Help please - info relating to SLK 230 Automatic and SLK 320 Automatic

AWanderingLancastrian

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SLK230
Hi to you all out there.
I am new to the forum having introduced myself yesterday.
I have been searching for one or other of the above named cars for some years and but I am really not sure of the pitfalls (yes,even the best images and waxing lyrical descriptions have found to be a bit Hans Christian Anderson when taking the plunge and often driving long distances only to be totally disappointed.
What are the main issues when it comes to the mechanicals of both ?
Why is it the those with manual seats will never adjust for height ?
What are the potential issues surrounding the veriable valve timing and which is the most likely to have issues ?

What generally is the death knell mileage for the most common 'dig deep' into your pocket issues ?
Can I really be sure that Full MB History will have nipped the potential issues in the bud providing the previous owners have not ignored the advice of the technicians ?

Just for the record - I am 72 yrs young and living with a fixed income of state pension and a small private annuity but my desire for one of these very very must have cars is really quite overwhelming.
 

GlosRichCLK

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2019 W177 A180 SE auto, 2012 W212 E350 CDi Sport saloon, 2001 CLK 230 K Cabriolet A208
Hi and welcome,

Depends what generation of SLK you are looking at?

Maybe from the 230 engine your looking at the first generation ones from the R170 from 1996-2004?

If it is these, they are old cars now, so none will be trouble free, rust will probably be your main enemy, as Mercedes from this era did not have good rust proofing.

Engines and gearboxes are fairly trouble free, as long as they are serviced regularly. Although the autobox needs a fluid change also every few years, and can leak fluid from the cable connector at the rear, which then 'wicks' its way along the cable and into the car and control box.

The metal folding roof, may also cause some issues.

Also consider the 4 seater CLK convertible with the fabric power roof.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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SLK230
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Hi and welcome,

Depends what generation of SLK you are looking at?

Maybe from the 230 engine your looking at the first generation ones from the R170 from 1996-2004?

If it is these, they are old cars now, so none will be trouble free, rust will probably be your main enemy, as Mercedes from this era did not have good rust proofing.

Engines and gearboxes are fairly trouble free, as long as they are serviced regularly. Although the autobox needs a fluid change also every few years, and can leak fluid from the cable connector at the rear, which then 'wicks' its way along the cable and into the car and control box.

The metal folding roof, may also cause some issues.

Also consider the 4 seater CLK convertible with the fabric power roof.

Hi GR. Thank you for your reply. What I have been looking at have been lowish mileage SLK 230 & 320's post 2002 or exceptional post 2000 examples and all preferably with the electrically adjustable seat option- under 80,000 with MB history and or independant/specialist service history and backed-up by receipts etc for all work carried out and bodywork that has not been molested and or bodged.
I am aware that certain areas of the country are more prone to issues surrounding bodywork and sticking plater repairs.
I found an absolutely fabulous 02 reg 230 with full MB history and receipts for every penny ever spent on the car but was pipped to the post by a late enquirer on Easter Monday,the asking price was £2850.00 in Milton Keynes - an 88,000 miles steal of a buy IMHO.
I am currently in talks with a chap (Private Purchase) that has a rather tidy 2001 (Y) reg that is a 187 miles drive away with a mere 62,900 that requires a little paintwork TLC or possibly a bonnet paint job and that has mostly MB service history until 3 years ago and then the local garage in South Wales.
It also requires a 2nd key and an MoT at the end of June.
In principal I have struck a deal that might have the car MoT validated/inspected for potential issues and an allowance for the replacement key at the rather attractive figure of £2,000.00.
 

antijam

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2003 SLK320
I've had my 2003 'facelift' SLK320 for ten years and have had very little trouble. It still drives as well as ever. The M112 V6 is very reliable and although not much more powerful than the 230 'Kompressor', is much more refined. One thing to watch out for on higher mileage cars is de-laminating of the harmonic balancer/crankshaft pulley; fortunately this is quite easy to replace without the engine out. The 5-speed tip auto really suits the car and again is usually very reliable; it can develop a fluid leak which is usually a selector shaft seal, again not difficult to replace.

Rust can be a problem, particularly around the wheel arches, although it doesn't seem to affect all cars, but there is one rust spot under the boot latch that is almost an inevitable feature.

The roof is again generally reliable; any leaking problems are usually avoided by regularly lubricating the seals with silicone grease. Roof operation problems are often a result of microswitch failure and can be difficult to pinpoint since there are a lot of them. These are usually a result of lack of use. You bought the car because it's a superbly practical convertible, so use it. The number of cars I see, even in the height of summer, with the roof up is amazing; make sure you raise and lower the roof frequently especially during the winter when conditions are damp and the roof often gets very little use.

One thing to avoid is oversize wheels and wide tyres. My car came with very wide 18" wheels and tramlined dreadfully with a very harsh ride. Reverting to the staggered 16"s transformed its behaviour.

Find a good one and you'll have a superbly enjoyable roadster. I've recently bought a 5 litre Mustang convertible which is a great car but it will never replace the SLK which on a B-road blast is much more nimble.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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SLK230
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Hi antijam. Thank you for your reply. Was you car a year 2000 registered facelift that was first registered in 2003 or was 2003 the first year of the facelifts ?
I actually do have access to a fairly local MB Specialist/Independent albeit it would require either a lift back home or a short walk and then flashing my NowCard at the bus driver and then being collected in the village which is 5 miles away.
It is looking very much like I will stick my neck out and go for the 62,900 mile car albeit I do not think that it will be very 'go-juice' friendly unless there are longer runs being done.
 

GlosRichCLK

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2019 W177 A180 SE auto, 2012 W212 E350 CDi Sport saloon, 2001 CLK 230 K Cabriolet A208
At these prices and age, none of them are going to be perfect.

I would advise to maybe hang on for one closer to home if you can, as buying a car a long way away is never a great idea. If you have any problems, its a long way to go back, expensive to get there in the first place, and then if its half decent you feel obliged to buy it, after the long journey.

Also have a look through the MoT history to see if you can spot any problems, or general lack of care, lots of MoT fails etc:

https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk/

With the 230 Kompressor, you need to check for head gasket failure, looks for any cream in the coolant or under the oil cap. Check it gets up to temp and stays there, fan kicks in etc. Also check under the little plastic cover for oil leaking around the cam magnet, not a big repair. Also check the supercharger kicks in properly. Also timing chain rattle when you start it from cold.

Consider paying for an inspection, or taking a mechanic along with you.
 

grahamcol

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2001 SLK230, 2007 CLK220 CDI
Well I wish you luck with this. I picked up a minter in show condition about 18 months ago. It's a 2000 230k and it's simply fabulous. Only covered 69k miles with all history and was previously magazine featured. Makes me smile every time I look at it. I did pay a tidy sum for it though ! I echo what was said above about "exercising" the roof mechanism regularly to help prevent issues.
Oh and I'm not a young guy anymore but boy I feel 20 or 30 years younger driving this car.
Buy carefully and enjoy.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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SLK230
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Hi gc. Thank you. I am actually a still relatively young 72yrs 6months and having owned many many cars over the years I can honestly say that having bought an immaculate 2000 (W) BMW Z3 2.0 litre Auto convertible 5yrs ago that is exactly how I felt
having ridden motorcycles (Honda VF 400 fd's) but not wanting to risk the 'born again motorcyclist' label I opted-out for a wheel in each corner and a Mohair Hood instead I can well understand your feeling with the SLK230.
I am still open to one or the other 230 or 320 Automatic albeit my current smile is when I am in my rather nice 69,000 miles BMW 325Ci Convertible Automatic.
Time again for a change. IMAG0094.jpg
 

Wighty

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Hi gc. Thank you. I am actually a still relatively young 72yrs 6months and having owned many many cars over the years I can honestly say that having bought an immaculate 2000 (W) BMW Z3 2.0 litre Auto convertible 5yrs ago that is exactly how I felt
having ridden motorcycles (Honda VF 400 fd's) but not wanting to risk the 'born again motorcyclist' label I opted-out for a wheel in each corner and a Mohair Hood instead I can well understand your feeling with the SLK230.
I am still open to one or the other 230 or 320 Automatic albeit my current smile is when I am in my rather nice 69,000 miles BMW 325Ci Convertible Automatic.
Time again for a change. View attachment 42385
Jesus buddy , you should keep that BMW :D
 

LostKiwi

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My personal choice would be a V6 320 as opposed to the 230. Much more refined and smoother.
The M112 engine is also pretty bullet proof and has very few regular failure points - harmonic balancer and crank sensor being about it, neither of which are costly.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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My personal choice would be a V6 320 as opposed to the 230. Much more refined and smoother.
The M112 engine is also pretty bullet proof and has very few regular failure points - harmonic balancer and crank sensor being about it, neither of which are costly.

Hi LK. Thank you for those pearls of wisdom. If all goes well I should be travelling down to South Wales to view a very very tidy lowish mileage (63,000 miles) SLK 320 Automatic on Thursday morniing.
I am fortunate that I have a nephew that is self employed as a MB Indepedant/Specialist and I would hope that there might be a small consideration toward his little (4'10") uncle.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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Jesus buddy , you should keep that BMW :D

Hi Wighty. I actually have two BMW's but the 320i 6cyl Touring Automatic will be retained on the grounds of shear practicality and the marginally improved fuel consumption.
I understand that the intended SLK 320 is about on par with the BMW 325Ci Convertible Automatic in all cycles of driving.
IMAG0353.jpg IMAG0358.jpg
 

GlosRichCLK

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2019 W177 A180 SE auto, 2012 W212 E350 CDi Sport saloon, 2001 CLK 230 K Cabriolet A208
Having had a 2004 325Ci myself, they are better to drive than the CLK I have now, much tighter and more sporting.
However the CLK has a better ride, the BMW was jiggly even on 16" wheels.
 
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AWanderingLancastrian

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Having had a 2004 325Ci myself, they are better to drive than the CLK I have now, much tighter and more sporting.
However the CLK has a better ride, the BMW was jiggly even on 16" wheels.

Hi again GR. I actually have not driven either of the 3 series on anything other than the 18" MV1's of which both cars are on staggered's.
My little (pretend Cobra Z3 was on the 16" wheels when I first bought it very quickly changed it over to the 17" staggered M series but the tramlining could be an issue on some motorways - especially when climbing long inclines with no crawler lane and the suicide jocks in lanes 2 and 3. DSCF3905.JPG
 
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