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1997 SL320
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97 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
 

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1998 500SL
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37 Posts
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
I think you have the basics covered. I am retired Navy and used to have to leave my car for months at a time. Problem was, we didn't always know when we were coming back. One deployment that was supposed to be 6 months turned into 14.

If you are sure it will only be 5 months max, the you should be okay with not having to empty the fuel system. BUT, I would make certain that I had any gas with ethanol in it, it was used up or drained. Find a source of alcohol-free premium, put in some Stabil (or other similar product) and fill up with the alcohol-free gas.
 

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2000 SL500
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397 Posts
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
Remove battery or keep a trickle charger on it to keep it charged and use a charger that shuts off once fully charged to prevent overcharging. If battery is in good shape and you do remove it then keep a trickle charger on the battery out of the car too.
Change oil and filter if it's been some time since last change.
Get fresh gas in the tank and treat it with Sta-Bil or something equivalent. Drive the car after gas treatment to make sure the treated fuel is in the lines and injectors.
Refresh the coolant if you don't know how longs it's been since the last changed.
Wash, wax exterior, clean and treat interior.
If possible have someone drive it while you're gone, someone you trust. :)
 

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1989 300SE 232k miles
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1,790 Posts
I’d go with a trickle charge. I don’t know how long you’ve owned the car or your familiarity, but there are a lot of problems from letting the battery die. Or, worse yet, jumping the battery. Which can all simply be avoided.
 

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3 Mercedes'; 14 BMW's; 3 Other
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110 Posts
Get yourself a NOCO Genius 5 and you won't have to worry about your car battery.

Of course, that doesn't allow for whatever goof balls are working in the storage facility and think it will be funny to unplug it.

I have 28 cars, so they are on chargers alot. I also use a product called Ethanol Defense by Bell Performance. It works like gangbusters and it's super cost effieient. 1oz treats 10 gallons of gas after the first 2 tanks which you are to double shot (2oz per 10 gallons).
 

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1997, Mercedes SL320
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10 Posts
I'll triple agree with the non-Ethanol gas in the tank, make sure the tank is full to help prevent water build-up while you're gone. Since your in Florida, humid weather could play heck on the leather and create mold/mildew. You could try something like "Dri-It humidity absorber pouches" to help prevent it. Do not set the parking brake. Putting the car on blocks to where the tires just barely rest on the ground with help prevent flat-spots. Of course, there's no better thing than having someone drive the car until complete warm-up every 3-4 weeks.

Thank You for your Service!!!
 

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1990 500SL, 1981 280ce (sold)
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10 Posts
In addition to the good advice above, I would suggest putting a container of desiccant in the interior to absorb moisture and avoid mildew damage.

Also, rather than putting the car on blocks, pumping the tires up to 50-55psi will minimize flat spots.
 
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Premium Member
2002 Black SL500, 1998 Red sport SL500, 2005 Silver (A209) CLK500
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1,109 Posts
Semper Fi.
Went through Parris Island many many....years ago....retired at 25 years and 4 months.
3 Mercedes; 2 SL's.
All good recommendations above and use a car cover.
If you're storing it with the soft top down, put a thick towel between the crease of the plastic widow as it folds length ways just before the soft top closes...then go ahead and close it completely.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
R129 500 SL 1991
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1,376 Posts
Storing the car on jacks or blocks to relieve the load on the tires is a bad idea. :mad: This will damage the suspension bushes by constantly straining them over the period the car is stored. Suspension bushes are least stressed when the car is left at normal level due to the special way the bushes are tightened during installation at factory/workshop.

I pump up the tires to 40 psi over 6 month winter storage to prevent flat spotting. It works.

I also leave the battery in the trunk connected up to the car’s electrics and connect up an intelligent MB trickle charger. I rigged a 12v cigar lighter socket in the trunk, which my trickle charger plugs into. The battery compartment is vented. Never had a problem. Disconnecting the battery may not cause any problems, but I’ve read enough posts from owners who have window/soft top synchronisation issues, blown ECUs (especially soft top control), and other electrical maladies after disconnecting/reconnecting battery, to make me think twice about disconnecting mine. I let you decide.

Fuel stabiliser, yes.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
R129 500 SL 1991
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1,376 Posts
Forgot to mention, if stored in unheated garage in cold/damp climate, suggest you empty the windshield wiper washer reservoir to avoid promotion of corrosion of (aluminium particularly) engine components - fan blades, water pump etc.

Put hard top on. Let the soft top fabric and stitching relax.

Bag of desiccant in cabin helps protect the interior (and glue to foam backed roof lining of hardtop) from effects of damp/condensation.
 

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1995 Mercedes S420, 1995 SL320, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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2,017 Posts
Full tank of gas with a fuel stabilizer, first and foremost. Battery tender or disconnect the battery is second.

And as others have mentioned, keeping desiccant pouches in the cabin really helps keep the humidity down. I use these in my own cars:


I put one in each foot well and one on the deck behind the seats. You can put one in the trunk too if you want to be extra safe.

Beyond that, it won't hurt to make sure your oil is freshly changed. I've heard some say that before storage to fill with a slightly lower viscosity than normal, or to use Lucas oil additive (or similar), in order to help the oil stay up on the parts that need lubrication over the longer period of time. I feel like this makes sense but I've never really stored a car long enough for that to be a concern for me.

Rubber like tires and bushings are going to suffer no matter what you do, that's just reality. It needs to be flexed regularly to stay supple, and there are pros and cons to keeping the car on jacks for a long period of time. Six or eight months isn't the end of the world regardless, so don't worry too much about it. But once you start driving it again expect to maybe hear a squeak or two that wasn't there before.
 

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1997 SL320
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97 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I’ve never actually used the mechanized soft top due to mine having issues (see previous posts if you want to know more) I’ve already researched the alcohol free gas and for the battery, it seems I’ll just disconnect it and jump start it once I arrive back. I know the complications of jump starting a car but I’ve done it several times and apparently the soft top still works and the engine starts right back up. I’ve done it probably around 10-15 times with no issues and I don’t expect anything new that I haven’t encountered before. The front suspension already has a creak in it from a recent incident where I jumped the curb, requiring a new idler arm bushings and a center steering drag link. It already needs suspension work, is what I’m saying but I’d rather drive it to the shop than call a tow truck.
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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1,376 Posts
Rubber like tires and bushings are going to suffer no matter what you do, that's just reality.
Huh? Jacking up your car for annual storage (6 months) accelerates damage to the rubber bushes. Fact. More so if they are old.

Vulcanised rubber that is subject to significant and prolonged torsional shear stress over time degrades quicker than rubber that isn’t.

Perhaps you could explain why you don’t think this is so?
 

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1997 SL320
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97 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Huh? Jacking up your car for annual storage (6 months) accelerates damage to the rubber bushes. Fact. More so if they are old.

Vulcanised rubber that is subject to significant and prolonged torsional shear stress over time degrades quicker than rubber that isn’t.

Perhaps you could explain why you don’t think this is so?
I understand like with everything in this world, it needs to be used to be in correct working order. Yeah, I realize I’m probably going to have to change the rubber bushings and all sorts of different small and hard to reach rubber parts but I have big retro-fit dreams with this car, and the suspension is the first. So I’d rather have it drive correctly for a short period of time instead of breaking down when I start it up. Thanks for the input
 

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So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
I leave my 129 in a garage in Maine for 6-7 months each winter and come to Florida!! My experience says: retract the top, using the towel suggested in the window folds. Top on the hardtop. Get a trickle charger that manages the charging
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
I store my 1998 R129 in a heated garage in Maine for 6-8 months every year when we come to Florida. You got lots of good advice but some is conflicting. Change the oil and flush brake lines (brake fluid attracts moisture). I’d retract the soft top using the towel in the folds as suggested. Put on the hardtop. Get a reasonably priced cover. Buy a 12.5 volt Battery Tender (Amazon) trickle charger - don’t disconnect the battery. Put some moisture absorbing material in a plastic container as suggested. Use up as much gas as you can and refill tank with ethonal free gas ( available at lots of stations in FL for guys to fill up their boats on trailers or go to a marina and ask where to get it) but use plenty of Stabil gas treatment anyway. Pump up tires to 40-45 psi. Put down some flat boards wider than your tires and drive up on them so tires not on concrete floor. Dont Jack up the car. (It likes to sit on its suspension).Spread some mothballs on garage floor to discourage rodents from nesting in engine bay or even worse in car ( especially important if you have ‘93-5 model which have biodegradable wiring harness which mice love to feed on). Get a small fan and set it up on low speed in the garage to keep air circulation moving( I do this when I leave my cars in FL for the summer when we go to Maine). Finally, wax the exterior, vacuum and apply leather and vinyl cleaner to interior. Crack the windows a bit even though you cover it. And find a friend to check on the charger and the fan periodically if possible. Remember, when you eventually sell the car, the buyer will see how well you e cared for it - especially when they see the cover.
Good luck and thank you for your service
NICHUR
 

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Outstanding Contributor
R129 500 SL 1991
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1,376 Posts
Exactly @nichur. Great advice. 👍

My only question would be whether it’s necessary to flush brake lines. I think you could leave that to normal timed service interval.

I thought about cracking the windows, but rodents, those critters can get through very small gaps. Balance of risk. Probably not necessary with desiccant and there would be a small amount of air flow anyway without cracking open windows.

I also considered slacking off the poly-v drive belt. Whilst it’s a good idea in principle, it probably would cause problems on early models (I know OP doesn’t have early model but others are following) with failure of early style tensioner during the adjustment if you’re not careful. So I concluded, on balance, leave it tensioned.

I salute your very comprehensive advice! 👍
 

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Greek God of the R129
SL500-500SEL-190E
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8,526 Posts
About the first generation belt tensioner.
Its nothing more then two bearings, and a rubber bushing.

By tightening more,
In five minutes, you can damage the new tensioner.
Rubber bushing separates, say goodby tensioner. $$
You are not going to notice, right away....Lol.

To avoid damaging the new, don't look at the arrow, anyways is adjustable.
Belt semyloose, start engine, rev up/down.
No alternator noise, add A/C.
Noise?
Start tightening a bit, noise stopped?
Button everything up.
Regards,
aam.
 

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2010 SL63 AMG, 2001 SL500, 2012 Corvette Z06, 2013 Lexus RX350, 2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe, 2015 Ram
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491 Posts
I'm late to this thread, but I would not jack the car up and put it on blocks. That's not good for the suspension components. I store a few cars for about 5 months every year, and I have never had issues with the tires, not even the soft compound ultra high performance tires, such as Michelin Pilot SuperSports. I think the "flat-spot" thing might be a myth, or maybe something that happened a long time ago.

I used to put some fuel stabilizer in the gas, but I haven't done that for a few years, and haven't had any problems.

I am still undecided if periodically starting the cars is actually good. The first few seconds when the engine starts is when the greatest amount of wear occurs, especially when it has not run for a while. So am I better off running them once a month, or just leaving them alone? But I do worry about the A/C which should run occasionally to keep the seals flexible. Thats not easy to do in a winter climate anyway.

I routinely use a battery maintainer any time I know I am not likely to use the car for two weeks or more. I would rather not disconnect the battery and have to reset every system. That's a big enough nuisance when replacing a battery. I don't want to do it every year.

My 20 year old SL500 looks like new inside and out, and absolutely everything works correctly. Same for my 11 year old SL63.
 

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2007 GL450; 2012 E350 Wagon; 1995 E300D, 2000 SL500 sold sad!); 1999 CL500 sold sad; 1971 250/8;
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213 Posts
So on Jan 25th, I leave Florida to head to S.Carolina for Marine Bootcamp training. I’ve decided to keep my SL320 due to extremely low offers for the car and the fact that it runs, drives and shifts correctly.
I’ve found storage for it in an enclosed garage and I’m heading to buy a car cover soon that will protect the near perfect paint. I need tips on how to store it for about 5 months at max, because I know tires and rubber components in the suspension won’t like the sit and I’m just a young guy still getting his financial issues solved, finally got a good savings account going with no issue and stable pay for a couple of years, while it’s not much.

I’ll be disconnecting the battery, obviously but I’m thinking of jacking the car up, placing wood blocks underneath the jack points so it doesn’t harm the suspension as much as letting it rest. Any other thing that I need to do, such as dump fluids or anything of that sort?

thank you for the replies
Go over the weatherstripping around doors and under hood with some good grade protectant and also soak your wiring with it. Raise your top and leave it up. Hit your rotors in and out with some WD40. Pour some Stabil in your tank and fill it. Run you engine to get the Stabil up into the engine.
 

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R129 500 SL 1991
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1,376 Posts
Marine oil in the engine? 😁
 
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