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Old 07-28-2007, 08:50 AM
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MB-Dude MB-Dude is offline
Proud MB Owner
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 215
With both my R129's, I have had a combined total of two problems over the course of 7+ years - and I run topless a lot - so the mechanism gets worked almost daily from April to November. (Hard top goes on for the winter.)

Both issues were on the '96 SL600 with one self-induced by me... top closing operation got confused when I was in a hurry and tried closing the soft top while creeping into a parking spot. I.E.: vehicle moving while trying to operate the soft top – big no-no in any R129. However, the issue was resolved within minutes by me stopping the car, closing the soft top manually (as outlined in the owner’s manual), then operating the soft top through a complete open/close cycle, including side windows up/down completely.

The other problem was a leaking hydraulic cylinder (MB p/n: 129.800.16.72) on the driver’s side. This is the cylinder that engages the locking tab. The cylinder was replaced by me in about an hour.

What I have found important for smooth operation is periodic maintenance of the soft top mechanism. Since I use my soft tops a lot, I perform the following maintenance regularly:
15,000 miles - Measure the locking tabs (as per maintenance book, safety)
15,000 miles - Lubricate all pivot points of soft top mechanism with light oil
15,000 miles - Clean & grease locking tab mechanism (inside top of windshield frame)
40,000 miles - Flush & replace hydraulic fluid using MB p/n: 001.989.20.03.10

In addition, the only soft top I have replaced is on the ’94 SL500; the ’96 SL600 has the original. When properly cared for and maintained, the soft top mechanism is really quite sound. Problems will occur, such as my leaky cylinder. But overall, the design is good.
MBCA Member #B012089 (Lone Star Section)
OBK Member #47 (W123 Division)
'96 SL600 (105K) Triple Black - Mein über-Fräulein
'79 240D (292K) Yellow/Saddle - Mein Spielzeug
'01 ML430 (123K) Black/Saddle - Wife's Ride
'94 SL500 (164K) Green/Champagne - Daughter's Dream
'73 450SL - RIP
'86 300E - RIP
'88 420SEL - SOLD
'94 S320 - SOLD
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