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That yellow SLK - new owner and new fixes! (the thread of history)


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Only I got distractination by procrastination and thought tidying the garage would make more sense...








Hang on, GET OUT! Bloody things. Big Country was playing, I think they sensed a Scotsman might be around.




Of course, MOST PRESSING JOB. Extract forgotten 300CE and wash it. That's more important than fixing the MG, A-class or SLK.








It was nice before the windows were tinted, springs chopped and HID lights shoved in :( Time and other projects mean it's sat almost a year with no real progress, I think I'll have to find one already on the road to enjoy.

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Wait...you've got an MGF? I thought you sold that SLK?

MGF belongs to t'parents who bought it off a friend with me going and checking it over and going "sure, if you really want one, paint looks a bit rough though" and it turns out to be made of filler & gauze. Main issue right now is the sodding alternator which has seized, then seized into the car with seized nuts everywhere.


SLK story is long, but essentially the friend that bought it when the exbitch quit her job the first time after my accident didn't get on with it and remembered that I had genuinely cried when it went away, so gave it back to me to sell or give him money for. Hence it was on perma-sort-of-sale-but-not-haggling until I finally recovered financially enough to give him the money. It got a fuel leak, and has spent a year pretty much unused because I move it around the garage but haven't had the tools to lift it safely (SLKs are not over-endowed with jacking points). I have new fuel filter, lines, clamps, rubber supports all ready to go on - just need ramps big and stable enough to let me get under it safely.


Whilst the SLK may always be theoretically up for a swap I've had it for 3 years and I love it, so it's either "extreme pressure" or finding a car I love more, not a "I'm bored, buy it so I can buy more stuff". It still gets oil changes and gradual work improving it but the fuel leak means it's had no MOT since November!

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It cost me £2250. I spent money on little things, then I sold it for £2250 and got given a Lexus that I swapped for an MX5 which then became a Voyager and got 'traded in' (aka 'train fare or leave this heap there') when I bought the 300C in Wakefield. I bought it back for £2250, then spent little bits on it (new genuine rear dampers, that sort of thing), then advertised it for £2250.


Generally in my head it's £2250, but tends to be improving apart from the wing that was helpfully (no, really, as it happens) given a quick £85 sand-back and blow over by Nightmares Racing before I got the car, and despite being a cheap, quick job because I keep the car garaged and never drive (drove) it in the wet/winter, the wing has remained pretty much in stasis. Next jobs on the list are: ATF change (because my friend got it 'done' by a place that charged £200, claimed the box was shafted after switching it into winter mode, and when I checked the ATF was not changed and the tamper proof dipstick hadn't been touched - Gloucestershire firm that I left a bad Google review for and if I'd checked it when it was done would have had changing the fluid AND refunding him), I want to put EBC brakes on it all round and braided hoses. If it's all done it might have to be higher than £2250 then.


My plan had been to put brand new genuine wings on, they're not too bad at £230 each and with proper prep they should take the car to 50-odd years old and occupying the same place that Pagoda SLs do now. Don't buy mine, but DO buy R170 SLKs whilst they're cheap, as one day these will be mad money; they were designed to really echo those early 190s and what looked gawky when launched looks pretty well resolved now.


I'm putting a new thermostat on and changing the fluid as I've had it three years, and it still needs front dampers but I've been holding off in case Inchcape do a deal on them - I got the rears for £40 each, genuine, and the difference over 18 year old originals was naturally immense. Underbonnet and areas I can get to have been waxoyled with clear rattlecan which I then hairdryer melted into all the seams (dries to a nice factory-looking shell, but holds muck so it doesn't look as gleaming as it should be). It does have a few blemishes and a small brown spotted area on the back of the roof suggesting ideally, the back window should come out and some rectification before it gets bad - I suspect most people would just mask, sand, consider job-done.

It is really rather lovely though, and in yellow is a bit more appealing than silver that seems so common.

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It was gangstered. Gingercators were replaced with clear, too. It was on 18s when I got it but not included or to my taste. It did actually look okay in the rear view mirror, but had to cross speed bumps diagonally and because it was done "cheaply" by chopping the springs, the car rides like shit. It might get lowered springs simply because Eibach and so forth do make an awful lot of options, but I really don't understand the obsession with lowering cars like this.

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Take this:




Add this with Absolute 80s playing appropriate Montage music...




And get this!




It looks a bit broken. Also half the adjuster mechanism I expected to find in the MGF was missing, just a bit of plastic wedged in.


Taff, which half of an MGF? Also if you plant that powerglide and water it with 100 octane, transplant from an ericaceous compost to something high in iron nitrates and glassfibre, you should get a nice C3 by August-September. But remember to keep the lead supplements up or you might get a 1979 California Emissions spec one.

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An SLK has a lot of potential to be a moneypit, so hell, enjoying one and parting with it for figures you're happy with you still get to enjoy it. I think the prices firmed up but it's summer - so have Z3s and every time I mention being curious about them, I get a resounding chorus of "they're SHIT" from people I trust to know. Still want to try a manual Z3 2.8i though.

I'm sure pressed into daily 12,000 mile a year use my SLK would either deteriorate fast or cost a lot to maintain. It's really spoiled because I got it right after destroying a leg (which is still mangled, I have toe-out of about 40° and severe negative camber) - never mind buying cars drunk, I bought this one off the blue forum whilst very high on morphine purely because it was automatic and yellow. And all credit to the bloke selling it, he went out of his way to deliver it to me and make sure it was as right as it could be (including getting unsightly rust on the wing dealt with, and sending pics of the work being done so I could see it wasn't full of bog). Everything I can do preventative-wise is done - shrinking windscreen seals? They're cheap from Mercedes, on they go. I will probably replace all of the hydraulic top solenoid seals this year to prevent the system leaking - again, cheap to do now, expensive to diagnose and clean up the mess if you wait for them to fail.




I mean, look at it. It's beautiful. This is totally the best colour for it.

It's not awesome to drive like an X1/9 or something. It's not insanely fast like the 500SL I had before. It's not all that interesting to show or take to classic places. But I absolutely love it and would probably have another, raggier one for daily use if it were offered.

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Well, I spent the time today fixing the fuel leak and fitting a new fuel filter. It's one of those jobs that on paper sounds really easy, but without a four post ramp consists of 10 minutes of actual work vs. 3 hours of swearing, shouting, getting your t-shirt caught in the wheels of the creeper thing, etc.

Also Mercedes provided the wrong preshaped fuel hose, but they also provided enough 'cut to length' to replace the preformed one. Fixed the rubber boots on the pump terminals, too, and cleaned under the wheelarch because I like my SLK being perversely clean. I have the part number for the filter-to-rigid line hose so I can order one, and with a set of those swivel-head Laser clamp pliers the proper spec clamps were a doddle, way easier than faffing with jubilee clips. Wasted 15 minutes trying to get the pump/filter housing screw back in - top tip, don't remove it, just loosen. Lesson learned.


Drove around to the house, leave it running whilst I jetwash. Idle is smooth and car sounds happy. Move it around the farm a bit. Still happy. Check no fuel is leaking. No fuel is leaking.

"I'm just going for a naughty run down to fill it with fresh fuel, this crap is a year old now"

*splutter DEAD*.

FFS. The leak needed fixing anyway but I am baffled, I hear no vacuum leaks - I did all the breathers already.


My gut feeling is that this is fuelling related, and my instinct is telling me it's one of the few non-MB parts on the car, a cheap MAF fitted by the previous owner. But disconnect it and it goes into limp home mode which SHOULD understand idle fuelling fine. No codes are thrown, so that's not helping. Goes fine when underway.

SLK owners will tell you Occam's Razor on almost any SLK weird behaviour is the K40 relay pack. I did check mine when diagnosing the cam solenoid issues, but maybe I need to pop it out for a rework.


Got that sad feeling where you've spent a day covered in oil and petrol and then the fix didn't work after all :(

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Right! After a Hard Day's Work sitting in a hotel listening to seminars, I got home and couldn't resist tinkering. So first, K40 relay under the magnifying glass and soldering iron. Sod all wrong with it but a dark ring on one joint meant I soldered it anyway. Probably made it worse. Cleaned all the contacts and fuses, then popped it back in the ECU box (checking my ECU cooling fan still works, it does).


I ordered a new alternator for the MGF and a new Bosch MAF for the SLK - I figured that I would get one anyway on the off chance it sorted the issue but if not I wanted to get rid of the crappy pattern part regardless. Whilst putting the K40 back, I thought i'd take a look at the MAF on the car.


It was a little bit moist. As in, my 'I cleaned this stuff already' was actually 5,000 miles and almost 3 years ago and was mostly cleaning the oil separator on the cam cover and replacing the hoses on that side. What I didn't do was the "hateful job of misery" - aka replacing the PCV valve and cleaning the brass nozzles in the cylinder head inlet ports. If they get blocked, you get oil in the inlet pipe and oil contamination on the MAF.


Cleaned the MAF figuring even if you're not supposed to, it's cheap and I already bought a new one. Car sat idling longer than I could be bothered waiting whilst I cleaned the garage more and occupied myself checking lights, voltages, anything I could think of (voltage is low, 13.4 - battery is probably past it, understandable given how little use the car has had. I want to fit an AGM one that is more tolerant of neglect). Revs fine. Sounds fine. I need to give it a proper run and get the car MOTd, and the front tyres are a touch poor so I should really order some Avons to match the back and have them fitted first, but I'll be cheap and check the depth on the front first.


I think the SLK will be back on the road just in time for my next trip to Portland. Awesome, it can spend another month doing nowt.


Also got a new alternator for the MGF. It seemed like a fair swap... Should arrive on Wednesday so I can waste some time putting that back together. Tomorrow will probably be fitting a new serpentine belt to the 300C.


(So, who wants to teach me how to weld? I've looked at MGF forums and I think the issue with this one is not as bad as I fear, but I can't fix it myself. Folks want rid - they've been spooked now, after a spur of the moment purchase to have a second car, they kept it here until Spring and then it becomes trouble right away).

Saturday looks like there might be MOAR YELLOW here.

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The 300CE interior is about to get jetwashed, having watched Perfection Valet doing it to the Delta's interior.


SLK is running normally, undertray back on, wheel nuts torqued, now to get the MOT sorted! And for bonus messing around the 300C got a nice new serpentine belt. Which involved dropping the 1/4 drive socket in the engine bay and much swearing about undertrays.

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You should try a 2.8 litre Z3 - they are very good fun with a lovely big six cylinder engine, plenty of performance and gung-ho handling. I think most of them are manual so finding one shouldn't be difficult.


A strange snobbery exists against them in some people and I am not sure why. They are quite an old fashioned car; maybe they prefer a car with a modern, viceless feel. The Z3 can bite like a proper BMW.

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MOT on Friday - only doubtful areas for me are:

Surface corrosion on a rear brake pipe - mentioned one year, never again since (did the usual sand & gel)

Front tyres - feel legal but they do like to keep an eye on tyres here!

Emissions - it hasn't been driven since August it seems, apart from driving around and warming up on the farm. It'll need a good run to get warmed through and hopefully the cleaned MAF will ensure it sails through, if not I'll fit the new one for the MOT then take it off again until I've sorted the blocked PCV side.


Got a plate holder to go on the back - rather than argue with the snapped off screw I'll use the three good ones and a sticky pad to secure the holder, that'll be tidy until I can get replacement MB Rivnut things to replace the factory fittings.

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*ding dong*

"Hello, it's ParcelForce."

Ah, good. A parcel with a corner that absolutely, definitely has not been dropped, no way. Fortunately the alternator was very well packed and therefore survived this needless abuse.


By a curious twist of fate, "Needless abuse" is pretty much what I'd say the MGF did to my arm trying to fit the bloody thing. I look like I've been savaged by a Scottish Wildcat. Not even a Scottish One. A Glaswegian one. That you just spilled the pint (of milk) of.


First, warm up the working area. This thing is AWESOME.




I really hate the access on these, particularly the alternator which has 'things' in the way of spanners in every direction.




On the plus side, it sounds fantastic, smooth, quiet but with a nice buzz when you put your foot down. It goes well, too - but the front end is twitchy as anything, stupidly responsive (almost overly so) and a bit wandery.




It doesn't look too bad really, and it does have a mohair roof with glass rear window installed.




At least, until you see this sill. The other side isn't bad, fortunately.




So right now, I'm close to having TWO two-seater open-topped cars, with another on the way on Saturday...




And the 300C comes into the garage. The big beast has only done 27.000 miles and I'm hardly using it, but paying for it and tax, etc. - the settlement on it is substantially less than these are being advertised for, so off with the private plate and onto eBay/Gumtree/whatever. After claybar and wax, and a quick interior wipe over (it is almost 9 years old, having been built mid 2006).



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Somewhat predictably, the SLK failed the MOT.


Somewhat less predictably, it did not do so on tyres or emissions (just), but on a broken coil spring at the front! As the Mercedes parts are relatively inexpensive (£59), I'll pop a new pair on but it means buying a proper Mercedes spring compressor or risking losing my face.


Normally I'd want to do dampers at the same time, but they're still fairly expensive for genuine ones :(


Fortunately the Clarke compressor isn't too expensive - but now I'm wishing I'd taken cash for the BMW after all!

Speaking of which, hooking up the fully charged battery seems to have had no effect on the LCM's willingness to behave (plus, don't close the boot on an E39 with the battery removed). Chap's coming up with the Skoda tomorrow. Might actually lose my shit with this car yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the SLK coils have arrived, but not the spring compressor. Damnit. Will deal with it eventually, but I can see the SLK not being back on the road until June now.


As for the MGF, I was very sensible. Having fixed the alternator I refused to drive it until I'd put a splash shield on (no stones jamming up the new one); as luck would have it the remanufactured, thick plastic splash shield (with better quality fixings) arrived on the same day as a pair of hood tensioning straps to make the roof fold properly. Those, btw, are an absolute bastard to fit until you suss out a technique to pull the loops through the eyes - specifically, take the longer section, wrap around back spar, tease loop through eye with a screwdriver or if you plan ahead, put a string through it - stretch the strap to the troublesome spar that locks up, pull it around then clamp the bastard thing with molegrips. Then pull the loop through the eye and fit the metal slide that holds it together.


With a new tidy roof and protected alternator, time to go for a spin. Nice few mile trip around the villages. Going well, get to the hotel to turn around in their drive; 1st, 2nd, 3rd... 3rd... WTF? Neutral... Oh FFS.

Coast, as it's having none of it. Pop into 1st, start car, yep. Clutch isn't releasing. Pedal is moving normally-ish, so I wonder if the slave cylinder has detached from the arm or something stupid. Either way, clutchless changes home, back in the garage. Anyone who says an MGF isn't a proper British Classic Sportscar needs to own one; rust, unobtainable bits, needlessly fiddly engine, random failures, it's got the lot.


Amusingly I need to sell the damn thing and try and get as close to £1K back as I can. Not sure a new clutch/alternator/glass-window roof is going to bring it up to that level :/

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You should try a 2.8 litre Z3 - they are very good fun with a lovely big six cylinder engine, plenty of performance and gung-ho handling. I think most of them are manual so finding one shouldn't be difficult.


A strange snobbery exists against them in some people and I am not sure why. They are quite an old fashioned car; maybe they prefer a car with a modern, viceless feel. The Z3 can bite like a proper BMW.

I had one of these last summer. Lovely car, and the 2.8 has the wide body so more butch looking. Traction button off and it was so much fun! Lovely sounding engine too. I did feel a bit of a tit driving it though

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Has the clutch arm done its thing and twisted/bent/snapped? You can usually see the mount flexing when someone pushes the clutch, known weak spot usually caused by a bearing failure.


The arm wasn't sticky before and it's had a new clutch about 600 miles ago. However, this sounds like the most infuriating ballache in the world to fix, so yeah, let's say it's done that :D

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I had one of these last summer. Lovely car, and the 2.8 has the wide body so more butch looking. Traction button off and it was so much fun! Lovely sounding engine too. I did feel a bit of a tit driving it though


I used to drive a black New Beetle Cabriolet with a giant purple daisy in the flower vase. Driving a wide-arched BMW Z3 is a step up.

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I tested a 1.9 auto Z3 recently; the gearbox may have well been in a different car. It also had fat 16" wheels which prevented you from doing anything lairy. I suspect a skinny tyred manual 1.9 would be fun (if gutless). 

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Decided to look at the MGF. I really would like to inflict pain on the person that devised that engine cover, every time it gets snarled up on the hood clips no matter how I arrange them.


Clutch slave cylinder still attached to operating arm. Darn, there goes the 'easy fix'.

Arm moves freely.

Pedal feels strange - slightly more resistance at the end of the travel, slight 'grab-pop' feel as it raises.

Fluid level fine (grubby as anything though).


Conclusions: Master cylinder, and "cannot be arsed". So it'll get fixed when I have time. Going to go for the rebuild kit.


For bonus fixing, going to replace all the obviously too short silver hood rivets with proper long black ones and tidy up the corner of roof that always escapes.

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  • RichardK changed the title to That yellow SLK - new owner and new fixes! (the thread of history)

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