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Pelican Technical Article:

Jacking Up Your Car

Tom Morr

Time:

15 minutes15 mins

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, wood blocks

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz SLK230 (1998-04)

Hot Tip:

Work on a level surface,

Performance Gain:

Ability to service components beneath vehicle.

Complementary Modification:

Check front & rear suspension bushings

About one third of all tasks that you need to perform on your Mercedes require it to be raised off of the ground. While simple enough for the experienced mechanic, the procedure of lifting your own car can be a bit unnerving for the amateur. In this article, I'll start out by showing you the best places to jack your car up and how to support it while you're working on it.

First, let's talk a bit about safety. Haphazard use of a floor jack can result in some pretty significant and expensive damage to you or your car. Before you begin raising the car, make sure that you have the wheels of the car blocked so that it can't roll. It's also wise to have your parking brake on as well, and the car placed in Park. You should always use jack stands in pairs to support the car: never just a floor jack. Even if you are only lifting the car up for a few minutes, make sure that you place an emergency jack stand loosely underneath the transmission, motor, or rear differential just in case the floor jack fails.

Before you attempt to begin jacking up the car, make sure that all four wheels are carefully chocked, and that the car is on a level surface. Keep in mind that if you raise up the rear of the car, the emergency brake no longer works (it works only on the two rearmost wheels of the car). If you place the car in Park, it will only lock the rear wheels as well. Place a few 2x4 pieces of wood in front of each of the wheels to make sure that the car will not roll when you lift it up off of the ground.

It's a good idea to use a soft rubber pad, cardboard or even a rolled up newspaper in-between the floor jack and the car to avoid damage to the undercarriage. Lift up the car slowly. It's perfectly okay if the car tilts while the wheels on the opposite side are still on the ground. Depending upon where you placed your jack, both front wheels may come off the ground, or both wheels on one side of the car may come off the ground. Lift the car up only enough to get the jack stand underneath while it's set at its minimum height. Place the jack stand securely under the jack support area, and slowly lower the car.

Jacking up a car is normally straightforward. However, Mercedes-Benz apparently designed the R170 SLK to be serviced on a commercial hydraulic multi-post lift. The car has four attachment points for the OEM tire-changing jack, but its owner's manual doesn't mention a floor jack/jack stands method. Also the vehicle sits fairly low to the ground, if you are having trouble getting your floor jack under the car, driving the car up onto at 2X6 or 2X8 can give you enough room to get your jack under.

The challenge with these cars is finding reinforced areas for jack and stand placement. Anyone who's ever crumpled a rocker panel by guessing wrong knows that jacking/securing has both safety and aesthetic considerations. Because the factory pads are meant for a jack, Pelican Parts recommends using them as intended. Then, jack stands are placed on structurally sound chassis components.

Pads at each corner (arrows) of the car are the reinforced jack areas.
Figure 1

Pads at each corner (arrows) of the car are the reinforced jack areas. I recommend these areas for jacking, then placing the jack stands securely under the structural components at the front and rear of the vehicle (circled in red).

Before lifting the car you may want to protect the paint by using a piece of wood or rolled up newspaper between the jack and the vehicle.
Figure 2

Before lifting the car you may want to protect the paint by using a piece of wood or rolled up newspaper between the jack and the vehicle. With the wheels chocked you can now start to lift the vehicle.

Lift the vehicle to the point that you can place your jack stand under the vehicle at its lowest height.
Figure 3

Lift the vehicle to the point that you can place your jack stand under the vehicle at its lowest height. A piece of 2X4 can help spread the load.

Placing the stand under the reinforcing rib between the engine cross-member and structural part of the rocker rail allows access to most undercarriage and under-engine components.
Figure 4

Placing the stand under the reinforcing rib between the engine cross-member and structural part of the rocker rail allows access to most undercarriage and under-engine components. We removed the two lower bolts from the wheel-well liner and peeled it away from the jack stand. You may want to do this n advance if you are planning on removing the liners later.

Rear jack placement is similar to the front: at the factory attachment point, using a block of wood to create a flat-pad surface.
Figure 5

Rear jack placement is similar to the front: at the factory attachment point, using a block of wood to create a flat-pad surface.

The strut's lower mounts are strong support points for the jack stands.
Figure 6

The strut's lower mounts are strong support points for the jack stands. Saddle-style stands cradle the strut mount in this case.

A good set of ramps are also a good option but eliminate any work you can do that involves removing the wheels.
Figure 7

A good set of ramps are also a good option but eliminate any work you can do that involves removing the wheels. To get low-clearance SLKs on short ramps without scraping, build bridges with lumber

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Comments and Suggestions:
Boltyman Comments: I have done something daft....I have taken apart the vario switch connector block for the slk 230 roof button that lights up in the back centre console 1999. noe I can t remember wher the wires go to each peg...have you any guidance for me...I need a really good picture of where the differnt colred wires go in the terminal block...
May 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the wiring.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Scarooo68 Comments: Thank You for the info. Very helpful :-.I will be checking the differential fluid to top of if needed :-
August 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad to help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rusty Comments: beautiful.. thanks, much appreciated.
Roger
April 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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