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Looking to buy an 03+ E55, coming from an 05 S4... help!

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Looking to buy an 03+ E55, coming from an 05 S4... help!

 
Old 04-09-2009, 02:00 PM
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Looking to buy an 03+ E55, coming from an 05 S4... help!

Okay, so I've been mulling this over for a long, long time.

I've been strongly considering the 03+ E55 AMG, with the supercharged V8. Here is my background. I have always wanted one of the new M5s, with the 500hp V10. My original plan back in 2006 was to drive my e46 330i for a while, upgrade to something, and then eventually the M5. The M5 was 60k+ and well out of my range at the time being.

So I drove the 330i for a few years and then I bought a 2005 Audi S4 6MT in Nogaro Blue w/ the carbon fiber trim. I love the S4, it's a blast. However, this was right before the economic crash, and now the Mercedes competitor to the M5 is right in my price range. So I'm having car doubts. This doesn't normally happen to me; I was happy with the BMW for 3 years straight, and only upgraded when I was good and ready to buy another car. I bought the S4 thinking that I'd be in that bracket for a while, but the Mercedes is now in the same price range as what I paid for the S4. I also have a buyer for my S4 who will pay me $22k for it, which is definitely worth it for me.

I have looked at quite a few E55s and it seems like the ones in the West are around $28-30k for 40-60k mile examples, and the ones in the Central / East region are $24-26k for 40-60k mile examples. Here are a few I am looking at right now.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/E55-A...1%7C240%3A1308

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2004-...1%7C240%3A1308
I'm a big fan of the light wood trim, but I'd also really love to have Keyless Go. Either of these cars would be fine for me.

Both cars are absolutely beautiful. There are several examples like these, various colors, all over that region. Actually there seems to be an unusually high amount of these cars, in Illinois specifically, for some reason. Either way, finding an excellent example is not difficult.

I've driven one and I loved it, lighting up the tires anytime you put your foot down and feeling that neck-snapping rocket acceleration is just bliss to me. Not a tremendous fan of the auto, but I have the DSM if I really want to drive a manual and I wouldn't mind having the ease of not having to shift when driving through traffic, for a change.

To give you a background on my maintenance attitude, I owned both a 2001 BMW 330i 5spd and the Audi S4 I'm in now. Both cars served me faithfully with almost zero problems. The BMW had a camshaft position sensor go out (a common issue apparently, which cost me $70 and took 15 minutes to replace), a final stage resistor (HVAC thing, cost $30 and took an hour), and a fuel pump ($150, took 20 minutes and was right under the rear seat. Compared to what everyone told me about the German sedans (OH MY GOD THEY'RE A BILLION DOLLARS A DAY TO MAINTAIN), I wasn't that put off by the maintenance. It seemed rather normal. I also take meticulous care of my cars and send oil samples to Blackstone occasionally to check on engine health.

So here are my questions.

* What breaks on these cars? What do you guys expect the total cost of ownership on one of these to be? Keep in mind I can do basic repairs myself, but something like a timing belt/water pump I'd probably take to a shop, even an indy shop. What are the normal wear and tear items (other than the obvious stuff like tires, oil, brake pads, etc)?

* Did these cars ever come without HIDs? The local example I linked (on craigslists) appears to have standard halogen projectors. I don't think they all have bixenon, but are 4300K (or w/e) HID lamps standard on these cars?

* Why would/wouldn't you buy one? I won't be running myself into rags buying this car (I don't expect the total financed amount to be >$30k) and the car will be garaged almost anytime it is parked.

* What are your experiences with buying (and shipping) cars sight unseen? I could buy a local E55, but the only one around here is fairly stripped (almost no options), and costs $30.9k (http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/ctd/1099620255.html)... and while I may be able to talk them down a bit, it certainly won't be as low as the Illinois ones on eBay or Autotrader. If I buy one off eBay, I'll need to figure out what the entire process is as far as having my bank send them the money, and licensing the car from out of state. Do you save on sales tax if you buy it out of state and bring it in?

* In followup to the previous question, what are your experiences with car shippers? Any good ones to use? Anything to be afraid of? I got a few quotes and shipping a car from IL to UT would be anywhere from ~$500-700. That's cheaper than me flying out there and driving it home.

* Is there anything in particular I should look for on this car? Any specific package, common defects, a specific part replaced, etc? I definitely want OEM HIDs on the car, and Keyless Go would be nice, but other than that I'm not too particular on packages. Preferred colors would be charcoal, black, and maybe silver.

* Lastly... is this just a flat out bad idea, or could this feasibly work out as a great car for me? I would hope that this car would be reliable enough that driving it from 50k to 80-90k miles wouldn't cost me $10k on top of the car payments. I'm thinking that if I buy a well-maintained 03-04 car with 40-60k miles, it should be in the ballpark for $24-26k. Is that accurate? Could I get one for less? Is there any particular place to find these at incredible deals (auto auctions, foreclosures, etc)?

Thanks everyone. Hopefully this will work out well and I'll become a proud new Mercedes owner. My forum memberships tend to jump around with the cars I own (I'm still on most of the DSM forums, and went from e46fanatics to audizine to here) so I may be getting to know all of you a lot better soon!
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:29 PM
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Too many questions at one time.
Most common problem is ic pump failing.
I believe all e55 came with xenon
do a search you will find answers to most of your questions.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:49 PM
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I'll take a stab at a couple of questions.

First off, if you are here in Salt Lake, we have literally the coolest dealer in the USA...FOR REAL....down in Lindon. Ken Garf up here is so evil, Bid Laden would be like....DAYYUMMM!!! Only go to MB of Lindon..worth the drive.

Reason I say that is they are super mod friendly and Ken is wonderful at working with you on warranty issues. So it would be good if you could snag something with some warranty on it as MB of Lindon wants you to be happy and will bend over backwards for ya.

Without warranty, that's a tough one. Some of these cars run flawless while some have problems and at least you know from driving a Bimmer, that German parts are just super over priced.
* In followup to the previous question, what are your experiences with car shippers? Any good ones to use? Anything to be afraid of? I got a few quotes and shipping a car from IL to UT would be anywhere from ~$500-700. That's cheaper than me flying out there and driving it home.
You must have gotten a quote for open transport. Literally the worst way to ship it. We had a story of an open transport guy showing up with a Lexus and the windshield was exploded and hood had massive scratch down it. Guy whipped it off the truck and was like, "Call the company insurance....ain't my problem". You would want closed transport only and "point to point" delivery so the car would not sit on a lot waiting for someone else to pick it up.

I used VIP transport to ship IL to UT years ago and it was a little over a grand. Most likely now about 1500$ but ya get what ya pay for ya know.

http://www.viptransportinc.com/
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:14 PM
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Another awesome fact is that the car I'm looking at right now (the second eBay link) has a FULL maintenance history. Check this out...







I think this is the one. I'll be placing a deposit on it today unless anyone thinks its a really bad idea, and if you do, please tell me why.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Nait Sirhc View Post
Another awesome fact is that the car I'm looking at right now (the second eBay link) has a FULL maintenance history. Check this out...







I think this is the one. I'll be placing a deposit on it today unless anyone thinks its a really bad idea, and if you do, please tell me why.


It is a bit high on miles for the price. Also, a WARRANTY IS IMPERATIVE .. look at the thread a few down about chrystler service contracts.. anything over 60k miles is 800-1000 MORE.. so staying under 60k wills ave you some money too.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:37 AM
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I posted this same thread on another forum and a lot of posters on there are cautioning me about the car having 1500 miles between 08 and 09. Here is the paste from Autocheck.

02/06/2004 FL 15 Motor Vehicle Dept. ODOMETER READING FROM DMV
02/16/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. TITLE (Title #:0089872820)
02/16/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
06/07/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
03/16/2005 FL 10,920 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
04/02/2005 FL 10,928 Motor Vehicle Dept. ODOMETER READING FROM DMV
04/21/2005 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. TITLE (Title #:0089872820)
04/21/2005 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
05/10/2006 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
06/05/2007 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
08/28/2007 FL 64,411 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
01/30/2009 FL 65,049 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION

What they are worried about are the Auto Auction entries. It looks like the car was reported at auction in 03/05, sold to a new owner and reregistered in 05 through 07, auctioned in 08/07 with 64.4K miles, and again in 01/09 with 65.0K miles. So they're wondering why the car was only driven 600 miles between 08/07 and 01/09, and think it may be due to a large collision repair, hurricane/flood damage, or something similar. They also think the car is being sold for much less than it's worth and so something must be wrong.

I don't to buy the car if it's a trash heap and they're just trying to pawn it off on someone, but of all the E55s I looked at, there are a fair amount going for 23-25k with 50-60k miles on them. I even found this actual car on Autotrader for $26.9K, so they must have put the eBay ad up when no one bought it for that much.

Do you think this car is a bad idea? The dealer told me it was a one owner car, so I'm definitely going to find out what's going on with that (since it looks like it wasn't a one owner car) but I don't want to pass up what looks like an amazing deal if there isn't a really good reason.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:37 PM
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I have an 03 with 42k on it with extended warranty.

We can also put a few mods and finance it all together for you if you would like.

I have pm'ed you my info.


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Old 04-11-2009, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Nait Sirhc View Post
I posted this same thread on another forum and a lot of posters on there are cautioning me about the car having 1500 miles between 08 and 09. Here is the paste from Autocheck.

02/06/2004 FL 15 Motor Vehicle Dept. ODOMETER READING FROM DMV
02/16/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. TITLE (Title #:0089872820)
02/16/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
06/07/2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
03/16/2005 FL 10,920 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
04/02/2005 FL 10,928 Motor Vehicle Dept. ODOMETER READING FROM DMV
04/21/2005 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. TITLE (Title #:0089872820)
04/21/2005 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
05/10/2006 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
06/05/2007 ORLANDO, FL Motor Vehicle Dept. REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
08/28/2007 FL 64,411 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
01/30/2009 FL 65,049 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION

What they are worried about are the Auto Auction entries. It looks like the car was reported at auction in 03/05, sold to a new owner and reregistered in 05 through 07, auctioned in 08/07 with 64.4K miles, and again in 01/09 with 65.0K miles. So they're wondering why the car was only driven 600 miles between 08/07 and 01/09, and think it may be due to a large collision repair, hurricane/flood damage, or something similar. They also think the car is being sold for much less than it's worth and so something must be wrong.

I don't to buy the car if it's a trash heap and they're just trying to pawn it off on someone, but of all the E55s I looked at, there are a fair amount going for 23-25k with 50-60k miles on them. I even found this actual car on Autotrader for $26.9K, so they must have put the eBay ad up when no one bought it for that much.

Do you think this car is a bad idea? The dealer told me it was a one owner car, so I'm definitely going to find out what's going on with that (since it looks like it wasn't a one owner car) but I don't want to pass up what looks like an amazing deal if there isn't a really good reason.
The single most dangerous aspect of any car you buy off ebay, autotrader etc is the veracity of the odometer - reprogramming mileage is rampant in the used car business: If history permits, i.e. if there are no contradicting DMV and maintenance records, it's the the most lucrative way to make money. The higher end the car, the more likely the temptation for a shady dealer to do it.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:09 AM
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Nait - sent you a PM too... my car sounds like it has the perfect options for you... with low miles, warranty etc. Full serivce and warranty history by one dealership... Give me a call and we'll work out a great deal!!!
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