I'm currently a student nurse with two semesters remaining - I finish up this December and I'll be an RN. For the past 4 years, I've been working on the Volkswagen TDI's, from the 96-2012 models. I've done engine rebuilds, clutch jobs, wheel bearings, cv joints, shocks, front main oil seals, timing belts, turbo replacements & lower power diagnostics, interior swap on the TDI's in the years from 96~2005. I've pretty much done it all on these cars, and I've ventured into the gas passats as well and found them not so much of a challenge than just time consuming. I enjoy working in the garage - and not just because of th money - I do feel a sense of accomplishment and it's nice to make peoples cars run properly and give them the attention they deserve. I currently own a 96 Passat TDI w/ 337,000 miles, and a 2003 Jettawagon TDI with 238,000 miles - both run great and have been taken care of very well. Just to give you an idea of my background in automotive repair, I apprenticed under a guy who has been repairing TDI's for many years - before that he trained men my age on how to repair planes in the Navy. I've done repairs I was never trained on because I was trained very well.
I'm considering the W140 S500 (or similar W140) because of what I've seen on this forum and a website with some DIY's posted. I'm interested in the W140 because it seems to me to be a relatively simple motor to work on, and a relatively sane suspension system. I want a car that I can work on without taking it in for service - I am not interested in owning a vehicle that I must take in for service. I have a lift, air tools, and I'm willing to buy any specialty tools required to service this car properly.
I won't be purchasing another car until after I graduate, but I'm considering my options. I don't plan to buy a new car, and I never want to make car payments. No slight against those who do - I just know what I value and what my priorities are. That said, I own my Jettawagon outright, my Passat as well, and I can repair any failure they have - those are my daily drivers. I'd like a large luxury sedan and I'm not so much interested in one having the newest gadgets, or quickest speeds - but quality in terms of ride quality, interior comfort and design. I'd be looking to spend under 10,000 if possible, though I would consider $15,000 for something newer (say 2002 or 2003) if it was something I could service myself. I've never worked on an Air-matic suspension ,but I'd like to know if this is in the range of skills of someone who possesses the skills I have. Though I will be working as an RN, I plan to work on vehicles as a hobby for many years to come.
It's worth noting I don't intend to use whatever I get as a daily driver. Just a once in a while/date night/drive somewhere for dinner/date/see a show car. I won't be wracking up the miles in whatever I pick up - that's what my TDI's are for. Though, I would consider a Bosal hitch as the W140 is rated for 4,850lb tow rating with a European towbar to use on vacations, to tow a trailer/camper. My Jettawagon was able to safely tow another Jettawagon (3200lbs) plus 500+lbs of luggage - I do not doubt that the W140, properly running could not also tow it's limit of 4,850 lbs.
Thank you for any replies.
Oh, and to get an idea of how much I love my little TDI's....
That's the motor of someone I do service for - it didn't come to me looking like that! They show up running like crap, and they leave running great!