Here’s What Ten Years Cost Me to Own My Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG

While you inform folks you’ve gotten a 20-year-old German automotive, they have a look at you with a combination of admiration and pity. At the very least that is been my expertise. not him 2002 Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG one of the crucial sought-after German vehicles, however nonetheless twenty years outdated and mine. Nonetheless, defending it hasn’t been the upkeep nightmare the web has pictured the ordeal. Sure, I’ve dropped about $10,000 on upkeep and repairs to the automotive since I received it in 2012, however it’s been largely preventative.

You hear horror tales about exploding rod bearings, mysterious noises, tangled wires, and common electrical issues brought on by issues that refuse to work anymore. As of this writing, my automotive continues to be at a comparatively younger 99,700 miles and has no rattling within the inside. The one factor not working is the onboard navigation system’s CD changer (as a result of the maps are saved in an array of six or seven CDs – give it some thought!) however I nonetheless use Google Maps to get me the place I must go, in order that’s the problem.

Kristen Lee

A number of extra issues about me and my automotive: I preserve it within the storage virtually day-after-day of the 12 months, wash and element it incessantly to guard its paint, and solely drive 3,000 miles a 12 months. It has a reasonably straightforward presence in comparison with most metropolis commuter vehicles. However once I use it, I need it to final in addition to doable.

Anyway, it is that enjoyable and quiet week between Christmas and New Yr’s, so I assumed I might inform you somewhat bit about my singular expertise that I hope will lighten the thriller of outdated German automotive possession a bit.

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That $10,000 determine excludes issues like fuel, insurance coverage, parking, and the $4,300 I spent to get the automotive again to California. The most important mechanical restore I’ve ever executed on it was changing the air con unit. The automotive stopped blowing chilly after some time and after many coolant refills, I lastly determined there have to be a leak someplace and I had the entire thing pulled. It is nonetheless not as chilly because the Arctic, however that is okay. This job price me about $800.

Kristen Lee

Here is the factor although: Every little thing else I’ve spent cash on has been preventative. Nothing exploded in my face and made the automotive undrivable. I modify my oil recurrently, comply with a wholesome service schedule, and preserve a meticulous spreadsheet of once I’ve completed a job, what number of miles the automotive is at the moment, the place the store is, what the job is. and the way a lot did it price. I am not saving on elements or consumables, and I am not ignoring new sounds which might be rising. Due to all this, I imagine car reliability is largely a myth; Should you take excellent care of your machine, I believe it is going to love you too. Simply since you personal a Toyota does not imply you may skip all the upkeep and nonetheless count on it to run like a Toyota.

And since the C32 is as outdated as it’s, there are such a lot of threads on many boards that automotive house owners have been evaluating their notes about their vehicles through the years that it paints a reasonably clear image of what likes to go unsuitable. There are two evident issues plaguing the W203 C32: a defective radiator and doorways that like to rust.

Valeo Radiator Downside

I’ve written a number of instances about my automotive earlier than, and in 2018 a really useful reader and former C32 proprietor took to Twitter about defective Valeo radiators that may leak coolant into the transmission fluid and break the transmission. They suggested me to confirm if I’ve a Valeo radiator and see if there are any leaks and so they stated I ought to exchange the complete radiator and flush transmission fluid to make certain. I noticed I had the defective radiator, changed it with the Behr really useful by the discussion board and likewise had the transmission fluid flushed for good measure. Supposedly, these transmissions are “sealed for all times,” however come on, nothing needs to be sealed for all times besides a cursed tomb.

He wanted a wash, I do know. Kristen Lee

I am glad I caught this drawback early and with none leaks as a result of I am fairly positive changing the complete transmission would price me greater than the automotive is price.

rusty doorways

Starting in 2013 or 2014, when the automotive was simply over 10 years outdated, I observed rust on the bottoms of all 4 doorways. Discussion board customers have confirmed that this is a matter that bothers them too and that it’s not really easy to repair. I took the automotive to a few physique retailers and though they have been all joyful to sand, Bondo and paint the rust, they confirmed it will preserve coming again because the door panels have been fully rusted. There will likely be no structural harm; it simply appeared ugly.

I’m very boastful and this drawback has tormented me like nothing else. Each time I approached the automotive, I could not immortality see the rust bubbles. Each time I detailed the automotive, I needed to be mild when sprucing these areas in order to not shed any extra paint. And these weren’t panels that I might simply swap out. I can I purchased 4 new doorways from a junkyard W203, however first I needed to discover them, purchase them, get them residence someway, after which repaint them. Even then there was no assure that the rust would not come again as a result of the issue appears to be particular to those C-Courses.

Lastly, by joyful accident, I stumbled upon a mechanic in Queens who provided to chop all of the rust off the panels and fabricate and paint new steel. It wasn’t an inexpensive resolution, however since I’ve spent the final seven years affected by this drawback, I used to be prepared for it to be resolved as soon as and for all.

The reason for the issue, as the shop supervisor later confirmed me, was that the Mercedes had lined the underside of the doorways with a type of rubber “taco” protecting the sides of the steel. It wasn’t for any actually helpful objective that the supervisor might determine, however it trapped moisture each time the automotive received moist, basically holding the underside edges of the doorways in standing water. Due to this fact, there may be rust accumulation. Now, the taco is gone, the brand new steel is in place and painted and you actually cannot inform the distinction.

These of you who hear me complaining about rusty doorways can rejoice with me as a result of as of final 12 months the C32 is totally rust free! I’m now not afraid of driving within the rain and really feel like an amazing weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The automotive appears to be like nearly as good as I felt once I lastly drove it. This alone is price each penny.

100,000 Mile Service

The automotive is quickly approaching 100,000 miles and emotionally ready for it. A threshold to be crossed. However in preparation for the occasion, I handled him to a guidelines of repairs that I sat within the background in order that he might stay this a part of his life to the fullest. The decrease left management arm wanted to get replaced (once more), I had a leaky gasket cowl, a damaged screw within the driver’s aspect door and I wanted new spark plugs.

Spark plugs, man. Till you sit in a light-weight along with your new spark plugs, you do not actually discover that lumpy loafer is creeping up on you. we’re operating clean now glassy child

To shout

After all, none of this is able to have been doable and not using a ton of trial and error with numerous native impartial mechanics and workshops. (Cease going to the supplier after your guarantee runs out, please and thanks!) Over time I’ve collected numerous Rolodex go-tos, all of which have been good to me and priced their companies pretty. I need to shout out to Nicky, the proprietor and supervisor of the group. Formula Body Works in Lengthy Island Metropolis, Queens. Nicky has been within the enterprise for 40 years and he is the one who definitively fastened my rust issues. I’ve seen nothing however miraculous photos of different issues he is executed, together with fabricating a totally new fender hood for a pickup truck.

You do not meet good and trustworthy folks day-after-day, and also you maintain on to them, particularly if you discover a store you like and belief. I’ll want the perfect group to maintain the C32 in high situation as a result of I intend to maintain it endlessly.

Kristen Lee

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