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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone. Really really really long time no talk. Since selling my E500 and C320 I’ve been without a Benz for the past several years. Now I find myself back in the 3 pointed star club again. Recently a client of mine mentioned to me that he’s selling his 2000 S500 LWB and wanted to know if I knew of anybody who might be interested. After giving it some thought it dawned on me that my daughter who just passed her written DMV test will soon be needing a car of her own.

My wife and I both agree that we don’t want our daughter driving a small car as she’s just learning to drive. We prefer a safe large sedan with airbags and plenty of metal around it. The S500 certainly fits the bill. Since I work in Insurance, we also wanted a car that would be cheaper to insure as opposed to a new car. As all teenagers are prone to, our daughter will no doubt make her share of mistakes so I’d rather it be in an inexpensive car that were not making payments on.

The car itself looks incredibly immaculate given its age and mileage (242,472). Credit goes to my client who is a “car guy” and has been meticulous in caring for it. The body is perfectly straight. To my surprise, there are no door dings and the paint is still glossy. The rims are perfect...no scratches...no curb rash. The wheels even wear a new set of tires replaced about 2k mileage ago. The interior is as nice as the rest of the car. No tears, rips, scratches, etc.

It’s crazy how nice this car is and I must admit, after driving it the past couple days I feel it’s almost too nice to give to my teenage driver, but her safety is what’s most important here.

The owner was asking $4200. initially but later lowered the price to $2500 after a month of no serious buyers. I had the car inspected by our local Mercedes dealer who determined that 2 control arms which are cracked need to be replaced. The driver side air shock is cracked also, right at the top, so that needs replacement. Surprisingly it’s not losing any air. I’ve watched for over a week and the system hasn’t bled down. Thankfully.

Everything in the car works perfectly. The soft touch doors and trunk work flawlessly, as does the air ride suspension, even with a cracked air shock. I can raise and lower the car, adjust the suspension dampening, etc. Everything checks out.

The only 2 items that must be addressed are the control arms and air shock. I also want to replace the spring for the e-brake. When releasing the e-brake, when it’s cold outside, the pedal is slow to release and return fully. Sometimes it stops mid-travel which requires me to use my hand to lift the pedal so that it returns completely to the top of travel disengagement. The only other item that needs to be addressed are the dreaded sticky switches! Bleh! Once those items have been addressed, the car will be as near perfect as anyone could expect.

In case you’re wondering mechanically the car runs perfect and the engine has strong compression. Everything feels right. It’s certainly not a museum piece, but for the the age and mileage, it’s impressive how nice the car really is. It sure as heck doesn’t show or drive like a car with 242k + miles.

Now for the best part. Given that the Mercedes dealer said they would charge approximately $3,000 for parts and labor to replace the control arms & air shock, I offered the seller $500. cash for the car. After some thought, the seller agreed to the $500. He’s a really wonderful man. He didn’t have to take such a low offer, but I think he wanted the car go to a good home and to somebody who will appreciate and properly maintain the car as he has. I will take the car to an independent Mercedes mechanic and have all the work done for about $2,000. My daughter is over the moon happy with her new car. She’s been takin pictures with it and sending them to all her friends. She has 6 months to go before she can start driving it, so that gives me plenty of time to have the repairs done and get to know the car and dial everything in.

For $500 + parts and labor, I don’t see that we can get hurt badly on this deal even if the car suddenly gave up the ghost. My goal is not to put a ton of money in to it. Just maintenance, repairs as necessary and drive. If we can get 1 or 2 years out of the car, I’d be thrilled. Who knows the car may go 300k + miles or more. If so, then we will consider that a bonus.

So that brings me to my question. Who here has a high mileage S class? Anybody with more than 300k miles?






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First thing - there is no reason to replace the strut. The sealant at the top is not the primary seal.

There are quite a few folks on this site whose W220 has equal or higher mileage. Let her drive it and enjoy it, and just repair it when something goes wrong.

You can spend quite a bit of money on "maintenance" items, such as flushing the cooling system, brake system and transmission...
 

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Firstly, I would get a decent & honest Indie to check the components that Mercedes say need replaced, it is not unknown for a Main Dealer to change parts that do not need changing yet.

As @wallyp says, the Strut Top with a few cracks in the sealer is not an issue, nor would a few cracks in a rubber suspension arm bush require immediate attention if there is not excessive movement in said bush.

HTH,
 

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Discussion Starter #4
First thing - there is no reason to replace the strut. The sealant at the top is not the primary seal.

There are quite a few folks on this site whose W220 has equal or higher mileage. Let her drive it and enjoy it, and just repair it when something goes wrong.

You can spend quite a bit of money on "maintenance" items, such as flushing the cooling system, brake system and transmission...


Firstly, I would get a decent & honest Indie to check the components that Mercedes say need replaced, it is not unknown for a Main Dealer to change parts that do not need changing yet.

As @wallyp says, the Strut Top with a few cracks in the sealer is not an issue, nor would a few cracks in a rubber suspension arm bush require immediate attention if there is not excessive movement in said bush.

HTH,

Thanks to both of you for your input. Good advice indeed. I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday morning with a reputable Indie who services Mercedes. As a matter of fact, it’s the same Indie who serviced the car before I bought it. So at least he’s familiar with my car. Wish me luck...hopefully everything goes well with the service appointment.


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Well, let me tell you a little bit about 2000 S500's.

0.) My soon-to-be-wife has one, same year and model, that I had fixed up for her; it is my former project car. She loves it, and it's her daily driver.

1.) The M113 V8 engine, and its M112 V6 brother, are known for their reliability. Same goes for the 722.6 five-speed transmission in the car you're looking at. Basically, all you've got to do is change the fluid and filters at the scheduled intervals, and they won't break. I have seen them in excess of 350,000 miles and still goin' strong. The engine and trans are not what typically breaks on these cars; rather, it's the electronics that get you.

2.) About the only way to possibly get safer than an S-class, without going "big rig", is to have her driving a 3/4-ton pickup truck.

3.) A 2000 S500 is the "pre-facelift" model, before M-B started using the double-sized galvanized sheet metal, so if they use road salt on your roads, be careful. Where are you located?

4.) They have power. Your daughter will have 302 HP and 339 lb-ft at the disposal of her right foot. It's a lot of fun, but be aware that this is essentially a muscle car masquerading as an uber-luxury cruiser.

5.) I really hope that you and your daughter can "DIY" the maintenance. Shops will cost an arm and a leg to maintain that car. Along with purchase price of the vehicle, I would *STRONGLY* suggest you also get a STAR Diagnostic System to help you maintain it properly. They're around $600 to $700 for a ready-to-go setup. Yes, I'm serious. If she's really that thrilled about the car, that means she will probably keep it once she goes to college. Don't dismiss this notion; how many other non-Ivy-League/Stanford college kids are ballin' Benz S-classes, of any year, at school?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, let me tell you a little bit about 2000 S500's.

0.) My soon-to-be-wife has one, same year and model, that I had fixed up for her; it is my former project car. She loves it, and it's her daily driver.

1.) The M113 V8 engine, and its M112 V6 brother, are known for their reliability. Same goes for the 722.6 five-speed transmission in the car you're looking at. Basically, all you've got to do is change the fluid and filters at the scheduled intervals, and they won't break. I have seen them in excess of 350,000 miles and still goin' strong. The engine and trans are not what typically breaks on these cars; rather, it's the electronics that get you.

2.) About the only way to possibly get safer than an S-class, without going "big rig", is to have her driving a 3/4-ton pickup truck.

3.) A 2000 S500 is the "pre-facelift" model, before M-B started using the double-sized galvanized sheet metal, so if they use road salt on your roads, be careful. Where are you located?

4.) They have power. Your daughter will have 302 HP and 339 lb-ft at the disposal of her right foot. It's a lot of fun, but be aware that this is essentially a muscle car masquerading as an uber-luxury cruiser.

5.) I really hope that you and your daughter can "DIY" the maintenance. Shops will cost an arm and a leg to maintain that car. Along with purchase price of the vehicle, I would *STRONGLY* suggest you also get a STAR Diagnostic System to help you maintain it properly. They're around $600 to $700 for a ready-to-go setup. Yes, I'm serious. If she's really that thrilled about the car, that means she will probably keep it once she goes to college. Don't dismiss this notion; how many other non-Ivy-League/Stanford college kids are ballin' Benz S-classes, of any year, at school?


Hi Cowboy. Thanks for the reply. This is encouraging news indeed. I was hoping that I could possibly reach 300k miles, barring any computer failures or the car being involved in an accident. If I can get even more miles out of it, I would be thrilled beyond belief. The car is a local So Cal example, so fortunately there are no salt on the roads...but we do have plenty of nuts around here. So I guess you could say we have plenty of unsalted nuts. LOL! No body rot on the car so far from what I've seen, but it's something I will certainly keep an eye on. As far as DIY goes, ABSOLUTELY! I work on all my cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, chainsaws....you name it. I get my kids involved on the projects too so they can learn how to properly maintain machinery. Your suggestion on buying a Star Diagnostic System is a very good idea. I'm won't kid you, driving this car has resurrected those old familiar tingly feelings and has me searching around for a nice, well maintained 2006 S500 or possibly S55. So it may a very worthwhile investment and get plenty of use. As far as first cars go...you're absolutely right, she will definitely be ballin' in the Benz and no doubt the envy of many of her friends, but my main purpose is to keep her safe.

As nice as this car is....it's gonna be really hard handing her those keys once she is ready to drive solo.


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I suggest you keep the car for yourself and get her a nice e class . The big s class is not popular nor cool among teens . You’ll appreciate it much more .

When the Benz dealer says something is cracked that does not mean the metal is cracked , it means there are small cracks in the rubber which is common to all older rubber cOmponents . I would not change a thing . You’ll know when it’s time for ball joints as the car will squeak going over parking lot speed bumps .

Just enjoy and drive the car , make sure to keep the cowl drain cleaned out , keep a spare air Matic relay in the glove box and change all fluids if the service records don’t show they were recently done . When you change the transmission fluid also change the 13 pin conector. That’s all these cars need
 

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^^ That depends on its condition. She does seem to be really excited about it, and if it's in good shape, yeah, it'll be damned popular as a nice side-benefit. She will be *seriously* ballin', as well as very safe. I also have an E-class (W211), and I gotta say, both cars are excellent. When I was 22 years old and just starting college after my duty tour, I saw my Dad's BMW 735i and decided, "yeah, the 5-series is good. But the 7-series is DA BOMB!!!" That's the one I wanted.

Benz Man, lemme tell you about tingly feelings behind the wheel of an S-class. Read this.

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220-s-class/2965178-sheer-joy-cruisin-mercedes-benz-w220.html

That car did this yet again, just last weekend. The wife-to-be and I went out for some dinner at the local Korean-Mex (yes, there is such a thing!) restaurant. Cruising back home, I mentioned to her, "ya know, babe, I'm just remembering how this car seduced me back in March." I had showed her the above thread, to not just her amusement, but also great understanding. See, she had also driven this car for a while during my work on hers, so she gets it. She said, "well, why don't we?" So...we did. :) I won't say just how fast we got up to, but let's just say it was therapeutic, yet again.

Since you're in SoCal (I'm originally from San Francisco), you indeed don't even know what automotive rust is. :-D You'll be just fine.

When I got done with her S500 and (reluctantly--that car is fun!) handed the keys back to her, she sweetly smiled at me and said, "well, you could always let me drive the 600 instead...!" Yeah, that did help speed up the key handover. :-D

If you're looking at a W220 for yourself, then in addition to that S55, I can also heartily recommend an S600 TT. They're...wonderful......

By the way, if you do get a post-facelift S500, then since you DIY, please be sure it's the 722.6 transmission. Yep, the 5-speed. The 722.9 7-speed is a PAIN IN THE FREAKIN' REAR to DIY unless you've got special tools and such. I just did the service on my first 722.9 last weekend (an '03 C300), and it's like M-B is deliberately making it more difficult to work on 'em. They don't even have a trans dipstick pipe! Yeah, can you believe that s**t?? Turns out the owner also needs a new speed sensor, which means a new conductor plate. Well, guess what? In the 722.9, that's a "Theft Relevant Part", which means you've got to beg the dealer, "mommy, may I?" to buy one, and on top of that, they have to do the installation and programming. Yeah, they treat it like it's an EIS or something. The 722.6 does not have that problem; just buy the conductor plate at FCPEuro or eEuroparts or wherever, swap it, refill your trans fluid back up, and go. DONE. So if you get a 2004-2006 S500, that means you'd be looking at a 4Matic, as all 4Matics from '03 to '06 have the 722.6. All 2003's, 4Matic or RWD, also have the 722.6, e. g. my RWD '03 S430.

If you go real hot-rod, then also know that all W220 S55 AMG's and W220 S600's (TT or NA) have the 5-speed transmission, as does the 2006 S65 AMG.
 
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