It all depends on your priorities and capabilities and checkbook. I've had
a '95 S420 for a couple of years now. Bought it with 90K miles and it now
has 150K on it. In that stretch I've had to:
1) Replace HVAC Blower motor regulator... $350 and half an hour labor. (My
own fault...didn't find out until later that you have to replace the cabin
air filters every year or two to prevent overheating.)
2) Replace HVAC control module... $500 and 3 hours (subsequent console
disassemblies now only take 30 mins now that I know what I'm doing...don't
crack the wood trim pieces...lower one costs $650 alone)
3) Replace timing chain... don't know that price off hand...had the dealer
do it along with several other maintenance things when I bought it, and I'm
too lazy to find the receipt and see what they charged just for that...total
$1100 and a day at the dealer
4) Replace driver door check strap...$100 and 2 hours
5) Replace both rear window regulators...$150 a side and 2 hours each (don't
crack the wood trim pieces...cost $110 a piece)
6) Rebuild heater duovalve...$35 and 10 hours (replacement part was
$500+...rebuilt it myself following excellent procedure found on
internet...most of the time was rewinding the solenoid coils)
7) Replaced all shocks, major front suspension components, and all rear
suspension bushings...$1200 and two solid weekends
8) Rebuilt transmission...$2600 (done by local german shop, they had car for
9) Three full brake jobs...first one by dealer as part of #3 and after, they
squeaked as load as a train whistle. Dealer told me that there was nothing
they could do, squeak due to no more asbestos in pads..last two done at home
using anti-squeal spray and beveled pad edges...totally silent...$400 and 2
hours per brake job
10) Currently have bad central locking pump...will cost between $300 and
$500 depending on website...about 15 mins labor to change
All that comes to about $7,000, 56 hours of my labor, and 6 days with the
car in the shop. Who knows what it would cost if I paid someone else do do
all of it...the local MB shop rate is $95/hr ! This doesn't include the
hours spent on the internet researching problems.
I still have to replace my engine harness (it's so environmentally friendly,
it decomposes in place after 9 - 10 years)...the harness is about $500+ and
I'll do it myself but I don't know what the time will be.
And I still have the AC evaporator to worry about...it's a high failure part
and costs $3500 for a dealer to fix it. I think you have to remove the
entire front dash to get at it.
On the other hand, it's a magnificent automobile. It doesn't even deserve to
be called a "car". It's as quiet and solid as a bank vault, rides like a
dream, has boatloads of torque and top end for those times when you want to
pretend it doesn't weigh 5400 pounds, and I get 23.4 mpg combined as long as
I drive it like a rational human being. And it's the best looking 4 door
ever made IMHO.
If you're looking for a reliable, cost efficient car, this ain't it. If you
can't/won't do your own work, have a big checkbook. If you do buy one, get
a '96 or later, preferably with full papers and owned by a dope like me that
that has kept it up. Find a reputable local shop...do not take it to a
dealership! If you're mechanically inclined, there's a perverse sense of
pleasure after each repair, having conquered the latest challenge of the
Bottom line...A W140 is not a car that anyone SHOULD ever buy. It's an
automobile that you have to WANT to own for some totally irrational reason
that makes that money and hassle tolerable. That said, I can't imagine the
day when I get rid of it.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.