Throwing in the towel on my Mercedes ?

John Peerce

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C43 AMG
I never thought it would come to this, but I have had thoughts lately of selling my beloved Mercedes.

I have had my Mercedes for one year, one month, and 11 days. Its a 1999 C43 AMG, with 64k miles on it (when bought had 59k miles). I have treated it with TLC from day one, and spared no expense:

- Took it to have a full B-Service at main dealer, paid ££££ to replace tensioner, belt, duo valve, leaking differential seal, water pump, and endless other things over and above the normal filters, and spark plugs change.

- Changed the engine oil on it twice since (every 2000 miles) and changed transmission oil at a merc specialist

- paid £££ few months ago to replace the air-con condenser which was rusted and leaking (and remember this is a 1999 car !!) , had the air con compressor replaced which was leaking too (although compressor was changed under warranty).

And then after all this, few weeks ago the engine starts cutting-out and stalling while driving every 10 or so miles!. Took to a specialist , had the Mass Air Sensor changed (anther £££), and the fuel pump relay changed, and it still stalls. More parts are on order and I am now staring at even more £££ spent to try and fix this problem..

This car was my first Mercedes. I bought it because I thought Mercedes cars last “till 250k miles with no problems” as people would say.

On “paper”, it looked like a fine buy: an AMG Mercedes with supposed “superior” components, one previous owner, full Mercedes service history, and after all, it was only three years old !

forgive me for turning into a cynical and bitter person, but I have had nothing but grief from this car. Every time I think about cutting my losses and selling it, but then I tell myself, “well hold on, maybe just spending another 100 pounds fixing this component, and the car will run fine!”. But it never does, there is always been another problem waiting for its turn.

The car stalled on me twice on yesterday. I am finally thinking of throwing in the towel, and bringing to an end my miserable, short lived, experience of owning a Mercedes.

PS. To top it up, some lowlife decided last week to key my car, leaving a spaghetti shaped mark above the rear wheel arches.
“When it rains... it pours...”
 
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scotth_uk

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Gutted to hear about your problems mate. I fully understand you wanting to give up on it. With your scenario I would seriously consider something else.

:-(
 

Steve_Perry

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John,

I agree with Scott, I'm sorry to hear your tales of woe with your C43 and how it's soaking up money. :(

I must confess that these are one of my favourite motors as most of Joe public don't really know what C43's are when they see them, they just think it's another W202. A great 'sleeper' car.

I hope you get some good fortune coming your way soon which ever way you decide to jump. I know it can be a difficult decision to make.

My dad had a similar problem with his car when he first got it. No amount of dealership visits could fix the problem and he was seriously thinking about getting rid of the car, a couple of visits to a local independent and all his problems were solved and he's now had the car for just over 13 years.

S.
 

jaymanek

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Sorry is all i can say. I have heard, and had, experiences like this. I bought a freezer van for my uncle about a month back, a 313CDI...We paid a little over the top, but the guy selling was genuine and gave a good warranty and service..
Weve had nothing but problems.. The stupid thing cuts out occasionaly when trying to put it into gear and the lights on the dash all go out when you have just started up, then they go on and off and then either stay on or off.... No one can figure it out, and when its at a dealer, it never does it....No fault codes or anything...

If we cant fix it, its going back, we're trying to run a business here...

Its a huge shame we cant rely on MB's anymore.... And to think i convinced my uncle to go for the MB over the cheaper VW which essentially the same van....

I know how u feel..:confused:
 

StuartB

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Jun 26, 2003
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Surrey
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Mercedes C43 AMG/Aston Martin V8 Volante/Aston Martin DB7/ Mercedes S-Class
I had a C43, which I sold last month along with my S-Class Merc.

I have to say that I was very disappointed with both cars.

The S-Class suffered numerous electrical problems and I never trusted it, although it never broke down.

The C43 broke down with a locked and destroyed transmission blocking the whole of Farnham town centre on a Saturday afternoon for an hour. It had to go.

I love Mercs and will get another, but my experience has not been a happy one. I bought both cars on the basis that they would do 250K miles easily. Both were FSH, low owner cars
 

scotth_uk

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Just goes to show that some companies can make a product so complex that it just can't be fixed.

Most problems can be traced eventually, but who has the cash to pay the extortionate labour rates.
 

Alps

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you have my sympathy there mate, i know through experience on my c36 that the repairs and parts on the AMG models are even more expensive, thinking back over the 2 years i have had my car, i have had the following done

Air con condesor
MAS sensor
GEARBOX
Wishbones
and now the Heater duovalve needs doing!

i feel like you sometimes and getting rid, but im still in the "its only a bit more then it will be ok" stage!

hope your luck better with your mota
 

adam1

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I'm shocked to hear of your problems and very suprised.
I've never owned a Merc and was thinking of buying one recently..E Class, still at decision stage.

I can't believe a car can be so unreliable. I have a Honda and was thinking of upgrading later this year to an E class 220/270cdi.

The thing is a car is essential for me for my work and I hate buses to work it means getting up 1.5 hrs early. Touch wood my car although only 2 years old has never let me down. I had a Toyota b4 that. That did around 100k, i had it for 3 years, broke down once, my own fault with radiator leak.(pebble or something).

I really know how you feel when the car soaks up money like that.
It can be depressing when the thing you rely on lets you down.

If I was you i would swap to a Japanese car...Lexus or something. Ironically I'll be swapping the other way...maybe BMW but there just as unreliable.
 

GrahamC230K

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All makes have the odd lemon or money pit. Luck of the draw.
 

hash

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oxford
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in 13 years of car buying, we have had 5 mercs, 3 saabs, 1 bmw, 1 discovery, 1 jaguar, 1 grand cherokee, 1 cherokee, 1 audi, 1 fiat, all bought new and split between me and her indoors.

Most reliable? Saabs, never had a problem dealers great

Most unreilabe? without question mercedes, BUT we continue to buy them.

As for dealers they suck as well( but not all the time), and we have used the same dealer as a family since 1974!!!

not a lot of logic i know but then buying cars has never been about logic

kenny

:rolleyes:
 

scotth_uk

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The last AA guy I spoke to about 12 months back when my Fiat rentacar died explained to me that his most frequent callouts are for Mercs and Beamers.
 

jaymanek

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yes its quite sad.... Inparticular MB's electronics just do not match up to the rest of the cars... they need to get someone from honda in.... Recently ive had a few modern MB's and although i am always extremely impressed by the overall car/engines/comfort etc, anything that has gone wrong has been to do with electronics...ecu's, mas sensors etc...

Its just not good enough and im hoping they have got things sorted in the new e-class and that this will follow through in other models....

When i spent a month underneath my 123 in august, i realised just how much more attention to detail was paid to production in those days... Build quality has definately been a problem recently and it seems MB are not gonna own up to it, but im sure they are doing something about it...
 

Robbo

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To show that it happens to Japanese cars as well, my dad recently had an engine blow up on his vtec Honda, when they stripped the engine down it appears that a valve broke, and on further investigation they found that one of the pistons had a ring missing! This must have been a maunufacturing fault. He always wondered why the oil consumption was a bit heavy!
 
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RichardM

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I drove a Lexus for 3 years, 67K miles before I switched to the Mercedes and it never broke down once, BUT... it did have a lot of warranty work and had faults the dealer didn't resolve despite many visits, such as knocking front suspension and juddering when pulling away (no not my clutch control!).

Looking at the new E class everything seems so much more thought out and better designed, possibly just because its a newer car but the Lexus didn't have the over engineered feeling the Mercedes has.
 

adam1

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Its correct that all cars will have issues and Jap makes are not immune.

But the reliability issue is what are the chances that you will be caught out with a problem.

It goes to say the only empirical evidence is the JD Power survey which shows Mazda, lexus at the top. With Honda, Toyota not far behind.

unfortunately Mercs/BMWs are not up there at the top. The survey is from people like us who give unbiased reports. I personally like Mercs, BMWs but the fact will still remain they are not reliable as they used to be. You could buy a Merc and not worry about problems as long as you kept FSH. That story has changed a lot since Chrylser came into the ball game.

Seems BMW/Mercs have to take lessons from the japs to get up there to the top....they will if there are enough of us to complain and give them feedback. a Company which listens to the people who keep it in business evolves and suceeds, one who ignores will go downhill like M&S did( now improving though a little)
 
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John Peerce

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C43 AMG
Many thanks for all the supportive comments above.

I have indeed thought alot about whether my specific car just happens to be a "lemon". Lemon cars are bad from day one, and maybe the previous owner had suffered from this car too - with one difference, he had the car for the first three years of its life so it would have been covered by warrenty. Who knows.

The nature of some of the problems that the car had, and on reading some of the comments above, however, indicate that its more of a general brand relaibiliy issue here. The Air-Con specialist who replaced the rusty air-con condensor said that problems with mercedes air-con systems are by far the most common that he sees.

When a car starts cutting-out and stalling you really lose all confidence in the car, a bond of trust is sort of broken. You also begin to see things differently: what good is having a car with "fancy" options such as xenons, rains sensetive wipers, or heated seats when the car can't even get you from A to B, the simplest task that a car is made for.

The irony is that when i first thought about buying a Mercedes, i wanted to get a classic model, such as the 1970 280 SL (Pagoda), but i decided against it, saying to myself that classic cars are money pits, and its best to get a reliable modern Mercedes.
 
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Steve_Perry

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John,

I know exactly what you're talking about when you say your confidence is broken, to the extent that you don't enjoy driving the car because even when it's driving well you're expecting it to fail on you.

I know each case is different but in my dad's case the car was stalling because of massive carbon deposits that had built up within the valves/cylinder head etc. As I say the car had numerous trips to the dealer who were completely stumped by the problem, they were wanting hundreds of pounds to replace auto choke, carburettor and other stuff but were not willing to give any guarantee that the problem would be solved.

In the end the problem was solved by George Fraser, a local independent, who just logically went through testing each part of the engine at one time. My dad said when he saw the engine in pieces it looked like a dirty chip frying pan with carbon caked everywhere. After the full engine de-coke the car has been a trooper ever since. I guess my dad must like the car because he's had it for 13 years now. However, he did come within a gnat's whisker of selling it because of the initial problem.

S.
 
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Ian B Walker

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Sorry to read of your misgivings about the marque. I am on my third one now, ok I have never owned an up to date one but enjoy them all the same. Yes I have had a few problems down the line but nothing that would put me off. I guess it depends on how you want to approach car ownership, do you want to just drive them or do you really want to own them and cherrish them. Money pit..................I concede defeat here and agree with some of the comments. On a personal note I enjoy keeping them on song and also love to drive them knowing that "I" have been instumental in keeping it roadworthy. You look at all the bangers on the road today, makes you wonder how much pride some people have in their cars. For the cost of a banger you could probably buy an older Merc, I know what I would sooner buy (see siggy pics)
 

Captain - X

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May 8, 2003
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Sweden
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C230 Kompressor -96
I´ve had my W202 C230K -96 for 2,5 years now, and this is what I had to get repaired:

1. After two weeks :eek: It started to stall. The MB diagnostic tools indicated faulty ignition on cylinder no2. The technichan checked the sparkplugg av plugg-hat over and over again, when he suddenly discovered a hair-thin black line over the isolation on the sparkplugg. It was the noise suppressor in the plugg-hat that had shortcircuited.

2. Waterpump. None available in Sweden, had to specialorder it from Germany.

3. Leaking diffrentialsealing.

4. The speedomeeter suddenly died. I was the ABS-sensor i one of the front wheels that was broken.

BUT!!!!
I know by experience that no other brand is any better. We have a 2001 VW Passat TDi 4-Motion (130hp) as a companycar. it had only rolled 4000km when i died. It was a fuelvalve that had broken. It was in the shop for more than 3 weeks before they even could get the part from Germany :mad: . And there have been a huge list of errors since then.
 

UKEvo

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1972 300 SEL 6.3
I have a friend who is a Merc dealer and basically hates the newer cars. Especially the new E-Class which they have had nothing but problems with. It's the electronics on the newer cars thats the major problem. As someone said above, Honda needs to do a consulting job for MB. If you want reliability it's just got to be Japanese. I had a Mazda 626 I drove 120,000 mls and the thing _never_ used any oil whatsoever and never had to do anything to it except standard service items. I've had the same experience with Honda's & Toytota's. Problem is, with exception to perhaps the MX5 & the Honda R-Types most of the cars are about as exciting as a dried mung bean! I drive a MB 190 and even that has (age related) electronic failures, but the ECU is basic, the fueling mechanical etc so generally the car is reliable + built like a tank. MB is going to have to make some real changes to improve their reliability. Makes me wonder about that new C class I was thinking of buying..
 

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