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Thread: SL500 progress and thank you all!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Slowly but surely, in my spare time this "project" SL500 is getting to be well road worthy!


    Last week - B1 seal (with out dropping transmission out), today B2 seal, soooo much easier than B1. No more transmission leaks!!!


    So far, this $900 car (originally purchased for parts, but just couldn't do it) does not owe me much $300 :


    $65 used MAF
    $70 ATF
    $30 AT filter/gasket
    $10 Torque converter and AT drain plugs and washers
    $25 B1 and B2 seals
    $35 vacuum lines and rubber elbows for all under the hood misc, all renewed
    $20 Gear/diff oil
    $10 Diff drain plugs
    $35 Misc supplies (Antifreeze, brake fluid, rags, cleaners, etc...)


    Now, at $1200 Starts, runs, drives, shifts and stops!


    Day I purchased it (waiting for the tow truck to take it home)




    Filthy engine bay




    And now













    Far from perfect, I will refresh all of the suspension components in the next few weeks (paint by the end of summer), but from pretty much and abandoned car that was parked outside for 2+ years to a full solid driver (instead of being another scrap yard victim) - not bad!!! She looks great at 15'


    One thing I can not put a price on is information from here and R129 section of benzworld, the help from the members beyond valuable and encouraging! Many thanks to all for all time, the information you all share and pointers on how to do "things" to keep these cars alive!!! The "How To" section is



    Regards,
    D

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  3. #2
    E500E Guru a777fan's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Great work there! How does the interior look?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  5. #3
    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Cool project- love it! That's a great buy at the price
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI | 1994 220CE

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  7. #4
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by a777fan View Post
    Great work there! How does the interior look?
    The interior actually cleaned up very well, driver's seat is perfect, passenger bottom - seam split at the forward area (as they all do, leather dries up, seams pop, will address that indeed). Headliner and panels of the hard top should be recovered, done it on 2 other R129 cars, no big deal, well do when I take the car to have it repainted, this way I don't have to disassemble the hard top twice.

    Steering wheel was all dried up, I installed my old (but pristine C280 steering wheel), now, wood center console - pristine! Not a single crack, very "odd" wood pattern/contrast, never seen it as such on R129s... I "reworked" the old W210 shifter (original R129 was missing the center plaque) to have the center inlay to match the console:



    Original seat controls did not match the center console wood, and were really badly bubbling up



    Stripped those off, now refinished to have very close match to the center console






    I'm not a "hoarder" but I do "collect" things when they come at the right price, SL600 brakes to go on, Carlsson 1/6 18x8.5 and 18X10 set refinishing next week, Carlsson rear section muffler, H&R springs... Process, progress, labor of love!

    Regards,
    D

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  9. #5
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by Duh_Vinci View Post
    The interior actually cleaned up very well, driver's seat is perfect, passenger bottom - seam split at the forward area (as they all do, leather dries up, seams pop, will address that indeed). Headliner and panels of the hard top should be recovered, done it on 2 other R129 cars, no big deal, well do when I take the car to have it repainted, this way I don't have to disassemble the hard top twice.

    Steering wheel was all dried up, I installed my old (but pristine C280 steering wheel), now, wood center console - pristine! Not a single crack, very "odd" wood pattern/contrast, never seen it as such on R129s... I "reworked" the old W210 shifter (original R129 was missing the center plaque) to have the center inlay to match the console:



    Original seat controls did not match the center console wood, and were really badly bubbling up



    Stripped those off, now refinished to have very close match to the center console






    I'm not a "hoarder" but I do "collect" things when they come at the right price, SL600 brakes to go on, Carlsson 1/6 18x8.5 and 18X10 set refinishing next week, Carlsson rear section muffler, H&R springs... Process, progress, labor of love!

    Regards,
    D
    Awesome progress!


    Careful doing the front end...center link is NLA outside of straight china.

    LCA bushings i had to return my last set of lemforders.

    It's getting dicey...more and more OE parts for $$$

    Jono

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  11. #6
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by jhodg5ck View Post
    Awesome progress!


    Careful doing the front end...center link is NLA outside of straight china.

    LCA bushings i had to return my last set of lemforders.

    It's getting dicey...more and more OE parts for $$$

    Jono

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Thanks Jono!

    And indeed disappointing with all of these inadequate replacement parts, waste of time and money. But even Lemfoerder? LCA bushings is exactly what I have sitting in my "shopping" cart, along withe their ball joints and all the rear arms/bushings and such... The drag link, the only one I could find anywhere is Delphi, based on the price, I'm sure its China part...

    Regards,
    D

  12. #7
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Completely restored the function of the arm rest, was missing the N/A metal gate/frame



    Rare junk yard find



    Refinished to as new



    Good as new!



    Otherwise:



    Regards,
    D

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  14. #8
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Finally have some time to work on refinishing my Carlsson 1/6 wheels, just brought these home from storage: 18x8.5 and 18x10... Four already stripped (1 spare), just need to "massage" few minor imperfections, then to refinish.



    Regards,
    D

  15. #9
    E500E Guru maw1124's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Can’t wait to see those on the car. #alwayslearning

    maw

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  17. #10
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Not enough time in a day to do the things I need to do...

    All the curb rash - fixed, before:

    IMG_20180527_151413 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    After - what curb rash?

    IMG_20180527_162516 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    IMG_20180527_162854 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    Interior finally looks happy and healthy, not longer neglected dull ripped...

    Refurbed factory floor mats from crinkled, no backing and soiled by hydraulic leaks. Brand new mats are junk from the dealership, really thin, light weight, no heel pad, so I've molded cheap rubber universal mats from walmart as a new backing to originals, shampooed, scrubbed and removed all the wrinkles - looks and feels great again

    IMG_20180527_163022 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    Typical for these cars if left neglected, leather seats start to dry up and boom!

    IMG_20180607_203232 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    Scored very cheap leather bottom skins (brand new), so I tried to be an upholster for a day:

    IMG_20180607_202900 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    With a little patience, came out very nice, would do it again in half the time if I had to now

    IMG_20180608_203011 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    IMG_20180609_084710 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    IMG_20180609_084814 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

    Climate control replaced, bonus - AC is working now! I really thought I would have to work on the system, but turns out bad climate control unit, took half of can of R134a and now ice cold. I still want to take it to the shop have the system evacuated and refilled with fresh stuff/s

    Finally, interior is pleasant to be in, big progress overall, still, very little money, all above is under $200 in parts.

    Regards,
    D

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  19. #11
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Nice work, i do like the look of the earlier R129's.

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  21. #12
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Inspected, for the first time since 2015, no warnings!!! Refurbished front a rear suspension components, fresh of the the stands after all the suspension work



    aligned and now daily drive (finally)





    So, a huge portion of the deferred maintenance and neglect been addressed, very strong car! Now, before spending any more money on this project car, going to drive it daily for a month to see what gremlins it may present and to make sure that the drivetrain needs nothing and she burns no oil. If all of the above is a check, she will earn new paint in a month! Right now she is 15' looker on the driver side, 10' on the passenger

    Regards,
    D

    P.S. Quite a difference from before, the original Craigslist find (still has needs, but progress):


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  23. #13
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    This is the first time in 3 years interior sees the light, removed hardtop, quite like red/black topless





    Got to stink up the garage a little today, in process of re-doing 18" Carlsson wheels





    Epoxy primer finished





    Sun "baking"





    Final scuffing tomorrow and off to the shop to receive 756 AMG IMOLA GRAU finish...


    Regards,
    D

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  25. #14
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Well, the wheels are at the shop, while there, I did ask for a quote to re-do the entire car, my brother used to work there sometime back. Very reasonable "discounted" price using all BASF material, I disassemble the car, they do the rest.

    I have to find a good shop to do some exhaust work, Carlsson rear section to be mounted onto this car (used, but looks almost brand new, I was promised a good condition, but looks as if someone just mounted it for a week and removed it)





    So now, she becomes my daily driver for few weeks, if all mechanicals check out ok, burs no oil, no issues - paint at the end of the month (hopefully)...
    And a tough decision, which R129 gets my Expression Motorsport front and rear aprons

    Regards,
    D

    P.S. I have "addiction" to Carlsson things, even my old screen name was Babycarlsson, back in the days of Benzsport, Club202 and 500ecstasy, and another "fine" find for me

    Last edited by Duh_Vinci; 08-06-2018 at 02:12 PM.

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  27. #15
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Now, with transmission rebuild it owes me additional $100 for the Master Kit, $200 for all the steels, brake bands and misc pieces and $200 for the FGS valve body. Drives great, I can see why the FGS VB is desirable, its just that much more fun! These should be the last "large" expenses for the time being. Now off to the little things that have to be addressed:

    Started with replacement of all the interior bulbs, dash, cluster, vent controls. Autohausaz is definitely a great dealer alternative, as all these bulbs are just pennies. So many 23 year old bulbs were burned out or just tired, not anymore








    Now, all feels like a proper "cockpit"





    Rubber fitting at the top of the cluster were gone, no wonder it felt somewhat loose in the dash, replaced with the set from a spare cluster




    So the project continues...

    Regards,
    D

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  29. #16
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Sometime back, my brother's R129 was totaled (rearended), hand me down strut brace now mounted to this project car



    Regards,
    D

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  31. #17
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    So I have a little dilemma... Since I rebuild transmission, I've been driving this car daily, and have not touched SL320 (which is in very nice condition, great sound system and needs nothing). And somehow, despite the fact it has so many things it needs still, I'm growing to enjoy this SL500 more and more!



    There is just something so appealing about this M119 above 3K rpms and effortless acceleration on the freeway. I'm seriously considering letting SL320 go...


    Regards,
    D

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  33. #18
    E500E Guru TerryA's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    There’s no replacement for displacement.

    That six just doesn’t have the mo-jo!

    So it’s got to go!!
    Terry

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  35. #19
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryA View Post
    There’s no replacement for displacement...
    Love it!!! When SL320 is gone, I'm going to use that in my signature!


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  37. #20
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Sometime in the spring, the plan is to re-do the leather skins to somewhat mimic Mille Miglia style of interior (with few differences) I know its not for everyone taste, but I think I will like the two tone black/red seats https://www.mercedes-fans.de/fotostr...uto.99.13.html Going to swap a steering wheel too, got a great deal on R170 unit, was a little "dirty" so I got it cheap, cleaned up really nicely, I knew it would



    A little pop of color...

    Regards,
    D

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  39. #21
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Mounted this morning












    Feels much more comfortable that the original, but not sure yet if I like it as much as the later models or R129/R170, will see... Its a good thing to have "options"...

    Also, into the "winter mode", with all season tires





    Regards,
    D

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  41. #22
    E500E Guru TerryA's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    D,

    You have come a long way with your SL. It’s looking good.

    Have fin with it!!
    Terry

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  43. #23
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Cheers Terry!

    Yes, yes indeed, and hard to believe it's been a year! I can honestly say, this has been the most rewarding project I've ever had! I've learned so much and have acquired a great deal of confidence working on these cars. All these experiences now allow me to drrrrrrrrive the car with out hesitation or concern that I could brake something by pushing it a bit to hard. So if I brake it, I'll fix it (or at least I would like to think that I will). It really makes a driving experience a "very special" one! So indeed, having a great deal of fun with this car!

    Paint is next...

    Regards,
    D

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  45. #24
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    My new, pretty pretty eyes!!!!!



    Regards,
    D

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  47. #25
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    D_V,

    I have to publicly thank you for your continuing stream of thoughtful and informative posts and contributions to the various threads. Your participation here is really appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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  49. #26
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Cheers Gerry!

    Indeed appreciate the kind words, but I assure, the pleasure is all mine! I wish I could participate and offer something of value directly related .036, unfortunately only the "relatives" are in my stable. The knowledge of the folks on this forum and their willingness to share it with other enthusiasts makes the ownership of Mercedes a special one for sure! So huge thanks to all, I'm still learning and enjoying the experience!!!

    Regards,
    D

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  51. #27
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    I've never considered owning a 500SL before, but this string has me wondering if the knowledge I've gained maintaining the E420s over the past 22 years would be enough to maintain one of these models. Or maybe I would be biting off more than I could chew. I don't know. In any case, congratulations on the excellent restoration.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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  53. #28
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    D, this thread is excellent! Really nice work and thanks for sharing! These sort of projects are right up my street. A little elbow grease makes all the difference


    Keep the updates coming
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI | 1994 220CE

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  55. #29
    Senior Member Duh_Vinci's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    I've never considered owning a 500SL before, but this string has me wondering if the knowledge I've gained maintaining the E420s over the past 22 years would be enough to maintain one of these models. Or maybe I would be biting off more than I could chew. I don't know. In any case, congratulations on the excellent restoration.
    Thank you Jon, appreciate it! Jon, with your extensive experience maintaining E420's dont under estimate yourself, these R129s share so much with w124s... Other than the hydraulics for convertible top, you already have most of the knowledge. And what you don't, you will. Fun cars, can be very affordable to purchase, unfortunately, most of them have much of deferred maintenance to be done (nothing you have't seen or done).

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    D, this thread is excellent! Really nice work and thanks for sharing! These sort of projects are right up my street. A little elbow grease makes all the difference


    Keep the updates coming
    Thanks Joe, you know it, sometimes doesn't take much for improvement or restoration, as you said, a little elbow grease and a bit of your time. Luckily, this project was not pressing for time at all, doing it when I can, and not when I don't feel like it and enjoying as I go along... On the side note, I really really want to learn how to weld!!! Seeing your CE project is very inspirational!

    Next big things on this project car:

    1. All hydraulic cylinders... Need to decide if I just ship the spare units I have for rebuild to TopHydraulics and shell out $650 or get upgraded Viton seals from Germany for $150 and tackle it myself... Regardless, this will be done in the spring, just before the full respray, so I don't take a chance damaging a fresh paint

    2. Paint... Definitely will wait until the spring, since there is so much to be disassembled!

    3. Sound system... While the car is apart, would be a perfect time to re-wire entire sound system, to build a custom stealth subwoofer enclosure so I don't sacrifice any trunk space

    4. Update leather skins to 2 tone and put everything back together.

    So that's my "6 months" plan. For now, just keep driving this beast in it's somewhat "rat rod" status

    Regards,
    D

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  57. #30
    Mercedes Flopper
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    When you get to top cylinders, I'll watch in anticipation. I've only removed them from one car and as it was a parts car, it was not too painful. I never want to remove them from a car that I have to put back together again, even though I know that I have to because my 98 needs them done.

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  59. #31
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    unfortunately, most of them have much of deferred maintenance to be done (nothing you have't seen or done).
    That would probably be the Standard GVZ Deferred Maintenance ($5000) + $x,000.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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  61. #32
    Senior Member
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Fantastic project. I would love a R129 but I've got two kids who love these old Mercedes too and it's hard to share it with them if we can't all enjoy the car together.
    1977 MB 240D 4 speed 141K - Weekend Toy
    1991 MB 300TE 5 speed 270k - Long term project
    2014 Honda CR-V 23k - Wife's DD
    2015 Ford F150 EcoBoost 2k - My DD

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  63. #33
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    nicht schuldig.
    gerryvz's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    That would probably be the Standard GVZ Deferred Maintenance ($5000) + $x,000.
    A 129, with the hydraulic system, would be $10K deferred maintenance, unless the hydraulic cylinders have been replaced.

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  65. #34
    E500E Guru sheward's Avatar
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    "1. All hydraulic cylinders... Need to decide if I just ship the spare units I have for rebuild to TopHydraulics and shell out $650 or get upgraded Viton seals from Germany for $150 and tackle it myself... Regardless, this will be done in the spring, just before the full respray, so I don't take a chance damaging a fresh paint"
    I don't have any experience with SL top cylinders however I have rebuilt numerous hydraulic cylinders and found them to be relatively easy. I recommend you give them a try.

    drew
    Drew
    92 500e 58,500 miles
    92 500e 180,000+ miles
    93 500e 179,000 miles sold
    92 500e 110,000 miles sold

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  67. #35
    Senior Member
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    Re: SL500 progress and thank you all!

    buy the German Vito ones from https://www.shop.mjprodukte.de
    i replaced in many R129 and W124 the complete seals with Viton ones... not as hard, as you think, hardest part is to become the Cylinders out of the car self! check per EPC what Cylinder Part No you got in you car and check with the car itself and the Picture.

    and change the little O-Rings from the connection lines too.. https://www.shop.mjprodukte.de/Dicht...stem-R129.html you will need 2 per Cylinder. little tricky, but if you got those Set:

    Harbor Freight Pittsburgh 4 Piece Mini Pick and Hook Set, Item # 66836 https://www.harborfreight.com/4-piec...set-66836.html

    you are very got prepared!

    2 Main caps from the cylinders are glued in with loctite, heat them up and they screw out easy..

    2-3 Days Work in total for the first time

    tonneau-lift-r129.jpg
    500E - 1992 - v.EU
    E320 Convertible - 1994 - v.EU
    SL500 - 1997 - "40th Anniversary Roadster"
    G500 - 2015 - v.EU
    CLA 200 AMG/Shootingbrake - 2016 - v.EU

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