Seriously thinking about changing cars - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Seriously thinking about changing cars

I'm starting this thread because I want opinions from different mercedes benz owners. Currently I have a 1997 S420 just turned 130 k miles. I've had it since August 2006. Every month something goes wrong with this unreliable money pit. I could go on with a page of problems this car has had since owning it. So far I've spent close to $5,000 on this car expecting it to be like a new car. I was wrong, it still has a long way to go.

For example the ABS/ASR light that comes and goes away. Dealer said it is because of the leak it is having because of the sunroof seal. It's affecting the electrical system of this car. It doesn't start on cold starts because of the fuel pressure regulator, or so they say...Sometimes the side mirrors don't fold in or out electrically. A few weeks ago all the lights in the interior go out for no apparent reason(hasn't happened since), rear passenger climate control doesn't work, only cold air,leaking transmission fluid just recently, when unlucking the doors with remote all doors unluck but drivers side. I tried opening the door with the key and the key exploding into pieces all over the ground while it was raining outside, now the spring in the key is missing, I have to open the rear door and unlock the driver's side door myself, when using the key it seems like it doesn't want to unlock like it's stuck or something. outside temp indicator not working, sometimes RPM needle doesn't move. rear right side door doesn't open because when one of my friends went to open it the handle came right off. Screwed it back in and the door doesn't open anymore...antenna for radio doesn't go down.

When I first bought this car the only problem it had was the antenna and outside temp indicator. I new that the sunroof seal needed replacing... The engine, transmission, body and interior are in excellent condition. That's what made me buy it.

There are many more problems it has, if I add everything up it will easly go over 2 k. But that's not what I'm mad about, I know once I fix it, something else will go wrong. The only thing good about it is the way it looks and drives. Can't say it's safe anymore because ABS and ASR isn't working most of the time.

I'm 19, I've always wanted W140 and finally got one. I always get compliments And it actually feels good driving an S class. But this car is a headache. Recently I drove one of my friend's 2002 C230 kompressor coupe. Didn't have the same ride as an S but it sure was sportier and has that modern look to it. It's more for someone my age. It got me thinking I should sell my car and get a C class. They're more affordable and less likely for something to go wrong since they are less complicated. I could either keep my S and spend a few hundred a month every month until it's like brand new, or trade it in and pay extra on top and finance a C230. I know 01 and 02 are bad years for C, 03 is when the reliability started stabilizing. I recently saw a nice white 03 C230 kompressor with 39 k miles for 20 k. It has the 1.8 which I hear has less gremlins than the 2.3 the year before. From the front it looks very sport and aggressive, from behind it doesn't look very special...Maybe unique would be a better word.

If I sell my car I know I lost all that money on repairs, but if I keep it I don't know if something else will go wrong. If I trade it in for a new mercedes I think I'll be happier.


Last edited by SaleenS7; 12-31-2006 at 11:12 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2007, 01:55 AM
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Your W140 has alot more problems than mine, perhaps you got a lemon. If my car was that bad I would consider off loading it to get something different, thing is any S class will always be big dollars to fix over another car.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2007, 08:02 AM
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Mercedes are expensive cars to own and operate; always have been. At 19, I would have never taken the risk of owning a Mercedes, especially an late-model S-class - a body style that's known to have a lot of electrical issues. It's only now that I can afford to own and maintain a Mercedes that I'm willing to cough up the dough for one (or two, in my case).

I'd get out of the '97 (if you can without losing your butt) and shoot for something much more reliable. Don't just look at engine-reliability, look at all-around reliability. At 19, you really can't afford a car with high maintenance bills. You need something that won't cost a lot to keep moving. I don't know enough about the '02-'03 C-class to offer any yes-no advice if that car fits the bill, but I do think this - the 1995 w124 is the last of the truly reliable Mercedes, however my MB mechanic thinks the w210 up to '99/'00 was the last of the truly reliable Mercedes. Perhaps you should look into the Consumer Reports stats of the w210 and pick the best year models of that one - they're not expensive to buy.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by POS
but I do think this - the 1995 w124 is the last of the truly reliable Mercedes, however my MB mechanic thinks the w210 up to '99/'00 was the last of the truly reliable Mercedes.
You know A LOT more than your mechanic.
IMO, a good W124 is worth ten W210s. Matter of fact, i'd take a W140 over the W210 anyday.

19 is young to be driving such an enormous, heavy car - i know how powerful and capable the W140 is, it can be driven safely at very high speeds, but i think you might be able to enhance your driving experience by switching to something a little smaller and lighter.
W124 Coupe springs to mind, have a look at a late (1995/96) W124 E320 Sportline Coupe. Seriously lovely, and a very impressive car.
I prefer older Benzes, and would go for a 1987 W201 190E 2.3-16, but it's difficult to find one that won't eat your wallet for breakfast.
The most fun MB i've ever driven was a 2006 W203 C55 AMG Wagon - it was incredibly agile, and the lineage from the W201 could be felt in the ride & handling.
Maybe one of the W202 or W203 AMG cars would be good - C32, C36, C43?

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 10:16 AM
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I've read that the 1996 c220 is a great buy. It gets good mpg, the wiring harness was sorted out by then, no head gasket leaks, and it is the last year of the rock solid transmission. You can run some miles up on this car, and probably pick up a really nice example for 5k. That's what I'd get if I were 19.

I would not advise any newer model.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-05-2007, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Well I finally got rid of the big S That car was just a blatantly a big headache. It was my dream car for the longest time, and for the first few months I was putting up with the problems because I loved the car for what it was. But I guess I was out of my league with a car of that magnitude. Plus everyone always said it was my dad's car! (Which is wasn't)

I now have a alabaster white 2003 C230 Kompressor 39 k miles. It does have a unique look which eventually grew on me. I especially like the panoramic roof. It's also got a warranty for the next 5-6 years 60,000 more miles. Otherwise I may not have bought it...

Thanks for your input everyone, I really appreciate it!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-05-2007, 11:34 AM
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congrats! Nice choice.... post some pics.

“One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield.”
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2007, 10:04 AM
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Sounds like you made a good choice; how bad of a hit did you take on the trade??
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2007, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by theway146
Sounds like you made a good choice; how bad of a hit did you take on the trade??
Well I walked in there asking 15 k for it. They said with the problems I told them they won't pay any more than 5 k. so I haggled with them and after it was all said and done, they payed 8500 for mine. I know I couldn't sell it anymore anywhere else because of all the problems it had so I let it go cheap. All that money lost... But this new car with a warranty should make everything up.

Oh and I would have taken pictures but... when I went back to Lexus to give them the title for the S, they said they were gonna hold my C230. I told them about a bubble coming out of the sidewall on the front left tire. They said it's a safety hazard and they don't want it blowing on me. They're holding it until tuesday when the tire comes in. They were gonna give me a Lexus 07 ES350 loaner but I wasn't old enough to rent it. So my dad comes in since he is close by and he signs the paperwork. (he lets me drive it though) BTW, this car is nice. It's more of a head turner than my S420
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2007, 08:08 AM
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The W140 is sweet when you have a good one but if it's a bad one, you've got trouble. My friend was looking for a S420 and his mechanic at MB of Knoxville told him to RUN from it. This one had power closing doors, etc. and the mechanic said that option, among ABS pumps, A/C, fuel system was enough that he wouldn't own one and he works on them. He said if he was going to own an MB, it would be an E Class since they caused no where near the troubles of an S Class. He said the S Classes had too much electronic wizardry to own a used one.

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