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Thoughts on moving up to CL500

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CL-Class (W215) 2000-2006: CL 500, CL 600

Thoughts on moving up to CL500

 
Old 05-07-2018, 09:35 AM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
Thoughts on moving up to CL500

Hello All!
I have owned Mercedes Benz Vehicles for over 25 years, and I love them! I currently own a 2009 CLK350 Coupe, which I very much enjoy, but I have gotten the itch for a CL500. I have always admired these cars and the fact that they are relatively rare vehicles in my part of the world. I have read a lot of posts about buying these cars and what to look for, and I found one that has my interest and I wanted to ask for opinions.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2003-Merced...8c98%7Ciid%3A1

If the link doesn't work, you could search 2003 CL500 and it should come up.
I spoke to the owner and he was very well informed about the car and it's components as he has owned for 3 years. I am traveling to see the car on Thursday, and again, I would like your opinions. I will go over the service records and I have already decoded the VIN.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to your thoughts and opinions. (should I buy it with the 19" wheels or the stock rims? Or buy both and have a a winter set of wheels and tires?) It will be my daily driver with a 30 mile total round trip.
Best,

Rick

admins: if the link is not allowed, please remove and accept my apologies. My only connection to this car is that I am interested in purchasing.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:01 AM
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2003 CL-500
Just my 2 cents :-)
Car is priced right and seems in great condition with less-common color combination. CL500's in general are lots of fun if you can keep up with the maintenance (and do most of it yourself!).
However, I'd pass on the expensive wheels - you can do much better and have almost unlimited choices in the aftermarket. I think 19's look best on these cars but many like the 20" wheels better. Despite the good reviews, I did not like my DWS-06 tires, however. Had two replaced under warranty, didn't like the ride or handling. Got much better ride/handling/noise with a much cheaper set of BFG's.
I'd also question using a CL in anything but light snow. The ABC does give you the option to raise the car hydraulically, but it is still a low car, rear-wheel drive, and HEAVY.

Good luck with the car and HAVE FUN. At these prices you get one hell of a car, and I figure at this investment level if it becomes too much trouble I'll just park it :-)
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:04 PM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
Thanks smartadze! I have already decided to pass on the 19" wheels, but certainly appreciate your response and input! I want to see the receipts for the ABC repair/replacement as that is my primary concern with this car. What life can I expect from a set of good tires? I know that's a tough question, but with the weight, do they eat tires? My CLK goes thorough a set of rears in about 20k, and it's aligned regularly.

The seller mentions a crack in one of the windows. Is that a huge expense? Would any glass shop replace it, or do I need the dealer?

I do a lot of my own work (brakes, sensors, valve cover gaskets, oil changes, etc.)

Last things: does this car have bluetooth capability with the puck in the console like my CLK? Do CL's have the iPad interface in the glove box?

Thanks again!!!

Rick
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:23 PM
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2003 CL-500
The ABC work you describe would have cost upwards of $4500 if done at the dealer, and maybe $2K-$3k at an independent shop. Does NOT mean, however, that your troubles with ABC are over for 70,000 miles as the seller suggests. Truth is, the ABC can bite you on any given day, given the age of lines, accumulators, valves, and myriad sensors in a 4000-psi system. Happily, the bottom line is that the popular YellowSpeed coil-over conversion is just $1000 if you do it (easy) and no ABC worries ever again.

Yes, the 2003 is the ONLY year that has the mini-plug input in the glove box. No Bluetooth that I'm aware of, but I believe it requires a separate add-on that may/may not play well with the MB system, depending on year and whom you ask :-)

Glass crack? This is proprietary double-wall low-emission glass, so $150 from a guy on the corner seems doubtful - but then I've never replaced one.

Tires vary with usage and your driving style, but I have not had any problem with tire life myself. 30K seems right for mine.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:52 PM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
Have you had any problems with ABC on your car? I see by your profile that you have the same year, 2003.
I am looking into glass replacement, as I remember when these cars were new that they had double pane side windows. I can't imagine that the window is only $150.

Looking forward to seeing and driving the car, and I have read all of the posts about the ABC system and how it should work.

I'll let you know how it works out. I love the looks of the car, and I'm prepared to have to attend to maintenance issues($), I just don't want to buy a car that has been abused/neglected. This car doesn't appear that way on the surface. If you think of anything I should ask or inspect, please let me know. I will most likely do a PPI on the car; just looking for a dealer close by.

Thanks again!

Best,

Rick
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Old 05-07-2018, 03:00 PM
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Even a cl500 that was not neglected can have a $5000 abc failure next week

there are eleven rubber hoses , 4 gas charged accumulators , 4 struts with rubber o rings and 2 valve blocks with rubber o rings , plus the pump that are all at the end of their useful life

all rubber parts wear out . Just because someone had one part of the abc system fixed , unless they spent $20,000 to change out the entire system (only one person has ever done that in this forum) the rest of the system is still ready to fail at any moment . You might get a few months or a few years before another abc component fails but they will fail simply because they are at end of life

the window should be purchased used and then fitted by a glass company . It will be Cheap that way

rear tire life is 12-15k miles . These are heavy cars hard on the rear tires

it will not be as reliable as your clk350


Last edited by tusabes; 05-07-2018 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 05-07-2018, 03:10 PM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
Thank you tusabes!

This statement in the ad gave me some degree of confidence in the suspension:
This car has the best suspension Mercedes offers: the ABC suspension. The hydraulic pump that powers the system seems to last about 70,000 - 90,000 miles. The pump and the primary valve were replaced last year and the system was flushed multiple times with new filters and 10 liters of the correct hydraulic fluid, so the suspension should be good for at least the next 70,000 miles. Although the car is normally garaged, I left it outside during last week’s snow when it was 10 degrees to show that the suspension is not sagging.
But after reading your comments, there is still a lot that can go bad at anytime, correct? Is there any preventative maintenance, or services on the system that should be done at this point in it's life?
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:57 PM
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The pump and front valve block are Good to have been replaced but there is nothing that can be done preventively to stop 15 year old pressure hoses from failing . Or 15 year old struts from developing a leak . Or the rear valve block from needing to be rebuilt . It's simply end of life for all these parts


My car had 145000 miles. I had three pressure hoses fail in the past 18 months . They are pressurized to 3000 psi and it's simply end of life for rubber pressure hoses . Each time is a $500-800 repair , these aren't cheap hoses . The only way to keep an abc system going cheaply is if you have a hydraulics shop rebuild the hoses rather than buy new ones , buy rebuilt struts , have your valve blocks rebuilt by a guy on eBay , and do your own Labor, and some of the labor is extensive , require dropping the subframe .

Note that if something like a hose fails and you don't stop immediately , and the system runs dry of fluid , it will damage the new pump too.

Abc is great when it works but hydraulic systems do not have hoses and rubber parts that last forever . They just all need replacement eventually . Every single part . Every hose X every strut , every accumulator and and every valve block . The only question is how many miles you will get between different abc failures of the different parts .

Last edited by tusabes; 05-07-2018 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:22 AM
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W215 CL500 2005
Or, for $1000, you can completely do away with ABC and put in a coil over system...no more problems.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:49 AM
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Do you guys use your cars as daily drivers, or 'weekend' cars? If I buy this, I intend to drive it as often as possible.

I looked into the glass, and there are used pieces available from $150 - $300, and installation runs $350 - $550.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:25 AM
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W215 CL500 2005
Originally Posted by blackduc1 View Post
Do you guys use your cars as daily drivers, or 'weekend' cars? If I buy this, I intend to drive it as often as possible.

I looked into the glass, and there are used pieces available from $150 - $300, and installation runs $350 - $550.
Mine's a daily driver.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:58 AM
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'02 CL500, '05 SL55 AMG
Just a note...

I’ve been following this car for awhile as it’s been listed several times on eBay. Each time the price has been dropped a few hundred dollars in his attempt to get it sold. The glass has been an issue for awhile and certainly not the reason the price has been dropping.

Indeed, it seems like a nice car with a great color combination. I agree with any comments about not buying the extra wheels. I would buy it, install coilovers, and drive it!

My ‘02 just turned over 50,000 miles and is driven daily - usually on my 180 mile round trip commute every few days. No issues yet, but at the first sign the coilovers are going on ;-)

Fabulous car... enjoy it if you decide to pull the trigger!
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:03 PM
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'02 CL500, '05 SL55 AMG
So... did you buy it?
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:05 PM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
No I did not purchase the car. It was listed on an eBay auction which was scheduled and on Thursday. I was not able to go see the car and itís less than two hours from where I live but I just couldnít fit in the time so I said let the auction go and Iíll keep looking. But the auction ended on Thursday itís not marked as vehicle is sold it just says the auction ended so I donít know what that means . So I continue to look every day. I will find a good example there are good cars out there.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:25 PM
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I guessing the auction ended - again - and it didn’t sell.

Contact the seller through the completed auction. I’m betting he still has the car.

I’ve been watching eBay and AutoTrader for awhile and this is probably one of the nicer CL500s for what’s being asked. Don’t give up on it just because the auction ended ;-)
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for the advice I appreciate it I think youíre probably right I probably still has the car! Glad to hear you say itís one of the nicer ones on the market for the money !
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:38 PM
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Tectite is a beautiful color, one of the best out there on the 215. As above, maintenance is an ongoing issue, never buy one of these cars assuming it will be troublefree for years, but if you stay ahead of the curve it doesn't have to be a killer, it's just gonna require more upkeep than a normal $7000 car will, because it was actually a $85k car when new, way back in 2003.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:59 PM
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2001 Mercedes CL500 2006 E350 4-matic
CL500

Originally Posted by blackduc1 View Post
Do you guys use your cars as daily drivers, or 'weekend' cars? If I buy this, I intend to drive it as often as possible.

I looked into the glass, and there are used pieces available from $150 - $300, and installation runs $350 - $550.
Mine is a daily driver - summer and winter (with winter tires of course)

If the snow gets too deep, I raise the ABC to its highest level....Too bad the 4matic system was not available in the W215 model.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ItalianJoe1 View Post
Tectite is a beautiful color, one of the best out there on the 215. As above, maintenance is an ongoing issue, never buy one of these cars assuming it will be troublefree for years, but if you stay ahead of the curve it doesn't have to be a killer, it's just gonna require more upkeep than a normal $7000 car will, because it was actually a $85k car when new, way back in 2003.
$85k was a lot of money in 2003. But, consider this...that was cheap.

My car, with a couple of options was £79k...now, what was the exchange rate of the $ to the £ in 2005. Even at $1.5 to £1 that would be a cost of approx $120k for the same car in the UK.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by renault12ts View Post
$85k was a lot of money in 2003. But, consider this...that was cheap.

My car, with a couple of options was £79k...now, what was the exchange rate of the $ to the £ in 2005. Even at $1.5 to £1 that would be a cost of approx $120k for the same car in the UK.
Here, a CL600 was $125-130k at that time, depending on options.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ItalianJoe1 View Post
Here, a CL600 was $125-130k at that time, depending on options.
Here the CL55 and CL600 were both £98,000...c. $150,000.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:52 AM
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And that's why these cars have repair bills of $150,000 cars, because they were $150,000 cars.

a Japanese car rarely has 4 figure repair bills , but with a cl you are lucky if you don't get a 4 figure repair bill each time something goes wrong
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:54 AM
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The car has been sold, so I continue my search. Thank you all for your help! I feel much more informed about these cars now and I can make a better decision about which car to purchase.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:05 AM
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2009 CLK350 COUPE AMG SPORT
I have located another CL500, in Illinois. 2001, own owner, records and clean CarFax. Black on Black, AMG Sport, and looks very well kept. I will be arranging a PPI, and If all looks good, I'll be going after this one.

Is there anything different about the 2001 vs. the 2003? Is it possible to add Bluetooth to this vehicle? Were these cars wired for SiriusXM Radio? Neither of these is a deal breaker, I'm just curious. Priced at ~ $8,500.

Thank you.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by blackduc1 View Post
I have located another CL500, in Illinois. 2001, own owner, records and clean CarFax. Black on Black, AMG Sport, and looks very well kept. I will be arranging a PPI, and If all looks good, I'll be going after this one.

Is there anything different about the 2001 vs. the 2003? Is it possible to add Bluetooth to this vehicle? Were these cars wired for SiriusXM Radio? Neither of these is a deal breaker, I'm just curious. Priced at ~ $8,500.

Thank you.
If the 2001 has the original phone installed, or at least is prewired for a phone, it can be upgraded to Bluetooth, although it is getting harder to find the required parts to do it.
The big difference between the 2001 and 2003, are the headlights. The lower beam headlights on the 2001 are very poor.
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