On April 20th, 2018, I made the trek from Midland all the way to Austin, Texas, to take a look at a 1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor Sport. My intent was to car shop a bit, as I was looking for a small but sporty car to commute to work daily.
My car shopping ended quickly after driving it, and I bought the car right away.
This car had been in California most of its life, and later in Texas. It had been garage-kept for the most part, and the service records look good. But, a 19-year-old car with 185K on it is going to have some issues. I have a little consolation in knowing that with proper care, Mercedes cars are known to go 300K-500K miles.
Mechanically, it is very sound. The engine sounds and runs great, and the 5-speed manual transmission shifts well. The clutch feels great. The top goes down and back up. The windows work. The radio (and 6-CD changer in the trunk) also work. Air conditioning and heating work. Cosmetically, though, it could use a few improvements. So below, I’ve listed a wish list of things I wish to do to this car in the future. I plan to document these here.
Paint – Body has a lot of touch-up paint spots. No major dents, but you can tell the front bumper was repainted poorly and has a dull finish. Quite a few pits in the front of the hood. I’d like to have the entire body repainted.
Seals – The rear window seal shows sign of cracking. The door window seals are pretty good, but can let in water in the right conditions.
Cup Holder – The stock cup holder is broken beyond repair (I think). I have to have my coffee in the morning, so I bought one of those wedge cup holders that slide between the center console and the seat. It will be temporary until I come up with a better solution. I MAY possibly fit a touch-screen display into where the stock cup holder was on the dash as part of an infotainment system.
-apply occasionally, but I fear they will be coming apart.
Ash tray / Coin Holder – This doesn’t come out, but I may look at refitting the entire area there with a place to hold sunglasses, etc. The tray adjacent is not wide enough to hold much of anything.
Steering Wheel – The stitching in the leather wrapping is unraveling and breaking. The leather seems okay, so some new thread will likely fix it. (Repaired: See Video Here)
No record in the Carfax or from the owner of the supercharger oil ever being changed. This is high on my priority list as this should be done at 100K miles if possible. Might also look at replacing the fuel injectors and cleaning the throttle body, and change spark plugs as I have no idea when these were last done.
- Trunk compartment is missing the stock air compressor, for use in case of a flat tire. These cars come with a space-saver spare that is deflated. I have purchased a 12V compressor to replace the missing stock one. I also plan to install a 12V receptacle in the trunk for using the compressor or plugging other devices.
- I would like to add a 35% tint to the side windows and rear window.
- I may possibly upgrade the headlights to the newer halo lights, and add LEDs all the way around and inside, as long as they are compatible.
- The guy I bought it from threw in a car cover, but the elastic is almost gone in it. I may stitch in new elastic and give it some new life again. Also is missing a locking cable.
- Rear tires are different brands, so I could use some new Continentals on the back.
A few things I did already:
The previous owner couldn’t figure out why the fuel door lock was making a terrible noise when locking the car. A closer inspection revealed that the lock is a simple solenoid piston. A little bicycle wax lube on the piston, and a few cycles of the lock, and all was quiet again.
This page might see some edits in the future as I find new stuff to upgrade or repair.