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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to get a used CLK 320-500. I would prefer a cabriolet.

What models/versions should I avoid? I have read about issues with the camshaft balancer, so I want to avoid those models. I have also see issues with some transmissions that go into limp mode.

I found a nice 2008 CLK350 cabriolet for about $12k, but it sold before I made a decision. There is a 2004 CLK500 cabriolet in good condition (it has had 7 owners, so that does worry me), haven't checked it out completely yet, for just under $9k. Several others under $15k for 2004-2008 various models and mileage.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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19,025 Posts
Here's my advice for "buy":

MY2003 - MY2005 CLK320 (note that MY2005 will have the interior "facelift")
MY2003 - MY2004 CLK500
MY2008 - MY2009 CLK350 or CLK550 (will be beyond the range for balance shaft failure, and better transmission reliability)

Avoid:

MY2005 - MY2006 CLK500 (early 722.9 transmission is more problematic).
MY2006 - MY2007 CLK350 (balance shaft worries and early 722.9 transmission is more problematic).
MY2007 - CLK550 (balance shaft worries and early 722.9 transmission is more problematic).
 

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MY05 CLK55 AMG , MY05 CLK320,Former,C180 Kompressor,Jensen Healey,Ford Capri V6,Alfa GTV.
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1,567 Posts
Also avoid cars built prior to October 2003 which may have a potentially faulty Valeo radiator.
If they have a Behr radiator they are ok.
 

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2006 E320 CDI
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the info. This helps a lot to avoid a possible lemon. Would you consider an SL in the 2003-2008 range?
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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SLs are great - I just traded my CLK for one. Just be ready for maintenance on the SBC and ABC systems. The older they get, the more attention they need. Also, you have the same transmission problems with the 722.9 from MY2005-2007 and the same possible timing chaing sprocket issues with MY2006/2007 SL550.
 

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Whatever car has the gas in it
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If a car has 7 owners there is a good reason why it is cheap and it has been sold over and over again. If I was looking for my CLK again I would look for the following.
2003-2005 CLK320
2003-2006 CLK500
2003-2006 CLK55 AMG
2009 CLK350
2009 CLK550
 

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Whatever car has the gas in it
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Thank you for the info. This helps a lot to avoid a possible lemon. Would you consider an SL in the 2003-2008 range?

I personally am looking into a SL as a replacement for the 911 and the C208 CLK. A 2008 SL550 would be perfect as they are the last year made. AMG is not really needed for me.
 

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2016 GLE 400 4Matic
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I have a 2004 CLK500 that I have owned it for 8+ years now, 2nd owner. The only major issues I have was the pump seal inside the trans went bad, hairline crack on the radiator where the top hose connect into and now my rear main seal is leaking very slowly.

Then I had the most common issues like the crankshaft sensor.

Then I had stupid issues like wheel lug bolts snapping all the time from mickey mouse brand.

Other then that my CLK been the most reliable vehicle that I have ever owned. I have to give allot of credit to the members on Benzworld for guiding me and giving me good advice especially rudney and keyhole.
 

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2008 AMG CLK63 Conv., 2012 R350 4-Matic, Wife's 2015 C300 sedan
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Get a post 2008 (post facelift) model.

The 350 is a tortoise, the 63 a hare. We own one of each.

Run the VIN past the collective here for recall warnings, check any recalls have been done.

Check the satnav DVD player works properly and doesn't shut down due to overheating after 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure the DVD is reasonably up to date - kosher new ones are $350 - a good haggling point.

Check the serpentine belt was replaced recently and that any dodgy pulleys were also replaced at the same time. 50,000 miles is your magic number. Easy enough to do yourself on the driveway BTW, especially on the 350 (well, I managed it, so...)

Check INSIDE the headlights for cracking, broken or missing insulation on the wires. They all rot, so another good bargaining point. The front bumper has to come off to repair or replace the headlights. New headlights are $350 each, but can be repaired for $30 each if you're into keyhole surgery or are brave enough to put the lights in you kitchen oven.

If it's a convertible, check it, erm, converts properly and without hesitation, nasty bangs, squeaks, etc., and check the seals round the tops of the doors.

On the 63 (and I think the 550) the list price of front brake rotors are $1200 each, but can be had on line for under $700, so if the rotors need replacing haggle with that in mind. Front pads are $220 for a set of four.

You should be able to get a very good straight 2008 model from a major stealership for between $15K and $25K depending on which engine you go for. 10% less at "honest Joe's", 20 to 25% less private sale.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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I personally am looking into a SL as a replacement for the 911 and the C208 CLK. A 2008 SL550 would be perfect as they are the last year made. AMG is not really needed for me.
If you mean the last year for the R230 with the 5.5l M273 V8, no, that was MY2012. My MY2011 SL550 has the 5.5.l M273. In the R230, MY2009 introduced the 2nd facelift - revised front end, revised COMAND, and a few minor changes to ABC and the other electronics.

MY2013 is a new chassis (R231) and new engine for the SL550 (4.7l biturbo).
 

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Whatever car has the gas in it
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If you mean the last year for the R230 with the 5.5l M273 V8, no, that was MY2012. My MY2011 SL550 has the 5.5.l M273. In the R230, MY2009 introduced the 2nd facelift - revised front end, revised COMAND, and a few minor changes to ABC and the other electronics.

MY2013 is a new chassis (R231) and new engine for the SL550 (4.7l biturbo).

Correct. R230 2008 SL550 before the major facelift with the basic N/A 5.5 V8.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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The engine didn't change until MY2013. If you want the normally-aspirated 5.5l V8, you can get that through MY2012. I know some people prefer the pre-facelift "teardrop" headlights", so in that case, MY2008 is the last, but MY2009/2011/2012 is the same chassis, body an engine, just with some minor updates. Note there was no MY2010 - there are late MY2009's and early MY2011's, just no "MY2010".
 

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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #13
I am still looking, a lot of the CLK's seats are heavily worn that I have been seeing. If the seats are in good condition, something else is wrong.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Worn seats can always be repaired or replaced. A good upholstery shop can work wonders. What other problems are you seeing with cars you are looking at? Remember, cosmetic things are just "skin deep" and can usually be repaired. Of course some things are more expensive, like soft top canvas and body damage.
 

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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #15
The other things that have been issues have been number of owners, failed emissions, other other things that be a red flag. Several have had an issue with the seal around the glass on the soft top pulling away.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Yes, I'd avoid a car with more than two or three owners in a 10-year span. Especially if any of them were very short-term.

Failed emissions does not bother me. It likely just meant that the MIL was illuminated and something had to be fixed. I don't believe you'd ever find an MBZ that has never had an error at some point in its life.

Regarding the seal around the glass, do you mean where the glass meets the canvas, or the longitudinal seam across the canvas, above the glass? If you are talking about the plastic trim around the glass, that is not the seal - it's just trim and it's normal for there to be a bit of space between it and the canvas. The actual seal is made where the canvas is sandwiched between the glass and the metal frame, which you cannot see. That is rarely an issue, but even so, it's an easy fix as it just uses an adhesive foam strip.

If you see the seam in the canvas separating, that will be a more serious problem. You're looking at $3K+ to have a new canvas top installed, and that's aftermarket (don't even ask the dealer - your head will explode). An alternative is to have a shop remove the canvas back to the seam, then re-glue and stitch it (that was the issue - they only glued it - no stitching). This should cost well under $1K. Folding the top back to the seam is about 25% of the work of replacing the canvas - the other 75% is all the work of securing it around the glass.
 

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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #17
It was the part around the glass and not a seam.

I guess I am spoiled, my daily commuter is a 93 civic, with 336k miles on it, (gas mileage is still excellent) that we bought new in 93. Never failed an emissions test and has the original cat converter.

Also, trying to find either a white or a charcoal color CLK.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There is a 2004 CLK320 with 63k miles fairly close to me at a MB Dealer for just under $8k. It is black, but looks in good overall condition.
 
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