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Old 12-25-2015, 07:59 PM
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So I just bought a 2007 S600 bi-turbo

Last week, Tavarish on Jalopnik posted what's been brought up many times on the website. For the price of a lightly used Accord, you can afford to buy a ridiculously depreciated luxury super car. This particular column referenced specifically to a V12 bi-turbo Mercedes S65 AMG with 100,000 miles for $20,000. Forget the fact that a tune up will set you back $3,000 and a brake job costs the same PER HUB, or the $15,000 worth in hydraulic suspension components that are on borrowed time by that mileage. Also forget with more electronics than the space shuttle you're playing warning light roulette with every turn of the key.

Any rational thought goes out the window with one statistic: 737 foot pounds of torque. Very few cars can top 737 torques, and they don't include any Ferrari or Lamborghini ever made. To think a car only bested by a Veyron or Koenigsegg can be bought for less than a new Camry is lunacy. We see these posts on Jalopnik often enough, but rarely see anyone brave or stupid enough to actually try it out. This is where my bravery and stupidity comes in.



I decided a few months back it was time for a V12 in my life. Given my intimate familiarity with Mercedes, I didn't want to stray from my favorite marque.

After tons research I eliminated the 220 S-Class (2000-2006) because.... they suck.... big time. Underwhelming styling, cheap looking interiors, coupled with horrific quality. Due to poor paint bonding, the 220 S-class is just as susceptible to rust as the Yugo. Mercedes dealer technicians are often left scratching their heads when diagnosing the hilariously named ABC hydraulic suspension.

The next generation S class (221 chassis) solved these issues by going with air ride suspension, upped overall quality, and a more stately look, but they were out of my cheap V12 budget. That's why I decided to go older, the 140 S-class, which ceased production in 1999. Despite the older V12s not having twin turbos or ridiculous torque figures, they still had gobs of power, and are much easier to wrench on.



The early model run 140 S class had serious issues like biodegradable wiring harnesses (which tend biodegrade prematurely and wreak havoc on the electrical system) and poor quality air conditioner evaporators (40 hour billable job to tear apart the dashboard to remove and replace). I limited myself to only model year 1996-1999. The problem with that was very low production numbers. We're talking well under a thousand S600s made in those four years. Despite the rarity, I found many seemingly good candidates.



When I would call a S600 seller, the conversation would go great at first. They were described as perfect cars, impeccably maintained, thousands spent on this and that, until I brought up getting a pre-purchase inspection. Then I'd hear excuses like being too busy to take it to a mechanic, or the dealer will lie about non-existent issues so they can make money, or they would actually start disclosing what was really wrong with the car. Things like "Something drains the battery so I just disconnect the it when I park the car for more than a few hours" or "It was running rough so I unplugged the mass airflow sensors, runs great now".

To sum it up, there wasn't a single example for sale that wasn't a basket case. They were good cars, but just too old and ruined by the neglectful third, fourth or fifth owners. I was dejected, about to give up on the whole notion of cheap V12 ownership, when I found this. On one of the Mercedes forums I frequent, a vaguely worded ad was posted.



"2007 S600, 149,XXX miles, $10,000 OBO. Car got hot and died now it cranks but wont start. I started taking apart to run compression but don't have the time. Car is in great shape with pano roof."

Wow, I thought, a super cheap newer body bi-turbo V12 and it was only a few hours away from me! I look up the cost of a used motor and I overheated myself. $6000-$8000. Yup, you could get a beater Honda S2000 for the same price as a motor. The math didn't make sense.

Because I was curious for the story behind the car, I started chatting with the seller anyway. It was his father's car, who is a big enthusiast and the second owner. He also owned a V12 Bi-turbo SL65. It had high mileage because of his 120 mile a day commute. It started leaking coolant and the owners wife died. He was busy with arrangements and put off getting the car to the shop, topping off the leaking coolant every few days until it totally let go severely overheated on him. He took it to an inexperienced mechanic who charged him $1200 for maybe a few hours of dishonest work, said the motor was toast, and quoted him $12,000 for a used replacement. He decided to get a new S400 and let his son deal with selling the car.

So I had to at least try to buy it, and started the negotiations by doing the math for him. A good running 2007 S600 can be bought in the low $20,000 range, so it wasn't worth it to fix the car up at the $10,000 asking price. The son noted he's "very open to offers", but the panoramic roof assemblies are selling for $3000, and door skins for $400 a piece, so there's significant parts value. I decided to offer a little above the two parts he quoted.... $4000. Worst he could say is no, right? He countered at $5000! Thank goodness this was over email because there was no keeping a poker face with that fantastic deal. Because I'm a jerk, I decided to go for the extra $500, and he agreed at $4500. A few days later, I borrow my buddies trailer and make the trip to Grove, Oklahoma to pick the car up.



Loading the car was interesting. Being an electronically controlled transmission there was no popping it in neutral. The ignition needed to be turned to the run position, and the battery charged enough for the computer to engage neutral. The battery still had some juice, but was weak from sitting for a month. Every time it started to go flat, the car defaulted back to park and engaged the brakes. I didn't know this information until I attempted to load the S600 with the winch and watched in awe as the 2,000 pound trailer and my 6,000 pound truck started dragging backward, while the behemoth Bi-turbo didn't budge.



Eventually I got it loaded and made the 200 mile trip home, with my nose heavy load testing the maximum towing capacity of my half ton GMC Sierra 1500. It felt like I was towing the space shuttle, especially on braking. My friend, that I borrowed the trailer from, informed me after the fact that the trailer brakes weren't functional...



So it may not be running, but I own a 700 torques bi-turbo S600. This may be the most beautiful lawn ornament ever. Stay tuned as the car is assessed and I bring it back to life.

__________________
1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!

Last edited by TylerH860; 09-28-2016 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:24 PM
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Wow, heck of a deal on that. Good luck! Looking forward to updates


Sent from an abacus
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  #3  
Old 12-25-2015, 09:53 PM
Ron59b
 
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What a sweet Looking ride. Looking forward to the updates.
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Last edited by ron59b; 12-26-2015 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 12-26-2015, 05:46 PM
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Amusing write up. From your description of the issues with these cars of all series I'm sure that even if I had the money I'd never own a 600. I'm undecided about the 220. It's more impressive looking than it's predecessor but it still has too much of the Nissan Altima on steroids look about it. One thing I do like are the wheels. Were those turbine wheels exclusive to the 600? because I've never seen them on one of these cars in the flesh?

- Peter.
__________________
81 240D stick. 316000 miles at purchase. 342000 now
2000 GMC Sonoma
Formerly...
2002 Kia Rio. Worst crap on four wheels
1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
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1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2015, 01:49 AM
TylerH860's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
Amusing write up. From your description of the issues with these cars of all series I'm sure that even if I had the money I'd never own a 600. I'm undecided about the 220. It's more impressive looking than it's predecessor but it still has too much of the Nissan Altima on steroids look about it. One thing I do like are the wheels. Were those turbine wheels exclusive to the 600? because I've never seen them on one of these cars in the flesh?

- Peter.

They are on some S500s too. It was either an option or an upgrade. I dont see them often but it would certainly be my choice of wheel if I were choosing.

These 221s might be livable compared to the 220. The 140s certainly were but are getting to old and are so cheap most of them are kept my neglectful owners.
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1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2015, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerH860 View Post
They are on some S500s too. It was either an option or an upgrade. I dont see them often but it would certainly be my choice of wheel if I were choosing.

These 221s might be livable compared to the 220. The 140s certainly were but are getting to old and are so cheap most of them are kept my neglectful owners.
I guess I'm not up on the latest S-Klasse designations. The one you just bought is a 221? So the 220 is what replaced the 140?

- Peter.
__________________
81 240D stick. 316000 miles at purchase. 342000 now
2000 GMC Sonoma
Formerly...
2002 Kia Rio. Worst crap on four wheels
1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
1979 116 280S
1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1971 108 280S
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2015, 11:16 AM
TylerH860's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
I guess I'm not up on the latest S-Klasse designations. The one you just bought is a 221? So the 220 is what replaced the 140?

- Peter.
yup..S class goes. 108, 116, 126, 140, 220, 221, 222.

Dunno on the other models.
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1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:49 PM
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So the S600 does not come with ABC? How is the air suspension in these things?
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1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:54 PM
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Looking forward to the updates also, good luck. BTW to bad you towed it with such a nice looking PU. It would have been a funnier photograph if that 120K vehicle was on a trailer behind a rusty, ratty old POS.
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:47 PM
TylerH860's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mölyapina View Post
So the S600 does not come with ABC? How is the air suspension in these things?
The 220 S600 (2000-2006) came only with ABC hydraulic suspension. I have no desire to deal with that nightmare. I had a 2002 CL500 with ABC and my local dealer could never figure out why the ABC failure alert would ding every time I hit a dip. Air ride was standard on the S430 and S500, but ABC was optional with the S500.

The car I purchased is the first year of the 221 chassis. They dumped the troublesome ABC system in favor of airmatic for all models. It is a much more serviceable system, less troublesome too.
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1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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  #11  
Old 12-27-2015, 10:33 PM
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Holy crap, you bought that car on BenzWorld.

I can not wait to see how this turns out.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:34 PM
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So what's ABC? and how does it differ from Airmatic?

- Peter.
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81 240D stick. 316000 miles at purchase. 342000 now
2000 GMC Sonoma
Formerly...
2002 Kia Rio. Worst crap on four wheels
1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
1979 116 280S
1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1971 108 280S
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  #13  
Old 12-28-2015, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
So what's ABC? and how does it differ from Airmatic?

- Peter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Body_Control

Quote:
Active Body Control, or ABC, is the Mercedes-Benz brand name used to describe hydraulic fully active suspension, that allows control of the vehicle body motions and therefore virtually eliminates body roll in many driving situations including cornering, accelerating, and braking.
.....

In the ABC system, a computer detects body movement from sensors located throughout the vehicle, and controls the action of the active suspension with the use of hydraulic servomechanisms. The hydraulic pressure to the servos is supplied by a high pressure radial piston hydraulic pump. A total of 13 sensors continually monitor body movement and vehicle level and supply the ABC controller with new data every ten milliseconds. Four level sensors, one at each wheel measure the ride level of the vehicle, three accelerometers measure the vertical body acceleration, one acceleration sensor measures the longitudinal and one sensor the transverse body acceleration. At each hydraulic cylinder, a pressure sensor monitors the hydraulic pressure. As the ABC controller receives and processes data, it operates four hydraulic servos, each mounted in series on a spring strut, beside each wheel. Almost instantaneously, the servo regulated suspension generates counter forces to body lean, dive and squat during various driving maneuvers. A suspension strut, consisting of a steel coil spring and a shock absorber are connected in parallel, as well as a hydraulically controlled adjusting cylinder, are located between the vehicle body and wheel. These components adjust the cylinder in the direction of the suspension strut, and change the suspension length. This creates a force which acts on the suspension and dampening of the vehicle in the frequency range up to five hertz.
It's a very complex system and extremely expensive to maintain/repair.
__________________
"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2015, 01:22 AM
TylerH860's Avatar
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Airmatic: Pump, lines, shocks, sensors, computer. It works or it doesn't for the most part. Easy to diagnose and repair.

ABC: Pump, lines, valve block, shocks, accumulators, sensors, computer. Has double or triple the amount of sensors, 4 accumulators, and two very expensive valve blocks which airmatic does not have. Way too many ways to go wrong and not as easy to diagnose.
__________________
1985 500SL Euro w/ AMG bits 130k
1984 300SD Turbodiesel 192k
1980 240D Stick China 188k
2001 CLK55 AMG 101k
2007 S600 Biturbo 149k Overheated Project, IT'S ALIVE!!!
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2015, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerH860 View Post
Airmatic: Pump, lines, shocks, sensors, computer. It works or it doesn't for the most part. Easy to diagnose and repair.

ABC: Pump, lines, valve block, shocks, accumulators, sensors, computer. Has double or triple the amount of sensors, 4 accumulators, and two very expensive valve blocks which airmatic does not have. Way too many ways to go wrong and not as easy to diagnose.

dumb question, but can you re-fit the airmatic system into a ABC equipped car to save on maintenance & replacement part costs?

BTW, I think it is flat out awesome that you bought a V12 Benz, I have to tell you that I have been sorely tempted to a few different times, once saw a 600SL for sale at a measely 2200 bucks! But I never seem to have the cash available when a deal like that comes up. Plus I know these things arent cheap or easy to fix, which is another reason I've not yet pulled the trigger on a 12 cyl Benz. But someday.........
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