Roof actuators seal fix . . . - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 11-30-2011
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Question Roof actuators seal fix . . .

Ok, I'm trying to evaluate which method would work out the best for me to get the seals replaced in my (5) top acuator cylinders . . . So the options are;

1) Go the Shockwave Technology route and replace the existing cup type seals with O-rings. Certainly should provide some level of fix, but would require the partial disassembly/reassembly of the actuators in my parking lot. (In "winter" . . . ok, it's only SC, but it can be wet and dreary . . . ) Perhaps a messy solution, and I have heard of varying levels of difficulty and success.

2) Go the Tophydraulics route, demount the actuators and either send them in to be rebuilt or receive rebuilt cylinders up front and swap them out. (I have no idea where the breaks whould have to occur, i.e. would I have to take the lines out for this, etc.) Since TH uses cup seals, this should be a slightly better solution, but there would be a lot of other work involved. (Can I even drive my SLK with all the cylinders out of it? I would think yes . . . ???)

3) Get a local hydraulic shop to try to rebuild them with the Tophydraulic Cup seals. Perhaps quicker . . . but lots of unknowns here.

4) Go to MB . . . Big $$$$

I would like to know what others of you have tried and what you feel your resulting successes or problems were?

Thanks,

Last edited by lilred320SLK; 11-30-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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#2 Old 11-30-2011
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I bought the o-ring kit but haven't installed it yet. I think it really depends on how handy you are and your tool chest. I plan on pulling mine in the garage and have other cars should I run into a problem and have to leave it torn apart for a couple days. I'd think twice about doing it in a parking lot.. in the winter
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#3 Old 12-03-2011
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The hydraulic lines are permanently attached to the cylinders. I couldn't imagine having to fish them through the body work and top apparatus or having to pay someone else to do it. It's easier to rebuild them in place.

I got the kit from shockwave and the locking cylinder was a snap. I'll rebuild the others if/when they ever leak.

You can manually lock the top so you can drive it with the cylinders removed.
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#4 Old 12-03-2011
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Exclamation The Plan . . .

I've decided to demount the cylinders and have them professionally rebuilt by the folks at TopHydraulicsInc.com. I'm doing this for a few of reasons;

1) The system works at 3000 psi pressure. Generally speaking (as an engineer who has designed/built automation equipment for the automotive industry) o-rings are not the seal of choice for a 3000 psi cylinder; lip or cup ("U") seals are. Now, I'm not saying an o-ring can't work - primarily since these cylinders are very low duty cycle - but they just aren't the preferred seal type. Also, I believe that I've seen a picture of a deteriorated MB cylinder seal and it was a cup seal.

2) I understand that two of the cylinders are very difficult to rebuild with normal hand tools.

3) If the cylinder rods get damaged at all during the swap, the effort to put the new seals in could be for naught. Any rod abrasions will cause the seals to fail more quickly.

4) Although I would agree that being able to fix the cylinders in place would eliminate some of the problems (such as running the hoses), one would still have to remove the trunk panels. (To me, this is the harder issue!! More on that in another post.) Certainly I'm going to learn a lot getting into the trunk area . . .

5) Lastly - At $65/cylinder plus some additional S&H, I'm ok with it. (I just spent more than that on a headliner which is just plastic, foam and cardboard!!!)

So, onwards and inwards . . . .
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#5 Old 12-03-2011
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Question Step #1

Getting access to all the stuff . . .

I've opened up the trunk and have found/seen most of the major parts for the roof retraction system along with some other interesting bits. I am very disappointed that MB has so much of this stuff intertwined!!

So, what would be the easiest way to get the side panels out? (I've already removed the CD changer and the divider curtain assembly along with some spare covers and other misc. stuff.) See the pictures please.

I think this is where I need to have the roof raised half way so I can pull the panels up, but it still look like one of the hinge points comes right though the plastic. (Middle, upper third of the side panel pic.)

Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.


Some funny questions are;

Would you really want to be treated with a first aid kit that has been in the trunk for 10 years?

Why would someone leave their hide-a-key in a car they've sold. (Looks like a new business opportunity to me!) (Obviously they forgot they hid it there . . . which raises the question as to its usefulness.)

What the heck is up with all the fiber optic stuff in this car? (It can't play an MP3 file and yet it's wired like the CIA headquarters . . . )

Can anyone help identify some of these electrical/optic boxes and other items?

Thanks
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File Type: jpg TrunkPanel-La.jpg (24.2 KB, 36 views)
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Last edited by lilred320SLK; 12-04-2011 at 12:26 PM. Reason: (Added Hinge Point Pic.)
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#6 Old 12-04-2011
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The trunk lid needs to be tilted back in the top stow position to get the panels out easily. The 'slot' is split at the back top corner. The plastic rivets are two pieces. Pry the center 'button' out and the other piece will pry out easily.

I got a set of plastic tools made to take off interior panels at Harbor Freight for less than ten bucks, but a butter knife will work too. It will scratch the plastic if you're not careful though.

The luggage cover switch is located in the right hand side panel. Since you removed the luggage cover you'll have to override the switch to operate the top to get the trunk lid to tilt back. It snaps out of the cover. I used a small piece of duct tape to hold the switch down.

I would take some good pictures of the disassembly for reference to put it all back together.
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#7 Old 12-04-2011
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Sorry. For some reason I can't reply to your PM.

Glad to help. I went through all this last summer. Between filling the hydraulic pump after rebuilding the locking cylinder and a glitchy taillight I've had the right side cover off several times.

Your questions:
1. I used a jewelers flat screwdriver to pry the center piece of the retainer out. Like the others the rest pries out easy after the center piece is out.

2. I didn't unhook the switch. It has a retainer tab that holds it to the back of the side panel. I just popped it off and left the wires hooked up. Then I taped the switch closed to operate the top.

3. If I remember right the light has a plug to disconnect it.

4. I don't think you need to have the roof half open. Just hold the top switch long enough for the trunk lid to hinge back. If you'll look close at the hole for the hinge in the panel, at the rearmost outside corner of the hole there is a break in the panel. Work the panel out starting from the front and the hinge will slide through that break.

Hope this helps. I tried to take a pic of the break but its rainy and gloomy around here today and it didn't show up clearly.

Good luck,
Greg
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#8 Old 12-04-2011
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Brightened the pic up a little. Maybe it will help.

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#9 Old 12-04-2011
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Once again, for some reason I can't reply to your PM

Like I mentioned earlier, I only rebuilt the locking cylinder in the front of the roof. The top raising cylinders and the trunk lid cylinders don't have leaks. I'm afraid you are going into an area where I have no experience.

It might be a good idea to get the instructions from Shockwave just to do the disassembly and reassembly. They are very comprehensive and I think he sells them separately.
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#10 Old 12-04-2011
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrG View Post
Brightened the pic up a little. Maybe it will help. . . .
That one I had figured, it's the other support which was confusing me . . . Thanks for your other suggestions though.

#1 The square retainers along the trunk lip work much like the round ones though it's not as obvious. You can pry the center out (which looks like the whole thing) and either the retainer will pop out as one piece, or the inner plug will separate from the prongs. (If you don't lose them you can slide them back together.) They aren't too expensive to replace . . . but try finding them on a Sunday afternoon!!

#2 Once you get the rear and right side panel loose, you can then get to the one trunk light connector (2 blade/slide terminations) and the curtain/divider "in place" switch. I popped the whole curtain switch out of the clasp on the back of the panel, and, with a little fooling around, got it to stay latched on it's own. (This might be a bit risky as the plastic ages though.)

#3 What had me confused on the roof pivot is that, when the roof is in an up position, there are two points going through each of the plastic side panel. One has the long open fringed slot, (as shown in MrGs pic) and the other is just a hole, as shown in my third pic, and in this post close up. But if you let the system reverse open the trunk (or do it manually with the cable releases - I tried that at first but seems like they were very stiff) those catches are released and come out of the holes.

More pics, questions next post . . . .
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#11 Old 12-04-2011
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Arrow Got the panels out . . . .

Like most things with cars these day, if you know the 'trick" and take your time, it works out a lot easier!!! Fortunately, with help from a few of you guys, and a bit of consideration at key moments, things are coming along fine, if a little more slowly than I had hoped.

I got a later start than I wanted yesterday and did not want to rush to get the cylinders out today - since I still have a few questions. (And I left my metric Allen wrenches at work . . . )

Now that I got most of the extraneous stuff out of the way I need a few more hints to get the cylinders out . . .

The rear most (almost positioned vertically) trunk lid cylinders look like they will be a bit of a challenge to get the bottom clevises undone. Any hints? Couldn't quite tell what held the clevis pins in. (E-clips, snap rings?)

The middle (horizontal) roof cylinders are really packed in tight. I guess that these need to be dealt with with the roof partially raised? If so, what keeps it all from collapsing on me as I take the cylinders out? Or is that where I really have to brace it all up?

Thanks,
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#12 Old 12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilred320SLK View Post
. . . I guess that these need to be dealt with with the roof partially raised? If so, what keeps it all from collapsing on me as I take the cylinders out? Or is that where I really have to brace it all up?

Thanks,
Do a search for 'John's Broomstick'!! Basically, cut a length of wood so that when you start raising the top, then stop about half way through the cycle (with the mass biased towards the 'closed' position), insert the piece of wood between the leading edge of the roof and the footwell. When the hydraulics depressurise, the mass of the half opened roof will be supported on the stick.






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#13 Old 12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woolly View Post
Do a search for 'John's Broomstick'!! . . . .
That is quite clever!!!


I was just beginning to toy with ideas to deal with that problem. (Particularly since I'm still having to work on the car out in the apt. lot.) Going to the front makes a lot of sense. Since most of the work is in the back, if it were to fail/get knocked out of place, the "falling" roof wouldn't tend to hit or trap the person.

The threads for that mostly seem oriented toward the R171. I'll have to look into/verify that the length would work, and what features on the roof and windshield frame edge would be able to be engaged. I would think they are pretty close . . . .

Thanks,
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#14 Old 12-05-2011
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Exclamation "Broomstick" & trim panels . . .

Ok, I've made up my own "broomstick" by cutting some 11 x 17" paper (which I have a lot of) down to 11 x 16" in length. (15-16" seems to be the right length for the 170.) I then began by rolling a sheet around a rather large dia. pen. (More than 1/4".) As I rolled, I kept adding additional sheets of 16" long paper until the roll was about 3/4" in dia., (I think I used about 10 sheets) and then I rolled in some additional full length 11 x 17" sheets (4-6 more) until it was about 1" in dia. I then used some Scotch tape to hold it all together. (One could always use duct tape as well . . . ) All these sheets were interleaved as I rolled them - think of them as all being in one stack, and then offsetting each sheet a couple of inches from the next lower sheet.

As that point, I split the 17" long end down to the 16" length and splayed them apart to form a notch that can fit over the edge of the windshield frame between the latch points. This actually works quite well, as long as a police don't roll by while you're carrying it out or back. (They might think it's the biggest doobie they've ever seen . . . .

(One important note!!! (At least this is how it worked on my car.) As the hydraulic pressure relaxes, the latch paws tend to close up a bit. When I pulled the broomstick, and the roof settled, the latch clasps were actually out of position and would have jammed if I had just let the system drive the roof home. One has to let the hydraulics "re-open" the roof a bit first before trying to finish the closing that gravity had started. Perhaps using the wrench and doing it manually will hold the latch paws in position better, but I don't know.)

I'm not having much luck at the moment though with my work. (It's drizzling a bit as well!!! )

I would like to get the trim panel off on the passenger side rear column, (C pillar?) but I'm having some difficulty in figuring how it's attached. This is where the hydraulic lines for the latch cylinder come down into the trunk area. Also, it seems that the headliner side trim is hooked around part of the roof hinge mechanism, and pretty tightly too. Even with all three screws out I couldn't get them out of the car. (If nothing else it would be nice to give them a good cleaning.)

(Ok, I'll have to face a bit of the inevitable here. In a previous iteration of this note, I expressed some concern as to getting to the rear clevises of the roof cylinders and I was hoping that I didn't have to take the rear shelf apart to get there. (Mostly because I'll have to get it right back together again so I can use the seatbelts and drive the car!) But it appears from all the other documents you folks have collected and passed along that this is exactly what I need to do. Unfortunately I'll need to be able to get all the cylinders out in one go since once I start removing hydraulic lines, I'll be committed. (Or I'll need some more hands to help move the roof around if i get it out of sync!) The one thing I don't want to be doing is fighting with this in my apartment lot if it's getting dark and starting to drizzle again. (And needing to drive to work the next morning!) Perhaps I should just spend the rest of this week making sure I have everything ready and do it on Saturday when I have the whole day . . . My red sleigh will just have to spend Christmas a bit gutted as I send the cylinders off to be reworked.)

Thanks,
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Last edited by lilred320SLK; 12-06-2011 at 02:15 AM. Reason: Revised last paragraph with new info . . . .
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#15 Old 12-12-2011
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Thumbs up Progress is being made . . .

I've gotten all five cylinders out of the car and sent them off to be worked on at TopHydraulicsInc.com. I might just be lucky enough to have the replacements in-hand for this weekend so I can start remounting them.

I'm trying to write up a full account with some helpful hints, but to be quick here, I made the following missteps;

1) I broke off the "roof down" limit switch which is anchored to the rear clevis of the passenger's side roof cylinder. It is in the way of removing that clevis pin and instead of snapping out, it just snapped. (A replacement costs about $21 if I have the right one . . . )

2) I realized that I had left the quarter windows down after I had pulled everything else out of the car. Since I couldn't figure out how to bypass the automatic system, I hooked all the cylinders back up (leaving them in my trunk) to fake the system out enough to let it raise the quarters.)

3) I've lost one of the roll hoop (covering) screws . . . . . . It looks like a grease fitting but seemingly only goes through the foam of the hoop covering. (Perhaps to keep it from shifting? I don't know. I'll probably find it after I go buy another one.)

The one thing that I would have really wanted to know before I started to remove the cylinders would be that, although you will need to do most of the work with the roof in the "half up" position, I could not remove the roof cylinder's rod end clevis pins with the roof in that position. The roof has to be fully up (or mostly so) in order to remove the pins and demount the roof cylinders. ( I didn't try it with the roof in a fully retracted position.)
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#16 Old 12-13-2011
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Originally Posted by lilred320SLK View Post

3) I've lost one of the roll hoop (covering) screws . . . . . . It looks like a grease fitting but seemingly only goes through the foam of the hoop covering. (Perhaps to keep it from shifting? I don't know. I'll probably find it after I go buy another one.)
Used for attaching the cloth windscreen.






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#17 Old 12-14-2011
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Smile

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Originally Posted by Woolly View Post
Used for attaching the cloth windscreen.
Thanks . . .

There seems to be a lot of different ways to hold the various screen types up/on and I wondered if that might be it's use in some way; but I couldn't quite visualize it at the time. Does seem to make a bit more sense now. (Not that I ever really expect to need it, but I still hope I can find it!!)
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#18 Old 12-15-2011
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Exclamation Got my replacement switch . . .

This is the switch for the roof position that sits (in mine at least) right besides the fixed clevis mount for the roof cylinder on the passenger's side. Looking at the double hole prong catches, I think that mine should have been able to have been pried out.

The only thing I'll say is that if you look closely, the upper retention pin prong set is sort of truncated on one side which would make it come out easier than the other. (The one with the full double prongs is the one that broke off on mine, taking part of the housing with it.) So perhaps if I had worked at it a little more gently, I might have been able to get it out unscathed - but I had no idea how the attachment worked. I just couldn't see enough of it at that point . . .

So, FYI . . . ($21 +S&H from myMercedesparts.com)
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#19 Old 12-16-2011
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Exclamation Roof hydraulic fluid cost . . . .

Since I've seen a few different prices listed, I got it for $16.17 W/tax for 1 liter from my MB dealer's parts department.

Labled as ZH-M and # A 000 989 91 03 10

Still looking for a way to more easily drain the existing reservoir though . . .

It was a rather slow day . . . I got the locking cylinder remounted, but had some difficulty finding a Zip (wire) Tie gun to fasten down the hoses. Sears lists a number of gun$ (?) on their web site, but don't carry any in (my local) store. Neither did several auto parts stores or Home Depot; even though they all had big selections of ties. Finally I found 1 model at Lowes for $25, so weather permitting tomorrow, I should be back in business.

(Gun singular is ok, but **** plural isn't? LOL)
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#20 Old 12-17-2011
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Red face Progress . . . but . . .

Got the rest of the cylinders installed and got the lock cylinder hoses wire tied into place. I had a heck of a time getting the E-clips on the rod end clevis pins for the roof cylinders. Why MB didn't use the spring clips they used on the other end of these actuators I don't know . . . I finally managed using the front edge of the biggest flat bladed stubby screw driver that I had . . . but if it slid off, I probably would have lost the clip I was pushing on. I had a bit of luck for a change and they did slide into place . . .

The only real issue I have with rerouting the hoses was that there is one spot on the passengers side where the locking cylinder hoses, after coming down the C-Pillar, turn back to the front of the car and go through a clasp. (Just a strip of metal with a bit of a curve on the one end to hold/trap the hoses and a screw hole on the other to fasten it and hold the hoses tight.) When I was disassembling the system, I couldn't reach the screw head with anything I had to get it to loosen. (It seems to be a Philips head.)

Since I was having a bit of a time concern at that moment, I pried the end of the clasp slightly so I could slip the hoses out. Now that I'm reassembling it, I have to decide what I want to do with the clasp. I can probably bend it back a little, but it will never be as tight as original. I do have a right angle screw driver, so I'll try that next, and then, if I still can't get it loose, I might have to break out the extended nose vise-grips. If I can break it free, I may look at trying a hex headed screw back in it's place. (Something I could get an ignition wrench on.)

For the moment, my thumbs hurt from pushing on the E-clip . . . (And I'm still wanting to drain the reservoir.)
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