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I am debating whether or not to purchase a 2003 E500 with 77,000 miles on it. Any suggestions out there? Pros and cons? Any other more reliable older models?
 

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1973 280 SEL 4.5
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Original owner with all service done on schedule by a MB specialist and receipts?
Clean carfax?
Always garaged?
Needs no work?
Looks in showroom condition?

If so, $13,000 tops.

If it's a tired car at the "buy here, pay here" lot, then stay away.

Get a PPI from an independent MB specialist and go from there.

I am debating whether or not to purchase a 2003 E500 with 77,000 miles on it. Any suggestions out there? Pros and cons? Any other more reliable older models?
 

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E350 4M 06
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was it maintained? can you access the records? If so, go for it, if not, I suggest you pass. One owner is good if he/she maintained it.
 

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2003 E500 Sport; 2003 ML350 Inspiration; 2005 Lincoln Navigator Ultimate
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Definitely get the PPI and some reliability/common problems

Not sure if you've purchased MB's before, but if not, definitely get the PPI. I was tempted not to, but this was my first Mercedes, so I followed the advice in these forums. I spent $140 on a PPI and the Indy found $2-3K worth of repairs. This was on a 54,xxx mile car with a full Mercedes dealer maintenance history and clean CarFax, so even clean, low mileage cars will need or be hiding things. My car needed a tranny mount, new valve cover gaskets (no small job), air conditioning repairs and rear brakes.

As far as reliability goes, I'd recommend taking an afternoon to review the forums to see what common problems show up and then you can draw your own conclusions. A couple of things to be aware of: the 2003-2005 E's have SBC braking systems, which were a headache for MB. There is a 10 year warranty on the unit, but that's just one more year for a 2003 (I asked my dealer's service manager how much an out of warranty SBC replacement would cost and he guesstimated about $2000). Also, V8's and V6 Sports have the airmatic suspensions which can be costly and infuriating. A full blown stock rear airmatic replacement may require complete removal of the rear suspension (I've seen repair costs of $3-4K). There are shortcuts on this job if you read through the forums, but you're not going to do the job for less than a grand or two.

Not trying to scare you, just relaying what may possibly be floating out there in the W211 repair future. I can assure you the E500 is incredible to drive and they are SOOOO nice compared to other cars in the price range. I don't regret my decision and love my 2003 E500.

Best of luck with your decision.
 

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I've literally checked 100's of carfax reports from various deals on the 2003 E320 model and you can do the same for the E500. What I found to be consistant problems pre 100k miles are:
-generator replaced
-electrical issues
-hydraulic unit replaced, but as mentioned has a long warranty
-many suspension issues
-batteries replaced
-brakes replaced
-no start/hard start issues
-transmission and engine mounts replaced
-A/C compressor replaced
Over 80k miles it seems that most repairs are minor, but I did find a few that had the following problems:
-fuel pump replaced
-brakes, but that has to be expected
-drive shaft replaced
-and a few had hydraulic units replaced
I guess the 80k mile+ vehicles had most of the major problems repaired, so the next 100k miles will hopefully be more trouble free.
I still want one.:thumbsup:
 

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2006 C55 AMG
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I am debating whether or not to purchase a 2003 E500 with 77,000 miles on it. Any suggestions out there? Pros and cons? Any other more reliable older models?
I just picked up an e500 sport with pano roof to replace my 02 clk 430. After a huge amount of research I found that the problems were mainly minor comparing to what you would have in a bmw 540i of the same year. There is a mention and that's on all benzes that the MAF would go. I owned 5 benzes in the last 7 years and 2 of them has a MAF problem at about 100k miles. No too expensive about $350 and you can replace it yourself 5 minute job. The other thing I noticed is most problem were occuring on the suspension for that particular year were on the e320 the E500 is built on a more solid drive train. Yes you will see a mention of a valve cover gasket leak on the v8 and I had that problem with my CLK430 same block as the e500, it was an easy job for my mechanic took him about an hour and half to get it done and the gaskets were bought from Mercedes for $75.

The 2003 model in particular was actually brought out to correct all the issues they had with the w210 and it is concedered as one of the best luxury/ sport (if you get it in the sport model) of its class. If you like to see what issues they mainly come up with I use this website more than other to read about cars before buying. It is pretty much dead on about common issues with almost every car and each model.

2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reliability - MSN Autos

good luck with your search and believe me when you drive an E500 you feel like you the king of the road, it handles beautifully with the airmatic especially when you put in sp2 and you will get a smile on your face every time you push the pedal. The braking system is amazing too when it come down to preformance it stops like no other car and you will notice right away the brakes are a bit touchy, some people like that and some people don't. I don't mind it as it saved me a couple of time in rush hour driving when someone stops unexpectedly. Gas Mileage is about 450 miles city driving per tank which is great for a v8.
 
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