SLK32 Possible Hydraulic Pump Failure - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 08-04-2015
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SLK32 Possible Hydraulic Pump Failure

Hey all,

After over a year without a single problem with my vario roof, a problem presented itself tonight that I can't seem to find an answer for, but I'm worried that the vario roof hydraulic pump may be on its way out.

I own an SLK32 AMG with re-built hydraulic top cylinder. Pump fluid level check shows full. Tonight, I parked at a gas station in a questionable part of town, so I figured I'd better put the roof on. While putting it up, I thought it seemed to go a little bit slowly, but it completed the process and didn't seem to have a problem, then went back down again just fine when I got back into the car.

I get home and I'm putting the roof back up...I thought I sensed a little delay in the trunk lid opening, then as the roof bit came up, it slowed down as the arms reached the 90* position, then slowly locked back into place.

With the roof closed, I quickly ran and checked the pump fluid level to find that it was just fine. I (stupidly) cycled the roof back down and it again went down a little slowly. I went to put it back up again and the trunk lid opened an inch then the pump seemed to go quiet and sounded strained and no more movement happened. I gave it about a five-minute break then tried again. The pump came on, the trunk lid tried feebly to raise another 1/2 inch then same result.

Since my roommates were asleep I ended up taking off my shoes and I did a "stand on the seat, hold the switch with my toe, manually pull the trunk lid open" acrobatic. Thinking maybe it could be a trunk lid problem, I watched as the roof pieces feebly tried to lift and I had to manually pull them, too. Once the roof was past the 90* part the system completed the process without any more drama. The roof lock locked, the trunk lid came down, but the pump still sounded like crap.

To answer all the normal diagnosis questions and re-iterate, hydraulic fluid level is fine, no apparent leaks anywhere, and most importantly, no indications from the switch light whatsoever. No light, no blinking, just off.

Has anyone had this problem? I skimmed through the vario roof diagnostics chart posted on the form before posting this. I really hope the pump itself isn't bad....


In about an hour or so, I'm going to go back outside and give it a go again and see what happens. I'll post what happens then.
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#2 Old 08-05-2015
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SLK32 Possible Hydraulic Pump Failure

Sounds like my problem too. I still didn't get a chance to investigate since I'm out of country.
Other members suggested their might an air leak somewhere since the fluid level stays OK. I'm afraid my pump is going south... While it still works I had to give my trunk an push with my hand while it was opening.
You can try to release the pressure from the system - unscrew the side pressure release screw with the supplied hex screwdriver and screw it back in.

P.S. When you get this sorted out, get a smart top :-) this way you don't need to be a contortionist to hold the switch. Simply click the switch and release, the roof cycle will complete automatically :-)


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#3 Old 08-05-2015
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Our roof has operated slowly if the temperature is hot.... It may thin the fluid. We are in central Florida as well and with all the rain, it hasn't been that warm though. Try it again when it's cooler in the morning. If it's not any better, check the cylinders for leaks. If all is good there, it's probably pump related.

Good luck,
Tim

Last edited by El_Toro_33809; 08-07-2015 at 06:51 AM.
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#4 Old 08-05-2015
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I have not seen a confirmed pump failure, though I have not searched for it. On the other hand, I have seen a lot of seal failures so I believe that is more probable.
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