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2003 SLK32, 1999 C43
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone had a problem with play in the steering column? I've owned several Benz's, but I'm new to SLK's. I bought a 2003 SLK32 about 10 days ago, and along with the dreaded intercooler pump failure and flickering tail lights (new version, post recall), I noticed that the steering column moves laterally a bit. It's been in the trusted indy shop since I bought it. They confirmed the intercooler pump was DOA and they couldn't find any fault codes or wiring problems causing the brake lights to flicker while driving, so they deduced it had to be the brake light switch (which they advised is a common culprit for various issues). But the most concerning thing was this slop (I'm exaggerating, it's a couple of mm) in the steering column. Specifically, the column moves laterally a bit. I don't usually jank the wheel side to side, but I noticed on the freeway, going over bumps that the column was moving a bit. Since I bought this for my wife, I didn't want to take any chances with steering issues. Long story sort, the guys at my shop eventually had to pull the entire steering column out to find a bearing burried deep in the column as the source of the play. Bad news - MB doesn't have one in North America, so they are waiting for the part from Deutchland, 4-5 days. Get this, the cost of this silly, mostly plastic bearing, around $500!!! The car only has 26K miles and is othewise in excellent shape, zero accidents. Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem? Is this bearing a weak part that wears prematurely? I haven't found anything in my searches. BTW I'm normally a DIYer and I'm really impressed with all the helpful info on here. You guys are awesome. And Bazzle, you are da man! Thanks for all the great posts. :bowdown:
 
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That's the first I've ever heard on the steering column on any SLK and I've been following them for about 10 years.
 

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2003 SLK32, 1999 C43
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. That's encouraging. At least I won't have to do this again! It's a real PITA to replace. Maybe I just bought a "monday" car?
 

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2007 CLK350
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28 Posts
I had the same problem (same symptom anyway) on my 2001 SLK 320. A dealer tech first noticed it at about 45000 miles. They disassembled the steering wheel area without finding the problem. The service guy said it must be in the bottom somewhere and would be big bucks to get to. He said it wasn't a safety issue so I didn't worry about it. The sales manager where I eventually traded it in at 51000 miles did notice it when he appraised it. Probably cost me a little on that count, but he was looking to lowball it anyway.
 

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2003 SLK32, 1999 C43
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. It is big bucks, just to replace a silly bearing. You probably lost less on the trade in than they would have charged to fix it. It's going to be over $1500 just for the steering column, and this is a very reasonable shop. I shudder to think what the stealership would charge me. Fortunately, the sales manager at the BMW dealership I bought it from was cool and agreed to reimburse me for these repairs. They are going to have a fit when they see the bill.

Thanks for the welcome! Can't wait to try it out with the supercharger pumping. So far I've just driven it home from the dealer and straight to the shop. My poor wife is asking every day when she will get to drive her new car. It's been over a week and the part still hasn't arrived. :( Germany doesn't celebrate Memorial Day, WTF? Maybe they're still bitter?

BTW, have many of you guys debadged the huge "V6 KOMPRESSOR" stuff on the sides? They look a little cheezy to me since the rest of the car is pretty understated. If it was a "V12 Bi-Turbo," well, ok. I prefer the stealthy look. I just might have to get the fishing line out.
 

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2002 SLK 32 AMG, bone stock. 1987 190E 2.3-16 valve (destroyed). 2005 E320 new toy.
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14,926 Posts
Welcome to our site, and enjoy your stay with us.
I notice you have a C43, how do you like it, they have always intrigued me, they sound unreal at the track.... :D
 

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2003 SLK32, 1999 C43
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks! I love my C43! It's my daily driver. Solid as a rock, very comfortable and a blast to drive. I just wish the 32 had similar seats, the dual lumbar support is great on long trips.
 
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