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SL-Class (R129) 1990-2002: SL 280, SL 300, SL 320, SL 500, SL 600, SL 60 AMG

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Old 10-14-2007, 02:43 AM   #1
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600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension

I decided to post the questions first for a quick read. The 'full story' follows under.

-Questions-
1. Did the 1993 model 600s EVER come without ADS/hydraulics?

2. What can be done to make the suspension like that on the 500? I.e. is there someway to COMPLETELY get rid of the hydraulics in the car, installing springs for example? I wish to know that if I take off the fuse for all the systems related to lowering/raising the car hydraulically, I would be in the clear completely.
Any suggested aftermarket products? Any MB solution to this?

3. Is there something I must check for that I normally wouldn't with a 500?

-Full rant-

I've found a 1993 600SL with 113k miles (181k km) on the clock, the owner claims that it is always serviced at the (only) dealer here. While talking to a friend, the 600 was brought up (obviously!!) and it turns out he knows the car and the guy as well. He vouched for both, and that has made me interested again - because the first time I spoke with the owner he told me the car has the hydraulic suspension, and that definitely disheartened me (bad, bad, bad experience with my dad's 500 which had it and the ASR light was always on and no one could figure out what the problem is and it never went away).

Now, the 500SL I bought not so long ago (8 months or so) is sweet, but the thing is: it's just TOO damn sweet for its own good that I just can't pass on a 600 so easily and then deal with the "what ifs".
If I get the 600, the 500 will stay of course, so this is not a 500 vs 600 question.

While pending paperwork from the dealer to show me the services it has undergone there, this is definitely not my biggest concern as I'm pretty confident that when I take a look at the car and drive it, I will know whether it's worth to buy on the spot or not.
My biggest problem is with the hydraulic suspension. I went through a few 500s before pulling the trigger on mine, and the only question I REALLY wanted an answer for was: does it have ADS/hydraulic suspension.

Hence, my questions to you 600 gurus.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mowateriology View Post
-Questions-
1. Did the 1993 model 600s EVER come without ADS/hydraulics?

3. Is there something I must check for that I normally wouldn't with a 500?

does it have ADS/hydraulic suspension.

Hence, my questions to you 600 gurus.
Yes, a 1993 600SL should have an ADS system that can be pricey to fix. To my knowledge there was never a R129 600 that did not have ADS. And FWIW there are very few R129 500's that have the ADS as an option. I have only seen one.

More importantly, are you aware of the 93-95 'engine wiring harness' problem. Please read http://www.mercedesshop.com/shopforu...54#post1524354
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:02 AM   #3
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Yes, a 1993 600SL should have an ADS system that can be pricey to fix. To my knowledge there was never a R129 600 that did not have ADS. And FWIW there are very few R129 500's that have the ADS as an option. I have only seen one.

More importantly, are you aware of the 93-95 'engine wiring harness' problem. Please read http://www.mercedesshop.com/shopforu...54#post1524354
Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I did come across the wiring harness problem(s) reported on this board and others over time. But I really can't say I can relate despite my experience with MBs.
Do you think it has to do with what spec the car was ordered for? Over here, cars are more "Euro spec" than US, and then I hear there are also some differences for a "Gulf spec" car.
But thank you for bringing it to my attention again.

How about my query as to whether or not there is a way to get rid of the ADS in the 600 and go for standard springs instead?
And then, would this lead to problems with the ASR?
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mowateriology View Post
Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I did come across the wiring harness problem(s) reported on this board and others over time. But I really can't say I can relate despite my experience with MBs.
Do you think it has to do with what spec the car was ordered for? Over here, cars are more "Euro spec" than US, and then I hear there are also some differences for a "Gulf spec" car.
But thank you for bringing it to my attention again.

How about my query as to whether or not there is a way to get rid of the ADS in the 600 and go for standard springs instead?
And then, would this lead to problems with the ASR?
there SHOULD be a way to get rid of the ADS. its my hinkerin' that the ADS is just a hydro-shock that has a veriable range of pressure settings. so removing the adjustable shock and replacing it with a factory Bilistine should work.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:02 PM   #5
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there SHOULD be a way to get rid of the ADS. its my hinkerin' that the ADS is just a hydro-shock that has a veriable range of pressure settings. so removing the adjustable shock and replacing it with a factory Bilistine should work.
That is what I'm thinking as well. Only question then is whether the car's ASR would kick in and cut down power or mess with anything else in the car. Hence, the importance to check if someone has actually done it.

At any rate, I talked to the owner again a few hours ago and he says that the car is sold. I'll have to check with our mutual friend to see if the sale has gone through by next week.
Still however, I would love to know more about the ADS elimination in R129s!
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:09 PM   #6
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That is what I'm thinking as well. Only question then is whether the car's ASR would kick in and cut down power or mess with anything else in the car. Hence, the importance to check if someone has actually done it.

At any rate, I talked to the owner again a few hours ago and he says that the car is sold. I'll have to check with our mutual friend to see if the sale has gone through by next week.
Still however, I would love to know more about the ADS elimination in R129s!

asr uses brakes and engine to control wheel spin. the suspention ADS should not have anytthing to do with it. i think its two diffrent modules.

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:55 PM   #7
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I've got a '93 600 and the last owner has replaced the ADS with H&R springs and Bilstein shocks. The car rides nice with this set up and no ASR light or any other problem.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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I've got a '93 600 and the last owner has replaced the ADS with H&R springs and Bilstein shocks. The car rides nice with this set up and no ASR light or any other problem.
This is great information for others that would like to migrate to a Bilstein/H&R suspension. Would you please post a side view picture of your car? I would like to see how it looks with the H&R springs as I have been trying to decide on Eibachs or H&R. It is my understanding that the H&R's give the R129 a lower ride.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:57 PM   #9
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My 97' SL600 came delivered to my front door from Arizona with a ruptured front right Hydro-pneumatic bladder and broken actuator, massive fluid puddle on my garage floor, I took it to the dealer, and they wouldn't consider putting in conventional shocks and springs, so I paid the some $800 to fix it, and it's still not perfect, every once in a while that light comes back on. I wish the 600 was sold originally with this system as optional. that little speed bump button, and the ride hardening are not worth it to me. thats my only regret on getting the 600, other than that, the M120 makes up for it and still I've never had a problem with it.
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:26 AM   #10
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I will take some photos when I get a chance. I must say the Bilstein/H&R suspension set up feels very nice in terms of handling and ride compared to my standard SL320. With AMG 18' it feels the guards up too. Photos will follow..
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:39 PM   #11
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Piece of cake guys! I've done it three times now for various people who were just a little unhappy with the fluid leaving puddles like a happy puppy......including myself.

Changing out the hydros will not effect the any idiot lights or cross-talk between modules, ie. ASR module for instance.

Rip the puppies out of there and get on with life in the fast lane. However, it ain't cheap. What you are attempting to do (and keep this in the back of your mind in case I miss something) you're switching it over to an SL 500 suspension setup.

Knowing this SL 500 tid bit, go ahead and order the following or venture into performance stuff for the SL 500 suspension like HKS springs and whatever else tickles your fancy:

2 - Standard SL 500 rear shocks
2 - Standard SL 500 front struts
2 - Standard SL 500 front springs (600 hydro springs are shorter) OR you can leave them in and get the lowered effect like I tried and then the travel is too much and you crunch your fenders. Moral of the story....go standard SL 500 applications or HKS which are very stiff and won't crunch the fenders.
2 - Standard SL 500 rear springs
2 - SL 500 lower control arms....again the 600 hydro control arms are different for some reason.(marketing related I suppose) p/n 1243303007 left side p/n 1243303107 right side or go with Lemforder product which comes with all bushings and ball joint installed....plug & play at it's best.
Rear Control Arms are fine.
2 - SL 500 front strut mounts p/n 1243200473
4 - MB #2 rubber coil spring shims 13mm (rubber rings that reside at the top end of the springs.

And there you have it. Some good jack stands, 1/2" drive sockets, 3/8 drive sockets, basic wrenches 10mm - 22mm and free weekend with the Wife off to her Mother's place at least 4 states away and you're cookin'!

Allow a total of 12 - 14 hours for your average back yard mechanic.

Empty the hydraulic fluid and cap off the piping at some point. Rip out all of the accumulators.....the rears are in the trunk of all places or you can leave all the plumbing in place if you want.....I ripped all the bad demons and memories out just to get some retribution on a "works-in-theory German Engineer" if nothing else.

Remember that the hydros are under pressure all around so loosen fittings slowly and strategically so as not to get a face full of fluid. Some good info can be found here http://v12uberalles.com/Rear_Struts.htm And of course, this part of the job is going to get messy so wait for a long weekend and do it on your neighbors driveway while they are out of town.

I went Bilstein all around and now I can once again concentrate on listening to that Formula 1 type rev that the V12 sends through the car. If you have one, you know what I mean. I'm makin' wood just thinking about it.

Any questions just drop a message. Good luck!
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:45 AM   #12
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Thanks a lot, guys!

So here's the deal, the first 600 I mentioned is sold. But today, I found a 2-tone exterior with black leather + wood. I checked the car's interior, and it was awesome. Odometer claims the mileage is only 66,000km - 1993 model.

Now, to my surprise, there was no extra switch next to the Headlights switch. I was under the impression that the hydraulic control would only come on there.
It did have the shock with the two adjacent-reversed arrows buttons (sorry for sounding like an idiot describing it but I'm not sure what to refer to it as in English, only know it in Arabic). The button is exactly like that on my 1999 S430 (with Airmatic), so I know that it has to do with stiffening up the suspension. Automatically means it has hydraulic suspension then, huh?

I'll have to go again and check if there was an ADS light on the dashboard. I was so excited when I sat in a V12 that I forgot to check!

edit: I did go, and there is no ADS light. Turns out ADS doesn't have a "light", does it?


I'll also check the engine bay and see if there is any reservoir for the hydraulic fluid. I'm under the impression that it would be on the Right-Hand side, correct?

edit: Checked engine bay again though, and surely, there it was.. the notorious hydraulic fluid reservoir.

All that aside, Doc Bob has given me EXACTLY what I needed to hear: you can get rid of anything related to hydraulic suspension in the 600 and still have a smooth ride.

One more question though: what kind of money are we talking about here for the new set-up?
Initially, I'm much more intrigued with the H&R springs and Bilstein shocks set-up.
So HKSL, I hope I'm not intruding when I ask how much am I looking at here?

PS: please post cost without installation. Only hardware. TIA

Last edited by Mowateriology; 10-20-2007 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:00 AM   #13
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Okay. Let me dig through my mountains of receipts and I'll post the monetary data. In actuality it wasn't as much as you might be afraid of and in fact worth every penny just to get rid of the troublesome leaks and continual frustration associated with such. And then of course you can't put a price on the peace of mind you get from the reliability aspect of the conventional suspension setup. It's a relief to just get in and drive!
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:04 AM   #14
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Okay. Let me dig through my mountains of receipts and I'll post the monetary data. In actuality it wasn't as much as you might be afraid of and in fact worth every penny just to get rid of the troublesome leaks and continual frustration associated with such. And then of course you can't put a price on the peace of mind you get from the reliability aspect of the conventional suspension setup. It's a relief to just get in and drive!
SO TRUE. And I highly appreciate your efforts.
I haven't even DRIVEN the car yet, and already I am thinking about switching to the normal conventional (back in the day I guess) suspension set-up if I do purchase it.

I spoke with the shop I always deal with, they said to bring the car over in the afternoon. So, i spoke with the guy where the 600 is shown, and I have told him that pending a check on the hardtop + soft top operating smoothly and clinching back on trouble-free, I would be glad to take the car to the shop and pay him an un-refundable sum. He also said to come in the afternoon so we can check on the hardtop when more than two individuals are involved. Great by me.

The thing is, I ask for a price range for the hardware needed just to get an impression. I'm HOPING I can fit a trip to the dealer and ask for the parts there where they would quote me a final price and an exact date of receiving the items if not in stock (this is of course for the standard OEM SL500 suspension).

Not sure if I'll be able to check this thread again before going to the shop, but it would be awesome if someone can tell us/make an educated guess as to how much we're looking at here for a full conventional suspension set-up.
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:09 AM   #15
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Front left control arm 1243303007 225.00
Front right control arm 1243303107 225.00
Rear shock Bilstein 1293200031 90.50
Rear shock Bilstein 1293200031 90.50

Right front strut 1293201130 149.00

Left front strut 1293201230 149.00
Strut mount 1243200473 57.00 (2 required)
Strut bumper 1293230744 9.00 (2 required)
Front Springs 150.00
Rear Springs 150.00
Front coil spring shims (13mm) can’t find the number 7.00 (2 required)


Total: 1,375.00
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:19 PM   #16
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Found these p/n's at the Russian site.

Front "Shim"

2013210984 ( 8 MM) $4.92 each #1
2013211084 (13 MM) $5.54 each #2
2013211184 (18 MM) $6.56 each #3
2013211284 (23 MM) $7.18 each #4

Rear "Rubber Buffer"

2013250944 ( 8 MM)
2013251044 (13 MM)
2013251144 (18 MM)

I believe a stock SL500 has #2 on the front and #3 on the rear.
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mowateriology View Post
but it would be awesome if someone can tell us/make an educated guess as to how much we're looking at here for a full conventional suspension set-up.
Why not consider going with a 1-1.5 lower ride with Springs and Bilstein HD shocks.
If you go with H&R Sport Springs you can get a 1.5" lower stance.
http://www.autocarparts.com/part/179/232/
If you go with Eibach ProKit Springs you can get a 1.0" lower stance.
http://www.optionimports.com/2526-14.html
Bilstein Shocks
http://www.eshocks.com/bil_veh.asp?M...&Manf=Bilstein
Note: Several Forum posts have suggested #3 shim ALL the way around with either of the above spring kits. I would also suggest that you take a look at your front 'shock mounts' for replacement. http://www.mbworld.org/forums/showpo...47&postcount=1 and after all is said and done get a four wheel alignment and tire balance.
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:53 PM   #18
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Thanks all, you've been more than generous with the help.

Well, if everything goes well, it seems like it'll only be a couple of days until I join your V12 group.

Upon inspection:
1. First we thought the car only had the hydraulics in the rear (like on the old -1994 for example- S320). But when we lifted the car, it turned out that all four wheels had hydraulics, only the mechanic said it was automatic and not electronic. In other words, and at least the way I understood it (and WANTED to understand it) is that the car lifts up every time it goes down for some reason. I, as the driver, cannot "make" it do anything. I also did not notice the car diving its nose upon speeding, and then returning to an upward position once idle. My dad's old 500 did that (and it also had the switch next to the headlights).
All in all, turns out that the hydraulics are different on this 600 than the ex 500 of my dad's. I had no idea that there were any differences and variances in the first place.
There were no leakages anywhere to be spotted, so that's good. I will definitely give it a try and drive the car the way it is and see what happens. Who knows, it may turn out to be not as bad as we've all thought!

2. No further comment needed on the agility of the V12 and how different it feels from the V8. Love it.

3. The car's steering felt A LOT better than the V8's. Smoother, but not lighter. Pointier, but not jerky. I am definitely talking about the handling here, and it is a very prominent advancement than the 500. Still, however, since they feel so different in my hands, I still love the 500 for what it does and the character it has.

4. Brakes felt a bit too light, so that may be the first thing I will have to change: discs and pads. I'm guessing this would also be the smart thing to do since I can have the car on my own clock, changing major fluids at the same time as well.

5. Cosmetics: exterior-wise, side left signals are currently amber, will switch to clear with yellow bulbs instead. The headlights are also amber on the side (just the tip of the side, not the whole angle). I'm not sure it's that bad, but it is also in consideration to change. I'll have to give it a chance.
Two-tone color, honestly, like I said, never been a big fan BUT .. who knows. We'll see.
Lorinser exhaust tips will definitely have to go, though.

Thank you Doc Bob for the list of products and prices, you have been more than great. Kudos, kind sir. I have copied them for reference and will definitely check up on them at the dealer's when I finally get the car in my name and take a trip to get the clear markers and little tidbits.

Lynns, thank you also for the ideas and the links. Highly appreciated. I am bookmarking everything I can find about this for the future.
In all honesty though, once I drove the car it really, really suited me how different it was from my 500 PLUUUS the fact that it does not have the exact troublesome set-up as my dad's old car.

Does anyone NOT have the electronic "hydraulic control" switch - next to the headlights on the Left of the steering wheel - on their 600 and still had issues?
HKSL and SL-ML-C, can you take pics of that side of the interior please?

PS: pics will definitely follow once all is in place. Wish me luck guys. Thank you so much again.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:19 AM   #19
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Does anyone NOT have the electronic "hydraulic control" switch - next to the headlights on the Left of the steering wheel - on their 600 and still had issues?
HKSL and SL-ML-C, can you take pics of that side of the interior please?
Please understand that one of the reasons why you don't get as much of a response to technical questions on the R129 V12 is because only 11K units were ever produced out of 205K total R129 units built. So, most of us have other models like the 280, 300, 320, 500 and they do not have the ADS system unless they bought it as an option. Which was not very many.

I like youself did my own research and decided that as much as I would like to have the additional torque and extra features I decided I would go for a late model SL500. The 0-60 is 6.1" for both cars and I don't have to worry about the potential cost of a broken ADS system as well as the additional costs for maintenance. FWIW, now a days both cars can be purchased for about the same price but when asked I usually suggest that a prospective owner look for a low mileage 1999-2002 with the SL1 Sport package as well as the SL2 package that offers Halogens, CD player, and heated seats.
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Old 10-23-2007, 12:11 AM   #20
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Ok guys, I got her yesterday.

Spent all yesterday hassling with paperwork to register it in my name. I was done by 6pm, and I didn't really settle the car until 11ish.

Anyway, filled the washer fluid reservoir because the light came on. I had the lightbulb light also come on a few times, but my cousin behind me says there were no bulbs going out anywhere in the back (and I couldn't see that they were in the front). Loose wire or unlocked correctly something, perhaps.

Quick question: did the 600 muffler come with two exhaust ends at the back?
My car has what I thought were exhaust tips (Lorinser) locked on, but looking at it from the side, they seem to be welded on. There also seems to be an extension welded onto the exhaust, that which the Lorinser tips are welded to.

Suspension-wise, I took it to a road here that isn't very even and most my cars rumble all the way to the end of it, but the 600 sailed through nicely. I was impressed.

Came 1hr early to work to look at pictures of what I want to do, and organize a list of what I want to do first, so I'll go on and get with it!
Pics will follow as promised.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:52 PM   #21
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Here are some pics from the last couple of days.

The first is of the car at the agent's where it was for sale.
Second is it on a jack at the workshop for inspection.
Third pic is that of my first ever V12!
Fourth is it getting its first bath with me. The color afterwards definitely appealed a lot more to me after the wash. Still contemplating painting the lower parts though.
Fifth is my cousin's idea to showcase the 2 things that made me run after the car: V12 engine + deep dish wheels.
Attached Thumbnails
600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00573.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00579.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00580.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00590.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00594.jpg  

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Old 10-23-2007, 06:01 PM   #22
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Pics of the car at home.

First here is a cleaner look at the rear. Going to change to SL600 rather than 600SL, and also badge the other side with a V12 emblem.

The second came out blurry, but I think it will be a good picture for a Before/After comparison for later on when I am done with the car.
Notice the clear side turn signals on the fender installed. You have NO IDEA how much I hate those yellow things!
The side markers on the tip of the headlight: OEM all-clear is way too expensive at the dealer's, and to be honest I wasn't going to pay that much. I saw a few "clear" side markers here on the site which had a MUCH MORE "glassy" look. I will dig up pictures in a second. Anyone want to point me in the right direction, and be kind enough to tell me how those are different than the OEM part?

Third pic will also, I think, be a good picture for a Before/After whenever/if ever I paint the bottom half. I think it showcases the wheels nicely. Who would've thought I would be a fan of "closed" rims?

Mileage is in last picture here. I wouldn't be surprised if I got it up to 80k km by the end of the year. In fact, I'd be proud of myself!
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600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00605.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00607.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-clear-side.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00602.jpg  
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:46 PM   #23
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Updated pics.

- Installed newer style taillights + clear side markers on headlights.
- Changed the engine oil and filter today + installed insulation under the hood.
- Tranny oil is in my possession, but waiting on a filter to change (ain't owning a 600 grand?).
- Ordered the "SL600" badging as well as an extra V12 sign, but unfortunately it will take some time to arrive. Will post more updated pics once I have them on though.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

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It's getting really hard to care for the environment with this 600.
Attached Thumbnails
600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00655.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00657.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00658.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00659.jpg   600SL and ADS/hydraulic suspension-dsc00669.jpg  

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Old 10-28-2007, 09:27 PM   #24
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Lookin good. Now put 'removal of headlight wipers' on your list of to do's. Please read removal of darn headlight wiper
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:01 AM   #25
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Yeah baby! Lookin' good man! And I agree.....ditch the tacky wipers that never stay squared on the headlights no matter how many times you adjust them.

And yup......paint that bottom skirt ASAP and you'll be shocked at how different and "updated" the appearance is afterwards. I changed out all my plastics to that of a 2001 as well as the exhaust system and VOILA.....a new car. I love my classic red and beige SL 500 but the torque and "sound" of the V12 just puts a smile on my face every time.

However.....be prepared for this one 'cause it will happen and mine finally did last week......that wonderful torque eats up a tranny like you can't imagine and when they break they break big time! Drop it out, don't even bother opening it, find a USED one, punch it in and drive another 40,000 miles before your next torque-induced swap.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:01 AM
 
 
 
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2001, 600, 600sl, baby, bleed, blue, buy, front, hydraulics, lorinser, mercedes, r129, shock, shocks, sl, suspension



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