What are the pitfalls of buying a Β£5k R230?

What are the pitfalls of buying a Β£5k R230?

Author
Discussion

GTRene

11,816 posts

184 months

Tuesday 20th October
quotequote all
do 'all' R230 SL have those same sort 'expensive' problems?

which type SL are 'better' or even 'good' (as good as it gets)

Monkeylegend

19,927 posts

191 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
The SL350 has coil spring suspension as standard unless specced otherwise so avoids all the ABC issues, and the 3.7l V6 car does not suffer from the balance shaft issues of the early 3.5l V6.

Pre March 2005 it is also the lower VED.

Guess which one I have smile



Dog Star

11,694 posts

128 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
GTRene said:
do 'all' R230 SL have those same sort 'expensive' problems?

which type SL are 'better' or even 'good' (as good as it gets)
Despite all my dire warnings I would still have another but it would be a 2008 onward model and without ABC. Great cars.

I have yet to see any car I would ever buy used that has fancy hydraulic/airbag etc suspension. Land Rover and MB spring to mind most. Back in 2015 my sister (who lives up a rough track in the middle of nowhere in Snowdonia) and her boyfriend decided to buy an AMG trim E class estate with fancy suspension (airmatic?), car was a 61 plate. I warned them of this but they went ahead anyway. It was blowing shocks on a continual basis - it was covered by a warranty that got absolutely hammered (AA sold it them) in paying for these things, but it was broken down with suspension woes for about 30% of the time they had it, the rest of the time it was always resting on it's bump stops or listing like a sinking ship.

ABC/airmatic - a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

So I would love an SL400 or late 350, especially now as my employer has announced working from home forever, however there is no option for transporting bicycles with one frown so I'll probably be going for a Cayman next year - at least you can fit a roofrack.

Candellara

1,399 posts

142 months

Wednesday 21st October
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Fresh Prince said:
This line has made me repeatedly chuckle for the last half hour.

I was thinking of replacing my 987 Boxster S with a V8 R230 due to my anticipated usage profile over the next year or so. Now I'm not so sure. This sounds like jumping out of the frying pan into an incinerator.
Ignore it. Believe you me after running Ferrari's and Porsche RS's - the SL55 is cheap to run. Most of the regular items that require attention are fairly cheap. ABC pump is about £1200. Struts & ball joints are available from aftermarket manufacturers etc etc etc

Don't get me wrong, if you are used to a Vauxhall Corsa, the SL is going to feel quite expensive in terms of maintenance costs but if you're used to comparable performance cars BMW M series, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren etc - SL is pretty palatable an represents excellent value

GTRene

11,816 posts

184 months

Thursday 22nd October
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I mostly look at AMG V8 models, so in case of a R230 model, say the SL55 AMG, hm, I see there are even SL65 hahah

3.0 L 228 hp (170 kW) V6
3.7 L 242 hp (180 kW) V6
3.5 L 268 hp (200 kW) V6
5.0 L 302 hp (225 kW) V8
5.5 L 382 hp (285 kW) V8
5.4 L 493 hp (368 kW) Supercharged V8
5.5 L 493 hp (368 kW) BiTurbo V12
6.2 L 518 hp (386 kW) V8
6.0 L 604 hp (450 kW) BiTurbo V12
6.0 L 661 hp (493 kW) BiTurbo V12

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_SL-Cla...

not such fan of the facelift model from 2008 onwards, the front.

I read there from 2006 the ABC got a update? but I guess with that one also after so many years/miles you can expect the same cost/repairs.

said:
ABC (Active Body Control) was improved to reduce body movements in dynamic driving by up to 60%, standard on all models except the SL 350.

Dog Star

11,694 posts

128 months

Thursday 22nd October
quotequote all
Candellara said:
Ignore it. Believe you me after running Ferrari's and Porsche RS's - the SL55 is cheap to run. Most of the regular items that require attention are fairly cheap. ABC pump is about £1200. Struts & ball joints are available from aftermarket manufacturers etc etc etc

Don't get me wrong, if you are used to a Vauxhall Corsa, the SL is going to feel quite expensive in terms of maintenance costs but if you're used to comparable performance cars BMW M series, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren etc - SL is pretty palatable an represents excellent value
Er.... you are talking of running all this stuff like Ferraris and McLaren - I seriously doubt that you are in the realms of the £5k SL500; it's a totally different prospect. It will be broken, more bits will break and the cost of fixing them will be more than the car is worth.

Fresh Prince

384 posts

132 months

Friday 23rd October
quotequote all
Dog Star said:
Candellara said:
Ignore it. Believe you me after running Ferrari's and Porsche RS's - the SL55 is cheap to run. Most of the regular items that require attention are fairly cheap. ABC pump is about £1200. Struts & ball joints are available from aftermarket manufacturers etc etc etc

Don't get me wrong, if you are used to a Vauxhall Corsa, the SL is going to feel quite expensive in terms of maintenance costs but if you're used to comparable performance cars BMW M series, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren etc - SL is pretty palatable an represents excellent value
Er.... you are talking of running all this stuff like Ferraris and McLaren - I seriously doubt that you are in the realms of the £5k SL500; it's a totally different prospect. It will be broken, more bits will break and the cost of fixing them will be more than the car is worth.
I’m an optimist and tend to lean to Candellara’s view. Surely there are other options at £5-10k beyond 2002 500s? For the metal and performance on offer, I think £1k-£2k a year in maintenance is not unreasonable.

Venisonpie

1,153 posts

42 months

Saturday 24th October
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I started looking at R230's albeit slightly later ones. Even those came with health warnings about rust in the arches and electrical gremlins. I found what looked a really good one but decided even if it was good I'd be constantly worrying about it.
Went in a totally different direction in the end but will try an R231 when I'm ready for a change. Hopefully they will be nicely cheap by then.

Candellara

1,399 posts

142 months

Monday 26th October
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Dog Star said:
it's a totally different prospect. It will be broken, more bits will break and the cost of fixing them will be more than the car is worth.
Have you ever owned a 1990 Ferrari 348? :-) Believe you me, there are just as many broken, rough and shockingly maintained Ferrari's and Porsche's than 2002 SL 500's

They suffer in the same way in as much that people can afford to buy them but cannot afford to maintain them - and it's even more evident in that bracket.

There will be nicely looked after SL500's out there - just buy carefully.

Diderot

4,171 posts

152 months

Saturday 7th November
quotequote all
I bought a 2005 350 in August 2019 for £8.5k. 87k on the clock and in pretty good condition - 2 owners from new. I had the vacuum pump issue in July so had to get that replaced and the rear screen re-bonded (£1500 for the two jobs), and a new boot battery, but other than that it's been great.

ArmaghMan

1,800 posts

140 months

Monday 9th November
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OP...if you're going to be a bear, be a Grizzly.
Yes its already thrown me a bill (ABC replacement) but what a car.

kevinon

179 posts

20 months

Monday 9th November
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looks very purposeful !

twizellb

2,628 posts

172 months

Monday 9th November
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Mine is very similar, even the reg.
Great cars.
This is in the Alps last summer.

BigBen

10,345 posts

190 months

Tuesday 10th November
quotequote all
I had an SL55 and had no significant bills over the 3 years I had it. Major spends that I can remember are:

- Rear arches de-rusted at a bodyshop
- Headlight xenon ballast (DIY job but would have cost loads at a garage so included for completeness)
- Cooling fan, again DIY job but probably not that cheap at a garage.

I guess a £5k car is a different prospect in that it is more of a lottery at that level, you could get a good one owner lavishly maintained example or one that is days away from the suspension exploding.

The parts are generally reasonably priced and doing DIY work is not out of the question, for instance I would rather change an ABC strut than a conventional coil spring! A cheap Chinese copy 'STAR' computer is also a good investment.

The 55 even at circa £15k represents a motoring bargain, as Evo said "faster than a Murcielago" and the roof comes off!

Ben

twizellb

2,628 posts

172 months

Tuesday 10th November
quotequote all
I've had my 04 SL500 for 2 and half years and read all about dogstar's truly horrible experience before I bought.
After a few months of buying i had to have both ABC valve blocks rebuilt, seal kits are £60 per block.
Had them both done for £350.
Earlier this year I had a problem with the roof, had that sorted with a company called "Cayman Auto's" they only do convertible roofs and I can recommend them heartily, just wish they weren't over300mls away lol.
As a weekend car for not a lot of money they take a bit of beating.