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Old 02-13-2017, 10:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 250
2001 clk 430 purchase advice

I am thinking of buying a 2001 CLK430 cabriolet from a private party. The car has 150,000 miles on it and looks nice. The top was replaced last year. I took it for a test drive, everything works, no CELs.

I did notice two issues.

First, the car seems to wallow around like an old cadillac, which I assume means the shocks are worn out. How difficult and how costly is it to replace the shocks on one of these.

Second, no matter which direction I pressed on the power seat control, the seat moved forward until I feared I would be crushed against the steering wheel.

Asking price is $3,500. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

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Old 02-13-2017, 11:01 PM
ps2cho's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Posts: 3,523
for $3500 seems reasonable. More likely that the front control arm bushings are bad. I would expect to spend $1k in catch up maintenance.

Make sure transmission fluid and filter gets changed.
2016 Monsoon Gray Audi Allroad - 21k
2008 Black Mercedes E350 4Matic Sport - 131k
2014 Jeep Wranger Unlimited Sahara - 62k
2003 Gray Mercedes ML350 - 122k
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 3,048
deeph8, if you are serious about purchasing this CLK430 pay a MB-trained tech familiar with that vintage MB vehicle to perform a PPI (pre-purchase inspection). That way you will know the condition of the vehicle and any pending major repairs. There is nothing more expensive than a cheap MB vehicle. Most sellers are selling for a reason, and not giving away well-maintained, reliable vehicles. You have already noticed the suspension needs attention. There may be other less noticeable and expensive maintenance items lurking for the novice. Obviously a skilled DIYer can perform basic repairs for much less money than an indie will charge, so factor that into your decision.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:42 AM
Benz Mondi
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sacramento area
Posts: 308
430 purchase tips

Having had my 2002 model (actually 1st purchased in 2003) for the past year, I can tell you it's been a really good car. As for your purchase, a PPI is always a good idea.

The driver's seat issue is very likely an issue with the door module behind the door panel (the least expensive and easiest to fix) or the seat control module under the seat. All you have to do is remove the two Allen head bolts at the sides of the seat frame that hold the front of the seat bottom to flip it up and access the area underneath the seat. You'll first need to remove the plastic fascia that hides the side of the seat track by removing the Phillips screw from the end closest to the back seat. Depending on the position of the seat, the allen bolt on the trans tunnel side will need an allen wrench that you'll have to cut down to allow you enough clearance.

As for the suspect suspension, you'll want to check the X-braces underneath to make sure they are not loose, check inflation of the tires, and wishbone bushings. As soon as I purchase a car, I always 1st bring it to my local dealer to get an oil change and the complimentary multi-point safety check. Based on the findings, I then decide to have them fix it, have my Indy do it, or fix it myself.
03 CLK430 Cabrio 211K Pweter Silver/ Oyster Leather
90 300SEL 214k Pearl Black/ Alto Grey/Black Leather

Prior: 85 190E, 88 300TE, 89 300TE, 90 300E 2.6, 90 300TE, 92 300E 2.6, 91 and 93 300SL, 87 Ferrari Mondial Cabrio
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:07 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 781
You forgot to mention your location in your avatar. the "USA" isn't much help. Anyway, look up your area in the "Good Mechanics" section of this forum (or whatever it is called) Plan to pay someone money to go over this car and give you the real truth. Ferdman is dead on when he says: "There is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes." I even had a sign made up for my garage!
'97 Cl600 62K

Last edited by anziani; 02-21-2017 at 07:07 PM. Reason: added mileage
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Old 02-22-2017, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,901
Like other members have already suggested, a proper full PPI report is your best friend. There have been many cars that looked clean on the outside, but had some hidden issues. In case you do end up purchasing the car, I've attached a link to our site's DIY tech articles on the car ( I know that the article says it's for the C Class, but mechanically the cars are the same) - they'll save you a ton of headaches and $$$. Best of luck!

Mercedes-Benz C-Class W203 (2000-2007) Technical Articles C320 E320 ML320 CLK320 SLK320 Pelican Parts


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