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Bad Buy 500SL?

Discussion in 'Engine, Drivetrain, Fuel and Exhaust' started by Windsurf1, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Windsurf1

    Windsurf1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
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    Location:
    Braunton.Devon,UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 500SL/ V8
    Since owning my 2004 500SL I’ve carried out correct preventive maintenance. It has done 59K. Reading references to ABC/SBC system problems, pumps, valve blocks and suspension struts etc I keep wondering if I was foolish in buying a 500SL rather than the 3.7 Litre? I appreciate that forums do reflect owners with problems but is the 500 a car that is a future money pit? I have to say coming from a R129 the 500SL is a lovely vehicle to drive and the V8 an inch I had to scratch! My thoughts now turn to the gearbox. At present the gearbox is performing perfectly as is the rest of the car. My respected indie' who will be carrying out the servicing has suggested that if the gearbox oil looks clean and doesn't smell, leave well alone. Mercedes want £300+ to change the gearbox oil. I'm into preventive maintenance having carried out an ABC oil/filter change and Malcom's rear wheel arch rustproofing procedure. Basically are these cars a bad buy? Thanks for any replies. Cheers J C.
     
  2. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,464
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    92
    Location:
    Midlands, not east or west but middle.
    Your Mercedes:
    '93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
    Its only a bad buy if you don't feel you are getting the enjoyment from it you feel the price should provide.
    If you're enjoying it then its a great buy.
     
  3. Gkinghorn

    Gkinghorn Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,454
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    Location:
    Bournemouth
    Your Mercedes:
    E350 CDI Cabriolet - 2011
    No ... but they can be expensive to repair when things go wrong . If all is good it's a sublime car and you should have many years of trouble free motoring ...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  4. OP
    Windsurf1

    Windsurf1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Braunton.Devon,UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 500SL/ V8
    Agreed LostKiwi. However, with a vehicle when new costing 60k+ having a braking system prone to failure by components having a finite life and suspension strut ball joints that can't be replaced I'm wondering does this tarnish the ownership appeal? What's the forum's thoughts on my "Indies" rational on gearbox oil changes? J C.
     
  5. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,567
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    The ball joints can be repaired, Star Motor Services in Reading will do this for £80/ corner.

    Agree with everything LK said, it's your enjoyment that is the defining factor. Was my CL a bad buy? Having spent 4x the purchase price on getting everything fixed up, yes it was. But if I keep it in good nick now and I can get 10 years of driving out of it, it'll be no more expensive than any other secondhand car has ever been for me. Swings and roundabouts.
     
  6. SL55 Mark

    SL55 Mark Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,068
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    Location:
    South
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 SL55 AMG
    This is incorrect. I had mine done by Ian (Star) in Reading for £100. He injects them with Resin to repair them if they become worn.


    I would agree with your Indie 100%. I think you're worrying about stuff that may never happen, and potentially worrying others too :D.

    I have had no problems with my 2004 SL55 in 4 years and 25,000 miles other than tyre and brake pads/discs which are servicing items.

    How many miles a year do you do in it would you say ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  7. SL55 Mark

    SL55 Mark Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
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    Location:
    South
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 SL55 AMG

    Sorry the braking system is not prone to "failure". That seems a little dramatic. The SBC pump can be replaced, or reprogrammed if you choose. I made contingency for this potential cost when I bought the car, not to do so would have been foolish. To date it has not happened, and it may not for many many more miles.

    Incidentally I believe the 3.7 SL you refer to has the same issue ? (Could be wrong).
     
  8. Flyinspanner

    Flyinspanner Senior Member

    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Ruislip
    Your Mercedes:
    CL500 -W215, A140-W168
    Maybe your indie is just saying you don't have to change it if it's clear, smells ok.

    However, preventative maintenance is no bad thing either, and keeping the auto box clean will help extend its life.
    I would ask your local indie what he will charge for the fluid & filter for the box.
     
  9. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,567
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    the SL350 still has SBC but it lacks ABC...
     
  10. OP
    Windsurf1

    Windsurf1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Braunton.Devon,UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 500SL/ V8
    Thanks for the constructive replies. Yes I am aware of the strut repairs to the bottom ball joint and the unlikelihood of SBC pump failure, also fitted on the 3.7 Ltr? I usually cover less than 5k a year so hopefully, on the current 59k I've got a few years incident free motoring!:) I concur with the oil change on the gearbox and will see what my "Indie" will charge. After all he is a "Porkie'" Indie as well! J C.
     
  11. brick10

    brick10 Senior Member

    Messages:
    867
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    2
    Location:
    Ely Camb.
    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 280 AMG
    I sold mine before it could go Wrong!
     
  12. Wighty

    Wighty Senior Member

    Messages:
    705
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    20
    Location:
    Sunny Essex
    Your Mercedes:
    W211/E320cdi/2009 and CLK200k 2009
    I'm voting against your Indy over the gearbox ATF and filter change ...I'm guessing he isn't a Merc specialist Indy . The change is done at 35-40000 miles and many on here will also keep doing it at this repeat mileage ( including me ) . You really do feel the difference and for the price...don't get a main dealer to do it and you should save £100 getting a Merc Indy to do it , even if you have to travel a bit to get it done .
    £200 for the oil change or £4000 for the gearbox .:p
     
  13. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,567
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    Ahh you chose poorly... you know you did!
     
  14. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Your Mercedes:
    ML350 (W166) / SL500 (R230)
    Where's the fun in that? :D
     
  15. John Laidlaw

    John Laidlaw Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,242
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    107
    Location:
    Wirral
    Your Mercedes:
    W212 E63 AMG V8 Biturbo
    Just to add to the case...Bit like Craig, not so bad though. I've had my SL500 for 9 months, I bought it as a 'known' vehicle which helped and I also made a provision to put aside to bring the car up to a standard I wanted it. I've spent c30% of the original purchase price. If I sold it now id lose all that and more for sure. In other words Ive invested beyond its probable value.
    However thats not been the point for me. I now have a cracking car which will keep me happy for 5-10 years. Hopefully apart from a UB I have on order, remap arranged for February and inevitably 4 x new summer tyres 2017 should be considerably cheaper than 2016 was!
    And to add, yes I've had both front struts resin repaired successfully.
    Also had a brand new NSR strut fitted too (original MB)...this was one of the items I hadn't actually budgeted for /was unexpected along with a front passenger SAM and a front grille
    All the other stuff Ive done has been proactive/improvements or (like you), preventative maintenance (including ABC fluid change and rodeo after the strut repairs)
    Bad buy? Not for me
    The ATF fluid change is up to you really just maybe extra cost you dont need
     
  16. OP
    Windsurf1

    Windsurf1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Braunton.Devon,UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 500SL/ V8
    Thanks for all the helpful and reasuring replies.Yes, each time I drive my 500SL I fully appreciate the build quality and the V8 grunt. The real reason for the purchase. Being an avaition engineer I know the value of preventive maintenance and will get the gearbox oil changed as you all indicate, thankyou. I've been fortunate in choosing a car with a good service history and sympathetic past owners. As one post stated, G/Box oil change, £100+, G/Box replacement £5k. No contest. Cheers all J C.
     
  17. brick10

    brick10 Senior Member

    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ely Camb.
    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 280 AMG
    It could be expensive fun.
     
  18. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,567
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W212 E220 AMG Night Edition; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    Don't forget the ABC. Every morning, look in the mirror and repeat three times, "20k or two years". That is the empirically- derived fluid change interval that you must stick to religiously... £300 max for fluid & filters, dependent on how much you want to flush through clean before stopping.
     
  19. OP
    Windsurf1

    Windsurf1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Braunton.Devon,UK
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 500SL/ V8
    Just completed the ABC fluid and filter change Craiglxviii. In fact the removed fluid was surprisingly clean. Perhaps it was changed prior to my purchase although not recorded? JC.
     
  20. Naraic

    Naraic Moderator

    Messages:
    8,443
    Likes Received:
    8
    Your Mercedes:
    2005 CL500.
    My "touching wood" post.

    Unlike Craig I've had my CL for 8 months and all I've had to do so far was replace the COMAND...but I made money on that.

    I did the brakes all round...but I don't think that counts as a "problem".

    So far, so good.
     

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