Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/19/11 9:22 a.m.

I know it isn't a sports car, but this 1979 450sl just fell into my lap for a price I couldn't pass up. While I've never lusted after one of these (my Mom did) I've always been impressed with the incredible build quality.

Does anyone have sage advice for a new Merc owner?

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
9/19/11 10:39 a.m.

Find a good place for service. I found out the hard way those late 70's/early 80's Benz's are not DIY friendly. And there's not much I won't attempt.

Suspension bushings wear out after awhile and are a PITA to replace.

Everytime the other half lusts after a M-B, I just say, "sure... Dave (a friend who runs a German car shop) has 5 kids to feed..."

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/19/11 11:01 a.m.

I hear ya! I'm a little worried about parts prices / repairs etc. I've had a Merc pro go over the car, and most of the issues seem pretty straightforward and simple. (A/C excluded)

I may not fix the A/C for fear of going underwater!

benzbaron Dork
9/19/11 10:54 p.m.

There was a recall on the subframe and your model is affected. It should still be covered under warranty so you might want to have the subframe checked for cracks. I actually had mine replaced under warranty but mercedes did me good. If it isn't cracked you can have it retrofitted with gussets welded in or just find a 560sl subframe and have it and all the associated bushings done.

The chrome wheel arch covers promote rust in the wheel arches and I would remove them or at least inspect for rust. Oh these cars do like to rust, ask me how I know.

Some of the bushings are a pain in the ass to do like the front subframe bushing and rear trailing arm bushing but nothing is out of a DIY hands if you are willing. If the car hasn't had it yet expect a whole front suspension job, transmission mount, engine mount, flex discs should be inspected as they like to catastrophically fail and might ruin the output shaft from the transmission. You might need the steering box resealed/adjusted also, as the steering gets out of adjustment with time.

Hopefully the car cas manual climate controls with the levers you move up and down as the automatic AC system isn't very good and the servos are prone to failure. If it works count you blessings.

If you need any more info just get onto the benzworld R107 forum and go at it. Once these cars are sorted they are pretty solid, I just drove mine 400miles round trip this past weekend.

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
9/20/11 1:43 a.m.

Hopefully your not cursed with the Mono Valve!

Having owned my 82 300SD for about 2 months now, I would agree with 'Baron. The 126 series seems fairly easy to work on.

Complex, but not complicated.


Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/20/11 1:27 p.m.

Thanks for the input guys!

Yes, mine has the dreaded "automatic" climate control, and no, mine isn't working. As I'll probably be selling this car soon I don't see spending the $$$$ to chase the problem.

I did just get off the phone with my local Merc guy, and he quoted me just $150 or so to change the rear dog-legs (they secure the sway bar) and install a trans shifter bushing. I was a bit shocked at how inexpensive his rates are. Looks like I've found a good source!

The steering does need a stabilizer / bushing, and that will be next. After that I may just drive it for a while and see if anyone bites for $4-$5K. I don't plan on keeping this for the long term, but I have to admit after driving it last is a pretty wonderful machine. I can see why these were so popular. What an incredibly relaxing car to tool around in!

I'm not at all reluctant to DIY a few problems, but I don't want to head down the slippery slope of throwing too much $$$ at it.

cyncrvr New Reader
9/22/11 6:39 p.m.

I have been tempted many times over the years by the older SLs but have never found the right car. Right now I have other irons in the fire but it is still nice to see a rather nice one like yours out and about.

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