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2003 CLK500
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello 209 forum!

So after a month of tossing it back and forth.. I bought an 03 CLK500.

This will be my first Mercedes in 2+ years.. I went to BMW and VAG for a little while, getting bored and unhappy with my selections, I decided to buy a CLK.

Anyways, being that I work for the dealer I bought the car from, I've had the opportunity to go over the car and drive it.

I've found the common stuff to be wrong, driver's door lock pin/plunger "bounces," passenger side tie rod end, misc bulbs out, and it appears the driver's side HID ignitor has a loose connection or the wire is melted, it will work until you go over a bump, then go over another bump it will start working again.

What else should i be looking for??
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Check the operation of the RCL - there is an antenna amp attached to the back glass under the stubby antenna that can fail (I assume this a coupe and not a cabriolet?). If the RCL buttons on the SmartKey don't work more than 10ft from the vehicle, then that amp is probably bad and it's an expensive repair (replacing the whole glass, $2K+). Of course for this part, failure is more annoying than critical.

A critical item is the Valeo radiator. Check THIS THREAD for visual identification. If you still have the Valeo, then you need to get it replaced with the Behr - it can allow engine coolant and transmission fluid to mix and cause transmissions problems.

Check the service records and see if the transmission fluid has ever been changed. I'm not sure what MBZ calls for these days on the 722.6 5-speed, but at one time it was "sealed for life", then it was 100K miles, then the 722.9 7-speed came out and it is recommend for a 1-time 39K mile change. I STRONGLY recommend regular fluid changes at least every 39K, probably more like every 30K would be better. If it's never been changed, then do it.

Finally, check the transmission's electrical connection. There is a pilot bushing on it at the contact plate that leaks. It's a cheap and easy repair. In fact, if you have the fluid and filter changed, go ahead and get the busing replaced. Check the other end of that wiring at the TCU (pull the carpet down on the passenger floorboard to access the metal panel where it's located). Look for any signs of transmission fluid wicking into the wiring harness or TCU.
 

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Registered
2003 CLK500
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78 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Check the operation of the RCL - there is an antenna amp attached to the back glass under the stubby antenna that can fail (I assume this a coupe and not a cabriolet?). If the RCL buttons on the SmartKey don't work more than 10ft from the vehicle, then that amp is probably bad and it's an expensive repair (replacing the whole glass, $2K+). Of course for this part, failure is more annoying than critical.

A critical item is the Valeo radiator. Check THIS THREAD for visual identification. If you still have the Valeo, then you need to get it replaced with the Behr - it can allow engine coolant and transmission fluid to mix and cause transmissions problems.

Check the service records and see if the transmission fluid has ever been changed. I'm not sure what MBZ calls for these days on the 722.6 5-speed, but at one time it was "sealed for life", then it was 100K miles, then the 722.9 7-speed came out and it is recommend for a 1-time 39K mile change. I STRONGLY recommend regular fluid changes at least every 39K, probably more like every 30K would be better. If it's never been changed, then do it.

Finally, check the transmission's electrical connection. There is a pilot bushing on it at the contact plate that leaks. It's a cheap and easy repair. In fact, if you have the fluid and filter changed, go ahead and get the busing replaced. Check the other end of that wiring at the TCU (pull the carpet down on the passenger floorboard to access the metal panel where it's located). Look for any signs of transmission fluid wicking into the wiring harness or TCU.
I see you are in Birmingham, In a few days, I will be back to Fort Payne from upstate NY.

The remote works from all the way across the lot..

Checked the radiator today, its a Valeo, so I will be changing that immediately

I don't have any service history on the car, I was going to see if someone here on the board could look it up if I provided the VIN, or see if my friend at Long of Chattanooga could provide me with anything.

I planned on changing the tranny fluid and filter right away and I was also thinking about doing the electrical connecter and contact plate, just because I will be traveling a lot with the car and I don't want to get stuck in limp mode far away from home, Autohausaz has all the parts to do it for less than 200$ and from the DIY i was reading in the 210 forum it looks pretty straight forward.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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It's been many years since I've been up that way, but I remember Fort Payne as a beautiful area.

The antenna amp issue was more of a problem on the W203s, but it's still sometimes a problem on W209s.

Yes, replace the Valeo and do the transmission service while your at it. Since you are disconnecting the transmission cooling lines from the radiator, you might consider a full flush using a pump through those lines. Otherwise, you'll get less than half the fluid out through the pan (they deleted the torque converted drain in earlier years). I would replace the pilot bushing and seal on the electrical connector, but I would not worry about the contact plate unless you are having some particular problems that point to it being an issue. It's easy enough to replace if it does become a problem later down the road.

If you have a friend at a dealership, he may pull the VMI for you. Only dealers can do that, and they often won't because it has personal information about prior owners. A friend (or at least a good service advisor!) will pull the VMI, compare it to the scheduled service, and let you know if there are any things to look out for.
 
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