2004 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class - Just 4 problems

SL 500, 2004

  1. Suspension…car lowers when stationary
  2. Electronics…most functions on dash not working
  3. Fuel tank noises from loose baffle plates
  4. Booth cover does not stay open

Four solutions: $+$+$+$

OK, serious answer, find yourself a MB specialist shop, have them diagnose these problems, get an estimate, then see above.


Leaks in air system. $$

New electronic parts, search and clean grounds. $$$

New fuel tank. $$

What is a “booth cover” ? I estimate $

BENZ is an acronym for Bring Enormous Numbers, Zillions.

Find a M-B specialist. Get an estimate. Buy a wheelbarrow. Fill it with money.


How to become millionaire.
Get 1 billion, buy used Mercedes.


I’m guessing “booth” should be “boot”, or trunk lid in US-speak, so I think the hydraulic strut is worn out. May be the cheapest fix of all 4 problems.


My best guess is that the OP meant “boot cover”.

Edited to add: Texases beat me to it!

In any event, the OP will need a barrel-full of cash to remediate all of these problems, and the only good news is that he will need a slightly smaller barrel if he takes his SL to an independent MB specialist’s shop, instead of a dealership.

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As a practical matter, repairing the trunk lid problem shouldn’t be overly expensive. OP could probably just live with the suspension lowering problem as long as the car isn’t bottoming out. After all, a lower car makes it easier to get in and out. Think of this as a high- end attribute. Likewise the fuel tank noise can be solved by turning up the radio. That just leaves only one important issue, the dashboard electronics. That pretty much has to be addressed, can’t be ignored. However there is probably an at least semi-affordable repair awaiting at the local auto dismantlers yard; i.e a used instrument cluster from a wrecked 2004 SL 500.

2004 SL 500. Nice looking ride indeed!

The SL series are low-slung to begin with. While a younger person might not have any difficulty getting in and out of a low-slung car, this is something that tends to be very problematic as people get older.

A few years ago, I decided to sit in a Subaru BRZ that was on the showroom floor, just to see how comfortable the seats are. While I was able to lower myself onto the seat without too much difficulty, getting out was another proposition entirely. In order to not wrench my back, I had to–literally–crawl out onto the showroom floor and then raise myself by holding onto the car’s body.

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Heh. A 17 year old Mercedes with only 4 problems is statistically problem-free. :wink:

Since you called the trunk a boot, I suspect you aren’t from the USA. So Rockauto won’t save you as much money as it does us yanks, but they do ship internationally, so this might be something you can fix yourself.

The others… That stuff’s pricey. Especially the dash. If this were my car I’d very carefully consider how much I wanted to spend rehabbing it. My priority would be the fuel tank, followed by the dash stuff, followed by the suspension (until the leak gets bad enough that the car won’t stay up while the engine is running, this can be put off for awhile, but keep an eye on it), followed by the trunk boot because if the other stuff is too expensive, there’s no point in bothering with it.


Heck, I’d pay the $7.54 plus shipping just so I could brag I fixed 25% of my SL500’s problems!
2004 MERCEDES-BENZ SL500 5.0L V8 Lift Support | RockAuto


Did you just buy the car . . . ?!

As for the suspension, it doesn’t have air suspension. it has ABC active body control, which is nice when it’s working and extremely expensive to repair

afaik, there’s no repair short of replacing the fuel tank . . . this was actually a fairly common repair, and also a very expensive repair. It’s a pita to replace the tank, so expect to be charged accordingly

Booth cover does not stay open . . . maybe you mean the trunk lid? Probably just the shocks for the trunk lid. That was also a common repair

Here’s my recommendation

Either bring the car to the Benz dealership and hope the most experienced guy works on it . . . you want some middle-aged guy working on it, NOT the young whipper snapper who just “graduated” from UTI

Or bring it to a reputable and established independent shop who only or primarily works on Benzes. Even there, look for middle-aged guys, not youngsters.

You need somebody who’s had a ton of experience working on this specific vehicle