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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I’m new to this forum and new to Mercedes in general. I hope I can get some guidance here. I’m in the process of getting a 2003 s430 with 187k. It had the suspension replaced at 159k and all other service record is available by seller. All from Mercedes dealerships. Seller is asking $2000 for it. Cosmetically it’s in good condition and interior is clean. Would you call this a fair price? What are things I should be concerned about. Thanks for all your help in advance.
 

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2003 S500
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Sounds like a good price, if there are no major "gotchas" that the owner knows about and you don't. There will be a long list of things to fix, most minor, hopefully none-to-a-few big ones...
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like a good price, if there are no major "gotchas" that the owner knows about and you don't. There will be a long list of things to fix, most minor, hopefully none-to-a-few big ones...
Thank you
 

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When you say it had the “suspension “ replaced I don’t think you mean the whole thing . The airmatic system alone consists of 4 struts, a valve body , a pump, hoses and sensors . Maybe one or two parts were replaced but to change the whole thing would be $10,000+ At a dealer . Further , all the parts that weren’t changed have 187k miles and are near end of life.

then besides the airmatic there are the bushings and Suspension arms, ball joints , control arms etc. again I doubt everything was changed front and rear as this would cost $5000+ at a dealer , and these too are at end of life by 187k and will need replacement

so you should provide us more detail on exactly what was changed when you say the suspension was replaced
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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That car is exactly the model of one of ours--2003 S430.

Agreed with both @wallyp and @tusabes. Just the parts alone, using OEM (Lemfoerder, etc.) brands, to overhaul the front suspension is about us $3,200 for a non-AIRmatic car. That's just the parts. The rear suspension takes a bit more effort because you have to lower the subframe to get at a couple of those control arms, and the parts for that are going to be about the same--$3,000 or so. So, that's $6,200 for just the parts. Note that a shop will add at least 50% to the above prices, and I've seen 1,000% for things like Lemfoerder ball joints.

Now add the labour. To do the front suspension takes me about 7.5 hours. The rear suspension would probably take me a day and a half. At an indy shop's rate of $125/hour, which is about the going rate for automotive shops in my area, that's about $2,500 in labor.

Those are indy shop rates. At the dealer, you can double the price of the parts because everything's MB-brand, and you can multiply the labour cost by about 1.5.

So, to replace the suspension is going to run anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on where you go. Because of that, a lot of people use the cheap "made in China" parts, also known around here as "Chinesium". So, re-check those maintenance receipts to make sure that everything really was done at the dealer. If so, then you got good parts and there should be no worries.

Even with all that, the price of $2,000 is quite good for a 2003, if the car looks good and drives well.
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #8
When you say it had the “suspension “ replaced I don’t think you mean the whole thing . The airmatic system alone consists of 4 struts, a valve body , a pump, hoses and sensors . Maybe one or two parts were replaced but to change the whole thing would be $10,000+ At a dealer . Further , all the parts that weren’t changed have 187k miles and are near end of life.

then besides the airmatic there are the bushings and Suspension arms, ball joints , control arms etc. again I doubt everything was changed front and rear as this would cost $5000+ at a dealer , and these too are at end of life by 187k and will need replacement

so you should provide us more detail on exactly what was changed when you say the suspension was replaced
The report says shock absorbers were replaced. Doesn’t give more detail.
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #9
That car is exactly the model of one of ours--2003 S430.

Agreed with both @wallyp and @tusabes. Just the parts alone, using OEM (Lemfoerder, etc.) brands, to overhaul the front suspension is about us $3,200 for a non-AIRmatic car. That's just the parts. The rear suspension takes a bit more effort because you have to lower the subframe to get at a couple of those control arms, and the parts for that are going to be about the same--$3,000 or so. So, that's $6,200 for just the parts. Note that a shop will add at least 50% to the above prices, and I've seen 1,000% for things like Lemfoerder ball joints.

Now add the labour. To do the front suspension takes me about 7.5 hours. The rear suspension would probably take me a day and a half. At an indy shop's rate of $125/hour, which is about the going rate for automotive shops in my area, that's about $2,500 in labor.

Those are indy shop rates. At the dealer, you can double the price of the parts because everything's MB-brand, and you can multiply the labour cost by about 1.5.

So, to replace the suspension is going to run anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on where you go. Because of that, a lot of people use the cheap "made in China" parts, also known around here as "Chinesium". So, re-check those maintenance receipts to make sure that everything really was done at the dealer. If so, then you got good parts and there should be no worries.

Even with all that, the price of $2,000 is quite good for a 2003, if the car looks good and drives well.
Thank you so much for the reply. Yes the car looks and drives great. But again I never drove a Mercedes so I don’t have a comparison. I’ve owned a couple 535xi before and an M3.
the paperwork only says sock absorbers were replaced.
 

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Are you just looking At. Carfax that says shock absorbers replaced ? That’s meaningless , it could just be one strut that failed

without seeing the actual repair invoice I can assure you the full suspension was not replaced
 

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2003 S500
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Hopefully, you will be able to drive and enjoy the car. If it turns out that bringing it up to the standard that you desire is too much work and/or money, you are into it for so little money that you should be able to recover much of the price of the car.

There will be a lot of things to do to the car. I just bought a 2003 S500 Designo that was "in really good shape except for one failed Airmatic strut", and so far the list of things that I want to fix is over twenty items - but I still feel good about the car and the price.
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #13
Hopefully, you will be able to drive and enjoy the car. If it turns out that bringing it up to the standard that you desire is too much work and/or money, you are into it for so little money that you should be able to recover much of the price of the car.

There will be a lot of things to do to the car. I just bought a 2003 S500 Designo that was "in really good shape except for one failed Airmatic strut", and so far the list of things that I want to fix is over twenty items - but I still feel good about the car and the price.
Awesome! I’m so glad that I have reached out to get some guidance here. Your advice has been a lot of help and I’m much more confident now and will move forward with my purchase. I will definitely ask more questions if something comes up and I hope I can share some positive experience.
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #14
Are you just looking At. Carfax that says shock absorbers replaced ? That’s meaningless , it could just be one strut that failed

without seeing the actual repair invoice I can assure you the full suspension was not replaced
Yes I was referring to CarFax. Thanks for the clarification.
 

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2003 S430 W220
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Discussion Starter #15
Are you just looking At. Carfax that says shock absorbers replaced ? That’s meaningless , it could just be one strut that failed

without seeing the actual repair invoice I can assure you the full suspension was not replaced
I can possibly reach out to the dealership once I get the car to get a detail invoice.
 

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2005 SL65 plus 13 other non MB toys
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If you have a decent relationship with the dealer, they can print you off a history by providing your VIN. Mine did ?
 

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2005 S600
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My dad was known to say, "There is no car more expensive than a cheap Mercedes"...

So, with 187K on this, you will have things that need to be repaired. If you can do this yourself, and you are willing to invest in a Star Diagnostic System clone, so that you have access to all of Mercedes' workshop and service information, and will be able to test/diagnose yourself, then this could be a worthwhile car.

I love the W220. Love the looks. Love how it drives. Love the feel.

But if you're looking for a low cost ownership experience, and you can't do the work yourself, then you may be in for disappointment.
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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^^ Couldn't have put it better. Good idea to start investing in some decent socket wrenches, extensions, and sockets. And double-plus-good on the recommendation to get Star Diagnostic System. You will need it.

A W220 in "good repair" is not only a wonderful thing to drive, it is also surprisingly low maintenance.
 

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W220 Moderator
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6,322 Posts
My dad was known to say, "There is no car more expensive than a cheap Mercedes"...

So, with 187K on this, you will have things that need to be repaired. If you can do this yourself, and you are willing to invest in a Star Diagnostic System clone, so that you have access to all of Mercedes' workshop and service information, and will be able to test/diagnose yourself, then this could be a worthwhile car.

I love the W220. Love the looks. Love how it drives. Love the feel.

But if you're looking for a low cost ownership experience, and you can't do the work yourself, then you may be in for disappointment.
^^ Couldn't have put it better. Good idea to start investing in some decent socket wrenches, extensions, and sockets. And double-plus-good on the recommendation to get Star Diagnostic System. You will need it.

A W220 in "good repair" is not only a wonderful thing to drive, it is also surprisingly low maintenance.
Absolutely +1 and whilst I'm not noted for having nothing else to say ................

I can add nothing else, these 2 posts say it all, (I should make a stickie of them :rofl)
 
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