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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering buying an SLK. I've never owned a car with an opening roof.

Has anyone accidentally left their top open in a rainstorm? It seems like this could be a real disaster.

Has anyone not been able to close their top when they needed to? I've seen that there is an emergency manual top closing procedure. Has anyone needed to do this? The top is such a complicated mechanism. If you couldn't close it in an emergency, it could be a real problem.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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yes all those have happened on our wonderful forum. Until someone responds, use the search top right if you haven't for their issues/answers. That is why the smarttop is great for closing in sudden downpours without stopping. check the top video in the smarttop thread in the general discussion section.
 

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Even without Smarttop, the roof cycle only takes 22 seconds. Assuming that you have any kind of warning at all, it's not going to get all that wet if you get to the car and start the cycle when the first drops start. Hydraulic seals can let go and leak which causes roof problems, but odds are that won't happen for the first time just before a thunderstorm hits. It's all fixable, of course, and then the roof is good as new. For the talented mechanics here, there are threads about treating this as a SIY thing. Me, I'll let the dealer handle it if/when it happens. It's enough for me to know what the likely cause it so I know what has to be done to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did a search but wasn't sure what combination of words to use. I did see the thread on the R171 forum from the guy in NY where he left the top down & got 4" of water in the car. That sounds like a disaster. I tend to be pretty careful but in the life of a convertible, there is a pretty high likelihood that the interior is going to get pretty wet.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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I did a search but wasn't sure what combination of words to use. I did see the thread on the R171 forum from the guy in NY where he left the top down & got 4" of water in the car. That sounds like a disaster. I tend to be pretty careful but in the life of a convertible, there is a pretty high likelihood that the interior is going to get pretty wet.
Sure, that would be a disaster...but the key really is not leaving the car sitting with the roof open where you are more than a minute's sprint away from it if the weather is threatening. Perhaps being in Oregon I'm less worried about it, since nothing blows up that fast around here. A quick look around the sky will tell me if I need the lid up with ten or fifteen minutes' warning before it hits.
 

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Premium Member 2006 SLK 280-sold
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IMHO one of the first mods one should get is a SmartTop. This allows one to easily open and close the top. I rarely if ever leave the top down when I am not in the car, as it only takes three clicks of my key and 20 seconds to open it up again. I can also close the top while driving if I slow down to 35 miles per hour.

I have had my car for three years, and have never not been able to raise the roof. I have also had a lock cylinder seal fail, but that merely created an oil leak, and did not impact my ability to operate the roof. I fixed it myself for less than $40.

This is not something you should worry too much about. I would focus on service history and whether I wanted a 350 or a '55. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm probably obsessing about this too much. I just think that compared to a fixed roof car, I'm replacing one non-moving part with hundreds of moving parts, electronics, hydraulics and software. It amazes me that it works as well as it does.

Thanks for allying my fears.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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Come to the dark side. get 55!!

 

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Premium Member 2006 SLK 280-sold
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You assessment is correct. It is a complicated piece of equipment. You should open and close the roof no less than four times when you test drive a car. Do it for several SLK's so you get a feel for how they sound and operate. I would take off the inspection port at the front of the interior headliner and look at the lock cylinder and make sure it isn't leaking.

That said, it is not a make or break issue unless you can only get it worked on at the dealer. Getting a car with transmission or engine issues is a much more serious ($$$) issue.

I highly endorse the SLK. They are an absolute joy to drive. Relative to the 280/350 - I went with the 280 for gas mileage. What I discovered is that with a 7 speed transmission I would be fine with the 350 and would really enjoy the extra power. Drive as many as you can while you are shopping. The more you see the better you will be at spotting issues. And the more fun you will have ! :)

Best Wishes,
 

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Ditto to what folks have said above. The SLK is a great sports car. Not the most practical as a main car but like many others here I am lucky enough to drive mine as a 'weekend toy' and have another practical daily driver.

With regards your concerns about the interior getting wet if it rains. My advice is simple.....put the roof up when it rains. End of potential problem.

This is my fith year of ownership of a convertible and I've never managed to get the interior wet from rain.

Buy, drive, enjoy!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great to hear from so many enthusiasts. There are so few used SLKs around here that it would be difficult to test drive some. We went to the dealer on Sunday (car dealers are closed here on Sundays). They only had about 3-4 SLKs on the lot. One or two new ones and a couple of used. I don't want to go to the dealer to test drive because they will put the pressure on. A couple of friends have them. Maybe one will let us drive one.

Thanks.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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You need to not let them put any pressure on. I would tell them I am here to test drive that slk without you in the car. Here is my wife and watch as collateral
 

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I got 2 extra gfs so they can keep the wife!
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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oooopps. er, you!
 

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Great to hear from so many enthusiasts. There are so few used SLKs around here that it would be difficult to test drive some. We went to the dealer on Sunday (car dealers are closed here on Sundays). They only had about 3-4 SLKs on the lot. One or two new ones and a couple of used. I don't want to go to the dealer to test drive because they will put the pressure on. A couple of friends have them. Maybe one will let us drive one.

Thanks.
The hardest test drive is a new SLK250 with a manual transmission. At one point, we asked and the dealer said there were 9 in the US, none within a thousand miles. So we ordered it sight unseen, and haven't driven it yet.

We went to both the dealer in Westminster and the one in Cherry Creek. They were both fine to talk to, no pressure at all. We were able to test drive an SLK250 auto a couple of times with no salesman along. The second time they made copies of our drivers licenses and I think looked at our insurance cards. The Cherry Creek dealership is in a high traffic area so they aren't great for a highway test drive.

Our Miata was fine in moderate rain at 35 or above. My hair got a little wet because I was a bit tall for the car. I could reach behind me and pull up the top, so it only took 10 seconds at most to close it. The main problem was then slow traffic: moving was fine, stopping was a chance to close the top, but what do you do at 25mph? Airflow is probably better in an SLK.
 
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