Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

1971-1989: 280SL, 280SLC, 300SL, 350SL, 350SLC, 380SL, 380SLC, 420SL, 450SL, 450SLC, 450SLC 5.0, 500SL, 500SLC, 560SL
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mathuisella
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Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by mathuisella » Sat 22 Dec, 2018 11:48 am

Hey all, well my girlfriend is eyeing off one of the 380's and i know the w123 cars fairly well, but wondering if the 107 owners would be kind enough to pass on a few tips in regards to that chasis in what to look for when buying.

Rust is a big one of course, just wondering where the hidden spots and likely spots for it to occur and any other issues that you guys have come across over the years :)

Thank you :)

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TheMadRacoon
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Model you own: w107
Location: Melbourne

Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by TheMadRacoon » Sat 22 Dec, 2018 8:50 pm

Hi Mathuisella,

SL is a great looking car. Never been in one but I have an SLC. Great drive, comfortable, sure footed, fantastic brakes, loves to drink (cast iron M116 350).

Some things to watch out for...

Things I learnt from the forum...
M116 V8... timing chain guides, chain, tensioner, oiler pipes for camshaft bearings. Check if 380 has double row chain rather than (early?) single row. Haven't driven any 380. 420 is a beautiful engine and I understand it to be much more powerful (torquey) than 380 but one advantage of 380 is no electronics (EZL)... though I could be wrong: 380 is Kjet while 420 and 560 are 1986+ and KEjet

Front sub frame, if gussets not welded in to strengthen weak spot (probably from stress concentrations)

Rear sub frame mounts

Front sub frame mounts

Engine mounts

Flex coupling (per all Benzes)

Centre console support frame breaks, console drops 1-2cm. I think CraigB has a thread on a fix

I'm certain SL doesn't have power rear side windows (only SLC, rust inside might be cause for window lift mechanism (arms) to bend and jam

Rust...

Boot floor / wheel arches (inside black paint was peeling in mine but was otherwise ok when I first purchased mine (coupe, not roadster)

Floors where it meets firewall (not sure if restricted to one side or not)

Front wheel arches especially close to floor. The sound deadening material lifts, traps water then hides rust

Interior fan chamber. Under bonnet above firewall is a plastic cover for the fan. Search forum, I think Chai had a thread on removing. Need to remove resistor box located on firewall. Don't do what I did and unscrew first thinking screws secure the plug. No, remove the plug from socket then unscrew (screws hold socket to firewall). I broke the flange on the socket, which is where one of the mounting screws goes through :(

There are four nuts holding the fan, which mounts on vertical studs. Use plenty of WD40 and wait. Waiting is better than what I did: started undoing nuts too soon and sheared the studs off the plenum :(

Now look around, out towards bonnet hinges. Some cars are badly perforated here. Look up SL SHOP on you tube (UK based specialist). I think they might sell replacement plenum / sheet metal. There's a thread on the forum showing this.

I have photos of mine somewhere, I may have even posted on a thread here.

Rust is also common as random bubbles, under door mouldings (plastic strips) especially in section where rear door would be if they were 4 door cars, floors, around aerial. Here are some photos from mine...
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Last edited by TheMadRacoon on Sun 23 Dec, 2018 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Emad,
TheMadRacoon
1975 350SLC Astral Silver (725) / Blue (2012 - 2019.... an under-rated car)
1988 190E Deep Blue (900) / Cream (2006, 190,000 km - 2007, ~ 215,000 km .... FSH and still spent big $$$)
1974 280E Reed Green (860) / Bone (1993, 316,700 km - 2004, ~490,000 km and still A1)

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TheMadRacoon
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Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by TheMadRacoon » Sat 22 Dec, 2018 8:59 pm

And yes, that's some duct tape to stop water getting through where there was a gap.

WD40 and duct tape, an amateur's best friends.

PS Mathuisella, I should have paid more attention to your OP. You already know the M116 380, more than me I'm sure.
Last edited by TheMadRacoon on Sun 23 Dec, 2018 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Emad,
TheMadRacoon
1975 350SLC Astral Silver (725) / Blue (2012 - 2019.... an under-rated car)
1988 190E Deep Blue (900) / Cream (2006, 190,000 km - 2007, ~ 215,000 km .... FSH and still spent big $$$)
1974 280E Reed Green (860) / Bone (1993, 316,700 km - 2004, ~490,000 km and still A1)

merc-304
Adenauer
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Location: North Coast NSW

Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by merc-304 » Sun 23 Dec, 2018 10:03 am

Putting firewall / bulkhead rust R107 into google images can be Horrifying
380 SEC

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TheMadRacoon
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Joined: Sun 25 Nov, 2012 11:34 am
Model you own: w107
Location: Melbourne

Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by TheMadRacoon » Sun 23 Dec, 2018 10:17 am

As "ChiefRider" posted on BenzWorld:

"The words "380SL" and "restoration project" don't go together."

So get a good one!
Emad,
TheMadRacoon
1975 350SLC Astral Silver (725) / Blue (2012 - 2019.... an under-rated car)
1988 190E Deep Blue (900) / Cream (2006, 190,000 km - 2007, ~ 215,000 km .... FSH and still spent big $$$)
1974 280E Reed Green (860) / Bone (1993, 316,700 km - 2004, ~490,000 km and still A1)

CraigB
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Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by CraigB » Mon 24 Dec, 2018 9:10 am

That's a good summary from the Racoon. I would add running your fingers around the underside of the boot gutter for rust - also look inside the front guards and the firewall bracing channel often rusts - which leads you to other problems. You are very unlikely to get a good cheap 380, or any of the alloy motor cars but if they are out of budget a good 350/450 can usually be had a fair bit cheaper - but as you know the same applies to any car and the best car you can get at any price is likely to be the cheapest 5 yrs from now. Was a really nice 450sl that edenning was prepared to part with - low 20's i think it was and knowing the condition of the car its what i would describe as a true bargain for the 'thinking' buyer. Good history - always well cared for.
Craig Baulderstone
280s's
280SE3.5
280SL Ruby
300TE Otto
350SL Gloria
350SLC Lurch
450SEL Boris
500SEC's...including Syd
560SEL's Foufou and Zac

der_panzer
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Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by der_panzer » Fri 28 Jun, 2019 12:09 pm

Beautiful cars these. Wonderful to drive. Awesome noise. 380 motor is a champ and if its the early 116.960 revs like a hooker on speed. Not fast but sounds knockers.

But you better get used to rust. They have lots of it. Beautiful cars which came from a period where underseal put on heavily to protect against water coming in from the base on wet roads, but acts as a pool for water if it comes down from above (either blocked sunroof drains - SLC), cleaning the engine, poor door seals, roof leaks. I have three of these rust buckets, all SLC's. I didn't think I was certifiable but, your honour this is exhibit A.

Key sections of rust to look out for:
Roof panel where it gets stored
Scuttle and plenum
Rear chassis legs under the boot floor
Sills - jacking points and inner sills.
Floors - if the plenum leaks it hides under the plastic sound deadener matting and sweats, causing corrosion.
Front chassis legs in front of the subframe (just repaired one recently)
Boot lid seal + channel. (easy fix)
Oh and above the headlights
Brace under the guard between the inner structure and front guard - you can stick your hand up on it and feel the holes

So you have two options:
1. Buy an unrestored rusty one that you know is stuffed and give up a good part of your life to repair it if you can do it yourself. Paying a shop to do it is like spending money on those aforementioned hookers and speed.
2. Buy a really good one (pricey but worth it)
3. Buy an okay one and live with the issues.

In the case of 2 and 3 make sure you get a specialist or someone who knows em to look over it with you.

CraigB
OZBENZ Admin
Posts: 5477
Joined: Thu 23 Jun, 2005 1:18 pm
Model you own: I own multiple different models
Location: Hawthorndene (Adelaide)

Re: Potentially buying a 380 R107 roadster

Post by CraigB » Fri 28 Jun, 2019 12:24 pm

They are not all rusty, but if you are looking in budget price tags, they probably are. I think that is a good summary and on point 3 - any car basically forget the price tag and get it properly looked at and work out the total that it will cost you a few years down the track. Most discussion usually centres around a purchase price - ' experts on what a 107 is worth" - but almost always it will cost more than you think to fix and the good pricier cars end up being the bargains....... but then i scanned back to read the original post..... and know he is very familiar with all that! At least you have a great ability to do work .... so maybe option 1!
Craig Baulderstone
280s's
280SE3.5
280SL Ruby
300TE Otto
350SL Gloria
350SLC Lurch
450SEL Boris
500SEC's...including Syd
560SEL's Foufou and Zac

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