Frequent alignments common? Rear end grind? Quick pre-owner Questions - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 03-26-2012
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Frequent alignments common? Rear end grind? Quick pre-owner Questions

I was going to buy a corvette convertible, but I decided to test drive a few 2 seater roadsters because i love them. I'm 6'9", and barely fit in the S2000, fit great in the SLK 320, Didn't fit in the boxster or miata.

So I'd love to buy an SLK 320 but its slim pickings. Found one in good shape but the top doesnt work. With the complexity of these tops I thought thats enough to move forward. (Price = $8000, 90k miles)

I found another one with a working top, in all-around good shape BUT theres a grind in the rear end. The dealership agreed to fix it prior to selling and offer a 3 mo warranty on the drivetrain (Price = 11k, 75k miles)

Rear end sounds like an LSD issue or wheel bearing thats fairly common based on my searching of these forums. If they have it fixed, that seems OK in my mind?

Other concern- Its been serviced at my local MB dealer, all the way up to the 70k recommended service. The only "worry" on the vehicle history report is its had 4 dealer alignments- the first one at 24k, then at 35k, 60k and 75k. Is this normal? or does this suggest a hidden problem? I know alignments can be problemmatic on these cars, but they were all done at the MB dealer.

It also has a trailer hitch, but I'm going to "hope" that it was only used for either autocross tires, bikes, or a motorcycle.

I also have a 2012 E350, and I know service can be a PITA but the commonality of the crossfire is appealing to me on the '01 SLK. I also have a 2011 Camaro, a 2011 Ram, and race Fieros, so I'm pretty knowledgable about cars overall, but thought just to get the roadster thing out of my system for a year or so the '01 SLK would be a good pick.

What do you think about what I've shared? anything else I need to be wary about?
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#2 Old 03-26-2012
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#3 Old 03-26-2012
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After fixing mine and reading several threads on the subject, a nonworking top wouldn't scare me off as much as noise in the rear end and alignment problems. $8000 with that mileage would be a great price down here in Texas, especially if everything else seems to be in order.
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#4 Old 03-26-2012
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After fixing mine and reading several threads on the subject, a nonworking top wouldn't scare me off as much as noise in the rear end and alignment problems. $8000 with that mileage would be a great price down here in Texas, especially if everything else seems to be in order.
The problem with the non-working top is depending on how long ago it broke down, more than one cylinder could be shot. It could cost $2500 in parts alone, plus another thousand in repair costs at the MB dealer. That 8k car becomes $11,500... Thats the idea I've gotten from people talking on here. I also worry about the kind of driver that doesnt take care of their stuff, and it has no service records at 90k.

I went to MB and pulled a service report on the one with the rear-end noise since its been serviced at the MB dealer. The "wheel bearing" issue was reported at 50k and they said it was a tire cupping issue, and replaced the tires. It had its full 60k service, with new springs and they said the owner has several different MBs and he takes care of them all. (it was a 1 owner SLK 320). According to the dealership, they recommend frequent alignments. They said the car was in great shape in their opinion and would recommend it (They are NOT the dealership selling it)

so now it sounds like an LSD/Wheel bearing issue. Neither should cost more than $1k to repair, so I figure I'm out a max of 12k with service records and the such. The 320 was traded in on a "new 2011 SLK" according to the service guy. I guess what I'm alluding to is if this didn't have the wheel bearing/diff issue on the rear end, this would be a "dream-find"- a 1 owner, perfectly serviced, reputable car. That seems to offer some value?

Maybe the SLKs are just too much of a liability... My wife is suggesting it may better to stick with something more reliable like a crossfire vert with SLK seats (so my 6'9"ness can fit) or the corvette C5 vert, but the SLK seems like a great car, just been looking for months and they are way too rare, and the service aspect seems so unpredictable... The rule of thumb I've always heard is "MBs are great to lease but never buy". (We lease the 350).. But maybe I should just talk the 8k one down to 7500 or so, take it to the MB dealer and say "service it and make the roof work" , maybe replace the suspension, tires, etc. and then drive it home at the 11-12k mark. Does that sound like a better bet?
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#5 Old 03-27-2012
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After putting an O-ring kit in the locking cylinder and familiarizing myself with the rest of the guts and workings of the system, I don't feel that there's all that much to it. There are tons of 'top repair' threads on here.

Unless the top is structurally tweaked, the worst case scenario would be a bad pump @ $800. If you're at all mechanically handy the cylinders can all be rebuilt with a $35 O-ring set. There are nine switches. All it takes is one bad one for the top to not work. Most of them are around $30 each. A couple are $70.

There is a possibility you could get it working for less than $100. A 320 in good shape with those miles here in Texas would bring $11,000-13,000. If I could find a deal like that around here I would be hard pressed not to buy it, fix it, drive it for a while and resell it. Once again, IF I was comfortable with the rest of the car, especially the drive train.

IMO the R170 is one of the nicest looking cars on the road and the 3.2L engine is a great powerplant.
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#6 Old 03-27-2012
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Originally Posted by MrG View Post
After putting an O-ring kit in the locking cylinder and familiarizing myself with the rest of the guts and workings of the system, I don't feel that there's all that much to it. There are tons of 'top repair' threads on here.

Unless the top is structurally tweaked, the worst case scenario would be a bad pump @ $800. If you're at all mechanically handy the cylinders can all be rebuilt with a $35 O-ring set. There are nine switches. All it takes is one bad one for the top to not work. Most of them are around $30 each. A couple are $70.

There is a possibility you could get it working for less than $100. A 320 in good shape with those miles here in Texas would bring $11,000-13,000. If I could find a deal like that around here I would be hard pressed not to buy it, fix it, drive it for a while and resell it. Once again, IF I was comfortable with the rest of the car, especially the drive train.

IMO the R170 is one of the nicest looking cars on the road and the 3.2L engine is a great powerplant.
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me... your thoughts are very very helpful as there isn't a lot of expertise on the SLKs anywhere else!

Alright, maybe I'll go ahead and buy it then. Would you say its still worth it if I dont fix the top myself- AKA take it to Mercedes to fix it?

Hassle > $$$ for me, and I'm getting frustrated how much of a hassle it is just to FIND one of these things... If I wait to fix it it will probably be winter by the time I get to it. I ended up going and test driving a corvette again yesterday, but I dont want to "settle" for a corvette when I really want an R170 just because of how rare these things are...
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#7 Old 03-27-2012
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Don't know if you'll come out ahead letting the dealer do the work. You might try to find a local shop that specializes in MB/BMW. They'll probably be less expensive. My barber has a '99 230 and she speaks highly of a local shop here in town. If I have an issue that I don't think I can wrench I'll probably give them a shot before I go to the dealer.
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#8 Old 03-28-2012
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I bought it... I'm an official owner. talked him down further. very happy and I think I got a heck of a deal... plus I now have over $10,000 in modifications or to spend on other things... yay!

ordered a rebuild kit... which guides/ threads were the most helpful? the sticky just seemed to be a lot of chatter... not much help. I'm sure you have a lot of novices asking that though. Is it worth buying te ebay one? I also found this one: http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/R170%20SLK-Class%20Cylinder%20Removal.pdf but it doesnt talk about rebuilding.

Thanks!
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#9 Old 03-28-2012
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Congrats on the new ride! Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet.

If you got the kit from Shockwave the instructions are very comprehensive and well illustrated.

Hopefully lilred320SLK will chime in. He's in the process of putting his back together after having the cylinders rebuilt. He removed and reinstalled all of them.
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#10 Old 03-29-2012
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I bought the kid but not the instructions. Shockwave noow sells them seperately. Hoping to do it without the guide, although $30 for a guide isnt that much... not sure why I'm so reluctant to pony up?

Hoping the kit at least say which seals go where, and I'm hoping I can rebuild the front 3 without pulling them... but as much as I can find instructions on how to take them apart, I can't seem to find anything about how to get the headliner off...

And then what do people do to replace the headliner thats damaged due to the oil?

You've been a huge help... hopefully I can "pay you back" in time
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#11 Old 03-29-2012
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Just realized that the other one I turned down (still not regretting it) was optioned out with the SP1 Sport Pkg and the K4 option package, which is almost 6k worth of options. Probably not worth it since I am changing the headlights, hate the AMG wheels, and only plan on driving this during the summer... but still makes me realize it was a pretty good buy anyway. I think I was picking between 2 good buys, not two poor buys!
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#12 Old 03-30-2012
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Congrats on the car. I see you have cat sleds too. You obviously make good choices!
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#13 Old 03-30-2012
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Congrats on the car. I see you have cat sleds too. You obviously make good choices!
Although I live in Cincinnati now... Have used them ONCE in two years ( was going to go to CNY once this year to use them but we were lacking on the snow...) Used to live in Syracuse (solvay to be precise) and have some land in the catskills. Move down to cinci 2 1/2 years ago. Where abouts in CNY are you?
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#14 Old 03-30-2012
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The Shockwave instructions would be a bargain at twice the price.
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#15 Old 03-30-2012
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MrG, what and where can I purchase the shockwave instructions for the roof repairs?
Best,
Roger
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#16 Old 03-30-2012
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MrG, what and where can I purchase the shockwave instructions for the roof repairs?
Best,
Roger
It's on Ebay.
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#17 Old 04-10-2012
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Congrats on your car purchase. I bought a 2000 SLK 230 in November. It had a branded title (totaled) and was rebuilt. It only had 68,000 miles on it. I had it looked over real good. I decided to have new rotors and brakes on all four wheels. The rear had about 10% wear left and front 20% wear after I had put about 4000 miles on it. I also had the belt replaced. I wanted to start with new. It does have a heater problem on the passenger side. The heat won't go off or down. I will get that fixed this spring. The top has been working fine. I did expect it might have some problems. It is my "project" car. I had been looking for 6 months for the right one. This one had been advertised for a quite awhile so I feel I got a great buy on it.
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#18 Old 04-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arachnyd View Post
I bought it... I'm an official owner. talked him down further. very happy and I think I got a heck of a deal... plus I now have over $10,000 in modifications or to spend on other things... yay!

ordered a rebuild kit... which guides/ threads were the most helpful? the sticky just seemed to be a lot of chatter... not much help. I'm sure you have a lot of novices asking that though. Is it worth buying te ebay one? I also found this one: http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/R170%20SLK-Class%20Cylinder%20Removal.pdf but it doesnt talk about rebuilding.

Thanks!
Congrats and good luck with it!

I have been looking at these cars a long time and the one I wanted just happened to pop up nearby. Took it home for $7500 plus tax etc, after having it inspected. Had it serviced today and some details done ... I'm in it for $10K now and it's as perfect as I want other than a new stereo system and being professionally cleaned and polished. Very jazzed.

I'll leave it pretty much stock other than the radio, I like it like that. :-)
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