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2001 S430
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my 2001 S430 in for a simple oil change yesterday and mentioned to the tech that I occasionally get a message that I'm running low on coolant. I think no big deal because I haven't seen any leakage at all. Later that day I get a call telling me that my head-gasket is leaking and that it will be a $3,000.00 job to fix! I was so disgusted that I told them not to touch the car - which by the way only has 50,000 miles on it. I'm contemplating trading this car in and being done with MB once and for all. Anyone else have this problem?
 

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S550, S430
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88 Posts
sounds quite common, but not major issue

sorry to hear that!

Was it diagnosed by MB dealer or independent MB shop?
Check this thread from other forum:
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=118429

not sure if you have the same issue but it sure does sound like it is quite common finding but not needing new gasket.

Can you get second opinion from different shop?
Additionally, you can also test your engine oil to see if it contains coolant
 

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hi Mhorkey, I am sorry to say that coolant level is very very important, you dont have to see coolant leaking under before you check it , it can lost as vapour and sooner or later no coolant, and head gasket blown.
did you ever check the coolant level when the message display on the screen?
if you did not, the fault is yours


cj
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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11,199 Posts
Check out other causes before you spend the money.

If you have coolant leaking into the cylinders, you will get considerable white smoke from the exhaust when starting in the mornings - thicker and more smoke than you'd get on the average cool morning. It will soon dissipate, leaving normal exhaust. You may not see this starting after brief intervals, because there won't be enough coolant accumulation - but you'd get it after an overnight wait.
 

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2001 S430
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From Bad To Worse

Thanks for all of the replies. The car has now been looked at by 2 shops - one my local dealer and the other by an independent shop that I trust. Bottom line is that there is a head gasket leak and the coolant system needs to be flushed because it has traces of oil in it. As stated the car is a 2001 but only has 50K on it. The dealer wants $3,700.00 to fix! My local guy said he could get it done for about $2,600.00.

When the dealer called me with their diagnoses, I politely told them what I thought - and that was that this vehicle should not have this kind of problem at 50K. No way. I asked them to call MB USA to see if they would cover this and they basically refused. The dealer offered a 5% reduction off of the parts. Gee thanks. So I called MB USA. They were polite and professional and took all of my information and promised to call the service manager at the dealer. However, they stated that they would go with his recommendation. We'll see what gives.

Am I wrong to be pissed about this? Am I wrong to ask MB USA to stand up and fix this? I've owned many cars and have never had this happen - even on vehicles that had considerably more mileage and were driven much harder over longer periods of time. What would you guys do? I just find this unacceptable.

For what it's worth, I will write the president and CEO of Daimler-Benz about this and will cc everyone that I've dealt with on this.

I'll keep you guys up to speed with what happens.
 

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'91 420SEL '80 300TD
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You are right to be pissed and right to go to the top of the company. Your only hope is the get the top man to take an interest. If his office thinks this will create bad publicity they will be more likey to respond. Access to thousands of MB customers and car reviewers through internet forums like this one helps.
 

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2001 S430
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update May 19, 2006

Here's the latest in this continuing saga. I called MB USA and as stated they agreed to call my dealer, Mercedes Benz of Hunt Valley, MD. I'm not sure if they did or not. I made a point of stopping by to speak with the service manager who basically stated that there was nothing he could or would do for me. He stated that this type of "good will service" is only extended to original owners and since I am the second owner it would not be extended to me. My point to him was that no matter how many people owned the car it was still a Benz and that this is the result of their workmanship. I also mentioned that it is widely known and reported that MB quality is not what it should be - especially in 2001 S class cars. While he agreed there were "issues" with these vehicles and that it was "unusual" that a head gasket would leak at this mileage, my arguments fell completely on deaf ears. At this point, I'm going to have my local garage fix the car. They specialize in MB and quite honestly are, in my opinion, better mechanics.

Needless to say I am pissed. If this were the only problem that I had with this car, I'd probably just let it go. However, this car has had its share of problems. While at the dealer, I asked for a print-out of the complete service record. There were three full pages of problems - all printed single space small font.

For what it's worth, I am going to write to the President / CEO of Daimler Benz and CC everyone under him all the way down to the service manager. I'll post a copy of the letter here so you guys can take a look. Hope to get that done this weekend.

Mike
 

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2013 S550
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I also suggest direct communication with the MB regional service rep - not through the dealer. Your car may be out of warranty in years, but it certainly isn't past the mileage warranted. The dealer can arrange a personal appointment with him (he will be from out of town).
 

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2001 S430
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Skylaw - I had thought about that but was so disgusted after leaving the dealership I had decided against it. I just want the car fixed. Now that I've cooled down a bit, I'll call the dealer and get this guys conctact info and call him. Good Suggestion.

Thanks
 

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cjawahir said:
hi Mhorkey, I am sorry to say that coolant level is very very important, you dont have to see coolant leaking under before you check it , it can lost as vapour and sooner or later no coolant, and head gasket blown.
did you ever check the coolant level when the message display on the screen?
if you did not, the fault is yours


cj
Before we all blame MB we need an answer to cjawahir's point. Cars go so long between services now that we all need to be vigilant about regular checks on oil, water, tyres etc. It's so easy to forget but can cause great damage.

I had a tyre down to half pressure the other morning. Tried to remember when last checked! Turned out valve was leaking. Could have cost me new tyre if hadn't been on driver's side and noticed when getting in car.
 

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S500/W220/2000
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Please report back. All of us would like to know how this turns out.
 

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2001 S430
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi guys. The answer to cjawahir's point is yes - I checked it immediately and then took it in for service and rec'd the bad news. As mentioned, I decided to seek a second opinion and did not drive the car at all until the day I drove it to the dealer. I also had coolant added during the first check. The truth is, it wasn't that low and the car never came close to overheating. I watched that very closely.
 

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2001 S430
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jayhawk said:
Please report back. All of us would like to know how this turns out.
Thanks Jayhawk - will report back. I'm going to take Skylaw's advice and attempt to get a hold of the regional service rep.

Mike
 

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1993 300SEL (Sold) 2007 X5
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It is a bit rude that this car should need a head job this early in its life:( . Also considering the amount of money that one pays for such a car. I don't know what is up with the 220 in general, some people seem to buy them and have no problems but there are times when the 220, section looks like the W140 section with all the problems with cars that are much younger:confused: .

Well MB will have to get their A into G or else people will go to other brands.
 

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Is it US S220's?

From reading lots of posts on these forums (or is it Fora?) It seems to me that US S220s seem to have more problems than there European counterparts. I am tempting fate I know but my 1999 S500 just seems to go and go, it now has 113,000 miles on it but you would never know from either looking at it or driving it.
 

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Hey Mhorkey,

Need a ride over to the Lexus dealership? We can trade our S classes in together!

Mine went into the shop for the 34th time this morning and I got a ML350 loaner...talk about trading in crap for crap.
 

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S500 lover said:
From reading lots of posts on these forums (or is it Fora?) It seems to me that US S220s seem to have more problems than there European counterparts. I am tempting fate I know but my 1999 S500 just seems to go and go, it now has 113,000 miles on it but you would never know from either looking at it or driving it.
Mine is a 2000 w/ only 70k, but it looks and drives just like it did when new!
 
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