Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Quick question:

I am interested in buying a used S430 (2003) with 187K miles (340K Km). The body and interior are perfect. I am a newbie with MB. Could you help me out please?
Thanks
 

·
Registered
W209 CLK500 & W220 S430
Joined
·
320 Posts
Check that everything works fine on the car . . .

These cars are a work of art !

Red, *<:){)-
 

·
Registered
Current 2017 GLE350, 2007 S550, 2002 S430, 1998 ML320 Deceased 74 240D, 92 400E, 97 E420, 13 GLK350
Joined
·
1,915 Posts
^^^+1^^^

You can find an S430 with fewer miles; so the other key variable is what is the asking price?

Other Q's: What is the service history, any major components replaced, what engine oil has been used, when was the last time the tranny was serviced?

See the encyclopedia for common W210 problems and questions to ask.
 

·
Registered
10 c63, 06 s65
Joined
·
292 Posts
Make sure you get the car inspected by either a dealer or an indy. The suspension can get very costly to fix if there is anything wrong with it.. its worth the money to get it inspected
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Quick question:

I am interested in buying a used S430 (2003) with 187K miles (340K Km). The body and interior are perfect. I am a newbie with MB. Could you help me out please?
Thanks
Most W220's spent their lives in the ownership of people who took great care to keep them running well and looking good. The interiors are well-made and tend not to show a lot of wear, so there will be plenty of clean older S classes running around. Unfortunately, it's all irrelevant when it comes to systems in the car that are prone to failure regardless of how well it was maintained, and those systems can cost several thousand dollars to repair or replace.

The issue is that these systems aren't optional. You can't drive the car when the Airmatic fails, or when a tranny goes... they have to be fixed or the car becomes virtually worthless. So, if you spend $10k on a very used S Class, how are you going to handle it when a $7,000 repair pops up? Don't repair it...car has parts-only value. Repair it...you have $17,000 in car that's worth less than the $10k you paid for it, and no guarantee that nothing else will fail.

I guess the question is, how far upside down are you willing to get. For me, 180k miles is about 90k miles too many.
 

·
Registered
2000 SL 600(R129) 45K 2003 S55(W220) 120K
Joined
·
91 Posts
High Maintenance...

Agree with the previous posters...as with any used car, lower mileage is better. Also agree that the interiors to these cars are supplied with better quality materials, and often well maintained, thus more likely to be in good shape. They clean up nicely if somewhat dirty vs abused, seats can be lightly redyed, etc. Repairs will be expensive, unless you are a DIY person, maintain your car as a hobby, or have a close relative who is a Mercedes Mechanic.

From what I have read here, and my experience, you should plan on monthly costs for maintenance to be on average about 1 hundred per month per liter of engine displacement for the car. If you don't pay one month, and don't bank the dough, then that 7K trans repair will hurt. Deferred maintenance has a way of punishing you, so get on a schedule. Service records and a constant mechanic or dealer service allow you to verify the maintenance.

Do not buy without a scan of the ODB computer, and don't forget that computer can be reset, which erases fault codes, some codes are stored. Try to drive a low mileage version with everything working as a reference for what it should be like...

Spend a couple of hours reading the encyclopedia on S Class sedan, or search your model and year in the Chassis forum. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with these cars, the older they are, the more that can go wrong. But when you are sitting behind the wheel enjoying the car, that all seems to go out the window.

Just spent about 1500 in parts and close to same in labor on my wife's previous daily driver listed in my car list, and am at the end of the list, over 4 months, and I did source some used parts-(trim, non electrical, or basic mechanical) which can keep the price down. That was 1 year worth of delayed stuff, trim parts, rotted wipers, annoyances, etc, and preventative maintenance, and still have an A service to go in 2K miles. That is with no major mechanical issues... and the car has 168K miles. Have in the past done most all of the repairs on the common problem list for the Chassis, so if someone else didn't do them, you will be. Any non OE parts are a serious problem IMO for repairs. I think that makes the chances of a repair redo very high...

PS: The 800 lb gorilla is the sticker in the door jam on the drivers side which lists the airbag expiration date. The car will be totaled if they ever deploy, and may as well be totaled if they needed to be replaced. Probably this date covers MB corporate if they do not deploy in an accident after that date(Product liability). No one who posted in the thread on this forum on airbags believes that they will not deploy, but who knows...it is like playing with old dynamite.
 

·
Registered
2006 Mercedes S55 AMG
Joined
·
719 Posts
You can't drive the car when the Airmatic fails, or when a tranny goes... they have to be fixed or the car becomes virtually worthless. So, if you spend $10k on a very used S Class, how are you going to handle it when a $7,000 repair pops up? Don't repair it...car has parts-only value. Repair it...you have $17,000 in car that's worth less than the $10k you paid for it, and no guarantee that nothing else will fail.

I guess the question is, how far upside down are you willing to get. For me, 180k miles is about 90k miles too many.
180k is nothing.. An air strut is now $400 and these trannies are everywhere.. a rebuilt tranny is surprisingly cheap.. I want to say $1,600 give or take.. As for the 7k car now in it 17k.. you don't get it? Why do you think these hundred thousand dollar cars are so cheap? Because of that right there.. They are cheap because of the repair cost.. At 7k you are actually reaping the benefits of the high costs because they are expected to be expensive to repair, and it's expected to cost 17k which is why it's so cheap.. if you don't break, your on top.. if you do, your right on track..
 

·
Registered
2002 S430 AMG wannabe
Joined
·
115 Posts
Every system in these cars has it's own life expectancy. And they vary from one system to the other. Engine is the least of the problems, and has the longest life expectancy.

For me,....I would want the service records from the day one. No service history - no deal. With 180k on the clock, I know some systems were repaired/replaced/upgraded, or the car would not be driveable with these miles on the odometer. Question is,.....what was replaced, and when. How old are the Airmatic components, tranny, and electronics? Normal wear items are not a problem. Brake system components are cheap, and easy to replace. Rebuilt transmissions are available, and the existing one can be rebuilt/swapped. Airmatic can be yanked out, and conventional, coiled shocks installed.

So it all comes down to math. With these many miles, you are likely the last owner of this car. Selling it in few years is not an option, because the value will not be there. It will be more valuable as a luxurious transportation to you, than the couple of thousands you could get for it.

So do the math. Transportation costs money (like anything else!). If you "invest" "X amount" + repairs (the immediate ones + future), divide that with number of years you will be driving it, and you will have the appx. cost per year/month. If that number is ok with you,.....go for it!

How much is your transportation supposed to cost? Only YOU can answer that question. Is it 5K per year, or less, or more?
Sometimes not having a payment (like on the lease, or purchase of a new one), does not mean "winning the game".

The above said is true only in the "average person's" mind. But there is that "afficionado's" mind, where some object (in this case a Mercedes), becomes the passion, and a hobby of some sort. In this case the math goes out of the window! Most people on this forum (and many others like this one!), belong into this "unreasonable" group. They take pride (and a form of challenge) to keep these cars going without taking them to the dealer, learning EVERYTHING about all the systems, how they work, where to get quality parts on the cheap, and how to DIY.

So,....it's time for some introspective thinking. Which group do you belong to? What is your finanncial situation? What are you buying here (transportation, passion, status, or something else)?

Would I buy a car with that many miles on? Sure,....depending on the price, and the car's history. Should you? Only you can answer that.
 

·
Registered
2000 s430
Joined
·
16 Posts
Mercedes 2000 s430 with 19000 miles

I have a S430 year 2000 I bought it with 36000 miles. I have change the air suspension strut, new brakes, and at 188000 miles I change the front end upper, lower ball joints and the arms, the car runs like new and I am planning to got to 300000 miles. I will recommend you to change your oil every 10000 miles and the transmission oil when you reach 90000, also have the air compressor change for a new one it only cost around $ 350 and it will save you of changing the suspension struts, always start the car and let it run for no less than 2 minutes to get the car up and then go. I hope this help you
Maurice
 

·
Registered
2003 S430 (Base)
Joined
·
12 Posts
I don't know what you're going to pay for it but, in Aug. 2015, I paid $6700 for a very good (almost excellent) condition, 2003 S430 with 169k miles on it. A large majority were highway commute miles. I'm at 181k now. I believe you can get many more miles out of that car as long as it has been well maintained.
I suggest you have the suspension components closely checked. If Service B has not been done, that will be something you'll need to pay for very soon if not immediately. You can do that work on your own if you have pretty good mechanical skill.
I've recently had to replace upper control arms & lower ball joints so, I went ahead & replaced all arm components on the front end. I did all the work myself saving a ton of money.
If you're going to do the work yourself, ABSOLUTELY get a Star DAS system. You will save so much time in troubleshooting & it can even be fun if you're into geeking out. People have paid me to lower & otherwise tweak their cars with my Star so, it could end up paying for itself at some point.
I'll stay under $10k total for the car & repair/replacement parts, plus a few enjoyable weekends turning wrenches, on my S430. I'm including Star DAS & the cost of a swap to Yellowspeed coilovers if my Airmatic compressor or a strut go out on me. My friend has that setup on her S500 & it's dialed in to equal my air ride comfort but with exponentially better control. I can take care of all 4 corners for under $1k where replacing struts & compressor. I know I don't have to replace them all if only 1 strut goes out but the swap takes Airmatic slow death off of my shoulders...plus, I want to be able to tweak things every once in awhile.
I'm shooting for 300k miles before I retire mine. I think $10k is a great, overall investment for 133k miles on a high quality car.
 

·
W220 Moderator
Joined
·
6,576 Posts
Hi,

2nd Above post.

SDS is absolute must have for anyone wishing to work on MB Cars
:wink

300k is not un realistic for a well maintained Benz of any model, we have a couple at over 350k and 2 at 270k on the fleet I maintain.

My latest aquisition, a 38 000 mile S220 project car, has however had a ton of trouble, mainly due to poor maintenance, and inept garages wrecking electronic stuff....... The car was off the road dead for 6 years as the PO could not find anyone who could get it running after several muppets "worked on it".

However, i have the car almost finished now, and it stands me under £1200 including purchase price :laugh

HTH

Cheers Dave
 

·
Registered
2006 Mercedes S55 AMG
Joined
·
719 Posts
To me the lower the miles the better, but at the end of the day service means more. You could find a car with 30k miles that was treated like crap that will cost a fortune vs. a car with 150k miles that has been treated well and maintained correctly. Also luck has a lot to do with it too. Things break. These cars are advanced. Anything can happen at anytime with any amount of miles. As for how long these cars will go? They will go as long as you pay to fix them. You could put 500k and many more if you pay to keep it going.. Again, to me, the most important thing you can control is finding a car that was taken care of well and on time.

By the way, you can find these tranny's for $700 all over.
 

·
Registered
Too many to list
Joined
·
8,925 Posts
That's for a used tranny . Which is what I put in mine because it makes little sense to pay for rebuilt prices when the rest of the car a high mileage
 

·
Registered
2016 C300, 2006 S430, 2003 C240, 1991 190E 2.6
Joined
·
517 Posts
I was reading through this thread 3 days ago, and was kept wondering how an old thread re-surfaced, lol. :) The OP was posted in 2012 and never really posted an update if he even purchased this 187K 2003 S430.

Even 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have purchased this car simply because in 2012, the car would have at least been 9 years old and with that high mileage, I am assuming, it was a daily driver. Just too many things that can go wrong then & judging from the way he posted his question, he doesn’t seem to DIY or even have any experience owning an MB.

I have a 2006 S430 currently has a little over 54K which was my daily driver until 2013. I’ll honestly say, I enjoyed driving & owning this car the most among all the other MB models I have ever owned. Mine was meticulously maintained by a dealer from the day of purchase simply because it was under warranty. I used to work long hours & just did not have the time to do anything with the car even after the 4 years was up. I grew up helping my dad work on all his cars including my dad’s hand-me-down car, a ’78 450SLC which became my first MB. So I can DIY some.:devil

Been lucky enough with my 06 with no real major repairs done aside from normal maintenance services & wearable parts (i.e., tires, brakes, battery) EXCEPT the dreaded airmatic compressor & relay and CPS already replaced. Also has 2-3 recalls done including the seat belt on warranty work. Oh, and not too long ago, I replaced the LR brake light which happens to be an LED board. It is not like any other regular bulb.:(

Having said the above, if your intent is to buy it for yourself, just know that if you don't intend to DIY, it will be expensive to maintain. But if you have the skills and are willing to invest in some tools, you will find it's a very satisfying car to own.:wink
 

·
Registered
2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
I have a S430 year 2000 I bought it with 36000 miles. I have change the air suspension strut, new brakes, and at 188000 miles I change the front end upper, lower ball joints and the arms, the car runs like new and I am planning to got to 300000 miles. I will recommend you to change your oil every 10000 miles and the transmission oil when you reach 90000, also have the air compressor change for a new one it only cost around $ 350 and it will save you of changing the suspension struts, always start the car and let it run for no less than 2 minutes to get the car up and then go. I hope this help you
Maurice
Hmm...my schedule's a bit different. I replace my engine oil and filter every 5,000 miles, and I will replace the transmission fluid and filter every 50K. That transmission fluid is the full 14L exchange method. The Mercedes computer that says "Service A due in XXXX miles" isn't something that I personally would trust. Yeah, I know, "Mercedes-Benz engineered the car, they know better than I do," and that's undoubtedly true. Of course they do. I also know that I intend to keep my cars, as Maurice does, to 300,000 miles and hopefully beyond. They're excellent motorcars.

The new air compressor does cost around $350, true. Unfortunately, the struts can and do eventually go bad; I've discovered as such. Fortunately, the Arnott remanufactured ones, said to be very good, are only $400 each including the core charge.

The OP probably didn't buy that car. But there are plenty of others out here, such as myself, who are buying these W220's, and it's helping them (well, us). I've come to *really* like the 2003 S430 RWD in particular. The 2004 would be my favourite if it had the 5-speed. The maximum miles I will look for on a W220 is 150K, unless it's a really clean example whose owner has the maintenance records. There are too many out there on Craigslist that have been bought at auction by shady car flippers. I have no interest whatsoever in those except for possibly as parts cars, and in such a case, I would go to the auction myself and buy it there.

The one time I bought a car that really needed a lot of work done to it was a silver S500 of year 2000 vintage. I knew it was a project car, and it was a labour of love bringing it back to what it should be. Its new owner loves it. But that was a specific purchase to learn what commonly goes wrong with these cars and how to fix them (this was achieved). Perhaps someday I'll take on another such project car, just for fun. But that's exactly what they are, project cars. The body must be rust-free, the interior without actual rips in the leather, and the drivetrain in good shape. If, as one example, there's rips in the interior, the bidding price goes down accordingly.
 

·
W220 Moderator
Joined
·
6,576 Posts
Hi,

The above echo's all my sentiments exactly, in particular.........

Changing Oil and Filter at 5 - 6k miles, tranny fluid and filter 80 - 90 k etc etc .........
Oils and Filters cost buttons from factors, you don't have to buy the dearest Oil and Genuine Filters, because you are changing it more regularly. I saw this first hand this week, I recently broke up a 638 V Class 220 CDI, and needed a good Head for a job. This vehicle had covered 270,000 miles from new, was owned by a large fleet owner that i work for. He changes Oil and filters on all his vehicles at 6000 miles. The engine I stripped was like brand new inside, and I have no reason to doubt it would have done another 270,000.

Clean Oil and filters is far better than dirty expensive oil :wink.

The project car, for learning etc........
Well yes, see my Resurrection Thread, that is exactly what I did recently bought my W220 for peanuts, and now have a car which is almost finished, and when it is, absolutely everything will work as it should, drives perfectly and Interior / Exterior will be mint :grin

I have learned more about Mercedes systems, Can Bus in general, and have gone from a SDS Novice to fairly Advanced operator in a few months, all with some help and guidance along the way from some very knowledgeable guys on this forum :thumbsup:

Excellent post above :smile

Cheers Dave
 

·
Registered
2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
Hi,

The above echo's all my sentiments exactly, in particular.........

Changing Oil and Filter at 5 - 6k miles, tranny fluid and filter 80 - 90 k etc etc .........
Oils and Filters cost buttons from factors, you don't have to buy the dearest Oil and Genuine Filters, because you are changing it more regularly. I saw this first hand this week, I recently broke up a 638 V Class 220 CDI, and needed a good Head for a job. This vehicle had covered 270,000 miles from new, was owned by a large fleet owner that i work for. He changes Oil and filters on all his vehicles at 6000 miles. The engine I stripped was like brand new inside, and I have no reason to doubt it would have done another 270,000.
I hate you guys across the pond for having W220 CDI's when we can't have 'em over here...maybe someday I'll find a W220 with a bad engine, an E320's motor, and SDS-program it all into working together. I've long had a fantasy of taking, say, a 1994-1996 Ford F-150 pickup truck and stuffing a 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel into it, just for the lulz. This would be the "auf Deutsch" version of the same thing.

And your S500 resurrection is indeed another excellent example. I enjoyed reading that thread. Looking forward to more updates as time goes.
 

·
W220 Moderator
Joined
·
6,576 Posts
I've long had a fantasy of taking, say, a 1994-1996 Ford F-150 pickup truck and stuffing a 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel into it, just for the lulz.
I love BIG Diesels, 25 years ago I shoehorned a 6.5 Turbo V8 GMC, 700R4 Tranny and a 1:1 3 speed Auto RR Transfer Box into a Classic Range Rover.
This was a Chassis up Rebuild, with loads of extra bells and whistles.........

Awesome Vehicle, used to pull my 3 ton Power Boat and didn't know it was on the back, and ripped along the M/Way at 140 MPH ++ :wink

Also, when I had the Tranny Firm we bought a F250 Crew cab, with a 7.3 Powerstroke V8, another awesome vehicle, but that was sooooo thirsty :laugh

I've owned a few American Cars and Trucks, was quite into Hot Rodding in the day, and loved SB / BB Chevy motors :grin

Fuel is currently £1.26 per LITRE Diesel, and £1.23 per LITRE Petrol over here now, and Annual Road Tax is based on Emissions for newer vehicles, so vehicles with big Engines can be bought cheaper s/h :grin

The CDI Merc motors are awesome, loads of them over here, and as long as they have had regular Oil Changes, they go on forever, over here it is the Body Shells that fall apart with rust first, due to all the Salt on our roads in the Winter.......
That is the only reason we broke up the firms old 638 Minibus, it just looked a scabby disgrace LOL.

When my S Class is done I'm taking my W 638 V Class Ambiente off the road to blast it underneath and underseal it, plus weld in new Sills, and Door Skins, as that is just starting to get a bit scabby now, but it is a Luxury Family Cruising Bus, and is so versatile, all the rear Seats come out individually, turn around etc etc. Yeah, I love my Mercs these days :laugh ........

It is my plan to add one more to my personal fleet later this year........
An AMG SL55 :grin

A few shots of my personal V Class at my Work Workshop :wink ........

Cheers for now,
Dave
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2003 S500
Joined
·
2,623 Posts
"...over here it is the Body Shells that fall apart with rust first, due to all the Salt on our roads in the Winter....... "

And possibly partially due to the fact that you are (relatively closely) surrounded by salt water!
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top