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Mercedes CLK-350 reliability #5415116 04/27/20 09:52 PM
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HM12460 Offline OP
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Drove/looking at a used 2008 Mercedes Benz CLK-350 this afternoon. Car sales are a go in Michigan. This car has 41,000 miles on it and appears to be in fine condition. The 3.5 V-6 DOHC engine is rated for, i believe, 275 horsepower give or take. I was absolutely amazed how nice this car was to drive. It runs fairly strong too. Spoke with the local Mercedes dealer in Grand Rapids, Michigan about maintenance/repairs/general upkeep. The dealer wants $600 to service the transmission every 40,000 miles and this car is due. After speaking at length with the service advisor it became apparent these cars are quite expensive to repair and maintain. My concern is the long term reliability of the engine, transmission, I.R.S., and honestly, the whole car. Any knowledgeable comments concerning reliability and cost of maintaining, good or bad, I would love to hear.


2019 Toyota Tacoma



Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415119 04/27/20 09:54 PM
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JUNK! If you want a Benz lease a new one with a warranty.


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Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415127 04/27/20 10:05 PM
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Hahahahah super reliable, you can rely on using a ride-share app to get to the parts store. As a rule, don't buy teamcraftt Mercedes Benz, Nissan/Infiniti or Subaru cars, especially with the bigger engines, they are rarely as well put together as the German/Japanese built examples. Now a well maintained 2009.5+ S550 without the advanced suspension package would be a decently reliable (for a German) saloon you could pick up on the cheap. The 10+ Lexus LS460 is also a value these days and even more relaible, though most better equipped ones had air suspension until 2011 and that system is very expensive.

Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415174 04/27/20 11:25 PM
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BHopkins Online Content
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First, this is the wrong place to get advice on a purchase decision of a CLK. Go here.

https://mbworld.org/forums/clk-class-w208-5/

Second, while I don't have any experience with the CLK, I did drive an SL550 for a while. Best advice I was given on the MBWorld site, was if you are going to take a used Mercedes roadster to the dealership for repair and maintenance, you can't afford it. You would be better off financially to buy a newer model that qualifies for a CPO warranty, so all the maintenance will be covered.

But if you enjoy working on cars, then a Mercedes roadster can be a lot of fun. And the expense can be reasonable. For example, that transmission service you were quoted $600 for, would cost under $150 if you do it yourself, even with the first time purchase of a few tools you will need. And the 722.9 transmission is one fantastic transmission.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/mercedes-722-9-transmission-service-kit-722-9-oem-7229erlysk1

Again, can't speak for the CLK, but the SL was a pleasure to work on. I truly came to appreciate Mercedes engineering. But I strongly recommend you go to the CLK forum on MBWorld and ask actual owners. Most of the comments here are going to be from people that have never owned a MB, let alone worked on one.

Last edited by BHopkins; 04/27/20 11:33 PM.

In God we trust. All others bring data.

2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i - M1 HM 0W-20 & NAPA Gold filter
2014 Mercedes E350 M276 - M1 European 0W-40 & Purflux filter
Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415192 04/27/20 11:58 PM
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edyvw Offline
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Originally Posted by HM12460
Drove/looking at a used 2008 Mercedes Benz CLK-350 this afternoon. Car sales are a go in Michigan. This car has 41,000 miles on it and appears to be in fine condition. The 3.5 V-6 DOHC engine is rated for, i believe, 275 horsepower give or take. I was absolutely amazed how nice this car was to drive. It runs fairly strong too. Spoke with the local Mercedes dealer in Grand Rapids, Michigan about maintenance/repairs/general upkeep. The dealer wants $600 to service the transmission every 40,000 miles and this car is due. After speaking at length with the service advisor it became apparent these cars are quite expensive to repair and maintain. My concern is the long term reliability of the engine, transmission, I.R.S., and honestly, the whole car. Any knowledgeable comments concerning reliability and cost of maintaining, good or bad, I would love to hear.

I think that engine has those problematic balance shafts. Can be very expensive.
As for everything else, man you are on the forum where pinnacle of automotive industry is Toyota Camry.
Youa re in Michigan, you will have A LOT of indy's that know how to maintain that better than dealership.


11' BMW 328i xDrive 6MT (Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W40+ MANN filter)
11' VW Tiguan 2.0T (Castrol 0W30+OE filter)
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Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415207 04/28/20 12:34 AM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted by HM12460
Drove/looking at a used 2008 Mercedes Benz CLK-350 this afternoon. Car sales are a go in Michigan. This car has 41,000 miles on it and appears to be in fine condition. The 3.5 V-6 DOHC engine is rated for, i believe, 275 horsepower give or take. I was absolutely amazed how nice this car was to drive. It runs fairly strong too. Spoke with the local Mercedes dealer in Grand Rapids, Michigan about maintenance/repairs/general upkeep. The dealer wants $600 to service the transmission every 40,000 miles and this car is due. After speaking at length with the service advisor it became apparent these cars are quite expensive to repair and maintain. My concern is the long term reliability of the engine, transmission, I.R.S., and honestly, the whole car. Any knowledgeable comments concerning reliability and cost of maintaining, good or bad, I would love to hear.


I'm not too familiar with that particular model but I have a 2008 E-350 with a little over 110k on it. Had it for almost 6 years at this point. I'd say the engine in the E-350 was rated at 268hp. It's very expensive to maintain if you take it to the dealer. I take mine to an indy. Indys are also all over the place on price. Some that specialize in MB charge almost as much as the dealer and at least the dealer gives you a free car wash, rental and sometimes free breakfast/lunch depending on the dealer. But the good indy to use would be one that does all cars and doesn't charge extra for MB. For the transmission fluid, it uses ATF 134 which you can get from a shell dealer, about $60 for a case of 12 quarts whereas the dealer charges around $20+ a quart. I had mine changed for around $200, I got the fluid from the shell distributor so I still have some left and I think I paid around $100 for labor at an indy. There's two transmissions, the 5 speed is if you have 4matic and the 7 if RWD. The 5 speed is considered better but perhaps the 4matic may be problematic but I haven't had any trouble with mine. The 5 speed you need to change the connector at the fluid change, the 7 speed doesn't have that but the conductor plate can go which is more expensive to repair. Engine wise,it just requires regular maintenance. I've done things like replacing the oil cooler gasket, thermostat, tensioner/pulleys/belts, alternator, centrifuge etc. Haven't had to do camshaft/crankcase sensors yet but that's an occasional problem. Balance shaft issue was just 2006-2007 so the 2008 engines should be fine. Only other issue would be the intake manifold where the flaps go bad, around $600 for a new manifold but they tend to go when you're up there in mileage say 80-140k, mine is still fine so far. Other than that, you should be able to get good mileage out of it. I've done a lot of other maintenance on it like brakes, sway bar links, tie rods, control arms etc. Parts are just a little higher than Japanese maybe 2x American. I get them either from FCPEuro for their lifetime warranty, rockauto, Amazon, Autozone/Advance Auto etc. Still on original AGM battery so far.

I also like some of the Mercedes engineering and you can pick up a knock off version of EPC which is their parts catalog and WIS which is the repair manual on eBay for about $10. You can use a vin look tool like this one to see what options it had. Took me months to find one that was loaded, but I just threw all the vins into the decoder to find one that was loaded. There aren't that many out there.

https://www.lastvin.com/

As for expensive, my latest project is to replace the front springs and struts. Going to be around $750 I think. That's Bilstein struts which were around $250 from Rockatuo for a set, springs and mounts were from an online MB dealer which was a little over $350. I think my indy will probably charge me in the $100-$150 range, depends how long he takes. I'm thinking maybe less. He already had it all apart a few times to change the axle (replaced boots on both sides) and control arms. Oh yeah, forgot the axles, the aftermarket ones are no good at $100 and MB charges $1000 for their new ones. It was cheaper to buy a $40 boot kit and replace the boots. Luckily I caught each one before the joint went. You have to get MB parts for certain things like the springs because there's no aftermarket parts for certain things. No one makes a quick strut for the car which is why it's so much more expensive.

Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415352 04/28/20 07:36 AM
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We had this in the stable as a lease. It got poor mpgs, felt heavy as [censored], didn't brake as well, and the climate control system was mediocre.


“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

435i
Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415358 04/28/20 07:50 AM
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I do not have any MB experience just BMW. IMHO, The only way to have reasonable expenses on a used MB, Audi, BMW or VW is do the maintenance and repairs yourself. There is always a learning curve if you are used to maintaining American or Japanese vehicles, as there is a certain German way things are done. Once you are used to that then they are no worse than anything else. In my observation, German vehicles MUST be maintained according to the schedule, no missing a service. If they are late then you must catch them up as soon as possible. Bad (expensive) things tend to happen on deferred maintenance. And maintenance is often much more expensive.

On the good side there are good helpful forums available with recommendations, tips and tricks necessary. They drive like nothing else, as you drive one you begin to see more if the improvements. As you gain experience in few years you may even become one of the forum experts.

Be sure to research the biodegradable plastics in the wire harness and avoid those years if possible. Under hood and even structural plastics have a life and are often $$$$

Rod

Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415380 04/28/20 08:13 AM
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MCompact Online Content
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I’d ignore the M-B forums; there are more than a few BITOG members who struggle to spell “Mercedes,” never mind actually having sat in one- and those are the individuals who will provide the most accurate and useful information.


Mine:
2014 M235i
2009 Cooper Clubman
1999 Wrangler Sahara
1995 318ti Club Sport

Wife's:
2015 X1 xDrive28i M Sport


Son's
2009 328i

Buy what makes you smile...
Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415437 04/28/20 09:30 AM
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You should look into the timing chain issues on the M272 and M273. The early ones were bad, streching the chains until fault codes appear on cam timing or it just jump on the gear. 5g tronic feels older to drive, but is cheaper to fix. The conductor plate on the 7g tronic is married to the car and tend to have multiple issues. Not cheap. MB 236.14 oil for 7G, 236.12 oil for 5G works best. Both can be changed yourself, but more challenging to a home mecanic to refill the 7G. I've done both myself, not really a bad job. Rest of the car is ok I guess at that year. Airmatic shocks and DC dampers is expensive when they go. Airmatic compressor cheap.


Current: '07 MB E320 CDI 4matic, '06 MB S550, '02 Porsche 996 twinturbo, '01 Dodge Viper GTS 8,1, '03 Peugeot 206 RC (race), '03 Peugeot 206 GTI.
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Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415521 04/28/20 11:34 AM
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before my basic and surprisingly pleasant passat i had two cpo rwd mb, a 2006 c280 and a 2013 glk350. i truly enjoyed putting lots of road trip miles on them. mb are made for 80+mph. i simply grew exhausted of the upkeep costs after they were out of warranty. i suspect that the big3 german luxury cars are best for a rich man’s lease or an enthusiast’s own wrench.


2013 vw passat s
2014 toyota yaris l
Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415637 04/28/20 02:07 PM
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It's a 12 year old car so the rubber parts would need to be checked. It's low miles so if it has been maintained properly, it will have a very long life.

Service done at the dealer will cost more than an independent shop but both will cost much more than DIY.

Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415746 04/28/20 04:01 PM
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Mr Nice Offline
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Nice car but I’d avoid.

Too many unknown and expensive things that could break costing an arm and leg to repair.

Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: HM12460] #5415815 04/28/20 05:13 PM
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MCompact Online Content
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As predicted...


Mine:
2014 M235i
2009 Cooper Clubman
1999 Wrangler Sahara
1995 318ti Club Sport

Wife's:
2015 X1 xDrive28i M Sport


Son's
2009 328i

Buy what makes you smile...
Re: Mercedes CLK-350 reliability [Re: BMWTurboDzl] #5415989 04/28/20 08:41 PM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
We had this in the stable as a lease. It got poor mpgs, felt heavy as [censored], didn't brake as well, and the climate control system was mediocre.


Mine has been fine. MPG tends to be poor with city driving. Braking has been fine, the OEM pads were pretty grabby but weren't as good when I replaced them with Akebono pads but still good enough. Climate control is slow to get up on cooling on hot summer days, but that's normal as it uses a variable displacement compressor so it takes a while for max cooling to happen. Haven't had to touch mine though and it's 12 years old.

Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
In my observation, German vehicles MUST be maintained according to the schedule, no missing a service. If they are late then you must catch them up as soon as possible.
Be sure to research the biodegradable plastics in the wire harness and avoid those years if possible. Under hood and even structural plastics have a life and are often $$$$


There's not much of a schedule Service A one year and Service B the next. Major ones are probably transmission fluid changes. The rest is basic maintenance. They do have you changing the brake fluid every 2 years.
Never heard of an issue with the wire harness, must be older models. Only issue on the E-350 is that the trunk wires are too close to the hinge and get frayed so you have to repair the wiring in the trunk.

Originally Posted by MCompact
I’d ignore the M-B forums;

Not sure why you say that. They're some of the most helpful ones out there. I think one member who always post helpful info works at a dealership because you can only get some inside info from working there. They page him by name when there's a tough problem.

Originally Posted by Sveina
You should look into the timing chain issues on the M272 and M273. The early ones were bad, streching the chains until fault codes appear on cam timing or it just jump on the gear. 5g tronic feels older to drive, but is cheaper to fix. The conductor plate on the 7g tronic is married to the car and tend to have multiple issues. Not cheap. MB 236.14 oil for 7G, 236.12 oil for 5G works best. Both can be changed yourself, but more challenging to a home mecanic to refill the 7G. I've done both myself, not really a bad job. Rest of the car is ok I guess at that year. Airmatic shocks and DC dampers is expensive when they go. Airmatic compressor cheap.


Timing chain affected more M273 engines that M272, somewhat rare on the M272 which is the 350 engine. The 5 speed for 2008 also used 236.14 oil. Airmatic was typically the 500/550 models although in early years it was an option.

Originally Posted by Mr Nice
Too many unknown and expensive things that could break costing an arm and leg to repair.


As with any purchase, you need to do the research. I checked both MBworld and benzworld forums to see what the common problems were and went back a few years reading various thread titles. That's how I knew to avoid 2006 and some 2007 year models and I ended up with a 2008. Also depends what you consider an arm and a leg. I bought mine at 18.5k and after almost 6 years worth about 6-7k, maybe 8k if I'm lucky as it has lots more options than the average car. But say 12k in depreciation over 6 years is about 2k a year. That's Toyota territory. As for repairs/maintenance, I'd have to hazard a guess at 4-5k over that time period. But probably about 2k of that is for tires and bent rim/replacement rims. Add almost another 1k when I do the struts soon.

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