SL 129 ADS suspension buying advice

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by Indigo, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Indigo

    Indigo New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Car:
    129 Sl, 209 Clk, B180 and an old Sprinter van
    Hi, I'm going to view a 2000MY SL500 with a view to buying it
    The car has been in storage for a few years and needs cosmetic work
    On paper it's my dream 129 due to its colour and high spec
    However, on the photos I've been sent its got ADS suspension which I'd rather it didn't have
    On removing from storage the car went through an MOT, so it must be sound, however what should I check for on the suspension , measure heights, noises etc
    As I'm aware they can be buggers to sort
    How can I tell its ads 1 or 2 ?
    I had an r230 with the system that worked perfectly most of the time !

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    18,898
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Car:
    R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S203 C230
    A 2000 will be ADS II.

    It's generally pretty reliable, the only common issue is that the accumulators ('spheres') have a finite life and need replacing eventually. Symptom of this is hard & bouncy suspension - it will be really noticeable as you go over undulations in the road. Total cost to replace all 4 spheres on my car was about £900 a few years back.

    Check there are no warning lights on the dash and that the car raises and lowers (slowly) via the rocker switch near the headlight knob. The ADS switch on the centre console firms the suspension up when on (red light showing).

    It's a pretty good system and an ADS car should drive and handle well. It was standard on all R129 600s.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Indigo

    Indigo New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Car:
    129 Sl, 209 Clk, B180 and an old Sprinter van
    Thanks BTB for the prompt reply, I had heard that when functioning properly the cars a dream to drive
     
  4. tommyboy40

    tommyboy40 Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Ireland
    Car:
    R129 SL500 W124 220CE x 2 Smart 450 cabriolet. C215 CL500
    Somewhere on benzworld there is a lot of info about ADS which is missing from WIS. I'll try find it but in the meantime enjoy the R129. I've had mine for almost 10 years trouble free. Mine is a non ADS version and I don't claim to be an expert but if you need any help taking it apart or figuring how to change something let me know. Parts are extremely cheap from the dealer but you will have to find one with a panoramic roof and the 18" staggered wheels which transform the car. I could be wrong but I do think that there is a procedure for jacking it up as they are not self levelling (maybe cured by ADS 2)
     
  5. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    18,898
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Car:
    R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S203 C230
    There's a 'lock' switch (next to the raise/lower rocker) that locks the suspension for jacking the car. Otherwise the wheels hang down :)

    There's an M-B ADS II manual which is available as a PDF in various places on the web - worth downloading and hanging on to for reference, just in case. E.g.

    http://bayhas.com/r129manu/r129-ads-ii.pdf

    I've had my R129 for 12 years now and the only ADS issue has been the spheres (which are basically consumables, albeit with a long life ... they'd lasted 16 years on my car). I did once have a scare though after parking with one wheel on a 'sleeping policeman' speed hump. When I started the car again it came up with all sorts of nasty looking warning lights, but it was just because one wheel had been in a strange position in relation to the others when the system powered up. I drove a few yards away from the speed hump, turned the engine off then re-started and all was fine. But it had me seriously worried for a minute!

    I wouldn't personally buy an older M-B with the later ABC suspension as that seems to be much less reliable, with strut and valve block issues being common. I asked M-B Guildford for a quote to replace an ADS strut (purely out of interest - I've never actually heard of one failing) and they gave me a figure of £700 all-in. An ABC strut (from M-B) is £1000+ just for the part.
     
  6. slsteve

    slsteve Member

    Messages:
    57
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Car:
    1995 sl500 and 2002 s500l
    My 94/95 sl500 was originally fitted with the ADS system but was deleted by a previous owner and converted to standard suspension. Shame as I would have liked to try it. I imagine that they were scared of the complexity and cost when a fault arose.
    Its funny that there is nothing in the history about it, it couldn't have been too long ago as the dampers and arms etc all look quite new, at least in comparison.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Indigo

    Indigo New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Car:
    129 Sl, 209 Clk, B180 and an old Sprinter van
    Thanks for all your replies, I've had a 92 300-24 for a number of years now and absolutely worship it, but always fancied a later 129 with the 5L engine as I want to do some euro touring in it, so figure the later ones are a touch more refined
    Sadly will need to sell the 92 to finance it and also unable to garage two cars
     
  8. tommyboy40

    tommyboy40 Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Ireland
    Car:
    R129 SL500 W124 220CE x 2 Smart 450 cabriolet. C215 CL500
    Try to find a post 96 car with the 5 speed box. Much more refined
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Indigo

    Indigo New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Car:
    129 Sl, 209 Clk, B180 and an old Sprinter van
    Thanks Tommy, yes this ones a 2000 model, the extra refinement is what motivates me to upgrade from my 92 esp. for long distance touring.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Indigo

    Indigo New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Car:
    129 Sl, 209 Clk, B180 and an old Sprinter van
    Fantastic ! I went to view the car today and seems I was mistake, it did not have the ads !
    Bodywork needs some paint but other than that all good, only 60 k miles, 5 litre, pano roof and unusually factory navigation
    I nearly fell over backwards when he accepted my offer for the car !

    Now I've got to find a new home for my 92 300-24
     
  11. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    18,898
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Car:
    R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S203 C230
    Sounds good ... put some pictures up when you get it :)
     
  12. langlois

    langlois New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Car:
    sl320
    Hello all,

    I'm reviving this thread because I have a problem with the ADS light coming on on my 1998 SL 320.
    It sounds similar to the problem BTB 500 experienced a couple of years ago after parking on a speed bump..
    The car was jacked up with all 4 wheels off for about a month about 5 years ago ( the wheels were sent to Portugal to be re-furbished )
    The jacking was not done at a MB garage, so I doubt if the "block" switch was used.
    After this, the ADS light started coming on.
    Local MB garage wanted me to change the central calculator at vast cost ( £ thousands !), but I thought it best to wait because the long "hang-down" might be the cause.
    Apparently it was, and the problem disappeared for several years.
    It started recurring about a year ago - at first it would come on if I started the car & turned the wheel and/or drove off too soon afterwards ( backing out of the yard too soon )
    If this happened, it was often enough just to stop the car half a mile up the road, & restart, waiting for the suspension to rise on its spheres, before driving on.
    Nowadays it happens very often, and often the car refuses to rise at all on its spheres, so no use waiting any more ....
    It has also started occurring as the car is being driven - happened yesterday on the A6 Autoroute in France, and I ended up driving 300 km home with the light on.
    Today the car does not want to rise on its spheres.

    Anyone have any ideas ?

    Above all, am I risking any damage by driving the car in this condition???

    thanks for reading all this, and advance thanks for any advice !
     
  13. jakecook101

    jakecook101 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    Location:
    Reading
    Car:
    Sl 500
    Hi mate, I’m having similar problem kind of on my sl500 2003 model but mines pissing out hydraulic fluid out the top of the fluid tank through the seal is this just the seal gone as I looked and it’s pretty ****ed, or is it a bigger problem?? :/

    Ps just joined this forum
    Ive learnt so much already lol
     

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