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GL Class (X164) 2007-2012: GL320CDI, GL420CDI, GL450, GL550

300,000 mile report

 
Old 02-07-2019, 10:52 PM
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300,000 mile report

Just got the '08 GL320 home from the regular 300,000 mile service. I have previously reported at 250,000 and 280,000 miles.

If it can be poured it was changed. If it filters, it was changed. The water separator was seeping a bit; it was replaced. There was a tiny crack at the inlet neck on the coolant reservoir, so a new tank was installed. A seal on the oil filter housing was leaking and due to a change in the part the old seal is not available anymore. So a new housing was installed. Several iffy looking hoses of one kind or another were changed.

It is interesting to me what has not ever been replaced: Front brakes. Ball joints. CV joints. Radiator. A/C system. Door handles (apparently a recurring problem for many). Starter motor. Glow plugs. Audio/video components. Shock absorbers (rear only). The Arnott air suspension parts have now lasted 150,000 miles with no indication of leaking. Oil consumption remains about 1 1/2 quarts between 10,000 mile oil changes and the fuel consumption overall continues to be somewhere north of 24 mpg.

I purchased this car five and a half years ago with 110,000 miles already on it. I have now driven it myself almost 200,000 more. The journey from 150,000 to 200,000 was by far the roughest stretch, with nearly $20,000 in repairs and maintenance in just 25,000 miles. These last 100,000 miles have been relatively untroubled. Total repairs, maintenance, tires and fuel have added up to an alarming $50,000 - or close to it. However, this works out to a total cost of operation of only 20 cents per mile. If I include the original purchase price it has cost about 36 cents per mile to own and drive, insurance and property tax excepted. I take some comfort in contemplating that, driving nearly 40,000 miles per year as I do, had I purchased one new the depreciation cost alone would have been about $50,000 in less than three years.

300,000 miles was my original goal; the car no longer owes me anything. I would consider myself satisfied with the purchase in every way were to go out in the morning and find just four rubber tires and a pile of rust. That said, there is no apparent downside to just driving the car another year, two years, three years ...? It has almost no resale value, but the appearance is still excellent as is the performance. And I still really like the comfort and utility.

Last edited by GL528; 02-08-2019 at 12:08 AM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by GL528 View Post
Just got the '08 GL320 home from the regular 300,000 mile service. I have previously reported at 250,000 and 280,000 miles.

If it can be poured it was changed. If it filters, it was changed. The water separator was seeping a bit; it was replaced. There was a tiny crack at the inlet neck on the coolant reservoir, so a new tank was installed. A seal on the oil filter housing was leaking and due to a change in the part the old seal is not available anymore. So a new housing was installed. Several iffy looking hoses of one kind or another were changed.

It is interesting to me what has not ever been replaced: Front brakes. Ball joints. CV joints. Radiator. A/C system. Door handles (apparently a recurring problem for many). Starter motor. Glow plugs. Audio/video components. Shock absorbers (rear only). The Arnott air suspension parts have now lasted 150,000 miles with no indication of leaking. Oil consumption remains about 1 1/2 quarts between 10,000 mile oil changes and the fuel consumption overall continues to be somewhere north of 24 mpg.

I purchased this car five and a half years ago with 110,000 miles already on it. I have now driven it myself almost 200,000 more. The journey from 150,000 to 200,000 was by far the roughest stretch, with nearly $20,000 in repairs and maintenance in just 25,000 miles. These last 100,000 miles have been relatively untroubled. Total repairs, maintenance, tires and fuel have added up to an alarming $50,000 - or close to it. However, this works out to a total cost of operation of only 20 cents per mile. If I include the original purchase price it has cost about 36 cents per mile to own and drive, insurance and property tax excepted. I take some comfort in contemplating that, driving nearly 40,000 miles per year as I do, had I purchased one new the depreciation cost alone would have been about $50,000 in less than three years.

300,000 miles was my original goal; the car no longer owes me anything. I would consider myself satisfied with the purchase in every way were to go out in the morning and find just four rubber tires and a pile of rust. That said, there is no apparent downside to just driving the car another year, two years, three years ...? It has almost no resale value, but the appearance is still excellent as is the performance. And I still really like the comfort and utility.
wow. You would be a perfect candidate for the cpo program.
You should check it out for next time
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:15 PM
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OP, I was going to say that you are an anomaly getting 300k out of your OM642 motor, but then again you've fixed what typically kills these engines - the oil leaks.
Obviously at great cost. Well done, keep on keepin' on.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Blast View Post
OP, I was going to say that you are an anomaly getting 300k out of your OM642 motor, but then again you've fixed what typically kills these engines - the oil leaks.
Obviously at great cost. Well done, keep on keepin' on.
I think several things are working here. He notes that the car has original front brake pads which at 300k tells me he is all highway miles which these engines love. Leaks are not a big deal, just gotta stay up on them. I have 140k on my 2011 and it runs and drives like new however I have had a good share of repairs as well (some are things like Airmatic replacement which are time dependent). I am sold on the OM642 despite the ragging it gets by some. I have owned 3 of them and they just need TLC.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:30 PM
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It's also is a plus that it's not a 350 with Adblue system. Owning a 320 and not a lot of short trips seems to be the key if you want to own a diesel GL. Even then, still not cheap to maintain and repair. The fuel efficiency helps though.

My GL450 has been around $0.30 per mile to operate including the cost of the vehicle, fuel, maintenance, and repairs but not including insurance. I've owned it since 2007 and put all but 1k miles on the GL.

With that said, I can guarantee the next 50k miles will be more expensive than the 320's since my GL has signs of the dreaded balance shaft sprocket failure. A used 550 engine installed will run around $5k but could DIY for less than $2k. So far, the car has been ultra reliable and parts have been dirt cheap to maintain and repair. The engine will be my first big out of pocket repair other than the AC compressor I just had changed. Could have done it much cheaper but I needed it quickly and paid the price. It also helped that I had a 100k mile warranty that covered a bad water pump, struts, trunk latch, folding mirror, and turbine speed sensor/valvebody in the transmission.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:22 PM
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I’m a bit surprised by your apparently still functioning rear shock absorbers.

I’ve owned my ‘07 320 since new and my stepdaughter has recently obtained an ‘07 450 and both had leaking rear shocks at ~75K miles. Pretty easy to replace and not expensive.

Some discussion on shock absorbers ... it been a long time now since I’ve cared a whit about ‘merikun cars, but my recollection is that back in those days a shock lasting 75k miles would be considered outstanding. Typical for Mercedes, of course.

By the way, it’s usually (on a Mercedes at least) difficult to physically notice shock absorber failure. The easiest and most common thing is to observe an oil leak. Whether you’ll feel much is questionable ... but you’re likely to feel the difference when new ones are installed.

So ... about front struts. On non Airmatic models, when the shock absorber fails, the metal coil spring is removed and reinstalled on the new hydraulic components. The difference with Airmatic is that according to Mercedes at least, there is no reuse of the airbag spring when the hydraulic portion fails and requires replacement. I think also there should be little expectation that this hydraulic portion will last any longer than any other shock absorber.

There is therefore a lot in my opinion of unrealistic criticism of Airmatic. If the hydraulic portion is good for only 75k miles, why should the airbag be designed to last longer? What would be the cost (or possibility) of designing the unit for separate replacement of the airbag? Yes, you pay more for Airmatic components but that is offset by the benefits. You pay more for replacements, too. Where’s the surprise in this?

PS: I suggest you replace your rear shocks. Pretty sure you’ll feel it.

Last edited by lkchris; 02-09-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
There is therefore a lot in my opinion of unrealistic criticism of Airmatic. If the hydraulic portion is good for only 75k miles, why should the airbag be designed to last longer? What would be the cost (or possibility) of designing the unit for separate replacement of the airbag? Yes, you pay more for Airmatic components but that is offset by the benefits. You pay more for replacements, too. Where’s the surprise in this?

PS: I suggest you replace your rear shocks. Pretty sure you’ll feel it.
Absolutely agree on all parts. I'm on my second set of rear shocks since the factory ones were changed. Change them, there is no way they are still good. It will really improve your handling and comfort.

When two of your last 4 cars have ABC, Airmatic is a dream to maintain and dirt cheap. Even without making the ABC comparison, I like Airmatic quite a bit for handling and ride comfort and, again, it's not expensive to maintain nor is it problematic if you watch for the warning signs and repair before the issues get worse.
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