Date registered: Dec 2012
Vehicle: 87 560SL, 71 280SL euro, 74 VW Ghia, 78 280Z Black Pearl, 78 280Z, 04 Corolla, 07 Odyssey, 94 Prizm
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well, it all depends. Most of the R230 SL vehicles have ABC and not Airmatic. ABC stand for Active Body Control. They do not use air. Instead, they use hydraulic fluid. They do have a steel spring inside the shocks, but the height and drivablility of the vehicle is controled by the hydraulic portion of the shock. It is quick to work and these vehicles do not have sway bars, since the amount of pressure is regulated and it stabilizes the vehicle using hydraulic pressure. So you don't have to worry about air leaks, only on your tires. Downside on this is that ABC parts are more expensive than Airmatic.
If I were you, look for a 2007 and newer SL. The earlier have a brake by wire system called SBC. It is an awesome braking system, but it does have a service life and the hydraulic unit is 1500 to 2000 dollars and you need special equipment to put this system into service. The later model R230 SL have a brake system called ABR and it is good and not as prone to have issues as SBC.