Comments on 2004 Mercedes S430 ~100K miles

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Hilarious thread, Vikas! I can always count on you to deliver some entertainment to this board while stirring up the pot a little.
 
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Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Originally Posted By: surfstar
A stupid, stupid purchase. LS430 if you "need" something in that class. The maintenance/upkeep costs of the largest Benz would be akin to a boat.
Affluent folks that buy a Benz can also afford to have it repaired...
Yes, the classic quote is that it's not so much being able to afford to buy one, it's being able to afford to have it repaired. My boss has an Audi and he's always lamenting how it's always at least about $1000 whenever he takes it to the dealer and that's all he does, everything done at the dealer, he does nothing himself. But there are things that can be DIY and if you go on the Mercedes forums, there's lots of stories of people getting quotes of $5-6k just for basic maintenance which could probably be done DIY for less than 1k. Dealers are expensive no matter which brand you go with.
 
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Affluent people buy them new under warranty. Wife had the 2001 e320 bought new by her affluent sister. We were stranded in it 100 miles from home, had to have it repaired at the nearest dealer. It took them 3 weeks and the trans computer had to be ordered from Germany, not one correct part in the USA. VIN specific parts. This car had 60k on it. They replaced two computers and electronics to the tune of several thousand $$. Not only that, but the dealer said her "flex plate" was going to go bad soon, keep in touch basically. The dealer gave her discounts on the parts and labor, but it just costs a lot. Weeks after that we were stuck in a parking lot, wouldn't start. The computer interface needs Mercedes software to diagnose things I was told. The engine takes over 8 qts of oil, even on the v6. When I replaced the voltage regulator in the alternator, things were better until the car was gone to another party about 20K later. There is a reason 60-100k cars new, sell so cheap used. I wasn't impressed with anything about that car. I would take something like a Toyota Avalon in every way.
 
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The Mercedes merger with Chrysler wasn't good for QC and their rankings dropped. Things got better afterwards and they're back up there. I think you have to research the specific car and see what problems are typical and the solutions. Also QC tended to be better on their more expensive models, but of course they also had more fancy things to break. I think they had the most problems with the C class and their SUVs which is what caused them to drop in the rankings. You also don't have to get them new under warranty, they had 4 years 50k warranties on them and if it still had a bit of the original warranty left you could buy extended warranties for up to 7 years and up 125k. The Mercedes warranty is probably the best out there, 3rd party warranties are more limited and sometimes there are stories of having to fight the warranty company because they exclude certain things. The expensive part of a Benz is that typically they didn't sell that many of them so for certain items, there's no aftermarket so you're stuck paying dealer prices.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Originally Posted By: Vikas
This will be a daily driver and expected to run for another 100K+ and 10+ years without much drama and without putting me in the poor house or worse, the boss putting me in the dog house for this purchase!
Keep dreaming Vikas! crackmeup A Mercedes would be one of the last cars I'd ever buy. Start pricing some things out, call up some dealers or mechanics and say "I've got a 2004 Mercedes S430 and I need a new radio" or "I would like to buy a new door panel" or "price for replacing a thermostat"
This is what I do when considering a newer car.
 
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Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Originally Posted By: surfstar
A stupid, stupid purchase. LS430 if you "need" something in that class. The maintenance/upkeep costs of the largest Benz would be akin to a boat.
Affluent folks that buy a Benz can also afford to have it repaired...
Yes. And my point still stands. smile
 

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Getting back to the topic and doing some research online, it does look like W221 is supposed to be significantly better than W220 at least in term of the reliability. Obviously, there is significant price differential between the initial purchase price even at the same mileage (due to age and the newer model) but that might be better alternative. Whoever provided the URL for vin decoding; thank you! This particular vehicle supposed to have the auto closure. Obviously either it is broken or disabled. That is one strike against it.
 

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How does equivalent LS430 compares this one? I am already assuming that there is no contest in terms of reliability but still actual repairs, parts etc would be similar in complexity? I recall that at least on LS400, starter replacement is many hours of work.
 

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Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
It would probably be less expensive to buy a 5-series bimmer of the same age. Heck, you could get a 2003 530i that would be far more forgiving on the maintenance side as an alternative smile
S430 is the same class with 740i, not 530i. My BIL had 2005 530i for 4-5 years, he had many parts failed in the years he had it, he could not keep up with repairs/maintenance he got rid of it 2 years ago. My 2000 E430 had less than 1/2 his problems, it was in garage 2-3 times the last 5 years for minor problems. If you're lucky you may have a reliable MB car, if not then you're in for big trouble. If you buy either MB or BMW at that vintage, don't forget to obtain a fluid extractor to do oil change, ATF, brake ...
2005 would have been a Bengle car, so yeah, that's why I said 2003 wink I have no experience with the 7's, that's why I recommended a 5'er.
 
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Have you visited any Mercedes boards? You'll find the guys with good answers there. We've had four Benzes and found them to be very inexpensive cars to own, but we've never had a modern full-zoot S-class, so I have no idea. Ask yourself this, though. If Mercedes cars really were that bad, would people with money still buy them, especially since much of the cache the brand once had has been washed away?
 
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W220 is a great car, if you are able to DIY you can keep them going reasonable. But do not expect normal car levels of upkeep. Have a PPI done and see what they come up with. The trick with Mercedes is unless you really know Mercedes and what to look for even a ragged out example will seem like a nice looking good driving car. So if you don't hire. Find an enthusiast recommended shop or a dealer and have a PPI done, dealers charge around $250.
 
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Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
It would probably be less expensive to buy a 5-series bimmer of the same age. Heck, you could get a 2003 530i that would be far more forgiving on the maintenance side as an alternative smile
Buy an Accord or Camry for the same money.
I'd rather eat a .45 than drive a FWD dishwasher for 100k. Life's short and you can always make more money.
 
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Originally Posted By: Vikas
We are still talking about rear wheel drive S430; not AMG or V12 beast here! This is almost like bread and butter for MB! I have a feeling that Doug was talking about one of those cars. But you guys know me better than myself. I am the one who bought Acura instead of CPO BMW couple of years ago; so you know my risk tolerance. I will know for sure but I suspect the vehicle already has been converted with Arnott. I will have to confirm that before even thinking about purchasing it. I can get third party extended warranty for the car. At this stage I do not know the cost of it. As you know, I am not the type of the person to purchase extended warranty but I may have to make an exception in this case.
Quote:
The W220 is a good car, actually, it's an awesome car with incredible ride, handling and luxury, but the air suspension is approaching the age of major work. You'll get to know Arnott Suspension, that rebuilds the struts for half of dealer cost, but still $600 each. Engine is bulletproof. Transmission is the NAG 1 - you'll want to change the filter, fluid and connector plug. Driveshaft will likely need new bearings and flex discs. Brakes are straightforward. OEM pads work great but dust heavily. The brake fluid is often neglected, leading to expensive component replacement. The big issue with the W220 is the body/systems. EG: close assist on doors leak...then fail, stressing the PSE pump...which then fails, and costs $400.
Thanks for great information! Trunk flew open when I pressed the opener button. Should it have a damper or something? By the way, is there a typo about repair cost? $400 is peanuts for *any* S class repair :-) I did not notice close assistance on the doors. May be it did not have that option? The dealer showed me the older one which he demonstrated the door closer. Trunk flew open when I pressed the opener button. Should it have a damper or something? We already have our Accord/Camry actually the Acura which we are keeping. This will be an extra car.
If the doors don't suck in, they are already broke. Again PPI, PPI, PPI. How mechanically inclined are you? Mercedes are very easy to work on so if you can spin a wrench and for example change air shocks yourself they are not suck a big deal. If your the kind of person that can barely check the oil than you will be spending more. Another benefit to working on Mercedes is they have the best parts support in the industry and a lot of their parts are very reasonable priced. You can also get the parts manuals and FSM's fairly cheaply threw ripped DVD's. Lastly typically the drive train doesn't matter. Mercedes makes some of the best engines and gear boxes around so they very rarely give any trouble. Its the rest of the car that soaks up the money. Quite frankly I'd spend a bit more and look for an S55K, they are the best performance bargain going right now. $10k-$12k will snag a very nice example, where else can you get a 4 door that with a few mods will crack 200mph? When shopping find an example that has the fewest possible owners with the thickest stack of service records. Paying more for a one owner car that was maintained perfectly is money very well spent.
 
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Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
Where does the price of this car place the risk/reward gamble?
Gigantic risk, little to no reward. Buy a GS300, take the rest of the cash, and put it on the #5 dog in the second race Saturday--you'll have a better shot at keeping it.
 
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I don't know if the S-class has the same type of Sensotronic Brake as the E-Class, but if it does, it is programmed to set an error at something like 300,000 stop cycles. It's to "protect" the motor that may still be working fine. Mercedes Benz will want to sell you an entirely new SBC/ABS pump. Some companies will service the SBC Then there's the PSE vacuum pump. I've been blamed for that failing too. Over a year after I installed on the car and it's somehow my fault that a vacuum pump failed! Dealer charged him over $1000 to replace.
 
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Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
It would probably be less expensive to buy a 5-series bimmer of the same age. Heck, you could get a 2003 530i that would be far more forgiving on the maintenance side as an alternative smile
Buy an Accord or Camry for the same money.
Especially if you want a sublime driving experience!
 
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Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
It would probably be less expensive to buy a 5-series bimmer of the same age. Heck, you could get a 2003 530i that would be far more forgiving on the maintenance side as an alternative smile
Buy an Accord or Camry for the same money.
I'd rather eat a .45 than drive a FWD dishwasher for 100k. Life's short and you can always make more money.
Precisely.
 
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