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· W221 & Audio Moderator
2015 S550
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11,244 Posts
Your dealer sounds awful.

My '05 was equipped with Continentals when new. I never liked them, but they lasted. I am much happier with the Michelin MXV4 Primacy tires now on it.

Mercedes Benz of Tampa (on Dale Mabry Hwy, near Raymond James Stadium; soon to move to Mabry and MLK Blvd.) has some pretty good techs - they have always done well by me. They did my alignment, and balance - excellent jobs, both.

One exception: Before my last "B" service 2 weeks ago, I had set my tire pressures (nitrogen fill) with a racing tire gauge, one that reads to .1 lb. All were right on the money at 29 front, 32 rear. When I got the car back, the tires felt squirmy and overfilled - and were they ever! 43 to 47 psi in each, verified on TPMS and with a manual gauge. Those were hot pressures, but they should have been around 32 and 36 psi hot. I was furious.
 

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2003 SL500, 2002 ML320, 2001 E320, 2000 S430, 1999 E320
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25 Posts
:thumbsup:excellent post:thumbsup:, man you are on point with th W220 body style, i sometimes yearn for my W140 S320 1995 L wheel base what is ABC in contrast to Airmatic, hydraulic fluid?
 

· W221 & Audio Moderator
2015 S550
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11,244 Posts
Welcome to the forum. One of the first things for a W220 owner (or prospective owner) to become familiar with is the W220 S-Class Owners Encyclopedia, a sticky at the top of this forum. You will find the answers to your questions there.
 

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2009_CL63, previously 02_S500, '92_300SEL
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120 Posts
hi all,
haven't been here in a while...

before i bought this car, i was afraid of all problems that people were talking about. but i got it anyway and not regretting it looking back so far.
after 4 years having my w-220, no major problems reported...
few minor things broke (replaced mirror on driver side, seal around 1 mirror, pulley holder, front lights washer leak).
77k on it now, and was wondering if i should replace the front struts or go with the seal replacement kits?
are these kits OEM parts?

thanks for help.

maybe I will upgrade to w221 soon :D
 

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2012 S550 Bi-Turbo 4Matic
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304 Posts
I am in the same boat as you, but contemplating fixing only one strut, since the other one was done by previous owner.

The consensus is to replace the struts with Arnott's NEW ones, but i might just pay for fix kit first and then bite the bullet for two brand new struts.

Regarding upgrading to W221, i do not like the new body style too much....and they are not cheap enough yet
 

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1997 SL500 Pano Blk on Blk
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7 Posts
Skylaw,

I'm very interested in a 2003-04 E or S series 430, 500 or 55 amg. I just read your extensive info above on the air suspension systems, etc. Which of the above cars do you think will be the most reliable and have the kinks worked out? I don't mind spending money on regular maintenance but don't want to buy the problem child. Thanks!
 

· W221 & Audio Moderator
2015 S550
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11,244 Posts
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for doing some research before posting a question!

Go to the buying advice/reliability section at the bottom of the W220 S-Class Encyclopedia sticky at the top of this forum. I hope you will also find the Encyclopedia useful during your W220 ownership.

You will find comparisons of the S430 and S500 in the encyclopedia; for the S55, I'm afraid it will be individual searches. Owners of S55's love them for their power.

I don't drive and have never owned an E-Class, so I cannot advise; but again individual searches of the forum will get you comparisons with W220s from folks who have.

You're looking at the right years of the W220, with '03 and later, in terms of reliability.
 

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2006 Mercedes S55 AMG
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719 Posts
I am a little disheartend after reading this post.. I have an 00 S430 made in 03/00. Are these junk? The guy above said he would never buy an 00 with over 100k.. mine has 107k exactly.. the car looks great, seems great, just some plastic pieces broken in the interior which is the only sign I can see of any "abuse".. I called the dealer and they said all the recall's have been taken care of and the instrument cluster was replaced in 2001... that would be ten years now.. so does that mean it's still under warranty?

If the problems the early cars have, have been fixed with updated parts, are they still something to stay away from?

Thanks guys!
 

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Silver 2010 S550
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257 Posts
My '00 has 108k miles on it. I've put a bunch of $ into it but it's paid for and I still love the look of the car. No they are not junk. Just understand the first few years they made this model was a bit of trial and error for our German friends. Lots of errors. But it's a sweet ride and so affordable now. You can pick them up for $8k and look and feel like your driving a vehicle worth 10x that. Hard to resist. Just factor in $ for costly occasional repairs. Nothing's cheap with these.
 

· Outstanding Contributor - Always Remembered, RIP
Zotye Auto 1.5T T600 2016
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52,890 Posts
I am a little disheartend after reading this post.. I have an 00 S430 made in 03/00. Are these junk? The guy above said he would never buy an 00 with over 100k.. mine has 107k exactly.. the car looks great, seems great, just some plastic pieces broken in the interior which is the only sign I can see of any "abuse".. I called the dealer and they said all the recall's have been taken care of and the instrument cluster was replaced in 2001... that would be ten years now.. so does that mean it's still under warranty?

If the problems the early cars have, have been fixed with updated parts, are they still something to stay away from?

Thanks guys!
If the car has had all the upgrades done then you will have no major worries.
 

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Look Below besides my DH Mountain and XC bikes
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598 Posts
Defecting towards a newer W220 S class also...

So I may also be in the market for atleast an '02 S500 and up (model wise). Relatively not forthcoming in info with these as I am used to and love the older models.. I want to come across a non 4 Matic model if it does exist. Obviously I will do my research: Now everyone points out the Airmatic suspension which is a big achilles heel but to me is not that big of a deal. I would sort out the problem purchase price considered. My concern is the reliability of the powertrain and HVAC units. My W126s were/are darn near bulletproof. Everything it needs or needed was done in house sans the chain and guide jobs. That is just something I would never do on my own.. (You can't sue yourself for a botched job)..

I don't care for the basics..

Comfortable Ride.. Wheel and tire choices.. Out go the 16's or 17's and on will go 19's for the summer. Lowering module and upgraded suspension will firm up the ride
Performance...ECU work if applicable, catbacks, internal work.. In the persuit of more power
Exterior.. Factory-esque Lorinser kit to match.. Nothing gawdy or over the top.

Now, I have decided to downsize my fleet and look into something different.. I have had many W126 S classes and still do.. Some more special under the hood than others.. I am still considering the W210 E class chassis but I forego the W140 s class as I do not like the look of the car albeit is very solid.. Being that the case.. I just want something a bit newer in the fleet over the W126's

Thanks,
Chris....
 

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Mercedes W220 2001 S Class 320 CDI (Top Spec)
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3 Posts
I am a new member to the forum. I have recently purchased a 2001 Top Spec W 220 with all the bells and whistles included a 320 CDI in Dark Blue. At first, the car drove perfectly then .. unfortunately, it now looks as though I have been had. The car started to develop various electronic issues and being as sophisticated as the W 220 is these were not only annoying, but extremely expensive to finally put right! After various diagnostics from a Main Mercedes dealership, in my case Rivervale in Portslade Nr Brighton United Kindgdom, finally put right at a cost of pounds sterling £2.200. Good luck!
 

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2010 MERC W164, 2012 BMW F01 M-Sport
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32 Posts
OK, new here. Ihave been staring at the ad for a 2000 S500 that I went to see 4 days ago and am doing everything I can to restrain myself from pulling the trigger on this, my would be first MB.

I have a friend with a 2000 S600 and I love it. I commute about 80 miles a day, 90% 0f it interstate and I just want something nice but also something that already has taken the big depreciation hit due to the mileage I will be putting on.

This car is black on black, truly is immaculate, and looks like someone bought it and pampered it. I am hard on buying used cars and I truly cannot fine one cosmetic flaw. 42k orig. miles and clean car fax. I have read this thread and taken away a few things from it that I need to check out chiefly the recalls being up to date and the info regarding the air ride issues. I am curious if you guys have any other information you can impart to keep me from buying a basket case and if anyone has some real info on highway mileage I can expect I would appreciate that as well.

I can provide a link to the ad if someone would like to look and try to glean any more information that I am not versed enough in the make to share up front but I have not include it here as I don't want to look like some dealer or whatever.

Looking forward to feedback. TIA.
 

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2003 S500 4Matic w/staggered AMG five-spokes; replaced 1976 450 SEL
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30 Posts
Hi, hargate.

An S500 would suit your needs very well, but there are some cautions about this one.

2000 was the first year of the W220 (this generation of S-Class). With that year M-B made radical changes in its assembly and QC procedures that resulted in far lower reliability for the 2000-2002 cars than either in all earlier generations of S-Class cars (like my '76 450 SEL from which I got about 350k enjoyable miles) or in the 2003 and later W220s.

However, the car you're looking at (I found the ad on Auto Trader) does look extraordinarily clean and the Carfax indicates no calamities and lots of prompt dealer service over 40k miles, so this may be one of the reliable 2000s.

You're in an area that has winter weather. I mention this because you'll find that a car with 4Matic (M-B's all-wheel-drive system) will handle low-traction situations (including heay rain as well as snow or ice) better than one without, and 4Matic became available in S-Class cars starting with the 2003 model year.

If you go with the car you're looking at, consider dedicated winter tires for, say, January through March.

You're absolutely right to want to avoid the depreciation hit of a new car, but these are complex cars with expensive parts so you'll want to set aside some money for repairs that will be needed over time. My S500 now has just under 100k miles and is basically like new, but has had some parts (e.g., the crankshaft position sensor, the compressor for the air suspension) need to be replaced recently and I accept this as part of the deal with a high-mileage car.

Meanwhile, when I engage cruise control on my S500 and maintain 7x mph on a typical Interstate highway, I get a long-term average of 23-25 mpg. Remember though that these cars want premium (preferably 93 octane, though CA cars will cope with the CA 91-octane swill) fuel.

A small but useful point: the car you're looking at may have come with a special model of cell phone from Motorola which is now entirely obsolete, but can be replaced by a "puck" the same size as the phone which is a Bluetooth terminal to which any modern mobile phone can pair, enabling you to use the built-in hands-free phone features.

Good luck!
 

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2006 Mercedes S55 AMG
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719 Posts
Hi, hargate.

An S500 would suit your needs very well, but there are some cautions about this one.

2000 was the first year of the W220 (this generation of S-Class). With that year M-B made radical changes in its assembly and QC procedures that resulted in far lower reliability for the 2000-2002 cars than either in all earlier generations of S-Class cars (like my '76 450 SEL from which I got about 350k enjoyable miles) or in the 2003 and later W220s.

However, the car you're looking at (I found the ad on Auto Trader) does look extraordinarily clean and the Carfax indicates no calamities and lots of prompt dealer service over 40k miles, so this may be one of the reliable 2000s.

You're in an area that has winter weather. I mention this because you'll find that a car with 4Matic (M-B's all-wheel-drive system) will handle low-traction situations (including heay rain as well as snow or ice) better than one without, and 4Matic became available in S-Class cars starting with the 2003 model year.

If you go with the car you're looking at, consider dedicated winter tires for, say, January through March.

You're absolutely right to want to avoid the depreciation hit of a new car, but these are complex cars with expensive parts so you'll want to set aside some money for repairs that will be needed over time. My S500 now has just under 100k miles and is basically like new, but has had some parts (e.g., the crankshaft position sensor, the compressor for the air suspension) need to be replaced recently and I accept this as part of the deal with a high-mileage car.

Meanwhile, when I engage cruise control on my S500 and maintain 7x mph on a typical Interstate highway, I get a long-term average of 23-25 mpg. Remember though that these cars want premium (preferably 93 octane, though CA cars will cope with the CA 91-octane swill) fuel.

A small but useful point: the car you're looking at may have come with a special model of cell phone from Motorola which is now entirely obsolete, but can be replaced by a "puck" the same size as the phone which is a Bluetooth terminal to which any modern mobile phone can pair, enabling you to use the built-in hands-free phone features.

Good luck!
I have to laugh everytime I read this.. even someone else replying to me on this page of this thread says the same thing.. Everyone comes in here and repeats what they have read that the 00-02 are the first years and they are of lesser quality.. Actually the first W220 was built in 1998.. the first model year was 1999. Anyway, there were many items that have now been deemed, problematic, or defected. They have replaced the parts with new versions. Relays, airmatic struts, etc.. The 00-06 are built on the same framework.. if the 00 has had the parts in question replaced, they would be the upgrades, and thus no different than an 03 or later.. I am sorry but unless you found an 00 in a barn somewhere with the window sticker on it, which I am sure there is a few somewhere like that, I don't think you should have too much to worry about.. if anything, do the research on which parts were troublesome and check to see if they have been replaced with the new ones..
 

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2003 S500 4Matic w/staggered AMG five-spokes; replaced 1976 450 SEL
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30 Posts
Hi, Chris.

I'm glad you're amused, but I can't find any indication of a 1999 W220 sold in the USA. The cars the US M-B dealers were showing as '99 MY S-Classes were the chunky W140 variety. You may remember the 1999 S500 "Grand Edition" which was sold as the last hurrah of the W140; here's an example sold by Barrett-Jackson: 1999 MERCEDES-BENZ S500 Lot 700 | Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. Here are a couple more examples: 1999 MERCEDES BENZ S500 GRAND EDITION SEDAN; http://www.chttp://www.cannillomotorsports.com/pastinventory/s50099/s50099.htmannillomotorsports.com/pastinventory/s50099/s50099.htm Looks like 2000 was the first model year for W220 in the USA.

I agree with you that the dodgy parts in the earliest W220s (e.g., the air valves in the front struts) have generally been replaced by better ones. I also agree that the car hargate's ogling has gone enough miles for early problems to have been sorted out, particularly given its admirable history of dealer service. If not, replacing a blown part in that car should upgrade it to the newer design if there is one.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see a V60 puck among the features of your 2000 S430. This suggests that the car hargate's considering should also be able to use one and he can then have hands-free conversations while covering his 80-mile daily commute.
 

· Registered
2006 Mercedes S55 AMG
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719 Posts
Hi, Chris.

I'm glad you're amused, but I can't find any indication of a 1999 W220 sold in the USA. The cars the US M-B dealers were showing as '99 MY S-Classes were the chunky W140 variety. You may remember the 1999 S500 "Grand Edition" which was sold as the last hurrah of the W140; here's an example sold by Barrett-Jackson: 1999 MERCEDES-BENZ S500 Lot 700 | Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. Here are a couple more examples: 1999 MERCEDES BENZ S500 GRAND EDITION SEDAN; http://www.chttp://www.cannillomotorsports.com/pastinventory/s50099/s50099.htmannillomotorsports.com/pastinventory/s50099/s50099.htm Looks like 2000 was the first model year for W220 in the USA.

I agree with you that the dodgy parts in the earliest W220s (e.g., the air valves in the front struts) have generally been replaced by better ones. I also agree that the car hargate's ogling has gone enough miles for early problems to have been sorted out, particularly given its admirable history of dealer service. If not, replacing a blown part in that car should upgrade it to the newer design if there is one.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see a V60 puck among the features of your 2000 S430. This suggests that the car hargate's considering should also be able to use one and he can then have hands-free conversations while covering his 80-mile daily commute.
The US got the W220 for model 2000, but the car is a German car, and in Europe it was released for the 99 year model. The reason I brought this up is not very important, as one year model really means nothing, it was still too new at the US release to "know" anything about it's wear habits, but the 2000 model isn't the first year of this car.. and I have no doubt they fixed many things in the 2000 year model that was discovered on the 99 model release.

My Bluetooth puck works great. I have voice control, the address book on my command system, phone numbers on my gauge cluster, and it even tells me if and how many missed calls I have. I haven't played with the text messaging part, but I have seen the message alert come up before, and the other day I was in a no service area for Verizon and the gauge cluster displayed an error: TELE: NO SERVICE AREA
 

· W221 & Audio Moderator
2015 S550
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11,244 Posts
The US got the W220 for model 2000, but the car is a German car, and in Europe it was released for the 99 year model. The reason I brought this up is not very important, as one year model really means nothing, it was still too new at the US release to "know" anything about it's wear habits, but the 2000 model isn't the first year of this car.. and I have no doubt they fixed many things in the 2000 year model that was discovered on the 99 model release.

My Bluetooth puck works great. I have voice control, the address book on my command system, phone numbers on my gauge cluster, and it even tells me if and how many missed calls I have. I haven't played with the text messaging part, but I have seen the message alert come up before, and the other day I was in a no service area for Verizon and the gauge cluster displayed an error: TELE: NO SERVICE AREA
Chris, it would be great if MB had indeed responded that quickly and incorporated design changes into the MY '00 W220 in the U.S. - but they didn't respond that quickly. Go back to the early posts on this forum, and you'll see why the earlier model reliability issues are mentioned. You will also see that a lot of us would not classify them as "bad" cars - but they were certainly less reliable than either the W140s or the MY '03 and later. While improvements were made gradually, it was not until the '03 facelift version that many of the problems had been addressed - especially those dealing with telematics.

It is true that some improvements were incorporated into replacement parts, but then that is a hit or miss proposition.

You are quite correct to point out that the MB V60 puck Bluetooth retrofit works well - but that is true if one has a compatible PSE (they aren't all compatible), a cradle that fits the puck (the cradles prior to the V60S phone often do not) or if the car has been retrofitted with a Universal PSE, a cable for the puck, and the V60 puck. It can be hit or miss.

And you will find that many early MB systems (pre-2009) do not handle text messaging over Bluetooth. The plug-in phones would handle it, but not the BT systems. I find that to be no loss at all, but some might.

In addition to the reliability issues, the sticky offering buying advice highlights differences in the various model years of the cars; such information is also mentioned in the W220 Encyclopedia sticky.
 
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