2002/2003 sl55amg

Discussion in 'AMG Lounge' started by John757, May 2, 2017.

  1. John757

    John757 Member

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    Hi all, In a couple of months i retire :bannana: and i'm looking to buy myself a little retirement gift..
    namely a 2002/2003 SL55 AMG .. with around 60k miles and as few owners as poss... std cond. (UK RHD) desirable options..are Pano roof and 19inch wheels..Black or Dark blue with berry/black interior, keyless,

    Does anyone here with knowledge of this model have any advice as to what to check when viewing an SL55 AMG apart from the obvious paperwork and history..? .any known recall issues? and faults?

    many thanks

    John757
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  2. Jrattan

    Jrattan Active Member

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    C63 W204
    The problems I'm aware of are...
    -rear boot seals can leak so water can get into roof motor mechanism usually affects earlier models
    - front struts can fail usually around £1500 each
    - air suspension can fail which is a few K
    - they can rust under the glass of the rear panel
    Also remember that these are fairly old cars and common with Mercedes of that age, electrical problems can come up and will cost a few quid to fix.

    There's also a buyer guide which is worth a read
    https://www.pistonheads.com/features/ph-buying-guides/ph-buying-guide-mercedes-sl55-amg/25445
     
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  3. Graham21

    Graham21 Member

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    Location:
    Glasgow
    Car:
    E55 AMG
    Buy the best one you can afford and pay for an independent inspection from a good indy. Could save you thousands!
     
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  4. Graham21

    Graham21 Member

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    Glasgow
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    Nice gift btw :) It's a lot of car for the money!
     
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  5. AMGeed

    AMGeed Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Good summary.
    One point, the SL has ABC hydraulic suspension, not airmatic.

    Getting a prospective car inspected by an MB indy is paramount or that retirement present could end in heartache.
     
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  6. Jrattan

    Jrattan Active Member

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    Haha that's what I get for typing while I'm at work

    Yeah definitely recommend an inspection as some won't be that well cared for. I know a very good one in Kent if that helps?
     
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  7. flowrider

    flowrider MB Enthusiast

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    Personally i would forego keyless go, nearly every story i read lately about stolen Mercedes all have keyless go.

    Things to check.....

    1. Bottom of rear window boot seals tend to leak but there is a cheap fix for this.
    2. Check all 5 drains are clear, 1 in the front at the base of the airbox and 2 either side of the c pillars. Pull back the passenger carpet and make sure it is dry underneath.
    3. Check the roof operates smoothly, lower and raise it several times.
    Check the ABC hydraulic suspension operates smoothly by raising and lowering several times, there should be very little to no sound.
    4. Check all the ABC struts for leaks or misting.
    5. Carefully check the ABC fluid. It should be green, brown is not good and black is very bad. When checking the fluid make sure the area around the dipstick is very clean so as not to contaminate the resevior. Only check the fluid by the dipstick.
    6. Check all the electrics work.
    7. Make sure the PSE pump in the boot is dry, its under the boot floor panel on the nearside under a big sponge. If the sponge is dry then the pump should be dry.
    8. Check the rear wheel arches for rust.
    9. A 2002/3 car should by now have had a new consumer battery, this is the one in the boot. This battery runs all the electrics and has a hard life. The battery under the bonnet is only for starting the car.
    10. Cosmetic but essential, make sure the car has the wind deflector. These are quite expensive to buy and some sellers sell them separately which i think is a bit naughty.
    11. Check the gearbox goes from Park into Drive smoothly, these cars have a plastic linkage which can crack and break which results in being stuck in Park.

    I think thats all. Dont let the above put you off, SL's are fabulous cars, just dont buy one with existing issues.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  8. JohnnyAMG

    JohnnyAMG Active Member

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    Location:
    London
    Car:
    SL55 AMG
    I bought a 4 owner 2003 SL55 with 62k back in January. It is black with red leather and has Bose and Pano Roof. I looked at a lot of cars in the £20-£28k bracket but in the end I paid sub £20k from a private seller. I bought on condition and history. I knew I would need to spend some money on the car to get it up to a standard I am happy with and 3 months later I am delighted with it. Here is a list of things I have sorted on my car since I bought it. Replaced drivers side mirror(auto dimming) Replaced both side mirror indicator lamps(condensation has caused them to become cloudy) New wheel centre caps ABC fluid flush ABC hose under radiator replaced New rear brake pads Replaced outside temperature sensor and cleared fault code Recovered steering wheel Replaced C Pillar trim covers New bottle of Tyre foam Replaced rear MB boot badge Replaced fuel filler cap Replaced air intake to throttle body seal New AMG mats Repaired faulty cigarette lighter socket New number plates and surrounds Lubricate all plastic, rubbers, hinges, etc Replace bonnet opening handle AMG Key cover Clean out rear window drains New boot struts Full leather treatment I have very minor rust bubbles on one wheel arch which I will sort soon and I have a B service(inc. plugs) and front disks and pads due in the next 1,000 miles so that will be just north of £1,000. So in terms of what to look out for the big ones have already been mentioned Boot seals, ABC(check when it last had an ABC fluid change, most places recommend every 2 years), wheel arches, etc You will read many horror stories about the boot seals and rightly so. I identified that the seals were slightly leaking on the car I bought. I called a MB dealer and they wanted £3,500 to renew them. I was initially put off buying the car but after a good deal of research it turns out the seals can be fixed for a whole lot less. Depending on your skill level you can do it yourself or pay an indie to do it for you. It cost me about £50 to do mine and I just tested them on Monday in very heavy rain and the boot is bone dry. More than the seals failing the important thing is to lift the carpet in the boot and check the condition of the insulation around the PSE pump if there is water in that area then walk away or expect a big bill to come at you. According to most the ABC issues are not an “if” question, they are a “when” question. So at some stage I am expecting a hit to the wallet but it doesn’t put me off the car at all. Here are a couple of small things to look out for. Check the heated seats all work fully. The seat bases often fail while the seats backs are fine. When I was buying mine I did a quick check and felt the heat on my back but didn’t wait long enough to see if the seat base was heating also. As the heat pads are woven into the leather cover it can be expensive if you want to use MB parts to fix(replacement cover for seat base only is £700). There are companies that will add a replacement heating pad and wire it into the original loom for about £200. Fuel tank baffles – They can come loose and it’s an expensive fix. Listen out of knocking from the rear of the car. Wing mirror on the driver’s side oly is auto dimming. In day time if it looks dull or bronzed then expect to pay £300 for a replacement glass from MB or £100-£150 from a breakers for the glass only. If the boot lid is not staying open or lazy then struts need to be replaced. £80 from MB Rear wheel arches – They tend to rust at some stage as dirt builds up behind them. It’s quite common and about £300 per side to fix with a good garage. Depending on your preference looks out for modifications. Most commonly remap, secondary cat removal and lowered. Rocker cover gaskets can leak oil. – about £150 fix with an Indie Gearbox fluid – Should be done every 5 years. There are lots of other minor things like heater shutoff valve, glove box lock sticking but small fixes not unlike any other car. As mentioned above get a pre purchase inspection done for peace of mind. I know it sounds like a mine field but don’t be put off. They are fantastic cars. I did 1,700 miles in mine in the highlands over Easter and it was a joy.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
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  9. OP
    OP
    John757

    John757 Member

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    Aug 7, 2010
    Car:
    Black E350CDi Coupe Sport, & G Wagen G280 SWB
    thanks for all the advice guys... certainly a lot to think about.... I do all the maintenance on My G Wagen (its 27years old) so i'm ok with mechanical stuff... and have a great indie garage i take my other car E350 coupe to for last 5 years... might ask him if he does inspections...on an ad hoc basis... a lot of people dont like mechanics prodding and poking their pride and joy!! i almost always buy from a garage... rather than private as it gives you a little buyer protection... do you guys use a warranty company to cover repairs or are they overpriced and a waste of time? a friend of mine used the AA to inspect her car before she bought it and when it broke down..they had to cough up...(ist year at least) Im at the learn al about it stage.... 3 months before i commit to a car.... plenty of time to look at the market...see what is around... watch this space!
     
  10. JohnnyAMG

    JohnnyAMG Active Member

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    London
    Car:
    SL55 AMG
  11. tanuie

    tanuie MB Enthusiast

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    +1.
     
  12. JDL60

    JDL60 MB Enthusiast

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    Great summary....or buy one with known issues haggle the price and have a few k salted away for the pain which will come!
    Check the SBC/SBC Hold is working would be only other addition
     
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