Old R129 / New owner / foibles

jonthetourist

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
174
Location
Glos
Car
SL 300-24
I have now had a month and about 600 miles in my 1991 300-24 (I work in the back garden so that mileage is about typical)

First impressions are very positive, especially now new tyres and alignment have sorted the steering judder at speed. I am going to put it in for a big service, lots of fluids and filters, but I thought I would just run through some of the little issues on here in case anyone else has experienced and fixed the same.

The car has the 5-speed auto, and seems very reluctant to change up when cold. When it does, it is with a significant clunk and lurch. Warm it is very smooth. I have read something about holding the gears deliberately when cold to bring the cat up to temp. but I can't find the reference. It happens in both settings on the box.

Both heated seats seem to work on the back panel only, not the squab. that doesn't seem right. Two lights come on, then change to one after a few minutes, as per the manual.

The heated rear screen is connected, but doesn't appear to be working. The light comes on and stays on.

The parking brake release return spring is half-hearted, and needs a bit of help to retract, but then does so. The seat belts are the same, and want to dangle loose. Lifting them and feeding them is the only way to get them back in. The red plastic bits into which they click are very oxidised / discoloured, and unattractive.

I get an intermittent bulb warning light - probably just a poor connection.

One slightly comical thing is the aftermarket Pioneer stereo, which works, but not always as Pioneer intended. The CD eject button, for example, changes between wavebands.

The car has done very few miles in the last 6 years, so I expect it to get better with use, and once I get the top off I plan to give it some. And I will ask our indie to identify anything else that needs attention, over and above an expensive service.

But so far, very happy with it.
 

Doodle

MB Enthusiast
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May 3, 2005
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5,053
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Echo Beach
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R129, Leon Cupra 290, BMW R100
The squab elements have probably got a broken connection, unbolt the seat squab and have a look, check with a multimeter. The problem is that if the element is dead they are in short supply. I found one that was in stock by chance last year, but Germany didn't have any and didn't know when they would.

The plastic release buttons do fade with age, not really anything that can be done to rectify it without expense.
 

BTB 500

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Berkshire
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R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S203 C230
Gearbox definitely does hold the gears for longer when cold, IIRC this is mentioned in the handbook. No clunk/lurch from mine though - ATF replacement may help yours.

HRW is a common observation - it's just not very effective.

Mine also happens to have a Pioneer stereo, which (amusingly, given the size of the car) has a remote control!
 

steve333

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Oct 22, 2009
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Dorset
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Cls350cdi in palladium,C200k in tenorite,Slk320 in red.
Gearbox definitely does hold the gears for longer when cold, IIRC this is mentioned in the handbook. No clunk/lurch from mine though - ATF replacement may help yours.

HRW is a common observation - it's just not very effective.

Mine also happens to have a Pioneer stereo, which (amusingly, given the size of the car) has a remote control!
Have noticed in all the mb's i've owned/driven that they hold on to the gears when cold & the 1st gearchange is harsher than any other.
 
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jonthetourist

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
174
Location
Glos
Car
SL 300-24
Thanks for the feedback.

I forgot to say that I would be delighted to hear anyone's thoughts on what preventive maintenance would be good to incorporate into the next service, over and above fresh fluids and filters all round. I am all for fixing things before they break, if there are known weaknesses.

Thanks again

Jon
 

Doodle

MB Enthusiast
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May 3, 2005
Messages
5,053
Location
Echo Beach
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R129, Leon Cupra 290, BMW R100
Beyond a new wiring loom for the engine and the appetite for distributor caps, in 7 years I've not really encountered anything specific on my SL beyond the usual pre-emptive wear & tear maintenance.
 

BTB 500

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R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S203 C230
Keep the battery charged, make sure everything is used periodically (including operating the roof).

Only actual problem I've had with mine in nearly 7 years was the gearbox electrical plate, which is reasonably common with the 5-speed. Not an expensive job though .. think I paid about £300 in total.
 
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jonthetourist

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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
174
Location
Glos
Car
SL 300-24
Just an update, as a courtesy to those who were kind enough to offer their thoughts.

Car went in for a service at the local indy today and is just back. I licensed them to do anything that needed doing, from atf fluid to engine mounts, so I was expecting a large bill.

They looked after it previously, and said they put new plugs in about 2,000 miles ago. After going over it they changed the oil and filter, brake fluid and air filter.

That was it, and they commented on how well it drove. The bill starts with a 2.

Result!
 

James1976

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Jul 18, 2010
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218
Location
Borough, London
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94 300 SL-24 in Bornite, 2010 Smart Fortwo Passion
Good Lord! That is good value. As I've said on other posts glad you sorted the suspension :D

I have to say mine's a bit harsh second to third (it starts in second as they all do unless booted) until it's warmer.

And as for general running, mine wasn't used a great deal before I got it, and was, in general, a bit of a pig until it was used more. Sure you'll find it gets better with time!
 
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jonthetourist

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
174
Location
Glos
Car
SL 300-24
Good Lord! That is good value. As I've said on other posts glad you sorted the suspension :D

I have to say mine's a bit harsh second to third (it starts in second as they all do unless booted) until it's warmer.

And as for general running, mine wasn't used a great deal before I got it, and was, in general, a bit of a pig until it was used more. Sure you'll find it gets better with time!
The first two or three changes of the day are awful. I go howling through our village at 3.5k revs in second until it eventually changes up. But various people have told me this is a "feature" to help it warm up. Smooth enough after that.

Forgot to mention I also got the seats sorted via Paul of leatherrevive.co.uk. I don't worry about inflicting more damage every time I climb in because there are no raggy bits on the bolster now. Nice job. Feels like it is coming together.

And of course we have seen enough sunshine to have had the top down a few times already.
:bannana:
 

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