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

Newbie with LOTS of Questions

 
Old 07-08-2019, 03:06 PM
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2003 SL500
Newbie with LOTS of Questions

Hello -

I've just recently purchased a new-to-me 2003 SL500 - it was a bit of an unexpected purchase. I was looking to buy an A4 Cabriolet, but ended up coming home with the SL - I love it !!

Unfortunately, I didn't really do the necessary homework on this purchase. I'm hoping upon hoping that I got a good one and don't have any issues that I've been reading about, I guess time will tell.

I do have some questions, I don't know if I should start a new thread for each. I've decided to just shotgun them on this thread -

1- Loud ride - I've noticed the ride was VERY loud for what I'd think an MB would be - the "sales person" said it was likely the tires - they're date coded 09" - They're BF Goodrich's and look to be brand new, I tried searching for "roar" or "loud ride" via the search option and very little came up (I hate search functions in forums, they rarely work) - I'm wondering how important the correct tire brand is, obviously MB has their recommendations, and BF Goodrich isn't one of them ?

2- Shifting Shudder - I THINK I've noticed a shudder from time to time while driving the car... it doesn't happen all the time, or maybe I just don't notice... but I have and wonder what I should be looking for ?

3- Maintenance Schedule - you'd think it'd be real easy to find a mile/time maintenance schedule on the internet, but it doesn't appear to be easily obtained via a PDF format - anyone have one ?

That's all for now - I'm reading thru as many threads to get myself up-to-speed on these beautiful cars and I will likely be asking a ton more, but these seem to be the most pressing right away. I do know the car is a one owner low mileage car (117,000) - it appears to have been serviced via Carfax - but I don't have all the service records. Again, I'm hoping its a diamond and not a lemon !!

Thanks for now!!
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:30 PM
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2003 R230
Welcome!

Unless the car came with good maintenance records you should have a MB dealer or reputable Indy scan the car with STAR and do all routine maintenance now. That will set a ground for you to work from. If you are handy with tools and bold enough to dive in, you can do most yourself and save a bundle. Read a lot here and you will be on the right track. Make sure you flush the ABC and change the filter ( flush and change filter, drive 100 miles or so and do it again). Check engine and trans mounts and replace if needed. Pay attention to your SBC system and know that there has been an extension of the warranty.

Lastly, enjoy the car and drive it!
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:36 PM
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2008 SL550 R230, 2004 E320 W211
oakcreekeric Congratulations, and welcome. There are some very knowledgeable experts on this forum (I'm not one of them...).

Regarding the "loud ride", my 2008 R230 had a low roar/whine that was very similar to road noise and it did not change with engine speed. The noise wasn't extremely loud, but it was there and was noticeable (sales person told me it was also tire noise)... It turned out to be the ABC pulsation dampener. I'm not saying that is your problem, but it is a common problem on the R230

I think White Spyder replaced his pulsation dampener as well (or at least has some first hand knowledge about ABC)?

Enjoy the car!
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:29 PM
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1966 W113 230SL 2005 R 230 SL350 (M112 3.7). Selling the W113.
My car shifts very smoothly, hardly noticeable. Yours should too. When not pushed hard, the drive should be quiet, as you expected.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:44 PM
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Eric - I'm assuming you are local to the Milwaukee area based on your name?
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:54 PM
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2004 SL500
I've noticed that my R230 is very much like my old C5 A6 in that it holds gears longer than I like when the engine is cold. It's an effort to decrease the amount of time required to get to a fully warmed engine. IMO it causes the 1st->2nd and 2nd->3rd shifts to be more aggressive than I like. This goes away when the engine is warmed up.

IMO, the R230 isn't overly quiet (I'm not talking S-class quiet), but is certainly quieter than my R171 SLK. If you're hearing a constant speed dependent roar, you should have the wheel bearings looked at. Tires certainly can cause roar, especially if they're 10 years old!
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:27 PM
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2003 R230
I did replace the front and rear accumulators. Not a hard job if you a patient.

Tire noise has has a lot to do with the trend type and pattern. OEM is the best replacement as that is what the car was designed for.
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:19 PM
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C300 and SL500
Shifting Shudder

Originally Posted by oakcreekeric View Post
2- Shifting Shudder - I THINK I've noticed a shudder from time to time while driving the car... it doesn't happen all the time, or maybe I just don't notice... but I have and wonder what I should be looking for ?
!
One possible cause is the motor mounts. Like pretty much everything on the SL, the motor mounts are 'special'. They are liquid filled and over time likely to degrade and leak. My 2004 got a whole lot smoother in every way when the motor mounts were replaced. Not a difficult or expensive job and in my experience it makes a big difference.

Good Luck
Gary
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:21 PM
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2004 SL500
NiceMerc did you do that job yourself or farm it out?
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:40 PM
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Okay, I realize I'm playing in someone else's sandbox but doesn't the 2003 SL500 come with the FSS (Flexible Service System)? The engine is the same as in the E500 so I would expect the FSS to be available via the instrument cluster. If so, then the attached document will match up with the Service #'s listed under the Service Letters. Again, this is for the E-class but it should point you in the right direction.
Attached Files
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sean65 View Post
NiceMerc did you do that job yourself or farm it out?
My Indie did this job and 90% of the other work I needed.

He took a nice vacation in Europe that year, I'm assuming all the work I had him do paid for his holiday ;-)

I didn't have the time, expertise or inclination to work on the SL. My wrenching days ended before cars had computers. I did invest in an iCarsoft so I could read codes, diagnose problems and have an intelligent conversation with my indie - with help from Rodney of course :-) Two problems were particularly interesting. The AC would blow colder and colder the longer we were in the car to the point where I would turn the heater up, even on the hottest day, and then down again to get to a comfortable temperature and then repeat. Pulling the codes I found I wasn't getting a reading from a temperature sensor in the overhead. Rodney directed me to a post for another Mercedes with the same problem and I was able to buy the broken thermistor for a couple of $'s. My indie dismantled the overhead, soldered in the replacement and the problem was solved. The most vexing problem was an intermittent misfire when the car was pushed hard. Replacement plugs, wires and a couple of coils all made the car run smoother but didn't fix the misfire. It turned out to be one of the catalytic converters. Once replaced, everything was fine, but it was a long journey to find the culprit.

I'm sure I've seen lots of posts here from people who did this job themselves.

Gary
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Adi-Benz View Post
Eric - I'm assuming you are local to the Milwaukee area based on your name?
Yes sir - just south of Milwaukee in Oak Creek, WI -

Can you help with a dependable and honest independent shop locally ?
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sean65 View Post
If you're hearing a constant speed dependent roar, you should have the wheel bearings looked at. Tires certainly can cause roar, especially if they're 10 years old!
I was looking at the possibility of bearings - its been a bit of a garage queen the past 10 yrs - i think in the past 10 yrs, it may have been driven 5000-7000 miles

Thanks for the heads up !!
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bbirdwell View Post
Okay, I realize I'm playing in someone else's sandbox but doesn't the 2003 SL500 come with the FSS (Flexible Service System)? The engine is the same as in the E500 so I would expect the FSS to be available via the instrument cluster. If so, then the attached document will match up with the Service #'s listed under the Service Letters. Again, this is for the E-class but it should point you in the right direction.
It does have the FSS in the cluster - thanks for the attachment !!
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:13 PM
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Thanks all for the advice - I THINK I'm going to take it to the dealership to have an "oil change" done - to the tune of about $150 (according to the Serv. Writer) - He said it was rather comprehensive and I was hoping to start my project list from their recommendations - I have a buddy who owns a shop, so I have access to tools and equipment - I also sell tools for a living, so just about anything I want/need, I can purchase at cost - its a nice perk !!

I'm hoping Adi-Benz gives me a good recommendation on an independent shop here locally in the Milwaukee area - while my buddy has a shop, he HATES working on anything German - so, I try not to bother him too much !!
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:26 PM
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1966 W113 230SL 2005 R 230 SL350 (M112 3.7). Selling the W113.
I always thought a mechanic hating German ingenuity and build quality had yet to be invented.
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