C16 RKC's Project 2003 CL500 (and other stragglers)

c16rkc

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
Hi everyone, my name is Chris and I am the proud owner of a very sickly 2003 CL500...

I found this forum by accident, and stumbled upon a fellow CL500 owners thread. I was so impressed by his content I felt compelled to post how impressed I was. But then he said "I look forward to reading about your car"... I took that as an invite ;)

So I should explain I love cars of all models; not just Mercedes ones. I used to be a die hard Jaguar fan in my teens, but that subsided in the early 2010's when their line up started to deteriorate. These days there is nothing in Jaguar's line up that interests me in the slightest, but these are some of my past Jaguars and Daimlers.

Me posing with my first Jag (I was 21 years old):



My 3rd jag:



My 4th (this time a 4.0 litre V8 Daimler):



My 5th - a Supercharged 400bhp model:



My 7th - sadly a Diesel... but it seems to get us all in the end.



Sadly that one came to untimely end... that's me in 2018 staring at it as it's towed away...



I can imagine many of you are now deeply offended by the Jaguar content... but do not worry I also love Mercedes models. But before I tell you about those I am afraid things are about to get worse.... these are some of the other random cars I have owned:

Peugeot 405 (this is not the actual car, the one car I have no photos of):



BMW 5 series:



BMW 7 series:



Renault Clio (Oh the shame...):



Toyota Supra:



...to be continued...
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
But now you can all stop grinding your teeth... as I have also been the proud owner of:

Mercedes S430L:



In fact Lindsey and me had "his" and "hers" models (hers was an S500) both on LPG:



More his and her's models, this time both S320CDi:





I did a lot of work on this car, even had an Android head unit:











Mercedes S500 W216 (2009 model):





Oh I miss that car...

Then this is what is on my drive at the moment:

My wife's Lexus:



My BMW 730d (up for sale at present) with my son Aston posing in front last year:



Audi A6 my daily driver:



Daimler Super V8:

(this car has undergone a lot of work... I can post a bit about it if people are interested?)



Then the "pièce de résistance", the CL500:



So that brings us up to date. Only thing I'll add is that I live with my wife Lindsey, and my two boys Aston (Born in 2017) and Spencer (Born in 2021). The boys seem to appear whenever I am working on the cars!

Next post I'll start explaining about the CL500!
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
A quick bit of background info

I won't bore you all with the details, but my son Aston was diagnosed with Leukemia in December 2019. We were then in hospital with him until March 2020, which he started the remainder of his Chemotherapy which is expected to last until April 2023.

In 2019 I had a few cars on the drive (The Daimler, A Range Rover Sport, a Mercedes W216 CL500, and a BMW 730d), but when Aston was diagnosed, the nurses painted quite a bleak picture, and it sounded like we might both have to give up our jobs/careers. Therefore in a matter or a couple of months I sold everything, and we ended up with a Peugeot 508, and an Audi A6 estate. My CL500 was in stunning condition with Distronic, Keyless go, Massage seats, and the extended Nappa leather package - I foolishly sold it for just £6,000 in desperation to clear out the drive.

Because of lockdown, Aston and me spent the summer of 2020 in the garden working on the Daimler. Then I stopped working from home and went back to the office in the Autumn, and we realised that the financial strain was no-where near as bad as we had expected.





Our son Spencer was born in February 2020.



Aston and Spencer hit it off straight away, and they are thick as thieves to this day. I am well aware than I am in for a lot of trouble as these two boys get older...





Come March 2020 and I was sick of the Audi, and sick of the Peugeot. So I treated Lindsey to the Lexus, and me to the BMW. Things were calm and tranquil for the next few months... but sadly I am an irresponsible car addict and it did not last long....
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
The Mercedes CL500 joins our family

Exact details of how our CL500 unexpectedly came to be, remain a closely guarded secret, wrapped in an enigma or riddles. But as far as my wife knows this video shows what happened:


I occasionally do videos for a bit of fun, but do not worry I also post lots of pictures for those who are not a fan of YouTube.

For those not gullible enough to buy my cover story, and willing to keep a secret... these are a couple of the photos I saw before purchase:





I noticed the Nappa leather, and the Keyless Go, the car looked in reasonable condition and claimed to be a good runner with plenty of history. The only negative was that the ABC suspension warning came up from time to time, and the seller noted they have a new pump in the boot.

I foolishly thought ABC was the same thing as the Air suspension my W220's had, and a new pump therefore did not scare me... :rolleyes:

I got overexcited and made a bid in the last few seconds of the auction, not expecting to win it. When I did win it there was a sudden realisation I had to own up to Lindsey I had bought another car! :oops:

I collected the car in September, and as I had taken the train I had to swap it for my own car at the train station and leave it there for a night until I could collect it with my wife. Here it is that proud night:







Aston and me had some fun taking it for a drive in the first week, but I quickly realised it not only had a suspension fault, but also needed some serious love and attention.

I sent it to my favourite Mercedes specialist, Alex Crow in Stowmarket. Sadly although he let me book it in, knowing it needed work to the ABC and had the engine management light on, he seemed to change his mind on the morning and told me I would need to collect it back that afternoon when he had looked at it; I had to change my plans so that I could get back which did annoy me. He said a lot of horrid things about the W215, explaining that the owners do not tend to be very happy people.

He made himself scarce when I came to pick the car up, and I dealt with one of his technicians, but he had phoned me earlier in the day to explain he did not want to carry out any work on the car. His technician said it could be a good car, but needed between £1K and £2K spending on it.

So at this point I was assuming I had bought a complete Lemon, and this was Alex's indirect way of telling me to sell it - so I phoned and asked him. 🍋

He said there was nothing particularly scary about my car in particular, other than the things we knew about, but that it was a business decision that he did not want to work on these cars... He said that the W215 was a very problematic and unreliable car. I can only assume he has had a bad experience with another W215 owner, but I was rather annoyed he had left me in the lurch like this, and I will never use his services again. Why let me book the car in when he was going to refuse to work on it. I can only assume he let his guard down because he knew me, and I have been using his services since 2011, but then changed his mind.

So anyway...

I intended to book the Mercedes in at another garage, but Aston became ill shortly afterwards, and the rest of the year quickly disappeared. Aston got out of hospital a few days before Christmas 2021. Here's Aston enjoying his toys while the poor Mercedes lies neglected at home....

20220102-095328.jpg


By December 2021 the Mercedes was sulking at the bottom of it's ABC struts...
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
A home for our cars

In 2021 I started planning a home for our cars.

It was obvious the W215 would need a lot of work, but the Daimler was also not enjoying being left next to the trees, and it was getting covered in green moss.

We had actually received planning permission for an extension and garage in 2019, but it had all been put on hold after Lindsey gave up work to look after Aston. However I re-submitted the planning with a few changes in 2021, and we may therefore continue with it next year.

But I did have enough funds for the garage if I did it wisely.

This is the design I came up with:



The men came to lay the concrete base for the garage in January 2022, the Daimler was moved out onto the grass, but the naughty Mercedes would not start!

With the help of a friend, I pushed the Mercedes, which flat against the ground thanks to the ABC fault, into the corner of the drive. I hoped I would be able to figure it out and get it started once the garage had been built.



The concrete pad was finished, and the Daimler eagerly moved onto it... but I could just not get the Mercedes to start.



Several weekends of struggling ensued... and I was losing my enthusiasm for the CL. Worse no garage was willing to come and look at it for me, and it could not be transported due to the ABC fault.

Then in the last few days of March, an auto-electrician visited. This wizard went through schematic diagrams and determined that the +ve voltage feed to the ECU was dead. he put in a temporary link and it fired into life!!

That week it went on the back of a lorry to his garage, where he diagnosed a water leak had corroded a power connector. He fixed the problem for me, and the car returned the same week.

While the Mercedes was away, the garage went up in the very same week.















The Mercedes was strategically positioned ready for me to work on.



The rest of the cars moved in to surround it...

 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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31
Car
2003 W215 CL500
So what next?

The BMW is up for sale. I would love to keep it, but having the huge garage and wanting to do a few other things, something has to give way. In this case it is my luxury barge. I bought the Audi as a runaround while the BMW is being sold, but I think I'll probably keep it as it is cheap to run and very practical.

The Daimler needs a good clean, and some areas of corrosion needed sorting out. Something I doubt I'll attend to until 2023 if I am honest with myself. After all it is a solid drivable car now if I need it.

The Mercedes is my next project. I am still finishing some work on the house inside, and the garage needs a door over that 5.3m entrance, but then I intend to focus on the Mercedes.

The first thing to attend to is the suspension. I intend to take off the blocks and re-build them using the kits from X8R:


A week in the perfectly level garage showed that the Mercedes sinks on the left side first:



This is the drivers side arch:



...and this is the passenger side arch:



But there are also three leaks, which do not tell me much with the undertrays on, but do suggest there is lots more work to do!



The engine oil level has not moved since I got the car, so I do not think it is oil. So I can only think it is either coolant, or ABC fluid.

...and that's us up to date as of April 2022. Hopefully I can do some more work soon.
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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Oct 5, 2014
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2003 W215 CL500
Welcome!
Awesome 'garage' of motors.......apart from the *ahem* Clio 🤫
You were very quick to post... I almost missed it!

Thank you for the nice comment, and yes the Clio was a low point in my car history. :oops:

When Lindsey and me wanted to save for a house we sold my Jaguar Super V8 to help fund the deposit, and then we shared Lindsey's Ford Focus. That became impractical, so I bought the Clio as a runaround. It boasted three alloy wheels, and a surprise shower feature from the sunroof. The interior handle came off in my hand on the day I bought it home, much to Lindsey's amusement. :rolleyes:

One day the exhaust mounts broke at the top of the road, being so close to home I decided to carry on. I made the loudest tinny scraping noise and probably got the attention of all my neighbours. But the shame of this resulted in me taking out a £2K loan and buying my first Mercedes - The S430L! :D
 

renault12ts

MB Club Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
16,618
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2005 W215 CL500.
You can get lucky Chris. I've had mine nearly 6 years, over 164,000 miles now and it has cost me nearly (wait for it)...£200 in unforeseen problems.
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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2003 W215 CL500
Wow that is good!

Fingers crossed the same happens to me considering I will not do many miles in it.
 

aden

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Jun 12, 2021
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Glasgow
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C300 AMG Line Coupe 2018
You're living the dream here, mate! Cars and garage look lovely! 😎
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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Oct 5, 2014
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2003 W215 CL500
You're living the dream here, mate! Cars and garage look lovely! 😎
Yes as of late it does feel a bit like that.

After it all went to Tatters in December 2019 when Aston was diagnosed, things seem to have continuously gone my way!
 

mattk1

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Sep 1, 2011
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Guildford
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SL63, C350 CDI & Ducati 1299 Panigale
Welcome to the forum and thank you for an enlightening intro. Being an ex-W215 owner it's always good to hear about them and how people like your good-self continue to fettle them and keep them on the road.
More importantly than that I hope your boy continues to get better :thumb:

KR Matt
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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2003 W215 CL500
Electrical work for the garage

The priority this weekend was getting an electrical supply ready for the electrician who will be installing all my garage electrics. So I was up in the loft running a new supply cable through to this electrical box. This took me pretty much all day Saturday.



Meanwhile Lindsey made a start painting the shed.



Then I got some time on the Mercedes. Started by removing the undertrays.



The front undertray contained a pool of oil.



Certainly looked like engine oil to me. Would be interested in other peoples opinions if they have other ideas?



The centre tray had mushed oil and leaves.



Saturday I put a fresh sheet of card underneath with the under trays removed, so I could better see the leaks.



The ABC shocks look dry and no visible leaks.



There seems to be parts dripping with oil everywhere.





Sunday morning there are already new drips.



I have no idea what it is above the largest drip patch... gearbox?

The other drips are hard to make out, as there are so many oil soaks parts. I think I may have to clean/dry the underside and look again after the oil reappears.

But I think the sump is leaking very slightly, from the seals around the edge at the bottom. I have no idea if changing this gasket is a big job... anyone?

This water pipe looks squashed out of shape.



This repair suggests a previous problem..



Then this is the rear ABC valve block I need to refurbish. It all looks bone dry and free from leaks to my surprise.



I just need to locate the front one, a job for another day...
 

Dickster

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Jun 2, 2019
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Brands Hatch
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SL55
Welcome and loved the write up 👍

My experience with the ABC sagging is leave it alone if it otherwise performs well. I did some work on mine two years ago and it drops within 15 mins of turning off the motor - my local respected indie advised to forget about it if it was otherwise working properly.

What’s the ABC fluid level like on yours? I.e. is it leaking?

The ABC is fairly easy to work on. If I were you, without maintenance history, I would replace all the accumulators (they only last 50-60k miles), and replace the fluid and filter. Run it and monitor the fluid level regularly.

Good luck and I’m looking forward to updates. And I’m glad your son is ok. 👍
 
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c16rkc

c16rkc

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2003 W215 CL500
Thank you for the advice - I really appreciate that.

So the good news for me is that the ABC fluid level is good, and does not seem to be dropping noticeably.

The bad news is the ABC is too problematic to ignore. It sometimes goes into fault and the ride goes all bouncy and floaty - becomes very unnerving to drive. A cycle of the ignition will cure this, but I would rather a car with a reliable system.

I appreciate your advice on the accumulators, I had not thought to replace those. Looking online they are not ridiculously expensive, so it seems a good shout.

So my revised plan will be:

- Refurbish the front and rear ABC valve blocks, and also replace the accumulators in each (believed to be part A2203270115 at around £150 each).
- Replace the third accumulator (believed to be part A2203270415 at around £150).
- Replace the pulsation dampner (believed to be part A2203270215 at around £150).
- Change the ABC fluid and filter (may get a Mercedes specialist to do this...)

Oddly the accumulator attached to my rear valve block looks completely different to the A2203270415 it should be according to online diagrams, so I think there might be some differences to the diagrams depending upon model year.

This will then just leave the pump, struts, pipework, and sensors for future monitoring. As my pump seems to be working properly I don't think I am going to need to use the replacement one that came with my car. But time will tell.
 

Dickster

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👍 that’s what I would do. Keep the fluid fresh and the struts and pump should last ages - unless of course there’s already a fault. The accumulators fail with age and take hoses with them when they fail, I know this from experience !!
 

L80OUS

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W213 EClass
Good read up, not sure if you remember me from the Jag forums, mostly had XJRs think my red X308 was the most popular on there. Good to see you on here any how's.
 

m2287

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Is your ABC fault red or white when it comes up on the dash? Generally red signifies loss of pressure, while white is electrical signal.
 

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