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Current SLK R170 owner daydreaming of a R230 SL55...

Discussion in 'Introduce yourself' started by ninjamagic, Sep 12, 2017.

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  1. ninjamagic

    ninjamagic New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    SL55 (shopping for)
    Hello all! I've had my 2001 SLK for 5 years and I love it, but there comes a time when a man needs to look for a proper convertible and I'm aiming for next year.

    (I also have a BMW e90 330i which I loved at first but find a little boring now. I prefer the smoothness of the SLK and the lower centre of gravity, even though its not as quick)

    So I'm curious how best to spend £20k. Should I buy the best SL55, I can afford, maybe from a dealer? or perhaps spend 15k, possibly a private sale, and keep the change to pay for inevitable maintenance? Do they pop up in auction often? Is that a wise choice?

    Thanks,

    Ninja

    PS. I keep reading about leaky roofs but I would assume that these would have have been fixed...
     
  2. 00slk

    00slk Senior Member

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    Location:
    Cambridgeshire UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL55 AMG, 2003 SL500
    Just be wary that cheap ones are cheap for a reason, bit saying that the money you save can and could be extracted very quickly, At the end of the day you will have a car that has all the ABC and leaks sorted and could still have change in your pocket. Best thing is check out as many as you can ;)
     
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  3. AJD

    AJD Senior Member

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    Location:
    Suffolk Coast, UK.
    Your Mercedes:
    2012 W204 Sport AMG Line 4dr Auto, Obsidian Black.
    Hi ninjamagic, welcome to the forum. A lot of sound advice coming your way I am sure of that !! :)
     
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  4. Uncle Benz

    Uncle Benz Senior Member

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    West Sussex
    Your Mercedes:
    Mainly Mercedes
    Some years ago a young man came to my workshop with his recently putchased SL55. He had worked and saved £25,000 and bought his dream car. It put a warning light on so he came to me. The quote to sort it out (various serious problems, discs and pads, tyres, leaking suspension struts, etc, etc) was in excess of £6000. I don't think I'd ever made a grown man actually cry before...
     
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  5. AJD

    AJD Senior Member

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    Suffolk Coast, UK.
    Your Mercedes:
    2012 W204 Sport AMG Line 4dr Auto, Obsidian Black.
    Hopefully the exception rather than the rule !! :eek:
     
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  6. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    Don't ever assume anything. Roofs leak at the rubbers, trunk lids leak at the rubbers, rear arches rust on the return flanges. All can be fixed for much cheapness and some of your time, just search any of the R230 DIY threads mainly by user Television, RIP.

    Then we have ABC, which is the Active Body Control hydraulic suspension. It is sublime, it is beautiful, it is typically German. This needs to be kept in tip-top shape; if fluid & filter is not changed religiously every 24mth/ 20k miles it can develop terminally expensive problems. £1k per corner for struts, £6-700 for a new pump. £300 for a fluid change every 2 years suddenly seems like a good investment!

    Then we have the PSE or Pneumatic Systems Equipment pump, which is located in the lowest point of the well in the trunk floor. Remember those leaking trunk rubbers? They turn the PSE well into a nice bath- then it dies. All of a sudden your inflatable seat and soft close doors stop working, maybe door locks too.

    Then we have SBC or Sensotronic Braking Control, MB's first fly-by-wire electronic braking system. Only they cleverly incorporated an actuation counter in the pump and linked that to driving style. And set a hard limit on brake actuations. Get to that point and a big red warning message appears, and braking control is reduced. Either the counter needs resetting (Star-equipped indy will do for £60 ish) or a new SBC pump at around £600 is required.

    Then there are niggly things like the engine- the M113 is lovely, but the rocker box gaskets tend to go over time and dribble oil down the sides of the heads. Unsightly, these can be fixed for around 30m labour a side.

    I bought a CL (4 seater fixed roof version of the SL) for £2k... then I spent £6k getting mainly the ABC working properly. New pump (x 2!), new strut, new lines, rebuilt valve block, much diagnosis...

    Remember, the number in an MB's type designation isn't the engine size in deciliters or hectoliters; it is the typical repair cost multiple in pounds ;) each item will cost £500/ £1000/ £1500 to repair. It's held true so far for many others and I on here!

    Finally, don't let any of this put you off. The R230 SL is a beautiful car, totally a modern classic and it's also an epic drive. Well worth getting as long as you understand the ramifications of owning one. One thing it ISN'T is a roadster though, it's a luxury grand tourer so be aware of that- the handling is nothing like that of an SLK, it's much more refined and much heavier.
     
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  7. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Senior Member

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Your Mercedes:
    ML350 (W166) .............. SL500 (R230) ................
    The SL55 and the SL500 are both great cars but can be costly to repair. You will read some horror stories but dont let that put you off there are many more owners that have had very few issues. Its all about the maintenance schedule so you should make sure you thoroughly check this out. Do a search on this forum and the other MB forums and you will find ton's of advice. I own an SL500 which has pretty much everything an SL55 has except the engine, i have not regretted my purchase.
     
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  8. Mic

    Mic Senior Member

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Your Mercedes:
    MB SL500(2003), MB SLK320(2001), Volvo V70 XC AWD(2001)
    We have an R170 (SLK320) and an R230 (SL500). Both great cars and long term "keepers" for us.
    As above.......they are different......but both great driving cars.
    As with all cars you can be hit with a series of costs almost concurrently like the proverbial London Buses but over the longer term (three years minimum) the costs will level out.......a 55 will cost more than a 500.
    To put some perspective to it you should expect to spend on average up to £3000/year on repair, maintenance and servicing using a good dedicated MB independent based on circa 10,000 miles/year.
    In my case (a 500) it has been as below:

    £
    1678.95

    2236.06

    1769.36

    1338.92

    3136.20

    614.98

    1924.89

    2752.51

    2933.20

    for the last nine years ending 31 March (average 10864 miles/year). The car is now 14 years old and it has done 142,000 miles.

    In the scheme of things I would suggest, for what an R230 offers, not at all expensive. Try running a Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin.

    A well sorted R230 is a joy to own and drive.

    Mic
     
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  9. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Location:
    Midlands, not east or west but middle.
    Your Mercedes:
    '93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
    Just to throw a left field suggestion ave you thought about a late r129? Maybe an SL600? Plenty of power, no ABC/SBC to spend a fortune on and a car which is now appreciating in value. The only real drawback is the hardtop/soft top dilemna for winter.
    We have both - an R230 and an R129. I actually prefer the 129 to drive but Mrs LK prefers the R230. There is no doubt the 230 will out corner the 129 and out brake it (and is arguably prettier) but there is something 'special' about the 129 which is missing from the 230 in my view.
     
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  10. mikestrivens

    mikestrivens Senior Member

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    Location:
    Stockport
    Your Mercedes:
    1995 W124 320TE, 1998 R129 SL500, 2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
    Yes I prefer the R129 to the R230 as well. But then I'm biased.
     
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  11. John Laidlaw

    John Laidlaw Senior Member

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    Wirral
    Your Mercedes:
    W212 E63 AMG V8 Biturbo
    An R129 600 is what I was hankering after, but i plunged at an SL500 230, great provenance and pedigree from the most knowledgable owner probably ever been...RIP
    What I'm saying is that even that history didnt help the 230 - Craig i think summarised beautifully - superb cars, if you've the guts dont be put off
    As also said, just take your time, the right car is out there somewhere
     
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  12. OP
    ninjamagic

    ninjamagic New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    SL55 (shopping for)
    Holy moly! I certainly didn't expect such detailed responses when I logged back in! Many thanks for all of your detailed replies. This certainly gives me a lot to mull over!

    I'm also curious, does this car come in red? and if not (which it seems, in the UK at least) then does anybody know how much a custom respray might be for a car of this type?
     
  13. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    ML350 (W166) .............. SL500 (R230) ................
    Dont respray it as you will only lose value, much better to have the car wrapped IMO.
     
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  14. Wighty

    Wighty Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W211/E320cdi/2009 and CLK200k 2009
    You have opened a can of worms by asking about red . Merc has had a history of problems with that colour . I'm sure someone will chime in with exactly which reds/years are the problem
     
  15. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    Leave red well alone unless you want to add microblistering to the list!
     
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  16. corradoman

    corradoman Senior Member

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    I have an amber red R171 SLK, No issues with paint as of yet:cool::shock: apparently quite rare in this colour
     
  17. OP
    ninjamagic

    ninjamagic New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    SL55 (shopping for)
    I think the R129 looks nice, but it's not really my style. But when you mentioned SL600 it made me look at the R230 version, there doesn't seem to be many of them for sale. How does it compare to the SL55, in your opinion? (does it have the ABC/SBC issues?)

    What I want is a baddass car that gives me get a buzz when I press the gas. (I'm not really into it as an investment, and I don't expect it to appreciate) but of secondary appeal is that I'd like a car that's good enough for me to hold on to... possibly.. for the next 40 years. That why I thought SL55 was the sweet spot in the bang-for-buck department.
     
  18. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    The SL600 has all of the issues of a 500 or 55, with the added problem of two great big cool packs at £1k each when they go.

    The 600 (and 65) is a V12 vs the V8 of the 500, 55 and (later) 63.
     
  19. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Midlands, not east or west but middle.
    Your Mercedes:
    '93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
    The only way to get a 230 and avoid the ABC potential for wallet busting is to get a V6 (SL350).
     
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  20. John Laidlaw

    John Laidlaw Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    ^ or on the ABC at least you might be lucky and pick up one which someone has already done the coilover?
     

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