560SEL Stainless steel exhaust system

I hadn’t planned on doing anything to the 560SEL’s exhaust system.   However, when I was checking on the possibility of reinstating the self leveling suspension I noticed that the current system was rubbing quite badly on the drive shaft.   In addition, it did not fit well and the hangers could not align.  It was being held up with wire in places.    I have now replaced it with a new 560SEL stainless steel exhaust.

The diagram below shows the factory system.   While the Australian version of the 560 is quite similar to the USA version in many ways, it uses the standard catalyst exhaust, not the USA style.

It is a rather odd design.   the centre mufflers are generally referred to as the ‘kidney’ mufflers.    My system had been welded and patched a few times.  The kidney mufflers looked quite new, but they were not put in well, and the bends of the pipes meant nothing lined up properly.   There was also rust in the pipes between the kidneys and the rear muffler.

Instead of continuing the patch the system, I decided to replace it with a new 560SEL stainless steel exhaust system.     I wanted a system that would be more free flowing, but would still look original unless the car was up on the hoist.

The whole system was replaced from the manifolds back.   In a perfect world, I would have obtained a set of the two piece manifolds as found on my 560SEC ECE.   Those manifolds are very expensive, so I went with what I had.   There are only two joins (as seen in the picture) so the whole system can be dropped easily.  This means less chance of leaks.

560SEL stainless steel exhaust

The Australian version of the 560SEL is equipped with an oxygen sensor.   This has been fitted to a small join section behind the transmission.   The rearmost section has been painted black to match the original look.

560SEL stainless steel exhaustThe new system is much neater and I can feel an improvement in performance of the car.    There is a slight increase in engine note, but still in keeping with how a luxury car like the 560SEL should sound.    As it has been raining this week, I have not been able to test the sound at high RPM/full throttle.

With an exhaust system that no longer rubbed against the drive shaft, I was able to take the car on a longer run.   I had arranged to meet a friend from the Mercedes club for a quick catch up.  A good run for the car.    He brought his 1978 280CE W123.   As it is an early CE, it has the nicer dashboard with the burl wood and self-leveling suspension.   280CE’s are an underrated car.

560SEL and 280CE

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