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Old 09-28-2003, 09:08 AM
KenSilver's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 421
R129 soft top creasing won't go away

After having a new German soft top for my 350SL which presented immaculately, I'm very disappointed in the one on my 10 year-old R129. It has what seems to be permanent crinkles at the sides even after I've had it up for about a week now.

As well, the rear window has a shallow horizontal crease in the middle - not a bad one, but noticeable when I look through it from inside - and the rear quarterlights have a biggish shallow crease in the middle.

I've tried steaming the fabric creases out with a household iron (not touching the fabric but squirting steam on it), to no avail. The top appears as new with no yellowing of the windows, and the fabric is black. Looks like it has never been up, so I've got a few years creases to combat.

I'm not alone... many of the R129's on eBay - and some quite new - have the same fault. It mars the look of the car and I want to improve the fabric and windows if I can.

Any tips, secrets or ideas here?

By the way, this is the only disappointment I have with this machine... otherwise I'm totally happy with it. Then again, I'm probably preaching to the converted here!

Ken Silver
~1993 SL500, glistening blue-black on black leather, xenons, no headlight wipers (from choice).
~1991 Daimler, shiny grey on grey leather, best in country!
~1991 Miata MX5, sparkling BRG on tan leather, wife's (but my polishing)
~1992 Honda US s/wagon, black/grey
ex 350SL, 230E, 280E (and a lot of other makes not nearly as nice)
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Old 09-28-2003, 06:46 PM
Pete Geither's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Western Pa.
Posts: 2,417
As far as I'm concerned, the creases and imperfections in the soft top mean nothing to me. When the hard top is off, the top is usually down, except on cold mornings. When the weather gets bad, the hard top goes on, so the soft top is seen very little. Don't sweat the small stuff, worse things could happen.
95 SL500 Smoke Silver, Parchment 64K
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Old 09-28-2003, 10:17 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 766
I found on my 107 (old top, moderately scratched windows, etc.) that the top never looked better than when I left it up with the windows closed for several hours on a hot summer day (eg, 95F or so). For the ultimate, one would wet it down well first. Anticipating a new top next Spring after winter layup.
Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)

SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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Old 09-29-2003, 12:07 AM
dmorrison's Avatar
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Location: Colleyville, Texas
Posts: 2,694
The 107 convertible top really gets abused in the folding mode.
Out top was installed in 95 when I bought the car. When I lower it I'm particular about doing it. I have a bathroom hand towel that is rolled up and goes on top of the plastic window after I have raised the back of the top in the vertical position to open the storage compartment. This towel prevents the plastic window from developing a crease in the plastic. Then I have another towel, a standard size towel. This towel is placed on the front edge of the top storage area. It goes form the left to the right of the front vertical edge. The towel then drapes down inside the storage compartment over the cables and metal floor that makes up the sorage compartment. The towel protects the top fabric. We retract the top and then I make sure that the rear center part of the fabric folds down under the center latching mechanism. We fold the sections of fabric near the storage compartments top hinge assembly inward toward the center of the car to prevent pinching of the material. Its that section of th etop that bows outward towards the rear as the top is folded.
Finally we take the towel material that was on the front vertical section of the storage compartment and fold it back on the top. Close the storage top and make sure it locks on both sides.
The condition of my top is quite good. The plastic window is smooth. No kincks, no abrasions or marks.

1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
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Old 09-29-2003, 02:38 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: UK - South East Coast
Posts: 864

My '93 was very similar and I too wanted to removed those material creases, yellowish marks and scratches in the rear windows. Unfortunately I haven't found a cure for the creasing but you can dramatically improve the visual appearance of the plastic by using Hindsight

It's fantastic at removing those annoying blemishes and scratches and also protects against the winter by replacing lost oils.

It's not cheap but a great product.

BTW - mine also needs new bowden cables to ensure that the canvas fits snug to the body, as currently I do get a little wind noise above 50mph or so. Maybe when these are replaced my creases will also diminish?

The top appears as new with no yellowing of the windows
whoops - didn't read that bit - maybe still of use to someone else!

'93 R129 500SL-32
'89 190E 2.6 - sold in 2002
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:50 AM
KenSilver's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 421
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I'm still trolling through eBay which displays pics of reasonably new R129 soft tops that appear as wrinkly as mine - some more so - so perhaps any hope of getting a smart-looking surface is impractical.

Ken Silver
~1993 SL500, glistening blue-black on black leather, xenons, no headlight wipers (from choice).
~1991 Daimler, shiny grey on grey leather, best in country!
~1991 Miata MX5, sparkling BRG on tan leather, wife's (but my polishing)
~1992 Honda US s/wagon, black/grey
ex 350SL, 230E, 280E (and a lot of other makes not nearly as nice)
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:37 AM
spinedoc's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: North Grafton, MA USA
Posts: 700
I know the feeling Ken, I bought my 96 in pristine condition, not a flaw on it. But when I took the hard top off and saw the soft top, well I was not impressed. For an auto having 50k on it and being taken care of with all service records, I could not believe my top and back window were so beat up!!

Ive tried all the cleaners for the back window, from Meguirs to some of the expensive stuff. I have found that they help a bit, but are much overrated.

Good luck. I think that is just one ofthe things R129 owners have to endure!! Factor in a new top every 3 years into your maintenance budget.
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Old 05-19-2007, 10:19 PM
skybound's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Scotts Valley CA
Posts: 62
Hi Ken,

I too joined the R129 club only to be unimpressed with the wrinkles in the rear window, Mercedes even states in their manual this cannot be avoided. As far as making it look as good as possible I have found that Pledge (yes the furniture polish) works quite well for disguising scratches, I tried it as I know it is commonly used on light aircraft windows. As for the creases I think is just the nature of the folding design and can't be avoided unless you intall a new soft top and keep it up all the time, but what fun would that be? When I have the hard top off I keep the top down as much as possible, so glad I live in California.
1999 SL500 87K
1994 E320 112K
1998 Ford Ranger - the daily driver 274K and no major repairs (an indestructible truck)
1978 Pontiac Trans Am 110K
1977 Pontiac Trans Am 130K
1999 SL500 87K (the garage queen, only out in the summer)
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:42 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: new jersey
Posts: 74
top wrinkles

If you look in the soft top compartment, there should be square stops on bottom of well. This keeps the top from folding to low, thus stretching plastic windows. I do replace plastic windows, provided top is still in good shape. 862-222-4618
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