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Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Jae's SLK Build Thread

I figured it was a good idea to organize all my mods into one thread. I had one previously, but for technical reasons, my Photobucket account had to be moved and recreated, breaking all the image links. Instead of trying to surgically replace them all in the old thread, I asked the admins to delete my old one so I could create a new, more organized one.

Table of Contents (organized by mod, chronological order):

1. Initial Purchase (this post)
2. Repaint
3. Interior Restoration
4. Headlights
5. Rollbars
6. 18" AMG Wheels
7. Lowering DIY
8. Performance Mods
9. Eisenmann Race Exhaust
10. Brake Rebuild DIY
11. Removing Front Calipers, Rotors and Brake Lines DIY (Part 1)
11a. Removing Front Calipers, Rotors and Brake Lines DIY (Part 2)
12. Removing Front Shocks DIY
13. Removing Rear Calipers DIY
14. Removing Rear Shocks DIY
15. Replacing Missing Fog Light Access Cover DIY
16. Instlling New Bilstein Sport B8 Shocks DIY
17. Installing new Stoptech Cross-Drilled & Slotted Rotors DIY
18. Powdercoating the Calipers
19. Replacing Worn Sway Bar Bushings (Front) DIY
20. Reassembling the Calipers DIY
21. Plasti-Dipping Wheels and New Tires
22. Bleeding the Brakes DIY
23. Wheels back on the car and on the ground, finally! (finished shots)
24. Replacing Throttle Position Sensor (Error Code PO123) DIY
25. Changing SLK32 Supercharger Oil DIY

Working on these currently, will update on this thread as I get these completed.

26. R170 Squeaky Roof Lubrication Fix DIY - COMING SOON
27. Roof Leaky Hydraulic Removal and Rebuild DIY - COMING SOON
28. New Carbon Fiber Interior Wrap - COMING SOON

Here's how this project all began:

May 2010 - My mind started turning about purchasing a R170 SLK. Looked for a yellow 32, but couldn't find one in good enough condition cosmetically or mechanically.
June 1010 - Decided to buy a mechanically sound 32, in any color, with the intention of repainting it to yellow as soon as I got it.
July 2010 - Found one in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Roadtripped down with two friends of mine after work on a Friday to check it out. I ended up buying it the following weekend.

Brought her home to Daytona Beach, and visited the Mercedes dealer the very next work day to get a diagnosis: Here she is at the service bay in 99% stock form:
(I believe the only mod the previous owner installed were whiter headlight bulbs)

Things mechanically that I noticed on day one/on the drive back home:

1. Supercharger would lose power. This was due to a faulty and seized up intercooler pump, which I found out later was common issue with the SLK32
2. Trunk lid hydraulics were shot. Trunk lid wouldn't stay up. Easy fix by replacing the trunk gas shocks
3. Ashtray won't stay retracted in the center console (had to replace the ashtray and storage pocket in the center console)
4. Front driver's tire was mounted backwards from intended rotation (the "outside" indicator was on the inside) - thanks to a forum member for pointing that out to me!
5. Passenger front WHEEL was mounted on the passenger REAR location, but it was wearing the wider rear TIRE.
6. Adversely, passenger rear WHEEL was mounted on the passenger FRONT, but wearing the narrower front TIRE. (bear in mind the SLK32 comes from AMG with a staggered setup)

She needed a couple of things right away: a leaky hose fitting somewhere and all fluids changed and flushed.

Whomever did the tire "rotation" clearly did not know what they were doing, considering this is a car with a staggered setup and a directional tread pattern. And funny that the dealer didn't notice this during their checkup.

The dealer came back with a laundry list of things totaling over $4000 for repairs - everything from leaky gaskets to "all my bushings need replacing". I did the oil change at the dealer, only because they had already started it before the service advisor called me about everything. I declined the rest of the repairs and opted to get a second opinion a local independent repair shop for the other items (glad I did). The indy basically told me that the dealer was smoking crack and showed me everything that the dealer pointed out, explained why it didn't need work, and fixed only the items that needed it - including one worn hose somewhere and a complete fluid flush of everything and the transmission service, which helped the feel of the car immensely. So lesson learned: If it's out of warranty, always go to an independent repair shop!

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Phase 1 - Color Change/Repaint

Phase I - Color Change/Repaint

First things first:

I decided to paint the car the factory color of Sunburst Yellow, which was only available to R170 SLKs. My goal was to make this car look as factory as possible while having the look I wanted. I found a body shop that was willing to do the work the way that I wanted it to be done, which meant removing all removable panels, sanding it down, re-primering, and spraying the paint, followed by reassembly. I didn't want the "mask off and spray the car" type of job. The price came out to just under $6400 and took about 3 weeks to complete.

Last shots of her in silver as I dropped her off at the body shop:

Week one: Prep

Seeing my car lin this condition at this stage was both exciting and terrifying. But I learned alot, like where the windshield washer reservoir was hidden - and why is it so damn big??

Week two: We see some color!

They called me in to come take a look to make sure I was ok with the color.

Week three: She's pulling herself back together!

Final reassembly and awaiting emblems and such...

Brought her home!

All the nooks and crannies got painted: The last thing I wanted was to open the door or the hood and see the original color somewhere.
Overall, I got what I paid for - the quality was above what I was expecting.

The stock 32 wheels were "refinished"
They sanded them down and repainted them. They were in rough shape paint-wise when I bough the car. There was some curb rash and the clear coat was coming off in many places. In retrospect, I should have saved the money on these since I replaced them shortly thereafter.

Here are the pics of the exterior after painting:
While I was waiting for the work to be finished, I bought a new front grille and headlights (post on that later)

Now let the repairs/mods begin!

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interior Restoration


The interior was in pretty bad shape. Obvious signs of heavy wear were everywhere.

The dreaded R170 interior paint peel problem affected this car. The floor mats were unraveling. The wood trim was faded, cracked and scratched up. The steering wheel leather was worn down and discolored. Several light bulbs behind the guages were not working, resulting in a halfway-lit dashboard at night. The rear view mirror was cracked and liquid crystal was leaking inside. The ashtray wouldn't stay closed. The door panels were worn and discolored. Overall, it was a depressing and horrific sight for me.

Let's get started - I disassembled the center console and storage areas.

Plastic gets brittle after many years so most of the tabs that hold screws would easily snap off. I ended up breaking most of them just trying to get things taken apart.

Here is the passenger side door after removing the panel:
You can see the speaker, locking latch cable and the airbag module clearly, as well as where they masked off the door for painting.

Door panels awaiting refinishing:

I bought a new center console off eBay - actually it was used, someone was parting it out and I bought it. The old one is on the right. The replacement one I bought is on the left, with the buttons and such assembled already.

Door handles being repainted:
I painted everything on the interior using ColorBond VLP Refinisher in Mercedes Anthracite. The color is a perfect match and the paint comes as a spray paint can in aeresol form.

Ordered a new shift knob from OEM knob in background.

Heartbreaking to see it like this... but it will all be better soon!

While I was working on the interior painting, I sent the wood pieces to Wu! Wraps in Seattle, WA to get a carbon fiber wrap done. Mark did a fantastic job with them and when I got everything put back in, it really transformed the car's interior!



Mark also wrapped some pieces I asked him to do on the doors to update them a little as well.

More various trim pieces wrapped by Mark at Wu! Wraps.


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·


The headlights on the R170 needs updating. Actually, I have yet to meet a R170 owner that has not replaced their OEM lights with something aftermarket.
I bought the angel eyes projectors off eBay and a HID kit from - a 6000k color temp and a 35W bulb kit with the slim ballasts.

Here's me assembling them on my kitchen counter...

The DDM Tuning 35W kit. You can see the slim ballasts (for the time in 2010) and the OEM bulb lying on the counter to the right.

Installation -
I unfortunately did not take pics of how to do this as a DIY back at the time. It took a little figuring out for the wiring and how to adapt them to the SLK's plug, especially which colored wires were what (in German colors of course). The headlights were removed simply by undoing two bolts and one somewhat fastened bolt underneath that's hard to explain.

Here's a photo of the passenger side headlight removed. You can see the auxilary water pump (I think) directly underneath it.
Please keep in mind that this pump is NOT the intercooler pump - don't replace this with the Johnson CM30 like I did and hope to solve your 32's power loss issues :)
The intercooler coolant pump is underneath this one pictured, sort of at the fog light level, and is accessible from under the car.


And After: here's what they look like installed.
Also, the clear side markers were added (also off eBay)


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·


I never did like the R170's OEM rollbar shape and look. Just doesn't look right to me. The 171's and 172's look great, as their pyramid type shape help accent the lines of the body, but on the R170, they just looked like deformed and halfway melted pieces of black butter on a hot day.

I bought these steel rollbars off eBay and had my body shop spray them the same color to match the paint. Installation was a bit involved, but luckily it was not my first time installing rollbars on the SLK. Sorry I do not have pics of the procedure, I did not think to do a DIY writeup back in the day.

I had the baseplates wrapped instead of painted in order to break up the yellow a little bit. I sent the baseplates to Mark at Wu!Wraps to get them done to match the interior.


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
18" AMG Wheels


I saw a thread on this forum where Durkatlon bought a sweet set of AMG wheels from the UK for much cheaper than what we could here in the States. I decided to pull the trigger as well. I wanted the wheel that came on the 09 SLK55 - they were called AMG Style IV's. The website we bought them from was There's an old thread somewhere documenting our buying adventure.
(Here it is -
Same photos but higher res reposted here. For the chronicled story, see old post above.

Overall, very impressive service. It took a few weeks to get the wheels in stock but as soon as it did, mine arrived overnight via DHL the next day. I actually left work early that day (shhhh!) when DHL's website showed it was on the truck heading for my house. From UK to Florida in under 24 hours, not bad at all.

DHL arrived in front of my house! Little did they know they were carrying very precious cargo!

I was waiting there for them with my dolly. Here they are, brand new and in their factory boxes, with Mercedes tags and part numbers. Authentic, not knock-offs!

I had ordered new tires from in anticipation of the arrival of these wheels. I chose the Dunlop Direzza Z1 tires for their looks alone. I just liked the tread pattern on those. Not the best tire in the world, but a huge upgrade over the Sumitomo HTR-Z's that were previously on the car. In retrospect, I should have gotten Michelins because the Z1s were hugely noisy and I found their performance somewhat lacking. That afternoon I had them installed, then brought back to the house for me to bolt on.

OEM AMG Wheel (17") on the left, new AMG IV wheel (18") on the right:


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

LOWERING (DIY, kinda...)

My next step was to lower the car. AMG Cars already come lowered from the factory - as in they are lower than non-AMG Mercs. But still, there left some room to improve upon the looks. After some research, I decided on the B&G Sport Springs for the R170 due to a forum member recommendation of it being the correct height for a 32 after install. He somehow convinced me that installing springs yourself was an easy DIY - which I found out it was not (at least for me) but here's my documentation of the process regardless...

Stock ride height:

That's crazy! 2 inches of wheel gap!!! MUST BE FIXED

I bought a spring compressor tool for the job. The new springs from B&G are shown here, new in the box.

Unbolt the front shocks at the top, from under the hood. This allows the control arm to drop an additional inch or two when you jack up the car.

Remove the nut, washer and rubber stop so you won't lose them.

Jack up the car, and make sure you use jack stands. I had no idea what I was doing when I did this, by the way.

Slide the top compressor plate into the top of the spring. It takes some trial and error to figure out which "rib" to use depending on your setup. For me, the second rib (shown) gave me the proper compression level at full compression in order to get the spring out.

Do the same with the bottom piece and then thread the bolt up from under the control arm. Ratchet that sucker down as best you can. (sounds easy)

The anti-sway bar will sometimes prevent the arm from moving down far enough for you to remove the spring. If this is the case, remove the two nuts holding the bracket on and the arm will lift out by itself. Use your floor jack and lift up the control arm a little while you undo the nuts to prevent pressure from bending the screws or the bracket itself.

Success... finally. It's harder than it looks, especially by hand and without any air tools.
Oh by the way, Eibach manufactures the AMG springs, as you can see on the print.

Wear gloves.... like I didn't.

OEM spring (top) and new lowered spring (bottom)
You can see it's a tighter wind and a tad bit shorter.

Spring pads - Additional ride height adjustments can be done by the spring pads that Mercedes uses. Here are the pads I used - 2 bump pads up front (count the bumps, this is Mercedes' thickness indicator, more bumps, thicker the pad)

2-Bump (left) vs stock 4-bump (right)

FYI the pads are only used at the top of each spring. The bottom does not use a spring pad in any corner.

New spring getting compressed... without a vise or something steady (I used my feet) it was such a horrible experience. Trying to ratchet this thing down and prevent the spring from turning was just simply the most annoying thing I had to do. Somehow I got it done, though.

Put the spring back in, make sure your spring pad is already up there before you place it in there. Then loosen the bolt from the bottom (reverse as before) making sure the bottom and top of the spring sit securely in the notch designed for the end of the spring.

Reassemble the sway bar bracket, then put the wheel back on.

REAR Springs

Two words - Hire someone.

Here's where I failed - big time. I did not have the tools to take out the rear springs at home and I ended up screwing up the alignment pretty bad.

I lifted up the car from the "pumpkin"

Place your jack stands on the rear lift pads...

Now remove the rear wheels.

Here's the rear spring on a SLK32.

The key is to drop the rear arm by undoing a bolt then the spring just falls out. In order to do this, you need to first remove the plastic shroud covering the arm

Two 10mm bolts on each side of the rear.

This is the bolt I tried to remove...

And now the other two bolts need to come out as well... but a problem arose... the hole on the left got misaligned and I could not get it to line up again...

No matter what I did...

I could not get the bolt to go back in.

So I drove it very slowly and carefully to my indy... sure it's easy if you have a LIFT and air tools and all the safety mechanisms and know what you're doing...

They installed my rear springs in minutes. They also adjusted my front springs, as I did not seat them properly. Glad they noticed that.

They sure look great

After an alignment, I took her home and got some pics of the new stance:



Comparison of rear ride height:

The fronts came down about 1.75" It's now at about 1/4" of wheel gap, enough for one knucke of your finger to fit.

In retrospect, I would get the springs professionally installed if you could, as this was a major pain for me due to the lack of knowlege and tools available at the time. If I had to do this again, I probably wouldn't. I'm not trying to discourage anyone, just that I've had enough spring compressor experience now to last several lifetimes and I hated doing this one myself.

Oh and screw the shock tops back in, or find out the hard way like I did (thunk thunk thunk thunk)

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·


It came time for me to do some mods to the engine - and I called upon and for these mods.

Needswings - Dual Cold Air Intake system and larger crank pulley with their pulley saver kit

Eurocharged - ECU tune

For supercharged engines, this is what they refer to as the "Holy Trinity" - Intake, Pulley and Tune. These are the easiest and least costly mods that yield the biggest power gains on a stock supercharged motor. After this, the gains get smaller and smaller as the price gets higher and higher.

I had my indy perform the pulley install (since I didn't want to mess with belts and torque specs of the crank pulley) but I installed the dual cai (cold air intake) myself, which involved relocating and replacing the power steering radiator at the front of the car. Instructions from NeedsWings were very precise, as long as you follow them and double check you have the correct part they are referring to in every step, everything fits the way they describe. The mod took me one evening to install and I really think it looks great, making the engine bay stand out alot more. And did I mention the supercharger whine is now like 100 times louder than before?

OEM airbox:

OEM airbox removed:

Relocating the power steering cooler:

Finished Installation

Waiting for Eurocharged to log into my car and upload their tune to take advantage of the new mods:
This was back in 2011. Eurocharged has a more efficient programming system now for your ECU where they don't require logging into your laptop. You simply create a file yourself off your car using their software and send them the file via email. They will in return send you the tuned file for you to upload using the same software at your leisure. No more making an appointment and waiting for them to hop into your computer to do a tune/retune.

Overall, money well spent. Car feels ferociously fast now, and I don't need it to be any faster.

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Eisenmann Race Exhaust

Eisenmann Race Exhaust

Although I liked the exhaust note of the stock AMG muffler (especially after it warmed up) I have always been a fan of the Eisenmann sound.
I had an Eisenmann sport muffler on my 230 back in 2000/2001 and loved the way that sounded. However, that was a 4-cylinder engine and I have no idea what an Eisenmann for the 32 would sound like... time to drop the hammer and order one!

I ordered mine through an Eisenmann dealer called Vivid Racing out of Arizona. They are a Master Dealer for Eisenmann here in the U.S. and they placed the order for me.
I don't quite remember how long it took, but I want to say it was about one month of waiting.

Eisenmann exhausts are hand made and welded after you place the order. They manufacture AMG's exhaust units for the factory, so when you place an order, they have to "fit you into" their existing production schedule. Pretty neat. When the exhaust arrived, you can tell by the craftsmanship that this was entirely hand built and was not of the common variety. Impressive. But for $1400 it better be worth every penny.

There are two versions of the exhaust, a Sport and a Race version. The Sport is basically the same loudness as the OEM exhaust but a different tone. The Race exhaust is a louder and I susppose less restrictive version of the Sport. I ordered the Race version with the dual 83mm tips. They had dual oval tips available as well, but they were too small for my taste.

The 32 version of the exhaust - as you can see - is most likely a larger diameter connector to match the larger pipe on the 32. Not sure if there is anything physically different inside from the 230/320 versions of this muffler.

Sitting under the stock AMG muffler

Getting it installed - American welding at its best :( a stark contrast to the welds by the Germans at the factory on this unit.

The guy left fingerprints all over the shiny muffler :(

The hanging height of the tips can be adjusted via washers inserted between the rubber stop and the hanger. I lowered mine with about 5 washers in order to acheive a flat reading on my bubble level.

The Eisenmann unit sits further forward than the AMG. I sort of wish the tips were just a tad bit longer.

Finished look


Premium Member 2005 SLK55 AMG
143 Posts
Really enjoyed reading this thread and following all the changes via the pictures. What an awesome project. You must take some real pride in the finished project. Thank you for taking the time to post the adventure in such detail with all the points of contact on the way. Very educational.

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Brake Rebuild DIY

Brake Rebuild DIY

Fast Forward to October 2015 - I got the mod bug again and wanted to do something to my car. It's been a few years since my last mod (the Eisenmann exhaust) and besides basic maintenance, I haven't really done anything to her. So I have decided to embark on a DIY project and test my amateur mechanical skills.

Here's what I wanted to do:

1. Paint my calipers
2. Replace brake pads
3. Replace rotors with cross-drilled and slotted ones for better looks
4. Replace old and bendy brake lines with stiffer stainess steel ones for better pedal feel
5. Replace OEM shocks with Bilstein sport shocks for stiffer ride and better travel for lowered ride heights with my B&G springs.

Please note:

The following DIY is my first attempt, and I do not make any claims that the procedure I followed was in any way correct or the best. There was a lot of trial and error, which helped me learn alot. Please keep in mind that my mechanical knowledge of cars when I started this project is extremely basic so I thought it would be beneficial to someone else if I made a DIY thread that is geared towards the total beginner, as I fumbled and failed my way to success here. Speaking of, if you have any suggestions on easier/better procedures please post your replies as I would love to know them.

These are some of the videos I watched on YouTube to help me learn what to do. They were very helpful in helping me understand how brakes were set up on a car and the basics on what needed to be done. Even though these were not SLKs it was easy to take the videos and recognize the same components in my brake setup.

Chris Fix - How to Change Front and Rear Brake Pads and Rotors

Chris Fix - How to do a Complete Brake Flush and Bleed

Chris Fix - Top 10 Brake Job Tips

Chris Fix - How to Fix Uneven Brake Wear

Chris Fix - How to Make a One Person Brake Bleeder for under &5

Things I bought for this project:

From Tire Rack -

Shock Absorbers:
Bilstein B8 (SP) Sport Shocks (front) #24-025256 - need 2pcs.
Bilstein B8 (SP) Sport Shocks (rear) #24-025263 - need 2pcs.

Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines:
Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline Kit #34030 (Kit includes all front and rear cables)

From Amazon:

StopTech 127.35048L Cross-Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotor (Front Left) 2 pcs.
StopTech 127.35054R Cross-Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotor (Rear Right) 1 pcs.
StopTech 127.35054L Cross-Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotor (Rear Left) 1 pcs.

Brake Pads:
Stoptech 309.06820 Street Performance Pads (front set)
Stoptech 309.06030 Street Performance Pads (rear set)

Note: StopTech does not manufacture a specific Front-Right rotor for the SLK32. Instead, they only make a front-left rotor, which they recommend using for both front applications. I tried multiple StopTech dealers to get the "right side" version of this rotor but StopTech simply does not make it, despite it being on their website. Using the left rotor design on the right side does not affect braking performance, according to StopTech. The reason why they don't make one for the front-right still is a mystery, even though I have been told my multiple sources that it's not possible physically to drill the holes for the right side, which makes no sense whatsoever since they make a smaller version for the rears. If you can find one or a better explanation than what I was told, please let me know!

From eBay:

Mevius Lug Bolts (Black Finish) M12x1.5 - 40mm Ball Seat
4 Mercedes-Benz Wheel Center Caps
Mercedes Benz Brake Fluid 1 Liter - Part#000-989-08-07-01


Anthracite Wheel Kit
Pre-Dip Cleaner
Dip Release
Dip Fix

The tools I used can be bought from Harbor Freight Tools or any of your Home Depot or Lowes stores.

Floor jack (1.5 ton each or greater)
Jack stands (3-ton or greater)
Torque wrench 1/2 inch drive
Breaker bar 1/2 inch drive (recommended)
Metric socket set
Metric combination wrench set
Adjustable wrenches
Torx bit set (also called star bits)
Brake Cleaner (I used about 14 cans of this stuff, it's the best stuff ever invented!)
PB Blaster (1 can - miracle worker)
Box of disposable gloves (you'll thank me if you plan to work on brakes)

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Removing the front Calipers, Rotors and Brake Lines on a SLK32
(the procedure for a SLK230 or SLK320 will be similar, but not exactly the same, as the caliper shape ande size will be different, but the concept is the same.)

Let's start with the fronts. The first step was obviously to raise the car. But before you do, do yourself a favor and use a breaker bar with a 17mm deep socket to loosen the lug nuts while the wheel is still in contact to the ground. Doing so after you raise the car will cause the wheel to spin if you try to apply force in any rotational direction.

I used a floor jack I bought from Harbor Freight and lifted each side from the jack points in the rocker panels. I then placed jack stands under the designated support areas as shown here in this article from Pelican Parts:

Now take the front wheel off. Mine was a 17mm metric socket for the lug bolts.

As you can see, 13 years have done quite a job on the looks of the caliper and rotor. Everything needed a deep cleaning! And you know how I am about things being clean!
Also very handy is a tub or bucket like the white one shown in the above pic. You're going to be messing with brake fluid and brake cleaner. I found this lying in the garage at my parents' house so I grabbed it! Not sure what it was for originally, but it worked like a charm throughout this project.

Turn the wheel to the left (if you are working on the Driver's side) so you can have better access to the front-inside area of the caliper.

Remove the anti-rattle clip from the front of the caliper by prying it outwards with a flat head screwdriver. It's a lot more sturdy than it looks so don't be afraid to bend it with some force to get it off. It looks easily bendable but trust me it is not. Also it's a good idea to wear eye protection when this comes off. Don't ask me how I know this.

If you look behind the caliper you can see a few things:

Caliper Guide Pins (covered by black plastic covers)
Caliper mounting bolts (on each side of the brake line)
Brake line (black cable screwing into the caliper)
Pad Wear Sensor and Cable (black cable in upper right with the torx screw)
My leg (to the right of the frame)

Here is a view from higher up, shooting at the back of the front caliper.
You can see how the wear sensor cable is routed by default so you can mimic it later. Also the bleed screw (also called a bleed nipple in some areas of the world, which to me just sounds downright painful, so I'm going to refer to it as the former).

Remove the plastic covers over the guide pins. They come out with your fingernail or a flat head screwdriver.

The resulting bolt inside is a torx. I don't know what size, I believe it was a T45, give or take one size.

You're going to need this (or whatever is similar in your country)
This is to loosen any stubborn pieces that have rusted themselves shut and refuse to budge. This was available here at my local hardware store and at every auto parts store for about $5. This worked a lot better than WD-40 as it is a catalyst and not a cleaner/lubricant.

Soak your brake line connection point as shown. Let it sit there for an hour or so, depending on how stubborn it is. This also prevents slippage of the tool and therefore causing stripping of the nut/bolt.

The two cables to the left of the brake line are the wheel speed/abs sensor and the pad wear sensors. They share a common route up into the engine bay from the wheel well.

The flexible, rubber OEM brake line connects to the stationary hard line (black metal tube going up and to the right)

After soaking with PB Blaster, clean the area with some brake cleaner (best stuff ever invented). Then grab the wrench and start unscrewing the top nut as shown.

Once you get it loose enogh you can remove the nut the rest of the way by hand if you'd like.
Brake fluid will seep out, this is where the bucket beneath comes in handy. Brake fluid is highly corrosive so spray brake cleaner on any body parts (the car, not you) it happens to drip on. Let the cable dangle in the bucket to drip out completely (I plan to flush the brake fluid anyway)

Undo the caliper side of the cable. Again, brake fluid will seep out. Take care on where it drips.

The old brake line vs the new Goodridge Stainless Steel line

Remove the wear sensor cable from the caliper

Spray PB Blaster to loosen the bolt holding the wear sensor bracket as shown. The wear sensor bracket is located at the top of the front caliper. Just follow the black cable to the top of it to find it. It's a torx nut again, and be careful - it is highly prone to stripping. Mine was very stubborn and needed a few days worth of soaking to break free. I hope yours isn't as bad. There's no reason why a wear sensor bracket should be in there that tight anyway...


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Despite my best efforts, I still ended up stripping my torx bolt on one side of the car :( I had to break the plstic bracket (which is part of the cable) to remove the bolt, requiring the purchase of a new cable, which took a couple weeks to arrive, another delay in the line of many in this project.

Once you remove the guide pin bolts, the brake line cable, the wear sensor cable and the anti rattle clip, you can simply lift out the caliper from the caliper bracket. For those of you who have never done this before, it is HEAVY. Think 20 pound dumbbell heavy. Just don't drop it on your toe due to the surprise.

Here you can see only the bracket and the rotor remain.

Now remove the caliper bracket by using a 18mm metric socket and a breaker bar. These things are torqued to something pretty high like 100lbs or higher, so it makes sense to use some leverage.

Try not to use your torque wrench to undo the bolts here as it may damage it using it for this purpose, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. A breaker bar is pretty inexpensive, mine was about $7 at Harbor Freight. It's something good to have around with your torque wrench if you take tires off every once in a while to pre-loosen the lug bolts.

Here I am finally getting smarter and wearing gloves! Should have done this from the start.

These are the two 18mm bolts holding the brake caliper bracket to the "knuckle". You can see they have blue thread locker on them. Keep this in mind when you reassemble.

The bracket lifts right off with no drama once you undo these bolts. Put each bolt in a Ziploc bag and label them if you need to, after a while they start looking the same.

Now that the rotor is free of all obstructions, we can go ahead and remove it. This is both easy and hard.

1. It is easy to remove in that it is only held in place by a simple hex screw.
2. It is hard to remove in that it is most likely rust-welded on pretty tightly.

Find the one hex screw on the rotor and undo it. It's not on there very tight, it only has perhaps 20lbs of torque.

Spray PB Blaster (are you starting to get this now?) onto the seams and crevices of the rotor to let it soak.

Spray some in each lug hole as well, it will drip down inside and help soak the bond between the rotor and spindle (I think it's called a spindle).

If the rotor doesn't come off by hand, (it most likely will not) then tap it with a sledge hammer. I had to run out to buy one after failing miserably to kick it off with my feet. Mine were on there super tight. I pretty much had to use alot of force to knock them loose, permanently damaging the original rotor. If you plan on keeping your rotor, please take care in this step. I planned on replacing mine so I didn't care if I damaged them.

Here's what the front looks like with everything off - caliper, caliper bracket, rotor, all lines and cables. Just the spindle and dust shield left. Now use a wire brush and clean off the spindle of rust the best you can.

After you cleaned off the spindle, apply some Anti-Seize all over the place to prevent this from rusting shut again. Plus the silver makes it look nice and clean :) A little goes along way, just dab it on your finger and call up on your inner child and fingerpaint it on.


Here's me going all hammertime on the rear stuck rotor. It took about 4-5 almost 60% strength slams to break it loose.

After the rotor came off, you can see how much rust was holding it in place.

Inside the rear rotor - all the rust spots

Using a wire brush to clean off as much as you can, also brake cleaner afterwards does wonders.

Applying anti-seize to the rear spindle

Here's the passenger side rear dust shield and spindle - looks pretty messed up even after cleaning.

Since I was still waiting on powdercoating to get done, I decided to clean it up a bit, as the rear dust shield is easily viewable from the outside when the wheel is installed. So I masked it off and sprayed a couple coats of high temp black spray paint, followed by a couple coats of high temp gloss clear. Turned out fantastic.

This is all cleaned up, installed and ready to go for the new rotor and calipers to go on!

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Removing the front shock absorbers

First, it is probably easier if you use your floor jack to raise the axle up a few inches to relieve the pressure of the shock before you unbolt the top of it.

I took this photo after the install, sorry, but you get the idea.

Find the rubber covers on each side of the engine bay and remove them.

Since the shock is free spinning (meaning if you try to unscrew the nut, the entire shock will spin along with it, making it so you don't actually do any work) so you will need a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to hold the top of it (black part) while unscrewing the main nut. This is a time consuming process so settle in for a few long minutes of partial-turns with your wrench.

After that, remove the nut, washer and rubber stop from the assembly.

Now drop the floor jack and the shock top (not the beer) will drop down as shown. It may not yet clear the top but don't worry, once you undo the bottom bolt you can slide it out at a small angle.

Hold one side with a stationery socket or wrench while you undo the other side of the bottom as shown. The bolt simply slides out afterwards.

Here is the bolt


Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Removing the rear shock absorbers

The rear shocks on the SLK32 (actually all R170s) start inside the trunk. Locate the small plastic covers on each side and remove them. They come up easily by hand or if you must, use a small flathead screwdriver.

Set the cover aside and fold back the annoying insulation covering the nut.

Same story with as with the front shocks - you need to hold the top of the shock with a wrench while you slowly unscrew the nut. Settle in for a few minutes, it's a long bolt it needs to travel up.

Once that's done and you checked your back for dislocation, remove the nut, washer and rubber stop, same as with the fronts, and set them aside.

The rears shock bottoms on the SLK32 are a bit different in that the bottom is covered by a protective plastic shroud that you must first remove.

Here you can see the driver's side rear - the plastic shroud is held on by two small 10mm screws (to the right)

Here is one of the screws, the other is on the side facing the front of the car.

Drop the shroud down (or remove it completely if you like) to expose the nut and bolt holding the bottom of the shock in place.

Unscrew the nut and slide the bolt out.

Here is rear bottom shock bolt.

Now drop the floor jack slowly and the shock should start coming down. Remove the shock now by swinging the bottom out towards the back of the car. It should be pretty easy now.

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Installing new shocks

Installing new shocks

Old front shock and new Bilstein Sports (in the pic I somehow got the old front with the new rears but they look identical, sans the model number on the sticker. I just wanted to point this out to avoid getting flamed later).

VERY IMPORTANT - Make sure you remove the rubber pad at the top of the OLD SHOCK, clean it, apply some silicone grease, and install it on the NEW SHOCK. This is a required part of the assembly and the Bilsteins do not come with this. This will prevent you from having to take everything apart again after you find out the hard way (again, don't ask).

Here's the OCD detailer in me applying some Opti-Coat 2.0 onto the shocks, just for fun. It won't give me any performance, but it will most likely allow dirt and brake dust to simply rinse off in the future. Not that I can see it up front, just peace of mind and being OCD :)
Of course I cleaned the shock housing with CarPro Eraser beforehand to ensure a good bond.

Old rear shock and new rear Bilsteins. Notice how much shorter the new one is. It was designed for lowered setups.

Front shock top

Here is the new rear shock, driver's side getting installed. Since the new Bilsteins are shorter than the OEM shocks by design, so they won't reach up all the way for you to screw in before you lower the car to the ground. Leave this step to the end, just don't forget (again, ask me how I found out)

Add a small drop of blue thread locker to the bolt. Don't miss like I did :(

Fasten the bolt and hand torque it until it's very snug. Also I applied some silicone grease into the holes on the bottom of each shock to help avoid any squeaking from movement. I don't know if this is recommended or not, but logically to me it made sense.

If you are replacing all these components at the same time like in this tutorial, you should install the new shocks before you install the new rotors and calipers - due to space and accessibility.

Premium Member
948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Installing New Rotors

Installing new rotors

Old and new rotors (front)

These are the rears

New StopTech rotors have painted hats and fins (so they don't rust as easily) Plus it looks good and clean.

Make sure you use brake cleaner and clean off the manufacturing reside before installing. You don't want that oil touching your brake pads.

Before shot of the fronts with the new rotor

Of course, you should put the rotor on before you reassemble the calipers, as the calipers fit over the rotors (on disc brakes)

The new rotor simply slides on and you secure it with that small hex screw we removed earlier. Nothing much to explain here. The rears have the emergency brake mechanism which the rotor fits over, but rarely do you need to adjust anything unless you're already having problems. Adjusting the ebrake can be done via this fantastic Pelican Parts tutorial here:

Here's the new front rotor after being bolted on:

And here's the rear. Notice the use of a very light coat of antiseize on the contact area of the wheel/rotor in both photos. This helps the next time you take the wheel off.

Hand tighten the hex nuts holding the rotors on - doesn't need to be super tight, don't strip the hex!
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