Benz Series 107 Sub-Frame Recall
S/L Recall Campaign # 191185120001
Subframe Modification 11/1/85)
In this article
sub frame, subframe and ("front
axel carrier" term used by Mercedes in recall), are
all the same part
It is VERY important
to check the status of the attachments on your SL. Many
cars haven't been recalled, and Mercedes interpreted the
scope of the government-mandated recall in a narrow way:
350/450SL/SLC are covered,
but 380SL/SLC and others using the same part subject to
the same failure are NOT covered, therefore no one seems
to be checking them. Check yours! It could save your life.
If the subframe
fails you will drop the lower control arm onto the ground.
Simply put (out of control!)
In a service bulletin
from a local dealer. The bulletin covers 350/450 SL's and
SLC's only. Those are 107.023/.043/.024/.044. The bulletin
was issued in 11/85. It does appear that if you have a 280/300/380/420/500/560
you are not covered. Dealer should still be honoring this
update for the 350/450 SL's and SLC's. Newer 107's have
a boxed style unit attachment that appears to be stronger.
This was an important
recall campaign as it fixes the problem of cracking steel
sub-frames that can create a safety/hazard issue.
Note: You should
understand that the sub-frame is subject to "sudden catastrophic
failure" and should not be ignored.
All U.S. Model
107 450SL's up to 1980 are affected by this recall and it
is still honored by Mercedes-Benz.
What is the sub
frame problem? The sub-frame underneath the front end of
the car can and may develop a crack that could cause the
car to malfunction and cause injury.
How is it repaired?
If the sub-frame has developed a crack the entire sub-frame
will be replaced by Mercedes. If it has not cracked yet
then a support will be welded in place to prevent the crack
How to determine
if your SL has had the repair done: Take your car to the
nearest Mercedes Benz dealer and have them check the MBnet
using your vehicles'
VIN number. Ask about SIL 33/001 Sub-frame Modification
How much does it
cost? The entire repair is covered fully under the recall.
The only item not covered is the rubber sub-frame mount
kit at $280
The repair kit
is to reinforce the subframe of a SL or other 107 to prevent
it from cracking from the stresses that rust, pot holes,
curbs, and other things impose on it.
The SL's are subject to a failure of the front lower
control arm rear attachment to the subframe. This will result
in loss of
steering control and likely, a crash. The 450SL was
recalled but Mercedes has never recalled other SL's and
SLC's, that have the same defective subframe design.
The subframe problem never went away, Mercedes just decided
to ignore it when they put the lighter aluminum V8 in the
car! I had to replace the subframe in my '82 380SL
because one of the lower control arm mounting tabs broke
off! I have the new subframe in my '79 450SL, and it is
MUCH stronger than the one in the '82, which is now the
original subframe style with the reinforcing tabs. All the
reinforcing tabs do is add some metal to each side of the
lower control arm tabs.
A new sub-frame from for Mercedes-Benz 1973-80 350/450 and
1981-85 380 and 1986-89 560 (SL's + SLC's) Part Number:
333-001 comes with the tabs boxed in, easily twice as
strong as the original setup in the tab area.
(All bushings and other
replacement parts are
available there as well). I imagine that all 380SLs and
560SLs will eventually need new subframes, or at least the
reinforcing tabs installed. I don't know how they got away
with limiting the recall to only the cars with cast iron
engines installed. MB will honor the recall, but it only
applies to the 350/450's with the cast iron engine. Not
the 380SL or 560SL. In my opinion, they should have recalled
all the 107 SL's.
As the subframes in these classic cars continue to age,
they will become more and more prone to the stresses that
pot holes, rust, curbs and other things impose on them.
So, these kits provide very inexpensive insurance against
the potentially costly and catastrophic failure the above
person experienced and others could very well experience
in the future.
Kits include 4 gussets that Mercedes sells for $98-$106,
and installation instructions explaining how to weld them
MERCEDES SL 107 SUBFRAME REINFORCEMENT KIT
If you canít weld, you can have a muffler shop, body
shop or other shop that does welding install the gussets
for you, typically in an hour or two.
Speaking as a long-time SL owner, I believe the benefits
of doing so could greatly outweigh the costs, aggravation
and even injury that could result if the subframe cracks
This is the newer boxed unit. (The original lower control
arm attachment points on the rear of the subframe didn't
have the boxed area at all). They only had the tabs projecting
down, and no side reinforcements at all, so if the car was
curbed the tabs would break off. It would be pretty easy
to box the front tabs also, and would probably be a good
idea for your project. The whole front subframe began with
the 114 cars, in fact my '82 has a 114 subframe under it
right now. I had thought I remembered the boxing of the
rear lower control arm tabs on the '79 going right under
the arms, but after looking under my two cars just now,
I can see that it is like the photos. Not as strong as I
remembered, but a huge step up from the old setup, which
as someone said, they continued with through the '85 model
SAVE BIG $$$$$$ IN REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE