1972: The Buyers

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Journal of Purchasing Volume 8, Issue 4. Gary M. Andrew University of Colorado Search for more papers by this author. Alden C.

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Lorents Northern Arizona University Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Citing Literature. As any roadster owner will know, long periods of time without putting the soft top on the car results in a noticeable shrinkage of the soft top itself.

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This can be puzzling, especially for those soft tops that look mint. This means that is has been kept in storage for long or the car just ran with the hardtop on. In that case, check that the soft top latches perfectly on to the front mounts and that the mechanism is not blocked. If the soft top has been regularly used, check for proper adjustment all around, smooth folding and unfolding, good clear windows and any signs of leakage.

Any rip, tiny holes or weird discoloration in particular places might need a costly repair. Also, check for any missing chrome parts that might have come off after neglected storage or clumsy attempts to put the hardtop on. One rule when inspecting cars is to check the engine completely cold. When the car is cold, all the weird noises and possible faults have nowhere to hide. So, always try to check the engine cold. Fortunately, the cooling system of the W is superb and deals with the engine perfectly.

Take the car for a drive and check the coolant temperature all along. If you see the engine overheating in open roads without pushing it, either the car is low on coolant or the radiator is clogged. Since chains are way more durable than belts, the time between services can be stretched to k miles k kilometers if properly maintained. And thus, the timing chain lifespan shortens dramatically, making it a ticking bomb for the soon-to-be owner. Bad-to-no maintenance can bring down the chain life to only k kilometers about 80k miles.

First, with the engine cold, start the car and look for a rattling noise that stays there for seconds and then quiets down. Does it sound? The chain is stretched and needs to be replaced or the chain tensioner is gone and needs replacement.

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Otherwise, it can become a bit naughty and skip a tooth, two or more on the camshaft sprocket. Engine blown. See ya. All the distribution parts surrounding the timing chain have their function, such as rails, tensioner and guides. They are coated with plastic to avoid friction and allow a smoother ride.

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Disregarding the mileage, the years make the plastic brittle and prone to lose tiny bits here and there. This can happen with very low mileage but not well maintained cars. If the car has a good service record as per the MB guidelines, it should have that parts replaced. Otherwise, consider this as a cost to add to the purchasing price when negotiating with the seller. Nearly all V8 mounted on SLs and SLCs have a double-row timing chain to avoid premature stretching since the V shape of the engine demands a fairly long chain.

Bad idea. Broken chains and weird engine disasters followed even to properly maintained cars. Mercedes-Benz called SL owners of that period to the workshop to replace the chains to a double-row chain at no cost. If you come across a SL of that production range, check that it had the chain conversion, either physically or in the service history if available. The same considerations for the V8 must be considered, keeping an eye on the rubber parts at k kilometers.

This part keeps the proper clearance between rocker arms and the camshaft.

Blog | Tips for Buyers | Sharon K. Corcoran | | San Diego County Homes for Sale

If the car has not been properly maintained, the valvetrain in general wears out prematurely. The lifters make a pretty recognizable clicking sound on the upper part of the engine due to increased clearance. Both manual and automatic transmissions are sturdy. The front subframe in early cars is prone to cracking. Yes, cracking. Not only this, the most frequent part where the crack starts is near the front control arm attachment to the subframe. The best way to address this is to have it inspected by a Mercedes dealer and do the due diligence on the VIN.

The main concern here is pure wear. Check for worn shock absorbers, worn out bushings and excessive play in the control arms and ball joints. If you spot this, check carefully the suspension because these mods change the geometry on the suspension and increase the stress. Another key point to check is for the accuracy of the steering.

While driving, pay attention to how the car steers.

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Check if you can point the car with precision and at once. The W is a heavy car but brakes perfectly with its brake discs all-round. Check for brake pad thickness; any screeching might indicate that they need replacement. If the car has been parked for a long time, it might have one of the calipers seized.

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While you test drive it on an open road, try to brake firmly without jumping on them like a mad man! If the car turns while braking, one of the calipers is seized and needs an overhaul. Leather or MB Tex were once the most desired options, but now, 30 years after the last W left the factory, the fabric seats are particularly sought-after due to its rarity and lower chance to find them in good condition. Very minimal wear and tear.

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