Join Date: Jul 2016
Vehicle: 1999 SLK 230
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|Tires, Wheels, Brakes & Suspension Discussion and information regarding tires, wheels, brakes and suspension.|
Presuming your springs and shocks are standard and not worn out (you can estimate wear on the springs by measuring static ride height and a good suspension shop can measure wear on suspension dampers using an appropriate gauge and jig setup*), a potential cause for harsh ride quality is also worn out motor mounts. I bought my SLK230 with 122,000 miles on it and it definitely needed motor mounts immediately ... the engine was riding very low due to the worn-out mounts and it rode harshly as a result. Ride quality was much improved the moment the engine/transmission mounts were changed. I believe the motor/transmission mounts on SLK cars are intended to be changed at around 65,000-75,000 miles, but most aren't.There's no getting around the fact that the SLK is a small, tautly sprung car intended for a sporty driving feel, however. Anything that makes it handle better (lowering, aftermarket springs for less body roll, shock absorbers with more spring control, etc) will generally make it feel firmer and likely increase ride harshness and noise. If it's a softer, plusher-riding car that you're after, you likely need to consider something else.
* The shock absorbers Mercedes uses as stock equipment are generally speaking very good quality so you rarely have to worry about having them measured until you reach very high mileages. The ones in my SLK230 were still working well at 170,000 miles.
Tires ... both the size and the brand/type, and their inflation pressures ... make a huge difference to ride quality. When I upgraded the SLK280 to the Sport kit 17" wheels and matching tire sizes (my SLK230 was completely standard with 16" wheels), I went with Continental ExtremeContact DW tires and inflate them to the standard pressures listed in the fuel filler door plus 1 psi. I chose them because I know these tires perform well (excellent braking and cornering stick, not too razor sharp a turn-in bite, etc) and give a plush ride quality. These same tires gave an excellent ride quality on the SLK230 at standard sizing and with standard inflation pressures.
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