R129 Sl what year to buy

wub

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I'm currently looking for a late, post 96, SL500. Post 96 to avoid the wiring issue, and get the 5 speed box.

Is it me, or are post 2000 cars quite a lot cheaper than cars between 97 and 99? I know the engine changed and there is some discussion as which one is best, but as a Newbe to this and having read lots of articles, it seems the new 113 engine is at worst, slightly inferior to the 119. It certainly does not appear to be a Dog of an engine?

So after the engine, all we have left is build quality and rust. I know Merc changed hands and build quality became an issue 2000 on ( i had a 2001 estate that rusted right out, whilst my 1999 c240 "run to the tip car" with 175k is still going strong.

I guess my question is, when exactly did the build quality / rust issue start? is a 2000 SL of the old quality or have the later rust problems? Is that why some pristine examples out there at the moment, post 2000 seem very good value, compared to pre 2000 cars same price , but no where near as nice? Or am i missing something?

Did also consider a SL600, but to get a car in the condition i want, it seems its going to cost a lot more, if and when i can find one and cost twice as much to keep on the road, so i think the Sl500 is the car for me.
 

A.J.

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It would seem that MB's rust problems started in mid 1999 when Mercedes switched to water-based paint and that 1998 MY should be relatively corrosion-free. :rolleyes:
 

s5tuart

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I can't resist another chance to post my old 129. Year 2000 and the only rust beginning to show was on the front wings just in front of the wheels on the wheel arches. Right where the wing joins the front bumper.
I do tend to baby my cars a bit but unfortunately they have to live outside as I have no garage. :(




D290F9EF-0C6D-4B3F-A872-63850D4A9018.jpeg
 

LostKiwi

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Both the m119 and m113 engines are good engines.
The M119 has been called a masterpiece of engineering.
The M113 has been called a masterpiece of manufacturing.

There are several features of the 119 that are missing on the 113.
Variable valve timing and 4 valve per cylinder for example. The 13 has variable intake tract (not found on the 119) and 3 claves per cylinder.
The character of the engines are also very different.
In my experience the 119 in my 1993 r129 is far more flexible (in spite of having maximum torque further up the rev range) and can be burbled about all day at 1500 to 2000 rpm. The 113 (as fitted to our r230) by comparison seems happier between 2000 and 3000 rpm.
The 119 doesn't goad you to go faster all the time whereas the 113 does, yet the 119 when provoked is definitely more brutal.
You can't go wrong with either really but my choice is the 119. It's a superb engine.
As mentioned 1999 saw a change in manufacturing that resulted in more rust issues. If you want the 5 speed then your golden year is 1997/8.
I personally have no complaints with the 4 speed. Simple, no electronics and reliable.
 

Wearsafoxhat

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Hi, my 98 is pretty much rust free with the exception of the front wings, in front of the wheel where they do seem to hold the water.
Other than that it is a nice drive with the M113 engine.
The 119 engine does sound more meaty but the cars are cruisers, not street racers though both can give the average hot hatch a surprise.


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wub

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Thanks all, that explains a lot and that user detail is immensely helpful. i know where I'm going now, the hunt is on.
 

00slk

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If you are like me, which looks like your are not, I always buy with my heart :oops:
 

Wearsafoxhat

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Thanks all, that explains a lot and that user detail is immensely helpful. i know where I'm going now, the hunt is on.

Which is, on the hunt for ????

Perhaps someone on here may be able to help further.


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Vintage Racer

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Personally, I would not bother too much about what year it is........the important thing, is whether it has been maintained correctly or not!

My 2001 is totally rust free, but has been cosseted from new.

Ensure that whatever you buy has a 'full' service history and has preferably been garaged.

I looked at a LOT of 'supposedly' immaculate cars, which turned out to be 'dogs', so ended up spending over budget by buying mine from the 'SL SHOP'. Not cheap, but a perfect car with a 2 year warranty.

Realistically, if I had bought a cheaper car, I could have easily ended up spending as much money (if not more), by putting it right!

Do your homework and buy with your head, as well as your heart........you will end up with a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable car!
 
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wub

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i have decided to hunt for a SL500 96 to 2001, but a nice example and see what comes along. Totally agree with vintage racer, i have looked at a few with issues and after doing some quick sums, soon realized it was going to cost me more than a good example in the first place, and all the hassle.

I don't have a budget i have to stick to, i'm past half way in life, and want the right car. I don't want a show car as i want to use it, but i also don't want a rust bucket. Has to be black interior, and prefer a darker paint colour. Like the AMG dish alloys are they called? The one's that are bigger at the rear than the fronts. What are they called? even a set of those looks like its 3k plus, so might as well find a car with them on in the first place. Unless anyone has a set for sale?

So anyone got anything?
 

Wearsafoxhat

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AMG wheels, staggered set up. A nice option but I seem to remember something about cars originally fitted with these having slightly wider, rolled out wheel arches.
Not sure but maybe worth looking into.

Happy hunting


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Blobcat

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R129 "Silver Arrow" would be a nice find, although they're not cheap these days
 

LostKiwi

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I seem to recall the staggered split rim AMG wheels were factory option on the pre facelift cars only and are 17".

Later cars had a different style in 18" and these are much cheaper.
 
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wub

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So can these wheels be bought anywhere and what merc's were they fitted too? I guess these are the staggered AMG alloys you are talking about?
s-l1600.jpg
 

Wearsafoxhat

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You should be able to pick up a set.

AMG mono block 225/45/17 and 245/40/17 from a few early AMG’s.

1294010102 and 2104010202 are 18 inch part numbers.


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LostKiwi

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You should be able to pick up a set.

AMG mono block 225/45/17 and 245/40/17 from a few early AMG’s.

1294010102 and 2104010202 are 18 inch part numbers.


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Those 17s aren't for 129s - they're C class and E class.
The only 17s for r129s were the split rims.

The 18" were fitted to later cars.
 
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wub

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Ok learning all the time. So were they actual split rims or just look a like split rims? I presume as merc they are actual split rims.
 
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wub

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Whoops, posted too soon then!

And just to clarify, the read wheels were wider than the front ones?

Also can you clear up a model change issue. I have been looking at a few 97 and 98 year cars and notice that some have the extra middle stop light on the boot. I have read on this page,
https://www.kenrockwell.com/sl/r129history.htm that 97 was a model change year with a few small changes. I am right in thinking that a 97 car with the middle boot stop light is this model changes and 97's without this are before this model change as none of the stuff i have read mentions the middle boot stop light change point?

Following on from this, if the boot stop light is the change point in 97, what else changed, that's of any significance? I see that panoramic roofs were an option from this point on, anything else?
 

Wearsafoxhat

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Visually, the wing mirrors changed from rectangular to oval ish. Also think they went from 500 SL to SL 500 regarding the boot badging.
I think the later models had an exhaust tip showing and not hidden behind the rear valance but not too sure.

The engines changed too. The later models seemed to have more options


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wub

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I'm not sure about the wing mirrors, as there seems to be 1998 cars out there still with the square wing mirrors?
 

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