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This sl55 was just serviced by a dealer 3 months and less than 1000 miles ago. Having no prior knowledge of the ABC system, I just discovered the dipstick (looks like a vent cap to me) and what the German markings on it mean. I have no leaks on the ground or undercarriage of the car, yet the fluid was a whole liter low! I can only conclude it hasn't been checked in years. My dash panel warned me to check it, so my education about this system began. I bought 2 bottles of CHF 11S thinking this will be plenty, at $26 each. I slowly added a little at a time and rechecked it. After about 10 tries the bottle was empty, and it's on the AN when running mark, and AUS when sitting for 10 minutes. The dash warning has not returned.
Just thought I'd share this with the other newbies like me. It would seem like something a dealer would check routinely, but apparently not.
A friend with a Harley had it serviced at the dealer for 12 years, and nobody ever checked or added brake fluid for the rear brake which we discovered was empty on a trip through the mountains.:eek
 

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ABC system cost

By the way, if you haven't read the excellent tutorial
Mercedes Benz ABC System Troubleshooting Guide: ABC System
it is very long, but super informative, and makes this point: If you have or are thinking of buying a MB with this system, be prepared. I took it to mean that the potential cost of owning an ABC car should be part of your buying decision. This pretty much applies to any luxury purchase. I've heard that owning a yacht for example will cost you 10 percent of the purchase price per year to own and maintain. Docking, fuel, repairs, canvas replacement insurance, tires, batteries, depreciation, yup, that's been my experience. And I mean the original sales price when new, not what you paid for it.
So this SL55 that cost $125K new should have a budget of $12.5k yearly to own. That may sound like too much, but do the math, it's a good estimate.
 

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Might be signs of failing accumulators. They will fill with fluid when the diaphragm fails, so the fluid level will go down, but no leaks are detected.

If you have over 90K miles, I'd consider replacing them now and being 'safe' for another 15 years/90K miles.
Maybe a 5 for DIY difficulty, and about $100-150 each. I've done mine.
There are 3 high pressure that need replaced, a 4th low pressure return line damper if you go all in.
 

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I hope it's high (it's just an estimate), but it really adds up over the years if you include everything. Keep it all in a journal, tools, parts, fluids, wheels, tires, lots of stuff that you just wanted but could have done without. Just insurance and gas and DMV will run $4K or more. Sure, doing your own work will cut it down a lot, but not everyone has a place to work or wants to DIY.
I was aware it's not a boat, but it's still a luxury item.
 

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I hope it's high (it's just an estimate), but it really adds up over the years if you include everything. Keep it all in a journal, tools, parts, fluids, wheels, tires, lots of stuff that you just wanted but could have done without. Just insurance and gas and DMV will run $4K or more. Sure, doing your own work will cut it down a lot, but not everyone has a place to work or wants to DIY.
I was aware it's not a boat, but it's still a luxury item.
I do keep records, and DIY my car.
Including SDS, parts, special tools on what I have done (extensive), I have spent $5K on the car over the 3 years I've owned it.
Much of this was rear tires (donuts are too fun!), but a large chunk was performance upgrades, preventative, and fixing known weak points.
I anticipate the bills will continue, but at a much slower rate. Enjoy it while you can - life is too short!
 

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I think you are right about the accumulators, I'll have to get that done soon. I'm at 80K miles.
A popular belief is that accumulators last 10 years or 50,000 miles -- whichever comes first. By that reckoning -- which I personally do not subscribe to -- yours have already been replaced (unless you have all the service records documenting otherwise).

Also, if an accumulator has failed you typically will get a momentary ABC fault indication in the cluster while traversing a speed bump or pot hole. And finally, a Star Diagnosis kit can test your accumulators and identify a faulty one in a matter of just a few minutes.

In light of the above, the wisdom of replacing the accumulators looks dubious to me.
 
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