Need help with 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

i have a 1985 380 sl .I had the car towed to my mechanic because it wouldn’t start They replaced pickup wire to module, ignition coil, distributor and ignition coil unit The car ran ok until it didn’t I took it back and they replaced a faulty part they had put in. Now it is ok on the first start from stop then it takes about 10 seconds to get going then it’s okay

Are you saying that after you start the car, drive it and come to a stop it takes 10 seconds or so to start moving? That sounds like transmission problems.

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You really need to provide detail about the problem. As mentioned, the complaint almost sounds like a transmission problem but since this car likely has CIS fuel injection that opens up a can of worms.

Ten seconds to get going? Does this mean the engine still runs but won’t rev up or does it rev up but simply not move forward?

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No, the car starts forward like it’s in a lower gear, but speeds up after about 10 seconds. This is from a dead stop. If i’m coasting it just moves normally. I’ve left a message with the mechanic who worked on the car (mentioned in previous email) maybe it’s the timing chains My car has duel timing chains. Maybe its the transmission, but after the car moves i can go into over drive and it acts like any other vehicle. The car doesn’t always start slow some times it moves out normally. This all has happened after my replacement of previous parts mentioned.


If the engine starts and idles normally it’s not the timing chain. Sounds like a transmission problem, but whatever it is should be obvious to a good mechanic. You need to find one familiar with old MB’s.

Uh . . . no

Your engine has only 1 timing chain . . . but it’s a double-roller timing chain

Only the 1981. . . and maybe the 1982 . . . 380sl had the single row timing chain. Many or most of those were retrofitted to double-roller timing chain. Yours definitely left the factory with the double-roller timing chain

What kind of shop are you taking the car to . . . ?!

A shop that does everything . . . ?!

A shop that specializes in older Benzes . . . ?!

I hope it’s the latter . . .

How many miles . . . ?!

Has the automatic transmission ever been overhauled . . . ?!

I agree with the others . . . this doesn’t sound like an engine problem

I’d say the shop needs to start looking at the automatic transmission, and its controls, which are 100% old school. No electronics involved here, except for perhaps a kick-down solenoid

the shop does most everything Jason has worked on this car on and off I took the car to another shop where they replaced the tensioneer and replaced air cond. unit. This was years ago. I have taken this car to a transmission place before (maybe time to go again) The said I had a 500,000 mile car when taken care which he said i obviously had. The car has around 180,000 on it. Not driven now as much No long distance drives.
Maybe a coincidence but this all started after the work was performed as originally mentioned


Hopefully a well-established independent which is familiar with and comfortable diagnosing, repairing and overhauling older non-electronic automatic transmissions . . . ?!

Unfortunately, my very specific criteria probably rules out quite a few shops . . .

For what it’s worth, I do believe your transmission is not normally supposed to start off in 1st gear ratio, unless you floor it

Do you mean the ac evaporator . . . ?!

I’ve done that job . . . and this is easily the most difficult vehicle I’ve ever done that job on. Seems like the car is literally built around the evaporator. The case doesn’t even come out in one piece, and “brace” behind the dashboard doesn’t even unbolt, like on some other vehicles. And the book time is high, and I mean sky high . . . empire state building high

And if you meant ac compressor, been there, done that, too

not fun. That A6 compressor is so heavy, you could probably break your hands and wrists, if you’re not careful. And let’s not even get into the spacers . . .

Did you retrofit to R-134a . . . this is controversial, as some guys say it doesn’t work very well. But I think it works pretty well on some older Benzes. Sure is easier getting R-134a, and more shops will be willing to work on the car, if it’s already been converted

As for all these parts which were replaced recently . . . Benz or aftermarket?

That question is just to satisfy my curiosity, as I’ve seen a few examples where even high-quality German aftermarket parts simply don’t work, whereas the factory parts do

But I still think it sounds like a transmission problem, or the controls . . .

Nope. MBs aren’t that special, just expensive to keep running. What kind of “transmission place” did you use? Do they specialize in MBs/European cars?

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