SLK55 r171 - advice please

SLK55 r171 - advice please

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DaveMcC1967

Original Poster:

36 posts

121 months

Tuesday 4th November 2014
quotequote all
I've just sold my Audi RS4 avant and will shortly be looking for a convertible to replace it - shortlist is currently between an SLK55 and a Porsche Boxster S. In either case I'd like to keep the budget to £20k but could stretch that a bit for the right car.

What if any spec changes / upgrades occurred during the life of the SLK55, and when? I recollect an Evo magazine used buying article which talked about an upgrade to the gearbox and the satnav - when did these happen and is it worth searching out a later car? And how can I tell whether a car has the upgrades or not? I know only the very early cars had the 6 pot front brake calipers, with it being an option on later cars, but I'm not the last of the late brakers so not too worried about this.

On some of the adverts, I've also noticed some cars have 4 silver knobs for the ventilation control, whereas a couple have 2 black knobs and a small screen between them. What's the difference between the two?

Anything else to look out for - either in options / spec or common problems?

Many thanks
Dave

buzzsaw

698 posts

216 months

Tuesday 4th November 2014
quotequote all
There was a refresh around 2007/2008 which updated some interior and exterior trim and the COMAND system I believe.

The differnece in the four knobs vs two knobs is manual climate control vs auto climate control

slk 32

1,074 posts

140 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Also you can get teh gearbox software upgraded - I did on mine to the later version whilst being serviced- cost £20

RussJ

56 posts

176 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Best place to look for advice is SLKworld.com.
The facelift is worth seeking out but not many about and will be £20kish. Easy to spot with flat bottomed steering wheel, SD card slot in the Comand (sat-nav)and different front grill. See below for press release.
As has been said the 2 knobs v 4 knobs is aircon v climate control. You can swop over to CC easily - its just plug and play.
Early, ie pre-2007 SLKs can suffer problems with the ZF gearbox - the dreaded "conductor plate" issue. You'll be looking at a bill of about £1500 at an indie to fix this. Not all cars suffer but if you notice rough shifts coming down the box when warm, then beware. Worth checking if the transmission fluid has been changed at 40k miles as this can sometimes help, as can a firmware update. As far as I am aware the facelift cars don't seem to have this problem.
Engines are pretty much bulletproof although some do weep oil at the cam covers - easy fix.
6 pot brakes are great but front fully floating discs are eye-wateringly expensive - £2k for discs and pads. Allegedly, there is a conversion available but I haven't seen who supplies it.
Good luck in your search - they are fantastic cars!
Russ

Details of 2008 facelift:
Fine-tuning and even more agility for the AMG eight-cylinder roadster

The SLK 55 AMG is now even more dynamic: a new front apron and dark-tinted headlamps give this unique eight-cylinder roadster an even more athletic look even at a standstill. The handling dynamics of the SLK 55 AMG have also been sharpened. For the first time the car features the new direct steering with variable servo assistance, which makes the 265 kW/360 hp two-seater even more agile and responsive. The SLK 55 AMG is also the only car in its class to feature a V8 engine, while the improved AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC transmission now offers even faster gearchanges.

The appearance of the sporty roadster now reinforces the car’s claim to special status even more emphatically. The redesigned front apron with a more pronounced arrow-shape, the modified Mercedes star, enlarged air dams and a black-painted transverse fin on the lower section ensure a distinctly masculine aura. Large, round foglamps with chrome surrounds are now positioned further outwards, enhancing the impression of width. The hot air from the integral engine oil cooler is vented via side outlets in the front apron. The specific AMG bodystyling also includes AMG side skirts, the muscular AMG rear apron with a black insert and the AMG spoiler lip.

New features also include dark-tinted projection-beam headlamps and larger exterior mirrors for better rearward visibility. LED indicator repeaters in an arrow design ensure more safety. Even more striking than before are the new 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a multi-spoke design. Painted in titanium grey and with a high-sheen star, these provide interesting contrasts when viewed from the side. With a width of 7.5 and 8.5 inches respectively, the AMG light-alloy wheels are fitted with size 225/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres. New, high-sheen 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a twin-spoke design are also available in the same sizes on request. Outstanding deceleration values are ensured by the AMG high-performance braking system with internally ventilated brake discs all-round. The front brakes have perforated discs of size 345 x 30 mm; 300 x 22 mm discs are fitted at the rear.

Newly developed direct steering with variable servo assistance

The all-new direct steering system with variable servo assistance makes for first-class handling dynamics, and makes the SLK 55 AMG even more agile. A key component of this direct steering is the newly designed steering rack. This allows a ratio spread from 15.8:1 to 11.5:1 – which the driver experiences as more responsiveness at around five degrees or more from the centred position. Variable servo assistance makes the roadster particularly agile and lively on winding roads, as the driver has less to do than before – only 2.16 turns of the wheel are required from lock to lock. This also produces considerable comfort advantages when manoeuvring at slow speeds.

The driver of the SLK 55 AMG also benefits from this outstanding controllability during high-speed manoeuvres such as the VDA lane-change test, as his hands no longer need to be repositioned on the wheel. The AMG Roadster also sets standards when it comes to straight-line stability at high speed – this is where the less direct steering configuration in the centred position has a positive effect. This is supported by the already familiar speed-sensitive servo function: the servo assistance decreases as the speed increases, which improves both handling and driving safety.

AMG eight-cylinder engine for superior performance

The striking bonnet with its characteristic longitudinal fins conceals the 5.5-litre AMG eight-cylinder engine, which has an output of 265 kW/360 hp and develops 510 newton metres of torque – figures which remain unrivalled in this segment. Enormous torque, immediate responsiveness and the typical AMG V8 sound characterise the driving experience, together with outstanding performance: the two-seater accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, reaches the 200 km/h mark in 17.5 seconds and has a top speed (electronically limited) of 250 km/h. Power is transferred by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC transmission with steering wheel gearshift paddles, which now ensures even greater agility: gearchanges in the "S" (Sport) and "M" (Manual) driving modes are around ten percent faster than before. This is not only thanks to the new components in the seven-speed automatic transmission, but also to the new engine and transmission management, which also ensures that the gearshifts are smoother.

Functional interior with new AMG instrument cluster

In the functional and sporty interior of the SLK 55 AMG, the new AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel with its three-spoke design gives a visual hint of the direct steering feature. The grip area is specially shaped and lined with perforated leather, while the vertical spoke is embellished by a silver-coloured insert. Two aluminium AMG shift paddles allow manual gear selection.

The AMG instrument cluster with a 320 km/h speedometer scale, silver/red needles and AMG lettering also has a new look, and the new graphics ensure that vehicle speed and rpm are even more easily legible. In "M" mode, the AMG main menu is able to display the currently selected gear including an upshift recommendation, as well as the engine oil temperature, the battery voltage or the RACETIMER. The AMG sports seats with their special upholstery layout feature pronounced side bolsters for improved lateral support when cornering at speed; Alcantara inserts in the shoulder areas improve this lateral support even further. Fine nappa leather upholstery is part of the standard appointments of the SLK 55 AMG. It is available in a choice of four attractive colours, with a stylish combination of black/gullwing red as a new entrant to the range.
Below are details of the facelift in 2008:

Performance package for the driver with racing ambitions

The AMG performance package is available for the SLK 55 AMG on request. This package developed by the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO incorporates even higher-performance components. The result is an ultra-exciting driving experience for sports car enthusiasts who sometimes like to put their AMG model through its paces on the racetrack.

The AMG p erformance package for the SLK 55 AMG consists of:

AMG high-performance braking system with internally ventilated and perforated composite brake discs, size 360 x 32 mm, with six-piston fixed callipers at the front
Internally ventilated and perforated brake discs, size 330 x 26 mm, with four-piston fixed callipers at the rear
18-inch AMG multi-piece light-alloy wheels in a twin-spoke design, size 7.5 x 18 with tyre size 225/40 R 18 (front) and size 8.5 x 18 with tyre size 245/35 R 18 (rear)
AMG performance suspension
AMG performance steering wheel with smaller diameter, flattened lower section and silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles
AMG carbon-fibre trim in the interior

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
slk 32 said:
Also you can get teh gearbox software upgraded - I did on mine to the later version whilst being serviced- cost £20
Sorry to thread hijack but can you give details of this and 'what its called'
i've got a 2005 SLK55 and it's going into an Indy (good one) in a few weeks for some bits and peices, and i'd like to talk to the guys there to see if mines been done or needs to be done.

Is there a code or a description of what 'the newer' or newist software upgrade is.

Any help much appreciated.

Oh and advice to OP - go for it !! in the later cars you can get some really nice colours like the gunmetal. if you can seek out one with Designo interor these are very nice and worth seeking out. give away is leather on the rolllover hoops.

Also the Harmon kardon logic7 is superb, astonishing sound quality. Stero's like that cost 2 grand when i was 17!! (haha, Cica 1996)

The sat nav is crap even on the later ones but nothing you cant sort out with a print off from google and input using the flag drop on the satnav. I dont even have a smartphone so any tech that works i find useful!

Over and above all that, release a few Decibels with some inexpensive exhaust mods then the little car/Huge V8 package comes to life.

Remember it's a mini GT car not an Elise wanna be, keep that in mind and you'll be ver happy indeed.
I've come from Bikes (still got 1000cc one) and have raced them at national level and the speed of the SLK55 'for a road car' is seriously impressive. Lovely bit of kit i wouldn't sell mine now.

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
RussJ said:
Best place to look for advice is SLKworld.com.
6 pot brakes are great but front fully floating discs are eye-wateringly expensive - £2k for discs and pads. Allegedly, there is a conversion available but I haven't seen who supplies it.
I've just done all 4 discs and pads on mine (has the 6 pot front calipers) for £440.

The fronts - if you get the later 2007onwards SLK55 or CLK55 front dics (I got pagid at £49 each from Europarts - drilled and vented!), these are identical in all offsets and dimensions except they are 345mm Dia. you need 340mm Dia for the 2005-2007 6 potted SLK55. No worries, just get the 345mm discs machined down (and crucially) dynamically re-balanced. Very competent enginer shops or places specialising in classic cars can help. Reffited mine with EBC Red stuff Maserati pads (same brembo caliper). Jobs a good un. Huge saving over Merc £600 a disc. Like above posting, quotes of £2k to chage just the fronts is common place.

The Rears - 300mm dia and very common Merc/Daimler disc. Only problem is all Aftermarket stuff is vented but not drilled. Again no problem, competant machine shop can drill & shampher without striking the cooling fins inside. Again a saving over Merc parts. Although not much, only £100 a corner saved. Again fitted with EBC Red Stuff from the SL500 (same caliper).

The OEM pads and aftermarket are very soft and give good performance but due to compound produce insane amount of dust and wheels can be covered (plastered!) in dust in as little as 100 miles. After a tank full of fuel and 300 mile the wheels almost need cleaning it's that bad. That was one of the reasons i wanted to move to Ceramic EBC Red Stuff, plus of cource the extra performance and durability they offer.

Before fitting to car i masked off Pad swept areas and used some VHT Caliper and hub paint to provdce a nice detailed look to the brakes and they have come out amazing. will post a pic if interested.



Edited by rgv250ads on Wednesday 5th November 18:35


Edited by rgv250ads on Wednesday 5th November 18:39

Chris Bowes

12 posts

92 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
rgv250ads said:
I've just done all 4 discs and pads on mine (has the 6 pot front calipers) for £440.

The fronts - if you get the later 2007onwards SLK55 or CLK55 front dics (I got pagid at £49 each from Europarts - drilled and vented!), these are identical in all offsets and dimensions except they are 345mm Dia. you need 340mm Dia for the 2005-2007 6 potted SLK55. No worries, just get the 345mm discs machined down (and crucially) dynamically re-balanced.
Not sure these discs are exactly the same as the early 2 part discs are 32mm thick/ 30mm minimum thickness and the later discs start at 30mm thick 28mm minimum thickness

buzzer

3,200 posts

187 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Chris Bowes said:
rgv250ads said:
I've just done all 4 discs and pads on mine (has the 6 pot front calipers) for £440.

The fronts - if you get the later 2007onwards SLK55 or CLK55 front dics (I got pagid at £49 each from Europarts - drilled and vented!), these are identical in all offsets and dimensions except they are 345mm Dia. you need 340mm Dia for the 2005-2007 6 potted SLK55. No worries, just get the 345mm discs machined down (and crucially) dynamically re-balanced.
Not sure these discs are exactly the same as the early 2 part discs are 32mm thick/ 30mm minimum thickness and the later discs start at 30mm thick 28mm minimum thickness
that's my understanding...

The early cars with 6 pot brakes and floating discs have the following dimensions

340mm diameter
32mm thick
67mm centre hole
51mm overall height

The cars with 4 pot callipers with 345mm disks have the following dimensions

345mm diameter
30mm thick
67mm centre hole
46.5mm overall height

I cant see how the later disks fit the earlier cars, even if you skim 5mm off the diameter? anyone got any pictures of the later disk on an early car?

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Yes true, the thickness is narrower on the modified 345mm discs but as these discs are fitted to clk55 and later slk55 models and a few heavier merc models too, should be no issue. It is a shame there is no true 340mm dia, 32mm thick alternative to the 600plus quid merc items

Edited by rgv250ads on Wednesday 5th November 21:53

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Yes got pictures and are on no problems

As the disc is 4mm "more off the hub" the brake pad nearest the motor (inside one) has a fraction more piston travel to get the pad on the disc but it is a fraction.

Edited by rgv250ads on Wednesday 5th November 22:06

buzzer

3,200 posts

187 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
rgv250ads said:
Yes true, the thickness is narrower on the modified 345mm discs but as these discs are fitted to clk55 and later slk55 models and a few heavier merc models too, should be no issue. It is a shame there is no true 345mm dia,, 32mm thick alternative to the 600plus qiid merc items
how do you get over the fact the overall height is 4.5mm less, coupled with the additional 2mm less thickness? do you have any pictures of the discs mounted on the car and how they sit in the callipers? I would be interested to see them on a car.

There is am alternative. These are the same dimensions as the original fitment.



buzzer

3,200 posts

187 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
rgv250ads said:
Yes got pictures and are on no problems

As the disc is 4mm thicker on the hub the pad nearest the motor (inside one) has a fraction more piston travel to get the pad on the disc but it is a fraction.
ah, OK, I can see that working

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Yep seen your work with modding your sourced discs with the new grub screw hole. Nice

For me it was modding the 345mm ones.

Will check pad wear as I go to see if the inner pads wears at a different rate. I doubt it but will keep an eye.

buzzer

3,200 posts

187 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
rgv250ads said:
Yep seen your work with modding your sourced discs with the new grub screw hole. Nice

For me it was modding the 345mm ones.

Will check pad wear as I go to see if the inner pads wears at a different rate. I doubt it but will keep an eye.
take your point... I would be happy with the disks being 2mm thinner...

However, that 4.5mm difference in height, coupled with possibly 2mm (as the discs are thinner) plus potentially another 1mm or more as the disc wears, means that the pistons on one side come out possibly 7 mm more than they should as the pads wear... The pistons are quite short on these, best keep a check on how they wear as you say.

buzzer

3,200 posts

187 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
RGV250 ads,

I am also interested to hear about the gearbox software upgrade and if there is any way mine can be checked to see if its been done, do you have anymore details?

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
Yes will do.

What supplier and part number did you source yours.

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
buzzer said:
RGV250 ads,

I am also interested to hear about the gearbox software upgrade and if there is any way mine can be checked to see if its been done, do you have anymore details?
Nope have no details hence asking previous poster

slk 32

1,074 posts

140 months

Wednesday 5th November 2014
quotequote all
rgv250ads said:
buzzer said:
RGV250 ads,

I am also interested to hear about the gearbox software upgrade and if there is any way mine can be checked to see if its been done, do you have anymore details?
Nope have no details hence asking previous poster
Sorry for delay in posting. I think I initially read about it on here as someone was claiming that the gearbox upgrade made a massive difference and it was less 'jerky'.

I'd not had a problem but as it was in for a service the next week I enquired and the MBTech just looked it up and applied it. I guess if you go to an indy with all the STAR gear should be easy enough to do. There was no special wording .. just gearbox software upgrade.

Hope that helps!

DaveMcC1967

Original Poster:

36 posts

121 months

Thursday 6th November 2014
quotequote all
Thanks all - that's very helpful.

On the pre- facelift cars, is the Command satnav just a single CD / radio, or can you hook up an ipod (properly..... - not a Dension type solution)? Alternatively how easy is it to retro-fit the later Command unit - and how easy are these to get hold of 2nd hand?

I need to drive an SLK and a Boxster to decide which I prefer, though I'm leaning more towards the slk due to some of the horror stories of engine and gearbox reliability on the Boxsters.

Dave

rgv250ads

413 posts

61 months

Thursday 6th November 2014
quotequote all
DaveMcC1967 said:
Thanks all - that's very helpful.

On the pre- facelift cars, is the Command satnav just a single CD / radio, or can you hook up an ipod (properly..... - not a Dension type solution)?
Mine's got an ipod hook up but was not aftermarket, there is a propper lead available.
Try thses folks for Anything on these systems, good rep apparently!

http://www.commandonline.co.uk/
01276 451579

I think you can get DAB upgrades, reversing cameras, all sorts. Even for the earlier ones.
TBH you can pull out the now aging Comand unit and fit a whizz bang doudble DIN unit with Bluetooth everything and sat nav included, ipod, cameras, everything (and maintain steering wheel controls). and still maintain your OEM unit for fitting later if required.

I would consider this if the 'ICE' set up was that importnant to me but it isn't, however, it's probably the only thing on the SLK that could do with a real re-fresh.

Engineering wise or ownership experience wise, i think it's a brilliant package. Like you i considered a Boxster but the IMS issues really kyboshed it and the security of a hardtop is also a swinger. Plus i'd heard some SLK55's with some exhaust mods and they really come to life, and after hearing one i knew if one pulled up next to me at lights and i was in the flat 6 and a booming V8 was adjacent, i'd swap keys.

Mine's a 2nd car/toy, and i wanted a sense of occasion for each drive. the SLK delivers this ownership experience. I also don't think i could hack the 'not a 911 thou is it'....

Edited by rgv250ads on Thursday 6th November 08:28