My R230

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
Anniversary report.......we collected the SL from Bremen 18 September 2003.

Another year and 10925 miles have quickly past.......recorded odometer reading today is 114409 miles.

It has been a ''quiet'' year financially for the SL with aggregate expenditure at only £727.49.......next year will be very different because the car will need replacement front discs and pads around the turn of the year plus a new set of summer tyres in the spring........so that will be a few ''Bob'' before any other items present themselves.


A diary of SL500 WDB2304752F062185

I had, for many years, been an admirer of the Mercedes Benz SLs and in years past I had owned two W123s and two W126s so I have owned two of the marques very best models. In 2001 I had become aware of the introduction of the R230 with the folding hard top similar in concept to that of the R170. I did some reading and determined that it was time for me to become an SL owner which proved to be something of a waiting game. I did not want to pay a premium and I did not want an ‘’import’’ so 31 October 2001 I penned my formal order for an SL500, the only variant on offer at the time, with MB Oxford. I was advised of a three years waiting list.
I maintained close contact with MB Oxford and by May of 2003 I was asked to finalize the specification of my car because it was expected to be built in September of that year, which was about a year sooner than originally advised.
I chose Brilliant Silver coachwork, Alpaca Grey interior with Black Ash wood. Extras chosen were Comfort seats, Dynamic seats, Parktronic and Bose Sound.
Not an extra but I also chose ‘’Factory Collect’’ which I recommend to anyone fortunate enough to be buying a new Mercedes Benz.
September eventually came and MrsB and I were transported to the Park Hotel (a worthwhile £50.00 upgrade for the two of us) in Bremen 17 September 2003.

18 September 2003

We were collected by taxi after breakfast and taken to the MB Bremen facility where we were treated to a film about how the cars were built followed by a guided tour of the production line which excluded the paint shop as is always the case on production line tours. Health and safety in conjunction with the need for laboratory type conditions I think. The most noticeable thing about the SL line was the lack of people compared with the BMW mini line, Jaguar XF line and not surprisingly the Morgan production ‘’line’’. The only people working on the SL line were the occasional quality controller and the operatives putting in the wiring looms which were tasks too awkward for robots. This was a fascinating insight into how the car I was about to collect is put together…….everything is JIT.
The hand over hall is a huge ‘’cathedral’’ of a place capable of absorbing very many cars and the whole process is pure theatre. We were afforded luncheon which was on the first floor allowing us to look down over those before us being ‘’handed’’ their new cars (not all collections were SLs but a seemingly full range of models, many made elsewhere, presumably ordered by locals) whilst we waited for our car to be driven into the ‘’cathedral’’ and our names called. I was shown how everything worked and glazed over with information overload, I was given the keys and invited to drive out of the ‘’cathedral’’ into industrial Bremen; which I did with considerable caution.

23 September 2003

I took the car to MB Oxford for its formal PDI, to have a lifetime Tracker fitted and have the car registered with UK plates; the car on collection comes with temporary
German plates. We had spent the intervening time holidaying in Holland, Belgium and France.



01 March 2005 (11115 miles)

A new off side front fog lamp supplied and fitted by MB Oxford in addition to some work on easing out a minor dent on the bonnet by Ultimate Dents. £274.37

This followed an interaction with a deer the consequences of which could have been much worse.

06 May 2005 (13657 miles)

‘A’ service, MB Oxford £267.92

16 May 2006 (20600 miles)

New brake pads all round, MB Oxford £355.39

15 September 2006 (26425 miles)

‘B’ service and MOT, MB Oxford £674.24

25 September 2007 (32943 miles)

MOT, MB Oxford £50.35

08 July 2008 (39041 miles)

‘A’ service including recommended time and mileage related items, MB Oxford £1620.03…..ouch

23 September 2008 (40322 miles)

MOT, MB Oxford £53.10

15 September 2009 (49345 miles)

MOT, MB Oxford £54.00

October 2009

The car started to sound like a can of nails which was clearly the result of the catalytic converters having ‘’broken up’’ in the middle silencers which I discovered, after doing some research, was a known failing. After only six years and 50k miles I felt very strongly that not only should this not have happened but that MB should rectify the situation either foc or with a substantial financial contribution.
MB Oxford did not want to support my case to the point of wanting to charge me £120 to confirm my diagnosis (2mins. in the car park would have done it) and repeatedly reminding me that the car was out of warranty…..thanks but no thanks. After a fruitless exchange of correspondence with MB customer ‘’services’’ I was left with MB’s solution of a replacement exhaust system supplied and fitted at my expense in the sum of about £1850, or finding an alternative, which was leaving me somewhat disillusioned with the MB commitment to accepting responsibility for the manufacturing failings of their product.

20 November 2009 (53450)

I had the middle silencers c/w catalytic converters removed and replaced with stainless steel pipes by Longlife in the sum of £185.00.

The car sounds better than ever and standard MOT emissions testing equipment is not sufficiently sensitive to record that the ‘’mid box’’ catalytic converters have been removed.

12 January 2010 (51968 miles)

Replacement of the starting and main batteries, Star Motor Services £306.68

22 January 2010 (52039 miles)

Replace under trays, front apron and aerial following an unscheduled ‘’off piste’’ excursion to the verge after encountering ‘’black ice’’. Star Motor Services £1246.44

01 March 2010

MB Oxford take the car to Liam Kenny, their approved body work specialists, to ‘’deal with’’ the corrosion around the wheel arches. I am very dispirited about the need for this work and disillusioned to learn that corrosion repair work is only ever done under the 30yrs. warranty after the instigation of litigation proceedings (allegedly). The 30yrs. corrosion warranty is not honoured willingly it would seem. Corrosion repair work is done under the ‘’banner’’ of goodwill when MB’s self imposed criteria are met including an 8yrs. maximum age limit on the car.
It took an extensive exchange of correspondence to extract a three years, as opposed to two years, warranty for the corrosion repair work, which was done at MB’s expense, even though, had my Contract been direct with Liam Kenny I would have
automatically got a ‘’lifetime’’ warranty from Liam Kenny (I did not explore what ‘’lifetime’’ means).


05 March 2010 (52886 miles)

MB Oxford collected the car from Liam Kenny and carried out a ‘B’ service £1004.98……ouch again.

25 August 2010 (58337 miles)

SRS fault fixed, fault code reset and MOT, Ian Horne Motor Repairs £111.38

22 September 2010 (59097)

Another SRS fault fixed, Ian Horne Motor Repairs £44.06

18 November 2010 (60647 miles)

Supply and fit new ABC pump, Star Motor Services £1241.86

04 January 2011 (61744 miles)

Replace front brake pads, Star Motor Services £119.12

08 September 2011 (68872 miles)

MOT, Star Motor Services £56.70

13 December 2011 (71448 miles)

Service, ‘A’ or ‘B’ whatever needs doing, Star Motor Services £322.22

21 July 2012 (77877 miles)

I clumsily dropped my TomTom on to the screen of the Comand Unit which determined the beginning of the end for a Comand Unit so yesteryear that I was preferring to use a TomTom for satellite navigation (and the fixed camera data base).

17 August 2012 (78800 miles)

The Comand Unit was replaced with an Alpine INA-W910R which is a neat compact integrated unit which is system expandable. Fundamentally it is a radio and music centre iphone integrated with an upgradeable Europe wide satellite navigation system and fixed camera data base. Supplied and fitted by Oxford Car Audio £1771.99

29 August 2012 (79187 miles)

MOT, Star Motor Services £56.70

06 February 2013 (83213 miles)

Replace front and rear brake pads, Star Motor Services £199.51

09 March 2013 (84224 miles)

Summer wheels refurbished, Lepsons £360.00

03 April 2013 (84896 miles)

Service and replacement of boot struts, Star Motor Services £191.70 (£154.16+£37.54)

27 August 2013 (89474 miles)

MOT, Star Motor Services £96.48

28 September 2013 (91636 miles)

Brake calipers painted blue, hubs silver and brake fluid changed, Krystal Kleen Detail £250.00

19 December 2013 (93670 miles)

Replace gear box mount, replace missing o/s/r caliper mounting bolt and tighten all other caliper mounting bolts, Star Motor Services £76.80

17 April 2014 (97200 miles)

Rust repairs to rear wings, prime and paint. Repair and paint cill covers and rear bumper (omitted) whilst off the car. Repair and paint off side front bumper moulding.
Multi-Tech £730.00

14 May 2014 (98686 miles)

Service including the replacement of the N/S/F track rod end, Star Motor Services £911.75

23 May 2014 (98850 miles)

Exterior paintwork enhancement detail followed by a Liquid Elements ‘’Shield’’ ceramic coating (5 coats), Krystal Kleen Detail £730.00




28 August 2014 (102252 miles)

Fix broken brake pad sensor plug and rectify poor connections to the seat belt tensioners in the seat backs (SRS light again); MOT. Star Motor Services £136.08

07 January 2015 (106051 miles)

Replace faulty crank shaft sensor, Star Motor Services £147.06

20 April 2015 (108384 miles)

Wiring loom modification (yellow SRS connectors beneath the seats) and effect a repair to the n/s roof hinge flap, Star Motor Services £173.40

07 July 2015 (112423)

Service.
Remove front battery tray, remove loose rust, apply rust inhibitor, replace tray.
‘’Plan B’’ repair to n/s roof hinge flap.
Star Motor Services £270.95

25 August 2015 (113727)

Replace ABC Pulsation Damper (second hand part foc) and MOT.
Star Motor Services £136.08

DIY

I do not often do DIY….. but….. I did re-seal the ‘’boot’’ seals below the rear window and at the bottom of the C pillars using black CT1. I did this in the spring/summer of 2011 as a necessary preventative measure because these seals are known to fail on the earlier R230s. I also fitted Mini gutter trim using black CT1 to the lips of the wheel arches to delay the inevitable recurrence of corrosion. (removed from the rear arches by Multi-Tech to effect rust repairs 17 April 2014 and not replaced in favour of a comprehensive Waxoyling)

Tyres and Wheels

Summer tyres, to 14 November 2012, to the rear averaged 17000 miles and to the front 22650 miles giving an average life for summer tyres of about 19400 miles. The last time I bought summer tyres was 09 March 2013 supplied and fitted in the sum of £187.00 each (on the car 13 April 2013).
I bought a used set of wheels in the summer of 2010 (original Homans all as the wheels supplied with the car) for £250 which came with an average of about 11500 miles of usable rubber on each wheel. Arguably I bought more than £250 worth of rubber and got free wheels. I had these wheels refurbished in March 2013 and they are now the SL’s ‘’summer’’ wheels.
The car’s original wheels, now the SL’s ‘’winter’’ wheels, are being used with winter tyres which were purchased 25 November 2011 in the sum of £240.00 each; supplied and fitted.

Tyres have cost about 3.9 ppm in ‘’today’s money’’.

Despite the campaign by MB to promote the sale and use of winter tyres MB Oxford could not get me winter tyres for the winter 2011/12 and assured me that winter tyres in my required size, 255/45R17 98V, were not manufactured…….for goodness sakes.
Event Tyres supplied and fitted the correct size Pirelli SottoZeros.


Total Running Costs to 31 March 2015 (108076 miles)

In today’s buying power of the GBP I calculate that each and every mile (including RFL, insurance and fuel at an average of 20.59mpg) that I have driven the car, all leisure and pleasure, it has cost me £1.29 of which £0.82 is attributable to depreciation. I calculate the respective figures for the 12 months to 31 March 2015 to be £0.61 and £0.15 respectively.
In order to maximise the dilution of the cost of the depreciation I need to keep the car indefinitely….. which was always my intention.
At the present rate of usage the car will have done 400,000 miles by the time I am 100yrs. of age so it is now a straight competition between me and my car as to which one of us first reaches the point of being beyond economic repair.

In terms of what it delivers this car is cheap to run (cheap being a relative term when considering the cost of running a motor car)……it is beautiful, it is a roadster, it is a coupe, it is fun to drive, it is comfortable, it is a Grand Tourer second none and the M113 engine is expected to be indestructible……what is not to love about it.

General

Anecdotal evidence suggests that after sales service by MB and their main dealer network is not as supportive as I believe a buyer of a new car should reasonably expect. The apparent indifference of MB Oxford led me to look elsewhere and find Star Motor Services at Caversham with whom I am very comfortable……they are almost a one hour drive from me but well worth the inconvenience.


Last updated 29 August 2015


The cost of ownership of the car continues to fall year on year primarily due to the decreasing annual depreciation. I use an empirical formula which is the depreciation (17.50% of the previous year's reduced balance) plus the average of the cost of the last three years maintenance, repair and servicing costs.

£
12502 to 31 March 2005
10683
8691
7274
6513
5864
5562
4807
4578
3756
3591 to 31 March 2015

I trust the forgoing will be of interest to some........I have Posted a lot of this information in the past but only within someone else's Thread so it tends to get ''lost''. I have therefore elected to start my own Thread which I can update periodically........the R230 over time has generated a lot of interest and questions and I hope this Thread will go some way to answering many of the questions raised.

Thanks

Mic
 

F1BHP

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
594
Car
SL600
Could I ask what the original purchase price was?

The SL600 I purchased did not fair so well before I purchased it. The original price was 120k and I paid 40k after just 4 years and 6k miles.

Just in depreciation that represents over £13 a mile so the 50 mile return trip to Knitsbridge that the car did regularly cost £650 each trip. Then add fuel, maintenance and insurance to the bill and it was probably close to £15 a mile. So £750 a trip, I am quite sure a helicopter would have been cheaper.
 
OP
OP
MicB

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
Could I ask what the original purchase price was?

The SL600 I purchased did not fair so well before I purchased it. The original price was 120k and I paid 40k after just 4 years and 6k miles.

Just in depreciation that represents over £13 a mile so the 50 mile return trip to Knitsbridge that the car did regularly cost £650 each trip. Then add fuel, maintenance and insurance to the bill and it was probably close to £15 a mile. So £750 a trip, I am quite sure a helicopter would have been cheaper.

The original purchase price was £73404.16.......I think you got a bargain and a very desirable car.

Mic
 

salb

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
46
Location
blackburn
Car
SL 350 AMG
sl350 good morning

Well i couldn't sleep and was up at 5 am and decided to have a read.

What a write up this is, after reading a few threads and posts on SL's i feel like i will be in it for the long haul as i bought my SL second hand but i am so in love with it and intend to keep it and love it and cherish and yes inevitably end up doing this now and then :wall bash:.

After already fixing the water leak in 2 places and drying the car out i am waiting for the next fix but going to have a preventative outlook.

So anyone know of a very very good indy in Blackburn or near please.

By the way this is what i did yesterday a day out with her.....

sal

attached wrong pic ooooops
 

Attachments

  • IMG-20160306-WA0003_resized.jpg
    IMG-20160306-WA0003_resized.jpg
    212.5 KB · Views: 53
Last edited:

salb

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
46
Location
blackburn
Car
SL 350 AMG
sl 350 the right pic

Now thats what i did yesterday with her ..

A day out and loved it
 

Attachments

  • 20160314_092837_resized.jpg
    20160314_092837_resized.jpg
    238.1 KB · Views: 86

MikeInWimbledon

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 8, 2014
Messages
3,801
Car
Previously C216, CL500 S212 E500, W211 E500 5.5, E350, W221, S211 E500, SL350, SL500, S500, E55
Excellent piece. As an owner of a 2003 SL500, I reckon this is a perfect summary of the joys and tribulations of these cars over a 13 year period.

A great summary of just how reliable and solid these things are - with the caveat that certain things do go wrong.

It also shows just how cheap these things are to run, providing you service them regularly, and once you separate out the original depreciation.

Should be mandatory reading for a new owner of an R230 and/or new V8 Mercedes.
 
OP
OP
MicB

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
I will Post an update of my diary in early April (after the end of the financial year) as best as I am able but I have, during the course of the year, added images and tables which I suspect will not Post easily; or not at all.

Mic
 
OP
OP
MicB

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
My diary to 31 March 2016, with supporting documentation is now available.

1. The Diary
2. The principal, repair and maintenance grid
3. Running and ownership costs to 31 March 2016
4. Annual comparison costs
5. Tyres and wheels
6. Fuel consumption

It has become too voluminous with images and tables to Post on this Thread but if anyone is sufficiently interested I am more than happy to email to an address provided by PM.

Thanks

Mic
 

PHAB

Active Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
103
Location
Surrey
Car
1999 SL600 Sport
MicB, great thread. Would love to see it side by side with a late year R129 SL500 with similar use and mileage.

Anyone still running one they bought brand spanking new?!
 
OP
OP
MicB

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
Run in yet?

Because I keep records it has been clear, and not surprising, that for some time my SL has become more fuel efficient with use.........6.5% more fuel efficient over the last four years and 50,000 miles (75,000 miles-125,000 miles). 4.47 miles per litre rising to 4.76 miles per litre measured over 5000 miles distances.
There are some things that could influence a change in fuel consumption:
Journey type.......I believe my journey types have remained consistent over the past four years.
Driving style.......I am unaware of a change in my driving style.
"Bangs per Buck" from one litre of fuel........I have overwhelmingly used 95 RON petrol from UK supermarkets and if over the last four years there has been technological development in the usable energy delivered by one litre of petrol that particular message has passed me by.
The car is "loosening up" or becoming "run in" which as in my opening is hardly surprising in the range from 75,000 miles to 125,000 miles.
The car has always been serviced under the ASSYST regime which has meant a service averaging circa every 14,000 miles with fluids all as per the manufacturer's recommendations. Engine oil has not had to be topped up between services so I assume usage is less than one half of one litre per 14,000 miles.
No doubt there are elements other than the engine that are loosening up (wearing out) but I guess the principle contributor to the improved fuel consumption is the engine loosening up.

Just some facts to support what no doubt is a statement of the obvious.

Mic
__________________
 

Rosso1

Active Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2016
Messages
338
Location
Essex
Car
SL500
:thumb:I must say i did enjoy the read of the history of your car.
 
OP
OP
MicB

MicB

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,037
Location
Beckley, Oxford
Car
MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
My SL became a "teenager" yesterday

Yesterday marked thirteen years from the day I collected the SL from Bremen......celebrated by going to, and having, a wonderful day at the RAF Cosford museum.........mileage now 129560 miles

Anyway I have had to spend a "few bob" (£5084.88) on the car during the last 12 months; all consumable items with the arguable exception of the fuel tank:

01 October 2015 (115000 miles)

The fuel tank baffle broke free whilst in the Picos De Europa in Northern Spain and it makes the most intrusive clanging noise when the baffle is being ‘’thrown around’’ in the tank by the unimpeded movement of fuel. My fuel tank is, I believe, one of thousands that have had to be replaced in R230s worldwide resultant upon exactly the same failure……parent metal and/or weld fatigue. This is clearly a design/manufacturing fault of a functionally inert component and one for which MB should have accepted financial responsibility. MB have seemingly chosen to “hide behind” the three years warranty they provide on their motor cars without acknowledging that these fuel tanks were not fit for purpose in the first instance and that metal fatigue may take several years to the moment of failure.
MB refused to accept financial responsibility for this failure.

28 October 2015 (117944 miles)

Replace fuel tank plus parking brake release handle.
Star Motor Service £1545.78

30 March 2016 (121979 miles)

Replace front brake discs and replace brake pads front and rear.
Replace the delaminating boot lid brake light assembly.
Replace chipped boot scuff trim panel.
Drop exhaust system to weld up the cracked off side primary catalytic converter housing. Star Motor Service £605.90

29 April 2016 (123418 miles)

Replace sbc pump and wiper blades. Star Motor Service £1322.78

16 May 2016 (124063 miles)

Four new Continental Sport Contact 5 MO tyres, Wheatley Tyre Centre £600.96

16 May 2016 (124106 miles)

Four wheels geometry check and correction, Wheels-in Motion £150.00

27 July 2016 (126272 miles)

ASSYST Service.
Flush ABC system and replace the fluid.
Resin injection of the lower ball joint on each front strut.
Star Motor Service £550.94

31 August 2016 (129010 miles)

Replace engine mounts plus MOT. Star Motor Service £308.52


The cost of ownership of the car continues to fall year on year primarily due to the decreasing annual depreciation. I use an empirical formula which is the depreciation (17.50% of the previous year's reduced balance) plus the average of the cost of the last three years maintenance, repair and servicing costs.

£
12502 to 31 March 2005
10683
8691
7274
6513
5864
5562
4807
4578
3756
3591
3166 to 31 March 2016

The total cost of running the car to 31 March 2016 I calculated to be £1.19/mile of which £0.75/mile was depreciation.

Similarly the cost for the twelve months to 31 March 2016 was £0.50/mile of which £0.10 was depreciation.

Strip out depreciation and the car has been costing circa 40ppm to run.

Fuel consumption measured brim to brim over the last 55542 miles has been 20.98 mpg.

The financial year to 31 March 2017 (the YE to which I collate ownership and running costs) will see the first year on year increase in the cost of ownership but because depreciation is now quite low the cost will still not be excessive.

I hope some of you will continue to find the diary of my SL of interest.

Mic
 

mistercassidy

New Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
1
Car
2006 SL 350
My diary to 31 March 2016, with supporting documentation is now available.

1. The Diary
2. The principal, repair and maintenance grid
3. Running and ownership costs to 31 March 2016
4. Annual comparison costs
5. Tyres and wheels
6. Fuel consumption

It has become too voluminous with images and tables to Post on this Thread but if anyone is sufficiently interested I am more than happy to email to an address provided by PM.

Thanks

Mic
hi, very new here as just about to purchase my first SL...

Please could you email the diary you mentioned to me? mistercassidy@hotmail.co.uk

thanks
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom