The Mercedes SLK R172 (SLC Class) is a beautifully designed hard top folding cabriolet, launched in 2011, following the themes of both the first and second generation Mercedes SLK, however it comes with its problem of water ingress.
If water manages to enter the vehicle’s cabin when the convertible roof is up, it can be a major nuisance that forces the occupants of the vehicle to sit in a damp and smelly cabin. Convertible water leaks can also cause serious damage to various electronic and mechanical components within the vehicle.
In this post we are going to look at the common faults and signs of water leaks into your Mercedes R172 Cabriolet and how to tackle this issue.
Mercedes SLK R172 Water Leaks
Mercedes SLK R172 owners frequently call the Cayman Autos workshop advising that they are suffering with water building up after long periods of rain and whilst driving drips come into the cabin area near the driver’s or passenger’s shoulder.
Main dealers recommend a whole replacement roof system, however we have found there is a repair that does necessitate the full cabriolet roof replacement and the water leaks can be significantly reduced and in most cases eliminated through our clever repair and expertise.
The Mercedes SLK 172 Cabriolet third generation, continued with the popular two-piece metal folding roof, known as the vario roof, which included a choice of a roof painted in the vehicle colour, a panoramic vario roof with dark tinted windows, or a panoramic vario roof with Magic Sky Control containing a glass roof that could be switched to light or dark.
The Mercedes SLK concept has always been based around delivering a more affordable and accessible version of the brand’s SL luxury convertible to the wider sports car market.
At launch with the Mercedes SLK first generation, the vehicle came to the cabriolet market with a complete innovation of its own; a “vario” metal folding roof top that was quickly copied across the industry.
We all know and love the lines of the SLK and the amazing brand that Mercedes have developed, however most drivers are none too pleased with water ingress and we can help resolve this problematic issue.
How to identify water leaks to your Mercedes R172 Cabriolet roof system
The tell-tale signs of water ingress to your convertible are;
- Water dripping into the seat /seatbelt area
- Water entering where the roof meets the windscreen
- Water stains on upholstery
- Condensation or fogged up windows
- Wet carpets
- A damp musty smell
If you notice one or more of these signs, it is important to take the necessary steps to identify the source of the leak and the repairs required.
Whilst water to your convertible is a nuisance, it can often lead to the failure of electrical components within the roof system. Owners often are unaware that beneath the luxurious carpets lies a series of electrics and wiring that can be damaged and rust when exposed to prolonged water and damp
Water Ingress to the cabin area of the Mercedes R172 Vario roof
In this video, you can see the most common fault with see with the Mercedes third generation SLK, when water builds up in the roof arms after a period of rain.
This vehicle had been previously water tested and you can see from this where the water enters the cabriolet’s cabin area and the areas on the seat that can be effected by this ingress once the vehicle is driven.
Most Mercedes Dealers offer no other resolve to their convertible owners other than a replacement roof system, which is a costly option to remedy this problem.
At Cayman Autos, we have developed a repair to the roof arms to prevent water penetrating through this area.
Checking the Drains on the Mercedes SLK R172
When water lands on your cabriolet, it is directed down channels to drains where it is dumped onto the road surface. Unfortunately, these drains can become blocked if they are not cleared regularly as a part of your servicing schedule.
The most common cause of drain blockages is road muck and tree litter. It can cause water to build up in the vehicle’s channels, particularly after heavy rainfall. This can lead to corrosion and water ingress.
At Cayman Autos, we can check the drains on your Mercedes SLK R172 and ensure these are clear and free flowing. This is a relatively simple procedure and can be completed whilst you wait within the hour.
Do my seals need replacing on my Mercedes SLK R172?
The roof and boot seals for your R172 play an important part of keeping water from entering the roof or boot areas. When the roof, doors and windows are closed, the seal is compressed to make these areas of your cabriolet watertight.
Over a period of time, the seals can deteriorate often due to dirt and grime and in some cases become un-bonded from the vehicle
Careful maintenance of the existing seals is good practise as dirty seals are unable to perform and do their job. Water can enter through dirt particles in the cabin and boot areas of your convertible.
We often see vehicles with neglected seals in the workshop. However, we rarely need to replace them as they can be cleaned and rejuvenated. The only downside is that it does take some time to ensure seals are dirt free, dry and lubricated.
We recommend a lubricant called Krytox. Our technicians use it at the shop and find it to be far more effective than cheaper seal lubricants. If you are going to spend the time cleaning all the seals, you should use a quality product like Krytox to ensure the seals have their elasticity restored.
It’s important to clean your seals fully before applying a Krytox or another lubricant. Customers often mistakenly apply a lubricant before ensuring that their seals are clean and dry. Applying a lubricant over dirt will not have any benefit for you vehicle’s seals.
How to Dry out your Mercedes SLK R172
When water ingress has become a prolonged issue over a period of time, the cabin and boot areas carpets can become saturated with water and condensation is contained within the vehicle.
Even if the water ingress has been resolved, it is important to address the wet areas and dry the vehicle thoroughly.
Most customer invest in crystal bags to absorb moisture, however these have little effect as most of the water will have been drawn into the carpets and upholstery and deep into the sound proofing beneath the carpets.
An industrial dehumidifier can dry most of the water in some cases, however in others it is prudent to remove the carpets and seats to complete a thorough dry of the whole vehicle.
In essence, the Mercedes R172 is a beautiful metal folding roof convertible that sometimes suffers with water ingress through the Vario roof system.
Do not be alarmed and ensure that this is investigated promptly to avoid further mechanical issues further down the line.
Collect as much information as possible about how water is entering your vehicle. Does it enter as soon as it starts raining? Or does the vehicle need to be in the rain for hours before a leak becomes apparent?
You should also consider where the vehicle parked. If you have a steep driveway the water may be travelling through the vehicle before settling in a certain section.
The best way forward is for Cayman Auto Services to carry out a free visual inspection of your vehicle to assess the best way forward and repairs required. The assessment takes around 30 minutes and then we can give recommendations and fixed prices to reduce the water to your Mercedes SLK R172.
Do remember that there maybe a few contributing factors that can cause water ingress and we always work on a step by step method to reduce the water to your vehicle. We want happy, dry customers!
If you require some assistance from the team at Cayman Autos, Contact us today on 01737 761599 or visit us at 51 ORMSIDE WAY, REDHILL, SURREY, RH1 2LG. We have customers from across the UK, including Hampshire, Kent, the Midlands and North West.
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