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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gentlemen (and ladies?).

I've been shopping around for a C43 lately. Now, it's been my dream car since I was 16. The newest one will be 11 years old at this point, so the price range is quite affordable. However, my personal limit is quite low.

I've found a C43 locally, coincidentally. I wasn't going to give it much thought, but I went to test drive it anyway.

It's a 1999 C43 silver on black. It has a whopping 238,000 miles on it!

However, it's in amazing shape. It has one tiny ding on the trunk. None of the paint is fading. And every single gadget, button, and feature on the car works as it should. I test drove it and it seemed to be fine. The power steering pump needed some maintenance as it was giving the typical whine whenever I was doing a u-turn. The engine ran smooth as butter and pulled strong. I inspected the car inside and out and the damn thing was immaculate--despite all the miles.

He had service records. Mobil 1 synthetic its whole life, he swears its had 93 octane its whole life, as well. Transmission had recently been serviced and was shifting/pulling strong. I flipped through and saw various other parts that had been replaced in the last couple years (alot of suspension parts, mostly).

It had an aftermarket xenon kit installed that I would be yanking out asap. It had a spoiler on the trunk with fading paint (that I would also be removing asap). There was a rocker switch in the dash cubby hole that apparently controlled the lock to the gas filler door? Never heard of that. A clip was broken on the side holding up the front and rear bumpers. There was no damage, he just said he had been bumped into in a parking lot and the bumpers had been slightly crooked. I inspected myself and they both only needed plastic clips replaced and reattached. It had a hitch receiver installed in the rear as well that I'd be yanking and ebaying (aren't those rare?).

My ultimate goal for the car is to do the 5.4l swap and create my own C55 w202--in which case I'd be dumping the 240k mile 4.3 engine and upgrading to something with far less miles on it (and more power).

The price for the car is $4,600.

I'm looking at multiple C43's and I'll be settling on one of them. This one in particular is dirt cheap, in fantastic cosmetic/mechanical shape, but has a HUGE number of miles on it. Thoughts?
 

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i have 300k on mine. if you were really that thorough then thats a great deal. if you were really serious, i would still put it on a lift to see whats hiding underneath.
 

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I agree. You seem to have a good looking deal. Despite the highish miles on the clock, if the vehicle has been maintained, it is pretty much bullet proof. As eudaddy says, have a close look underneath for rot, specially under the side sills close to the wings. If the filler is controlled with a switch, that is not normal, as all openings are vacuum controlled, so it could just be a pipe not fixed right. If all checks, I would recommend the purchase and enjoy it. OE front brake rotors are VERY expensive, but other solutions exist. Just beware of low quality after market stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I'm looking at multiple cars. One is from a fellow forum member and has less miles (and thus a higher price). Whichever I buy will depend on how much the bank will give me. Just bought a w124 for the wife as well as a new house. So, won't be shocked if the news isn't good.

Crossing my fingers. I've dreamed of having a C43 since I was 16. The irony is that my wife will be driving it the first year. Lucky!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i have 300k on mine. if you were really that thorough then thats a great deal. if you were really serious, i would still put it on a lift to see whats hiding underneath.
you, sir, are an inspiration. how's your car doing? any issues?

PS I bought the car. Have been driving it 2 weeks no, no regrets. I still look at it in the driveway and grin. Can't believe I own a C43 AMG. I've dreamed of exactly this since I was 16 (I'm 29 now).
 

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I've had a lot of issues with my car since I bought it just over 2 years ago. Over that time span I had to spend close to $5000 on maintenance and repairs. This does include some upgrades like H&R lowering springs and Bilstein SP shocks though. I'm pretty lucky that there's no rust underneath the car and no engine or transmission issues because the previous owner was quite meticulous with following the dealer's maintenance intervals. Right now the only issue I'm having with the car is a faulty kick down switch. I just had the engine and tranny mounts replaced as well as both of the driveshaft joints. I wanted an AMG when I was young too but thought it would be a C32 or a C55. I'm 25 now and quite pleased with my choice with the C43. Glad you're enjoying yours!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've only had my car a couple weeks, but I think it's drinking a small bit of oil as well. I've put about 1k miles on it and the oil light started coming on. Prior to purchase, I found no major oil leaks (just some minor ones around the valve covers that don't frighten me). I'm not shocked if it takes a little oil with this many miles on it.

But the prior owner had stacks of receipts for several service jobs in the last couple years and it appears as though the entire suspension and steering system has been very well maintained on these records. He had control arms, ball joints, tie rod ends, and various others replaced. It drives and rides like a stiff dream. Also no rust anywhere underneath it as well.

There's a gentle, repeating tap tap tap tap tap in the front of the engine, and I'm fairly sure I'll be replacing the water pump soon as a result.

I never much cared for the w203. As they say, the w202 is the "last" real MB. My sis had a brand new w203 and I still preferred my 10-year-old 94 C280 to her's. Of course, I'm completely biased and partial.

If I do ANY major mod to this car, it'll be a 5.4l swap someday. I'm in no hurry, as the damn thing is like-new right now and is a total blast to drive!
 

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Congrat in your C43 AMG ! Its very normal for Mercedes to do Valve cover gasket seal, about $300. I would take care of that immediately with new oil change. C43 is a beautiful fast car. You should enjoy it very much. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Congrat in your C43 AMG ! Its very normal for Mercedes to do Valve cover gasket seal, about $300. I would take care of that immediately with new oil change. C43 is a beautiful fast car. You should enjoy it very much. :thumbsup:
Thank you, sir! I'm still enormously pleased with it, and no problems yet--except for some of the exact same minor annoyances I had with my 1994 C280 from '99 until now: tail light bulbs coming loose in their sockets, squeaky heater/ac fan. But those 2 issues are so unbelievably commonplace in my life as a w202 driver that life wouldn't be normal without them.

I'm going to be doing the repairs all myself. The only thing I can't do on this car is rebuild the transmission. So, I'm taking EXTRA special care of it. The C43 itself is probably one of the finest classic MB cars ever built and is so amazingly reliable and well-built. But it's got that god damned worthless transmission. If it would work (and I wouldn't get awful mpg) I'd replace it with the 4spd mechanical box out of the prior years in a heartbeat. I'd LOVE to get that thing underneath it as well as the running gear from a pre-update C280. Awful MPG, but would definitely see an improvement in off-the-line performance as well as more longevity from the transmission.

Soon as I have the time/money I'm going to isolate the whining/ticking noise from the accessory belt area. I believe it's the water pump, but I hope it's something cheaper.
 

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I assume your car has 240K miles now. Its very impressive already. If you can do repair/DIY then you should be good with the car. Take care the tranny and flush all the fluid. Even Camry need all kind of work done at the same mileage ! And AMG has better performance and better safety compare to Camry. Good luck !
 
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