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Mercedes Benz E 250 CDI
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, let me start by saying what a gorgeous vehicle the W215 is, but the reason for the Q is we're considering upgrading our 2005 E350 for a 2003 - 2005 CL500 or CL55, but I've read some stuff on the net in past browsing that suggests that the earlier CL's are now in prime territory to start having lots of expensive problems occur. A potentially "safer" buy may be a CLS500 or CLS55, but I find it hard to go past the styling of the CL's. To purchase a 2004 CL55 down here in Oz is still pretty expensive at around the 110 to 120k mark.

Any help is appreciated.
 

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2005 CL65 AMG, 2007 Ferrari F430
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790 Posts
i purchased a 05 CL65 about two years ago, and it has been nearly perfect. Had to replace ABC pump, but no other problems at all. BTW, because of economic reasons, paid less than half than what they are going for in OZ
 

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560 SEC Supercharged(sold), E55 AMG, Renntech CL600 Bi-turbo, Porsche 928
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The CLS will be more reliable. The CL is the most unreliable and most expensive to maintain of all the cars I've owned. My old Maserati was more reliable than the CL if that tells you anything.

WIth that said, I would love to have a modified CL65 but it would need a warranty to cover the ABC and coil packs. Those two items on the CL prove to be more costly than an engine replacement in most cars.
 

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1970 w109 6.3, 2014 ML350 (petrol) AMG kitted, 2004 Vito 115 crewbus, 2003 CL600 V12 bi-turbo
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403 Posts
Hi Aussie across the ditch,
The trouble with forums like these is that you are only ever going to hear the negative on these vehicles.
Yes - they are expensive to fix, but there are tons of fter market bits you can now buy which are a fraction of the price of the ones with the star on the box and in some cases, these parts are better than the original. The ABC, which is also in other models is the main disaster with these coupes, but just keep an eye on things and it could save you thousands. After 2003 this suspension was meant to have some up grades so if you are looking at 2005 plus, theoretically you should have less problems.
On the positive side - these coupes (W215shape) would have to be the most beautiful looking car Mercedes-Benz has ever produced and ride is second to none.
Yes - the CLS will give you less concerns (we guess) but though still a nice looking car - not a patch on the CL coupes which are the Mercedes-Benz flagship.
I say - go for it!! ........ cheers .......... Eddy (Kiwi)
 

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Hi Aussie
I own a 2000my cl 500 with 100,000 miles on the clock and have had no real problems with it broken loom in the door common problem and evaporator temp sensor again another common prob all relatively easy 2 fix and cheap if you do it yourself which is easy so personnally i would recommend any of the m.y even the early ones providing you have some service history with it and service it reguarly it should be fine have to say its prob 1 of the best benz's i have owned and ive owned 19 including amg's it just does everything you ask of it with ease and still looks like a 100 grand car for quarter of the price cls is nice but personally dnt think they are a patch on the cl to small inside was my 1st problem. Dont listen 2 all the negatives its all down to personal choice and luck.
Good luck.
 

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2004 CL500
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362 Posts
Hi Aussie
I own a 2000my cl 500 with 100,000 miles on the clock and have had no real problems with it broken loom in the door common problem and evaporator temp sensor again another common prob all relatively easy 2 fix and cheap if you do it yourself which is easy so personnally i would recommend any of the m.y even the early ones providing you have some service history with it and service it reguarly it should be fine have to say its prob 1 of the best benz's i have owned and ive owned 19 including amg's it just does everything you ask of it with ease and still looks like a 100 grand car for quarter of the price cls is nice but personally dnt think they are a patch on the cl to small inside was my 1st problem. Dont listen 2 all the negatives its all down to personal choice and luck.
Good luck.
Thanks for the vote of confidence Mr Young. I've owned my 2004 CL500 for going on 2 years. I've only replaced the brake pads and had a couple oil changes. The car wasn't perfect when I got it (with 37k on the clock), and I haven't really put any $$ into it, but nothing that affects the "driveability" of the car. They are expensive to repair, but mine has held up quite well- even in the harsh winter climate where I live. If I am to believe what I read here, my car should self destruct any day now! Glad to hear something positive for a change.
 

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The real problem is most owners of CL class vehicles have never owned a super car. A CL600 BiTurbo is a very special car. Bring a couple of bucks and have some fun.

I have had several issues, but so has my Porsche, my previously owned Ferrari, the Ducati is not without problems nor is my vintage Chris Craft. Cool stuff is not cheap. I say if you want no problems start walking. Beware you might wear out some shoes along the way.

The old saying will always hold true, "If it rolls, floats, fu.ks, or flys you've got problems."

Enjoy your CL, and quit selling them cheap.

The preceding is just one persons opinion!
 

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Mercedes Benz E 250 CDI
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so much for the advice guys and they're all valid viewpoints that I'll certainly consider. Although my major hurdle if I do decide to make the transition to the CL series will come in the form of my beloved, who also happens to practice as a Financial Planner. That being said I may just have to keep trying not to drool as I watch you guys drive by lol. Still stranger things have happened and my Wife Loves the CL's as much as I do!
I'll keep you all posted, again thanks for the advice.
 

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2003 Lincoln LS V8
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115 Posts
I'm amazed at the prices you listed for a used CL. Prices on these drop dramatically in the US (a 2004 CL55 can be bought for around $30,000 US). If they drop like that in a country that shares the same configuration as Australia (right hand drive, lighting, emissions, etc), it might be worth having it shipped from overseas.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
 

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1970 w109 6.3, 2014 ML350 (petrol) AMG kitted, 2004 Vito 115 crewbus, 2003 CL600 V12 bi-turbo
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403 Posts
Thanks so much for the advice guys and they're all valid viewpoints that I'll certainly consider. Although my major hurdle if I do decide to make the transition to the CL series will come in the form of my beloved, who also happens to practice as a Financial Planner. That being said I may just have to keep trying not to drool as I watch you guys drive by lol. Still stranger things have happened and my Wife Loves the CL's as much as I do!
I'll keep you all posted, again thanks for the advice.
In New Zealand - the furthest away country from Stuttgart (Germany) - we have the cheapest Mercs in the world, This has come about by importing boatloads of cars from Japan (also right hand drive - like Aus, NZ, South Africa + others), I paid $38,000NZ ($29,000US) for my 2003 CL600 bi-turbo, which was $285,000 new here!!
Look at importing one from NZ.
Go to wwwtrademe.co.nz and have a look!!!
 

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C215
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My '00 CL500 Chassis number 484 (!) has a mileage of 100,000 (160,000 km)

Replaced ABC fluid and filter (The hard way: Sucking out old grey stinking fluid - pour new into the container - drive - rise - lower- rise- drive - suck out old oil and repeat until all oil was green and shiny) .

Why does MB claim that this oil never needs changing???

I started getting a loud humming sound between 1100 and 1800 RPM's. This was NOT a faulty ABC pump, but was instead a worn out pulsation damper. After replacing it and a couple of hoses (MB recall) the car was all silent again.

I may be wrong of course, but loud vibrating sounds from the ABC-system isn't that a sign of the system working under high pressure variations which potentially could cause leaks as the joints and valves are exposed to it?

Vehicle has had some minor quirks, but I was able to fix them myself.

A software bug in early vehicles causes the battery to get drained (the vehicle needs to be locked within 60 seconds, or the ABC-computer fails to enter "sleep-mode"). The ABC-controller can not be upgraded by software download - it has to be replaced, but it was worth it. MB had appearently upgraded the algorithms as well. Ride improved considerably.

This second hand prices for theese vehicles where I live (Sweden) is now so low that it is soon time to start buying them just for salvaging parts. I have seen cars for as little as US$ 20,000.

The V8 engine M113 is rock solid. Give it normal service, Oil/Filter/spark-plugs and it will run for ever. Not so with the modern M274. It has failing balance gears. Another reason to consider not-the-latest-model.
 

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Sold my 2005 SL55, 2000 CL500
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I am chassis number 1533 on my 2000 CL500. Mine is just hitting 100K miles in the next few days. Overall a great car. I did the ABC pump under warranty way back at 30K miles.
Just did the Plugs and Flex Disk. Ball joints on these cars are common replacement issues.
Like you said the M113 engine is just rock solid. In all the years and miles I have never needed to "Add" engine oil between normal services. Engine runs better than new.

But I do have that strange power drain. Going to try and get my independent to check on that ABC computer and see if we can fix it. Its always been strange how sometimes it drains and sometimes it does not. Going to experiment a little and see about that 60 second rule. But the more I think about it. That is kind of what I see as well. My indy could never duplicate it. More than likely he locked it down in the 60 second window. And it always does the power trick at the airport. Never got locked down within the 60 seconds. Interesting.
 

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C215
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The 215 vehicles with chassis numbers lower than 004585 have this defect ABC controller. I have document # GI32.50P-003670, but it is in Swedish, and the number may not be traceable in the US.

You will need a clamp-on mA-meter that can be clamped around the negative GND cable of the battery. There are instruments on the market that can measure DC-currents down to 10 mA full scale deflection.

The methode of checking it is basically to measure the battery current for a period of a few minutes after the car is turned off (after a ride). I did this with the rear lid open (but lock forced-locked by flipping the lock in lock position thus fooling the car to think the lid is closed).

First, check for current drain after locking the car within 60 seconds. Wait for a few minutes to verify system shut-down, as all modules enters sleep-mode.

Then unlock, start the engine and repeat the procedure, but this time wait for some 120 seconds after engine-off before locking and monitor the current consumption. Initially, it is quite high, several amperes, but as system after system enters sleep mode, a correctly working vehicle electronic system quiescent current should be barely readable (there will be some flickering of the mA-meter)

If the current in this second test after a few minutes still is in the range of 350 mA - you have a defect ABC-controller.

The bad thing: It is expenceive, in the amount of $2200.

The good thing: Mercedes has appearently upgraded the chassis response algorithms. After the change you will think you've got four new struts. The chassis response improvement is remarkable.

I advice to have the workshop verify the diagnose before ordering a new controller (if you think it is worth it).

You will need to make the controller replacement at a workshop equipped with StarDiagnose, as the vehicles' position sensor values needs to be read and programmed into the controller.
 

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'02 CL500
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My '00 CL500 Chassis number 484 (!) has a mileage of 100,000 (160,000 km)

Replaced ABC fluid and filter (The hard way: Sucking out old grey stinking fluid - pour new into the container - drive - rise - lower- rise- drive - suck out old oil and repeat until all oil was green and shiny) .

Why does MB claim that this oil never needs changing???

I started getting a loud humming sound between 1100 and 1800 RPM's. This was NOT a faulty ABC pump, but was instead a worn out pulsation damper. After replacing it and a couple of hoses (MB recall) the car was all silent again.

I may be wrong of course, but loud vibrating sounds from the ABC-system isn't that a sign of the system working under high pressure variations which potentially could cause leaks as the joints and valves are exposed to it?

Vehicle has had some minor quirks, but I was able to fix them myself.

A software bug in early vehicles causes the battery to get drained (the vehicle needs to be locked within 60 seconds, or the ABC-computer fails to enter "sleep-mode"). The ABC-controller can not be upgraded by software download - it has to be replaced, but it was worth it. MB had appearently upgraded the algorithms as well. Ride improved considerably.

This second hand prices for theese vehicles where I live (Sweden) is now so low that it is soon time to start buying them just for salvaging parts. I have seen cars for as little as US$ 20,000.

The V8 engine M113 is rock solid. Give it normal service, Oil/Filter/spark-plugs and it will run for ever. Not so with the modern M274. It has failing balance gears. Another reason to consider not-the-latest-model.
So I've found someone else who changes his ABC filter and fluid on a routine basis. I've changed the filter and have periodically sucked out and replaced about 5 ltrs. of fluid over the past year. An MB tech suggested I do this instead of having the dealer do it for $700 or so. The last time I did it I tried a different approach by syphoning the fluid out of the dip stick hole rather than opening up the filter cap. It worked out well and leaves less chance for foreign object intrusion. How often do you change the filter? BTW, I did the power steering unit as well.
 

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C215
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I have changed the oil and replaced the filter once. This was after I purchased the car. Since then, I have driven it only 13,000 miles. I do not have winter tyres for it. It sits on wooden blocks in my garage at the moment with a battery trickle charger connected.

But you have a point: Extreme care must be exercised when changing ABC flud. Any particle/contamination that finds its way in the container could cause system malfunction. I use syphoning. And I make sure that the hose used is *very* clean...

In the beginning, MB used to change valves and struts after driver complaints. The usual trouble was a strut that got stuck. Then the "Rodeo"-test was introduced. It exercises the hydralic functions and loosens valves that has gotten stuck.
 
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