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  #1  
Old 06-09-2007, 09:16 AM
Benzadmiral's Avatar
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'97 C230: Keep or Trade?

Hypothetical situation. Let's say you have a solid little car, economical, cosmetically top-notch. You enjoy driving it. But it requires about $1500 worth of work to tranny (which the dealer cannot guarantee will solve the gear sticking/CEL problem) and ball joints/tie rods. You also have only 3 payments to go. Let's say $2500 over the next three months, and the car would be good to go (if -- if! -- the tranny work solves its problem).

On the other hand, you have a shot at a 2003, cosmetically top-notch, 40K mile, certified pre-owned (and don't laugh) full-size Mercury sedan. The payments and insurance would be the same as for the C230. But you need to put about $2K down, and get a decent trade/sale for the Benz, so you won't have so much to finance. The Mercury is big and comfortable and can be serviced anywhere easily. Con: poor city mileage, but it takes regular, a 10% saving over premium.

Which would you do?

I know we'd all be biased toward the Benz. I am; that's why I'm having trouble deciding. I'll be out $2000 whichever way I go -- in one case chancy, the other case leading to three more years of car payments (but possibly fewer repair costs).

Pros and cons?
.
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Formerly:
'97 C230, smoke silver/parchment; '86 420SEL, anthracite/light grey; '84 280CE (W123), dark blue/palomino
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2007, 12:52 PM
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FWIW, the W202 C230's are regarded as one of the most reliable Mercedes cars to own. Ever.

From a cost of ownership perspective, it is always cheper to keep a car that you own outright to keep and maintain than buying another car because you have no depreciation, which is the single largest cost of ownership.

The only Mercury I'd consider owning is a Grand Marquis, which is a fantastically reliable and long-lived car.

However, life is short, and to me it would not be about cost, but rather which car I'd be happier driving.
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2007, 06:55 PM
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You'll hate driving the Mercury after driving the Mercedes
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2007, 07:12 PM
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Thumbs up Well . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBlovr View Post
You'll hate driving the Mercury after driving the Mercedes
I test-drove two of them today, and am very impressed. The standard suspension was a little floaty, but not much, with total composure over the nasty roads I tested it on, and with good pickup to merge on the Interstate. Nice touches like traction control, pedal adjustment, and power seats with the switches shaped like the seat itself (a design stolen, er, borrowed, from MB in the '80s). A little highway noise intruded, not from the wheels or engine but from cars passing; the glass was not as insulated as I'd hoped.

The performance model (not a green color at all, but a metallic gray) was another class entirely. It reminded me of my late 420SEL in color, in controlled drive, in power. Very nice car. Both felt like new cars.

To a degree, you're right; I got back into mine and was impressed at how composed it was, too (especially since its transmission is behaving itself perfectly right now)!
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Formerly:
'97 C230, smoke silver/parchment; '86 420SEL, anthracite/light grey; '84 280CE (W123), dark blue/palomino
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2007, 04:54 AM
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Apples and Oranges in a way, but...

Is this about the Grand Marquis, right? They are a tremendous value for what you get with them.

A good resource and for questions too is www.crownvic.net forum for the last word on these cars, as regards options, model year changes, and which dealers will have the best prices, and sources to find them for sale

One enthusiast member here is "REDASSAG01" I think his name is, he owns in addition to his Mercedes cars, one of the ultra high Performance Grand Marquis sedans, the Marauder, with the 300hp engine, console shifter, dual exhaust and other upgrades. He also owns a company that specialises in upgrading the performance on these cars, and is very friendly and easy to talk to about these cars, I think he is in Houston, but Texas for sure anyway.

I have owned two of the older Crown Victorias, a 1982 and a 1988, before I knew anything about Mercedes.

Assuming you are speaking of the Grand Marquis, most of them out there are the LS (Luxury) models, but the one to get is definately the HPP performance package if you can find one.

A 2003 model will be pretty close to looking like a 2007 model at a glance, and the stock cars are not particularly fast.

All year I have been thinking the same thing as you, believe it or not, and thought about buying one of these

I have been told that the Grand Marquis GS (base) models are practically being GIVEN away at some dealers, and actually being let go some places, after all the rebates, for less than $18,000 - that's a steal!!! And it would be for a brand new one, though not the loaded LX version.

Something to think about before shelling out for a 2003 with 40k on it.

That $5,000 rebate expired on them, so you'd need to shop around, Jim Click Ford/LM in Tucson Az. sells them pretty cheap, or did, last time I checked, as an example. You would get better finance rates on a new car also if you borrowed, plus the new car warranty, 3 years.

I think 2003 and up have drive by wire throttle, rack and pinion steering, but not sure.

Since those cars are based on the Crown Victoria Police and Taxi models they are terifically durable and cheap to run.

My 1988 one, for example, with the 302EFI engine, was an Arizona car, and I bought it as a 10 month old Ford dealer rental return at Holmes Tuttle Ford in Tucson... It was the cheapest car to run I ever owned. Nothing, nothing, ever went wrong with it. All it ever needed was brake pads, batteries, tires, tuneups and regular maintenance. Once, on hwy 5 (SF to Los Angeles) just for fun, I filled it up with RUG, zeroed out the trip odo, set the cruise control for 50 mpg and ran to the next gas station. Filled it again, and could not believe it: 35 mpg!!!

It would be cheaper dollar for mile to run than almost anything I could imagine. Plus, they are roomy, huge trunk space, and good looking. For a performance sports sedan they are like a balloon floating down a river, but that is not why you would buy one, unless you want a Marauder, but good examples of those aren't inexpensive...

Dont get me wrong, the Mercedes you are running is a great car too, but just wanted to weigh in, and say I have had experience with the Crown Victoria car, and it was overwhelmingly positive.

Don't dismiss them out of hand, they might work very well over the cratered streets of NOLA. It's worth serious consideration. They are pretty safe cars too, I got broadsided by an uninsured 1958 Ford moving van in one, and was unhurt.
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2015 BMW 535i xdrive awd Stage 1 DINAN, 6k, <----364 hp

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Last edited by Jim B.; 06-11-2007 at 05:05 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2007, 09:27 AM
Benzadmiral's Avatar
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Wink I think the fever has broken

Thanks for the detailed reply, Jim.

I enjoyed driving both cars, esp. the performance model LSE. And if my car's transmission had balked in any way while driving out there, or when I was leaving the Mercury dealership, I might well have made a deal on the spot, or at least taken the first steps to get the car checked out. Mercury's CPO program is not bumper-to-bumper like Lincoln's, it covers only powertrain up to 75K miles. I'd want to be sure the suspension, A/C, and electronics were OK.

But. The C230 really suits me: gas mileage, ride, looks, the dash layout. More and more I suspect I ought to stick with the one what brung me. My regular mechanic, and the other independent I've consulted, both tell me the trans issue won't strand me, and if the issue keeps recurring, eventually we can isolate it. And my regular guy says flat out: "You can keep driving that little car for a long time yet."

You're all correct, though. The Mercury GM performance model felt right as well. If I needed a second car, it'd be a great choice. Maybe when it really is time to retire the C230, there'll be a 2006 CPO Mercury on my list.
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Formerly:
'97 C230, smoke silver/parchment; '86 420SEL, anthracite/light grey; '84 280CE (W123), dark blue/palomino
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2007, 10:35 PM
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How about sell the '97 and get a '98?

Mike
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2007, 03:05 PM
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What's the lifespan of the smaller MB engines like this one? I've read good things about the SLK's which have 4 and 6 cylinder engines, I believe. Can you still expect to get 100-200K miles out of these smaller engines?
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2007, 09:50 AM
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I would stick it out with the MB. Not saying the Mercury or other vehicle(s) are poor, just "different". You'll be kicking yourself in the A$$ if you were to make teh switch. The smaller inlkine MB gas engines are EXCELLENT. I loved my ex's '95 C220. Inline 4 with a timing chain and high RPM's, it's was a blast to drive around.

I gotta admit, the older I get the more I am concerned about safety. You'd be much safer in the Benz than most other cars on the road for that matter.
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2007, 12:13 PM
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Update

Well, I haven't abandoned the Dark Side of Stuttgart.

The C230 is still performing admirably; I haven't had a transmission glitch in more than two weeks. And I just invested in the June oil change, a new battery (old one: flat) and a new tire (old one: 4 years worn, and leaking thanks to a nail in the tread).

The little gold car is coming up on its 11th birthday and 88,500 miles, and is still great. Every time I look at something newer and think, "Gee, that'd be fun to drive," I get back in mine and realize what a good deal I have, and how much hassle it'll be to buy something newer. . . .

Not to mention the C230 is within a hair of being paid for!
.
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-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('03 Buick Park Avenue, charcoal/cream)
Formerly:
'97 C230, smoke silver/parchment; '86 420SEL, anthracite/light grey; '84 280CE (W123), dark blue/palomino
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  #11  
Old 07-02-2007, 01:54 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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I can imagine a guy driving a Mercury and cursing himself everytime he sees a 1997 C230.
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