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timandjulie

Mb Or Lexus

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Hello All,

Happy owner of a 94 ls. Great car. Soon it will be time to get a new car for my wife. She thinks the LS is an 'old mans car' so we are considering options. I am sure she would get an LS with a little coaxing but, she wants to look into the w124 MBs Sclasses. Those are the S classes that were out prior to the current. I suspect these cars are very expensive to upkeep once they are old but would appreciate any real world advise. So, give me reasons NOT to get a 5-6 year old S Class.

Thanks!

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1) Look how ugly they are. Big, boxy, and frumpy, totally has that go-go 80s look of excess, too-much, and overkill. My 95 Lexus looks much nicer.

2) I hate the way they make the driver look like he's trying way too hard to LOOK like he's rich. Lexus doesnt do that. Lex is understated elegance, no gaudiness.

3) They are extremely expensive to service and horribly complicated for the average person to work on them in the garage.

They are extremely well-engineered, but will have problems with high miles.

The timing chain must be replaced (will destroy the engine if it breaks), its a few grand to do so, it always starts leaking oil near the chain cover. Otherwise engine and tranny are super strong. The A/C system is known for problems, esp. freon leaks and the compressor. A few grand to fix those too. Also known for motor failures for power seats, windows etc.

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Here is the reliability data from Consumer Reports shows some big black circles for the S- Class, and below average reliability for the '00 and '02 model years. The LS, historically at least, is among the most reliable cars on the road, according to their data.

There are many other reasons for buying are car besides reliability: styling, design features, etc. After putting a lot of money out for repairs with my last car, and suffering the inconvenience of having it towed twice, getting a rental, etc., etc. my opinion is that reliability is the most important luxury.

But in the end, you have to buy what makes you and your wife happy.

Good luck with your decision.

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MB are extremely expensive to upkeep.

lots of problems with high miles

Get u a good ole Lexy, reliable, classy, very dependable even in very high mileage

plus they look a lot better then MB, even in there older years

i do like the SL500 though :blushing:

but be prepared to shell out some $$ for that one

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Check out the thread by the same name in the ES forum, we really get into discussing the problems with MBs.

She thinks the LS is an old mans car but the S Class isn't?!?

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Sorry to be the one to break it to you but ALL dealer service/repairs are expensive.

Regardless of whether you get another Lexus or an MB, finding a good, fair priced independent is as important to your enjoyment of life as finding a good plumber.

Lexus parts are not cheap. They are well engineered and well made so why would they be cheap? There are some MB parts that are very expensive. But, for example, Lexus rotors are $80-90 each while my MB rotors are $50 each. (Lexus rotors can be turned, while MB rotors shouldn't be). The PO paid $100 at the dealer for his new water pump. My MB water pump was $276.

MBs as well as Lexus' will go many many miles. You'll grow tired of these cars before you wear them out. Most MB owners as well as Lexus owners tend to regularly service their cars. So it is imperative for the car you buy to have impeccable service records. If you buy a recent MB, I wouldn't do it without an extended warranty. I am not familiar with problems with recent vintage Lexus. My LS400 is a 1990 and the typical problems with this vintage are well documented here.

Both are great looking cars. I think a late model S420/320s are some of the nicest looking 4-door sedans out there.

Any recent vintage luxury car is going to be difficult to DIY. I am a mechanical novice so the early 90's is my cutoff for DIY.

A MB timing chain is metal, not rubber, so will last much longer, if not forever with proper maintanance. Measuring chain stretch will alert you to changing the chain.

The W124 chassis is well sorted out by the late 90's. The mid 90's had a problem with the wiring harness but you should be clear of that.

Repairs and dependability are all very relative. For example, I bought my 1990 LS400 from a friend who was getting an insulting trade in for it from the dealer in purchasing a new ES. I asked him how he liked the car for all these years and he said it was very dependable, some repairs but pretty routine. This was his IMPRESSION of owning the car. He was able to give me all the service records for the car. I was floored by the cost of some of the repairs and service done to the car. That was MY impression. Here are some of the highlights:

1) Lower ball joints, water pump, serpentine belt $1600

2) 120m service, $830

3) P/S at 2 intervals, total about $3250

4) Cracked EGR $750

5) 60m service with rear brakes and rotors $1600

You may find repair/service costs like this routine, but I sure don't.

Narrow your choice to a few models and buy the best maintained one.

glenmore

1990 LS 400

1991 300CE

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Sounds about right on prices. I have a friend who has an 84 C380 (black) which they have owned since new. Everything works well and the car always had regular service. She said it has electical problems which cause the battery to go dead all the time and she gave up pouring money into it. Said she wants a grand for it.

The LS looks better unless you really want that 3 pointed start leading the way. Thatfully Lexus never got into stupid looking hood ornaments.

Mentioning prices, when my rear caliper stuck the dealer quoted me a MINIMUM of $750 but said it would probably be more once they got into it.

I put one on myself for $95 and it took less than an hour. It was then I realized that Lexus service is geared for the wealthy.

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To me it's a tough call. Both MB and Lexus are extremely well built cars, and they're both expensive, but I would go with the Lex. I'm not that big of a Benz fan anymore.

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Check out the Nov. 2003 issue of Consumer Reports::

2004 Lexus LS430

$70,447 - received highest possible score for reliability

2004 Mercedes-Benz S430

$82,760 - received lowest possible score for reliability

2004 BMW 745Li

$81,545 - received lowest possible score for reliability

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other than the 3 lex I own (LS4 was totaled last week), I also have a 93 mercedes 400SEL (my 77-year old dad is the primary driver), and I used to own a 88 420SEL. I must say I will never buy another MB again! not over my dead body. that's how strong I feel about MB.

timing chain ($1K by itself) on both s-class broke prematurely (rated 120K, broke before 90K), bent-valves was the result. costed me $4K x 2 to get them going again. I continuously suffered from major and minor problems here and there with both MB, and it seemed that the cars spent more time in the shop than in our drive way, let alone on the road.

I did hear a lot from various mechanics trashing MB as strongly as praising Lex!

IT'S SCARY TO OWN A BENZ, BUYER BEWARE!

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No matter how hard you try to be objective, this issue of a new car is clouded with emotion. And you have to live and sleep with your wife. The car gets to stay in the garage, not in the bedroom; at least not in her bedroom. You might well get to or prefer to sleep in the garage if mama doesn't get what she wants. Asking for reasons not to get an MB on a Lexus board is like asking a Democrat why you shouldn't vote Republican (emotions do play a part).

You can try to steer her toward your choice, and if you are lucky, she'll decide your way; and then God help you if it turns out to be a problem car. I'd look at it with all the information regarding reliability, comfort, safety, and service availability, expense, and your previous experience. You might prefer to utilize your own mechanic on a car out of warranty; usually much less expensive than a dealership. But I'd give her the final say so. Did that with my wife in '97. She chose a Catera for her car rather than the ES300 I wanted to put her in. After 5 years and 60k, unbelievably frequent trips to the dealership for repairs, getting locked out, locked in, numerous recalls, and eating a set of Michelin Pilot's every 18k, and as the warranty was expiring, she finally agreed on a new '02 LS430. So far, 20 mos & 25+ k and our Lex is an absolute fantastic machine; but she says the jury (her) is still out until we get at least 50 k on it. But at least it hasn't misbehaved yet. And I still get to sleep in our bedroom!

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Hi,

Ask her to see this

Horrible MB tales. I've had 3; 1967 200D, 1971 280S, 1972 280 SE with the 4.5 litre V8. The only one that was trouble free was the 200D. The rest caused problems from day 1. And the local dealership was terrible. It seems that things haven't really gotten better. I'll stick with my Lex!

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Hi,

Ask her to see this (among many others, if you search Google !!!):

http://www.mercedes-benz-usa.com/s_class.php

WOW! I surely can concur with all the frustrations jumping out from those words.

it seems that all MBs referred were all late models purchased brand new.

nowadays, when I see someone in MB passing by, I always think aloud in pity " good luck, fella, I hope you know what you're getting into!".

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What a pleasant read this is. The company here is out of this world.

Now, I have never owned a Benz, and from what I have read here -- never will. I am very satisfied with my Lexus, not to say if I fell into a load of cash tomorrow I would not change it for a more current one, but that is just a dream right now.

When it comes to spending money, the average person wants or tries to get as much for what they spend as possible. If I spend 100 bucks, I want 110 bucks or more of the product I am buying and that is what this all seems to boil down to.

In my opinion, you are getting more for your money than if you were to purchase a used or new Mercedes. But the preference of the wife comes into play and that makes it a bit more complicated. Sure, you might want what is the best value, while she is wanting what Emma or Julie next door drives, if not better.

Hopefully, it works out good for you and yours.

I hope, and I imagine most of us here as well, that you will get a Lexus. If you don't however, then I wish you good marital harmony, a vehicle free of constant trips to the dealer's service department, that never has to be towed and may you never have any regrets. :whistles:

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Google with "lemon", "complaints" and "any major car manufacturer" and you'll come up with lists like above, even Lexus.

You'll probably find that luxury cars get more than their fair share of complaints. Buy a $50,000+ car and it doesn't work, you complain. Buy a Neo and you may just shrug it off.

There have been a lot of apple to orange comparisons but I would search the web for some more direct comparisons.

The big Mercedes site with a great forum is mercedesshop.com.

As I suggested, I wouldn't buy any expensive, recent vintage car without extended warranty. They are just too complex. A car out of warranty, you'll just have to discount the purchase to allow for potential repairs. You WANT to find a car that has had these problems repaired.

The best reason why not to get a LS400? You already have one! There are a lot of cool cars out there. You are in the position to enjoy another great car. Something different to tinker with!

glenmore

1990 LS400

1991 MBZ 300CE

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First of all...WOW...what great replies.

I researched the MBs on line and they do indeed seem to have their share of issues. Its interesting to see that the MBs are priced almost the same as the LS's now. I found numerous 4-5 year old s420s for $10-13k. Those are amazing cars...but, I guess with years and miles all those neat features will break.

I do have a great..non dealer...local mechanic that works on our existing Lexus. This is a big part of why I want to get another LS. I dont know of any non dealer MB mechanics.

I think that I have her 70% sold on another LS. We spent all day Saturday checking out the would be competition...mostly new cars for under $30k. Even she agreed that our old 94 LS is 100xs nicer than a new $30k car.

Now, the question is are the newer 98,99,00,01 LS..with the newer motor...as reliable as the older ones like our 94? Seems to me that we can get an LS from that generation with 50k or so for around $20k. How much of a premium should I be willing to pay for a certified car. Most of the dealer LS with warranty that I have seen are $3-5,000 more. Its great to be on the buying end of such a great car....now, after its lost so much of its value.

Let me know.

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The newer motors are just as strong and durable as the old ones.

The Merc is a better status symbol. The Lexus is a better car.

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I have been on the Mercedes forums very often and I have heard that the 92-98 S-Class sedans are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE to maintain, not to mention that they are not very reliable. If you want a S-Class- stick with the 86-91 S-Class sedan, or even a 1981-1985 S-Class sedan- both of which are much less complicated to work on and are much more reliable. I do like the styling of the 92-94 S500's but like the 86-91s. Also too, remember these cars require a LOT of premium fuel, unless you opt for the BULLETPROOF 81-85 300SD diesel, or a 86-87 300SDL. These will go 700K+, if properly maintained. About 350K if not. Good luck!

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Now, I have never owned a Benz, and from what I have read here -- never will.

By this logic, had you first come across a Lexus complaint site, you never would have bought your Lexus! :whistles:

The people that start these sites have an axe to grind and are far from impartial. You can't even be sure the posters are legit.

The only place to get semi-accurate info is from actual users that belong to clubs like this and even then, it is a very small sample.

glenmore

1990 LS400

1991 MBZ 300CE

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Its great to be on the buying end of such a great car....now, after its lost so much of its value.

Let me know.

Ain't this the truth!

It is a great thing to be able to buy some of these cars with so much of the depreciation wrung out of them and any repairs hopefully addressed.

God bless any of you that can go out and spend $70,000 for a new car but for me it is <$10,000 as far as the eye can see.

Having a reliable Lexus mechanic is a solid reason for buying another.

My friend just bought a new Acura TL for about 30k and it is one hell of a car. The Acura dealership is going all out to make this new vehicle intro as smooth as possible.

Good luck with your choice!

glenmore

1990 LS400

1991 MBZ 300CE

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Thanks!

Any idea how much of a premium I should pay for a Lexus Certified car? I figure that if I am going to get Julie a LS I should get one with a warranty....ideas?

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