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Performance MODS for the R170 Tuning and Performance modifications for your SLK

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#1 Old 11-30-2010
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Cheap Performance Mods

What are a few cheap (and easy to install) Performance Mods for a 2002 SLK230? Thanks!
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#2 Old 11-30-2010
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There are lots of mods for the R170 but none of them are cheap.
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#3 Old 11-30-2010
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Originally Posted by livefreeordie View Post
There are lots of mods for the R170 but none of them are cheap.

Pretty much agree, but I guess the OP should define what is "cheap" in his mind.

Some almost free "mods" are: Put you car on a weight reduction diet: get rid of spare tire, tools and any air compressor (and all other junk clanking around in your trunk) and use AAA or similar if you get a flat. Not everyone will like not having a spare, but since SLK32's dont come with a spare tire.... Buy a 14 lb battery for about $80 and save another 30 lbs.

I have seen ecu tunes for the AMG 32 motor as low as $400 now, not sure on pricing for SLK230 tunes and if the OP would consider that "cheap." Same comment on pulley kits to spin the supercharger faster and make more boost, some might think the $/HP gained is good for a mod like that and some might think it isn't cheap.

Bilstein shocks can probably improve your handling quite a bit if you have the standard suspension for not much more than $100 per corner plus installation. Again, not sure if that fits the OP's definition.

Also, unless you have done it recently, change your air filter! Don't want to restart the debate on OEM paper vs K&N or Greens, but a dirty air filter on a forced induction engine will cause a noticable loss of power. Make sure you have a fresh clean air filter.
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#4 Old 11-30-2010
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Originally Posted by Santamonica SLK32 View Post
Pretty much agree, but I guess the OP should define what is "cheap" in his mind.

Some almost free "mods" are: Put you car on a weight reduction diet: get rid of spare tire, tools and any air compressor (and all other junk clanking around in your trunk) and use AAA or similar if you get a flat. Not everyone will like not having a spare, but since SLK32's dont come with a spare tire.... Buy a 14 lb battery for about $80 and save another 30 lbs.

I have seen ecu tunes for the AMG 32 motor as low as $400 now, not sure on pricing for SLK230 tunes and if the OP would consider that "cheap." Same comment on pulley kits to spin the supercharger faster and make more boost, some might think the $/HP gained is good for a mod like that and some might think it isn't cheap.

Bilstein shocks can probably improve your handling quite a bit if you have the standard suspension for not much more than $100 per corner plus installation. Again, not sure if that fits the OP's definition.

Also, unless you have done it recently, change your air filter! Don't want to restart the debate on OEM paper vs K&N or Greens, but a dirty air filter on a forced induction engine will cause a noticable loss of power. Make sure you have a fresh clean air filter.
cant help much, as I'm unfamiliar with R170's, but this is very well written and helpful. As you mentioned, i'm not sure what his goal is (HP gains or visual gains, etc), but you're write up is great!

I would add debadge any dealer tags or the SLK230 badging... if thats you're thing. Its free and it cleans up the rear end/sides of the car (depending on where the badges are located on your car... "kompressor, etc").
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#5 Old 11-30-2010
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Thanks for the info SantaMonica! I'll look into those ideas

Question what about these Power Chips I see advertised... they supposedly add some 100HP and increase MPGs... are they for real?
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#6 Old 12-01-2010
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my experience has been that those are typically not nearly as beneficially as they lead on. For example, on my audi TT, I looked into it. I kept seeing $59 chips, $99 chips, etc etc. After closer examination, I learned that alot of those are BS. You'd have to spend over $1000 to get any real noticable differences. I think 100hp seems bogus, but maybe try using the 'search' option and see what comes up. for me, i'm too leary to try something like this. I've read horror stories about it causing more damage than good.
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#7 Old 12-01-2010
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^^ what he said. A good ECU tune is going to run you north of $500 US (or at least would on a R171), and none of the responsible, legitimate tuners are going to promise much more than 20% gains on tuning alone, and only that on a Kompressor.

As with most things MB, it's a small market, so parts are more expensive that you would expect.

Advice above is good, figure your budget and prioritize. With a FI car, you have a lot of options the rest of us NA owners don't.



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#8 Old 12-01-2010
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Originally Posted by Archangel_rmd View Post
Thanks for the info SantaMonica! I'll look into those ideas

Question what about these Power Chips I see advertised... they supposedly add some 100HP and increase MPGs... are they for real?
Most power chips that claim huge HP gains for everything from Toyota Corollas to 500+ HP exotics, are really resistors that are piggy-backed into existing wiring to "fool" your ECU into thinking your air intake charge is cooler than it actually is. This might give some HP boost if your air intake charge is so hot that your ECU would otherwise detune your engine temporarily to prevent detonation. Probably some safety margin on when the ECU wants to detune due to high intake temps, but I don't really think this is a great strategy for ongoing HP gains. And I doubt these chips produce the full HP and MPG gains claimed under most driving conditions.

Just being logical, I think it would be scientifically impossible for any kind of chip change to give the identical HP boost on a 100 HP engine as on a 500 HP engine.

One mod I didn't mention initially due to the cost is: if you decide on aftermarket wheels (probably a costly mod) and you are still looking to boost your performance, make sure wheel weight reduction from OEM is an important parameter in your decision.

Some SLK230 owners might want to comment on whether there are any relatively low cost air intake changes that can boost performance. If I am looking at DIY photos correctly, the SLK230 OEM intake is not a cold air induction intake (as opposed to V-6 and V-8 SLKs which come from the factory with cold air intakes). I have seen forum posts on removing intake restrictions and attempting to get cold(er) air to the intake inlet. You could search for more details on SLK230 intakes here and in the Benzworld R170 forums.

Good luck with whatever you decide and have fun researching and implementing the mods!
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#9 Old 12-28-2010
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Most of these computer chip mod's just trick your engine into a richer fuel mixture. It gives power, but also dramatically reduces your mpg.
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#10 Old 12-28-2010
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I'd stay away from ECM (engine control module) chips. The fuel & timing maps on modern engines are critical. Todays engines run very lean (and hot) for emission control and these chips may upset things. On FI (forced induction) the situation is even more critical. Severe detonation and pre-ignition (different things) have destroyed engines. The turbo VW boys learned long ago what could happen to their engines messing around with chips.

The only way to change these maps is to have the car tuned on a dyno in conjunction with the installation of a new chip. Also you need to get the chip & tune from an experienced developer = $$$$!
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#11 Old 01-31-2011
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Personally speaking, I recommend the ECU tune. I have one on my C32 done from my friend over at Powerchip here in Orange County for over a year now. Definitely made a difference on my car.

I plan on getting the '99 SLK tuned through him as well. Finding a pulley kit though is proving to be incredibly difficult. I wish I had picked up an '01 or newer SLK sometimes, but for the price I bought my 99 for, I could not have done better.
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#12 Old 03-26-2013
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I'm new here but it seems like a sprint booster would be a pretty low cost DIY project. Has anyone had experience with one? GMP Performance offers one for SLKs at under $300.

I'd love to know if anyone has thought on these!
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#13 Old 03-26-2013
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The best performance mod for your money is a Pulley Kit


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#14 Old 03-27-2013
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A pulley kit would run $750 or more, plus shipping and installation... a sprint booster would seem to be about half that and easily installed in your driveway...

Am I missing a thread regarding sprint boosters somewhere or are they just not popular for some reason?
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#15 Old 03-27-2013
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Yes the pulley kit is time & $$$ but it adds about 30 hp.


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#16 Old 04-15-2013
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good tires. makes a world of difference in handling =)


as for cheap mods on a older slk, refreshing the car would be key. new plugs, air filter, oil change , etc. make it run tip top. to actually produce power, there is no such thing as cheap.
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#17 Old 06-17-2013
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The best performance mod for your money is a Pulley Kit
I couldn't agree more
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#18 Old 06-17-2013
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Originally Posted by M2-Motoring View Post
good tires. makes a world of difference in handling =)


as for cheap mods on a older slk, refreshing the car would be key. new plugs, air filter, oil change , etc. make it run tip top. to actually produce power, there is no such thing as cheap.

Good advice. Add cleaning of the intercooler inside and out to the above maintenance list.

Don't overlook the weight suggestions earlier in the thread. Shaving 30 pounds of weight off of a 3,000 pound car is a 1% reduction. Reducing weight by 1% is the equivalent of increasing power by 1% with the added bonus that it will also improve handling.
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