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W164 GL450, W221 S550, R230 SL600TT, R170 SLK230, W140 S500, More
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Yes, a salvage title doesn't always doom a car to junk. Just keep records of the repair and what parts are involved. I own a Maserati that has a salvage title because the previous owner took it to a detail shop where the idiots used the wrong chemical to clean the interior and the dash leather bubbled, it looks like moon craters. In fact, I tell people it's a "Craters of The Moon" special edition, LoL. Because of the incredible cost to replace the dash (It's just the top surface of the dash right near the windshield, new dash from Maserati is thousands) they elected to have a salvage title. In three years of ownership it's never needed a thing other than gas and oil-and-filter changes. Looks, runs and drives as new. I know this isn't a maserati forum, but next to that car in the garage are four Benzes. They all get along famously together.
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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OK, I'd like to see a picture of this "crater of the Moon" appearance, if you've got one. Sounds like it could be pretty cool if "done right". :)
 

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2003 S500
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Discussion Starter #25
There are some problems with fixing it...

I live in Georgia. The state made some major changes in the applicable laws a few years ago. As a result, the insurance companies have a great deal more power in this particular area now, and once you report the accident, and it is on your own "comprehensive" insurance coverage, they almost have total authority over whether or not the car is totaled. It is possible to over-ride them, but it certainly isn't easy. In this case, I haven't got too much of a chance without a lawsuit.

The estimated repair cost is about $6000. The value of the car, according to them, is about $2600. My first guess of the value was $3000 - $3500. That would have been about right - until their computer program (the standard used by almost all of the insurance companies, thus very hard to beat) factored in the $1200 reduction for 255,000 miles. Even if I could get the value up and the repair cost down, it ain't gonna happen.

If the car is totaled, and I want to buy it back, the insurance company is required by law to send the full estimate of the damages, the title and the license plate to the DMV. The DMV can, at their option, then issue a salvage title. The damage must be repaired by a certified shop, with a full report on all repairs. Upon their certification that all structural and functional repairs are properly completed, but before the final paint and trim work is done, the car must be inspected by one of the few (I think five, but not sure) certified inspectors covering the entire state (the largest state East of the Mississippi). You cannot drive the vehicle to the inspector. You have to either tow/trailer the vehicle to the inspector, or pay whatever the inspector charges for travel expenses and time if he comes to you. If he finds something that he doesn't like, you start over.

The manager (my niece's husband) of the very large Toyota dealership body shop that has the car, feels very strongly that it isn't even close to being worth the hassle, and says that the usual time to work thru the program is six months to a year...

While I appreciate and understand everyone's input, screw it - I'm seventy-seven years old, and in the middle of a major move, trying to reduce three houses full of fifty year's worth of crap to one house, and the same for my woodworking shop and garage. Life's too short to buy into that repair job. I'll just take my $2600 check and write the car and the experience off, and start looking for the next car. Since the two of us currently have four daily-driving vehicles (five more sitting around waiting to be restored "any day now" - I just sold three others), it's not like I will have to walk anywhere.

Hopefully, I will be able to find a good deal on a nice S-Class within a reasonable time - in the meantime, I will try to check in as often as possible. Thanks, folks!
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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Ouch...yeah, sorry to hear about Georgia's new laws with this. That's pretty messed up. Given that situation, your course of action seems most reasonable, indeed. Seems like it's a royal PITA to even keep the car as a parts car, given those new laws.

Virginia's laws are much easier to deal with. The repairs don't have to be done by a "certified" shop. The state inspector (a Virginia State Policeman) looks at the car after it's had the standard state safety inspection (same one we have to have every year). The inspector looks at the receipts for the purchase of the car and the parts to repair said car, I'm guessing to make sure nothing was stolen. Looks under the hood, does a (reasonable) overall look-over, and if everything's in order, you're done.
 

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2003 S500
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Discussion Starter #30
Well, things have progressed...
Synopsis: Our 2003 S430 was savagely attacked by a deer, and ended up a total loss. The insurance payout will be $2517.25. I am not interested in repairing it.

I found a 2003 S500 Designo not too far away that was for sale by a little old lady. (Seriously.) Her baby has 181k, looks good, really, really nice interior with more options, such as the reclining rear seats, heated, cooled, massage, prime leather. Clean wheels, fairly new Continentals, factory HID projectors.

The SRS light is on, the check engine light is on, the AC light is on, there is a display glitch at the bottom of the COMAND screen, and the left rear strut has failed. Looks like reasonable risks.

The car was offered for a pretty low price, with "reasonable offers will be considered" in the ad. I offered $2650, and the offer was accepted. One reason was that this was the excuse that the family had wanted to get the lady to stop driving...

A friend and I jacked the car and stuck a home-made support block (a cut-down Harbor Freight rubber wheel chock) between the suspension and the chassis, and I drove it about 75 miles home, getting 26.2 mpg. Between us doing a major house/shop move and Christmas (which is a big deal for my family), I have had no time to do anything to the car so far. Looks like fun to come.
 

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Hi @wallyp ,

Sounds like the same method I use for buying my Cars, visible and obvious faults = negotiation ...............
I of course would have started at 2400 and worked upwards if needs be 馃ぃ

Nice score, lets be 'avin' some pictures when you get a chance ;)

She will likely be a gorgeous Car once you have spent a little time fettling her ;)

I look forward to hearing your progress updates ;)
 

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Sounds like all you need is a strut , seat occupancy sensor , new fluids and filters , the check engine is likely plugs wires and coils , and maybe a maf /cps /oxygen sensor .
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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Good work, Wally! Also looking forward to seeing the pics.

That's actually very similar to how I got our '03 S430, three years ago. Seller was asking $3,250. It had good bones, just needed the stuff that any car with 139K miles needed, including AIRmatic pump and right spring. Small (easily fixable) ding in the front, otherwise in decent shape for its age. No rust. I offered $3,000 cash and presented a roll of money. We signed over the title and I drove it home that night. :) Got working on it the next weekend.

That car is now our most commonly driven car. It's just that good.
 

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2003 S500
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2,479 Posts
Discussion Starter #34
My first guess on the Check Engine light, based upon no information at all, is the Secondary Air Injection System.

Ran into some interesting information today - Arnott no longer sell rebuilt struts to individuals. You have to find a local (or on-line) vendor and buy the struts from them. The Lifetime Warranty is still in effect, handled thru the selling vendor. Core return is also handled by the vendor.

FPCEuro sells the rear W220 strut for $316. I couldn't find out how long delivery takes, so I bought from my local Autozone for $343.99 plus $60.00 core charge, plus tax. They promised one-day delivery.

Another interesting item was the console cup holder. My S430 had the pop-up cup holder, and the S500 has the empty hole where it should be. Several years ago, used units were very rare and very expensive, usually $2 - $300. Today, you can buy a brand-new pop-up cup holder from China for $75 delivered. The vendor promises that it is an exact copy of the original, and it has a one-year warranty.
 

W220 Moderator
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Hi @wallyp ...............

I don't wanna p on your Chinesium Bonfire, but I broke a Headlamp Washer Jet when I refitted my Bumper a while back, couldn't find a used one, Chinesium Vendor promised the 拢10 EBay item was an exact copy, so I bought it ..............

It did look identical on a first inspection, but it didn't clip in properly and securely, and when I hit the Headlamp Washers Button it shot out up in the air like a missile :(
Also, when we held it in place no Washer Fluid Came out of the nozzles, closer inspection revealed it was nowhere near an exact copy either.

I contacted the seller who told me all the usual [email protected] about how I'd fitted it wrong, I didn't do the "Washer Jet Dance" etc etc at which point I threw it in the bin and told "Hop Sing Lotus Flower" exactly what part of female genitalia he was and exactly where he should go stick his head 馃ぃ

I then paid 拢45.00 ish for a new one from MB, which clipped right in tight and works perfectly ;) ....................

Chinesium and exact copy .................... Nah !!

Don't do it ;)

HTH,
 

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2003 S500
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2,479 Posts
Discussion Starter #36
Yep, know the risks.

But - the cup holders are not available used any more, and were very expensive when last seen. I don't remember now what the new dealer cost was, but it was enough seven or eight years ago that I wasn't willing to pay to play. And this is not a life-threatening failure if it doesn't work.

So, I'll see if Wun Hung Lo made a good copy...
 

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I hear you ;)

I'll see if I have more than 1 Spare, if I do we'll talk postage ;)
 
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