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SLK - Autoshite’s most popular roadster?


r.welfare

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Just how many of these things do the Autoshite collective currently own?  Got to be over half a dozen.  Why are they so popular, apart from the fact they are cheap?

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Here’s mine that I purchased from @DaveDorson at the beginning of May.  2001 facelift 230 manual, 150k miles and like @Rod/b it’s resplendent in dog dick red.  A fiscally prudent way to have my midlife crisis.

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Dave had done a fair bit sorting ball joints, brakes and tyres so it drives really well.  Steering is a bit inert compared to an MX-5 but that’s to be expected given it’s a cut-down C Class, and the gearchange is horrible (but I appreciate manuals are rare).  

I’m dailying it at the moment (and have done about 1500 miles so far) and it goes like a stabbed rat when you prod it yet will do 35mpg with restraint.  

Since buying it I’ve serviced it (oil filter £3, air filter £7, spark plugs £10 a set etc), replaced the belts, replaced the bonnet with a non-rusty one, repaired the bootlid rust (badly), replaced a rear wheel and tyre because the original was buckled ( my fault, Dave did warn me), repainted the mirrors (badly), and patched up the torn driver’s seat (badly).  

Next job is to reactivate the air conditioning - I’ve a new condenser and receiver dryer to fit when I have some spare time.  I’ll flush the coolant while I’m at it.

The only real fault it has is water leaks onto the seats directly beneath the windscreen header and roof join, although I discovered some drain holes in the A pillars which were clogged with dirt so hopefully that’s sorted.  But if anyone else has suffered and solved this, let me know.

Over to the other (current and former) owners!

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IIRC theres a yellow one that may or may not be the same one that @RichardK and possibly @Jim Bell owned

Ive had only CLKs as i usually need more than 2 seats, although there was a black one on here in the last year that was very tempting!

Incidentally @r.welfare its you that got me interested in the site as i was googling about peugeot 405 diesels back in the noughties and it took me to your posts.

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Another one that's fast becoming a forum bike is this:

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230 auto. I prefer the earlier ones like these with the less fussy front bumper, no sideskirts and textured black rocker panels.

I bought this for my wife but the accelerator pedal is too far away and both seat height mechanisms (which also move the seat forwards a little more) are completely missing. So she's keeping the TT and I'm using this.

It also had a massive rust hole in the inner wing

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Which Gingernutzz sorted out at short notice for me thankfully. 

Very quick too. 

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Not investigated mine intimately for rust but what I can see looks ok, topside and underside - there’s definitely some Glenn Miller in the front wings where it’s had a blowover at some point.  Polishes up nice though.

What I learned today is that it’s not a good idea to drop the roof when it’s covered in standing water from overnight rain, and you’re sitting in it.  The incontinent look isn’t a fetching one.  A good blast up the bypass got car and driver dry again fairly quickly.  The supercharger whine is addictive and it’s easy to get the traction control light flashing when shifting into 2nd, wet or dry.  As I’m no helmsman I’ve not turned the traction control off yet.

@HMC 405’s, blimey that’s going back a bit!  I think I sold the last one in 2010.

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Here are mine on the day I traded the X reg in for the P reg because although older it was much lower mileage and in much better nick and had the sexy AMG bodykit. Both 230's. I no longer own either, the X reg having disappeared from the DVLA database and the P reg now on sorn. Shame really. I now own a TT instead but am not sure I don't prefer the SLK.

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12 minutes ago, skoda_fan said:

own a TT instead but am not sure I don't prefer the SLK.

I have both and am torn between the two. I think, roof aside, the SLK is less complex but the Audi is faster and more of a drivers car.

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Interesting, thanks. I recently acquired my Audi and that was my impression on the test drive. However it has one or two issues that are putting me off it a bit so be interesting to see how I feel once they're sorted.

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The SLK is more rot prone but its an auto 2WD, whereas the TT is largely galvanised but is 4WD and something like a clutch will be very expensive. Plus the 225 has 2 intercoolers so there are pipes everywhere which are all getting old by now. It's inredibly quick though whereas the SLK is more of a tourer.

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Christ, if the TT is a better drivers car than an SLK, are they really that bad to drive? Presumably an MX5 runs rings around these on the corners? 😬🫣

I keep looking at them as cheap performance but the styling doesn't want to gel with me. 

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I only drove the yellow one for a hundred miles or so, but it's definitely a cruiser rather than a b road toy like an nx5. I've not driven a TT far at all.

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I agree. Neither the SLK nor TT are sports cars per se. I have owned both by way of experiment really. As opposed to my MX5's which are staying with me. That said, I wouldn't mind trying the V6 versions of both SLK and TT...might be chalk and cheese.

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I may be a minority here, but I found mine exceedingly meh. Took it to the Black forest,through France, which really should be what this car is made for but most of the time I'd wished we'd just gone in the Focus. I far, far,far preferred my MGF, which was second to an X1/9. 

Wouldn't have another. 

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My 320 is a great drive, definitely more cruiser than hoon tank though.
 

I wouldn’t be chucking money at it having it repainted if it wasn’t a decent drive .  It’s no MX5 granted - it’s got a steering box / pitman arm setup for a start - but it’s perfectly decent. I doubt anyone will be using one as the basis for a track day car though.

Latest pics…

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Edit: Spot the slightly more valuable convertible in the background…

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The 230 feels plenty rapid for me, but then again my other points of reference are a 105bhp Touran diesel and a Qashqai 1.6, so most things feel like a rocket in comparison.

Had a weird one last night - car was locked up on the drive and the indicators started flashing double speed.  I left it unlocked in the end.  Googling indicates the Ni-Cad battery in the alarm sounder is dying, so I’ve disconnected it for now.

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3 hours ago, SiC said:

I didn't realise Mercedes still used steering boxes so recently. 

Do they still use them today on passenger vehicles?

SLK dropped the steering box with R171 and I can't remember if 171 also went to struts rather than SLA/double wishbone front... I prefer the original setup, never had a problem exceeding sensible let alone legal speeds in anything with a steering box, and I like a little wiggle-room straight ahead.

But many people don't realise steering dampers are there for a reason and are a consumable. And also piece of piss to replace.

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They are a really good vehicle and surprisingly good at both summer and winter transport, the roof might be a heavy thing, but because it works well in the winter the car warms up well and is a quiet and mostly dry place, and frosty roundabouts are a right laugh.

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26 minutes ago, Conrad D. Conelrad said:

Roof demonstration

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I got one of those for Christmas in 97, I was amazed by it! I stupidly sold it about 10 years ago but when I looked the ones with the folding roofs are now silly money on ebay. I wish I'd kept it now!

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