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Vario Roof Hydraulic Cylinder ID and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Vario Roof Hydraulic Cylinder ID and Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$438-$528 per cylinder

Talent:

***

Tools:

Screwdrivers, wrenches, Torx bits, 5mm hex/Allen wrench, side cutters

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz S430 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Replacement hydraulic cylinder

Hot Tip:

Leave the hydraulic hoses attached to the cylinders

Performance Gain:

Vario top and hydraulic trunk functions return to normal

Complementary Modification:

Check fluid level in hydraulic pump, top off if necessary

R170 SLKs have five hydraulic pumps that work in concert to lower and raise the hard top into the trunk. If the top fails to function properly, one of the diagnoses is to look for hydraulic fluid leaks -- the cylinders' seals eventually go bad. The cylinders' hoses can also theoretically spring leaks, as can the system's hydraulic pump.

Separate articles cover preliminary and related operations: Adding Fluid to the Hydraulic Pump, Removing the Trunk's Trim Panels, Headliner Removal, and B-pillar Trim Removal. Please consult these articles for further reference, as needed.

The focus here is identifying the locations of the five cylinders. As a bonus, we also demonstrate cylinder removal.

Incidentally, some SLK owners have successfully replaced a leaky seal by drilling access holes through the cylinder's body. Our project car's cylinders weren't leaking, so we didn't attempt to fix what wasn't broken. Replacing a leaky cylinder with a new one or sending the faulty unit to a specialty hydraulic cylinder rebuilder possibly better serves the average SLK owner.

Cylinder Description Location Part Number

Left Main Between Left Quarter Window & Roll Bar 170-800-05-72-MBZ

Right Main Between Right Quarter Window & Roll Bar 170-800-06-72-MBZ

Top Lock Above Headliner, Front Edge of Roof 170-800-00-72-MBZ

Left Trunk Lid Left Rear Corner 170-800-03-72-MBZ

Right Trunk Lid Right Rear Corner 170-800-02-72-MBZ

The hydraulic pump builds the necessary pressure for operating the cylinders.
Figure 1

The hydraulic pump builds the necessary pressure for operating the cylinders. Its two-solenoid valves (the visible one is indicated by the arrow) distribute the fluid to the cylinders in a specified sequence to lower and raise the roof and trunk lid.

The trunk cylinders (left side indicated by arrow) are in the rear corners, behind the side panels.
Figure 2

The trunk cylinders (left side indicated by arrow) are in the rear corners, behind the side panels. They raise and lower the trunk lid.

Here's a trunk cylinder seen from above, with the trunk opened by the roof switch.
Figure 3

Here's a trunk cylinder seen from above, with the trunk opened by the roof switch. Each cylinder attaches at its body end and plunger end.

The main roof cylinders (left one indicated by arrow) are located between the roll bars and quarter windows.
Figure 4

The main roof cylinders (left one indicated by arrow) are located between the roll bars and quarter windows. Note how each hydraulic hose is numbered. The ports on the pump are also numbered to eliminate plumbing confusion.

The cylinder in the roof (arrow) is responsible for latching it to the windshield frame.
Figure 5

The cylinder in the roof (arrow) is responsible for latching it to the windshield frame. Removing the headliner accesses this cylinder.

Using a trunk cylinder for demonstration purposes, removal begins by opening the trunk with the Vario roof switch, then turning off the ignition to depressurize the hydraulic system.
Figure 6

Using a trunk cylinder for demonstration purposes, removal begins by opening the trunk with the Vario roof switch, then turning off the ignition to depressurize the hydraulic system. The retaining clip (red arrow) is pulled off the cylinder's body end; we used a flat blade screwdriver. The white trunk panel mounting bracket (yellow arrow) was moved to the side to aid photography.

Next, the pin that secures the cylinder's body to the car can be pulled.
Figure 7

Next, the pin that secures the cylinder's body to the car can be pulled. The retaining clip seats in a groove on the pin (arrow).

The plunger end's pin (arrow) is pivoted away from the fork-shaped mount.
Figure 8

The plunger end's pin (arrow) is pivoted away from the fork-shaped mount. Then the pin can be pulled to release the plunger's fork from the trunk.

The release cable should come free as the cylinder is lifted out of the trunk cavity.
Figure 9

The release cable should come free as the cylinder is lifted out of the trunk cavity. SeePicture 3 for a look at how the cable slots into the bottom of the cylinder.

The lines are removed at the hydraulic pump.
Figure 10

The lines are removed at the hydraulic pump. Use side-cutters or an equivalent to carefully cut the nylon ties that secure the lines.

At the pump, the hydraulic lines are held in place by three interlocking plates.
Figure 11

At the pump, the hydraulic lines are held in place by three interlocking plates. First, the three knurled nuts (arrows) that secure these plates are loosened using a 5mm hex/Allen wrench.

The plastic retaining piece is lifted off so that the interlocking plates can be pivoted.
Figure 12

The plastic retaining piece is lifted off so that the interlocking plates can be pivoted. Aligning the plates' holes with the pump's ports allows the lines to be pulled out. Have a rag on hand to catch drips, and plug the lines and ports to keep dirt out. Mercedes-Benz offers an official plug kit for this: 129-589-00-91-01-MBZ.

Replacement cylinders are available with the lines pre-attached.
Figure 13

Replacement cylinders are available with the lines pre-attached. Installation reverses disassembly. Check the fluid level in the hydraulic pump after replacing the cylinder.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mslena Comments: I have a 2001 320 slk. Fluid is leaking from the passenger side rear convertible top haudraulic cylinder. Repair shops said $1500 to replace all 5. $1000 to replace 1. Only 1 is leaking. How much should 1 cost? Should I have all 5 replaced?
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can give you part pricing.


I am not sure what the repair will cost in your area. Call a few shops and ask for a quote. It is also a good idea to have them confirm what the issue is.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
SLKKID Comments: I have a 99 SLK and the top will not go down. Large amounts of oil are leaking from the right side of the roof near the sun visor and the right vent window. It seems like the channel on the right side of the hardtop is now filled with oil and it is dripping on the right passenger seat headrest and floor board. I'm assuming this is a problem with the top lock cylinder and the oil has traveled in the channel to the back right of the hardtop. The hardtop is locked in the closed position. Anyway to manually release the hardtop? Or can the top lock cylinder be accessed with the hardtop in the up position? At this point, the hardtop won't go down, the vent windows are stuck down in the open position and the hardtop switch light always stays on. Thanks!
October 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Yes, you can open it manually.



See page 221 (until end of procedure) of this manual:


https://www.mbusa.com/vcm/MB/DigitalAssets/pdfmb/ownersmanual/2004_slk230_slk320_slk32amg.pdf - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Pablo Comments: I have a 1998 slk230 and the trunk cylinders started leaking. There's any way to open it up and replace the orings in there. How can I do it?
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, you have to replace the pistons. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Artshane23 Comments: Nick,
I have verified that the latch functions and made numerous adjustments to the striker plate. No luck there. Could the trunk cylinder be my problem and be making the bar the striker plate is attached to pull away as I lower the trunk?
June 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if the trunk has soft close, where the lid is pulled down once closed. It is possible is is starting too low. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Artshane23 Comments: I own a 1998 mercedes slk230. The trunk started to not latch recently until you press on the trunk with enough force to latch. Now the trunk will not latch at all. From taking video within the trunk it shows the latch does not even meet the striker plate. Suggestions?
June 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Something may have moved from slamming it. FIrst check if the latch is working, open and close is using a flathead screwdriver and the key. If working, try to adjust the striker and latch. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ricardo Comments: I have a SLK230 with oil leak on top of roof. To release the pressure just get the "L" key and turn left the cooper bolt at the pump then close the roof manual. If the small windows continue open, remove the relay at the pump and turn on the ignition key then pressure the blink red bottom My advance is to replace the cylinder because I did repairs and not stay long. To remove the liner is easy bring the roof back a little and you will see the smal bolts around that one Good luck
June 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Emcan7 Comments: Hello Nick.
I have a question for you, I am sure you can help me out. I own a 2000 SLK 230 Turbo Limited Edition, a month ago while trying to open the roof it got stuck half way, in order to get it down into the trunk I had to disconnect the battery cable to depressurize the hydraulic
When we manually raised the roof back up the driver's side little window stayed down but the passenger little or back window gets closed.
I noticed an oil leak from the right side cylinder, when I activate the roof switch to close it, the roof does not go up, only the windows operate except the little back window on the driver's side, it moves half way up and then it comes down and remains open.
Any idea what could it be? if I add oil to the master cylinder do you think I might solve the problem?
Please help me.

Thanks.
March 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think it is oil. From the symptom of the window not going up, it sounds like a position switch is in the wrong state. Best bet is to check for fault codes and check if all position switches are in the right state.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Emcan Comments: Thank you Nick
February 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: no problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Emcan Comments: Hello Nick.
Thank you for your prompt reply, your answer is giving me some hope that no major mechanical damage could have been occurred, while I drive the car the buzzer or beeper sounds as if one of the doors is open and the red button that activates the roof keeps slowly blinking, you may be right about the stored fault codes.
I have another question....How do I check and where is the roof module located at?
Thanks in advance for your kind response.
February 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need a Mercedes-Benz scan tool to check codes and function. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Emcan Comments: Hello all.
I own a 2000 SLK hardtop Compressor. on !/27/2016 i contacted the upholstery shop to schedule a headliner replacement because it has become loose looks wobble and touches our heads while driving the car. The guy from the upholstery shop told me "Quote" "If you remove the roof I can do it today" immediately I assumed he didn't know how to work on this type of convertible roofs, so my mistake is that the car was parked in an uphill terrain and the car was a bit leaning to the left side and when I opened the roof half way for him to see the way to remove the headliner the roof didn't want to come down and close.
I took it to a shop where they work on Mercedes and lowered the roof by disconnecting the positive battery cable and working with the car's key, now is fully closed but I am concerned as to why the roof does not close, I don't see any oil leaking, the windows are working but when I activate the roof control switch Red Button the windows get raised but the roof does not go up, and the switch red button keeps blinking. PLEASE HELP.....THANK YOU
January 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are likely fault codes stored. Start by checking the roof module for fault codes. There could be a position switch in the wrong state. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Emcan Comments: Hello MB enthusiasts, I am new to this blog and I have been reading some of your posts and I am impressed at the way each one of you try to help the other members in solving their Mercedes Benz mechanical problems, This forum is a goldmine of information for Mercedes owners like my self who like to work on their own cars.
I want to take the opportunity to thank you all for sharing your knowledge.
I own a 2000 SLk Compressor hardtop and I just on Jan 27 2016 I was hit with the cruel reality that I might need to do some work with my rooftop and I might need help from you to solve my problem
My hardtop got stuck midway on the opening position while trying to figure out how to replace the headliner, I just wished I had been a member of this forum before I started messing around with my Benz. i just want to introduce myself to the forum and rest assure that I will be asking some questions. THANKS AGAIN for all the information posted that I have been reading around.
January 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jairo Comments: cual debe ser el orden para conectar nuevamente las lineas
October 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The lines are labeled. Use the image of the pump in the article to identify the line location. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
OSCAR R Comments: Hi i own a 2000 yr MB 230SLK and i need price quotations of the Five5 CYLINDERS for the hydraulic roof top system.
LEFT MAIN, RIGHT MAIN,TOP LOCK, LEFT TRUNK LID AND RIGHT TRUNK LID CYLINDERS.I am looking for your assistance on this matter
THANK YOU
September 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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