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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I am very excited about hopefully purchasing a clk500 in the near future. Why I am here is because I need your guys help.

It will be for my last two years of college at Rolla in southern Missouri. My dad will be partially helping with paying as he said he would like to help me a bit in college.

Here's the issue. My dad has a reliability addiction. My current car is a 97 Lexus es300 and is rounding 200k miles and, while this car has been very reliable, I'm losing my trust especially since I'll be doing a lot of highway miles.

So my dad thinks I should lean more towards a Camry or something I'll hate (I'm a huge car enthusiast) so I want something I'll love being in daily.

What I need you guys to give me is the common issues with an 03-05 clk500 coupe and what their reliability is like? Common replacement costs? Anything! I would love the help and especially a clk500. But if being a dd wouldn't work to well I'll easily opt for a more practical Mercedes!

Any and all help is wonderful! Thank you all so much!!!


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Working at a dealership I see it all...if you were to get a clk definitely stay away from an 06' CLK350...balance shaft issues with the M272 engine, and isn't cheap. However the CLK500 you want is a pretty good car. The M113 engine was one of the most reliable engines.

Common issues: crankshaft position sensor will cause crank no start issue, some oil leaks common are rear main crankshaft seal(noticable by oil coming off bottom of engine where it meets the transmission and also valve cover gaskets leak, around 100k its a good idea to do spark plugs and spark plug wires(older stuff will cause misfiring), sometimes mass air meter, transmissions are pretty solid sometimes the shift plate goes bad and engine will be stuck in limp home mode. Suspension is normally ok only things that you may see is bad torque arm strut bushings and sway bar links. Overall a pretty good car.

Like you said get a coupe. You wont want to deal with the convertible model especially when the top separates from the rear window. And water leaks...ehhh.

It'd get one myself. Just make sure you have it looked over before you buy! Good luck!

Sid
Mercedes-Benz Master Certified Technician
Diesel/Gasoline/Hybrid/AMG/AIRCON Certified
1994 E320 Sedan
1990 300CE Coupe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Sid!!! That's the kind of answer I was looking for!!! What kind of costs would these repairs run?


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Discussion Starter #4
Is there possibly less problem prone coupe or sedan around $15k from Mercedes?


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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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If you want a MBZ V8, the CLK is the way to go. I'd stay away from he 2005 CLK500 because it was the first year for the 722.9 7-speed transmission. Early productions of that transmission were much more problematic than current models. I'd look for a 2004 CLK500, as that would have the 722.6 5-speed transmission which is much more reliable. If you found a good deal on a CLK350 or even CLK550, you can post the VIN here and we can tell you if the engine is affected by the balance shaft problems. That's the only way to know for sure. But then again, you probably won't find one in the sub-$15K range.

I will warn you, maintenance on a MBZ is much more expensive than a Lexus or Toyota. For example, there are no $19 oil changes - a DIY oil change will cost you $80, and over $100 at a shop, or over $200 at the dealer. You really should change the transmission fluid and filter every 39K miles, and that's a $300-$400 service. it can be a DIY, but only if you are willing to invest in some tools and have a good, flat garage where to do the work.
 

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Well as always prices vary from place to place. Transmission work typically isn't cheap...a trans service runs around 300(MB tranny fluid isn't cheap) oil leaks are usually low parts cost and mostly labor. A rear main crankshaft seal is about 8 hours of labor and maybe 100$ in parts. Your bet is to find an independent shop that had techs that used to be dealer techs as they are usually more current to Mercedes info.

Either way a CLK 209 chassis is a good car in my opinion.

Sid
Mercedes-Benz Master Certified Technician
Diesel/Gasoline/Hybrid/AMG/AIRCON Certified
1994 E320 Sedan
1990 300CE Coupe
 

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My advice about MBZ's is that they are very satisfying vehicles, but there are only three types of people who should own them:

1. People who will lease or buy them new and trade them when the warranty runs out.
2. People who are financially able to handle potentially high repair and maintenance costs.
3. People who are avid DIY mechanics and are willing to invest a little time and money in their cars.

I will tell you I'm a #3. :) For the most part, I find MBZ's easy to work on and most of the components and attachments make sense. Yes, there are some bone-headed designs, but for the most part, things make sense. I once heard someone say that MBZ's were engineered to be easy to work on because they are going to need it!
 

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Thanks for this post guys!,

After several years of driving BMWs and a couple VW products, it looks like this week I will purchase a Mercedes again.. a 2003 CLK500 with around 116k miles to be exact.

Just wondering if you guys can give me a semi-accurate MPG rating for mostly highway driving.

Also, what kind of oil to use? And how much?

I'm a big DIYer, so the stealership is only going to get money from me for things like Keys, the stuff thats only available at the stealership.
 

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A CLK500 will get about 25-28 highway...all depends on your driving habits of course. Engine oil is always synthetic preferably Mobil1. The m113 engine takes 8liters(8.5quarts) of oil. Its an awesome engine with very little problems!

Sid
Master Certified Mercedes-Benz Technician
Gasoline/Diesel/Hybrid Certified
AIRCON Certified
1994 E320
1990 300CE
WTB 1972 280SE
 

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Make sure you use the synthetic fleece oil filters - I usually buy the Mann brand filter from autohausaz.com. As for the oil, you need to make sure it meeds MB spec 229.5. I have found WalMart has the best price on the Mobil 1 0w40 Euro formula, unless the auto parts stores are running a good sale. Also, you might want to invest in a MityVac or similar "topsider" to suck the oil out. I like this one: Mityvac 8.8l from TheToolWarehouse
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sweet loving the info guys!!! I think I may actually be getting one very soon!!!! How are these cars a daily drivers that aren't garaged though?


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CLK's are excellent daily drivers. They are based on MBZ's bread-and-butter W203 C-Class so there is no overly complicated things to go wrong like Airmatic suspensions or Active Body Control. Just keep up with the maintenance and you'll be good to go. So are you going to DIY?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes majority DIY! I like working on my own cars. Gives me a peace of mind before I start it up every morning.

Another quick question. How would a clk55 amg or a cl55 amg fair compare in reliability terms to the clk500? I happened to find a cl55 amg for a good price and was just curious. It is an 02 so it's the pre-supercharged version of the 5.4 that went into those cars


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The CLK55 is a great car - the 5.5.l AMG engine is virtually bulletproof. Personally, I'd be hesitant on the CL. Those have Active Body Control system that can be very expensive to repair - thousand$$ even as DIY. How over to the forum and see what sorts of things the CL guys have to deal with. The CLK is much simpler, and since it shares its underpinnings with the W203 C-Class, there are plenty of parts and prices are reasonable.
 

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Yes majority DIY! I like working on my own cars. Gives me a peace of mind before I start it up every morning.

Another quick question. How would a clk55 amg or a cl55 amg fair compare in reliability terms to the clk500? I happened to find a cl55 amg for a good price and was just curious. It is an 02 so it's the pre-supercharged version of the 5.4 that went into those cars


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When I was a young adult I drove a BMW 2002 for 12 years. Went to an E30 BMW 325e for 11 years. My son started driving a year ago and I bought a E36 BMW he could drive. Driving the E36 BMW, The machine is an excellent car in practicality and reliability. You can work on it yourself and the servicing information is available. The roadability and mileage combination cannot be beat. I own a Mercedes now but do not recommend Benz ownership to young people starting out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
When I was a young adult I drove a BMW 2002 for 12 years. Went to an E30 BMW 325e for 11 years. My son started driving a year ago and I bought a E36 BMW he could drive. Driving the E36 BMW, The machine is an excellent car in practicality and reliability. You can work on it yourself and the servicing information is available. The roadability and mileage combination cannot be beat. I own a Mercedes now but do not recommend Benz ownership to young people starting out.
I was curious about beemers! I was really liking the e46 m3. As winter is rolling in the prices on those are dropping. I have seen a lot of them with 100k miles and beyond. So I was curious on the reliability with those? The smg looked like something new and fun to try but if that transmission isn't as dependable as the standard manual I won't opt for it.


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Discussion Starter #17
I know the clk55 drivetrain is bulletproof. But as for the rest of the car how does it fair in reliability and costs to a plain clk500?


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If you are looking for a daily driver, I am not sure you want the SMG. In auto mode, shifting is worse than the time I tried to teach my wife to drive a stick. In one of the manual modes, it's not bad, but not something I'd want to put up with in the daily commute. That's what I really like about MBZ vehicles. Even some of the top performance models are comfortable daily drivers, but with plenty of fun lurking just beyond the "daily drive" range of the accelerator pedal.

As for the CLK55, the only thing you'll really spend more on in maintenance is brakes. I would also say tires, but really, all V8 CLK's eat tires. Everything else is really just the same as any CLK.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ooooo that doesn't sound like fun!!! I just thought it would be an experience, I guess a regular 6 spd would mean less things to go wrong.

Okay so clk55 is a good bet then? I just ran into one with 100k miles. Seemed like a lot, but he only wants $12k. Seem like a deal? I should I stay under 100k miles?


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Discussion Starter #20
Okay another clk55 amg just popped up. 49k miles for $15k. Whaddya Guys say, go for it? It's black which makes it double tempting!


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