Build: 2004 (w220)
Engine: 3724 cc Petrol
Power: 180 kW (245 PK)
0-100 km/h: 7,6sec
My S-class... Man what a car, my first car. Fast(ish), luxurious, big, chunky, smooth... the list goes on... But all that cool stuff comes with a trait; cost.
My s-class wasn't that expensive, I paid 5000 euros for it. But soon I started to notice its love for gas stations and fuel.
My all-time favorite S-class model is the w140. Until I came across this beautiful w220 model. I knew that the w220 models were notoriously unreliable, not the engine per se but the electronics and air suspension were known to fail. But the facelift models (on paper) tend to be a bit better (2003+). So that's why I couldn't pass this car when it popped online. It did have 350k kilometers on the odometer... but that didn't scare me, it proved that it would be able to do another 300k! I was 17 years old at the time and had my driver's license, I wasn't allowed to drive it myself until I was 18. But who cares? I own a "big old Mercedes"!
I have more pictures and information about this car so the intro will be a bit longer.
Driving it home for the first time was an experience I'll never forget.
It felt like driving a yacht on the road, silky smooth suspension.
Oh did I forget to tell you that this car is quite heavy? Well, that's not necessarily a good thing... As you might see later.
My car was quite reliable, with some small hiccups and one big (user)malfunction.
I'm in no way a professional, I work in IT, not in a garage.
When buying I tested all the standard things; oil, coolant, gasket, tires, suspension, etc. I even had my dad supervise me, he told me he never bought a "lemon" car. So he was quite skeptical when I told him I found a car with 350k km. I proved to him that the car was in great shape.
After the drive home, I rechecked the oil cap and found this...
WARNING to the mechanics, the following picture is known as HORROR to you.
hehe, that's what I call proper car milk! No, but jokes aside, normally that's quite worrying. It shows that water has been in contact with oil. I knew the car hadn't moved for some time and that it might've been vapor. So I cleaned it and drove it for some time, and it luckily didn't happen anymore. I did learn here that after making a test drive you have to check the oil cap again.
Doing all the maintenance myself saves me a lot of money, and whenever I buy a car I try to change the oil & filter ASAP.
So the moment of truth came, was my oil-contaminated?
The oil looked OK, a bit dark and old, but mostly okay. If you buy a car that has clean oil in the pan then you might have a problem. (except if the previous owner just changed the oil for you.) So after some new oil and a new filter, I drove off into the sunset. Or maybe not...
The one thing I didn't test, the battery... The first month of owning the car and the battery couldn't crank the engine:
So I hopped in my mum's car to jumpstart my car, But with her small battery, it took way too long to get my car to crank. And the RPMs would drop every time I tried to crank my engine. So I called Dirk and he came to the rescue, with his Dad's Chrysler. (i wish I had more stuff about the Chrysler. it would've been a hilarious post.)
We connected the jump leads and dirk full-throttled the Chrysler, and voila my car started.
I first thought that I accidentally left something on, causing the battery to drain.
The second time I came to my car and it was empty was when I bought a battery charger. That's when I knew I had a battery leak or a bad battery.
after a couple of tests it turned out the battery was bad, I never replaced it. I just pretended that my car was an EV lol.
After a couple of months, I noticed a scratching sound while driving over speedbumps with my window open. I took it to my friend David with the "car bridge" and we took a look underneath the car. First, I focused on the wheels and the suspension. I couldn't find anything that would cause a metal scratching sound. Until I followed and looked at the exhaust system. The exhaust system is the only part of the car that had rusted. Of the "hanging pins" had broken off. So we fired on the welder.
I eventually found 2 broken "pins" and after welding them back to the exhaust (I'm not showing my welds here on this page duh) everything was great again.
The Notorious; ELECTRONICS:
It's a rainy day, I decide I'm going to the "golden arches" aka McDonald's for a "delicious & high-class lunch" ;). I roll down my window to make an order and roll it back up. That's where I have a problem, the lights in my door stop working and my window won't roll up anymore. My heated seat is cooling down and I'm getting wet. It's broken. On the way home I keep the button pressed to close the window, thank god after 5 minutes on the highway my window starts to close. I'm soaked at this point.
For some reason men can't explain, I tried to roll down my window again at the traffic lights. To my surprise, the window rolls down but not up again. Annoyed that my smart ass opened the window again I restarted the car. This caused the door module to respond again and I was able to close my window.
After that, I knew my door module was fried. I ordered a new door module on eBay. I didn't go to the junkyard just to make sure I bought one with the same one with the matching model number.
Well technically the door module came from a junkyard across Europe, and only cost me 35 euros including shipping.
The door module died by shorting out, either the rain sniped it or it was the moisture in the mirror-blinker.
One of the biggest mistakes I had ever made... And the moral of this little story is: "If it's not broke then DON'T TRY TO FIX IT!"
I noticed that my coolant was a little rusty, and I thought it would save me a lot of hassles and issues if I get my coolant system flushed by a garage. So for my 18th birthday, I gave it to myself as a present.
I took my car to the garage and they quoted me 128 euros for the flush and refill. I told them that was fine and left the car there.
2 days later I get the call my car is done and I can pick it up. That night I go for a drive with my friends and the low coolant warning came up. I thought it was just an air pocket that released and the garage filled it back up for free.
A month or 2 later I had the same problem and noticed some steam coming from underneath the hood.
Long story short, it turned out they broke a "nipple" of the coolant reservoir and had used "kit glue" to fix it back up. And I later found out that one of the coolant hoses had a tiny cut in it that would leak under pressure.
So I called a junkyard and bought a new coolant reservoir tank. It was a little hassle replacing it without emptying the system but it was worth it.
The plastic of the reservoir did become very brittle.
Over time the leak in the right coolant hose became worse...
Xenon and the Dustcap:
Now came the time to get my car through the APK (the general periodic inspection)
Something I noticed was that it had a recommendation that the headlights weren't correctly adjusted. And it didn't have this recommendation once, but 3 times.
So with a quick test, I noticed that the right lights xenon flap didn't close completely...
After removing the right headlight from the car I found the issue:
Nobody noticed that a piece of glass got stuck in between the flap. I guess it was cool to know that the xenon bulb was quite new, as the previous one had exploded apparently.
Now for the dust cap... I used "kit". It had to be sealed that was the most important thing.
User Malfunction; The accident:
It started to snow and Dirk and I decided to go for a drive in the snow... Dirk at least has 4 season tires, me on the other hand... I'm basically driving on "slicks" in the snow. I mean on the inner ring of the rear tires you can see the f*cking wire coming through. (i might've made some donuts)
I noticed it was unpossible to drive my car with these tires through the snow (i tried to go to the gas station), I even considered not driving and just hopping in someone else's car. Thomas's car didn't even make it out of the parking spot. (he had summer tires just like I did, he at least had some profile on them...) And there is no fun if we all get into Dirks car. So I decided to have some fun in the snow. The only reason I came that far was because of the weight advantage my car had.
The video with the crash at the end:
Looking at the video you can see Dirk takes some more risks than I did, I guess Dirk's car felt better in the snow than mine. I wish that I had Dirk drive my car just to let him feel what a mess it was.
So what happened?
My gearbox shifted up when I released my throttle. I immediately feel my car losing grip and I start to brake softly. by that point, I'm already a sled without control. You can see Thomas saying something but I'm too focused to make a reply. I wasn't sleeping on the job, I just couldn't believe what was happening. I eventually try a panic steer but it's over at that point.
Luckily my car took most of the beating.
At the end of the day, I knew the risks, and I took & learned from them.
I just got a parking sensor, headlight sprayer, and a trim piece from the junkyard threw it together, and called it a day.
As you might've noticed there is some spraypaint behind the trim piece in the box. Yes that's correct
Some time ago I left my car parked at the "Albert Heijn" and when I came back I noticed damage on the rear of my car. I left it for what it is thinking "that's what I get for not fitting in the parking spot..." But it turned out that in the rainy days that followed that my paint was falling off. That did bother me.
So I took the opportunity to finally fix all the exterior damage on the car.
So the process of painting started:
And the results pleasantly surprised me.
Modifications & fun:
Finally, the fun part!
Aux input for w220 S class:
For some reason, only the 2003 model supports auxiliary audio input. Mercedes decided to use a fiber connection to connect the head unit to the main unit in the rear of the car. So my solution was hardwiring a low-powered FM transmitter to the antenna port, so I could play the music from my mobile phone over the car speakers.
The link to the eBay listing of this module can be found here.
I haven't made any other modifications, the car was great and it didn't need any.
The real (but also a bit controversial) thing to do in this car is taking it for a good "drift". It had more than enough power to light up the rear wheels. And man was that a lot of fun! I'm not going to share all the videos, but to give you a taste:
Why did you buy a Mercedes-Benz S350?
So I asked myself, why did I buy it?
Easy, I always wanted to have a big Mercedes. My parents never had one and people driving them looked cool. I definitely couldn't afford a brand new one, and how cool is it to say your first car was an old 5m+ s class Mercedes ;).
Video's my car starred in:
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