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My New Daily - Contains 2003 Mercedes S500 content.


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I know I have not posted on here for a long time, but I thought that I would share my new daily wheels...

 

it’s a 2003, 53 (Facelift) S500 L (long wheel base)

just ticked over to 180,364 miles (I got it at 179,220 miles) 

What a car, it is NOT greedy on fuel despite everyone telling me before I got it that it would be, it’s not.

5.0 V8, 306bhp 7 speed Auto.

its seriously lovely, riding on the airmatic suspension.

barely above idle speed at 80mph & for it’s size, it’s seriously quick when it is needed.

Also, the silence inside is amazing, you can barely hear any noise, it’s so silent & insulated from the outside world.

Yes, I know that most people will tell me about the horrors of the W220 Mercedes-Benz S Class, but this is a good one, no rust or rot (early examples up until 2002 were notoriously bad for rot everywhere) the 2003 facelift model onwards were not as bad.

& my one is not blighted with any rot.

 

Here it is, after being fully valeted today.

 

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Boring but mildly related story.

My mate Roy reckons that very often, if you don't like a car straight away, it will very probably grow on you, and often the reverse is true.

I can remember first seeing these in the Mercedes dealer in Truro, I was very, very ruthless with my opinion of how they looked.

I was definitely wrong, they've stood the test of time very well I think, that's a fine looking well proportioned car, even, dare I say it, in resale silver.

That looks like it's been really well looked after which hopefully bodes well for the engine, 'box and suspension. Well bought.

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Good man. It is good to know that I'm not the only person on the planet who likes early 2000s Mercedes. 

Then again, I was telling folk W210s are brilliant long before they became trendy. 

Ignore the naysayers. The S class was built to run on the Autobahn all day, it'll be decent on fuel if you're just doing 70-80 mph. 

When I bought my C32 people were saying "that'll be a money pit, it's high mileage, it'll be unreliable, you're mad" yet 2.5 years in I've just returned from a 1850 mile round trip around Europe in it. 

 

20200903_231140.jpg

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6 hours ago, bigfella2 said:

Great looking car, hides it's miles well. I would have thought a Merc 5.0 V8 of this era would have been a five speed auto. 

Because it’s a facelift model, it’s a 7g transmission, I also thought that it was a 5 speed when I first bought it, but I had the VIN number decoded on a Mercedes website & it is a 7g transmission, which was a pleasant surprise. That’s when I also found out that it was an L (long wheelbase) model also.

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1 hour ago, spartacus said:

Boring but mildly related story.

My mate Roy reckons that very often, if you don't like a car straight away, it will very probably grow on you, and often the reverse is true.

I can remember first seeing these in the Mercedes dealer in Truro, I was very, very ruthless with my opinion of how they looked.

I was definitely wrong, they've stood the test of time very well I think, that's a fine looking well proportioned car, even, dare I say it, in resale silver.

That looks like it's been really well looked after which hopefully bodes well for the engine, 'box and suspension. Well bought.

Thank you for your comment, it is indeed a lovely looking car, the engine is sublime, it is effortless when on the move & silent when running & idling.

Believe it or not, the car is actually a lovely light metallic blue (quartz blue light is the name of the colour) & not silver, despite it looking silver in the pictures. The interior is royal blue.

& yes, it certainly does hide it’s miles well, to drive it you would have absolutely no idea it had done 20,000 miles short of 200,000 miles, it really does drive like nothing else.

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Have you reset the throttle and transmission adaptations on it yet? 

Takes 5 minutes and no tools and is worth doing every now and then. 

Get in, close door, ignition on (engine off), foot fully down on throttle so kickdown engages for 20 seconds, keep foot on throttle and switch off ignition (keep key in, don't touch anything or open doors etc), take foot off throttle, wait for approx 2 minutes during which you'll hear (very quiet) clicks and clunks from the gearbox solenoids as the transmission resets.

It'll go like the clappers next time you drive it as it'll have to relearn your driving style, but after a few miles it'll calm right down and be nicer to drive. 

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18 minutes ago, Pete-M said:

Good man. It is good to know that I'm not the only person on the planet who likes early 2000s Mercedes. 

Then again, I was telling folk W210s are brilliant long before they became trendy. 

Ignore the naysayers. The S class was built to run on the Autobahn all day, it'll be decent on fuel if you're just doing 70-80 mph. 

When I bought my C32 people were saying "that'll be a money pit, it's high mileage, it'll be unreliable, you're mad" yet 2.5 years in I've just returned from a 1850 mile round trip around Europe in it. 

 

20200903_231140.jpg

I am a Mercedes licker, I love them, more so big Mercedes like the E class (W210, W211 etc) I was originally looking at E55 AMG’s, but the W211 E55 are still pricey despite their age now, so I then looked at the E500 W211, but I only seen one late model & again, that was pricey. I had not thought of a W220 S Class until this one popped up on my search radar, So I decided that it was well worth a look after asking the seller lots of questions about it (suspension working as it should etc) when the seller told me that it was working as it should, I arranged to go view it & when I seen it in the flesh & got taken out a run in it, I knew then that I was buying it & I am so glad that I did.

 

Regarding your C32, One of my friends had one of these around 10 years ago now & took me out for a blast in it, it was seriously quick, the supercharged V6 engine in these are something else, I remember being pinned back into the passenger seat when he nailed it. 
I agree with you, all the naysayers about fuel economy & being a money pit etc are just scared of the thought of running a big engined car. 
Mercedes & High Mileage go hand in hand if they are looked after, even Sprinter vans do gung ho mileages. 
I like your C32, they are an appreciating classic now, with Values only going to go one way & that’s up.

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21 minutes ago, Pete-M said:

Have you reset the throttle and transmission adaptations on it yet? 

Takes 5 minutes and no tools and is worth doing every now and then. 

Get in, close door, ignition on (engine off), foot fully down on throttle so kickdown engages for 20 seconds, keep foot on throttle and switch off ignition (keep key in, don't touch anything or open doors etc), take foot off throttle, wait for approx 2 minutes during which you'll hear (very quiet) clicks and clunks from the gearbox solenoids as the transmission resets.

It'll go like the clappers next time you drive it as it'll have to relearn your driving style, but after a few miles it'll calm right down and be nicer to drive. 

No, I have not done that yet, but I will give it a go over the weekend. I have not done that on it since I’ve had it.

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Mine was fun but fragile (prefacelift s500L) although for road presence to my mind my W140 500SEL and W126 500SEL trumped it. If memory serves the W140 and w220 shares the same engine, Magnificent.

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2 hours ago, Schaefft said:

How's the 7G-tronic? I hear nothing but bad things about it, which is why there is a narrow time frame where you can get the ideal spec, facelift but still with the old 5-speed Auto.

It’s sublime, it shifts seamlessly as it should, you barely even notice it.
I also had heard bad thing’s about the 7G-tronic transmission, like valve body’s & conductor plate issues etc. But this one is extremely good.

As for the 5 Speed Auto (722.6 transmission) these are pretty much bullet proof, & if the conductor plate fails, it’s relatively straightforward to replace, unlike the 722.9 (7G-Tronic) which if the conductor plate fails, the valve body also needs to be replaced at the same time.

 

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I know the AMG 722.6 in the C32 is the same as the one in the SLR, so 354 bhp is unlikely to ever trouble it. 

A pal has a 2007 911 auto. That uses the "cooking" version of the 722.6 rather than the AMG one, so it doesn't have Speedshift or the AMG spec torque converter. 

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1 hour ago, HarmonicCheeseburger said:

I do love how you hear stories about certain cars being certain doom, yet you see them pottering about seemingly daily.  If they are all so bad, how are they managing? 

Lovely car.

Exactly, I agree with you 100% on your comment.

You only hear about the one’s that have FTP’d, yet there are hundreds of thousands of W220’s worldwide & the vast majority of them are running about still. Yes, they will have their problems over time, but so do other manufacturers, there is no such thing as 100%  total reliability with any vehicle.

They are designed to fail or break from time to time, some issues/problems more expensive than others.
 

overall, I am very happy with the big thing, it might be 17 years old now, but it runs & drives like it is new.

Thank you also for you comment, it is a lovely big thing. 

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3 hours ago, HarmonicCheeseburger said:

I do love how you hear stories about certain cars being certain doom, yet you see them pottering about seemingly daily.  If they are all so bad, how are they managing? 

I suspect the tales of doom mainly eminate from people who buy old cars for a few grand from auctions etc and imagine that an S500 won't be much more expensive to maintain than their previous "big car" which has probably been something like a Mondeo.

Shortly after, they discover an oil change using the correct oil is £100 in materials alone, that the V8 is twin spark and needs 16 spark plugs (and more often than not a new set of leads), that the exhaust system is expensive and cracked (because they didn't change all 16 plugs and ran it with a misfire for two months) and that the reason it was in the auction in the first place was because the suspension air pump was fked. They moan that the cheap Sandnail tyres that cost £150 less than proper ones don't grip as well as the factory Michelin or Continental jobs it is meant to be on.

Usual routine. If you buy a car that cost £100k new then it will cost more to maintain than one that cost £25k new. 

If you buy one that has been meticulously serviced and you continue to service it properly it'll go forever. The issue is when someone has bought it for £10k 10 years old, ran it for two years without doing anything to it, flogged it on for for £5k to someone else who just wanted cheap bling who gets his mate to stamp up the history with a blag service stamp and it eventually ends up being flogged again, three years after it last had an oil change to someone who then spends all their time slagging the thing off as being a "badly made piece of unreliable tat" on the Internet, thereby driving down the values of the good ones and making their owners think "it's only worth £3k, I'd be mad spending £1k maintaining it this year" and they all end up in car sales pitches in Alum Rock before being scrapped.

Then 10 years later someone finds one that has been properly maintained and declares them the best car in the world, driving the values of the good ones back up. 

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47 minutes ago, Pete-M said:

I suspect the tales of doom mainly eminate from people who buy old cars for a few grand from auctions etc and imagine that an S500 won't be much more expensive to maintain than their previous "big car" which has probably been something like a Mondeo.

Shortly after, they discover an oil change using the correct oil is £100 in materials alone, that the V8 is twin spark and needs 16 spark plugs (and more often than not a new set of leads), that the exhaust system is expensive and cracked (because they didn't change all 16 plugs and ran it with a misfire for two months) and that the reason it was in the auction in the first place was because the suspension air pump was fked. They moan that the cheap Sandnail tyres that cost £150 less than proper ones don't grip as well as the factory Michelin or Continental jobs it is meant to be on.

Usual routine. If you buy a car that cost £100k new then it will cost more to maintain than one that cost £25k new. 

If you buy one that has been meticulously serviced and you continue to service it properly it'll go forever. The issue is when someone has bought it for £10k 10 years old, ran it for two years without doing anything to it, flogged it on for for £5k to someone else who just wanted cheap bling who gets his mate to stamp up the history with a blag service stamp and it eventually ends up being flogged again, three years after it last had an oil change to someone who then spends all their time slagging the thing off as being a "badly made piece of unreliable tat" on the Internet, thereby driving down the values of the good ones and making their owners think "it's only worth £3k, I'd be mad spending £1k maintaining it this year" and they all end up in car sales pitches in Alum Rock before being scrapped.

Then 10 years later someone finds one that has been properly maintained and declares them the best car in the world, driving the values of the good ones back up. 

Very well said, I couldn’t have put that any better. That’s completely true. 
I thankfully did not buy the car from an auction, it was a private sale & bought from a respectable man, who was only selling it due to his ill health, he said that he would cry when he saw it going away & I genuinely do believe that, I would have aswell if it had been me. 
He had looked after it as it should have been, it has been serviced when it should have been (the service book is testament to this, plus all receipts for any work that has been done to it over the time he has owned it) I certainly didn’t buy it blind, as you say, that would have been a crazy move.

 I can say that I did expect it to cost a bit more to run than my Audi A4 2.0T Quattro that I had up until I bought the Mercedes, but the truth be told, it genuinely has not been a massive expense between the running of them, but I was prepared for that. On a run at 70-80 mph, it averages 28.3 mpg, I only know this because I checked it on the computer display. Yes, it will cost me more to service than the Audi did, but as you say, it was a £100k car back in 2003, & it’s still going to cost that bit more to service it etc even now.

The Mercedes is a sublime driving car, you get out of it after a long distance still feeling as fresh as you did when you set off. I certainly don’t miss my Audi, that’s for sure.

 I have just covered around 100 miles in it today, it’s just one of they car’s that every time you drive it, You love it more.

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37 minutes ago, 0ldCh0d said:

The Mercedes is a sublime driving car, you get out of it after a long distance still feeling as fresh as you did when you set off. I certainly don’t miss my Audi, that’s for sure.

 I have just covered around 100 miles in it today, it’s just one of they car’s that every time you drive it, You love it more.

Mercedes are like that. If you've only driven a good one for say 20 miles they don't feel anything special, if anything they're a bit dull. They take a fair while to get used to. 

I did 700 miles in one hit in the C32 the other day, other than stopping for fuel we didn't get out of it. Thing is, at the end of the run neither of us had any aches or pain and we walked about 6 miles around Bonn after arriving in Germany. That, to me, is the sign of a very comfortable car.  I used to regularly do 300 mile days in new Škoda Superbs and while they were comfy I'd often get out with a dead leg and sore back. When I drove the XJR to Czech in one hit I felt like I'd been through a mangle, yet ask most folk which is more comfy after 50 miles and most folk will say the Jag. Ask again after 500 miles I reckon most folk would choose the Merc.

Thing with a good Mercedes is the stability. Drive one for a few hundred miles and they're very relaxing, they don't tramline or need constant steering correction as they just go where they're pointed.  Even my shabby old E320 CDI S210 blew the XJR away for comfort on a run to Czech.

The other thing with Mercedes is (W210 onward) they handle far better than most people imagine. People seem to think that because Mercs don't twitch and wriggle all the time they don't handle. Drive a Merc correctly and they're bloody quick but don't feel like they're going fast. It's easy to keep up with a hard driven 5 series in the equivalent Merc, but you get out of the Merc feeling relaxed. 

I'm taking the C32 with me when I move to Germany. It really comes into its own on German roads, whether they're Autobahns or twisties. 

 

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1 hour ago, Pete-M said:

Mercedes are like that. If you've only driven a good one for say 20 miles they don't feel anything special, if anything they're a bit dull. They take a fair while to get used to. 

I did 700 miles in one hit in the C32 the other day, other than stopping for fuel we didn't get out of it. Thing is, at the end of the run neither of us had any aches or pain and we walked about 6 miles around Bonn after arriving in Germany. That, to me, is the sign of a very comfortable car.  I used to regularly do 300 mile days in new Škoda Superbs and while they were comfy I'd often get out with a dead leg and sore back. When I drove the XJR to Czech in one hit I felt like I'd been through a mangle, yet ask most folk which is more comfy after 50 miles and most folk will say the Jag. Ask again after 500 miles I reckon most folk would choose the Merc.

Thing with a good Mercedes is the stability. Drive one for a few hundred miles and they're very relaxing, they don't tramline or need constant steering correction as they just go where they're pointed.  Even my shabby old E320 CDI S210 blew the XJR away for comfort on a run to Czech.

The other thing with Mercedes is (W210 onward) they handle far better than most people imagine. People seem to think that because Mercs don't twitch and wriggle all the time they don't handle. Drive a Merc correctly and they're bloody quick but don't feel like they're going fast. It's easy to keep up with a hard driven 5 series in the equivalent Merc, but you get out of the Merc feeling relaxed. 

I'm taking the C32 with me when I move to Germany. It really comes into its own on German roads, whether they're Autobahns or twisties. 

 

I would love to take this on the Autobahn, I might plan to do that next year sometime. I can only imagine how good the C32 would be on the Autobahn...that would be amazing. 
 

I also agree with you regarding the comfort of a Mercedes, I used to get a sore neck & leg after driving the Audi for a long distance & cramp in my right leg also, however, in the Mercedes, I don’t suffer from any of that after doing a distance in it. I went down to Newcastle on Monday just past there & it was an awesome journey in the Mercedes, I got out in Newcastle feeling as good as I did when I set off. 

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