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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to post, if this is OK with everyone, a dialog of my R170 project.
I inherited this car from my father in law, just a few months back. I remember him talking about purchasing this cars for what seemed years, it was a dream come true for him, a 1998 SLK 230.
I never really recognize that the car was needing help, and maybe it decayed from just sitting during his later years sitting, not seeing any action.
I had worked as a mechanic in my younger years as I paid my way through college, so I still have all of my mostly unused tools still in the garage.
My wife's first request was for me to look at the car to see if I can get it started so they can sell it, I think others in the family may of tried to do the same.
As the battery was close to dead, I was not successful with jumping, and finally could not get a mileage reading so they can donate it, so I bought a battery.
This is when it all started..
 

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Starting the car

This went on for a week, I would go over to the empty house in the evenings with a box full of tools, now with a new battery, and an odometer reading, but wanted to see if I can get it started. It would crank for a couple of seconds and then stop. Kind of sounded like a solenoid problem from earlier days. So I would go back and forth to home, googling symptoms. I had checked out the MAF, and the K40 module, no luck. I putzed around with this for a while, then I started to check fuses. I came across a blown fuse, and it allowed it to continue to crank, but no start. I then found other fuses, and whalah, we had ignition! I don't have root cause of what fuse cased what failure, but I was now driving the car home to my garage. Lesson: car is not starting, first check fuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lifter noise

Right off the bat, a lifter was loudly ticking away. As I was assessing the issues with the car, any engine work would ruin my budget that KBB promises.
Since the car was sitting for three years, I tried a cheesy attempt with a bottle of Rislone oil treatment. 20 minutes of idle found the engine purring. I left the treatment in the engine as I proceeded, maybe a couple of hundred miles and then I changed the oil.
Cars like to be driven.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Assessment

While in my garage I tried to figure out how big of a project this would be, without telling my wife I was scheming a new project..
  1. Interior plastic discolored and cracked
  2. Two puddles of oil near trunk boot when attempting to open roof
  3. Door panels loose
  4. Air conditioning not working
  5. Power steering noise when turning
  6. Spongy brakes
  7. A clanking noise when it is first started
  8. Fuel gauge stuck on 1/3
  9. Some body work, and faded paint
  10. I don't have any music CDs for the changer let alone a cassette tape
I'm have a few more posts, as I have completed some of the list.
Looking back, my wife has been completely supportive of the project, she really loved her dad. (still really don't know where my budget sits :) )
 

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Remove, strip, epoxy, and repaint the interior - 3 weekends. Remove and send two boot lid cylinders for repair. Remove, strip, repaint, and repair door cards two weekends. Fix the rest after your wife sees the new interior and operates the roof 🙂

The AC may just need a re-gassing.
 

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Welcome aboard. This could be a really cool story. Though your mech skills are probably a bit rusty, these cars are pretty simple and this is a good board to seek help. I'd suggest posting in general discussion section as opposed to here. All the smart peeps read general regularly. I have a feeling your wife would be really happy if you could bring this somewhat neglected classic back to life.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interior Plastic

As I was disassembling the interior plastic, Although there have been others successful with repainting, my plastic was either already cracked, or crumbled in my hands as I removed it. It just felt too "gone" to try to re-salvage. From readings I found a few sources of new plastic, but settled on an eBay seller r170.parts. It was pricey, but I received one of each piece, painted to a color of my choosing. We did a little digging to figure out what the original color was:
https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-general-discussion/538291-what-color-my-interior-plastic.html
and settled on the grey. I received the parts quickly, but took my time assembling as the roof project was working in parallel.
 

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Trunk Hydraulics

I spent a lot of time reading about hydraulics, and that many have been successful with rebuilding some of the actuators, but these in the back were difficult.
So I used a company in Oregon called Top Hydraulics:
https://www.tophydraulics.com/
Klaus, has many videos online:
https://www.tophydraulics.com/content/49-mercedes-benz-r170-info
and was great to work with, responding to all my emails promptly, rebuilding both of them for $150.
Putting it all back together was simple, only needed some hydraulic fluid from Mercedes. The roof was now opening and closing.
 

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Rear Side Windows not going up

Even though I could open and close the roof, it appeared that the 'closing cycle' would not complete, and the rear side windows would remain down. There was a short group diagnostic session to root caused to the truck latches not locking:
https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-general-discussion/539190-trunk-latches-not-locking.html
This has mostly solved the problem. Although I had done this work a month or so ago, I notice that sometimes I get the blinking red-light and beeping warning after the car has sat overnight and I need to re-close the trunk lid. I will need to revisit this latch adjustment.
 

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New Plastic

The new plastic ended up looking really nice. My father in law purcdhased his car in CA, and had some funky knee pad installed post OEM manufacturing:
https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-general-discussion/539036-lower-dash-pad.html
I ended up with a couple of issues:
  1. The coin caddy mounting screw did not hold up. From what I can tell r170.parts had reworked that mount and it was not robust enough. The left side of this caddy is flopping around and not secured. I don't have a solution for this yet.
  2. I also have slight alignment issue around the ignition key. I assembled the pieces starting from the center console, then the passenger side, finishing with the driver side. It seems like the center and right sides are skewed a little away from the driver section. I am sure I could fill this with a little black silicone and no-one will know the difference but ... I will need to revisit this...
So although the inside is looking nice, I am 90% satisfied with my work here. This is not done..
 

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The Radio

At first I thought I wanted a flip out, double din, apple car play, radio, but a little soul searching led me to a more reasonable want list:

  1. Play Spotify and Pandora from my mobile device
  2. Connect to Bluetooth and execute Siri commands
  3. Hands free calling
  4. Use the existing Bose system, initially
  5. USB ports, the wife always seems to be charging her phone
I chose a Kenwood, non-CD, media player deck, with the required connection accessories, along with also a USB panel mount extension cable.
The radio will start up my last playing Spotify playlist just after starting the car.
There is a dedicated phone button that prompts Siri.
The radio comes with a microphone and a long cable. I mounted the microphone just on the inside top of the driver side A-Pillar. Siri communications works well with the top down, but windows up. With the windows down the wind noise confuses her.
The radio has two USB connectors, one in front and one in the rear of the deck. I mounted the USB extension cable, which is a panel mountable, inside the center console, connecting the cable to the rear USB connection, with a little electrical tape around the connection, as I really don't want to go in there again..
I'm very happy with the radio choice, and with the proper EQ setting, it sounds great to me.
I sold the old cassette deck on Ebay for a couple of dollars, and still have the CD changer.
Here is my buy list:

I would of ordered everything from Crutchfield but they had the deck on back-order and I was antsy.
 

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Out of the garage and onto the road.

Nice segue @Mike Florey: at this point, I started to venture out onto the street. I have been driving the car now for a couple of weeks to work, a 10 minute drive, almost everyday here in SW Florida with the top down on the way home.
I'm not sure how to explain how much of a joy that is. I can now see why this car was bought.
This has been giving me time to see what is going on with the PS, AC, and fuel gauge.
The engine sounds good, a mere 42K miles.
Still some rattling on the doors, the noise from behind the drivers seat seems to quiet down. Maybe the removal/replace of all the truck plastic and locking of the trunk latch with top up, firmed things up.
I did take it in for an oil change and AC charge as @efair predicted, and we are now blowing cold air. I replaced the belts, plugs, and air filters.
I think my Audi A4 is getting jealous..
 

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Spongy Brakes

Seemed like air in the lines. I purchased one of these bleeders:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KM5L0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and a jug of brake fluid from the BM dealer. At this time, the parts department is getting into my project and giving me discounts on everything I buy.
After a bleed of the brakes, it was still not feeling quite right. I bought another jug and a master cylinder bleeder kit:
https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-13911-Master-Cylinder-Bleeder/dp/B001SG8ZC0/ref=sr_1_3?crid=260RBM9CN1MEV&keywords=master+cylinder+bench+bleeder+kit&qid=1554765580&s=automotive&sprefix=master+c%2Cautomotive%2C152&sr=1-3
I preceeded to lock up the anti lock brakes a half dozen times or so, and then back into the garage. I jacked up the back end to get the master cylinder level, and bled the master cylinder in the car (I know there is a lot of controversy with this).
Followed by power bleeding of each of the wheels. Much better! It is still not like my overly sensitive A4, but it was firm. I noticed up to now, that the brakes can leave the wheels dirty quickly. I will have to research into the new ceramic pads.
 

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Pardon my ignorance but how do you bleed the master cylinder?
We used to always bleed a master cylinder on the bench, probably since a new MC is still out of the car, but here I tried a method which bleeds it on the car. The MC is still bolted in its place, the two brake output lines are removed and replaced with fittings from the kit, along with plastic tubes which route back into the reservoir. Then with multiple presses of the brake pedal, this pushes the fluid through the MC till any air bubbles are finally gone. From those who do it this way, indicate for the MC to be level, as it would be on the bench, thus I had the rear of the car jacked up.
Quite honestly, it would not of been that much more work to remove it from the car at that point, but I was interested to see how well this works.

Honestly, the brakes are not that sensitive, maybe its been a while since I drove a 98 car, or have I even driven something that resembled a sports ride.
Should I be expecting more from the brakes?
 

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If you're doubting the integrity of your brakes, and you're not holding a track/racing/performance bias, then likely something is wrong. If you can't find the cause, get a second opinion!
 

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If you're doubting the integrity of your brakes, and you're not holding a track/racing/performance bias, then likely something is wrong. If you can't find the cause, get a second opinion!
Yes. I think I will continue to baseline the brake system. I ordered Brembo Pads and rotors today.
 

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Stuck Fuel Gauge

I guess from sitting for a few years, the fuel gauge was stuck on 1/3 tank. I made my version of a tool for the the sending unit, removed, fiddled and reinstalled the unit.
It was no longer stuck, but would now only go to 7/8 of a tank when filled. Before spending the $275, I tried the Techron treatment following the instructions for a tank. Still 7/8.
So I removed it one more time. This time, I un-clipped the float arm and took an eraser to the rheostat contacts, followed by some denatured alcohol and compressed air. After reassembling the arm, I tested, out of the tank, but connected to the system and confirmed full movement on the dash fuel gauge. (I am sure there are safety precautions here, so I did so at my own risk). Reassembled and continued to drive.
I drove it down to the warning light and headed for the gas station, Filled it up (11.6 gals), and whalah, the needle was a happy fat full!
I'll keep an eye on this fix, but for now I'm using this money on brakes.
 

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