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Brake Pad, ABC and Check-Engine Warning Lights - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

2

Comments

  • kshankarkshankar Posts: 175
    " There is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes."
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,292
    Wowza.
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • I agree, you should shop this quote around several other MB dealers and independent shops that offer 10ft pole service for comparison. It would be a great tagline when it comes to selling it if you can offer recommended repair shops that are less than the GDP of a small country.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,949
    I think indie shops for BMW and Porsche tend to be quite a bit different than indie shops for Mercedes--at least that has been my experience all these years. The BMW and Porsche techs are more driving enthusiasts IMO and often specialize in that one marque. I mean, how often do you see Mercedes indie shops sponsoring track days or club meetings? Mercedes indie shops tend to be generalized "German Motors" or some such, taking on a variety of cars. And being German doesn't mean you automatically are expert in every German car. That's a bad assumption.

    Also, Mercedes is one devil of a car to work on, so the boys in the trenches tell me.

    I dunno. I think with an out-of-warranty Benz, you're kinda behind the 8 ball.

    Well RB, when you are dealing with a someone exotic car your options are more limited. Midas is not going to work on your V-12 and I don't think Edmunds staff is going to spend the afternoon in their shirtsleeves changing out 24 spark plugs.

    I'm not advocating a chain store or DIY, but I'm sure there are at least a couple of indie shops in the area that specialize in Mercedes- I know that's the case for BMW.

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  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512

    That's the problem with cars like this---they are often big bundles of deferred maintenance, so each owner passes it on to the next once they've gotten sick of pouring cash into the car. It's kind of a Sell Stop Limit with these cars---when you get a $16000 estimate from the dealer, you SELL.

    Just so we have a complete picture, could Mike please follow up with a complete listing of the scheduled maintenance items that have not been done on the car? Yes, very expensive car to maintain, but fully 20% of this bill was a result of deferred maintenance. What other problems are brewing due to this?

    So, passed on plugs back at 60k, passed on brakes and valve stem seals now...be interesting to see the offers they get...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,909
    Another factor to consider is whether the service writer works on commission. My BMW dealer doesn't use that business model. As a result, when the "4X4 Fault" light illuminated on my son's X3 my advisor told me, "The system only stored one isolated fault- the steering angle sensor. I would not suggest replacing it- it may just be an isolate glitch." When my 1995 3er was in for an Oil Service he told me, "The power steering return hose is slightly damp, but I wouldn't replace it until it starts to drip, and that probably won't happen for another 40,000-50,000 miles."
    Think that would happen in a commission shop?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    edited February 2015
    Is this just a Mercedes cost issue, or do other Euro cars (Audi,Land Rover) exhibit their own very expensive breakdowns when well outside warranty?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,909

    Is this just a Mercedes cost issue, or do other Euro cars (Audi,Land Rover) exhibit their own very expensive breakdowns when well outside warranty?

    The thing to remember if you want to run a European car for a long time is to buy the simplest iteration of the model you like- the less bells and whistles the better. I've run several BMWs past 120k with no heart-stopping repair bills, but they've all been naturally aspirated inline fours or sixes- no V8s, V10s, or V12s. Out of my four current BMWs, three have more than 140k on the clock- and one has over 203k...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • redskinsdmvredskinsdmv Posts: 52
    edited February 2015

    Is this just a Mercedes cost issue, or do other Euro cars (Audi,Land Rover) exhibit their own very expensive breakdowns when well outside warranty?

    The thing to remember if you want to run a European car for a long time is to buy the simplest iteration of the model you like- the less bells and whistles the better. I've run several BMWs past 120k with no heart-stopping repair bills, but they've all been naturally aspirated inline fours or sixes- no V8s, V10s, or V12s. Out of my four current BMWs, three have more than 140k on the clock- and one has over 203k...

    I've heard this is the best bet as well. Do you happen to have any of the turboed BMW's? I hear they have all sorts of issues, likewise for Audi and Mercedes. The thing is, when you get a dulled down Bimmer or any other luxury car for that matter, it defeats the purpose.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,909
    edited February 2015
    No turbo Bimmers, just a turbo Mazdaspeed. The BMW turbos are now pretty well sorted. The main issue was the camshaft driven fuel pump(CDFP) and I hear that warranty claims for it have dropped off significantly since 2010 or so. The turbo wastegates used to get noisy but again not so much anymore. All BMWs are turbo now and that would not keep me from buying one- what keeps me from buying a newer BMW is Munich's apparent desire to soften the ride and handling of their non-M cars to the point that they no longer drive like a BMW.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • @Mr_Shiftright,

    In general I think that is true, but I feel like the reason more "enthusiast" shops don't work on Mercedes is because of your last point. My independent BMW/Porsche guy actually really likes Benzes, but says it is just too expensive for him to work on them. MB requires a plethora of expensive Benz-specific diagnostic equipment and even when you get all that stuff it is still a bear to work on them.

    Having said that, you definitely can find fantastic Benz-only repair shops. I know of 3 within 20 miles of me. All do excellent work.
  • $1,157 for plugs? $96 each? for spark plugs?
  • gslippygslippy Posts: 513
    You paid $34k, received a bill for half again that much, and poured a fortune into this junker over the course of 14 months. I'll say it - my 05 Scion xB didn't go like this car, but over 70k miles it cost me one $75 repair (unscheduled) I did myself. And it was available to drive, not sitting in the shop.

    Why does Edmunds buy such wrecks? You guys must be pretty flush.

    If you sell it, you'd better disclose the issues. I predict you'll get less than $20k.
  • lip2lip2 Posts: 3
    edited February 2015
    Reminds me of a buddy's 2005 CL600. The positive here is that you get an extra 100hp. . Almost seems like it was designed to do this. I'm always amazed at the cost of maintaining these later model v12s
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,909
    edited February 2015
    I wouldn't enjoy owning a car with a history of unreliability and expensive repairs like this M-B, but I'll take an entertaining car that suffers the occasional issue over an anodyne appliance than has impeccable reliability EVERY time.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,902
    bulldog83 said:

    $1,157 for plugs? $96 each? for spark plugs?

    Well there are 24 of them, (2 per cylinder) and you should be using the fine-wire iridium alloy. At some five hours to replace them according to the labor guide and with O.E. parts surprisingly is an achievable number. That's one of the problems with the way a lot of stories like this are retold. Was that really the price for just the spark plugs, or did it in fact include the labor and any associated components?

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,902
    This is an interesting story, one you are likely to see many more variations on in the near future and with more cars than just this CL. The perspectives shared all essentially dance around a variation of the argument of, "Which came first the chicken or the egg?" As a business a shop owner has to decide what cars they really want to service, and then make the appropriate investments to be ready to do so. But as some of the responders point out the bias towards or against any facet of the trade is going to come into play and when the cost to tool up and acquire training for the technicians is considered it may be a very poor business decision to make.

    This CL highlights these potential issues with one high end vehicle and the costs to add full support for it to a shop are in a single word, prohibitive. It really doesn't even matter that the tech working there has the skills and is also willing to get the training that would be required. The tooling and software expenses alone often drive the shops CODB (cost of doing business) up so high that they bleed customers at the other end of the spectrum for having tried. The problem that the trade faces is this CL is only a focal point of the big problem. These kinds of costs are not limited to just this one car. Shops are facing this issue with every marquis on the street and that is one of the reasons for the specialty shops. It's the smartest business strategy for now but comes with it's own long term obstacles. Today we see manufacturers releasing new software and scan tools every four to five years, often obsolescing the previous version and now the tools turn off if a shop decides to stop the support or the tool's updates. If a shop aligns to a given manufacturer they are taking an open ended position to spend a lot of money that the person across the street isn't spending (shop or back yard Joe) and that person could very likely do just the spark plugs and the rear brakes on this CL for a lot less than what was spent while stopping short of the rest of the work. That of course means the customer gets to save money on the overall expense while the shop that made the investment to do the whole job only gets a return for that effort from a fraction of the work that the other options don't support. When you add in all of the rest of the challenges from not being able to attract the people that the trade really needs today to become technicians, to the cars simply not needing as many repairs as they used to it all adds up to a business model that isn't sustainable.

    On a parallel note, while writing this a local body shop called and they need help with a 2014 Subaru with an air bag system problem on a car they are repairing. At this time I'm out of the picture to even try since I know that I don't have support for that manufacturer past 2012. Now if it made sense to spend a few thousand to help them fix one car, then.......



  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,279
    It's not a C class, but a low volume exotic. In some ways you have to look at this car like a Ferrari or Lamborghini. How much does a tune up on one of those cost, never mind repairing it?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,949
    You may have run into the "German Motors Syndrome"--just because a shop works on Porsches that doesn't mean they know a great deal about Mercedes or Audis. If they had one dedicated technician for each marque, that would be a hopeful sign.

    I don't see how an indie shop is going to save you bundles of money anyway. Labor is labor, and digging anything out of a V12 German car is going to cost you lots of hours.

    A heater core on that car is 20 hours! Valve cover gaskets 10 hours. Transmission? $7500 + 8 hours.

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  • Well. Those fouled spark plugs explain your oil burning problems. It's not just V12 therefore more oil burn.

    Interesting car, only reason I've came back to the site a few times.
  • grijongrijon Posts: 147

    Glad to see so much interest. A couple of responses:...
    - Mike

    Thank you for the response, Mike!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225

    You may have run into the "German Motors Syndrome"--just because a shop works on Porsches that doesn't mean they know a great deal about Mercedes or Audis. If they had one dedicated technician for each marque, that would be a hopeful sign.

    I don't see how an indie shop is going to save you bundles of money anyway. Labor is labor, and digging anything out of a V12 German car is going to cost you lots of hours.

    A heater core on that car is 20 hours! Valve cover gaskets 10 hours. Transmission? $7500 + 8 hours.

    Oh MAN! a 3000.00 heater core?

    Time for a can of Bar's Leak and dump the car!
  • ajac03ajac03 MinnesotaPosts: 37
    edited February 2015
    I'm honestly going to miss this car. It's hysterical every time you guys bring it in and get SLAPPED with a ridiculous repair bill. It just goes to show, don't buy one of these unless your pockets are as deep as the grand canyon. While the 16,000 repair bill was crazy enough, I'm mostly shocked at how [non-permissible content removed] expensive a brake job is on this.. it costs as much to replace pads and rotors as it does replace an engine/transmission in an everyday bread and butter car. MIND BLOWN
  • fintailfintail Posts: 46,965
    I bid $530, no more.

    This is the price you pay for bleeding edge tech from days when MB quality wasn't at a high point. Also consider what this cost new, and the general rule for highlines and exotics that parts and maintenance on an old $180K car costs as much as on a new one. This isn't a C-class, and it has more tech than many 2015 cars - but built before it was perfected, and via the German way (why use 10 moving parts when 100 will do).
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    "For those requesting a list of declined repairs. I can't give everything away at once. That info will be in the wrap up, which is currently in the works. Lots of numbers to sift through for this one."

    Come on. For a car with these low miles, there should not have been ANYTHING declined in terms of scheduled maintenance. Things that went wrong and you did not fix them, we can talk about that...but for items such as a scheduled spark plug change at 60k that you did not have done at 60k, or a coolant, tranny fluid or brake fluid flush and refill that did not happen when it was supposed to, that's a black mark, and I am not going to be inclined to consider purchasing that car.

    To buy a known problem child car, then start missing scheduled maintenance items and having lot of juicy issues to post about possibly as a result...makes for good page views for Edmunds, but it's not responsible car ownership.
  • This is an interesting story, one you are likely to see many more variations on in the near future and with more cars than just this CL. The perspectives shared all essentially dance around a variation of the argument of, "Which came first the chicken or the egg?" As a business a shop owner has to decide what cars they really want to service, and then make the appropriate investments to be ready to do so.

    Your points are good, however they don't always apply to the CL65. Because it's part of the W220 family, it doesn't require unique software and tools, so long as the shop in question has made the leap into W220 generation Mercedes. Star Diagnose is about the only unique item needed to work on these, and as many MBs use that, it's not uncommon at MB specific and German generalist indy shops. Yes the CL65 has unique parts, but the skills, software, and tools a shop needs to have in order to figure out which of those unique parts might need replacing are common to other CL and S classes of the same era - the good thing from a "mechanics know how to work on it" perspective is that there are a whole lot of CL and S classes out there, creating a market for repairs that supports an independent shop's business case and a knowledge base for mechanics. Now, I can think of one car that fits squarely in the spot you describe - Maserati Quattroporte - Many things on it can be handled by a shop willing to dabble in the Italian arts, but hardly anyone but the dealer has the computer needed to code the engagement point if you replace the clutch with a fresh one. And there aren't enough Quattroportes or shared platform cars (Maserati coupe, but not enough of those either) to make the business case for an indy shop to support the Quattroporte fully - the dealer only does it because they were forced to by the manufacturer.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,902
    The current tool required to operate at eye level with a Mercedes Dealer is the Compact4 and that sets the independent shop back about $22,000 for the initial investment not counting subsequent updates and license renewals. A tool like Autologic ($10K) will see a shop have most of the repair capabilities that the consumer would require as long as the shop doesn't try to do anything that requires SCN coding capability. When it comes to a tool like Star Diagnose it will have many of the same capabilities and potential traps for the shop (technician) as are found in tools like the Snap-On family (which I do have, Solus Ultra) and the I SCAN WTII (I also have). http://www.oemtools.com/homeproducts/mercedesbenz.html

    For example. not having the factory tool means that there are headlights on some Mercedes vehicles that if they need replaced we cannot complete the job since they require SCN coding to function. The gaps of coverage in the majority of aftermarket tools is huge source of frustration. Things like you have a car with a power seat issue but the tool doesn't communicate with the drivers seat module to allow the tech to verify the input commands. Almost worse is when the tool will communicate to a given module and allow for retrieving and clearing codes but not support the data and bidirectional control functions that assist with gaining a quick direction when starting diagnostics.
  • I agree that is frustrating, and I'm not sure what can be done about it. Do you need the "operate at eye level with a Mercedes Dealer" tool to work effectively on the 2003-2006 S Class and CL? Or did that Compact4 tool come online with the W221 2007 S class, or 2010 E-Class era?
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