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To buy or not to buy...that is the question

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

To buy or not to buy...that is the question

 
Old 08-23-2018, 03:15 PM
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To buy or not to buy...that is the question

Anyway, a dealer here in Canada is selling a 2002 CL 500 with only 60 K Kilometers, that was imported from Japan. It has the 1 malfunction sign on and the ABC in red. They said they would take it and have looked at to determine if it can be repaired and how much it would cost. I used to have this same car (2001 CL 500 ) and loved it. I have no budget to buy a newer model and I simply love the design of the CL 500. Is it feasible to invest in it and put up with the repairs? There is something wrong with it, the dealer hasn't told me exactly what - but that it would run into the thousands. He is willing to let it go for $ 7000 CAD. Everything else looks really in great shape, whoever owned it took good care of it from what I can see. I think in Japan emissions standards got really stringent and that's why they were probably not able to drive it any more and it has the very low mileage for a 16 year old car. What are your objective and subjective thoughts on this?
I would never be able to own a new car of this category at this point of my life. I used to have one when I lived in another life circumstance from 2004 - 2008 (it was a 2001 CL 500 ).
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:06 AM
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The aBC repair can cost more than the $7000 purchase price . Don’t buy it with the fault
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:45 PM
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There is the Yellowspeed coilover shock conversion for about 1,000 USD and gets rid of the ABC System. I did my car that i got for a bargain with the same issue. I would say go for it and get rid of the ABC suspension so it doesnt nickel and dime you to death. Just the diagnosis and service for the ABC will run you abut 500 which is halfway to the Yellowspeed shock conversion. my 2 cents is order the standard spring rates.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Puerto Rick View Post
There is the Yellowspeed coilover shock conversion for about 1,000 USD and gets rid of the ABC System. I did my car that i got for a bargain with the same issue. I would say go for it and get rid of the ABC suspension so it doesnt nickel and dime you to death. Just the diagnosis and service for the ABC will run you abut 500 which is halfway to the Yellowspeed shock conversion. my 2 cents is order the standard spring rates.
If you are going to remove the ABC system why don’t you simply buy a Toyota instead? It certainly won’t nickel and dime you to death.

The ABC system, when combined with the supercharged V8 or the twin turbo V 12, is what makes the car. Without it you simply have a really fast Tijuana taxi that looks good going in straight lines.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:05 AM
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I get the aggravation of ABC. My first CL ate money like a prostitute with a cocaine addiction due to ABC issues. Got all of those fixed before selling but it was expensive.

I'm most likely going to a coilover and rollbars on my SL when I have ABC issues. Shocks and coilovers is good enough for the SL65 Black so it should work just fine on my car.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:30 AM
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I would tell you there is nothing better in terms of handling than the ABC system. SHIV had a great piece on this forum about a year ago on renewing his entire ABC system. If I recall correctly it cost about $10K. In my humble opinion, worth every penny.

Unfortunately Benz has now gone away from the ABC system as standard on their S class coupes and it is only available on the ultra high end S 65 as an option. Having driven a super charged CL55 with ABC for years and now driving a non ABC S class coupe, the difference is huge. They turned a world class handling car into a highway queen. If you are lucky enough to have a CL55 or CL65 cherish it and enjoy the ABC.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post


If you are going to remove the ABC system why don’t you simply buy a Toyota instead? It certainly won’t nickel and dime you to death.

The ABC system, when combined with the supercharged V8 or the twin turbo V 12, is what makes the car. Without it you simply have a really fast Tijuana taxi that looks good going in straight lines.
I get it that the suspension makes the car. It is worth diagnosing to see the cost of fixing it and use it as a bargaining chip for the sale price. The man is asking about a 7,000 dollar car. It has low miles and probably worth fixing. but the 10,000 dollar rebuild is not on everyone's budget. My car was not worth saving the ABC due to high miles. I would like to have the ABC but my plans are to spend the money on more boost, inter cooling, and headers. I will probably buy an S class next for the comfort. I still say go for the car.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:18 AM
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Have you seen the car? A Japanese import is likely to be right hand drive.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:29 PM
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Puerto Rick, everbody to their own. But just be aware of the implications of the decision you mention. You seem to indicate this is an economic decision and that you are going to spend your money on more boost, inter cooling, and headers. So money is limited and you have to make choices. I get that and that is fine if you are going to keep the car forever as a personal driver. But you should realize not only will you never get the money you spend on those items back but it will make the car worthless for resale purposes.

There was a guy in Texas a year ago on this site that did exactly what you are talking about on a much newer car and he was shocked that he had trouble reselling his car and ultimately had to dump it at a price significantly below market. So just be clear on your choices and the consequences.

I have a Ferrai that I dump money into that I know I will never recover (i just paid $6k to redo the leather on the dash and another $10k to get it smogged) but I do it with eyes wide open, not wide shut.

Last edited by RonCL55; 08-28-2018 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Puerto Rick, everbody to their own. But just be aware of the implications of the decision you mention. You seem to indicate this is an economic decision and that you are going to spend your money on more boost, inter cooling, and headers. So money is limited and you have to make choices. I get that and that is fine if you are going to keep the car forever as a personal driver. But you should realize not only will you never get the money you spend on those items back but it will make the car worthless for resale purposes.

There was a guy in Texas a year ago on this site that did exactly what you are talking about on a much newer car and he was shocked that he had trouble reselling his car and ultimately had to dump it at a price significantly below market. So just be clear on your choices and the consequences.

I have a Ferrai that I dump money into that I know I will never recover (i just paid $6k to redo the leather on the dash and another $10k to get it smogged) but I do it with eyes wide open, not wide shut.
If you are a Ferrari owner you obviously have enough money to dump into your cars. I simply don't see where if the gentleman in Canada wants to buy a clean low mileage CL and spend 1,000-2,000 dollars getting rid of the single biggest problem with this platform where it would be a bad thing. I am fully aware in my case that the value of "Hot Rodded" parts will never get recovered. Putting the pedal to the ground and getting a big smile on your face is worth the price every time. When 90% of the depreciation on these 15 year old cars has already happened it opens up the market for people like myself to be able to buy this type of car and beat the **** out of it. I simply loved this body style and my cousin had a CLS 55 with this engine that I really loved the power of. So when I found one that needed suspension cheap it was a no brainer. The suspension change has been well documented on this site to be a good thing to get rid of headaches with ABC. I researched deep into this issue before i made the decision to convert. The car rides like a normal car and handles fine for a 3,800 lb. long wheelbase car. I don't see any real downside other than my AAA membership will get less use now.
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:39 AM
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Puerto Rick, you are making my point for me when you say: “The car rides like a normal car and handles fine for a 3,800 lb. long wheelbase car.” That is exactly the point! By taking the ABC out you are turning a world class handling GT coupe into a car that handles “fine”. An Oldsmobile handles “fine”.

I think everyone should be aware that removing the ABC is a real loss. Putting $10k into the car to make it handle like new to me is money well spent. It already has gobs of power, going from 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds and so if I was going to put my money anywhere it would be into the suspension, not the engine.

Just so everyone knows what I am talking about, I had a CL55 that I spent about $5k on with very minor suspension mods (wheels, tires, lowering). When I was finished I had a car that not only could keep up in the straightaways with my Ferrari, but in the corners too. Overall from a ride, handling, performance, and reliability standpoint it was a BETTER car than the Ferrari. The best car I have ever owned in fact and I have owned a lot!

Puerto Rick, you are entirely right when you say that 90% depreciation opens up the market and gives people an opportunity to own a car that they never could have otherwise. It is a car that was worth over $120k new then (the current version going for over $200k with ABC). So if you could have that kind of car by just putting $10k into the ABC or spend $1k to $2k to rip it out and make it just “fine”, the decision seems like a no brainer.

Lastly, and I will get off my soapbox, the $10k for the ABC is worse case scenario if you have to replace the whole thing. I had my CL55 for 10 years and never had any ABC problem (or any other major mechanical problem for that matter). If and when the ABC failed (and it eventually will because it has a lot of rubber hoses that degrade over time) I was fully prepared to put $10k into the ABC like SHIV did last year because it continues to be a world class car even today.

So yes, you can turn it into a Tijuana taxi with a big engine, but it can be so much more. Just my own personal view.
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Old 08-29-2018, 11:09 AM
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Ron,
I see right through your pompous sarcasm. Do you really know what you are talking about if you have not ridden in a converted car? By just fine I mean no body roll and soaks up the bumps well. 3,800 lbs. is alot of weight and the car is a very big car. There is nothing that the ABC can do about that. If I wanted to go around the corners as fast as I could have a car for that. Weighing about 800 lbs. less with full suspension, big brakes and Michelin Sport cup 2 tires. Enjoy spending your money on your cars and bragging about it on the internet trying to belittle others trying to be subtle about it. I was just offering my 2 cents to someone else anyway. as you probably would say GOOD DAY SIR.....
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Old 08-29-2018, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DeepFloyd View Post
Anyway, a dealer here in Canada is selling a 2002 CL 500 with only 60 K Kilometers, that was imported from Japan. It has the 1 malfunction sign on and the ABC in red. They said they would take it and have looked at to determine if it can be repaired and how much it would cost. I used to have this same car (2001 CL 500 ) and loved it. I have no budget to buy a newer model and I simply love the design of the CL 500. Is it feasible to invest in it and put up with the repairs? There is something wrong with it, the dealer hasn't told me exactly what - but that it would run into the thousands. He is willing to let it go for $ 7000 CAD. Everything else looks really in great shape, whoever owned it took good care of it from what I can see. I think in Japan emissions standards got really stringent and that's why they were probably not able to drive it any more and it has the very low mileage for a 16 year old car. What are your objective and subjective thoughts on this?
I would never be able to own a new car of this category at this point of my life. I used to have one when I lived in another life circumstance from 2004 - 2008 (it was a 2001 CL 500 ).
Sorry this got out of hand but I say Go for it man! you will enjoy the car.
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Old 08-29-2018, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Puerto Rick View Post
Ron,
I see right through your pompous sarcasm. Do you really know what you are talking about if you have not ridden in a converted car? By just fine I mean no body roll and soaks up the bumps well. 3,800 lbs. is alot of weight and the car is a very big car. There is nothing that the ABC can do about that. If I wanted to go around the corners as fast as I could have a car for that. Weighing about 800 lbs. less with full suspension, big brakes and Michelin Sport cup 2 tires. Enjoy spending your money on your cars and bragging about it on the internet trying to belittle others trying to be subtle about it. I was just offering my 2 cents to someone else anyway. as you probably would say GOOD DAY SIR.....
Puerto Rick, my comments were not aimed at you and were not intended as sarcasm. You have already made your decision and there’s no going back. My comments were intended to educate and assist people who have heard the ABC sky is falling scenario but have not yet made the coil over decision. I think they would be well advised not to drink the "cheaper is better Kool-Aid" and I have stated the reasons why.

You said: “Do you really know what you are talking about if you have not ridden in a converted car?” Actually, I do know what I’m talking about. As I previously said, I own the current version of the coupe that MB deleted the ABC system from. It’s handling SUCKS in comparison to my CL55. I doubt that your aftermarket coil overs can be as good as a current engineered MB non ABC system.

You said: “By just fine I mean no body roll and soaks up the bumps well. 3,800 lbs. is a lot of weight and the car is a very big car. There is nothing that the ABC can do about that. If I wanted to go around the corners as fast as I could have a car for that. Weighing about 800 lbs. less with full suspension, big brakes and Michelin Sport cup 2 tires.” Actually, your dead wrong there. The ABC system DOES do something about that. That is the whole point of the ABC system and why it is presently an option on the $200k plus version of the coupe. And you will note that I said the 2000s era version can be made even better with a minor suspension improvement.

For point of reference, here is a link to an old Car and Driver article that compares Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Bentley cars of the day.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2005-aston-martin-db9-vs-bentley-continental-gt-ferrari-612-scaglietti-f1-m-b-cl600-comparison-tests


You will see that the Mercedes won in all categories except name recognition. So even Car and Driver recognized the Mercedes as a world class GT car and there are a number of other articles out there that came to the same conclusion.

Also you will note that the Car and Driver article in commenting on the ABC system said: "Then there's the semiactive hydraulic suspension. It's a system of sensors and computer-controlled hydraulic rams and shocks at all four corners. It can instantly adjust from cushy soft for soaking up bumps to sports-car stiff to reduce body lean in corners. It's not perfect--some abrupt freeway impacts send jitters through the body--but in general, it works fantastically. The CL digs into corners with a surprising amount of bite and enthusiasm. One tester wrote, "Wow, very impressive in the turns, feels almost as agile and frisky as the Ferrari."

So my point on my prior Ferrari
handling comparison, is that I own the Ferrari in the Car and Driver test and I was able to tweak my CL ABC suspension so that it was even better and it DID keep up with my Ferrari.

Puerto Rick, no need to respond.
As I said this information is aimed at those that have not gone the coil over route. I love and respect the CL as an awesome world class GT car and it saddens me to have someone compromise it’s capabilities based on misinformation.

Last edited by RonCL55; 08-29-2018 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Puerto Rick View Post
Sorry this got out of hand but I say Go for it man! you will enjoy the car.
I fully agree, for Can.$7000 -- approx US$5390 - with only 60.000 kilometers - go for it. If you have to get an ABC pump, a strut or two - and some hoses , you will still be better off than buying one in Canada or the USA with the usual 100.000 Miles (160.000 kilometers) on it.
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:32 AM
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I've got CL 600. The car is marvellous (when it works properly). In my opinion, the ABC system is good for nothing, however I still keep the one and did not removed or replaced with something different. But you need to know, there are constant problems with ABC. Before you buy the car, please check the condition of the coils.
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Old 11-03-2018, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Puerto Rick, you are making my point for me when you say: “The car rides like a normal car and handles fine for a 3,800 lb. long wheelbase car.” That is exactly the point! By taking the ABC out you are turning a world class handling GT coupe into a car that handles “fine”. An Oldsmobile handles “fine”.

I think everyone should be aware that removing the ABC is a real loss. Putting $10k into the car to make it handle like new to me is money well spent. It already has gobs of power, going from 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds and so if I was going to put my money anywhere it would be into the suspension, not the engine.

Just so everyone knows what I am talking about, I had a CL55 that I spent about $5k on with very minor suspension mods (wheels, tires, lowering). When I was finished I had a car that not only could keep up in the straightaways with my Ferrari, but in the corners too. Overall from a ride, handling, performance, and reliability standpoint it was a BETTER car than the Ferrari. The best car I have ever owned in fact and I have owned a lot!

Puerto Rick, you are entirely right when you say that 90% depreciation opens up the market and gives people an opportunity to own a car that they never could have otherwise. It is a car that was worth over $120k new then (the current version going for over $200k with ABC). So if you could have that kind of car by just putting $10k into the ABC or spend $1k to $2k to rip it out and make it just “fine”, the decision seems like a no brainer.

Lastly, and I will get off my soapbox, the $10k for the ABC is worse case scenario if you have to replace the whole thing. I had my CL55 for 10 years and never had any ABC problem (or any other major mechanical problem for that matter). If and when the ABC failed (and it eventually will because it has a lot of rubber hoses that degrade over time) I was fully prepared to put $10k into the ABC like SHIV did last year because it continues to be a world class car even today.

So yes, you can turn it into a Tijuana taxi with a big engine, but it can be so much more. Just my own personal view.
This sheer level of arrogance, paired with the lack of mindfulness is quite baffling.

You claim any of these flagship benzes without ABC are Third World Country Taxi Cabs... Then why was it that one of the FINEST models (SL65 Black Series) comes with coilovers instead of the ABC like the SL500, SL55 and SL600 of that same year? That's quite an expensive Tijuana Taxi Cab!

The ABC system is inherently flawed, and you are CERTAINLY in the minority as someone who has owned ABC without any issues. Just a couple weeks ago, the Benz part's desk guy himself was telling me he used to see CL's come right off the truck already sagging to the ground with ABC issues... this is quite simply unacceptable for a car that costs +$100k. A quick youtube search and you'll find a w215 burning up in flames because of the ABC hose that bursts overtop of the torque converter bellhousing... is that what you mean by money well spent? I usually just use lighter fluid and some logs to start a fire for about $25, who spends $100k to start a fire? A blown hydraulic strut can mean not only a fatal accident, but costly undercarriage repairs as well.

Putting $10k into repairs of a suspension system (on a car often worth only $10k these days) is hardly money well spent. You'll never hear anyone say a $100k barrel tile roof on a $100k home is money well-spent....why are cars so much different?

ABC suspension was cool for lowering and raising the car at stop lights to impress the ladies... otherwise it's a pretty useless system under 100 mph, and can actually be deemed counter intuitive to experienced drivers who take body roll etc into consideration while cornering. The ABC system is misleading in regards to "feel"

I just think you are living in a fantasy bubble where these cars have not depreciated to about 1/10th of their original value.... removing ABC from a brand new CL55 was surely foolish...removing ABC from a 15 year old CL55 is the only logical route. Who the hell buys a $13k car KNOWING they will be spending $10k on suspension that year? Most people just buy a $23k car to begin with...

The ABC system should have never been implemented on these cars, it was far from perfected. You even say in your quote from Car and Driver that the ABC system is not perfect. God forbid they had to actually own a real CL and deal with the unreliability and repairs of the ABC system.

We have driven ABC w215's, and we've also driven coilover converted w215's and the difference is simply negligible. You DO NOT have the same experience driving both ABC/coilover w215's so you are simply speaking from a stance of ignorance. That's fine to be ignorant and voice your opinion... but to say these guys are wrong, and driving "Mexican taxi cabs" because they've made the logical decision to ditch the inherently flawed suspension, is not just ignorant but very arrogant as well. Hopefully you get a chance to test drive a coilover w215 before you spend $10k on the ABC system..but it seems you are more interested in throwing away money
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Old 11-03-2018, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DeepFloyd View Post
Anyway, a dealer here in Canada is selling a 2002 CL 500 with only 60 K Kilometers, that was imported from Japan. It has the 1 malfunction sign on and the ABC in red. They said they would take it and have looked at to determine if it can be repaired and how much it would cost. I used to have this same car (2001 CL 500 ) and loved it. I have no budget to buy a newer model and I simply love the design of the CL 500. Is it feasible to invest in it and put up with the repairs? There is something wrong with it, the dealer hasn't told me exactly what - but that it would run into the thousands. He is willing to let it go for $ 7000 CAD. Everything else looks really in great shape, whoever owned it took good care of it from what I can see. I think in Japan emissions standards got really stringent and that's why they were probably not able to drive it any more and it has the very low mileage for a 16 year old car. What are your objective and subjective thoughts on this?
I would never be able to own a new car of this category at this point of my life. I used to have one when I lived in another life circumstance from 2004 - 2008 (it was a 2001 CL 500 ).
sounds like a good deal, however like has been mentioned, don't buy a w215 without expecting costly ABC maintenance or plans to convert to coilovers
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ctravis595 View Post
This sheer level of arrogance, paired with the lack of mindfulness is quite baffling.

The ABC system should have never been implemented on these cars, it was far from perfected. You even say in your quote from Car and Driver that the ABC system is not perfect. God forbid they had to actually own a real CL and deal with the unreliability and repairs of the ABC system.

We have driven ABC w215's, and we've also driven coilover converted w215's and the difference is simply negligible. You DO NOT have the same experience driving both ABC/coilover w215's so you are simply speaking from a stance of ignorance.
Look, you are entitled to your opinion and i am entitled to mine. However, apart from your personal opinion, there is nothing backing up what you say from a technical perspective and you are merely trying to justify an economic decision.

The professional articles out there all say ABC is a great system in terms of handling and give it glowing reviews, however you say “negligible”. Who you gonna believe you or professional car writers? You also say “far from perfected”. However, you will note that ABC is now an option only available on the $200K plus S 65 coupe when it was standard on all of the prior generation CL coupes. You think that is because it is an inferior system that Mercedes would only put on their most expensive car or one that, if you know anything about handling, you would maybe want put on your car as a pricey option if you could afford it?

Also your comment about the ABC system only being good for lowering and raising the car to impress the ladies and being useless under 100 shows you know nothing about the system. It is designed to handle well in the corners. Most people don’t do corners over 100. In terms of raising and lowering, it allows you to modify the system with lowering links and get the weight of the car closer to the ground for even better handling and still raise the car for rough patches (note, i did say the system was capable of being made even better).

You talk about the SL 65 black with coilovers. A totally different car with a factory engineered system, not a backyard conversion and while it handles great, it rides like crap. Again shows you know nothing about ABC. Why they used ABC on the CL was you got the best of both worlds, sports car handling with luxury car ride.

You say I am speaking from ignorance since I have not driven both a CL with ABC and with coil overs. I actually own the current generation S Class coupe without ABC and its handling SUCKS in comparison to my CL55 with ABC. It is not even in the same universe. So I assume that you are telling me that a prior generation CL with back yard installed after market coilovers will handle as well as a current generation S Coupe with a factory engineered non ABC suspension system. I don’t think so and, even if it did, it would still SUCK as compared to the ABC handling based on my real life driving experience.

So at the end of the day this is all about a money play. You want to buy a cheap car and not maintain it and drive it til it drops. That is ok if that is where you are coming from. As you said why would you put $10K into a cheap car that only cost you $10K. However, lets not then try to say that the car handles as well. You are just trying to justify what is purely an economic decision.

My point is that a CL with ABC is a world class handling car that you have to spend more than $200K on today to replicate. For some of us that are not looking for a cheap car but rather are looking for a world class GT car that we can enjoy for years to come then it is a different economic issue. I owned my CL for 10 years and i did not consider the present value of the car every time i did something to it and whether it was “worth it”. I considered it as a car that was unique and that i wanted to keep forever.

As I previously pointed out, SHIV, another forum member, replaced his entire ABC system with all new parts and wrote an article in this forum on the process and it cost about $10K. There was a reason that he did that. He certainly saw the value in it and so do I.

But if you are simply looking for a cheap car then we are not speaking the same language.

Last edited by RonCL55; 11-04-2018 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post


Look, you are entitled to your opinion and i am entitled to mine.


You're correct. Sorry if I was a bit brash in disputing your opinion. It just seemed a bit offensive to others here. I was one of the first besides Strutmasters themselves to do the ABC conversion, and every step of the way we got nasty sentiments from purists such as yourself, only to install the coilovers with surprisingly great satisfaction, exponentially higher reliability, etc...

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
However, apart from your personal opinion, there is nothing backing up what you say from a technical perspective and you are merely trying to justify an economic decision.
From a technical perspective? All you have are "opinions" from Car and Driver about this suspension setup when the car was brand new. You do not own a brand new model, you are merely trying to justify a non-economical decision lol. My opinion is based on logic alone, the ABC system was not perfected in the early 2000's and the system is liable to fail at any moment. This could mean failing at 5 mph backing out of the garage, or it could mean failing at 75mph with three family members who were interested in riding in your car. We don't even need to get into the technical side of things before realizing keeping ABC is sort-of foolish considering the countless failures we've heard about

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
The professional articles out there all say ABC is a great system in terms of handling and give it glowing reviews,

Yes, in 1999/2000 or whenever ABC was brought about, this was absolutely mind-blowing technology for a production car! I agree, I would have given it glowing reviews back then as well. Those "professionals" knew nothing about the w215 ABC fires, the highway speed strut failures etc

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
however you say “negligible”. Who you gonna believe you or professional car writers?
Have ANY of those writers driven both a w215 with ABC and a w215 with coilovers? You're talking to folks who have real world experience with both setups.... believe who you want. Are you going to believe professional writers about their opinions of the first Moon landing? Or are you going to believe Neil Armstrong and Buzz about their personal experience?

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
You also say “far from perfected”. However, you will note that ABC is now an option only available on the $200K plus S 65 coupe when it was standard on all of the prior generation CL coupes. You think that is because it is an inferior system that Mercedes would only put on their most expensive car or one that, if you know anything about handling, you would maybe want put on your car as a pricey option if you could afford it?
Quite ironic that after 20~ years of lawsuits and ABC failures they realized they shouldn't slap an imperfected system on every model worth more than $80k... Also quite ironic that this "glowing review" suspension setup has mostly been phased out, besides an option on some of the most expensive models.

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Also your comment about the ABC system only being good for lowering and raising the car to impress the ladies and being useless under 100 shows you know nothing about the system.

Like I said, you're ignorantly talking to the first person to figure out most of this stuff for these conversions. Nobody else documented the conversion to coilovers, the conversion to a s430 steering pump, etc before myself. I'm really glad lots of members like Pmercury have picked up where I left off and figured out how easy it is to install sway bars etc

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
.It is designed to handle well in the corners. Most people don’t do corners over 100..
Precisely why this unreliable system is simply illogical to maintain, at best. And arrogant to stand behind, at worst.

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
.In terms of raising and lowering, it allows you to modify the system with lowering links and get the weight of the car closer to the ground for even better handling and still raise the car for rough patches (note, i did say the system was capable of being made even better).
Honestly, as long as you can agree that the ABC system was not perfected in the early 2000's, that's all I'm looking for in this debate.

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post

You talk about the SL 65 black with coilovers. A totally different car with a factory engineered system, not a backyard conversion and while it handles great, it rides like crap. Again shows you know nothing about ABC. Why they used ABC on the CL was you got the best of both worlds, sports car handling with luxury car ride.

You say I am speaking from ignorance since I have not driven both a CL with ABC and with coil overs. I actually own the current generation S Class coupe without ABC and its handling SUCKS in comparison to my CL55 with ABC.
Why claim the SL (another high performance mercedes coupe) is so much different than the CL while going on to claim you KNOW about w215's with coilovers, just because you have an S class? Come on lol

Furthermore, the abc ride quality was nothing special. I have larger rims and low profile tires, but my ride quality certainly improved after converting to coilovers. most people who've done the coilover conversion seem to agree. You are ignorant to the subject and therefore could stand to withhold judgement on the matter until you have more experience.
Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
It is not even in the same universe.
Again, trying to use your experience in an altogether different car to substantiate your opinions on the w215 with coilovers when you have zero real world experience....

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
So I assume that you are telling me that a prior generation CL with back yard installed after market coilovers will handle as well as a current generation S Coupe with a factory engineered non ABC suspension system. I don’t think so
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I'm merely suggesting some actual real world experience might serve to substantiate some of your claims....

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
and, even if it did, it would still SUCK as compared to the ABC handling based on my real life driving experience.
Again, ABC is good for reducing body roll in corners. Otherwise it's pretty much useless and a huge liability. The ride quality was not any smoother than with coilovers... and just like your professional opinions in Car and Driver state, the system was bad on potholes and such as well.So I guess I'm sorry your new S class suspension seems to suck so bad that you lend it's characteristics to cars you've never driven? Weird

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
So at the end of the day this is all about a money play. You want to buy a cheap car and not maintain it and drive it til it drops. .
That's ironic to hear considering I seem to have a much more reliable w215 than most with ABC... I see lots of w215's parked in peoples driveways, sagging to the ground and collecting dust for years because the owner realized the early 2000's ABC system was flawed. How is that maintenance?

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
That is ok if that is where you are coming from. As you said why would you put $10K into a cheap car that only cost you $10K. However, lets not then try to say that the car handles as well. You are just trying to justify what is purely an economic decision.
This basically just implies no large coupe with coilovers can handle well and that's just false. W215's have a very low center of gravity and certainly do not NEED hydraulics to maintain good handling. Retrofitting some sway bars, and you can get a very nice ride quality with neglible body roll... the entire point behind ABC to begin with. It's really a no brainer. This is that arrogance I was speaking of... like... imagine spending $10k on your suspension just to say your car doesn't have any body roll...that's foolish at best. Otherwise the ABC system does not excel in any regard besides reducing body roll...lowering and raising the car at stoplights for the ladies, and CORNERING AT SPEEDS OVER 100mph which basically none of us are doing anyways. So really what's the point to the lack of body roll? Do you often spill your morning coffee while cornering and need to rectify that issue?

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
My point is that a CL with ABC is a world class handling car that you have to spend more than $200K on today to replicate.
Yes exactly, Mercedes themselves have realized they can't just slap an inherently flawed system on most high-end models. They perfected it over 20 years and STILL ONLY OFFER IT ON ONE MODEL NOW.

Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
For some of us that are not looking for a cheap car but rather are looking for a world class GT car that we can enjoy for years to come then it is a different economic issue. I owned my CL for 10 years and i did not consider the present value of the car every time i did something to it and whether it was “worth it”. I considered it as a car that was unique and that i wanted to keep forever.
Oddly enough these are some of the same reasons I switched to coilovers. I plan on keeping this car for 30+ years. I've owned it for about 6/7 years now, so I will say you have MORE experience with driving ABC than I do. However please note that many of us now have experience driving both ABC and coilover w215's and after doing so, exactly NONE of us has said "this sucks we are switching back to ABC"

Lastly, I hope I'm not coming off to brash. I largely enjoy debate and this is much more of a discussion than an attack so please do not regard it as such. I wish we all could experience the same reliability that you have with your ABC, it was certainly a cool system and mind-blowing technology for a production car in 1999
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:03 PM
  #21  
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Look, ctravis595, you obviously made a perceived economic decision and decided to remove your ABC’s system and now you’re trying to come off as some kind of expert to justify your decision. Frankly, there’s no point in further discussing this with you. You’re already done and cannot undo what you did. As the Soup **** would say: No soup for you!

The purpose of my original post was to inform those who have not yet drank the coilover Kool-Aid and don’t yet believe the sky is falling. For those that are interested in actually informing themselves and not immersing themselves in all of the rhetoric, I would suggest you simply talk to Jerry or Tony at:

Five Star Auto Care
925 W. 16th St.,
Newport Beach, CA 92663
949-548-6152

They maintained my CL for 10 years and did an awesome job (big plug here!). They are also probably the largest independent Mercedes only shop in the US. The largest volume Mercedes dealer in the nation is only a few miles away and over the years Five Star has inherited a vast array of out of warranty CLs to maintain.

They are very knowledgeable guys and will freely share their thoughts with you in making any decisions regarding buying or maintaining a Mercedes.

Having previously discussed the subject with Jerry, I will also tell you their view is that the ABC system is not inherently flawed and merely requires good maintenance like all the other parts of the CL, which is an incredibly complex car. The fact that my CL had no major problems over 10 years of ownership is a testament to the fact that they know what they are doing and talking about.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:04 PM
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On my second ABC equipped vehicle, I'm not impressed with the ride quality. The only thing it does well, in my opinion, is it keeps the car flat in curves.
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Look, ctravis595, you obviously made a perceived economic decision and decided to remove your ABC’s system and now you’re trying to come off as some kind of expert to justify your decision. Frankly, there’s no point in further discussing this with you. You’re already done and cannot undo what you did. As the Soup **** would say: No soup for you!

The purpose of my original post was to inform those who have not yet drank the coilover Kool-Aid and don’t yet believe the sky is falling. For those that are interested in actually informing themselves and not immersing themselves in all of the rhetoric, I would suggest you simply talk to Jerry or Tony at:

Five Star Auto Care
925 W. 16th St.,
Newport Beach, CA 92663
949-548-6152

They maintained my CL for 10 years and did an awesome job (big plug here!). They are also probably the largest independent Mercedes only shop in the US. The largest volume Mercedes dealer in the nation is only a few miles away and over the years Five Star has inherited a vast array of out of warranty CLs to maintain.

They are very knowledgeable guys and will freely share their thoughts with you in making any decisions regarding buying or maintaining a Mercedes.

Having previously discussed the subject with Jerry, I will also tell you their view is that the ABC system is not inherently flawed and merely requires good maintenance like all the other parts of the CL, which is an incredibly complex car. The fact that my CL had no major problems over 10 years of ownership is a testament to the fact that they know what they are doing and talking about.
Wrong. I saw a wrecked w215 locally for $1200 a few weeks ago.. I could re-install alll ABC components quite easily considering the car was setup for ABC. But frankly you will absolutely never see anyone who’s ditched AbC, turn around to regret it and reverse their conversion. Mark my words on that one.

You said yourself the Abc system was known to send jitters through the body over bumps and potholes, which contradicts your statement that “the abc system isn’t flawed”.

Catching fire because of bursted hydraulic hoses, highway speed strut failures are not indicative of a system that “simply needs maintenance”. Why don’t you go talk to some of the reps at your local mercedes dealer now that the w215 is obsolete and they won’t lose their jobs for knocking the w215 platform... they themselves will tell you some of these cars were coming from Germany already sagging to the ground with ABC issues...

i think youre living in the past, and you sound like you’re defending your prestigious fighter jet, when realistically your car is not even worth more than a brand new Hyundai. So much for that world class Grand Tourer, that Car and Driver claims is unparalleled... lol

Never really claimed to be an abc expert either... Just pointing out the irony when you claim I “know nothing of the system” when realistically, I helped pioneer the movement that could possibly prevent your previous fighter jet from depreciating even further and further. Before these abc conversions, there were a few illogically stubborn folk, such as yourself, determined to keep an inherently flawed system on metaphorical life-support. Otherwise the w215 was a platform destined for the junkyard, with an unreliable reputation and dwindling value.

Like I said you are blatantly in the minority of folks who are lucky enough to have never had Abc issues, I’m even willing to bet you cannot find 150 w215’s in the entire world who’ve never had any ABC issues. The system was designed to withstand the 3 year 30,000 mile Mercedes warranty and obviously not much else. There are more posts about AbC than any other topic in w215 forums... you’re preaching to the wrong crowd lol

i have no interest in talking to Tom or Jerry, it’s quite clear they’ve got you by the ***** by having you spend countless funds on ABC maintenance, only to pin you in the corner to spend $10k with them one day replacing the Abc.

Some of us were a bit more logical than that, and opted for the conversion before we let our local Indy/stealership gull us into a money pit on an inherently flawed system. You said it yourself, even under pristine maintence the system has no perks besides a lack of body roll (do you often spill coffee or race?), and still experiences issues over potholes etc.

and just like blownv8 stated, the ride quality of abc was never anything special... perhaps you just need to replace your w215 cup holders to stop spilling coffee? Sounds cheaper than maintening ABC...
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Look, ctravis595, you obviously made a perceived economic decision and decided to remove your ABC’s system and now you’re trying to come off as some kind of expert to justify your decision. Frankly, there’s no point in further discussing this with you. You’re already done and cannot undo what you did. As the Soup **** would say: No soup for you!

The purpose of my original post was to inform those who have not yet drank the coilover Kool-Aid and don’t yet believe the sky is falling. For those that are interested in actually informing themselves and not immersing themselves in all of the rhetoric, I would suggest you simply talk to Jerry or Tony at:

Five Star Auto Care
925 W. 16th St.,
Newport Beach, CA 92663
949-548-6152

They maintained my CL for 10 years and did an awesome job (big plug here!). They are also probably the largest independent Mercedes only shop in the US. The largest volume Mercedes dealer in the nation is only a few miles away and over the years Five Star has inherited a vast array of out of warranty CLs to maintain.

They are very knowledgeable guys and will freely share their thoughts with you in making any decisions regarding buying or maintaining a Mercedes.

Having previously discussed the subject with Jerry, I will also tell you their view is that the ABC system is not inherently flawed and merely requires good maintenance like all the other parts of the CL, which is an incredibly complex car. The fact that my CL had no major problems over 10 years of ownership is a testament to the fact that they know what they are doing and talking about.
what abc maintenance did you have during your ownership of the cl55?

The problem is that even doing routine fluid and filter changes, every year or two (which can cost $5000+ over ten years ) the rubber parts are all at end of life by this age . Even if you did routine fluid changes. That means all new rubber hoses like Shiv did , all new accumulators , perhaps new struts , and maybe a new pump. So on top of the $5000 in fluid changes you’re now at the age where $10,000 in work is needed . Even people of means generally won’t spend that on a car worth under $10,000.
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tusabes View Post

what abc maintenance did you have during your ownership of the cl55?

The problem is that even doing routine fluid and filter changes, every year or two (which can cost $5000+ over ten years ) the rubber parts are all at end of life by this age . Even if you did routine fluid changes. That means all new rubber hoses like Shiv did , all new accumulators , perhaps new struts , and maybe a new pump. So on top of the $5000 in fluid changes you’re now at the age where $10,000 in work is needed . Even people of means generally won’t spend that on a car worth under $10,000.
Tusabes, everything you say is exactly correct. The ABC system is merely an aggregation of rubber hoses and rubber does degrade over time. So just like your radiator hose, your heater hose, your AC hose, etc., the ABC system has a limited shelf life and needs to be properly maintained and serviced. Every car that has rubber and plastic parts and is 10 to 15 years old has the same issues.

So you have to decide whether you like the car enough, if it is unique enough, if it is worthy enough, to maintain it in its original condition, or do you just want to treat it like any other cheap $10K car and throw it on the scrap heap when it costs more than a few thousand dollars to maintain.

Personally having owned and lived with the car for 10 years, I think it is worthy enough to be lifetime keeper. In my entire life I have never owned a better, more reliable, more out there, more attractive, more extreme car. Simply put, it was the BEST.

So today thanks to that wonderful thing called depreciation, the CL gives people who cannot afford to pay $200K for a daily driver the unique opportunty to know what it is like to drive a supercar, to take 25 mile an hour corners at 70+, to go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds, to have the instant gratification of a supercharger, to have “go kart” handling and to do it all in the luxury and comfort of a world class GT car. I did all of that with Zepplin blasting from the incredible stereo but it works just as welll with Bach (which is my friend’s choice who has a twin CL65 to my CL55—of course, mine being supercharged, it was better.).

But if someone views the CL merely as a $10K car that is disposable, that is only “worth” that, that no one in their right mind would spend more than a few thousand dollars on, that they will delete core elements from to save a few dollars, then they wont understand a word I just said. Unfortunately, if you love cars, it is a lifetime opportunity missed.


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