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.
Problems for specific Mercedes-Benz SL500 years:
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Most reported 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 problems
The cooling system hoses may fail unexpectedly. The hoses can look good on the outside, but the rubber can degrade and erode on the inside. If not carefully checked, the hoses can burst at any time.
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.
A coolant leak may develop form the Radiator due to degradation of its plastic components. Replacement of the failed radiator will be necessary.
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.