The eight-cylinder icon arrived at a time of climate pressure
The Mercedes 500SL arrived in a continual era of change – climate change was becoming more of a prevalent topic; technology was evolving, and the acquisition of wealth was significantly changing. The automotive industry was under pressure to produce vehicles that were both safe, reliable, and bereft of toxic emissions. Mercedes-Benz’s response in the 1970s was to introduce an EGR system and catalytic converter to vehicles destined for the United States – their largest market in the second half of the 20th century. Here in the UK, we were in some ways luckier to be sold models without a catalytic converter, meaning that we were offered the highest performing R107 variants… Until the 560SL came along.
Mercedes 560 SL
The Mercedes SL exhaust system on your 500SL will over time have deteriorated, causing a variety of issues, including unwanted noises, poor emissions cycles and unsavoury clouds of smoke… Most of all though, your engine will operate less efficiently, and you will notice a reduction in economy. This article outlines the essential functions of your exhaust system and introduces you to our latest SportLine exhaust system developed specifically for the 500SL.
What function does the Mercedes SL exhaust system have?
After the foremost function of removing gases from a combustion engine, an exhaust system has a variety of functions including optimising your engine’s power. The faster and more efficiently an engine can dispose of the harmful gases within the cylinders, the more quickly it can continue to mix clean air with a spark to produce a controlled explosion. Thus, the engine can work more quickly and put more power to the wheels.
But beyond this, your exhaust adds much more. It will add character to your vehicle. A vehicle with a horrible sounding exhaust note will put you off completely, especially one that is overbearing. A 500SL should be a joy to cruise in and an invasive exhaust sound can quickly ruin this.
How does the Mercedes SL exhaust system work?
Your 500SL exhaust systems allows the gases produced by internal combustion to be extracted from the engine cylinders. The exhaust system pushes the gases out of the manifold where they are cooled and down into the catalytic converter, which is responsible for removing a portion of the harmful particulates from the gas. These gasses then travel through a muffler which reduces noise, before emitting the ‘cleaner’ exhaust emissions from the tailpipe.
What makes up the standard 500 SL Mercedes exhaust system?
Your 500SL exhaust is made up of an exhaust manifold, a downpipe, catalytic converter (1985-1989 models only), muffler and tailpipe. Those of you without the catalytic converter will be pleased to know that your power output is significantly more than those with the converter. Most UK RHD drive cars are bereft of a catalytic converter as it was not a legal requirement up until 1992.
Power delivered by 500SL with and without catalytic converters (CC)
|500SL 1981 – 1985
||500SL with CC 1985 – 1989
||500SL without CC 1985 – 1989
Why should you consider replacing your Mercedes 500 SL exhaust system?
As with all classic cars, degradation to components is a guaranteed occurrence. Your 500SL’s exhaust system may be completely original and look in tact, but is it? The manifolds and headers will diminish over time and expand as the engine reaches temperature, causing the manifold to crack around the EGR (models with catalytic converters). This often causes a ticking or blowing sound. Similarly, further down your exhaust system you may find corrosion to your 500SL exhaust system – stainless steel is not immune to rust…
With these things considered, could it be time to replace your 500SL exhaust system? We’ve developed our own system just for Mercedes 500SL owners.
Our SportLine Mercedes SL exhaust systems has been developed in-house by our craftsmen to offer a range of benefits to owners. These include a revised soundtrack for your 500SL with a slightly but not excessively deeper exhaust tone. The stainless-steel system has also been revised aesthetically to give a more sporting style, utilising a straight pipe from the centre box to the back for added performance and styling.
Where the original 500SL exhaust has a twin pipe from the centre box onwards, we’ve utilised a single stainless-steel shaft, allowing the gases to escape more easily. We’ve also fitted twin straight cut rolled tips that are wider in diameter and are positioned horizontally, rather than pointing downwards. This adds a more sporting vibe to your 500SL and will certainly stand out from other R107s on the road.
From the engine end, we’ve developed a matching stainless-steel exhaust manifold for right-hand drive models. This will connect up with your downpipe and feed through to the centre box. The stainless-steel composition of all of these components will be sure to last a great period of time and see you into the next few decades of the 21st century.
At present our 500SL SportLine exhaust system is only suitable for models from 1985-1989 but with encouragement and demand, there is the likelihood we will develop and manufacture a similar setup for the prior years.