R230 SL350 The road to 200k miles

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Burtonization23, Feb 20, 2018.

Can a R230 350 live past 100k miles?

  1. future of the r230

    2 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. R230 350

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. R230

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Owning a Mercedes R230 350

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    Morning all,

    I am a young owner of a Mercedes R230 SL 350 which I had bought in 2012 from the official Mercedes dealership in Brighton at 23k miles. Coming from a CLK 200 Convertible i was looking for a vehicle i could enjoy if i wanted to explore the great roads of UK and also one that was going to last if I wanted to keep it until the wheels fall off. My advice came from a Mercedes tech who honestly said that's what the sl was built for but go for the 350 to avoid the suspension maintenance costs (as I wanted a 500) so I proceeded with my purchase and he has never been wrong ever since.

    My post here is to put many past, present and future owners straight that these cars can last beyond problems and with the help of a approved Mercedes warranty and investment into the dealerships for faults and services can go a long way. This vehicle is admired today as the r231 doesn't seem to gather the same appreciation from admirers as the r230's and the 4th,3rd, 2nd and 1st generations before it.

    So in 2018 my SL 350 is 11 years old (my ownership is 6 years) its covered 120k miles and its a daily driver that is garaged and has been maintained by official Mercedes dealerships all services and 90% of the faults (brake pads have been the only wear and tear done by a major independant specialist in London/ Rochester) and its been looked after daily by a professional detailer (myself). My passion is having the same satisfaction as those that have owned and put alot of money and effort to enjoy their repair spendings or vehicle purchase as not many newer cars today attract my attention as they are too common.

    So I know many of you may think I am crazy or sensible, I will let you into a bit about my car still stands today to help you owners think different about the R230 SL350.
    My SL when purchased had a approved Mercedes used car warranty which I felt was an absolute gem to have if i wanted to keep this car for life and since ownership in 2012 the following have all been fully repaired/ replaced under their tier 1 warranty (which annual renewals by me) until June 2017 when i passed 100k miles...
    • Lumbar support (both seats)
    • Speakers in the doors (they sounded blown )
    • ECU
    • Roof seals that link to the boot
    • upper / lower ball joints (front & rear)
    • valve replacement as gearbox was slipping from 2nd to 3rd
    • SBC unit
    • CD Changer
    • Sam unit
    • Endless software updates
    This was around the regular servicing (via their service care contract) and maintenace of non warranty faults that I experienced and requested the dealership to mend. So thanks to them they have returned me a vehicle I enjoy to continue to soak up every mile with a smile. So why do I maintin my SL in this way.

    Today we see alot of older/ modern classic vehicles and admirer them especially if we use to own them. I wanted to have the feeling but also be an owner of that vehicle and growing up in my teens the R230 SL was a really nice car i had respect for. Compared to the predecessor this car is way cheaper to maintain should it be a long term ownership and this car was the last built benz out of passion and over engineering when small qualities of the famous SLR was filtered into these base vehicles so you felt you had a touch of flagship class in the R230.
    I especially watched the fussy Ferrari/ Mercedes/ Aston martin owners complain about the service history of the vehicles they owned and were concours and to me if i wanted the best example like they enjoyed I knew only one place could give me that at a premium, The dealership fr major faults and servicing.

    Before you argue with me. We all want our vehicles fixed and with the R230 we know a star diagnostics machine is whats required for most of this vehicles repairs/ replacements. But even Independant repairers who have this may not have theirs online so the latest update or communication with the uk HQ or Germany for headache faults many not be at their disposal. Even worse the garage may not be able to solve your problem fully because they don't have the higher grade techs or facilities like a dealership would and for the demand to get your fault fixed and have your parts warrantied for a 1/2 years when fitted (which indies can do too)i just felt the dealership has 'all the answers (Mercedes Brooklands to be exact). Yes this is a higher premium than a trusted indie but as I have developed a relationship from investing in the dealership for looking after my SL for repairs after servicing its only right to continue to build that relationship with them as there may be a major fault and some goodwill will come into consideration whether its from the manufacturer or dealership.

    The car was easier to maintain under warranty but why stop when the warranty stops. This is a very expensive car when new which was actually better made than most modern Mercedes today. So maintenance is a high cost when things go wrong but compared to a r231 major fault I would rather maintain a R230 in that case and I'm not even interested in the resale value as i don't plan to get rid of it. My aim is to maintain this car beyond 200k miles so yes the engine will come out and they balancer shaft and lower part of the engine will get a overhaul (as the top of the engine has already had a overhaul) so that is expected and I will front the costs as they happen as Mercedes understand my future with this vehicle and want to keep me inside of it.

    Please share your views on what you think about the R230 350's and let me hear your complaints or praises about such a nice vehicle.
     
    V6GBJ, Abb, gramey and 1 other person like this.
  2. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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

    Good report........my R230 (SL500) will complete its first 150k miles before the end of next month. Brilliant daily driver and Grand Tourer. I have had the car from new (18 September 2003). Mine is maintained mechanically by Star Motor Service of Caversham. I keep meticulous records which are available by email to anyone who asks.

    Mic
     
    SMS and Burtonization23 like this.
  3. anderoo

    anderoo Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Car:
    C350 coupe
    I have a C350 from the same era and also aim to keep it til the wheels fall off :)

    (And I also have mine looked after by Star Motors, in fact I've just got back from there having had my transmission serviced and an MOT done. My experience of main dealers is very poor indeed. When I first got this car I took it to Mercedes in Oxford who told me it needed over £1,600 of work doing on it as a matter of urgency. None of it was true - I took it to Star for a second opinion, and I've been a customer of theirs since.)
     
    Burtonization23 and MicB like this.
  4. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Location:
    Beckley, Oxford
    Car:
    MB SL500 (R230) 2003, MB SLK320 (R170) 2001, Volvo V70 XC AWD 2001
    I used MB Oxford for longer than I should have.......I started using Star eight years ago.......very satisfied........the car is all the better for it and I have found a friend in Ian. Obviously MrsB's SLK is also maintained by Star.
    A slow 30 miles journey to Caversham for me but well worth the drive.

    Mic
     
    SMS and anderoo like this.
  5. OP
    OP
    Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    The only major replacements to date that have been replaced out of warranty are...
    • Pipe leading to roof pump was replaced so labour dropping fuel tank etc was done (£900 Dealership)
    • Inlet manifold, camshaft magnets and pulleys (you can actually get recon from Mercedes milton keynes but you have to ask em as they wont tell you)
    • conductor plate replacement (722.9 gearboxes luckily allows you to replace valve body/ conductor plate the 722.6 boxes don't allow this option)
    Yes the engine may need to come out but I will enjoy that project when that time comes in 3 years time.

    There are many different vehicles where the problems occur and things cant be solved. Im happy to own a vehicle they may have alot of technology but there are a wide variety of techs in and out of the dealerships that can identify/ solve these problems accurately to help keep us owners in these vehicles and spend more money at the petrol pumps.
     
    anderoo likes this.
  6. gramey

    gramey Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2016
    Location:
    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Car:
    2003 R230 SL350 Tellurium silver
    I was interested to read this, I had a 2000 R129 SL320 which I lavished a lot of money on to the point that nothing needing doing to it, I then got the urge to get something with a little more power and driver involvement but didn't want to risk n R230 SL500 and all the documented ABC faults. Just about the world and his wife looked down their noses with an attitude of if an SL isn't a V8 "it ain't sh*t" and sneer at the 350.
    So in mid January I changed the R129 for a 2005 Audi S4, my current car, which would bury an SL500 on anything but a straight road but it has to be said definitEly lacks the aesthetics of the R230. So much so that when I passed an R230, unknown if 350 or 500, going the other way a week ago I looked on in envy. I've been trawling the classifieds ever since looking for a 350 that a trader was prepared to do a deal on without me taking too big a bath on my S4. Don't get me wrong the S4 is an awesome car and I love using the performance when possible but I could be sitting in any VAG group car. Excellent sports seats aside the dash and controls are pretty much exactly the same as my 2002 Passat I had before the R129, it doesn't feel as if you're sitting in something special however quick it is.
    As for main dealer or indy maintenance I used an indy for my R129 which is owned and run by two former Mercedes main dealer mechanics who know their stuff and I trust so if I find the right car it will be them not the main dealer looking after it.
    So the purists might look down their noses at a 350 but I won't have the worry of finding it sitting on it's haunches when I open the garage, so thanks for the write up and I'll keep you updated if I manage to find what I'm looking for at a price I can afford. :)
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  7. OP
    OP
    Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    So in October 2018 the My 2007 R230 SL 350 had a engine management light and checked out with my local independent Mercedes specialist 'Maxwell Greene' in Fulham who found the fault codes were related to the camshaft. But as I had had the camshaft magnets replaced it was unlikely there were the cause of this fault and more that the timing chain had slipped and just thrown the timing out a little bit. So being early signs of needing to replace a chain etc... I booked the vehicle to have the engine removed to access the balancer shaft and remove

    So as the project progressed I was prepared to replace as much of the engine as my mechanic advised and truth be known the following were replaced (all Mercedes original products)...

    • Balancer shaft kit (which includes the shaft)
    • Timing chain and tensioners
    • Radiator
    • Engine and gearbox
    • A few engine flushes
    • Tons of engine oil
    • Water pump
    • Prop coupling
    • Spark plugs
    • Various seals, gaskets, rails, plugs, sealants and fluids
    So as a result this Mercedes felt super smooth and responsive (still had 1k miles of keeping revs fewer than 3k rpm and no kick down) but I couldn’t believe an SL could feel this smooth. I purchased this vehicle at 23k miles and although that feeling was a while ago this felt so smooth I was ever so thankful for the garages hard dedicated work and I have to admit the under body is pretty clean when you remove the under tray and engine etc.. And in love with a vehicle I already loved before this repair which did cost a discounted £5k.

    What’s more satisfying is that with the top and bottom of the engine being rebuilt over 2 years. It’s great to know that the main engine components are good for another 100k+ miles and I can focus on the suspension, roof and gearbox whenever those begin to show signs of wear. So even though the cost might seem huge it’s a lot smaller than many other engine projects that would have this amount of work and what’s more important is the m272 engines don’t have any mysterious failures like other German prestige manufacturers so I’d be happy to say this is built to last a little longer and it’s been worth every penny because it’s been done right from its date of registration!

    Up to this day there has not been any faults or errors so this is proof the repair and timing of the engine has been successful so Maxwell Greene is highly recommended for your Mercedes needs and the vehicle has just has all rubber seals with the Mercedes rubber seal fluid (yes the small bottle which is worth the money and less greasy than Vaseline).
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  8. merc85

    merc85 MB Club Veteran

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    s211 e55k
    just a note, its a very easy job to change the Plate and valve body on a 722.6 recently had mine out

    [​IMG]
    Lib pic
     
  9. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Who did the £5k overhaul - was that MB main dealer or the local specialist, and what kind of warranty did you get on the work?

    To me, it seems an awful lot to spend on just chains and the shaft etc, I appreciate the cost is less of an issue if you intend to keep the car long term - however I can’t help but feel the bulletproof M113 5.0 models might have the ABC suspension but wouldn’t have had any engine issues. £5k buys a good chunk of suspension work (plus whatever you had to spend on the engine previously) and I’d have thought your dampers and springs, ARBs/bushes etc on the 350 would be past their best at 120k+ miles?

    Just an observation really. Have you got an agreed value insurance policy? As if the worst ever happened you obviously would be upset if you were offered market value for a 120k+ SL350, considering your investment in the car. Worth looking into if your insurer offers that :thumb:
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  10. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hertfordshire
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    SL500
    Is this correct (bold in original post)? You replaced the engine and gearbox and did all that work on the replacement engine?
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    typo! not gearbox just engine and on the existing m272 engine
     
  12. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    11,209
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Surrey
    Car:
    GL63 AMG / S211 E55K AMG / 190E 2.3-16 / 190E 2.5-16 / Porsche 911
    He’s on about the mountings
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  13. Gbrowncls55

    Gbrowncls55 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
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    Sep 11, 2016
    Location:
    Surrey
    Car:
    CLS55 AMG 06, SL350 06, 996 cab, all current. Gone : E500 W211, 2x M5s and far,far too many 911s
    I too have a 2006 f230 350 (or at least my wife does) also looked after between Brooklands and an indie. I interested to know why the SAM was replaced. Which one and what symptoms?
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  14. OP
    OP
    Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    sam unit (under drivers seat) was warranty replacement (tier 1) with ecu as vehicle developed a fault. I was experiencing driving and coming to a stop light and on green vehicle would not move even though vehicle is still in gear, so after turning engine off and back on vehicle would drive in limp home mode and when turned off for about 5 mins and restart the engine the car will behave as normal. Mercedes Brooklands techs felt those parts had failed and needed to be replaced to solve this and i haven't experienced the same problem since.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Burtonization23

    Burtonization23 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    Mercedes SL 350 (R230)
    The SL350 is at 140k Miles and had its paint cleansed via a light paint correction detail by myself and protected with Gtechniq Flagship Crystal Serum Ultra and Exo V4 to protect the paint for a further 9 years which seals the gloss and allows me to wash the vehicles as many times as i feel with spray sealants used per wash.
    Next the whole front suspension setup was showing signs of wear so all upper, lower arms, ball joints, shock absorbers and anything i may have missed were replaced along with new pads and discs which has made a massive difference in comfort and response in the steering wheel. The rear suspension is fine so no changes needed on those as yet.
    so next on the list will be to replace the secondary air pump and give the gearbox and fluid change. I'm not sure how long these 722.9 transmissions go for with regular fluid changes per 3 years/ 30k miles but im putting money aside for a rebuild in hopefully the next 3 years unless someone has experienced different.
     
  16. clk208

    clk208 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Same (similar) engine, different body my CLS350 CGI is 12 years old next month, I have owned for 8. Was only intending to keep for 3 years but lack of suitable petrol engined upgrade options meant I was happier to keep.

    Non routine maintenance has been 2 window regulators, some parking sensors, a set of 4 coil springs and a couple of suspension bushes/arms at the front.

    Absolutely amazing car with all the power I need at 292bhp and certainly turned heads the first few years I owned it with diamond cut 22 spoke wheels. Just wish the rear seats folded or I could fit a tow bar now I have progressed from bachelor to married with kid.

    I think the 350 petrol models are hugely underrated.
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  17. Merc220cls

    Merc220cls Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    315
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Location:
    Ayrshire
    Car:
    220 CLS Shooting Brake & 350 SL
    I’m delighted with my 2004 R230 350 SL. I purchased it on 1st May this year and when I picked it up in Alderley Edge it had done just 7,800 miles.
    It has full MB Main Dealer servicing and was Taxed and MOT’d ever year and covered less than 100 miles each year.
    It basically is like a new car and drives superb. Having owned a V8 powered car before I find the 350 V6 has the same if not more power, put it another way there’s more than enough horses pulling or should I say pushing it along.
    My only repairs so far have been replacement of the alarm unit at just over £100 and a full gearbox service which included a new electrical block seal replacement at £181
    I’ve thoroughly checked it over especially the roof seals which are like new and I’ve had the wheels off twice now for a full underside check and clean up.
    The car now has 10,000 on the clock, not bad for 15 years old and is now on SORN for the winter.
    I’m awaiting delivery of a nice tailored cover for it to keep it like new over the winter.
    I also have a Cetek charger coupled up to the 2008 auxiliary battery with a Cetek lead on the main starter battery which is a 2018
     
    Burtonization23 likes this.
  18. horatio

    horatio Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    herts
    Car:
    CLK, 190E
    Your car must be in that sweet spot of being a facelift with the M112 (i.e. no balance shaft probs). The roof is the only thing to really fear?

    I like the M112 a lot. I had one in a W210 - very easy to work on and not too bad on fuel.
     
  19. clk320x

    clk320x MB Club Veteran

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    Who did you use?
     
  20. Merc220cls

    Merc220cls Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    315
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Location:
    Ayrshire
    Car:
    220 CLS Shooting Brake & 350 SL
    I used a local company Automotive Solutions in Ayr. They’re MB trained and have a very good reputation locally for their work.
     

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