Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) – A Wandering Star!


Even though the Mercedes SL320 (R129) passed its MOT in December with flying colours, there has always been a slight uncertainty at speed with regard to wandering.  This is not ‘lane changing’ wandering we are talking about here, but just a hint of rear end steering that needed to be corrected in the 60+ mph range when buffeted or the road surface commanded, by the way of uneven camber or rutting of the tarmac.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 1

Either way, it would be nice to sort this minor issue as the SL is such a pleasing drive and you do just ‘Waft’ along on a magic-carpet ride, with surety even when pushed.  I had previously had the vehicle in the air and ‘barred’ the various multi-link suspension components in every way possible.  Although the rubber bushes in each one of the pressed steel control arms was almost 20 years old, they were together and were just showing slight signs of perishing, with no real visually alarming deterioration.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124)

Even gripping the wheel and then exerting huge forces with a crowbar under the tyre resulted in what seemed a taught rear suspension layout, seemingly not wanting for anything. But something was not just right and it was bugging me!

Previously I had already fine tooth-combed the front end, discovering that the lower wishbone (control arm) bushes were starting to get a little saggy, but were holding there own.  Visually the worst was the off side front rear bush in the set, but even when barred to extreme it still held firm.  A job for the future.  The front dampers were a little worn with only the slightest play in the rod/cartridge bush at normal ride height – again nothing to cause the wandering or write home about.  It goes without saying the steering components came under detailed scrutiny and in every case proved wholly serviceable, with no unusual tyre wear either on the front or rear.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 3

So what to do…  well I decided the rear steering was obviously a result of some issue with the rear suspension, as the car would shift or wander needing correction through the steering.  If this was front end wander, you would be fighting the wear in the normal course of driving, over correcting as you drove.  So the decision was – it was the rear, you could kind of sense it happening under your seat, as you are sitting almost on top of the rear axle. It was almost as if you were being slightly ‘pushed’ sideways from the area under the seat.  Characteristics were unusual in that there seemed no repeatable reason for the movement.  I tried driving in ruts LHS/RHS, applying power, driving on white lines etc. It had a mind of its own – only the car knew when it wanted to do it!

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 4

Having double checked the rear sub-frame mountings and bushings for wear, I made the decision to jump in with both feet and totally refresh the rear suspension – maybe I would find something along the way that would directly point to the ‘Wandering Star’…

I sourced a complete kit of rear suspension parts containing four control arms per side, all new bolts, fixings and washers. The Delphi Kit price was very good value as the component parts individually added up to almost double the kit price by the time you had purchased – new camber adjustment bolts, washers and lock nuts etc.  On opening the kit, it was obviously good quality and proved excellent value against OEM or other available parts.  All the contents were checked against the originals as they were removed and bush centre to centre dimensions were crack on.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 5

So on with the job, side at a time…

Raise the vehicle using the rear chassis jacking point and remove the road wheel.  Get a sturdy support to hand- blocks of wood are ideal, these will need to be inserted under the rear sprung arm to take the weight of the vehicle when necessary  during the work, especially when finally tightening the suspension fixings under normal ride height conditions.

Remove the plastic Spring Link cover by undoing the two 10mm head self tapping screws and prying off the cover from the lip on the arm.  Now adjust the jack so half of the weight of the car is supported on the jack under the chassis and the other half resting the Spring Link, supported by using your wooden blocks.  You will need to adjust the weight distribution at times between the chassis and Spring Link, by raising and lowering the jack slightly.  This will release tension from the suspension links allowing you to easily withdraw the various pins from the eyes and hangers as and when required.

Suspension set up W124 -1

Start by removing the upper forward arm, The Pulling Link. Your tools of choice for the job in hand will mainly be a pair of good 19mm combination spanners, a 17mm combination spanner, 17mm socket and 18mm combo for interlocking with the other spanners to increase leverage to break any rust.  The new fixings/bolts and pins will require a triple square splined tool, it would be better to check exactly what size you need by first inspecting the parts in the kit when you purchase it. A heavy copper hammer and a sharp hack saw will also be required!

Tightening torques for bushes:  Body end = 70 Nm – Wheel end= 70 Nm with M12 thread, if M10 thread then 40 Nm.


Suspension set up W124 - 2

Open the kit of new parts and select the correct arm and refit it to the car, once fixed, just nip up the fixings. Lower the chassis to place pre-load weight onto the suspension, then fully tighten at the two fixing points on the Pulling Link, raising the vehicle again when done.

Now remove the Pushing Link, (Forward lower arm without a ball joint) This will have a plastic trim cover clipped onto it, this can be transferred to the new link when you refit the item. Begin to remove the Tie Link using a 17mm spanner on the nut attached to the hub carrier, if the ball joint begins to spin you may need to use a hexagon key in the taper end to hold it while you undo the lock nut completely. If it does not spin, you will get the nut off easily, then using a ball joint separator (Pickle Fork) part the joint.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 6

Tackle the other end on the Tie link chassis bushing by undoing the 19mm nut.  Make sure you paint mark the adjusting eccentric cam so it can be returned to its correct position on reassembly.  Typically this fixing bolt will be seized.  It has a longitudinal slot in the bolt to key with the adjustment cam.  In use this allows water to seep along into the joint and internally corrode the alloy bush to the steel pin – you may be lucky, but probably wont be!  Faced with a seized through-bolt, your only option is to cut off the bush and bolt with a hacksaw.  Begin your cut from underneath on the first alloy step of the bush, on the triple square end. Don’t try and cut the steel outer as you will be sawing for ever. Short strokes will be allowed and it takes a while to cut to a maximum of 90 per cent through the bush and bolt.  Any further and you will begin to cut the chassis or hanger bracket, so be aware of your limitations while sawing.  When you have cut to the maximum allowable depth, wire brush the triple square adjuster.  Insert your splined tool to its maximum, if you can only manage a poor fit, don’t go any further until you have cleaned the splines and can get the tool tip fully home. (rounding this head off at this point would be a disaster)  Once the spline tool is fully home, place a 10mm spanner on its shaft, interlock an 18mm combo spanner and turn the bolt, hard – if you have cut through to your maximum, the bolt head will shear and the end will fall off.  The joint can then be manoeuvred out of the hanger and thrown down the garden!

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 7

To fit the new Tie Link, slot the arm into the hanger, align the taper of the ball joint and tighten this first using the hex key and 17mm spanner.  Then align the hanger end, inserting the new through bolt (cam adjuster)  Mark the parts in the same way with paint, copying the exact positions from the removed components.  Lower the chassis to support the weight of the vehicle on the Spring Link and tighten the adjuster fully through the hanger, whilst maintaining alignment of your paint marks.

Raise the vehicle again and refit the Pushing link with its plastic trim cover, this fits between the front of the hub carrier and chassis. Use the same raise/lower technique with the jack to correctly stress the rubber bushes on tightening.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 8

Move on now to replace The Camber Link, use the same above procedure to refit the last of the new components.

Check your work thoroughly, refit the plastic Spring Link cover and then the road wheel, finally lowering the car to the ground. Proceed to do the suspension ‘refresh’ the other side of the vehicle.

It is worth while mentioning that while individual links are off the vehicle, it is possible to test out the condition of the bushes in the Spring Link inner and outer locations, these should be firm and without play.

The complete rear suspension refresh job should take about three to three and a half hours a side, as although straight forward, space is restricted and work is hampered by suborn and seized bolts.  Either way, with a little patience and care it should go well.

So having completed the job it was time for the road test.  The biggest thought in my mind was… had I wasted my money!

I started the engine and selected drive, the familiar muted thud that had always been there when slipping the selector to D to move off had gone!.  I did not believe it, so I did it again – sure enough the slop when taking up the drive had gone.  Lets continue…

Out of the street turning out and into narrow roads, the car felt noticeably different, tighter.  I was unsure if this was psychological mumbo jumbo, but that is how it felt.  Amazingly the steering straightened up more positively out of a turn, pulling out onto the familiar main road proved this without any doubt.  Applying throttle on then off, felt no different, which was good news – because it meant that combined with the fact the car steered perfectly straight without drifting or pulling, meant that the Tie Link adjuster had gone back in a near correct position, maintaining a useable and balanced toe in figure for the rear wheel set.  Opening up the throttle showed that the work was well worth doing, the car no longer felt vague, and did no longer have a mind of its own wandering as it did before.  Result.  The most amazing thing for me was to lose the drive uptake when engaging gear from neutral or park, this was indeed unexpected.

Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) 10

It goes without saying that this is maybe the first time ever I could not convince myself by visual of physical inspection (on or off the car) that any of the joints were degraded to a point of causing this type of wander.  It just goes to prove that old soft, not necessarily collapsed bushings, in a Mercedes five link rear suspension set up has a cumulative effect on drivability.  If your links are are all old, the  rubber will exhibit a kind of aging related softness, this is without doubt time to change them and enjoy the improvements it can make – not just to the wandering, but also to steering geometry in general, add to that the new transmission firmness and the result –  Money well spent.

R129 rear suspension

If you were so inclined you could spend in the order of £175.00 upward having the vehicle 4 wheel aligned.  My own view is to maybe wait until I get around to doing the few jobs up-front before even considering this.  If I don’t get any abnormal tyre wear and drivability is perfect, I see no reason to have this alignment done, although without doubt it should be done in the real world.  I have read so many alignment tales of woe borne of the technicians inability to understand the complexities of the Mercedes W124/R129 series it could make things worse – you decide!

Interesting write-up on wheel alignment, front and rear – here.

If I was to review this DIY maintenance work honestly, I would say the resulting positives from such a suspension refresh were probably one of the most value-added improvements you could make to your R129/W124 for what is comparativley a very little monetary investment.

Enjoy !




26 thoughts on “Rear Suspension Refresh (R129) Mercedes SL & (W124) – A Wandering Star!

  1. Hi,

    I read you’re report with interest.

    I’m considering doing mine although I can’t find any play, my car doesn’t wander so maybe I’m wasting cash but hey-ho. I notice you didn’t replace the spring link? Are these less susceptible to wear? I was hoping to improve the ride at speed, mine seems very sensitive to the road surface.

    Where did you source the parts from?

    1. Hi Richard,

      When the forward most link is disconnected it is possible to get a feel for the play in the lower arm, especially as you you can get a large bar in to test them out! The Issue with the multilinks is the combined effect of the ‘sogginess’ of all the bushes attributed to ageing. I would be very surprised if you didn’t feel some improvement if you did decide to change them.

      Sensitivity to road surface and steering could be a combination of things and each is well worth of a check over.

      The rear subframe bushes must be in good condition and have not deteriorated to allow the twisting of the rear section under power, same goes for the gearbox mountings that are also quite easy to inspect with a torch (forward ones – view is restricted, but possible).

      More likely is that the ‘sensitivity’ lives at the front of the car. With such wide profile tyres at the front, tram-lining is almost a pre-requisite on the UKs poor road surfaces. Motorway running is a pleasure, but the undulating and changing road surfaces of our worn, fast urban roads can introduce some uneasiness. Of the type where you have to concentrate a little harder in piloting than you really should have to. If this is what you feel you may have – welcome to older R129 and W124 ownership 🙂 The root cause is usually a compendium of things, all acting together, and the way to go about it is to do all the cheap fixes first, then if things don’t improve to your satisfaction, move on to the wallet-stingers!

      The first port of call after your mechanical ‘once-over’ is laser tracking and a check that the front and rear are all parallel, correct toe is important up front and if they do not use a spreader-bar on the front when adjusting or taking measurements (this pre-loads the steering gear as if travelling on the road by pushing outward the front of the wheels) make sure this is compensated for by adding an extra ‘smidge’ of toe in to the un-spread figure. Do not let any tyre shop mess with the rear alignment, if it needs adjustment, do your rear refresh first then find a specialist alignment centre that knows Mercedes.

      Second is the steering idler bushes (£100 for MB part about £40 for pattern) If you can detect any moment in these at all, upward or sideways while the vehicle is on the ground with an accomplice turning the steering, then change this part. Get underneath and check each steering ball joint while the car is sitting with weight on the wheels. If you don’t have an assistant to hand, use the trusty mobile phone set to video record and place it in view of the joint to be inspected, hop back in and do a series of to and fro’s and review the footage. Easy. Same goes for the steering box, if with the engine off you don’t see any pitman arm movement for 1 inch of steering wheel rotation then the steering box needs a little adjustment.

      For the cost of the steering relay arm (that joins right and left sides of the steering mechanism in the centre of the car) it should be changed if you detect even the slightest movement in either end. All these small amounts of play add up, and that is mainly what we are dealing with here.

      Finally be 100 percent you have no play in the front lower ball joints, I have posted how to test them correctly with a really nice diagram I found on the internet. Last but not least if you can feel any play in the front wheel bearings (top to bottom rocking) when the vehicle is suspended then they need adjustment! The adjustment procedure requires the use of a dial gauge and engineers stand to get the end float crack on. In reality it is possible to adjust these by ‘feel’ but I would not recommend that unless you feel absolutely competent with engineering tolerances to accomplish this – or the results could be catastrophic.

      If it has not been done, the lower wishbone bushes, although happy to continue passing MOT’s year on year, will need to be replaced as 15-20 years of the weight of the car tends to crush the bush at the top and stretch it at the bottom. This results in a slightly soggy feel to directional control. Best described if your steering feel is more confident in a corner than straight ahead.

      I hope that helps and its not frightened you too much. Try the simple/cheap things first, you may be surprised what you find. The Delphi kit of rear arms and fixings were from CES, neither Euro Car Parts or GSF have the kit listed although would be happy to sell you the component parts, less fixings which are imperative as you will have to cut off at least one per axle.

      All the best

      1. Hi

        Thanks for you’re comprehensive reply.
        I’ve been improving my car since I purchased it 2yrs ago. Feels much better to drive, but I don’t want to just throw parts at it and hope.
        Regarding the suspension so far: New rear shocks, new 16″ wheels and tyres, full alignment, steering damper, front ARB bushes oh and new flex discs.
        The car is much better but I’m after that little bit more. It doesn’t feel soggy, doesn’t tramline and feels quite direct. The suspension always feels better once warm. On most roads the car feels fine. A dead smooth motorway is a joy, I tour a lot and the French roads are great. On a less than perfect motorway I notice little vibrations, I think a lot of people wouldn’t notice and maybe I’m expecting too much!
        You seem to have a handle on these, which area are you in?

      2. Hi Richard,

        I do recognise that problem. My suggestion would be:- As the damper struts on the front are gas filled, as they age the gas charge depletes, leaving most of the damping process to the oil. One of the functions of the gas in the strut is to absorb small oscillations and to keep oil-foaming under control. What happens when the dampers age, is the gas leaks away naturally through the rod seals and leaves just oil and basically air pressure. As you travel, the oil (which is there primarily in a good gas filled damper, to dampen the longer strokes or more harsh movements) begins to warm and also very slightly heats the whole assembly, damping smaller rod movements fractionally more effectively than when cold, at the sake of some loss of heavy damping as a result (You wouldn’t notice this as the progressive physical bump stop on the end of the rod/suspension top cup, takes care of this). The warmer, thinner oil reacts quicker, as it is allowed to flow more freely through the internal valving.

        My guess would be to change the front struts for new Sachs OEM replacements, which I think would reduce exactly what you are experiencing. Interesting experiment – if you jack up the front of the car, I am guessing that you will readily be able to lift the wheel the first 2 inches with little restriction before you feel any damping. If this were the case, this would put the lid on the front dampers definatley being the issue. See this post on rear shockers on a C Class (specifically the video at the bottom of the page), just imagine this is your front dampers in the first 30 percent of travel.

        You will be aware that the actual suspension travel limit is very small and it relies on the bump stop more than you would think. It is a good idea if you do decide to change the front struts (Currently on Ebay for circa £85 each!!) to include in your budget new bump stops and if you can run to it, suspension top mounts. Do not use Febi parts as the internal diameter of the top strut housing inverted cup is smaller than the OEM unit and the Hex cartridge nut on the OEM strut leg top can just catch the edges of the mount !

        Based in Staffordshire.

        All the best

  2. Thanks Steve,

    You’re post does make sense, I had considered replacing the front shocks. I replaced the rear shocks when I managed to seize one solid, close to maximum extension. (The mount just popped through the chassis!) This was after I managed to hit a deep pot hole, after dark on an unlit, unfamiliar Hampshire road.

    When the new Sachs rear shocks went on I didn’t notice any difference pre pot hole, even though the un-seized shock didn’t feel as strong as the replacement. This put me off the idea of investing in front shocks.

    I’ve just tried the “jack up” car experiment. I can’t shift the wheel, I’m guessing due to spring tension.

    I forgot to mention I replaced the top-mounts with Meyle items when I got the car, they looked cracked so didn’t want to take any risks. When I replaced the shock mounts the front shocks didn’t feel week. But I don’t really know what I’m looking for without comparing it to a new item.

    I won’t be able to much now for 2-3 weeks so will update as I progress, thanks for you’re help so far.

    When I get a chance may just whip one of the shocks off for a proper look. I’ve noticed wild variations in the price of Sachs shocks. The best price I’ve found is SKS @ £75 each most suppliers seem to be around the £110 mark

    I’m in Kenilworth Warwickshire, it might be interesting to meet up some time, just to compare.



    1. Hi Richard,
      That looks promising at least, did you just take up one wheel at a time, as I have a mind that the torsion bar would lock the wheel travel significantly to the one still on the ground! – you may need to lift both sides (A detail that I forgot sorry) though in testing you may need to use a lever of some sort to get the ‘feel’. Have a look here specifically the diagnosis video at the bottom of the page. When you did the top mounts did the damper rods want to retract, and it was a struggle to pull up the rod to get it into the mount?, if so – again this is a good sign. I have had these on one vehicle where one retracted and the other wanted to extend – in this case I presumed a valving problem and replaced both. – A new /good damper wants to retract with quite some good force, kind of backwards to what you might expect!.

      All the best.

  3. You surprise me re the shocks retracting. I had to compress them to fit the top mounts.

    When I fitted the new rears they arrived strapped down in the compressed state. Cutting the webbing they fully extended and were quite stiff to compress. When fitting the suspension had to be fully extended to locate.

    1. Richard,
      My apologies – you are indeed perfectly correct. I dont know why but my thoughts were confused with the adjustable height control ones fitted to some 500s – so sorry, its a grey hair thing! – that and trying to do two things at once… (which I really shouldnt do!). The rears are a bit of struggle as you say and the fronts need the full travel/extent of the lower wishbone to the maximum allowed by the flexible brake hoses to unhook the mount from the top of rod. See how you go on with your investigations over the next few weeks and do report back your findings.

      A little interest on gas charged shock absorbers, some good illustrations here –
      All the best

  4. Well I’ve taken off one of the front shocks. It’s difficult without a new one to compare it to. But seems smooth under compression and recoil, damping action seems equal all the way up the travel. It does make a a sort of rubbery squeaking sound (not noticed on the car just playing with it in the garage)

    What do you think? Fit a new pair on anyway, just because their old.

    Ball joint seems fine 🙂

    1. Hi Richard,
      Well that looks good then. I wonder if there would be any benefit in swapping left to right on reassembly just to see if anything changed dynamically. Couldn’t hurt. Do the bottom wishbone bushes take a good barring without any perceivable movement or squishiness. I can’t remember if you say you had changed these. Thinking back you described this as more of a noise/vibration than a wandering. Have you considered this. Makes interesting reading and to be honest it had escaped my mind, even though you said you had replaced the rubber drive dough-nut. Interesting little final remark re engine mounts. Everything discussed is made of rubber and does warm up slightly and change in its properties as it runs up from a cold to hot.

      All the best

  5. I tried the shock again this morning. Pushed it all the way down and it needed to be tugged a little to rise again. Seemed okay after this, rebound takes about 16 seconds.

    Damping is much stronger on rebound than compression, when I push harder it has no more resistance than pushing gently. Damping resistance is the same across the full travel.

    I’ve ordered a new pair of Sachs anyway, so we’ll see how it goes. £155 delivered, the supplier (SKS) has just called me to say they’ll be 2 weeks 🙁 so I’ve reassembled the car for now

    I’ve barred the bushes, they seem okay to me, pliable and no cracking.

    1. Hi Richard
      Given the ever-so-good price for the pair, you have made the right decision either way, especially as obviously the car is a ‘keeper’. Do have a read up on the centre bearing, how to test it and also a visual on the engine mounts, unstressed off the car wouldn’t go amiss if you were super critical.

      All the best Steve

  6. You’re right of course. It’s a hobby car doing 5k p.a. as such I want to enjoy that 5k as much as possible.
    I never buy a perfect car, nothing on it for me to improve! I’m more interested in a mechanical sound car than a cosmetically perfect one, as long as it looks respectable that’s fine by me.

    Engine mounts look ok, the fan is in the correct position in the shroud and it doesn’t rock under load. I’ll take a look @ the centre bearing, it’s quite difficult without a decent lift though.

    I’m working on a sloping drive with a pair of ramps, pair of axle stds, pair of chocks and a trolley jack. (at the bottom of the drive using the ramps actually makes the car level! useful for fluid changes) I’m quite nervous underneath. I’ve only had one car come down (a Sunbeam Alpine) no injuries but super careful now.

    1. Hi Richard,
      Understand about access to see whats going on underneath but here is a tip I use regularly – often not because I can’t get access but I need to see what is happening when I am doing something or moving another part. Steering gear a perfect example.

      Just set up a video camera or mobile phone (most modern digital ‘snappies’ have a reasonable movie function these days), sliding it under the car or engine bay, make sure its recording the part you want to examine, leave it running and go move the steering wheel, turn a wheel, push-pull do what you have to do then review the video! Its a great help, especially when you are working on your own or needing your head to be in one place while your muscle is in another. Give it a try!

      All the best

  7. The new shocks arrived at last (took 2 weeks from SKS) fitted and the car is feeling better already. 🙂

    When I compared new to old, they were past their best. The new ones were tougher to compress and would rebound again in 8 seconds (the old ones took 16 seconds.

    While they were off I checked the ball joints, O/S was fine N/S some play (Neither I or the MOT inspection managed to identify this) So I’ve ordered a pair of Lemforder control arms.

    1. Result then Richard!
      The ball joint check is kind of counter-intuitive as you have to bar from the inside wall of the tyre out to see any movement. Thats why it escapes a testers eye. If you go one step further and remove the spring its as different again, and what felt really good under spring tension is actually as sloppy as hell! Keep the old arms and when funds allow press new ball joints into the original arms, they are way better quality and once done will either make a healthy contribution to the parts bin or return some good money from Ebay depending how you wished to play it.
      Great news.
      All the best

  8. Job’s done, the camber bolts were seized, so I used a mobile MB specialist. (Better cutting equipment and bigger hammer than me) interestingly although he had a spring compressor but didn’t bother with it. The springs are short enough that they don’t bow out when the tension is released. Just had the alignment done and all is good.

    The car feels better to drive and the high frequency steering wheel vibration has gone. 🙂

    I was surprised how well the suspension design concealed 5mm play in one of the ball joints.

    1. Hi Richard,

      As I mentioned, a small amount of perceivable play turns into a frightening amount once that spring tension is off. Maybe MOT testers need a W124/129 refresher, as the result of failure is quite catastrophic (Nearly always at low manoeuvring speed – thank god!), and you know the price of a good wing replacement I am pretty sure! Over the moon you have it sorted.

      Keep in touch,
      all the best

  9. Thanks. I’m sure I’ll find some more jobs, unless it’s urgent or small/easy they’ll wait till the spring. I noticed my anti-vibration bobbins on the bracing struts have failed. I’ve ordered some more thanks for you’re tip from the other thread. Hard top going on this weekend. 🙂

    1. Beat you to it Richard!

      Roof on...

      It was a good dry day Thursday and again today so brushed it down and mauled the hard top on for winter. It always amazes me how it transforms the look of the car, almost the same as when you go ‘mohair’ from winter to the warmer months. You never get tired of its changing looks. Next year I am going to tackle the traditional front wing bubbles. To be honest been waiting for the money and time/inclination to embark on the job, I am sure you know how it is. Jobs on my list for next season are gearbox oil and filter, rear reluctor rings, wheel refurb (tarting!) and of course my front wings.

      I don’t know if you have been price watching, but there is a definite upward trend starting. Prices of of sub 5k cars have risen a fair bit. What you might have bought last year for 3.5k is now 4k and upward so more than pleased with that in 12 months. Be interested to see what next next sunny season brings as there is a lot of stuff out there fetching in my view more than its worth. All cars you look at have had little to no work done over the years and are about to start draining the bank. I suppose this is testament to the build that they hide the faults for years before they get ‘critical’. Even expensive motors in showrooms with gleaming paint jobs and interiors fettled, are often sitting on original springs and bushes, steering idlers, shocks and brake steel-ware! But the man on the street gets duped by the glossy finish and makes the dealers day. Thankfully they all leak oil, its the quantity that varies example to example. W210s E280s etc did exactly the same, at least it stops the engine rusting! I for one won’t be venturing a head gasket for change for a little dribble that if you keep the oil level between the markers on the stick is really insignificant. Its part of the charm I suppose.

      We are going to fetch a 2001 R170 SLK from South Wales tomorrow for a friend of mine – I can’t believe what he paid for it (not a lot at all – less than a set of new branded tyres!) so no doubt you will be seeing that appear on here in the jobs-done pretty soon.
      Look after yourself and keep in touch.
      All the best

  10. Thanks Steve.

    Rust bubbles on my wings also. When I purchased the car 3 yrs ago they were perfect, bubbles came through 6 months later, a cheap job to sell the car methinks. Fortunately I’ve a really really good local body shop. They’ll cut out the bad metal repair with new respray and guarantee. (not may places will put a guarantee on rust repairs) While it’s there I’ll get them to tackle a few other little jobs.

    I was pleasantly surprised how much MB will supply wings for, a buddy was quoted £250 (inc VAT) each from his local dealer

    I haven’t been following prices, I’m keeping the car so not really important. After all the money I’ve spent, I need to get some value from it (SWMBO would not be impressed if she saw all the invoices for bits)

  11. Hi Richard
    Does your r129 have a rear anti roll bar?
    Mine is missing and I’m trying to establish whether it has been removed or came like that from new.
    I can’t see one in your photos.

    1. Hi Sam,
      It was deleted at some point 1996 ish as customer complaints of harsh ride warranted its removal. It was later introduced in 2000 ish on the last runs of the R129 where performance was the selling point vs comfort. In reality it makes little difference to the handling, is a huge retrofit as the subframe has to be dropped and is best left deleted! No mine like yours had no rear roll bar.


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