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Discussion Starter #1
Okay new friends- after doing numerous minutes (hours? lol) of search here and on the web, it seems the SLK has been grotesquely ignored by the aftermarket community.

I also perceive that some think of the SLK (and the AMG variants) as nothing but "girlie cars"....pfft. While until recently I never gave the SLK a second glance due to its size, I never considered it a "woman's car"....A few weeks ago I saw a recent SLK55 AMG and saw those four exhausts and thought "hmmmm"...but never gave it a second thought until my wife brought up the model just days ago and started my own research.

So, why the snub by aftermarket? I say snub because there just seems to be very little out there for this incredible platform. And what IS out there for the SLK mostly gives focus on the non-AMG variants that generally promote products to give the cars the AMG look to those that own non-AMG cars. For that I will bite my tongue...so saying all that to say this:

What gives? What can we do? Completely custom fabrication? (I mean exhaust systems, etc) I really don't want to change the cosmetics of the AMG, save for maybe adding CF front lip and rear diffusor (again, MAYBE).

Are there any other pieces form other MB class vehicles that will interchange? seems that the size of the car precludes and say, C-class exhaust retrofits, etc... but in light of the vast array of goodies for the C series on up, this IMHO is a gross oversight to omit the SLK.

Or..is it...that the SLK55 AMG is really that good fresh out of the factory? I must say this void of aftermarket pieces does nothing to quench my enthusiasm for this car...it just kinda stinks.

Okay just to throw something out there- say an Eisenmann or Akrapovic cat-back system, or upgraded primary cats, etc...keep in mind I live in California so there are things I can't get away with here without complications from the CARB and the smog nazis sooner or later. I would also like to retain the exhaust flaps for the dual-mode of sound level.

I only see ONE aftermkt exhaust system (Quicksilver)...ok you all know what I'm talking about. Just venting a bit and seeking direction. Any West Coast MB custom shops that can mitigate this? The car itself seems to need relatively little. But it would be nice to have some options.

MODS- please feel free to move this to the R172 section. I apologize for my oversight.
 

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It's tough for companies to justify supporting a car that doesn't sell enough volume to have enough of potential customers. SLKs are relatively rare compared to C63s/M3s/Porsche-anythings. Most owners aren't interested in modifying either. The lack of aftermarket support was the main reason I thought about selling my R171 SLK55 because I autocross and track the car often. I eventually found everything I needed to find to get the car to where I am very happy with it.

That being said, there are (limited) options and it really depends on what you're looking for.

Exhaust - Quicksilver as mentioned, Supersprint, or custom. I really don't see much need to pay for a brand name system when there aren't much gains to be had with exhaust work unless you remove or replace the factory cats.

Engine - Renntech has an ECU tune. Don't see the reason to risk changing anything though. The car has plenty of power.

Suspension/Handling - KW makes coilovers for the R172 as does BC Racing. The BC Racing kit also includes front camber plates. I have the BC kit on my R171 55AMG that sees plenty of autocross and track time and love it.
http://www.amazon.com/BC-Racing-Series-Coilover-Mercedes/dp/B0145NYO8G

Exterior - Piecha has a few things like bumper lips and spoilers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
MarkR171- Thanks for your response and sharing sources.. I understand about the market and volume issues with products. That many don't want to mod their SLK's speaks well of its intrinsic design I suppose. For me, I'm not planning ANY track duty for this car (I have other things in mind for that) but simply want the best out of my car for the street. Guess it won't really need that much. Perhaps the right wheels & tires and a few other items.

Thanks again!
 

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Your frustration at lack of options is shared by many,
One answer to your question is just that of volume.
SLK32 was just about 1% of the total 300,000 R170 sales, for R171 the SLK55 was sold in greater numbers, but still nearer to just 2% of the 250,000. For R172 I have no numbers but it will be of the same scale.
That rarity means that if I were to produce products for SLK AMGs, I am aiming for just a tiny fraction of the potential that exists across all SLKs. On top of this, C-Class production over the years is 6-8 times that of all SLKs despite the SLK being such a strong and consistant seller.
I think I'd also aim for the market with 400,000 per year rather than 800.

The other reason that stands in the way of aftermarket modification work, is that the AMG SLK32 & SLK55 have pushed the concept so far and so well executed that there leaves limited room for greater performance within the limits of noise, emmissions, packaging space left in the body, and legal modifications allowed in each state.

If even 10% of owners want mods and upgrades to these cars over a ten year period, then that is only a few dozen per year worldwide.

The upside for the AMG owner who's car is standard spec is rarity/ collectability, with thorough engineering, drivability, reasonable economy, and robust reliability. When it comes to collectability it is even tougher to do a mod that enhances its long term appeal.
Will a supercharged V8, 20" rims and rear spoiler enhance a 300SL Gullwing's appeal?

You can see I like to keep my cars pretty original, but I really enjoy seeing the mods that people do, the creativity, the folly, the project risks, the great presults.
Though if I wanted to sell rims, trims, wings, and performance mods, surely the C-Class market is where the money is, not SLK55s.
 

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@ the OP - are you only looking for US solutions because in Europe pretty much every tuner offers major upgrade options for the R172 SLK 55?

My understanding is that the engine in the 55 is fairly uncomplicated by today's standards and that it will respond well to old-school tuning so derestriction of the inlet airflow and exhaust are a good start followed by a cam/header swap.

From Germany, as you would expect, there are many tuners - Brabus, Vaeth, Carlsson, Lorinser, HMS Tuning. Kleemann are based in Denmark and GAD tuning in the UK all offer tuning routes for the 55 and I'm sure others do too but you quite often have to contact them to find out what they can actually offer. Most of these companies seem to have US agents so possibly a good ring-around might yield benefits. They are staggeringly expensive though!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@ the OP - are you only looking for US solutions because in Europe pretty much every tuner offers major upgrade options for the R172 SLK 55?

My understanding is that the engine in the 55 is fairly uncomplicated by today's standards and that it will respond well to old-school tuning so derestriction of the inlet airflow and exhaust are a good start followed by a cam/header swap.

From Germany, as you would expect, there are many tuners - Brabus, Vaeth, Carlsson, Lorinser, HMS Tuning. Kleemann are based in Denmark and GAD tuning in the UK all offer tuning routes for the 55 and I'm sure others do too but you quite often have to contact them to find out what they can actually offer. Most of these companies seem to have US agents so possibly a good ring-around might yield benefits. They are staggeringly expensive though!

Great idea to reach out to those in Europe. I've considered that, thanks!
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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Kleemann in California btw :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Your frustration at lack of options is shared by many,
One answer to your question is just that of volume.
SLK32 was just about 1% of the total 300,000 R170 sales, for R171 the SLK55 was sold in greater numbers, but still nearer to just 2% of the 250,000. For R172 I have no numbers but it will be of the same scale.
That rarity means that if I were to produce products for SLK AMGs, I am aiming for just a tiny fraction of the potential that exists across all SLKs. On top of this, C-Class production over the years is 6-8 times that of all SLKs despite the SLK being such a strong and consistant seller.
I think I'd also aim for the market with 400,000 per year rather than 800.

The other reason that stands in the way of aftermarket modification work, is that the AMG SLK32 & SLK55 have pushed the concept so far and so well executed that there leaves limited room for greater performance within the limits of noise, emmissions, packaging space left in the body, and legal modifications allowed in each state.

If even 10% of owners want mods and upgrades to these cars over a ten year period, then that is only a few dozen per year worldwide.

The upside for the AMG owner who's car is standard spec is rarity/ collectability, with thorough engineering, drivability, reasonable economy, and robust reliability. When it comes to collectability it is even tougher to do a mod that enhances its long term appeal.
Will a supercharged V8, 20" rims and rear spoiler enhance a 300SL Gullwing's appeal?

You can see I like to keep my cars pretty original, but I really enjoy seeing the mods that people do, the creativity, the folly, the project risks, the great presults.
Though if I wanted to sell rims, trims, wings, and performance mods, surely the C-Class market is where the money is, not SLK55s.
TA-DA on both points...your second point is what I was suspecting as well ( the SLK so well executed already). Having said that, I'm one who doesn't mess much with appearance of my vehicles aside from perhaps wheels, tires, and a few subtle things if needed (like a little drop) or desired. Anything else (say, aftermarket exhaust systems, perhaps an ECU tune) are more under the radar from a visual standpoint. I like my cars clean, elegant, and not mucked-up. lol

Thanks all! May you all have a great Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm thinking the headers, if I'd so desire to get them (ceramic coated, too) will be so buried that it will probably pass a visual inspection... what do you peeps think? I just need cats so it will pass smog...which isn't for about 6 years from new purchase. I refuse to pull over for one of our "random" traffic stop smog inspections...they are voluntary. Maybe they can ceramic coat the parts with a nice color that more or less resembles OEM, instead of polished tubes...

Additonally, maybe a Kleeman tune (roger that, Jeff, sir!), and some KW coilovers would be as far as I'd go...
 

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I will let you know in a few months. Although my car is not an AMG, I did the Kleeman K2 modification which included new headers. Of course they are not carb certified so a No/No in California. But I am sort of thinking along the lines with you, simply there is so much stuff under the hood that I believe it will pass the visual. I am thinking of having a test run done on the sniffer before the "real" test comes due. Before I have the test done I will drive the snot out of it and make sure that the car is real hot during the test.

But I will tell you this. Maybe it's just me but since the Kleeman headers were installed I think that the exhaust smell is much more noticeable.
 

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I think there are really two areas you can do some DIY to your 55.
1) Interior: mostly adding OEM stuff, even if not intended for the 55.
2) Exterior and engine: here comes the aftermarket.

I've noticed very little interest in DIY on the R172. maybe it's to new, maybe there are other arguments. I've tried to load my R172 with OEM stuff like Distronic, Blind Spot Assistant, Lane Assistant and backup camera. There may be some other features that could be nice (like night view) but they are all MB prices and the hurdle of making them known to the system (CANbus programming) takes a lot of fun out of it. With the R171 one could this yourself, but not so on the R172.
From the market I only see some do-da's around blue tooth and the USB port, but that's it.

On the engine, the performance is already a big plus on this car. MBH headers may be of interest (adds a couple of horses) but a good chance you'll need to ditch the front cats which makes it a no-no in CA. Pricey too!
This engine was only produced for the SLK and will fall away with the SLC43 which effectively means a four year sales on SLK55's. That will hold a ot of suppliers back making new cams or turbo's or anything else for this engine. Example: in NL (where I live), there are only 15 SLK55 R172's on the road.

I would welcome something on the outside to make the (ugly) nose disappear but I don't have much tolerance for all kinds of plastics on the outside. I'm not 25 with a boom-boom box in the trunk!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think there are really two areas you can do some DIY to your 55.
1) Interior: mostly adding OEM stuff, even if not intended for the 55.
2) Exterior and engine: here comes the aftermarket.

I've noticed very little interest in DIY on the R172. maybe it's to new, maybe there are other arguments. I've tried to load my R172 with OEM stuff like Distronic, Blind Spot Assistant, Lane Assistant and backup camera. There may be some other features that could be nice (like night view) but they are all MB prices and the hurdle of making them known to the system (CANbus programming) takes a lot of fun out of it. With the R171 one could this yourself, but not so on the R172.
From the market I only see some do-da's around blue tooth and the USB port, but that's it.

On the engine, the performance is already a big plus on this car. MBH headers may be of interest (adds a couple of horses) but a good chance you'll need to ditch the front cats which makes it a no-no in CA. Pricey too!
This engine was only produced for the SLK and will fall away with the SLC43 which effectively means a four year sales on SLK55's. That will hold a ot of suppliers back making new cams or turbo's or anything else for this engine. Example: in NL (where I live), there are only 15 SLK55 R172's on the road.

I would welcome something on the outside to make the (ugly) nose disappear but I don't have much tolerance for all kinds of plastics on the outside. I'm not 25 with a boom-boom box in the trunk!
Judge- thanks for your reply. So you did some of those electronic OEM upgrades on your R172?

Yeah, I'm real wary of the exhaust mods on the front end for obvious reasons!
I, like you, am not 25 and of the boom box crowd, either! lol

Having said that, and though I know the F1 fans like the older SLK Front end, but I personally like the R172 front end well enough. Yes, its more of the modern MB design language, but not the most current (and ugly, IMHO) D.L. they have prepared for its replacement....YMMV...

Really, aftermarket wheels & tires tastefully chosen and applied; perhaps a CF front lip and rear diffusor is most likely where I'll venture and that's probably about it :smile: Maybe...MAYBE upgrade to the KW coilovers...time will tell.
 

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Judge- thanks for your reply. So you did some of those electronic OEM upgrades on your R172?

Yeah, I'm real wary of the exhaust mods on the front end for obvious reasons!
I, like you, am not 25 and of the boom box crowd, either! lol

Having said that, and though I know the F1 fans like the older SLK Front end, but I personally like the R172 front end well enough. Yes, its more of the modern MB design language, but not the most current (and ugly, IMHO) D.L. they have prepared for its replacement....YMMV...
Yep, I did do all of the above. But the programming bit had to be done by an Indy (which happens to be pretty well known in the MB DIY crowd: MbenzNL, he travels even to the US to resolve issues). Even my regular dealer couldn't resolve all the computer issues. He's also known as a last resort for MB dealers which may make an error when ordering, omitting a crucial option for their client. He will fix it in OEM style.


I would trade the current nose for the R171 one any day, but I'm afraid it would be a complicated matter to try to retrofit it. For instance the pedestrian protection (option U60) will have to be dropped.


Looking now into retrofitting the gear selector from the MY2017 model into the MY2012 (mine). This has its complications too. The new selector is part of the new 9-speed gearbox and it has an electronic 'P' instead of a mechanical one. We'll see.


Since it looks like the 55 is the last of the big V8's (ref: Mad Max), I'll keep this one for a while. Although there are rumours of an SLC63AMG with the twin turbo 4.0 V8 pushing around 520 out the rear... That could be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, Cats remained.
Ok, thanks. I'm wondering if you might have an exhaust leak. If you can smell the exhaust more than before (or it's a bit more noticeable) this would generally, I think, be experienced if you removed the cats...but you've retained the cats have remained would suggest that they are doing their job...so I'm wondering just why you're smelling exhaust more prominently. Just thinking out loud but trying too help, too.

You don't suppose you are smelling more of the header pipes burning-in so to speak, or burning off any residues from mfg, or handling during installation? Perhaps that is what you're smelling. Do you DD your car, or is it for fun/weekends? How many miles on it do you figure since you've installed the Kleemans? Few? many?

I will say this, each and every time I've installed new exhaust components- whether mufflers, pipes, headers or a whole system, there is a smell for a little while until the pieces burn-in, so to speak. Just a thought. Thanks again!
 
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