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Hey there. Newbie here with some questions.

If I were to be in the market for a first gen SLK230 for some weekend fun driving what would I need to look out for? Any warning signs I should be aware of? Since you have had experience with this model what are prone to fail over time and what are the weak points of the model?

How should I evaluate the top mechanism and other electrical items that I am told I should be wary about.

Your help would greatly be appreciated so I can evaluate some models I check.
 

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C230K Sport Sedan
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You can take the car to an MB mechanic and have them go over it, worth the $50-100 if you are not mechanically inclined. Personally I can drive a car and tell if there's something wrong. Then after I drive it I crawl underneath and look for any fluid leaks (rear diff leak can set you back $500). While down there I look for signs of collision repair, most body shops don't spend too much time masking under the car so you can see if there's overspray. Of course just knowing something is not right may not be enough information, you need to know if it's something minor or something major and a good mechanic should be able to tell you that. For example, say the turn signals don't blink, you may think, wow, that's just a $7 relay, wrong!, it's a $800 turn signal module and 2 hours of repair time (really 10 minutes but the mechanic has a boat payment to make). On the otherhand you may find the top doesn't go up or down, maybe it's a stuck switch that's relatively cheap to fix.
 

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i'm also a newbie here and I was just about to ask the same question. Things I should look out for?

How long can I expect the slk230 motor to last?

Are there certain thing that's known to break (for example e39 bmw 5-series's water pump craps out after 80k or e36 bmw 3-series's rear shock towers cracks)?

How much money am I looking at to maintain the car? Can i change my own oil, or do I have to go into the dealership to rest?

Any electrical issues I should be aware of?

Or any other tips! Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Also, i know the bolt pattern 5x112, but what is the typical wheel size, and offset on the OEM wheels?
 

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SLK 320 BRABUS Modded
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If you can run to it look at a 320, i would, No sc so less to go wrong.

had mine a few years now, And not had to spend a penny on it.

Take some time and find a nice one, Feel free to post any you find, and we will have a looky at it for you :thumbsup:
 

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1998 Mercedes 230 SLK
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A few more SLK weak spots:
heated seats like to stop working (cables break in the seat) - is expensive to repair, only in the pre-2000 models exchange of heat mats possible, post 2000 may need complete seat.
brake lights also stop working in many cars - corroded contacts in the lens, can be DIY
Roof is pretty solid unless water leaks into the PSE pump area so check out the the service door on the right side in the trunk. Usually happens when the rubber strips in the trunk are not maintained.
Rust - some do more than others but some areas of concern are the roof panels so pay close attention to all parts as the roof unfolds - have the owner stop operation in the middle to inspect parts you usually wouldn't be able to see close-up. A-pillars too, and front fenders/hood.
Exhaust manifold likes to crack, especially the cast iron variety on the early model. They're double-walled and pretty impossible to repair.
Rear differential leaks at times.
The supercharger is robust. In older cars, the magnetic clutch engaging it may be worn.
The 230's M111 engine has a variable intake cam. The mechanism can leak oil into the electrical cable system. Have the mechanic remove the front engine cover to inspect that area, and the plugs therein.
This sounds like a lot but overall chances are that even a very old SLK may have none or only a few of these issues. This is easily still the most reliable model Mercedes has build over the past 20 years. As with all used cars, knowing what the previous owner(s) did or didn't do vis-a-vis maintenance is critical. I'd stay away form samples with no service record and signs of neglect. Good luck!
 

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SLK 320 BRABUS Modded
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A few more SLK weak spots:
heated seats like to stop working (cables break in the seat) - is expensive to repair, only in the pre-2000 models exchange of heat mats possible, post 2000 may need complete seat.

Only the slk 32 amg seems to have this problem, this does not seem effect 230 or 320
 
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