1984 MB 380SE - Worth Rebuilding?

Hello All, I am new to the MB world. (Mostly drive BMW) I inherited a 1984 380SE. It has 177k miles on the clock. The body has never been wrecked or damaged.
It's just old. Could use a new set of rings, valve job, etc. It's starting to smoke and the compression is low. (Man those leather seats sure are comfy - even for their age) I'm wondering if it's worth it to pull the engine and do a rebuild. Or if it's time for the old girl to go to the big MB scrap heap in the sky? or get sold as parts?
Please help, Karl
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Your call.
If you like the car and will enjoy it, go for it.
If you are looking for an investment, forget it.
Marty
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Marty, I have good memories of driving in it as a younger man. I'd like to keep it road worthy. I just don't know if it's worth dumping any more $$ into it.
-Karl
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I'd do a careful evaluation of the body for rust and condition of the paint. Has it been driven much in salt during the winter? I'd pull all the carpet and look for any signs of serious rust there too. If the car looks real good inside and out, and you have an emotional attachment to it, a rebuilt engine could be worth it.
What you do face in these older cars and that you should be prepared for, are things that just start to come with age, like vacuum leaks, rain leaks, etc. Most of them aren't that serious individually, but can become a pain in the ass when they go a couple times a year and it becomes a continual process. And a simple thing like a vacuum leak can become a big problem if it seriously affects the A/C and the problem is an acutator buried under the dash.
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The car was driven completely in Arizona. It's just been shipped down to Louisiana. Rust isn't much of a problem. The clear coat on the hoot and roof are pretty much shot. We had all of the vacuum hoses changed about 3 years ago. I'm guessing it needs, rings, valve seals, and a good valve lapping.
I dunno... maybe I'll just sell it for parts. any one want it? 500.00 and it's yours.
:-)
-Karl

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You cannot hone the cylinders if you decide to put rings in it. There are only about 6 machine shops in the USA certified by MB and qualified to do any block repairs. The cylinders are acid etched to expose the silicone nodules for the rings to seal against. Because the pistons and the block are the same material, the expansion/contraction rate is the same. Unlike cast iron blocks that run piston clearances of .001" per 1" of bore, the 380 block piston clearance is LESS than .001". .0006 if I remember right.

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$500??? Damn!
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I had that car... it was a very nice durable car... Yet, even at 202,000 miles, it had a 165PSI compression on all cylinders. I had to do a valve seal job... but that was it.
What is your compression reading? It could just need a valve seal job... which is significantly less costly.
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Where else can you find a big comfortable car for the cost of a rebuilt engine (add a rebuilt transmission and it will be good for a long, long time).
I've owned a '80 300SD since new and can't imagine a car as good as it is for the $$ I'd get if it were sold. All the parts are available to keep it in top condition and that's a lot cheaper than trading cars.
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People say not an investment, but look at the NADA value (and if you have back issues of newspapers, look at the values in the papers). Over the last few years the prices of this car had tripled. Though if you do part it out, keep me in mind. Plus, you could always lower in a euro 500 engine (straight drop in, all you need is an engine and engine computer. They use the same everythign else) and then put on a mossleman supercharger and then you have 300hp. OR, if you want to dump more money in it and get a super sleeper hot rod, lower in a 560 engine (quite a bit more money, you need a new injection system, and new ignition system...basically a 560 parts car), and a supercharge unit from koenig-specials.com and you'll be pushing out 450hp and 500lb-ft.
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Nah... if you are spending that money... put in current MB 5.0L engine in it like Satish did on his SEC at mbcoupes.com
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Then you only have 302hp,and it costs more than doing a 500 engine with a mosselman, and it's not as cool cause the new engines suck (the old engines sound better and look better - new engine: lets look under the hood and see all that plastic instead of metal...BOOOOOO). The ultimate sup-up for the W126 is a 5.6 and a koenig-specials supercharger, and the most cost effective sup-up for a 380 is a euro 500 engine and a mosselman supercharger
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