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mowoc 01-04-2010 11:59 AM

New car in the stable - 96 SL 500
Well I picked up my new car this weekend - a 96 SL 500. Now the questions begin:

1. Is there somewhere that the service manual could be purchased? I looked on the MB site but did not see it.
2. How difficult are:
    1. Oil Changes?
    2. Trans flushes?
    3. Diff changes?
    4. Brake flushes?
3. I need to have the bumper covers redone - they are showing their age. Does anyone have suggestions in the North Denver area?

djblu 01-04-2010 03:21 PM

there is a mb service disk for windoze systems that is available for purchase from the steelership. It has been widely discussed at Give it a whirl. Easy changes for all u have requested.

mowoc 01-07-2010 03:34 PM

Well, here is what I got back from the inspection. I must admit I was expecting most of this (except for the A/C compressor - that worries me).

Any thoughts on how hard this is to do myself?

The engine coolant thermostat is indeed stuck, to replace it would run $294.00 including flushing the coolant.

The oil pressure sender unit is faulty. $180.00 to replace

The transmission has two leaks. One is from the electrical connector and the other is from the parking pawl seal at the rear of the transmission. $558.00 to fix both including the fluid & filter change.

The windshield washer sprayers arenít working. The tech said that it might be either the main pump or the aux pump that isnít working. I can get you an estimate if you want.

The A/C compressor isnít engaging. It might just need a recharge. We can do that for about $220.00 or you can wait until the weather warms up a little to worry about it.

The 3rd brake lamp isnít working. It just needs some wiring repair at the trunk hinge. $150.00 to fix.

The lower engine oil pan is leaking. (I think this is what you told me I would tell you). $275.00 to reseal including the oil & filter change. (This is with non-synthetic oil).

The engine camshaft magnets are just starting to leak. $310.00 to replace both, but okay for now.

The engine mounts are collapsed. They look like the factory ones and are due for replacement. This isnít a safety issue, but bad mounts can cause excess noise and vibration because the engine is transmitting more onto the frame of the vehicle. $873.00 to replace.

There is a small coolant overflow tank near the right side fender well. It looks like it was damaged by an impact of some sort. Also the inner fender liners in that area are also damaged or missing. It would run about $429.00 to replace both fender liners and the overflow tank.

The rear tires are wearing on the inside. It could be something as simple as just being out of alignment or it might need a new camber link in the rear. The rear tires are a bit wider than the factory ones, so that might be throwing it off too.

The left front inner tie rod end link has some play in it. Not super serious at the moment, but it may be a good idea to get it replaced before doing an alignment. $190.00 to replace and $99.95 for the alignment. In addition the steering shock is blown and not doing itís job. $126.00 to replace.

The front wheel bearings are loose and just need to be adjusted. This is also recommended to do before doing an alignment. $50.00 to adjust the bearings.

The little dome light in the trunk is not lighting up when you open the trunk. It looks like the sensor on the latch is to blame. We would need to replace it to get the light working again which would be about $307.00

The upper front shock mounts have just some small cracks in them. Okay for now, but keep an eye on them, these cars used to have issues with those breaking and the shocks coming through the hood.

The main battery failed our load test. It might be an indication that itís on the way out, but starting the car okay for now. $190.00 to replace the battery.

The brake fluid is fairly dark in color, the tech would recommend to change it. $115.00

The serpentine belt has some small cracks in it. Itís just staring to get a little old. $170.00 to replace. The left rear side marker bulb is out. $35.00 to replace. The left front blinker lens is loose, the rear half of it is broken. Itís not going anywhere, just something the tech noted. $158.00 The right front headlamp surround is broken/missing. $265.00 to replace. The engine air filters and climate control filters are pretty dirty. $190.00 to replace both.

500SL4ME 01-07-2010 05:08 PM

I recently acquired a 95 sl500 and had much work done by my independent mechanic who specializes in Benz.

Oil pressure sendign unit is an easy DIY if you want to save a few bucks. Its right by the oil filter, unscrew old one, screw in new one, hook up connector.

3rd brake light wiring again easy, $150 seems very high. Access to where the wiring is broke is easily got to.

You should be able to get new wheel bearings for $50.

I had my engine mounts and strut mounts replaced for that price you were quoted for engine mounts. You may want another opinion.

DANSMB 01-07-2010 11:18 PM

This shows why you better be able to work on it yourself as all the repairs add up to a high percentage of the cars value.


500SL4ME 01-08-2010 09:36 AM

Unfortunately I think for most guys without a lift, though possible some big jobs are not really possible in the driveway. I would not want to do engine mounts and such.

I looked at it this way, as a % of value, yes the cost is outrageous, but any 100K car needs some work. As long as you plan to keep at least another 100K you can look at the investment as worth it. If you plan on only keeping the car a couple years it gets harder to justify.

Though years ago I stopped looking at the financial sense of cars as a hobby, as there is no sense.

mowoc 01-08-2010 09:54 AM

I actually spoke with the service advisor yesterday and here is what I decided:

1. I would have them deal with the radiator. The primary reason is that I have a dog that I still like, and dogs and anti-freeze do not mix.
2. I had them do the oil-pan leak and oil pressure sending unit.
3. I had them do the brake flush, power steering flush, and rear diff.
4. The big item I had them do was the transmission - it was leaking near the control module. :eek:

All in all about $1600. I know it is a bit of money, but worth it to me as I paid relatively little for the car. I do love the car and I will keep it for at least another 10 years if at all possible. Besides, I could easily spend the $1600 for tags alone in Colorado for a new(er) car. I will do the rest of the items myself (including the engine mounts hopefully).

I was wondering if the CD that the dealer sells covers these items?

500SL4ME 01-08-2010 11:04 AM

I got my service DVD's off Ebay for $20. You also might consider a subscription to alldata.

Gusfazekas 01-09-2010 01:46 PM

1996 SL500 Repair estimatesw
I have the 1995 SL and all of the work that you have to do is very expensive if you are not able to do yourself. Here are a few tips: you can find a/c compressor on ebay but I would urge caution in the unit and individual you might buy from. The cost to replace a unit a second time will outweigh the original cost. Ask me why I know later. Polar Bear (online) will repair YOUR unit for $269 plus shipping. You will also need to change additional parts in the system when you change the compressor. The evaporator/heater core remobval and replacement is a 24 hr job that requires removal of the dash and other pieces in the engine compartment for access. I used CryoSeal in my system to fix a leak in the evaporator. You have listed many repairs that are needed. Check Craigslist in your area for MBZ mechanics who work off the clock or check your local joint vocational school to see if they will do brakes and such. My local JVS did the easy stuff for me for the cost of parts and I found an ASE certified mechanic at $35 per hour to do or help with the hard stuff. You will have a number of additional electrical issues to deal with (I have to tell you this unfortunately) I will bet that your main engine wiring harness is toast and will need to be replaced along with the starter/alternator wiring harness and the electronic throttle wiring or possibly the throttle itself. I have found the wiring online at a fraction of the cost of the dealer and reman outfits to repair the throttle body. All of these are DIY projects if you have some basic knowledge. Distributor caps, rotors and wires can bankrupt you too but look online or email back to me at and I will give you a list of low cost parts suppliers and some numbers for folks that have vehicles available for parts. Peach Parts is another source I have used for my car parts source. Good Luck, be patient and search for help and parts availability. Bye the Bye, I replaced my own radiator thermostat and radiator flush. The thermostat change is difficult without the correct tools for accessing one of the bolts. I also found a garage that rents the lift to enable me to do work under the car. Good Luck. Steve

djblu 01-09-2010 07:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
awesome post mr 95 sl. in the same boat. have a 95 and when i am not modding it i am replacing parts. the entire asr system just did computer tb sensors all around. OUCH. ezl OUCH. motor mounts 3 times. OUCH maf, engine harness both and the list goooooes on and on and on. I gave up with indys after about 10k in repair bills now i do it myself with a little helo from a friend. BUT the mounts are an easy job as long as u have a jack, 2 jack stands and some time. 45 minute job save u HUNDREDS.

pm if u want some tips.

Gusfazekas 01-10-2010 12:32 PM

Mowoc, you will have to send me a message at because I can not open the private message you sent. Not sure what the problem is, it might be my corporate computer has a pop-up blocker or something preventing me

mowoc 01-10-2010 03:48 PM

My first miscellaneous question - Is this part the center cap for the wheel? %40SL500&catid=241766%40%40Body+Mechanical+%26+Trim&subcatid=241934@@Center+Cap&mode=PA

If so, is there more than one? I have chrome rims on my SL (I think they are the AMG wheels). How do I get that one?

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