularly the hood).
     
  17. Parisien

    Parisien Active Member

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    Thought I'd post this up on relevant threads...........

    Whilst continuing my research I checked out what Honest John had to say.........frankly its like something British Leyland made during the 70s. How can anyone on the forum remotely recommend buying an SL? Paying a huge price for fatally flawed designs and MB washing their hands of nearly all of them......am very disappointed.

    What's Bad
    Anyone who paid a narcissist's premium to be one of the first in these cars lost their money, but is probably rich enough not to care.

    Water leaks into boot are quite common.

    21-3-2011: 'Least Reliable European badged 3 - 7 year old car' in 2011 Warranty Direct Reliability Survey, with a 47% incident rate and a £742.10 average cost of repair. More at: Home - Car Reliability Index | Reliability Index | How reliable is your car?

    What to Watch Out For
    Check the operation of the roof.

    Check the history of the car very carefully. If you are spending upwards of £30,000 you don't want to buy an SL with a chequered past.

    On early SL350s and 500s the baffles in the fuel tank are prone to breaking loose and rattling, and it's a £1,500 - £2,000 job to replace the tank because it involves dismantling part of the folding roof mechanism.

    Big bills for ECU problems, locking vacuum pump and transmission problems.

    Warning sign indicating "electrics off line" and "battery", which disappears after a few miles means more than this. The electronic brakes could fail. Mercedes 24hour hot line, excellent service with a real mechanic can fix (needs a new alternator). BUT DON'T IGNORE THE WARNING.

    Older cars develop a leak in the poorly designed seal at the rear of the roof that costs £2,500 to replace. If unrepaired, boots can fill up with water.

    Auxiliary battery may not keep its charge for more than 2-3 days and thus i have no use of remote opening /roof down / heated seats / seat adjustments etc , all of which i understand are controlled by this power source , until the car has been running & charging the battery for 10 minutes + . This defeats the object of roof down in hot weather & heated seats in the cold.

    27-8-2011: Problem of premature wear of timing chain sprocket for balancer shaft of M272 and M273 V6 petrol engines. Mercedes Star bulletin about this. Big job. Can cost £4,000.

    1-2-2012: Moisture gets into the central locking vacuum pump affectiong its operation.

    8-2-2012: Issues with the seals of the folding hard-top, replacement of which is a two day £1,800 job. Corrosion has been found in the window frames while this was carried out.

    13-10-2012: Faults with a (now) 33,000 mile 2003 SL500 over the years:

    September 2007 15,000 miles airbag line fault, cost £630.

    January 2010 22,500 miles active body control unit fault £612

    October 2010 26,000 miles catalytic converter replaced £950

    October 2011 revealed the off side track rod end needs replacing £250

    September 2012 33,000 miles: On return from a recent journey to Italy a new noise has emerged which is diagnosed as the power steering/ABC pump. The only solution being to replace it at a cost of nearly £2000.

    17-11-2012: Corrosion reported along the rear scuttle and in the leading edges of the flanges of both rear wheel arches of a 2003 R230. Mercedes dealer said not covered by 30 year Mobilo warranty.

    28-12-2012: Mercedes SL 2002-2009 rated 3rd most likely car built 1997-2009 to suffer expensive problems according to Warranty Direct December 2012 Reliability Index, with an index of 555 (compared with a rating of 6 for the best)

    9-5-2013: Mysterious electrical fault on 2005/55 SL350 purchased 2nd hand from an independent dealer deemed unrepairable by Mercedes dealer.

    5-6-2013: Report of boot seal failure on 34k mile 2006/56 car, costing £500 to replace, but leading to swamped electrics of ancilliaries pump in the boot compartment that cost £1,000 to replace.



    Recalls
    May 2004: 35,000 UK car recall of cars built from March 2002 over fault with electronic SBC brakes which can fail without warning and revert to the hydraulic front brakes back-up.

    31-3-2005: Worldwide Recall: On vehicles with six and eight-cylinder petrol engines built between June 2001 and November 2004 the voltage regulator in the alternator is being checked and if necessary replaced.

    On E-Class and CLS-Class models made from January 2002 to January 2005, new battery control unit software is to enhance the on-board power supply. In addition, the braking systems on E-Class, SL-Class and CLS-Class models from the production period June 2001 to March 2005 are also to be updated. Customers are being informed in writing. Mercedes-Benz has set up a special hotline to answer customers' questions: Hotline for Europe: 00800 1 777 7777




    P
     
  18. stevieb15

    stevieb15 Active Member

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    We're recommending R129 not 230
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  19. Parisien

    Parisien Active Member

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    ......and the above would rule out the R230s!!!


    P
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  20. stevieb15

    stevieb15 Active Member

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    I suggest you either take more water with it or refrain from late night posts
     
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