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Maintenance and Surprises

Our friend @lars2885 who is also a Mercedes-Benz owner, hinted on our last post that Benzes are perhaps unreliable, or require maintenance over an above what seems ordinary.

At the start of Project 200K we stated our maintenance and performance manifesto for all our vehicles.

Walter is expected to perform like a Mercedes-Benz at all times, we have been driving and been involved with Benzes for a few decades. We have a knowledge base and experience of how any Benz must perform. We prefer to frequent our friendly mechanic, not so much to save money, than its easier, less formal, have been friends for over a decade. Usually the mechanic is the one that edits down the list we bring.

We view consumables, tires, brake pads, rotors, filters, oil changes, wiper inserts to name a few as wear and tear items that would wear out on any vehicle. In our case during the summer we do not spare the tires or brakes on Walter...they get a good work out on a regular basis.

We prefer high performance summer tires which raises the cost and rate of wear, its our choice.

If Walter would be a 2015, or the 2003 that it is, we would wear out the tires, pads, rotors, etc in the same fashion.

If Walter would be an E320 (V6) we would have run out of patience some time ago. As you know we have an affinity for V8's...and Walter still has a good level of torque, and top end performance, while remaining a great highway cruiser.

We have an opportunity to experience a myriad of new vehicles (see our reviews), the reason Walter spends time parked here and there. Interesting enough Walter at almost 13 years old (assembled in October 2002) still drives very well compared to numerous new vehicles.

What keeps us going with Walter and Project 200K, the V8, the drive, the killer Bose sound system, strong brakes with 4 piston front calipers and vented rear discs, it handles like a sport sedan. Fuel economy on surface streets not so good, on the highway less than 10 liters per 100 kms.

The Surprises

  • The front suspension is one weak component on top of another, a few years ago we probably replaced everything, and its starting to clunk again.
  • The air suspension in the rear is not much better, all sorts of tanks, leaks, squats down when parked for a few days.
  • Yes...we replaced the air compressor a couple of years ago.
  • The air conditioner acted up 2-3 years in a row.
  • Benz saved money back then with corrosion protection and its becoming obvious with Walter. Hopefully whoever saved that money got a promotion. For the record we have another Benz that is 20 years old with less corrosion than Walter.
  • The ABS sensor for the rear wheels is on the axle, and you cannot buy just buy the ring, need to replace the axle. Through the years we have replaced both axles with used components (a new axle is quite expensive).
  • The SBC pump, we were fortunate that Mercedes-Benz extended the warranty to 15 years. That was an interesting surprise.
  • As usual the surprises are annoying, often occur at inopportune times, and better yet are usually not inexpensive...
  • Some days the urge to take Walter to the back field increases exponentially especially in 2014.

By now Walter is part of the family for the past 8 years, we have put 100,000 kms on the car, it will continue to require maintenance, probably come up with more surprises along the way.

How much maintenance and repairs have we done, just scroll down. How much did it all cost, who knows we have not kept track...perhaps not to be discouraged.

As we have said on several occasions, keeping a 2003 E500 for an extended period is not for everyone, and we surely don't suggest it to anyone. We started Project 200K on a whimsical thought, and are still following through.


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