High mileage, well cared for OR low mileage but less records? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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High mileage, well cared for OR low mileage but less records?

Folks,

I tried to google and search for a thread discussing the pros and cons of buying a well-cared for higher mileage W220 versus one with lower mileage and maybe less of a care record.

Couldnít find one, but perhaps my search terms were too long. Iím no power searcher, so that may be the case.

With that said, whatís your input? Do I buy a really well-cared-for W200 with 190K+ miles? Or should I snag one with less mileage but less maintenance history? There are a few ďlocallyĒ (I use quotes because Iím not opposed to driving a few hours to see one and potentially buy it) for sale that fall into one or the other categories. Ideally, Iíd love to get one thatís a deal, has decent records, and isnít plumb worn out.

If you have any input as to what you did or what you learned by doing it this way or that, please let me know.

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:29 PM
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Hi,

I am a firm believer that I would buy based on price, and what I find when I check out a Car, (and it's owner).

Lower Mileage and Service History may well mean nothing, it is almost a certainty that a caring and meticulous owner will do a better job maintaining his Car than a Garage / Dealership, so Full Service History is a lottery.

Whatever Car I buy I know I am going to spend at least £2000 getting it up to scratch. A nice Body and to some extent Interior is much more important than a few worn Ball Joints etc, which can be easily fixed over a weekend.

At the end of the day it depends if you are an avid DIY'er with a good tool kit, or if you take it to a Garage every time it needs a lamp bulb........................

If the latter, I might suggest that a W220 may not be the best purchase choice.

Finally whatever you choose, factor in from £400 for an SDS Diagnostic system, and teach yourself how to use it .......................

Regarding SDS do not get sucked in by the nay sayers, if they do not own and have never used it how can they have a valid opinion ??

They are simply guessing it is like their £40 OBD Diagnostic junk, it is waaaaaaay more !! Guessing like they do when the change this that and the other parts in failed attempts to rectify a problem

Have a read of our Buyers Guide in the Blue Stickies at the top of the Forum Page

At the end of the day, your money, your choice

HTH,
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Last edited by Dave2302; 06-02-2019 at 11:35 PM.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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In all honesty, I try to do much of the maintenance on my cars myself. I had to learn when I was much younger as I didnít really make enough to take a car somewhere and let someone else do the work. So, I learned and slowly acquired the tools over time. These days, I donít have nearly as much free time, but I also am better at making time to complete tasks like this...so Iíd definitely be in the DIY category.

These cars seem to be decently straightforward and the amount of knowledge out there is vast. Thatís partially why I want a W220...if thereís an issue, someone has solved it and written about it. Additionally, I was planning on snagging an SDS. I have a code reader at the moment, but Iím aware that these wonít really work with Mercedes, so Iíve also been on the hunt for an SDS that I can pick up for future work on the car.

Iíve checked out the buyers guide here and on w220.ee for reference and to learn the right questions to ask sellers. Itís helped me weed out the cars and sellers whom just donít measure up to what Iím looking for.

Thanks for the reply and the insight...Iíll keep it in mind as I search for the right car.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 05:31 AM
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Sounds to me like you'll fit in nicely here then, most of us are enthusiasts who work on our own Cars, I am an enthusiast who is also a glutton for punishment and run my own Indie Garage specialising in MB's and Electronic Gremlins across all marques
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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From everything Iíve read, these look like cars anyone could work on if theyíve got the ability to read and comprehend...also the willingness.

When I was much younger than today, I used to think cars were horribly complex and impossible to do anything on without the proper schooling. I have since hit reality and learned that most things can be accomplished with the right tool and knowledge.

Again, there seems to be a vast repository of knowledge out there for these. That being the case, I feel Iím in good hands here if I have an issue I canít solve on my own.

Thanks again for your input!!!
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 07:36 AM
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Spirtnoye, I'm a n00bie with these cars, only having started in 2016. Unlike Dave, I'm not a professional mechanic, more of a hobbyist, though I do take the hobby fairly seriously. Like you, I used to believe cars were so complex that only a "professional" could possibly understand them. This, as you also have discovered, is not necessarily the case.

Given your background, it sounds like you have a good idea how to tell if a car's been neglected or if it's been cared for. I'd look for one that's been cared for. Accept faults that you know that aren't too difficult to fix, e. g. suspension issues. Reject faults like body rust, which are difficult, or any faults with especially the 7-speed transmission.

I was actually surprised at how relatively easy the W220 is to work on. SDS is pretty much a must, as Dave said. I was one of the naysayers before that was looking for iCarsoft and Autel and the others, until I bought SDS and actually started using it. Yep, Dave's right. I often say that if I can do it, anyone can, and it really is true (I'm not all that smart!). My mechanic buddy has a couple of W220's and loves them. His daily driver is a 2003 S500.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2000 S500 (wife's DD: my first W220 project car)
2003 S600 ("sex on wheels"--second w220 project car)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--third W220 project car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I just think that if you read about something and are interested in fixing it, it's not impossible. I've owned two Jeeps in my life and while they don't necessarily compare to a W220, you really do learn that if you need to fix something yourself, you generally can. Additionally, there seems to be a similarly-minded DIY community with both of those vehicle aficionado groups. Anything you needed to ask or have explained was done with concise information and a friendly attitude. It's tough to not love the community when it comes to these. After all, we're all car people...just different styles of admiration.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 02:08 PM
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True. Jeep owners seem to be similar in spirit to Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners, in that the DIY spirit is strong. The same is true in the Mercedes-Benz community, for a few chief reasons.

1.) It's horribly expensive to take these cars to any shop nowadays. Of course, that's pretty much true of any vehicle nowadays....

2.) If you do take it to a shop, it's not a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or Honda; some of the procedures are specific to Mercedes-Benz, and you cannot be sure that the shop won't screw something up (it's happened to a lot of people).

3.) It's awfully satisfying to fix up your own vehicle and know it cold. This latter point can have serious advantages if you're in a spot.

Here's a recent example of how DIY helped me get out of a situation. This was a month or so ago. The then-fiance' (now wife) and I were in the '03 S430 running errands in town. The S430 has about 156,000 miles on its clock and runs great. We were maybe two and a half miles from home. Went to start the engine. Turned over great. WOULD NOT START. Whoops, sounds like a Crankshaft Position Sensor! Fortunately, I had bought one for all of our cars, just in case this were to happen. I had the CPS in the glove box. I could've bought a 10mm socket and 1/4" socket wrench at the local hardware store. However, it was a beautiful day, so she and I used that as an excuse to have a nice walk home. We came back with my truck, which had the tools in it, and I got to work right there in the parking lot. First time doing it. About an hour later, the CPS was replaced. S430 started right up, she drove that car home, and I drove the truck. Problem solved.

I would not have known about that without this forum. I certainly wouldn't have had the confidence to replace the CPS without having been DIY'ing our cars previously.

When we got back home, I did her car, the project 2000 S500, as a preemptive measure. It has about 146,000 miles on it, so it was probably about due. Having just done the S430 and now knowing the tricks, this one took me only about 20 minutes.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2000 S500 (wife's DD: my first W220 project car)
2003 S600 ("sex on wheels"--second w220 project car)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--third W220 project car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)

Last edited by cowboyt; 06-03-2019 at 02:14 PM.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 02:24 PM
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One other thing. When I bought the S600 TT, it had 160,032 miles on its clock. Yes, I remember that exactly for some reason; go figure. Apparently the previous owners were using it as a car service, especially airport travelers, so it got driven very regularly. Not a bad thing, far as I'm concerned.

I didn't know about the ABC suspension being a potential land mine. But the rest of the car seemed like it was in good shape. Clearly the previous owners had serviced the engine and transmission at something at least approaching regular intervals. When I did the valve cover gaskets, I saw more evidence of this. The valvetrain was clean.

The one thing they didn't do right was their apparent use of the green (Prestone-style) antifreeze/coolant. But it looked fresh, and it was full, so apparently they were still changing it at regular intervals. Yes, it got a flush with distilled water, followed by a 50/50 mix with the blue G-48. I didn't know about that when I bought the car, but it wasn't leaking or overheating, so apparently it's still fine. But it's something to watch out for in any prospective purchase.

It *definitely* needed a suspension overhaul. I could feel it, and the ball joints were squeaking like mice with megaphones shortly after purchase. Since that's been done, the S600 has given me very little trouble.

So, high mileage isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2000 S500 (wife's DD: my first W220 project car)
2003 S600 ("sex on wheels"--second w220 project car)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--third W220 project car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)

Last edited by cowboyt; 06-03-2019 at 02:26 PM.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thatís why having some spare parts can save all the headaches! I used to do that with my Grand Cherokee 5.9! Loved that car but it was JUST old enough to start doing the ďfix one thing and another breaksĒ game that Iím sure weíve all played. I had a few instances where a couple of spares saved the day when I had the feeling theyíd be going down the tubes at any moment.

Iíve already started making a list of the spares box Iím going to start acquiring based on your feedback and the feedback Iíve seen in other threads. Iíd much rather spend the cash on some spares and be prepared than be caught out in the open without them!

I suppose I also need to see what special MB tools I need (other than SDS....I need to source that but Iím definitely getting the kit). I guess itís true what they say: a manís toolbox is the real treasure.

Next step: find the right W220 thatís not halfway across the country.
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