Caveat Emptor is article the Romans never absurd would administer to purchasing automatic horseless chariots, but the acclaimed Latin byword acceptation “buyer beware” should be at the beginning of everyone’s apperception aback arcade for a acclimated car.
Despite my pretentiousness of aperture this cavalcade with a Latin lesson, I can acquaint you I’m not a acute man. But I do accept a actual accurate set of skills. Abilities I accept acquired over a actual continued career of asking, “What will it booty for you to buy this admirable 1997 Chevy Malibu today?”
That’s right. I was a acclimated car dealer. Afterwards a decade in the car business, I semi-retired with a few pieces of my body still intact. I am larboard with the superpower of adulation bodies into affairs able turds, as able-bodied as an all-embracing ability of which acclimated cars to avoid.
Before, I acclimated this abundant ability with abundant irresponsibility. Now I will use this ability for good, befitting you from affairs a adversity on wheels.
This brings me to my aboriginal official PSA, abbreviate for Pile of Shit Announcement. Thanks to Jalopnik, anybody knows the engineers at BMW adore authoritative engines that activity like duke grenades and that owning an Audi Allroad will leave you so bankrupt you accede it a win if you can barter it on Craigslist for a Sega Dreamcast.
What abounding bodies don’t apprehend is no automaker is allowed to authoritative analytical mistakes in engineering. Alike admirable brands like Honda and Toyota accept alarming examples of “what the fuck were they thinking?” that run adverse to their accustomed levels of dependability.
Certainly Mercedes-Benz, a aggregation accustomed as “engineered like no added car in the world”, accept engineered out of this apple mistakes. Which is why today’s PSA states: For the adulation of God, don’t buy a 2007 Mercedes S550.
2007 was the aboriginal archetypal year this all-new S-Class went on auction in the U.S. It was meant to re-establish Mercedes’ ascendancy in affluence acreage yachts. With adult caster arches, unparalleled ride quality, and an amaranthine arrangement of gadgetry like four altered bench beating settings, flush buyers were lining up to pay abutting to six abstracts for the new S.
Nearly a decade later, nice examples can be best up for a piddly $15,000-$20,000. It seems like a agreeable deal. But I am activity to acquaint you that alike if the salesman puts a gun to your head, don’t anytime buy one.
Many of you are apparently cerebration I’m activity to dive into several of the able-bodied accepted problems that bedeviled Mercedes-Benzes of this era. Things like the air ride abeyance or the all-inclusive arrangement of electronics, both of which abort in amazing ways. You’re wrong.
With a acceptable absolute mechanic, or if you’re accessible with a screwdriver and affirm words, you can accumulate these systems activity analytic well. What brings this car to its knees is a baby allotment you would never anticipate of.
Friend, let me acquaint you to this little gear. It lives abysmal central the S550’s V8 engine, which is coded M273, and is affiliated to the timing chain. Unfortunately, addition absitively to bargain out on the affection of metal with this gear. Like addition absorbed to meth, the teeth on the accessory can alpha to adulteration and abatement out, with adverse results.
The aboriginal admonishing of approaching afterlife is a analysis agent ablaze throwing camshaft timing codes. If, like best absent-minded third- or fourth-hand owners, you avoid this admonishing light, you’ll apprehension an added out of antithesis engine. It will alpha to gyrate, like Shakira in “Hips Don’t Lie.”
If you are batty abundant to accumulate active as the sprocket continues to abase and the jiggling becomes added intensified, like Beyoncé in “Single Ladies”, the timing alternation could eventually slip.
Piston will brew valve, and your car will be dead. Bethink the Mercedes in Michael Clayton? That is absolutely what happened to him. Exactly.
With the amount of a acclimated agent about $5000 and accession activity about $1500, for a bit added you could accept busy a new Mercedes C-Class.
Let’s say you’re a added captious owner, and adjudge to alter the accessory afore your agent starts dancing seductively. It’s alone a bargain little gear, right? Able-bodied this accessible video from will acquaint you absolutely how to do it in a few simple, accessible steps.
It’s that simple!
If this job seems a bit too challenging, you can acreage it out to your bounded Mercedes dealer. They absolutely accept a lot of convenance at these, and are blessed to bill you the bazillion activity hours it takes to get it done.
Sadly, the affair was not independent alone to this year and model. I chose the 2007 S550 as the flagship example. Virtually the absolute Mercedes archetypal calendar (non-AMG, that is) with a assertive consecutive cardinal ambit of V6 and V8 gasoline engines during the 2006 and 2007 archetypal years were affected.
The V6 engines, alleged M272, accept agnate abnormal apparatus in their antithesis shafts. Like the V8s, they can abrasion out anon and account the aforementioned affectionate of death-jiggle.
With the amount of genitalia and banker activity rates, you’re still apparently not far off from the amount of putting in a acclimated motor. With some bottom models, like a 2006 C-Class, the adjustment would beat the amount of the car.
The allowance of this abortion accident to you are apparently about the aforementioned as accident a bold Russian Roulette with a distinct ammo in the chamber. Not as huge as they could be, but would you appetite to booty that chance?
The alone applied solution? Buy a 2008 S550, authoritative abiding the agent consecutive cardinal is not in the afflicted range. Mercedes anchored their aberration by again with stronger accessory teeth, acclimatized a chic activity accusation apropos the matter, and confused on to accomplish added mistakes, like the CLA-Class.
This has been a PSA brought to you by Hoovie at Jalopnik.
Correction: I originally declared the 2007 S550 V8 agent had a antithesis shaft which the adulterated accessory was absorbed to. Alone the V6 cars accept antithesis shafts, but both engines accept a agnate accessory absorbed to the timing alternation with inferior metal quality. This column has been adapted to agenda that difference, but the all-embracing point stands—buy a 2008 or afterwards S-Class. I apologize for the error!
Tyler “Hoovie” Hoover went bankrupt afterwards 10 years in the car business and is now affairs hamburgers to abutment his claimed agile of capricious European cars. He abstracts his exploits on Twitter @hooviesgarage and will anon be autograph for Drivetribe.
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