Hello fellow SLK230 owners!
My name is Dr. Robert Dean. My friends call me "Doc". Back in 2000 I bought a black, year 2000, model SLK 230 Mercedesz Benz Roadster/Convertible. It's been a love hate relationship ever sense. I love the looks of the car, but hated the shop maintenance and repair bills. I paid $43,000.00 "out the door" for the car and have spent half that again just for repairs and recommended maintenance. So, to drive with that three pointed star in front of you is an expensive ego inflater.
After owning this little beast for 6 years and becoming grumpy over its performance compared to comparably priced sports cars, I bit the bullet and plunked down five grand to have a Phoenix based Mercedez performance shop hop up the motor. Yep!...I went for it! You know...a different size pully which spins the supercharger up to an additional five pounds of pressure, a chip which does wonders for the speed the transmission shifts (auto), plus engages the supercharger at 2000 RPM compared to the 2,500 stock RPM rating, it also makes for a richer mixture and resets the timing for much-much better bottom end power. Gone is the restirctive header and added was a beautiful Italian made, polished header which uses a trick exhaust back pressure wave to extract the exhausted gasses faster and more efficiently. Of course, a bigger exhaust pipe (fater) was bolted on (kept the stock cats) and a "bitchen" German, stainles steel exhaust muffler, with ultra low restriction and tuned to make music to a sports car lover's ears was added And, for a final touch, I tossed in an M&K air intake filter so it would breath easier and cleaner.
Pre-hop up (before any mods were done) it dyno tested to 140 horse power to the rear wheels and 140 ft. lbs. of torque to the rear wheels. (Remember, the transmission and drive line eats up about 50 ponies and 50 ft. pounds of torque "before" anything reaches the rear wheels. Okay, after the hop up, the dyno revealed (at 1,000 less RPM) an increase of horse power to 238 horse power and 264 ft. pounds of torque. This is a huge increase and it begins at 2,000, peaks at 3300 and remains flat to 5,100 R.P.M. Boys and girls, we are talking about a fun machine here!
Bottom line. The car was changed from a boulevard cruiser into a friggen animal! Stock, on a good day, if the wind was blowing just right, holding less than 1/8th of a tank of gas, and I had kept on my diet all week, the little beast would turn 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds (yawn). Now this animal pops up to 60 m.p.h. in under six seconds without even breaking a sweat! And yes, tested in the Nevada desert (on an ideal, safe road) this Black Bird did not crawl, but rocketed up to 144 miles per hour until the limiter kicked in and scared the hell out of me! I thought the engine had blown up when the fuel injector was cut off to keep the speed at or below the constant high speed tire rating (160 m.p.h.). It was at that time it became clear to me that Mercedes will not let you kill yourself by driving its car too fast.
The best part? It gets 26 m.p.g. in town with average driving around and about and 29.7 m.p.g. from Kingman, Arizona to Las Vegas (that's going from an altitude of 3500 ft. to 300 ft) and 28.6 m.p.g. driving back at an average speed of 72 miles per hour for the trip. If I keep it at 65 or below (the posted speed limit for the whole trip), it pulls down better than 30 m.p.h.!! Now for a hot rod Mercedes four-banger, that's damn good fuel milege! Apparently, making the motor more powerful also made it more fuel efficient because we did nothing to the injection system to cause it to inject more fuel. We simply made the motor burn its fuel more efficently to increase power!
Well, now that I have a car which has balls, the next step is to give my "ego" a work out and do a respectble job of making it look as fast as it really is.
I realize this is no super car or an AMG V-6 killer race car. It is, however, a very fast four banger and sips gas in the process. Plus it blows the doors off of the stock 320 V-6 version of the same car due to their lower horse power, torque and greater weight.
So what can I do cosmetically which will hint there is something special going on under the hood? First the inside... The roll bars, door handles (only) and the center console (only) are upholstered in fine grain, bright red leather. This gives me a charcoal, light gray and bright red interior which positively bristles with excitement and FUN! The interior is otherwise stock as I think Mercedes design team did a great job with the interior design of this car and I like its retro, conservative look. Of course the interior is detaled to look like new and it smells good,too. The outside gets a multi layer, hand rubbed per layer, deep raven black paint job which looks a mile deep (like a balck glass mirror). On the power bulges on the hood (which I love) I undercoated a pair of wicked bird's eyes (blood red) as "phantom" eyes seen beneath the black paint which feather out with a feather look over the power bulges misting out from behind the eyes. The effect is the look of a very pissed off bird coming at you at 200 miles per hour! It is art, and simply cool yet does not give the car a "boy racer" look. After all gang, this is a Mercedes so I made it a point not to bastardize the car with flames, waves, stripes or a clown/circus look.
Crowning the rear fenders (tops only where the radio antenna sits) is the same phantom (beneath the black paint look) feathers which taper off into infinity before the tail light rim begins. The wheels are black laced spokes with chrome rimms trimmed up with a red edge on the rim. Exhaust tips are dual, bright chrome. Tires are stock quality and size, Goodrich for a much nicer ride. They last 40,000 miles and grips like a bull dog!...plus they are very affordable, and quiet, too. This is my second set of Goodrich tires since new. The original Continentals wore out in under 20,000 miles. They were noisey, brittle and offered no better corning grip. So dump the OEM rubber and try the Goodrich tires for all around comfort, performance and price.
The car has 110,000 ++++ miles on it now and runs like the day I bought it. It has really been expertly taken care of (just ask my banker). If a part or assembly was not to factory spec, it was simply repaired or replaced, cost no object and right now!
As for me, I'm a semi-retired 66 year old doctor (psychotherapist) and a specialist in clinical hypnotic therapy. I am the director of a charity which operates in 37 states and treats over 100,000 Americans annually for addition to drugs, tobacco and elinates obesity and stress free from charge. We are nonprofit and have for the past 15 years rlied on public support to provide our life-saving services. Before that I was a high level insurance executive so I could earn enough money to become a doctor. Prior to that I served in the United States Marine Corps. I'm happily married (and yeah!...she loves the Merc, too), I have four grown kids, 10 grand children, and, in general, life is good, I'm in great physical condition, feel good, love life, people and especially enjoy my Mercedes Roadster and if it was human, I know it would enjoy me, too (he).
Finally, like all of you, I, too, have questions and issues which arise from time-to-time about this German brain child I drive and am delighted that I discovered this very cool web site about our German built animals (or in my case, Black Bird....license plate on order, BLKBIRD.)
I'm the kind of guy who has to have his "toy" running "perfect". You know, absolutly no vibration, silky smooth, kicks ass with a mere half inch downward movement of the gas pedal, and everything works like a well oiled sewing machine, and is smooth as glass.
So, I have spent a lot of money to groom this car into that kind of condition and really do understand what it takes and how it is done to get this model of car to be that way. So, if you have any issues arise regarding your car which has kept you absolutely stumped...drop me a line and perhaps I can give you helpful advice. If not, I'll gracefully pass your question on to one who does know the answer you need.
I look forward to chatting with you within many threads to come.