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Old 08-07-2002, 10:29 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13
hardtop malfunction?

Yaaayy! Finally got my first Benz today. A beautiful 90 500 SL. But boooooo....husband bought without me, called me and said "hard top doesn't latch perfectly". No problem, I said, as I had seen the car and it was in great shape for a great price.

But when I got it today I realized the hard top problem results in constant dinging of the alarm. Read the manual, tried everything, don't know what the trick is... seller (a non-MB dealer) said it needed to be "mechanically set" at a Benz dealer. Is this true?

Any ideas?
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Old 08-07-2002, 11:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
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I work at a dealer, I can't recall a term like "mechanically set" being thrown around, and I've worked on lots of these tops.
Your complaint seems to be just the hardtop, can you tell exactly what isn't latched? There is a latch on all 4 corners (2 on the top of the windshield and 2 on the rear corners).
Any idea yet on if the soft top is operating?
It may be a good idea to have the top system inspected by the dealer, or an independent shop but only if they say they are very familiar with the 1990 through 2002 SL power top system.

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Old 08-09-2002, 07:43 AM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
Dead on, sounds like a micro switch is sticking or a latch is going south. Will the top come off on it's own, if it will, drive it with the soft top up and see if the gong continues to go off. If it does, the car has a problem, if it does not, then the hardtop has one.

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Old 08-09-2002, 11:26 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13

Thank you for the replies!

We're going to bring it to an MB dealer/service shop next week.

The hard top doesn't latch completely in the front, and the alarm dings. When we take the top off, dinging stops.

But soft top won't close either now! It did when my husband tested it. Now the top raises, but the boot won't close. Seller says when they tried to manually close it they "reset" the memory or something.

We'll see what happens at the MB shop. We got it for a great price, and the body and engine seem to be in excellent condition. So even if the top repairs cost a couple of thousand I'll be OK with that. If it's a lot more, ouch!
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Old 08-09-2002, 10:18 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
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It sounds like to me that one of the 2 hydraulic cylinders in the header panel (the area above the windshield glass) is worn out. i've seen a few of these. It can cause both of the problems (hard top and soft top). It wouldn't be nearly as expensive to fix as you have budgeted, always a good thing!

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