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2002 SLK32 AMG
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys, hope its ok if I keep a bit of a public blog on my the SLK32 here.

I've just bought the car with 133,500 kms and put ~1800 kms driving it back home.
Totally in love with the car already.

It's currently in the shop getting new front lower control arms, rear wheel bearing, brake flush and engine clean for roadworthy.

I spent last weekend taking care of around 30+ paint chips with the dr colorchip system which turned out surprisingly well.

Things I'll be doing once I get the car back:

New RHR wheel bearing (done)
New lower control arms L&R (done)
Brake flush (done)
Supercharger oil
Transmission oil
Coolant Flush and Thermostat
Engine oil & filter (done)
New K&N air filters
Boot gas struts (done)
RH mirror replacement (done)
Repair cracked front bumper, sand and spray
Replace cracked rear bumper centre molding
Install pioneer flip out headunit
Fix/replace cigarette lighter
Fix replace centre console trim (not a fan of the wood grain look)
Replace rusty wheel bolts
Replace roof hydraulic seal and top up fluid

Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Vehicle Land vehicle


Gadget Bumper Tire Automotive exterior Font
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
Welcome to the '32 club! An awesome gem.

A few more suggestions for reliability and best enjoyment:

Check the supercharger pulley bearing, with belt off give it a spin by hand, it should be quiet and obviously lubricated. If dry or making any noise the bearing in the pulley should be replaced. A relatively easy job and $30 bearing (NSK or Naachi).

On a warm day with engine fully up to temperature, give the car a few good full throttle blasts in sequence to test the intercooler water pump. If the car gives one good blast and successive full throttle attempts give a muted response, the intercooler pump is bad or fuse blown (should be 7-10a fuse, there was a tsb on this). Oddly, this doesn't cause a fault light.

Check harmonic balancer for any pulley wobble or elastomer degradation. If this comes apart at speed it can damage many other parts and be very expensive. If in question, proactively replace ($800, genuine MB only).

Open roof halfway and leave engine running or have helper hold roof in position if engine off. With roof open, remove 3 screws in front edge of headliner and pull down headliner to see hydraulic cylinder in roof lock. The cylinder shaft seal must be dry. Any leakage must be addressed immediately, as this will ruin a discontinued headliner that can be hard to find. Ideally, if no record of this seal being replaced, it should proactively be done. 4 hr job, $20 seal kit with instructions on ebay. A test of dexterity but can be done in the car.
I've had 5 R170's, and this roof cylinder seal leaked on 3 of them, ruining 2 headliners, I proactively replaced the seal in other two cars to prevent more surprises. Also worth noting, the roof system has 5 hydraulic cylinders, I have only ever had the one in headliner leak.

Intermittent brake light bulbs can be fixed with latest part number blue bulb sockets, use MB genuine parts (genuine bulb or exact wattage, no aftermarket sockets). Also check socket contact area in light assy for pitting, and this can be fixed by soldering over the pits for a permanent fix.

Interior and drivers door dimming mirrors can go bad, ugh. Pricey parts, but nice to have them working. Damn the expense, I have made sure these worked on every car and had no recurring issues.

Check door interior panels for loose glue seams and attachment points. If found, remove complete door panel and reglue. Gorilla glue is the answer. This is about a 4-6 hour job for both panels.

Rear package shelf may rattle due to 2 missing rubber bumpers it sits on at rear lip. Also, the "wing" flip up ends may rattle and need piano hinge fingers crimped with chanelock pliers.

These can be very tight and quiet interior cars, but any previous work may have inexplicably left out attachment screws, snaps, etc. Chase it all down, its worth it.

Happy top down spirited motoring, sorted.
R
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
Oh, and one other joy...
The AMG seats in the SLK32 have the seat heaters go bad in a very high percentage of them. In this seat, the heater elements are stitched into the leather covers and can be daunting to fix. The easiest solution is to buy the heater element from Mercedes for the SLK230/320 and just put under the leather covers, it plugs in and is correct wattage. About $120/seat.
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
Joined
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the '32 club! An awesome gem.

A few more suggestions for reliability and best enjoyment:

Check the supercharger pulley bearing, with belt off give it a spin by hand, it should be quiet and obviously lubricated. If dry or making any noise the bearing in the pulley should be replaced. A relatively easy job and $30 bearing (NSK or Naachi).

On a warm day with engine fully up to temperature, give the car a few good full throttle blasts in sequence to test the intercooler water pump. If the car gives one good blast and successive full throttle attempts give a muted response, the intercooler pump is bad or fuse blown (should be 7-10a fuse, there was a tsb on this). Oddly, this doesn't cause a fault light.

Check harmonic balancer for any pulley wobble or elastomer degradation. If this comes apart at speed it can damage many other parts and be very expensive. If in question, proactively replace ($800, genuine MB only).

Open roof halfway and leave engine running or have helper hold roof in position if engine off. With roof open, remove 3 screws in front edge of headliner and pull down headliner to see hydraulic cylinder in roof lock. The cylinder shaft seal must be dry. Any leakage must be addressed immediately, as this will ruin a discontinued headliner that can be hard to find. Ideally, if no record of this seal being replaced, it should proactively be done. 4 hr job, $20 seal kit with instructions on ebay. A test of dexterity but can be done in the car.
I've had 5 R170's, and this roof cylinder seal leaked on 3 of them, ruining 2 headliners, I proactively replaced the seal in other two cars to prevent more surprises. Also worth noting, the roof system has 5 hydraulic cylinders, I have only ever had the one in headliner leak.

Intermittent brake light bulbs can be fixed with latest part number blue bulb sockets, use MB genuine parts (genuine bulb or exact wattage, no aftermarket sockets). Also check socket contact area in light assy for pitting, and this can be fixed by soldering over the pits for a permanent fix.

Interior and drivers door dimming mirrors can go bad, ugh. Pricey parts, but nice to have them working. Damn the expense, I have made sure these worked on every car and had no recurring issues.

Check door interior panels for loose glue seams and attachment points. If found, remove complete door panel and reglue. Gorilla glue is the answer. This is about a 4-6 hour job for both panels.

Rear package shelf may rattle due to 2 missing rubber bumpers it sits on at rear lip. Also, the "wing" flip up ends may rattle and need piano hinge fingers crimped with chanelock pliers.

These can be very tight and quiet interior cars, but any previous work may have inexplicably left out attachment screws, snaps, etc. Chase it all down, its worth it.

Happy top down spirited motoring, sorted.
R
Thanks Rick! These are fantastic recommendations and exactly what I was looking for.

Will start adding these to the list of things to do.

Question, when doing the pulley job ...what if the temptation to go for a smaller pulley takes hold?
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
Joined
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, and one other joy...
The AMG seats in the SLK32 have the seat heaters go bad in a very high percentage of them. In this seat, the heater elements are stitched into the leather covers and can be daunting to fix. The easiest solution is to buy the heater element from Mercedes for the SLK230/320 and just put under the leather covers, it plugs in and is correct wattage. About $120/seat.
Yep driver's seat heating doesn't work. Passenger one is ok.

Thankfully we are moving into Spring/Summer here so this job can wait a little while. I also watched some videos and the job looks ...fiddly. Might have to build up to it.
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
Joined
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341 Posts
Pulley mods...

There is much talk in these forums and on the internet of HP gains to be had with pulley size swaps.
It depends..
If one was to want to track the car and squeeze every ounce of performance out of it, well, pulleys are short path to more power, but can come at the cost of reliability and needing other mods such as high flow intercooler pump. There are tales of melted pistons, shredded superchargers, and aluminum pulleys that fatigue and fly apart, damaging the adjacent oil cooler and fragments puncturing the hood. Recovering from this experiment can be very expensive and there isn't an abundance of replacement parts, some things are discontinued. Proceed at your own risk if you are resourceful enough to solve any eventuality. This may diminish future resale value.

A more cautious approach, if one was interested, is to take the factory stainless steel pulley to a machine shop and have it cut down from stock 74mm to 70mm (proven safe to 69mm), then put a tune on it from a reputable shop such as Renntech or Eurocharged. The net effect should be around 30 hp or so and the gains are across the entire Rev range. This uses the stock belt, doesn't run the supercharger over its design RPM, and doesn't raise intake air temp (through pressure) enough to be a real problem. Since the '32 engine was conservatively rated at 350 hp, adding a tune and machining the pulley will be at least 380 hp

The next performance mod that would have a big impact is to reduce unsprung weight by using real forged wheels of aluminum or even magnesium (stock wheels are a bit heavy). Over 10 lbs per wheel can be taken out, and not only will it ride better, this is like taking 40 lbs of rotating mass (flywheel) off the drivetrain, which is also equivalent to removing nearly 200 lbs of sprung mass off the car. Staying with stock 17in size wheels will keep the best ride. Though many like larger sizes, 18in and about an inch wider is really the limit. Augment Wheel in Canada will custom make anything you want even replica forged, for prices that aren't absolutely crazy.
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
Joined
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to the '32 club! An awesome gem.

A few more suggestions for reliability and best enjoyment:

Check the supercharger pulley bearing, with belt off give it a spin by hand, it should be quiet and obviously lubricated. If dry or making any noise the bearing in the pulley should be replaced. A relatively easy job and $30 bearing (NSK or Naachi).

On a warm day with engine fully up to temperature, give the car a few good full throttle blasts in sequence to test the intercooler water pump. If the car gives one good blast and successive full throttle attempts give a muted response, the intercooler pump is bad or fuse blown (should be 7-10a fuse, there was a tsb on this). Oddly, this doesn't cause a fault light.

Check harmonic balancer for any pulley wobble or elastomer degradation. If this comes apart at speed it can damage many other parts and be very expensive. If in question, proactively replace ($800, genuine MB only).

Open roof halfway and leave engine running or have helper hold roof in position if engine off. With roof open, remove 3 screws in front edge of headliner and pull down headliner to see hydraulic cylinder in roof lock. The cylinder shaft seal must be dry. Any leakage must be addressed immediately, as this will ruin a discontinued headliner that can be hard to find. Ideally, if no record of this seal being replaced, it should proactively be done. 4 hr job, $20 seal kit with instructions on ebay. A test of dexterity but can be done in the car.
I've had 5 R170's, and this roof cylinder seal leaked on 3 of them, ruining 2 headliners, I proactively replaced the seal in other two cars to prevent more surprises. Also worth noting, the roof system has 5 hydraulic cylinders, I have only ever had the one in headliner leak.

Intermittent brake light bulbs can be fixed with latest part number blue bulb sockets, use MB genuine parts (genuine bulb or exact wattage, no aftermarket sockets). Also check socket contact area in light assy for pitting, and this can be fixed by soldering over the pits for a permanent fix.

Interior and drivers door dimming mirrors can go bad, ugh. Pricey parts, but nice to have them working. Damn the expense, I have made sure these worked on every car and had no recurring issues.

Check door interior panels for loose glue seams and attachment points. If found, remove complete door panel and reglue. Gorilla glue is the answer. This is about a 4-6 hour job for both panels.

Rear package shelf may rattle due to 2 missing rubber bumpers it sits on at rear lip. Also, the "wing" flip up ends may rattle and need piano hinge fingers crimped with chanelock pliers.

These can be very tight and quiet interior cars, but any previous work may have inexplicably left out attachment screws, snaps, etc. Chase it all down, its worth it.

Happy top down spirited motoring, sorted.
R
Rick, although it was on my list of things to do after your post, the car decided to spring the hydraulic roof leak on me today. Thankfully it squirted the fluid down the back window instead of on the headliner it seems.

Guess it's been bumped up my list!
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
If it appeared on the back window, also check the two large hydraulic cylinders, one on each side of the trunk, high and forward in compartment. (I have not seen these leak, but others have) if those are not leaking, the cylinder in roof headliner is leaking very bad.

Looks like new seals are in order.
 

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2002 SLK32 AMG
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If it appeared on the back window, also check the two large hydraulic cylinders, one on each side of the trunk, high and forward in compartment. (I have not seen these leak, but others have) if those are not leaking, the cylinder in roof headliner is leaking very bad.

Looks like new seals are in order.
Aaand I spoke too soon. It's definitely leaked onto the front of the headliner.

I've just bought a new seal kit with all the O rings. Time to watch some youtube videos.
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
Oh no, I'm so sorry for your fluid loss and a more pressing project.

The seal can be replaced in the car.
Open roof halfway and stabilize.
Remove headliner, 3 screws front and sides.
Disconnect leaking cylinder, careful not to bend attached hydraulic lines.
Put plastic over seats to avoid any drip of fluid on interior.
Push cylinder ram in all the way and keep pushed in during next few steps
Drill small hole in side of cylinder in line with snap ring that retains end plug.
Push jewelers screwdriver into the small hole just drilled to push snap ring out enough to pull out with needle nose pliers or another screwdriver, a test of dexterity.
Once snap ring is out, pull ram out of cylinder
Cut off old cup type seal from shaft.
Roll new seal on over piston end.

Rinse piston/ram assy in solvent, and make sure cylinder is clean, clean, clean.
Be very careful not to scratch piston shaft/ram/rod that seal mates to,
Reassemble, pushing piston all the way in, hold in while replacing snap ring.

Replace cylinder into roof.

Hopefully, you have enough fluid in reservoir for operation.
If not, use genuine MB hydraulic fluid to refill.
Removing one snap in trunk side panel near taillight allows enough room to get arm and Allen wrench in to get fill plug out of pump.
Use a syringe-hose to put fluid in, I use a turkey flavor injector from Walmart ($2)

Best of luck finding a replacement headliner, might need to get used one recovered.
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh no, I'm so sorry for your fluid loss and a more pressing project.

The seal can be replaced in the car.
Open roof halfway and stabilize.
Remove headliner, 3 screws front and sides.
Disconnect leaking cylinder, careful not to bend attached hydraulic lines.
Put plastic over seats to avoid any drip of fluid on interior.
Push cylinder ram in all the way and keep pushed in during next few steps
Drill small hole in side of cylinder in line with snap ring that retains end plug.
Push jewelers screwdriver into the small hole just drilled to push snap ring out enough to pull out with needle nose pliers or another screwdriver, a test of dexterity.
Once snap ring is out, pull ram out of cylinder
Cut off old cup type seal from shaft.
Roll new seal on over piston end.

Rinse piston/ram assy in solvent, and make sure cylinder is clean, clean, clean.
Be very careful not to scratch piston shaft/ram/rod that seal mates to,
Reassemble, pushing piston all the way in, hold in while replacing snap ring.

Replace cylinder into roof.

Hopefully, you have enough fluid in reservoir for operation.
If not, use genuine MB hydraulic fluid to refill.
Removing one snap in trunk side panel near taillight allows enough room to get arm and Allen wrench in to get fill plug out of pump.
Use a syringe-hose to put fluid in, I use a turkey flavor injector from Walmart ($2)

Best of luck finding a replacement headliner, might need to get used one recovered.
Thanks Rick. You've just perfectly summarised the 18 page thread I read last night.
Your instructions + the videos I found on youtube give me confidence.

How likely do you think the cylinders behind the seat are shot as well? I did notice the trunk took ages to close when the roof one popped and started leaking. Are they related or did a few cylinders all go pop at the same time?
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
The two rams in top front corners of trunk are clearly visible with trunk open, and you can see the shafts and any leakage, if present. Statistically speaking, I would be a little surprised if they were leaking.

The other two rams are in rear quarter panels and can be viewed by using a flashlight to view down through the side slots in trunk with the bristle guards, again, I would be surprised to see these leaking.

The profuse leak in the top cylinder probably reduced the operating pressure, slowing the operation....unless, the pump has had very high use and is also worn out. The roof should complete an open or close action in about 25-30 seconds, with no leaks.

Trivia - Mercedes tested the roof operation for over 20,000 cycles of reliable operation. So, the parts (seals) are probably aged out, not worn out
 

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2002 SLK32 AMG
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The two rams in top front corners of trunk are clearly visible with trunk open, and you can see the shafts and any leakage, if present. Statistically speaking, I would be a little surprised if they were leaking.

The other two rams are in rear quarter panels and can be viewed by using a flashlight to view down through the side slots in trunk with the bristle guards, again, I would be surprised to see these leaking.

The profuse leak in the top cylinder probably reduced the operating pressure, slowing the operation....unless, the pump has had very high use and is also worn out. The roof should complete an open or close action in about 25-30 seconds, with no leaks.

Trivia - Mercedes tested the roof operation for over 20,000 cycles of reliable operation. So, the parts (seals) are probably aged out, not worn out
Based on visual inspection it looks like the trunk and main lift cylinders aren't leaking.

Prior to the leak the cycle time was around 25-30 seconds, so I think the pump is ok. Only noticed the slow down at the exact same time the roof cylinder shat itself.

I'll definitely need to top up the fluid. It's lost most of it. Good tip on the turkey baster syringe.

Hopefully can just pop in the O ring in the roof, top up fluid, and get the system operational again.

Thanks again for all your tips!

Gas Machine tool Motor vehicle Machine Engineering
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
Joined
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pulley mods...

There is much talk in these forums and on the internet of HP gains to be had with pulley size swaps.
It depends..
If one was to want to track the car and squeeze every ounce of performance out of it, well, pulleys are short path to more power, but can come at the cost of reliability and needing other mods such as high flow intercooler pump. There are tales of melted pistons, shredded superchargers, and aluminum pulleys that fatigue and fly apart, damaging the adjacent oil cooler and fragments puncturing the hood. Recovering from this experiment can be very expensive and there isn't an abundance of replacement parts, some things are discontinued. Proceed at your own risk if you are resourceful enough to solve any eventuality. This may diminish future resale value.

A more cautious approach, if one was interested, is to take the factory stainless steel pulley to a machine shop and have it cut down from stock 74mm to 70mm (proven safe to 69mm), then put a tune on it from a reputable shop such as Renntech or Eurocharged. The net effect should be around 30 hp or so and the gains are across the entire Rev range. This uses the stock belt, doesn't run the supercharger over its design RPM, and doesn't raise intake air temp (through pressure) enough to be a real problem. Since the '32 engine was conservatively rated at 350 hp, adding a tune and machining the pulley will be at least 380 hp

The next performance mod that would have a big impact is to reduce unsprung weight by using real forged wheels of aluminum or even magnesium (stock wheels are a bit heavy). Over 10 lbs per wheel can be taken out, and not only will it ride better, this is like taking 40 lbs of rotating mass (flywheel) off the drivetrain, which is also equivalent to removing nearly 200 lbs of sprung mass off the car. Staying with stock 17in size wheels will keep the best ride. Though many like larger sizes, 18in and about an inch wider is really the limit. Augment Wheel in Canada will custom make anything you want even replica forged, for prices that aren't absolutely crazy.
Another question for you Rick. I think may be the IC pump you mentioned.

From cold, there is power on tap and I'm regularly spinning the rears at the lights if I'm not careful.

However at cruising speeds of around 60kph, unless I floor it with the kickdown pedal, the car pulls very slowly sometimes, as if there's no boost.

Are these bad intercooler pump symptoms?
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
Make sure the trans is switched to S mode, or it will shift lazily in W mode.
Traction control can sometimes clamp response, is the TC light illuminating?
Assuming good quality premium fuel..and adequate fuel pressure.

If not, that sounds like a possibility.
Check the fuse for charge cooler, hopefully its just that.
In spite of no fault light, a code reader will show intake air overtemp condition, if supercharger is cut off due to intercooler (charge cooler) malfunction,
Changing the intercooler pump is relatively easy, bleeding air from that coolant loop is a minor pain.
 

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*Registered
2002 SLK32 AMG
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Make sure the trans is switched to S mode, or it will shift lazily in W mode.
Traction control can sometimes clamp response, is the TC light illuminating?
Assuming good quality premium fuel..and adequate fuel pressure.

If not, that sounds like a possibility.
Check the fuse for charge cooler, hopefully its just that.
In spite of no fault light, a code reader will show intake air overtemp condition, if supercharger is cut off due to intercooler (charge cooler) malfunction,
Changing the intercooler pump is relatively easy, bleeding air from that coolant loop is a minor pain.
Yep always in S mode, and traction light comes on when I break traction. 98 octane fuel.

If charge cooler fuse, that would mean that I never get boost right? I have boost always from standstill but only sometimes at cruising speed when I'm at operating temperature.

I have the check engine light come in intermittently, maybe once every 4-5 drives, but always goes away on its. I'll use the code reader to see if it picks anything up.

Either way I don't think its a bad idea or a terribly hard job to upgrade the pump. Have gone with the Bosch 010.
 

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2002 SLK32 (x1), 2003 SLK230 (x2)
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341 Posts
The supercharger will engage until the intake air temp exceeds safe limits. If the charge cooler fuse is blown or pump bad, it cannot properly cool intake air, so, you will get tire smoking performance until engine and intake air heat up, then, blah performance.

Another thought..

The experts will say there is no substitute for a MB Star diagnostic system (SDS), however, some don't have access to this tool and have to find other ways to solve problems. A Bluetooth OBD code reader module ($20) and the Torque app ($5) for smartphone will show a lot of operational data and basic codes. The torque app may not give all the diagnostic information how to solve problems..

Torque app will show manifold/boost pressure in a neat graphical layout for current and max values. This will give you solid information when supercharger is engaged and when not, so you can at least see if it is working correctly.
 
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