1997 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL500 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

High mileage vehicles may develop a leak from one or more of the transmission oil seals.

Vehicles with automatic level control that ride harshly in the rear (no give in the suspension) may have one or both dampening actuators which have failed. It is commonly recommended the actuators be replaced in pairs.

A faulty mass air flow (MAF) sensor can cause erratic/rough engine operation and fuel economy issues. Since this sensor measures the actual amount of air entering the motor, when it fails, the engine control module (ECM) takes the wrong information and delivers incorrect volumes of fuel to the cylinders.

Internal and External engine oil & coolant leaks can develop from the head gasket and/or timing cover gasket; these leaks should be repaired before the engine oil and coolant intermix which can result in severe engine damage.

As vehicles age, various problems may develop with the hard and soft tops. If problems are encountered, it would be recommended to have a technician familiar with these tops perform the diagnoses.

A knocking noise from the front end can be caused by cracked strut tower bushings.

Other than a defective motor, a bad switch or blower motor resistor assembly can cause an inoperative heater blower motor.

A refrigerant leak may develop from one or more of the following AC components: AC compressor, hose manifold for the compressor, or the evaporator core. The loss of refrigerant can cause poor AC performance. Our technicians tell us that proper leak diagnoses should be performed in order to determine the cause of any refrigerant loss.

The emissions air injection pump can seize, causing a loud squealing noise followed by smoke from the drive belt. If the engine is not turned off, the belt will break, turning on the alternator/battery warning light.

The electronic throttle assembly may suffer an electrical failure. It is often cheaper to send the valve to a service center for repair that to purchase a new part.

Leaks may develop from the differential cover and/or seals on high mileage or older vehicles. Our technicians recommend a complete reseal of the differential unit if these leaks are addressed.

A vibration felt through the center floor of the vehicle can be caused by cracked and/or shredded driveshaft flex discs, resulting in excessive driveshaft movement. If not repaired, damage to the driveshaft center support bearing, transmission, or differential can occur.

One or more of the following steering linkage components may wear prematurely;  tie rod ends, drag link, or idler arm. Our technicians remind us the wheel alignment should be checked and adjusted if any of these items are replaced.

The lower control arm bushings can wear and crack, resulting excessive movement at the control arm pivot point, leading to irregular and premature tire wear. Worn Ball joints can also cause similar tire wear symptoms. I some cases it may be necessary to replace the lower control arm, including bushings & ball joint to correct this concern.

Due to wear, high usage vehicles can experience ignition lock and tumbler failures. The ignition lock cylinder will generally require replacement to correct this concern.