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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm considering buying a mid 90's S420 with less than 100k miles. I drive about 20k miles per year half of which are long distance trips.

My question to the thread is what kind of maintenance expense should I expect. At the moment I own a Toyota Camary and in the last 10 years I have replaced the following:

New brakes/rotors = $250 (every 80k) DIY
Alternator = $90 DIY
Belts and Hoses = $40
Tires = $300
Fuel Pump = $60
Transmission Fluid Change every 20k = $50
Oil Change every 3k = $20

Is a Mercedes really going to be that much different? I know the parts are slightly more expensive but what has been your experience owning a Mercedes?
In 1998 if I had bought a S420 instead of a Camary would my expense list be that much different?

Thanks,
 

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A Mercedes V-8 will never compare to your Camry in reliability. This car will cost a fortune to maintain so unless you are a mechanic then do not purchase.
I do agree that the maintainance will be much steeper as opposed to a Camry, but as with any car, parts age and need replacement.

Once replaced, the car is just as reliable as any luxury car out there.

You just have to make sure that [said] parts have been replaced prior to purchasing, or the repair costs will be of the same value as the car itself(not all the time, but there are certain occurences)
 

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Let me rephrase that. You will never be able to make this Benz act like a Lexus. Doing just oil changes and filter changes will not be enough. The car will have little things or major things wrong with them depending on how well taken care of it has been.
 

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Some of us have been lucky with just changing the oil and a few minor things...the difference even in oil changes is your camary costs 30 bux at jiffy lube where they dont even have the right oil filter for my 600 so I have to either have the oil changed at the dealer or some indie...my last oil change cost 160...

You definately cant compare reliability with your camary but there are great rewards to owning a MB if you find the right one :)
 

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...but there are great rewards to owning a MB if you find the right one :)
Great way of putting it.

You can't just compare the running costs of a camry and and s-class Mercedes Benz.

There's 'something' about owning this vehicle that goes beyond it being 'just a car'.
 

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well, you had a specific list so here's the equivalent on a w140 coupe .. all prices in Cdn $ (20% less than U$D)

New brakes/rotors = $77/pr rr, $90/pr Fr, discs didnot require change
Alternator = $150 DYI (Bosch rebuilt)
Belts and Hoses = Just 1 belt $60 - DIY (no timing belt to change)
Tires = 16's are about $500, 18's are about $850
Fuel Pump = never had to change but it's $270, and it's the same Bosch unit as a VW Golf/ Rabbit (pre 92)
Transmission Fluid Change every 20k = 96+ use a 5spd gearbox, uses only synthetic, takes 8L @ $20/L, $160 in fluids every 40k miles. Oil filter and seal is cheap
Oil Change every 3k = 2x4.4L jugs of Castrol GTX 10w40 (on sale they are $15 ea., + 1 oil filter @ dealer - $13), total is $43, it's a DIY, in fact I dont even need to jack up the car to do it, it's very simple

additional DIY:
Spark plugs - same as any other car - $2 ea?
fuel filter - $35 .. replace yearly .. DIY
air filters - $18 ea
cabin filter - $40 non charcoal, $120 charcoal version
steering damper may go - $50 DIY
Coolant flush - use dlr antifreeze only!

budget for a few things that will most likely need to be replaced due to age

shocks and springs ($1000 all 4) - convert from SLS to conventional, it's easy
engine mounts ($500 - OEM)
Rad - $350
heater coolant T fitting behind block <-- THIS IS A TICKING TIME BOMB THAT MUST BE DONE ON ANY W140 THE DAY YOU BUY IT!!!! $50, 20 min DIY on the V8, pain in the a$$ on the v12 models

etc etc ... they're very easy to work on, and affordable, as long as you find one that has been well taken care of and not neglected, don't worry .. try to get a 96+ V8 model
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Overall it sounds like these are well built cars. I prefer to do all the work myself - believe it or not even a Toyota dealership is very expensive, for example they wanted $700 to replace an alternator, took me 20min and about $90.

I've also noticed it's more difficult to find parts for a Mercedes. It shouldn't be that way but I guess there is mail order.

I also realize there is the "image" factor. If a Mercedes is like a Pollo shirt (conveys status and is durable) then I'm good to go. I have really looked around quite a bit and I found a mint condition 96 S420 with 84,000 miles for $7,400. The car drives good and though the dealer wont let me take the car to a mechanic due to "liability reasons" he has his own repair bay and he did put the car on a lift - no major leaks after a long drive = I'm feeling better, but a full inspection would make me feel even better.

I probably would have bought the S420 but the dealer had a mint condition 1994 E320 for $6,7000 with only 31,000 miles!!!! I pulled a Carfax report and it checks out - the last owner only drove about 2k miles per year!

I've been looking for a second car for a long time and this is the first time I have seen such a well cared for low milage vehicle. And the lighter car (the e320 is about 800lbs lighter) is likely to be less maintenance - but the S420 does look more modern.

so many decisions....
 

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the 94 w124 will have head gasket and wiring harness issues, in addition to looking old

I have had both the w124 and w140 and they do not compare in how they drive & feel

go w/ the 140
 

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You gotta pay to play. These cars are very safe but require intensive maintenance. Right now I am trying to fix this front end shaking on the car that is causing everything to vibrate alot. Not sure if it is the steering damper, the god damn POS brand new Bridgestone Serenity tires( high end my ass!), or an engine shock mount that has gone bad and causing all this vibrating from the floor up. It shakes so bad my rear view mirror is blurry from the vibrations.
 
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