So I decided to order a strut bar for my SLK55. Now I wasn't wild about paying the 300+ that I would have to pay for a Wiechers one, so I decided to do what anyone looking to modify on a budget does: I went to eBay.
I found a bunch of sellers all selling R171 bars, specifically "Ultra Racing" ones. Whatever. Cheap steel is cheap steel. I bought the bar.
After some dismay at the fact that the "ships from California" part of the description actually meant "ships from Malaysia" (welcome to the world of eBay), I was pleased to see that the bar both arrived and was exactly what I expected. One single piece, decent-looking welds, fully painted.
I installed it tonight. I think I put it on the right way (with the slope going towards the front of the car), but since I foolishly already removed the stickers before the install I don't know for sure. I can't imagine it fitting any better the other way though...
Anyways, here are some pictures:
Drivers side, med.
Driver's side, close
As you can see, it seems to fit nearly perfectly. I did have to bend the insulation bracket very, very slightly (maybe 1/4 inch?) on the driver's side, but it was nothing compared to what the other bar options would require.
I have two concerns with the bar though:
1) White? Really? Nothing a $5 can of high-temp enamel can't fix though...
2) The mount plate is thick, so the nuts are only about halfway on the studs. I guess that gravity is on my side here, though, right? I mean... they're torqued down pretty well, and most of the time the studs are being driven up, so the nuts shouldn't come off, right? Edit
: Apparently the Wiechers bars have this problem as well, and I haven't heard of any of those coming off...
Hood clearance seems fine, from what I can tell. The bar is rectangular, not tubular, so it's not very tall. And it seems to sit pretty close to the engine. Obviously I don't have a way to tell for sure, but I suspect that it fits right in the mandated safety distance between the engine and the hood. I'll check for signs of the bar left in the hood insulation after I drive with it for a bit -- but I don't think I'll find any.
All in all, it looks decent, considering that I paid 160 shipped.
Guess it's time to paint it if I decide to keep it on...