Bent hat shelf(rear cover) repair with pics. - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 04-08-2012
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Bent hat shelf(rear cover) repair with pics.

The corner flap on the left side was obviously out of adjustment and ended up point-first into the roll bar as the shelf flipped up. Subsequently the shelf didn't rotate to the full upright position. The top caught it as it went into the trunk and bent it. It didn't fold it or anything. It's just not flat anymore.



I dove in and fixed it today and am really happy with the results. There is still a small gap near the center but it's plenty tight for me. I still may be able to straighten that out though.



After doing the repair it became pretty obvious what caused the problem in the first place. The weather stripping on the flap had worked its way forward enough to contact the roll bar and hang up the flap. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on this. You can see the weatherstripping hanging way over the edge of the flap in this pic shot before starting the repair.



First of all, keep in mind that that most of this work is done with the top in several different positions to gain the best access to the various components. The system has an approximate six minute timer where after that it will reactivate. Every three or four minutes I moved the top one way or the other a few inches to reset the timer. I know the switch button will flash before reactivating but I can't remember if there is a beep alarm or not. BE CAREFUL. The safest thing to do is use some kind of prop but it'll take a few different lengths to accommodate the best positions for easy access.

I first disconnected the spring-loaded cable that controls the flap. There are three 8mm headed bolts on each end that attach the shelf to the hinges. Bolts #1 and #2 also hold the bracket that allows the front of the roof to flip the shelf down as it settles into the trunk. These need to be taken out first. I couldn't get a ratchet on these because of the bracket. I had to wrench them out with a box end wrench. I then took out bolts #3 with a ratchet and extension and the whole assembly came out.




The left side shelf hinge was bent pretty badly. I'm attaching a right side pic for comparison.




I straightened it out the best I could with a pair of needlenosed vise grips and a pair of regular vice grips. As you can see I protected the roof with a towel in case of a slip, which I do regularly.



Now on to the shelf itself. The first pic is the right hand side showing what the joint should look like. The second is the left side. The hinge was obviously sprung quite a bit. The hinges and cable brackets come off with six screws after the plastic cover is removed. There are two shims on each side that go between the main hinge and the shelf. Don't lose them.

With the flaps and hinges removed I set in on bending the shelf back to flat. It was twisted approximately 1/2". The shelf is cast aluminum and bends fairly easily so I tried to be very gentle with it, tweaking it a little at a time until it looked flat to the eye. Keep in mind that the shelf has a little crown from side to side so don't bend it completely flat. That may be why I still have a little gap in the center between the shelf and the trunk lid.





Next, I did my best to straighten out the bent flap hinge. The vise grips did the job for this also. The first pic is a comparison shot of both hinges showing the bent hinge. The second pic shows the deformed flange on the hinge. I don't think I could have done this without at least one pair of needle nosed vise grips.








The hinge was also sprung pretty badly. Once again the needle nosed vise grips worked great to squeeze it back into shape.




'After' pic of the repaired hinge joint.



Reassembly was pretty much straightforward. Just remember the #3 bolts are the easiest ones to get a ratchet on and aren't holding anything else but the shelf so stab them first. Don't forget the shims. The entire process took about three hours.

Hope this helps someone in the future.
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#2 Old 04-08-2012
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Most excellent writeup and pictures!!!!!


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#3 Old 04-08-2012
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Thanks Jeff, and please forgive the filthy car. It's been a busy week and we got some much-needed rain. I'm on my way to the car wash.
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#4 Old 04-08-2012
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i had a black 02 320 so it brings back memories!!


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#5 Old 04-08-2012
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Another vote for sticky (stickie) at DIY section

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Moved and stickied!


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#7 Old 04-08-2012
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Fantastic thread. Very nice detailed write-up. And pix!
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#8 Old 07-30-2012
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Just want to say thanks for posting this - it's helped save my SLK roof mechanism!

I recently fitted a windscreen which mounted behind the hoops of the SLK, all seemed good, the roof went up and down past the screen apparently with no problems. But then I started noticing a low 'thud' and sometimes a 'bang' noise just occaisionally when the roof opened. From the driver seat, it looked like the hatshelf mechanism was hesitating half-way through the opening, then shuddering back into place with a thud and continuing with no other problem.

After reading this thread I checked the mechanism around the 'wings' on the shelf - and sure enough the 'wings' were hitting the edge of the new windscreen on the way past! Sometimes causing a noise, other times just sliding past.

I've now moved the windscreen to in front of the hoops (as fits either side) and this has solved the problem, the 'wings' now clear the hoops again perfectly - mechanism is working fine again

Thanks!
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#9 Old 08-03-2012
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Could my flange be bent? Every time i put my hard to up the left side hits the plastic cover.
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Fotos Brad? You can stop the process at any point....have some one take fotos or video for you (or vice versa).

MrG ... finished product pic? Well done...


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#11 Old 08-03-2012
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The clearance between the flap and the roll bar is very small when the top goes down. I figure a number of things could cause it to hang. When it hangs the front of the top snags on the hat shelf on its way down doing further damage to the multitude of components.

Making sure it doesn't snag in the first place should be the first priority.
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#12 Old 08-06-2012
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Cool

The left flap is hitting the left plastic peace that covers your main hydraulic for the top. Ive fixed it by moving that hydraulic cover downwards, but now its a fairly large cap between that plastic and that flap unlike the other side witch is level with the whole surface. I still think i have a bent flap because like yours, mine is slightly down on the left side, however its not as extreme as MrG's. Maybe at least half the cap but you can tell a difference between the left and right side. Sorry i have no photos but i will post some when i get a chance and take a look into it more in depth and perhaps fix the problem. I was so pissed off after repainting the whole car and throwing it back together i put the top up and chipped the left corner of it. f*ck, anyway it is what it is, you have to save something for the critics. Here's some photos of the complete resto by myself age 15-16, 8months from start to finish. Nearly 300 of my hours, and now driving it as my first car im one lucky bastard!

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#13 Old 01-15-2013
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Lovely explaination and pics, Lovelyjubly
Thanks Timo7
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#14 Old 07-11-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrG View Post
The clearance between the flap and the roll bar is very small when the top goes down. I figure a number of things could cause it to hang. When it hangs the front of the top snags on the hat shelf on its way down doing further damage to the multitude of components.

Making sure it doesn't snag in the first place should be the first priority.
Yes indeed
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#15 Old 07-13-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrG View Post
The corner flap on the left side was obviously out of adjustment and ended up point-first into the roll bar as the shelf flipped up. Subsequently the shelf didn't rotate to the full upright position. The top caught it as it went into the trunk and bent it. It didn't fold it or anything. It's just not flat anymore.



I dove in and fixed it today and am really happy with the results. There is still a small gap near the center but it's plenty tight for me. I still may be able to straighten that out though.



After doing the repair it became pretty obvious what caused the problem in the first place. The weather stripping on the flap had worked its way forward enough to contact the roll bar and hang up the flap. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on this. You can see the weatherstripping hanging way over the edge of the flap in this pic shot before starting the repair.



First of all, keep in mind that that most of this work is done with the top in several different positions to gain the best access to the various components. The system has an approximate six minute timer where after that it will reactivate. Every three or four minutes I moved the top one way or the other a few inches to reset the timer. I know the switch button will flash before reactivating but I can't remember if there is a beep alarm or not. BE CAREFUL. The safest thing to do is use some kind of prop but it'll take a few different lengths to accommodate the best positions for easy access.

I first disconnected the spring-loaded cable that controls the flap. There are three 8mm headed bolts on each end that attach the shelf to the hinges. Bolts #1 and #2 also hold the bracket that allows the front of the roof to flip the shelf down as it settles into the trunk. These need to be taken out first. I couldn't get a ratchet on these because of the bracket. I had to wrench them out with a box end wrench. I then took out bolts #3 with a ratchet and extension and the whole assembly came out.




The left side shelf hinge was bent pretty badly. I'm attaching a right side pic for comparison.




I straightened it out the best I could with a pair of needlenosed vise grips and a pair of regular vice grips. As you can see I protected the roof with a towel in case of a slip, which I do regularly.



Now on to the shelf itself. The first pic is the right hand side showing what the joint should look like. The second is the left side. The hinge was obviously sprung quite a bit. The hinges and cable brackets come off with six screws after the plastic cover is removed. There are two shims on each side that go between the main hinge and the shelf. Don't lose them.

With the flaps and hinges removed I set in on bending the shelf back to flat. It was twisted approximately 1/2". The shelf is cast aluminum and bends fairly easily so I tried to be very gentle with it, tweaking it a little at a time until it looked flat to the eye. Keep in mind that the shelf has a little crown from side to side so don't bend it completely flat. That may be why I still have a little gap in the center between the shelf and the trunk lid.





Next, I did my best to straighten out the bent flap hinge. The vise grips did the job for this also. The first pic is a comparison shot of both hinges showing the bent hinge. The second pic shows the deformed flange on the hinge. I don't think I could have done this without at least one pair of needle nosed vise grips.








The hinge was also sprung pretty badly. Once again the needle nosed vise grips worked great to squeeze it back into shape.




'After' pic of the repaired hinge joint.



Reassembly was pretty much straightforward. Just remember the #3 bolts are the easiest ones to get a ratchet on and aren't holding anything else but the shelf so stab them first. Don't forget the shims. The entire process took about three hours.

Hope this helps someone in the future.
I found this extremely helpful in that the passenger side of mine was headed in the same direction but there had not been any interference with the shelf itself. The issue was exacerbated when I put a Windblox on as you lose about 5/16" of clearance.
The hinge was sprung a bit and the bracket in the first pic bent in much the same way. Fortunately I did not have to take the whole thing out to straighten it.
The weather strip had also moved. I put a drop of Shoe Goo at the roll hoop end to hold it.
The flashing light is supposed to come on at 7 minute per the manual and my car has a very audible buzzer that goes for at least 20 sec before the roof drops into the trunk. You just cannot mess with this as Mr. G has said.
I shot some WD40 down the hinge and followed it with sewing machine oil The flap seemed OK but lazy compared to the driver's side when it came to moving out from the folded position as it passed the roll hoop.
After some testing I concluded that the cable was stretched and/or the barrel spring in it tired so after some searching I ordered one from my dealer. It was $72 CDN less MBCA discount of 10% so $64.80 before tax. I did eventually find one on eBay for $49.95 US plus shipping so more or less a break even.
It has solved the rest of the problem. The passenger side pops out just as the driver's side and all is good.
As to the Windblox, I decided to strap it a tad higher on the roll hoops. In doing so I take it out of the path of the flaps.
Great write up. Thanks for doing it.
Cheers!
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#16 Old 07-28-2013
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Thanks Alex! Had the same issue with the driver's side flap (cable was stretched, so the flap wouldn't clear the head rest). I thought I'd have to pull the entire roof for the fix, until I found your post. Fixed the bent hinge, and a bent roller, replaced the cable, now good as new!
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#17 Old 07-29-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slk230_itch View Post
Thanks Alex! Had the same issue with the driver's side flap (cable was stretched, so the flap wouldn't clear the head rest). I thought I'd have to pull the entire roof for the fix, until I found your post. Fixed the bent hinge, and a bent roller, replaced the cable, now good as new!
Glad it worked out for you. Sadly I was not so lucky. I have to do more work to straighten the hinge as it only worked a short while and it is back to catching. I guess I didn't go quite far enough.
On the other hand I have a spare cable now.
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#18 Old 09-08-2013
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Very useful thread

Thank you to the author of this useful thread. Now my roof runs like h....!!!
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#19 Old 02-15-2014
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Thanks for this detailed fix. I have the same problem with the passenger side flap on my 98 SLK 230, which manifested itself after I installed the wind block on the roll bars. I didn't notice the flap was hanging up until the bracket was bent, so I will take it apart and try to straighten it out as per your example. I may need a new cable too. Thanks for all your effort.
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#20 Old 02-16-2014
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I ended up putting the Windblox on the front of the roll bars and not the rear and it seems fine.
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