SL Winter Storage

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DonalGreene

New Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2023
Messages
2
Location
Ireland
Car
BMW iX, Mercedes SL 280
Hi,
I am new to this forum having just scratched an itch I have had since the SL 129 was launched and bought one which I got a few days ago.
This is also my first "old" car so I am learning as I go !
I have bought an AirChamber to store the car over the winter.
My questions are;
1) Should I store the car with the hard top (pano glass) on or off? My thoughts are that I should have the soft top closed to reduce rear window creasing. I have bought a stand for the hard top which I plan to leave in the AirChanber also. It seems that leaving the windows and boot open is recommended to allow air circulation.
2) Any recommendations on the best trickle charges to use?
3) Should the car simply sit there or should it sit raised on axle stands so the shocks aren't sitting compressed for 4 to 6 months?

Any advice on these matters or any other recommendations for winter storage would be appreciated.
Thanks
 
Hi and welcome.. I store my SL55AMG in the Garage over the winter and usually do this.
1. Full tank of fuel
2. Tyres inflated to max recommended
3. Car washed and put under a breathable cover
4. Trickle charger on battery.. CTEK
5. SORN

Air chamber sounds great.
 
I do most of the things listed above, but but very dry lock up has no power, which means that i have to pick my dry salt free days and give her a run ( Not a bad thing really ), But definitely do all the other things inbetween runs.
My motorbikes are all stored in my garage and i do use CTEK trickle chargers, and have never had an issue with batteries.
 
The plastic rear window is folded in half when the hood is down, so I'd personally be inclined to store it with the hard top off and hood up. TBH I haven't had the hard top on mine in years now ... I only drive it in nice weather, top down. The hard top sits on a stand (which I was given by a dealership when they stopped storing R129 hard tops over the summer for owners!). I use a wall-mounted AccuMate maintenance charger, but Ctek is a common recommendation (I have one of those as well). You can route a flylead past the trim panel in the boot that covers the battery, so the charger simply plugs in to that. The battery in my car was fitted when I got it in 2004 so I can vouch for the value of using a charger to keep it topped up!

If you're leaving the boot fractionally ajar (for the charge cable) you need to turn the interior light off - there's a white plastic lever below the latch to do this. It resets when you close the boot fully, so you need to do it each time.

AccuMate 5.jpg

AccuMate 3.jpg

AccuMate 2.jpg

The weight of the car is taken by the springs ... the shock absorbers just damp out up & down movement when driving. So it should be fine to leave it on its wheels (I always do). As already mentioned make sure the tyres are well inflated to avoid them flattening slightly - as as aside my previous garage had underlay and carpet and it always took a couple of miles for the tyres to recover, but this doesn't happen with the concrete floor in my current garage?!

I have a lightweight cotton cover to keep dust off - this is just a cheap one, doesn't need to be anything special (unlike outdoor covers).
 
All good advice here. The one comment I’d add, is why not also try to take the car out once a month on dry days?

(Cough: I know your name is Donal and I can guess where you live)

Not always possible, especially if you snowbird, but there’s a lot to be said for exercising old girls occasionally. Their bits can seize if left alone for five months

Says he, invoking the spirit of Mrs Merton. “Let’s have a debate!”

IMG_1227.jpeg
 
Thanks guys for all the advice. I probably will take it for a spin over the next few months if we get some decent dry days.
I agree that the hard top will rarely be used (shame really as the pano glass is lovely, they were years ahead of Elon with this idea!) so I have bought a stand (UK Custom Covers) that it will live on and I ordered the air chamber oversized at a 5m long so there is room for the hard top and stand to safely sit all year round.
Thanks again.
 
If you drive the car every 4-8 weeks then the number of precautions is minimal other than clean it before storing it - including beneath in winter - and keeping it on a battery maintainer designed for long term use (such as the CTEK MXS 5.0).

In my experience using a car regularly helps keeps them fresh and trouble free, they don’t like standing doing nothing. I’d avoid going longer than 8 weeks without a run on a dry (salt free) day.

To do that I would drive it as late into the year as you can, and then if we have a bad winter you can probably make it until the weather eases. Of course if you’re outside the UK then 8 weeks may not be enough.
 
On a similar note, I have a 2014 R231 SL and I am intending on driving it through the winter. Not as a daily driver, because I have a Volvo for the shittier days, but certainly whenever it is nice.

It will live outside on my drive, so does anyone have a recommendation for a particular brand or type of outdoor cover? I think it could do with some degree of protection when it's not being driven - and my garage is full of motorbikes.
 
On a similar note, I have a 2014 R231 SL and I am intending on driving it through the winter. Not as a daily driver, because I have a Volvo for the shittier days, but certainly whenever it is nice.

It will live outside on my drive, so does anyone have a recommendation for a particular brand or type of outdoor cover? I think it could do with some degree of protection when it's not being driven - and my garage is full of motorbikes.
I'm an outdoor cover sceptic, having seen too many vehicles where the cover has damaged the paintwork and encouraged mould and rust kept the vehicle damp and unaired.

People start off with the best intentions, but outdoor covers only work "fairly" well with a clean dry car and a clean dry cover. Sadly, cars get covered dirty and damp, and covers get contaminated because they're just pushed to the side when damp and dirty.

So my recommendation is straightforward. ("Other brands are available.")

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 16.09.11.png
 
On a similar note, I have a 2014 R231 SL and I am intending on driving it through the winter. Not as a daily driver, because I have a Volvo for the shittier days, but certainly whenever it is nice.

It will live outside on my drive, so does anyone have a recommendation for a particular brand or type of outdoor cover? I think it could do with some degree of protection when it's not being driven - and my garage is full of motorbikes.

I used an outdoor cover on my R129 for about 18 months without any issues. Fit is critical though - you need one that's tailored for the specific model of car so it won't move around in the wind and rub the paintwork. Also you really only want to put the cover on a clean car because (a) any dirt/grit will potentially mark the paint and (b) covers are not easy to clean! The main attributes are protection against rain, dust and UV plus breathability to prevent damp & condensation. Different fabrics will give a different mix of these properties, also thicker covers will give some degree of protection against minor bumps/knocks (but are bulkier and more difficult to handle). So a degree of compromise is involved. They're also not cheap! FWIW I used one from Covercraft (a US company), in their 'Noah' fabric. They have different patterns for the pre and post 1996 facelift R129 because the shape of the door mirrors changed!


When I got mine Covercraft had a European subsidiary based in the UK. That seems to have gone now (due to Brexit I assume), however their products are sold here by a number of independent companies e.g.


cover.jpg

When I moved to a house with a garage it was still in excellent condition and I sold it on to a member here.

Obviously other makes of cover are available and some of them are probably equally good. Just bear in mind the general points mentioned above.
 
As above, without meticulous cleaning and fit, they can cause more trouble than they’re worth. As long as the seals are all in good order it should be fine outside.
 
Put the motorbikes outside and the SL in the garage! Job sorted....... 😎
 
:) Well....the bikes can't come out of the garage. It is a double garage, but I have way to much crap in there to put the car in it.

So the SL is going to live outside. I must admit though, I am in 2 minds about a cover. I fully get the point that if there was any dust or grit on the car, then a cover could do more harm than good. And I am amazed at just how much dirt there is even in regular rain these days.

So I may have to rethink the cover idea....
 
:) Well....the bikes can't come out of the garage. It is a double garage, but I have way to much crap in there to put the car in it.

So the SL is going to live outside. I must admit though, I am in 2 minds about a cover. I fully get the point that if there was any dust or grit on the car, then a cover could do more harm than good. And I am amazed at just how much dirt there is even in regular rain these days.

So I may have to rethink the cover idea....
How about a half cover? I have one, I don’t use it but they work well. They would cover the roof and glass house.
 
Good advice here, I would not use a cover outside, the outdoor Carcoon is a good option but make sure it's big enough it doesn't touch the bodywork on windy days.
Filling the tank was good advice in the days of steel tanks to prevent rust from condensation but if it's a plastic fuel tank the advice now is as little as possible and fill when you use it again as modern fuel goes stale quickly.
Also it's always worth going for E5 rather than E10 if the fuel is going to sit in the car for more than a couple of months.
 
Filling the tank was good advice in the days of steel tanks to prevent rust from condensation but if it's a plastic fuel tank the advice now is as little as possible and fill when you use it again as modern fuel goes stale quickly.
Also it's always worth going for E5 rather than E10 if the fuel is going to sit in the car for more than a couple of months.

I've always followed that approach - I use V-Power (E5), and keep the level low so I can top it up with fresh fuel when I use the car.

I actually use V-Power now in my petrol chainsaws/brushcutter/mower/ride-on as well ... the amount used is small, the lower Ethanol content is good for old fuel systems, and the cleaning additives can't hurt.
 
A 5m airchamber isn't that big once you get the car in
Mine is 1.8m height
2.2m width
5m length definitely not enough room to store a hard top (F-type init at the mo)
 
Chamber sounds good .But i worry about the winds we get now ,they are stronger than years ago .My need to hold down my car cover is more important than ever ...
 
Mines actually an indoor chamber I dont like the car cacoon as you have to lay it over the car then inflate it
 

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