*9:35 PM 5/1 - sorry for the late update. When I said it was going to rain, I wasn't expecting tornados and power outages... I have some pics I'll try to update this week. I did update the specifics however, so I hope that helps.
I've heard a lot of people complaining about this or that, saying you can't do that or you have to do this.... quite frankly, I found it much easier than I ever imagined, and I thought I'd answer a few solutions to the hiccups I couldnt find elsewhere on the board or in the directions:
Special Tools needed:
-The Torx in the doorway is a T9. I dont know anyone who owns a T9 so I had to buy it. $2.99 for a T5-T9 from Harbor Freight. The other two Torx sizes you need are T20 for the interior pieces and T30 for the metal exterior brackets.
-You only need two drill bits, one as a primer/for the cotter pin, and one as the as the main bit. I used a 1/8" primer and a 3/16" main bit
Small funnel to fill the reservoir
-4 cotter pins smaller than 1/8", but not too tiny (just a hair under 1/8" preferred
-Metric ratchet set (standard sizes)
-Metric Allen Wrench set (standard sizes)
-Small Flathead screwdriver narrowe than 3/16" head
-medium to large screwdriver
-Medium size phillips head screwdriver.
-Needle Nose Pliers
-Bench mounted Vice
How to remove the switch for the top without breaking the switch:
there are two pins, and just enough space in between then for a flat head screwdriver. Stick the flat head screw driver between them and pry it all out at once. This is much easier with the top DOWN.
ITs not tough to rebuild, and it does hold if you rebuild it. Just using a small cotter pin didn't cut it for me, and I couldnt find a grade 8 cotterpin, so I just used a much larger cotter pin and drilled holes diagonally to accomodate it (from one hole to the one next to it.
I found it easiest to do the front in one sitting, the 2 top cylinders in one sitting, and the trunk cylinders in one sitting. When I rebuilt each type of cylinder (top, or trunk), I just pulled out one at a time and reinstalled it right afterwards, then moved on to the next one.
Rebuild the locking cylinder in place:
Rebuild the locking cylinder without taking it out. Its pretty simple and saves you a lot of complexity pulling wires. For this I did brace the top, but since your working on the locking cylinder you don't have to follow the guides instructions of bracing it "forward" (towards the front) which gives you a lot more room to work. It also gives you more flexibility on what to use for a brace- I just used a swiffer in the trunk.
How to remove the trunk cylinder seals:
Once you drill out the holes and get out the plug, instead of "breaking up" the seal like the instructions recommend, get a thin screw and drive it into the outer edge of the seal... Then just pull the seal right out! Much easier, and less likely to cause damage!
Don't waste your time trying to brace the top for the roof cylinders:
I never saw a need to brace the top, and from all the descriptions of having trouble unscrewing stuff and the such is just complicated by the awkward top position. Put the top all the way down. Unscrew the screws for the support pieces and take out the passenger side switch. slip out the (cant think of the right name for it) locking pieces for the pin, but leave the pins there. Now close the top all the way up. Unlock the rear pin and pull both pins out, and pull the cylinders out.
I didn't see doing anything that kept the car inoperable for more than 10 minutes when you don't worry about bracing the top. In fact, I did it during thunderstorms (just look at the cincinnati weather today and yesterday) and it wasn't a big deal.
Total time requirements if you were to do it all at one sitting?
4-5 hours not including tearing out the trunk panels and replacing them, plus more time taking breaks, hemming and hawing, and singing along to your radio.
Plastic pieces behind the seats to remove the roll bar surround:
These look like they snap off, but actually screw off. You should be able to use your fingers to get them off. If not, you can use a larger c clip pliers in the two little holds that are there. If all else fails, it is plastic so you can pull it off (takes a lot of force).
Opinion on the "rebuild it" vs "send it away"?
The send it away ones are probably better. They look like it atleast. However, this was a much easier job than I thought it would be, and next time I bet I could do it in 3-4 hours max. Most the hard work is done the first time, so if there is a next time it should be a quick job. More importantly however, in all my searching, I haven't found anyone who rebuilt it themself and it failed.
With that being said, sending away is probably better, but I dont know if its worth the hassle. When you do it one at a time you don't have to remember where they all go or document things so well... but then again I'm only planning on keeping this car a few years. If your thinking of keeping it for life or paying someone else to rebuild it, might as well send it away because its only an extra $240 + shipping.
How to remember which tube goes where?
If you do it one at a time, you only need to differentiate between two at a time- Therefore I just wrapped all the tubes in the bundle closest to the outside of the car (Theres 4 tubes in that outer bank) with a small piece of duct tape.
Most helpful free guides:
How to rebuild the specific cylinders (this is priceless):
SLK Top Cylinder Rebuild Guide with Cut-Away Diagrams - Benzworld.org - Mercedes-Benz Discussion Forum
How to remove front ram (but dont remove it):
Step BY Step Instructions to Check and Replace Roof LOCKING RAM - Benzworld.org - Mercedes-Benz Discussion Forum
General guide (Cant vouch for them though because I just found this AFTER I redid the top:
Top Hydraulics removal guide (useless for top cylinders, but I looked at it) http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/R170...%20Removal.pdf
Oh yeah, and don't leave your bottle of fluid just hanging out without a cap on it. You'll probably spill it like I did and have to clean up your garage floor and go buy more.
Theres my thoughts to hopefully help some others with top cylinder rebuilds
take it for what its worth!