I became familiar with how the domestic cars were engineered verses the European vehicles. As I advanced my career, my interest in the German vehicles became apparent, beginning with my 1986 Audi GT. When I purchased my first R-129 SL, it was the first I had owned with the hydraulically operated convertible top. The car had 30,000 miles on the clock, had been parked in a climate controlled aircraft hanger from day one and had never had the hard top removed.
When I first removed the hardtop and extended the soft-top, I was appalled to see that the hydraulic system had purged most of its fluid out onto my driveway. I was even more upset to learn that the Germans had used a biodegradable compound in the seals of the hydraulic cylinders that breaks down and fails after only a few years of service. Since Mercedes doesn't sell replacement seals and will only replace the cylinders at a cost of more than $6,800.00, it became my mission to side step this "Planned Obsolescence" and figure out a way to rebuild my old cylinders. I enlisted the assistance of a tool & die shop to design special jigs that would allow me to disassemble my cylinders without damaging them. I then worked with one of the nation's most respected seal manufactures to design suitable replacement seals, O-rings and piston rings that could stand up to the demands of this application for the long haul. After much trial and error, the result is a hydraulic system that is better than the OEM system for fraction of the cost. This is why I have started BenzSeals (formally Mercedes Convertible Hydraulic Specialists).
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My love of cars began back in 1978 when I became a young mechanic's apprentice. After earning my certification, I worked as an auto mechanic in an upscale village Northwest of Detroit.