6 Interesting Facts about the Mercedes Benz 560SL
- The Mercedes Benz 560SL was named based on its engine displacement-its overhead camshaft V8 carried a capacity of 5.6 liters. In the late 1980s, its engine produced 238 horsepower and 287 foot-pounds of torque in detuned U.S. guise. During the same period, the Ferrari 328 had an engine that produced 270 horsepower, while the Porsche 911 Turbo churned out 300 horsepower. Mercedes Benz then realized that had the 560SL's motor not been burdened with U.S. spec smog equipment, the car would have been far more powerful.
- According to the Kelly Blue Book website, a used Mercedes Benz 560SL should cost around $10,550 or so, a value that's a bit higher than what other used cars fetch. This is due to the fact that Mercedes Benz owners tend to keep very good care of their cars, so the chances of finding a well-kept 560SL are very high.
- A 1986 560SL Convertible was once offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, and it was estimated to sell between $15,000 and $20,000. The car was well preserved and was purchased by a buyerfor more than the estimated value-it was sold for $21,060.
- The 560SL is a favorite car in Hollywood movies. Among the films it has appeared in are Beverly Hills Cop II, Me, Myself and Irene, Cadillac Man, and the 2011 comedy Take Me Home Tonight. It has also appeared in the hit TV series Dallas, which ran from 1978-1991.
- Although the Mercedes Benz 560SL was sold only in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia, it became popular at that time. It was specifically manufactured with a reduced output of the 5.0-liter engine due to stricter emission laws in these markets compared to other countries.
- In 1981, production began for the 380SL, a car that Mercedes initially intended as a continuation to the iconic 450SL. However, after five years of production, the 380SL proved to be unreliable and gave way to the muscular 560SL in 1986. The 560SL soon became a cultural icon, with its price tag surprisingly rising from $16,000 in 1986 to $64,230 in 1989.
Mercedes Benz 560SL Problems
The Mercedes Benz 560SL was released in 1985 and was based on the manufacturer's R107 chassis, whose 18-year run was started by the 350SL. The Mercedes Benz 560SL's simple yet enduring design has made it a favorite of coupe and roadster enthusiasts everywhere. A tried and tested vehicle, the 560SL was also offered with extra cost options like heated front seats and orthopedic backrests (left and/or right side). A used 560SL is usually still reliable-Mercedes Benz owners typically take very good care of their cars. However, car owners should be aware of some common problems with the 560SL before purchasing a used one.
The Mercedes Benz 560SL was fitted with a factory alarm. Common complaints by car owners in the late 1980s came from the alarm being disconnected or not working at all. In some cases, the alarm can be tested by lowering the window, closing and locking the door, allowing the alarm to arm within 30 seconds, and opening the door by reaching for the knob inside. This process usually sets off the alarm. However, most alarm problems have been attributed to faulty wiring or just plain device malfunction.
Most Mercedes Benz 560SL parts are known to be oil leakers. Valve cover gaskets, head gaskets, and rear main oil seals have been observed to leak. The 560SL's engine seems to have a recurring problem with the head gasket at the driver's side leaking at the rear corner. Additionally, valve cover gaskets eventually get brittle over time because of constant heat from the exhaust manifold. They become crispy, they crack, and they let oil pass from the camshaft area out onto the exhaust manifolds. The oil will continue down the rear of the engine block to drop on the crossover pipe, and this will produce occasional smelly oil smoke.
The rubber components of a vehicle eventually perish completely, but it seems like they wear out faster in 560SLs. The subframe mount is one of these rubber components-simply being exposed to the elements causes it to wear out and vanish completely. To verify that the subframe mount has collapsed, check if there is a 3/4-inch gap between the subframe bolt/washer and the frame itself.
Fun Facts about the Mercedes Benz 560sl
The Mercedes Benz 560sl got its name from the 5.6-liter V8 engine, which it was equipped with. This engine could pump out 238 horsepower and 287 foot-pounds of torque, and it also made use of Bosch fuel injection. With an impressive system like this, the 560sl may well be mistaken for a sports car but in fact it is basically a GT or high-performance car. It would have been even more powerful if it was not required to observe the US emissions requirement.
The Mercedes Benz 560sl was introduced under the R107 or SL series, which was the second longest single series by Mercedes Benz. The series started off its production in 1971 and bid farewell in 1989. It was also first sold in Europe a year earlier than in the US. The 560sl was manufactured specifically from 1986 to 1989 only. However, despite its short time under the limelight, it still proved to be very popular most especially in the North American market.
All cars that belonged to the SL series, which included the Mercedes Benz 560sl, were exclusively built in the manufacturer's plant in Sindelfingen, Germany. However, the target in mind was the US market. That's why these cars were given a bigger and more luxurious look. The 500sl-powered by an overhead-cam 5.0-liter V8 engine-was not able to reach the US, but it was given another version in the form of the 560sl, which had a larger engine to boast of.
The Mercedes Benz 560sl was specifically made for and sold only in four countries: Australia, Japan, Canada, and the United States.
Wondering what those two letters "SL" in the Mercedes Benz 560sl stand for? Well, this designation roots from the German words "Sport Leicht," which translates into Sport Lightweight. It was first used for the 300sl model in 1954.
The Mercedes Benz 560sl did not only relished the spotlight in the automotive market but in the movie industry as well. It took part in flicks such as "Me, Myself, and Irene," "Ernest Saves Christmas," "Johnny Be Good," and "Shattered." The 560sl was also featured in some TV shows such as "Murder, She Wrote" and "Once Upon a Time."
Mercedes Benz 560sl: Not the Worst but Maybe Not the Best
Designed specifically for the American market, the Mercedes Benz 560sl boasted of a lot of impressive features. It had the perfect combination of style and power that car enthusiasts adore even up to the present. Its 5.6-liter engine did not disappoint at all. And for a high-performance car, the 560sl had amazing speed and handling-it might as well be mistaken for an actual sports car. Many had also attested to its durability, and there were no serious problems that came up. 560sl owners only had to deal with a few minor issues, and these things do not necessarily have anything to do with the vehicle's performance.
The Mercedes Benz 560sl was made bigger than its predecessors in order to appeal to the US market. It was also equipped with a large engine that proved to be extremely powerful. However, Mercedes might have forgotten to pay a little bit more attention to comfort-something that is quite uncharacteristic of Mercedes. The 560sl may be a huge car for its type, but its seats are rather small. This may cause unease especially to stocky or tall drivers.
A/C compressor failure
A/C compressor failure is a common fault found in the Mercedes Benz 560sl. It may be determined through irregularities such as noises and leaks. Unusual sounds coming from the compressor could be described as loud knocking or squealing. Usually, they are caused by metal-on-metal contact or air flow problems that could have possibly surfaced due to improper or loss of lubrication. Also, make sure that you have also changed the refrigerant when you changed the oil. Failure to do so could lead to an A/C compressor malfunction.
The A/C compressor needs to be lubricated or else it might fail. However, the possibility of a refrigerant leak should not be completely disregarded. Even if the compressor is properly lubricated, a leak could still happen. High levels of heat may be produced by the compressor, causing the absence of cold air inside the cabin.
In case of an A/C compressor failure, replacing it would be the best option. Also, make sure to remove any shrapnel that got into the compressor.
Tips for Maintaining Your Mercedes Benz 560SL
The Mercedes Benz 560SL was the culmination of the European automaker's R107 chassis. With its simple yet superb build quality, this car has become an icon for its bulletproof reliability, satisfying power, and aggressive good looks. Now that it's over 20 years old, the Mercedes Benz 560SL has gained a demand from car enthusiasts all over. Whether you are planning to sell your coupe or roadster or you plan to keep driving it for several more years, keeping it properly maintained is a must.
- Be familiar with the Owner's Manual.
Every Mercedes Benz vehicle including the 560 SL comes with an owner's manual to help you provide proper care for your car. It is filled with useful information on how to maintain your vehicle's components and when to do it. Reading the manual and keeping it in the glove compartment where you can easily access it will save you from any inconveniences and expensive repairs. If you lost your copy or if you bought your car secondhand and it did not include an owner's manual, you can purchase one online.
- Don't overlook the basics.
Some components of your Mercedes Benz 560SL are so critical that you have to inspect them often. Change the oil and oil filter every 2,000 miles to avoid engine-related problems. Only use approved engine oils and filters required for you car; do not use conventional petroleum-based oils. It is also important to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. The useful life of tires varies and is proportional to the tire type, speed rating, ambient conditions, and more, which is why it is crucial to inspect and rotate your tires often. To do this properly, follow the front-to-rear rotation pattern to maintain the intended spinning direction of the tire. Aside from oil and filter change and tire rotation, you must also perform regular checks on the engine oil level, the coolant level, the brake fluid level, the windshield washing system, the lights, and the tire condition and pressure. There is no fixed schedule recommended; you may do this every week whenever you wash your car, every time you refuel, or before you go on a long-distance drive.
- Look after the cooling system.
A faulty cooling system is the leading cause of vehicle breakdowns, and the Mercedes Benz 560SL is not immune to this. Aside from checking the coolant level once a week, there are other ways to check on the cooling system. If you don't use the air conditioner often especially during the winter, you must run it at least 10 minutes every week to make sure that it runs without difficulty. When the air conditioner is not being used, the hoses tend to dry up and shrink, which will prevent the refrigerant from passing through them. You should also check for debris like weeds, dust, and dirt that can collect over time between the air conditioning condenser and the radiator. These particles can restrict airflow through the radiator, thus reducing its efficiency. You can remove the dirt from the components by washing them off.