Front Brake Upgrade?!

New CLK430 Rotors

I don’t know whether you would consider this an upgrade or a downgrade, but swapping the CLK55’s front rotating assemblies for a set of CLK320 brakes and wheels will definitely make the car quicker at the dragstrip.

I’ve been running the heavy 18″ Mercedes-Benz E55 wheels on all four corners of the CLK55, which look great, but they aren’t be best for drag racing. Each corner weighs-in at over 50 lb, leaving a lot of room for improvement. The factory CLK320 wheels are the hot ticket for drag radials on the rear, but they also make a good low-budget “front runner”. They only weigh about 13 lb each (because they’re forged), and at 7″ wide you can fit a fairly narrow tire on them. I bought a pair of inexpensive V rated 205-60/16 tires that can be used as daily drivers, while still saving a good amount of weight for the track.

Continue reading “Front Brake Upgrade?!”

CLK Phase I Wrap-Up

Phase I (Baseline testing) of the CLK build has been completed ahead of schedule. Yay!  This is good because driving a mid-13 second “race car” is a little tedious when your daily driver is a low-11 second beast.  I’m ready to get on to bigger and better things, but first let’s see how the baseline testing went.

I came up a fair bit short of my goal of running a 13.20 at full-weight, only managing a best of 13.58.  A 13.20 might be possible on a really cold day, on a nearly empty fuel tank, and with the spare tire and passenger seat removed, but I haven’t got time for that!  I’m ready to call this phase done and get on to the weight reduction.

Continue reading “CLK Phase I Wrap-Up”

How to put W211 E55 wheels on your W208 CLK

E55 Wheels on CLK55

The 2002 CLK55 that I recently bought came with a set of aftermarket wheels that just didn’t work for me.  They were Katana GTM wheels, which look fantastic on the company’s website, but the 18×7.5 wheels didn’t have enough “dish” to look proper on the CLK.  The fronts were OK, but the rear wheels had improper offset and were tucked way too far inside the fenders, giving the car an anemic look.  Of course it doesn’t help that the 7.5″ wide wheels will only support a 225-40/18 tire.

Katana GTM Wheels on 2002 CLK55

I decided to solve this problem by killing two birds with one stone.  I could sell the Katana wheels and recoup some of what I paid for the car, and I could clean out my garage just a little by putting my old factory E55 wheels on the CLK.

Continue reading “How to put W211 E55 wheels on your W208 CLK”

First Time Drag Racing the CLK55

I took the CLK to the Woodburn Dragstrip for the first time today so I could get some baseline numbers on the car while it is still full-weight and 100% stock.  While not the numbers I was hoping for, I did learn a few things and started the process of getting to know this car’s personality at the track.

Continue reading “First Time Drag Racing the CLK55”

Polyurethane Bushing Upgrade for the CLK55

The rearward bushings in the front lower control arms of the W208 CLK are known to wear out rather quickly.  They are “loose” by design, having an air gap around more than half the perimeter of the bushing, meaning there is only about 2″ of rubber holding the outer shell to the inner sleeve.  This not only leads to premature failure, but often leads to vibrations in the car, even when the bushings are new.  I’m sure the Mercedes engineers had good intentions, but in practice these bushings have been a sore spot for many CLK owners.  You can replace the factory units with aftermarket polyurethane bushings from Powerflex if you want a performance and reliability upgrade.

Continue reading “Polyurethane Bushing Upgrade for the CLK55”

CLK55 Engine Mount Install

How can you tell if your Mercedes needs new motor mounts?  Well…

I did this simple test by opening the hood, starting the car and putting it in drive.  While holding the brake, give it a little gas until the engine starts to torque over.  If your driver’s side mount is completely separated like mine, it will be obvious.  I thought the engine was going to jump right out of the car!

The M113 and M113K motors in the AMG Mercedes are notorious for destroying engine mounts because they make a lot of torque.  Replacing CLK engine mounts is not hard, but it does take a lot of patience, and one special tool.  My car happens to be a CLK55 AMG, but this DIY is applicable to the 1998-2002 CLK320 or CLK430 as well.  Read-on if you want to learn how to do this job and save yourself about $500 compared to what the dealer would charge you. Continue reading “CLK55 Engine Mount Install”