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New owner, 2004 SL500, things I must remedy:

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SL-Class (R230) 2003 -- 2012: Discussion on the SL500, SL550, SL600

New owner, 2004 SL500, things I must remedy:

 
Old 05-13-2019, 09:48 AM
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2004 SL500, 2005 SLK350 6-speed
New owner, 2004 SL500, things I must remedy:

I found and purchased a 2004 M-B SL500 (R230) this past Saturday. As overwhelming as the risk feels at the moment, the purchase price was low enough that I purchased the car knowing that there were things that needed to be addressed.

First of all, I was drawn to these features:
  • silver over red leather
  • panoramic roof
  • My favorite SL500 wheels (not sure of the name for them)
  • low miles (56k)
  • no known issues with ABC, SBC, vario roof
Issues that need to be remedied:
  • Driver's external auto-dimming mirror is failing, needs to be replaced
  • Trunk supports are failing, need to be replaced
  • wheels require refinishing
  • center console trim is loose
  • a jack pad cover is not aligned correctly
  • front spoiler has a horizontal crack
  • personal preference, I want to remove the trim around the tail lights. Does anyone want them?

Of the issues that I know of, I consider all of them to be DIY other than maybe the spoiler crack. I've identified a source for the mirror glass and trunk supports. I've got a theory on the loose center trim around the roof controls (guessing it to be missing screws under the trim, should be an easy fix). Need to look at the loose jack pad cover to determine why it's not aligned correctly.

The SL is at my local M-B indy shop right now having an ABC flush and filter replacement, a full synth oil change, as well as a state inspection. Fingers crossed for good news here. Willing to accept any advice and guidance for a new owner.

Sean's 2004 SL500

Last edited by sean65; 05-13-2019 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:11 AM
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All my cars are blown! '11 E350 Diesel P2 Sport; '03 SL55 AMG Pano
Welcome to the community! Great choice of cars you have made.

You should probably change the trans filter and fluid too, as it needs to be swapped considering the years and miles.

I've repaired cracked valance with aluminum reinforcement and counter sunk rivets. But I've built airplanes too, so it's second nature for me.
Once repaired, you can V open the crack, use a plastic filler for the material, and sand it down.
Quick shot of touch up paint, clear coat and buff should be good to go. Otherwise, its a $500 body shop repair.

The console uses a lot of metal spring clips, and they get lost or broken. You can't buy them individually, so a trip to the wrecker or eBay is the only source.

Have the shop check the motor mounts. They may be due. You can check yourself by holding the brakes while gunning the engine in drive and reverse.

The rest of your efforts are a good choice. Keep us informed of your progress.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:38 AM
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So not great news. Now I enter into discussions with the selling dealer.


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Old 05-13-2019, 11:43 AM
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'03 SL500, '00 S500, (4) R129s
While the car is at a shop it may be prudent to see if the transmission software has been updated to the latest revision.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:48 AM
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1967 250SE, 2004 E500, 2005 C320, 2006 SL500
I assume this list is the dealer suggested repairs?
The Four Wheel Alignment was selected because the car pulls to one side, has an odd behavior or a damaged tie rod? It's up to you, after all it's not that much $.
The Brake Fluid Service has maintenance intervals in the manual so maybe it is due.
Belt Service, you can change it yourself for $50 if you want. I changed mine at 100K and it was still in good condition.
Rear Main Crankshaft Seal. Is the engine leaking oil? Do you see oil drops under the car? It is a fact that M113 engines will need rear seal replacement but usually after many miles. Yours is way too young for that. My wife's SL has 104K and it is not missing a drop between oil changes. My W211 which has the same engine started leaking at the rear seal after 230K and I live with it since it is a major repair. Verify your oil consumption if you want to be sure.
Lower Control Arms. Ask them to show you the reason for this replacement, excessive play or rubber tear etc. Is this the Westwood dealer? Again, my 104K SL still has the original suspension parts and it is as tight as new. If indeed are damaged take it to an independent shop to do it for under $500 or DIY.
Differential Service, it's a DIY and if it is not suggested by the manual maintenance interval, it's not critical.
Replace Fuel Pump and Filter. Any indication of the pump being defective? Ask them to show you why. I don't think that replacing the fuel pump is an MB maintenance item.
Active Body Control System Flush. This one is not a bad thing considering the ABC system is prone to problems. An ABC flush may not prevent the usual ABC failures but it is wise to have good and clean hydraulic fuel in this system.

Radu
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:55 AM
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All my cars are blown! '11 E350 Diesel P2 Sport; '03 SL55 AMG Pano
Here is my opinion on your work list items...worth what you paid for it

How good are your DIY skills?
I'd do the belt service myself, including any pulleys required. About a 3 in terms of 1-10 difficulty.
The main seal is a grey area. Is it pouring, or just a few drops? Most owners will accept a few drops.
You can replace the bushings in the control arms for about $100 in parts and $200 in tools. I still have the tools if you want to buy the press from me. 5 out of 10 for difficulty.
Diff service is DIY for about $40. A small bottle pump and a couple quarts will do it. 3 out of 10
I see no reason to replace the fuel pump. If it is not broken, don't fix it. Fuel filter is a good idea. 6 out of 10 due to access, difficult clamps, and pouring fuel all over.

The rest should be left to the pros.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:01 PM
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This is from an Independent shop in Norwood, not the Westwood dealer.
The rear main seal came along with this image:
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:03 PM
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Looks like kbob999 and I are on the same page. You can borrow my bushing tools, we are closer to each other.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:04 PM
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The controls arms were reported as "cracked". Replacing them would result in the alignment.

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Old 05-13-2019, 12:05 PM
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The fuel pump is reported as leaking. From this image, it looks like a hose fitting, but I can't tell.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:09 PM
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I wondered about the control arms as a DIY, though I do not have access to a lift, I can certainly put the car up on stands. The belt service as a DIY is a happy surprise, I'll investigate.

I've literally had the car since Saturday night at 9 PM. Didn't spend much time with it yesterday, dropped it at the shop last night. Given that I've just picked it up, I want the selling dealer to have a look and give me their opinion on it.

I appreciate the responses, keep 'em coming!
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:09 PM
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All my cars are blown! '11 E350 Diesel P2 Sport; '03 SL55 AMG Pano
Radu and I agree that you need to have DIY skills for this car or it will eat your wallet.

That oil image is very close to the transmission electrical seal, which is notorious for a leaking O ring, and easy to replace.
I would clean everything up, then drive 20 miles and see where the oil is coming from. It could be a $20 fix, or a nuisance you can live with.

Could also be a leak from the valve cover gaskets, which show up at the bottom of the engine. Another easy and common fix.
Again, clean it up, drive it, and find the source first.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:15 PM
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All my cars are blown! '11 E350 Diesel P2 Sport; '03 SL55 AMG Pano
FYI - the control arm bushings will not require an alignment, as the bushings and bolts only have one location to fit in, unless you have the 'alignment bolts' with slots in them.
Scratch that item unless you want it done.

Bushings can be done from jack stands. So can trans service and Diff service.

The fuel pump must be working, or the car would be dead, and it appears it has a leaking hose. Probably a new clamp or hose to repair. Beeotch to get to though!!
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:35 PM
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I'm generally not shy about working on my cars, and I expected some level of that with this car. My DIY skills are mainly gleaned from YouTube videos and hours spent in the garage. I tend to do my maintenance items (plugs, brakes, easy to access ancillary items like wiper motors, etc).

I have no desire to play with the fuel system, so I'm happy to have the selling dealer take a shot at changing out that hose or clamp. I'll see what the selling dealer is willing to do.

Some brake work in my garage

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Old 05-13-2019, 12:38 PM
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That picture looks more like some old oil leak that got baked in. My leaky W211 has the bottom of the flywheel housing all "wet" and the plastic paneling wet too. Again, check the level now (ignition on position 1, mileage screen, push the reset button 3 times, it will show battery voltage, arrow up, you will see a screen with oil at the bottom "Oil: -:-", turn the key to second position, wait a few seconds and it will show you how much oil you have) and after 1000 miles.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:45 PM
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Kbob is right about that transmission connector leaking although I found that on my C320 722.6 transmission rather then my 722.9s.
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