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1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Oh boy - was a huge treat today unwrapping all the refinished wood. This looks great! (click for a larger image)
Wood Rectangle Road surface Flooring Floor
Automotive tire Wood Flooring Floor Tire
Rectangle Grey Triangle Bumper Automotive exterior



There are always a few small tasks you have to do after something like this before you can just install it

  • The main shifter console is actually two pieces; the ashtray door is a separate piece. There are four screws that attach the ashtray door to the shifter assembly which you can just screw on if you'd like. But you might notice differences in the gaps around the panel. It took me about 30 minutes of micro-adjustments to get the gaps lined up perfectly
  • I'll have to glue the rolling box panels (currently taped together) onto the pad myself. This is at my request because Arizona gets HOT and I guess in California you can't get the 3M 8090 super adhesive (great for hood pads and high temp applications). I had Igor redo all the wood in my W126 coupe (1991 560SEC) a few years ago and it turned out great - but the glue for the rolling box did come loose and I had to redo it myself 馃槩 If you're in a regular climate, I think the adhesive he uses would work without an issue 馃檪

Not pictured, but just in case I ever end up with a 96 - 2002 model, I also had him redo the wood that goes on the door for that facelift and then the wood that goes on the shifter. So everything matches and I can "take this with me" to the new car (or if this gets totaled or something). Should be able to get this all installed in the next week 馃槂
 

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1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Car Vehicle Gear shift Motor vehicle Steering part
Car Vehicle Gear shift Motor vehicle Steering part


Tonight, I got to replace all the wood! It turned out amazing (click pictures for larger). The extra wooden parts I pulled from the SL600 at the junkyard are a nice touch. The rollbox was a bit hard to move though. My friend Al recommended to use candle wax to lubricate the wooden panels and inside the track and that worked great! I was going to try Mercedes-Benz Gleitpaste, but this worked nicely and should avoid attracting dirt and dust

While I was there, I replaced the gear shift indicator label (part number 129-540-06-49). It was cracked and when you had the lights on at night light was bleeding through. Using a 90 degree pick tool it was pretty easy to pop the tabs loose (on 1990 - 1995 there is a tab up front and a tab on the side). You can use the pick tool to release the tab and then wedge a screwdriver under the base to pry it out.

Like always, I captured some of it on video 馃檪 The video really captures how beautiful this wood is!

I don't have any immediate planned work for the car- just time to enjoy it for a while. At some point, I will be looking at replacing the belt tensioner, water pump, belt, radiator, and all the cooling hoses. But for now, everything is working great, no leaks. Also the roof cylinders are being rebuilt - I'll have to finally take the roof off and see what's hiding under there! If the canvas top is in bad shape, I might try to replace it myself. Not sure how bad that is - I have replaced the convertible top on a Jeep before though.
 

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1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Long time without an update! I've just been enjoying the car for the most part - a few small projects here and there (like replacing the steering damper). Nothing too crazy... until last week 馃檪

Earlier in the summer, I pulled a full set of roof hydraulic cylinders from a 1994 junkyard SL500 and worked with Klaus at Top Hydraulics to get them rebuilt. I got them ~Jan 13 and started putting them in last Tuesday. The entire process took me about 25 hours over 5 days working casually and taking my time.

It was by far the most humbling task I've ever done on the R129 (or any car for that matter). There were moments I felt like giving up and selling the car. So many areas where you need to use a tool to reach in and hope the part doesn't fall down. Trim will get broken and you have to JB weld it or find another work-around. My hands are cut up from reaching into areas trying to fish out the hardware that fell loose. Arms and chest are sore from manually operating the top hundreds of times and definitely smashed my hands in hinge areas a number of times

But the good news is that it's all done 馃帀 There are still some smaller issues I need to work out. Getting a new soft top (or at least the portion which has the plastic window) might help sort those out - and I know a local place that I would use for that work (will not be attempting that one!). The arms of the soft top might be slightly bent too (not triggering the switches 100% of the time)- I have a workaround for one issue I ran into, but I think folks replacing the soft top can use a hammer and get things bent back into shape and running smoothly

I captured a video log of a lot of the experience here:

Questions and feedback are extremely welcome! Will be stepping back and relaxing a bit before I take any next steps on this one 馃槀
 

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89 190E 2.6 x2, 99 SL500 Sport
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Nice work on the hydraulic cylinder replacement! Brings back memories of when I did the job last year. I think I did it over a span of 3 months. Probably watched Klaus's videos 20x.
And now I have to repeat the same job on a friend's R129. Like you, I pulled a set of cylinders from a 97 and had Klaus rebuild them. Will wait till the weather gets warmer here.
 
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Premium Member
1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
You're welcome @RESTO SL 馃檪 Luckily, mine was just a mild leak and not a shower LOL. But it was awkward pulling the hard top off and seeing what's hiding beneath for the first time in 18 months or so. When you buy a car without an inspection, you'll never know what you'll find

@355190E26 pulling your own from a junkyard (if that's an option) is definitely the way to go - good thinking. You avoid the deposit and it's good practice (or since you've done it already, a refresher) for when you do the real job - you learn (or remember) what you should and shouldn't do... and if you mess up, you break the trim on the junkyard car 馃槀

There are some small differences between the earlier and later model years, which Klaus outlines in the videos. The older ones like mine have an extra tonneau lock cylinder which is trivial to swap out... but then the bow cylinder uses a threaded 5mm bolt that goes through the bottom eyelet. MUCH easier in my opinion than a bolt with an e-clip on both sides. I wonder if you can put the old style threaded bolt in newer cars?
 

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1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
One of the last items I had which I fixed over the weekend was replacing the belt tensioner which was at the end of its life (was getting lots of belt squeal). I replaced that, the hydraulic damper that goes along with it, the tension nut, and then put a new belt on. I also replaced all the coolant hoses with brand new parts - the old ones weren't bad, but were original (29 years old). Car is running beautifully now!

At this point, I think I have the car pretty well sorted out. There are definitely things I could address as preventative maintenance (new brake fluid / bleed brakes, etc) but things are overall in great shape now.

Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Wheel Tire Vehicle


Owning this SL has been a really fun experience and I've learned a ton - but I also have a W124 now (1987 300D) that I'm fixing and it's really hard to juggle time between the two. Ultimately, having a two seater is too impractical now (versus a car which can fit 5 people). I really wish I had a 3rd garage spot! But I'll be listing this car up for sale sometime soon.

If you're looking for a sorted out R129 that is ready to just enjoy send me a DM! 馃檪 I'm in the Phoenix, Arizona area - and I'll be adding more detail to a new web page I created including some better pictures. When I do get things ready to list I'll be asking $10k
 

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2000 SL500 Designo Edition, 1992 500SL, 1991 300SL, 1977 450SL, 1999 E320 4matic Wagon
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One of the last items I had which I fixed over the weekend was replacing the belt tensioner which was at the end of its life (was getting lots of belt squeal). I replaced that, the hydraulic damper that goes along with it, the tension nut, and then put a new belt on. I also replaced all the coolant hoses with brand new parts - the old ones weren't bad, but were original (29 years old). Car is running beautifully now!

At this point, I think I have the car pretty well sorted out. There are definitely things I could address as preventative maintenance (new brake fluid / bleed brakes, etc) but things are overall in great shape now.

View attachment 2811082

Owning this SL has been a really fun experience and I've learned a ton - but I also have a W124 now (1987 300D) that I'm fixing and it's really hard to juggle time between the two. Ultimately, having a two seater is too impractical now (versus a car which can fit 5 people). I really wish I had a 3rd garage spot! But I'll be listing this car up for sale sometime soon.

If you're looking for a sorted out R129 that is ready to just enjoy send me a DM! 馃檪 I'm in the Phoenix, Arizona area - and I'll be adding more detail to a new web page I created including some better pictures. When I do get things ready to list I'll be asking $10k
bsclifton,
That's to bad as I enjoyed your input here. Would that be an end to your r129 interest or would you be planning to buy another?.
 

Premium Member
1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
Joined
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
@carltwo I'll always love the R129 - it's such a cool car. It's just not practical for me at this point in my life - we have a 9 year old and we often have other family with us too. In my 20's though, wow. I used the convertible top daily and we went everywhere in it together (me and the Mrs). It's hard to maintain 3 cars myself; I have this R129, the 300D, and then my wife's 2013 GL550.

There might be another one down the road - it was super interesting diving in with the M104. I think I actually prefer this over the M113 (as far as working on it). I used to prefer the newer interior and 1996+ style updates, but I really like the older styles now too. The only R129 that I would on purpose NEVER buy is the SL600 with the M120! 馃槀 No thanks. Too many things that can go wrong there
 

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1994 SL320 / 1987 300D / 2013 GL550
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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
It's officially for sale - $10k. Here's a link to the BenzWorld For Sale thread:
 
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