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SL55 Major Brake Failure

 
Old 07-10-2008, 08:57 AM
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SL55 AMG
SL55 Major Brake Failure

Major problems with my 03 SL55, one of the first, today. All kinds of messages on the display in red - "Stop - Brakes Failed, Stop Car", "Reduced Braking - Start Engine" (it was already running), "ESP Failure", "Tyre Pressure Monitoring Failed". Gong bonging (if that's what gongs do) all the time.

As I drove the car onto the flat-bed the car was lurching and banging. There were no brakes, the brake pedal initially feels OK, then collapses all the way to the floor with only the most puny emergency braking effect (which would have been totally ineffective while driving). Oh, and the auto transmission would not hold the car on the slope of the trailer, so I had to take a run at it and judge when to take off the power so that the car didn't drive off the other end into the back of the driver's cab.

So, not a happy car, 6 years old, < 20000 miles. What worries me is not so much the fault(s) but whether this is how SL55 ownership is going to be as the car gets older, niggling electronics/hydraulic stuff.

The car has a history of dumping its hydraulic fluid over the road, has had more SBC recalls and updates than I can count.

Anyone else here had the same problem?
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:51 PM
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08 SL55
More to come

I had an '03 SL55, bought in 2005 with 10K miles on it. Nothing but problems in my one year of ownership - 3 recalls and 4-5 other warranty issues. None were brake-related like yours, but just way too much for a car of that "stature" and price.

Many '03 owners have not had problems, but many have. We've all heard about the quality issues MB had through 2005. That's why I waited and bought an '08 SL55. Loved the car itself when I bought the first one, just couldn't take all the time in the shop. My '08, although only 4 months old, is perfect and I expect it to stay that way.

IMHO you can only expect more grief with the '03.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:15 PM
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SL55 AMG
I think you're correct, the engine and bodywork seem fine but the "systems" are prone to problems, weird messages, battery issues if you don't use the car every day.

With this latest problem, what really surprised me is just how ineffective the backup brake capacity is. I know the brake controller (front left of the engine bay with all the pipes) costs $4500 so if it's that, I'll be making a fuss with Mercedes.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by blueSL View Post
As I drove the car onto the flat-bed the car was lurching and banging. There were no brakes, the brake pedal initially feels OK, then collapses all the way to the floor with only the most puny emergency braking effect (which would have been totally ineffective while driving). Oh, and the auto transmission would not hold the car on the slope of the trailer, so I had to take a run at it and judge when to take off the power so that the car didn't drive off the other end into the back of the driver's cab.

Anyone else here had the same problem?
I had a similar thing happen to my SL500, it was lurching and the engine cut out some moments later, brakes failed exactly like you said and I got a flurry of lights on the instrument cluster.

My alternator went bad and had to be replaced.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:52 PM
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I had similar problem on my old 03 SL500 - had it flat bedded to the dealer. It was an electical problem and was quickly fixed. My 05 SL55 I currently have, has been problem free (knock on wood), and I love the car.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Murtaza View Post
I had a similar thing happen to my SL500, it was lurching and the engine cut out some moments later, brakes failed exactly like you said and I got a flurry of lights on the instrument cluster.

My alternator went bad and had to be replaced.
+1 on the alternator.

Good luck with the fix.
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Old 07-13-2008, 04:05 AM
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SL55 AMG
As expected, the SBC Control Unit has failed - that's the lump with all the pipework sitting at the front left (as you look at it from the front) of the engine bay. Mega-money to replace, waiting to hear if Mercedes are going to contribute.

Listen carefully when you unlock your car, you can hear the pump priming the brake system. That's what wasn't happening on my car.

SBC has been dumped in current cars I understand. It sounded a nice idea at the time but scary when the pedal just falls to the floor...
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Old 07-13-2008, 04:19 AM
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that's not good to hear, hopefully they'll chip in somehow
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:49 AM
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The part's around $3000... plus fitting plus tax.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:37 AM
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SL65, 427 COBRA (CSX-3127)73 911S, 246GTS (DINO SPYDER), CORNICHE,1962 PORSCHE TWIN GRILLE ROADSTER+
IN THE USA MB EXTENDED THE WARRANTY ON ALL SBC PUMPS FOR 1O YEARS!

IT MIGHT BE WORLD WIDE BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE SBC FAILURES AND 3 RECALLS MB EXTENDED THE WARRANTY ON ALL SBC PUMPS FOR 10 YEARS AND UNLIMITED MILES..

I THOUGHT THAT THE SBC WAS DISCOUNTINUD BUT I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE THAT A 2008 R230 STILL USES SBC....
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:21 AM
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Even '09 SL63 030/65 still have the crappy SBC/brake-by-wire system....IMO, one of worst brake pedal feels of any $150K+ perf car....and one of reasons I passed on SL63 030....AMG S/CL braking system has vastly superior pedal feel IMO....

PCCB/CCM offer more precise pedal feel in dry, but have weak responses in many wet settings (esp apparent in sudden brake applic after a few moments of cruising in rain w/o brake applic; they lack AMG's AutoBrakeDrying feature)....so reassuring when one needs to chk weather forecast for rain before driving a supposedly high-perf P/F....

Real question is what braking system is used for SL65 Blk....if it's another iteration of SL brake-by-wire, I'd nix SL65 Blk as well....competent brakes are Perf Car 101 and Safety 101 engineering elements, no?
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:43 PM
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My '03 SL55 has been pretty much bullet proof over the past 5+ years. The worst was a seized AC compressor. My car has served as everything from a DD, to a track car and a test bed for our software and it has been brilliant.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:07 PM
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Dealer's current view is that Mercedes will pay. The part has been problematic and my car was one of the first few months production, built July 2002.

I know they are not using SBC in new generation cars but I expect the re-engineering and homologation requirements were just too expensive for the revised SLs to have something better.

I agree that the brake feel is poor, not least because the pedal is not connected directly to the hydraulics. Compared to my little F355, it's like making love with a condom, well several, actually.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by blueSL View Post
I agree that the brake feel is poor, not least because the pedal is not connected directly to the hydraulics. Compared to my little F355, it's like making love with a condom, well several, actually.
Well said, thats my #1 gripe with the car so far.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:35 PM
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Same thing happend to my E. It was the Battery Control Module failing. If that goes out, it causes all consumer electronics to go into hibernation, and puts brakes, transmission, AC, PS, etc on limited service. Very scary for this to go out on the highway as mine did...No problems since repair though.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:35 AM
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Turned out the failure was the SBC Control Unit/Pump, the lump of metal at the front of the engine bay on the left. The good news is that Mercedes paid for the whole thing and it means I have the latest part with any engineering changes they made to improve its reliability, so hopefully it will last for as long as I want to keep the car, which is probably until the next SL arrives.

Seems clear that SBC has been a nightmare...
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by blueSL View Post
Turned out the failure was the SBC Control Unit/Pump, the lump of metal at the front of the engine bay on the left. The good news is that Mercedes paid for the whole thing and it means I have the latest part with any engineering changes they made to improve its reliability, so hopefully it will last for as long as I want to keep the car, which is probably until the next SL arrives.

Seems clear that SBC has been a nightmare...
that's good and hopefully in would stay on tip top shape til the next SL arrives.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:32 PM
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Sorry about your problems. I had a 2003 SL500 and it had a lot of problems. I think it took Mercedes several years before they got all the bugs out of this car.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:37 AM
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Yes, the penalty of being an early adopter, and I don't like the car enough to buy an updated debugged one. Waiting instead for the facelifted 911 turbo with PDK.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:20 PM
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I have a 04 SL55 AMG and am facing exactly the same problem. Brakes failed stop sign on dash etc. had to get flatbed and got it back home. Have changed brake switch but no change. Had the alternator rewired last year could this the issue?
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Old 09-05-2018, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Mukesh View Post
I have a 04 SL55 AMG and am facing exactly the same problem. Brakes failed stop sign on dash etc. had to get flatbed and got it back home. Have changed brake switch but no change. Had the alternator rewired last year could this the issue?
there is now a 25 year warranty on the SBC brake system. get it checked by the dealer. you need to have the codes read with a STAR or equivalent scantool to see what caused the message. if it is an SBC component it will be covered under warranty
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