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Old 14th February 2023, 09:23   #301
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I don't know what's with NRIs and Camrys but he looked very pleased and things progressed very quickly.
Thats easy. When you head abroad for the first time, your first car almost always ends up being some Toyota. Quite often, a Camry. Either you buy one or the company you work for rents one for you, on the house. That ends up being your car for life.

The Camry offers fuss free, dependable motoring and is seen as a Executive Level sedan. Thats what users appreciate about a Camry.

If you find the last gen Camry Hybrid impressive, wait till you get behind the wheel of the current model. They've made it even better. The fundamentals remain the same. Fuss free, reliable and quiet motoring. Bells and whistles are not the priority.
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Old 7th July 2023, 18:50   #302
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

The car has returned from its 11th annual service visit. Nothing special to report except for a warning message I received when I stopped the car for refuelling a couple of days before the service visit. The error went away when I started the engine and everything including steering worked normally. I patted myself on the back for not flinching after seeing a big bold red error message on the dash.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-steeringwarning.jpg

The service folks ran the diagnostics and reported there were no errors or stored faults. Connectors and other usual suspects where checked and found no issues.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-connectorsteering.jpg

After consulting with their Pune technical team (this is something I have noticed with Mercedes, they consult with their Pune technical team a lot - which is a good thing IMO) they said it is likely due to weak battery. The battery was 2016 make.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-batteryyear.jpeg

They charged battery fully and tested the battery. The battery test report said "Good Battery".

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-charging.png

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-batterytest1.png

Then they left the car overnight and tested the battery next day morning. The battery test report now shows "Charge" which means the battery is not holding the charge sufficiently and a replacement is recommended.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-batterytest2.png

They could have easily said "saar, it's 2016 battery, time to replace it". Credit to them for taking the trouble to follow the process to confirm that battery indeed needs replacement. A side note: The battery lasted this long because I was using Bosch C7 battery charger. Prior to that I was changing the batteries way too often. This S Class is a battery hog, not surprising, given all the stuff it is loaded with.

The new battery costed me Rs 42,000 incl labour after 10% discount. I requested for a separate bill for the battery just for clarity.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-batterybill.png

The rest of the service was routine and the bill came up to: Rs 53,072 (10% discount was given for senior citizens - the car, not me, lol!)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-servicebill.png

My spend analysis looks something like this. I need to explore how I can bring down the cost of schooling, food and other non-essentials!

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Old 7th July 2023, 19:43   #303
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Did they have to "code" the new battery like VAG? Considering it is 7 years old, that's an amazing lifetime serving on a barge.
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Old 7th July 2023, 20:31   #304
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Did they have to "code" the new battery like VAG? Considering it is 7 years old, that's an amazing lifetime serving on a barge.
W221 was launched in 2005. The good old days of no battery programming. no auto start/stop technology, no speed warning chimes, no high octane petrol, with 17 wheels plus full size alloy spare wheel and so on.
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Old 7th July 2023, 22:13   #305
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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W221 was launched in 2005. The good old days of no battery programming. no auto start/stop technology, no speed warning chimes, no high octane petrol, with 17 wheels plus full size alloy spare wheel and so on.
Didn't the 7 series of that era, need to be programmed or coded something everytime the battery is changed?
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Old 8th July 2023, 00:54   #306
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Didn't the 7 series of that era, need to be programmed or coded something everytime the battery is changed?
Its a thing on BMWs. The current from the alternator varies based on the age of the battery which in turn affects the charge it can hold.

When a new battery is installed, the computer need to be informed about it so that the alternator does not overcharge the unit.
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Old 8th July 2023, 10:21   #307
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Its a thing on BMWs. The current from the alternator varies based on the age of the battery which in turn affects the charge it can hold.

When a new battery is installed, the computer need to be informed about it so that the alternator does not overcharge the unit.
BMW leads the pack when it comes to tech - some good and some bad. They are the first ones to delete spare tire, lol.

I believe this requirement to register battery replacement started with the launch of 2004 BMW E60 5-series, ostensibly to increase the battery life. As can be seen from my experience, my 2016 battery lasted till now without any such tech - that too on a battery hog like S Class. I believe one can use a regular Amaron battery in these old Mercedes cars without any issues. BMW has put the battery in the trunk, so you should not use flooded batteries for safety reasons. Even if you had to replace the flooded battery every 2 years at Rs 8000 (worst case scenario), you can buy 6 batteries for the price of Rs 50000 that BMW charges.
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Old 10th July 2023, 10:17   #308
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post

The rest of the service was routine and the bill came up to: Rs 53,072 (10% discount was given for senior citizens - the car, not me, lol!)
When does a car qualify as a senior citizen Is it when it is time to explore outside options?
I got a mouthwatering bill of around 1.5L for 4th year service for C-class. This includes around Rs 60k for the transmission oil change needed in 4 year/60K KM interval.
Your posts are truly inspiring and gives an idea that with timely maintenance these cars can be used for many years
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Old 10th July 2023, 11:30   #309
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Love your updates and how you're maintaining the S-Class, Androdev! You are lucky to own Germany's finest, and the car too is lucky to have you. Anyone can buy a brand-new German car, but only a true enthusiast maintains a 10+ year old German in top shape, with utmost love & care. A well-maintained W221 / W212 Mercedes or E60 BMW tells me a lot more about the owner than a brand new W223 or G30.

Am a big fan of buying the right car, keeping it for long & maintaining it in top shape.

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When does a car qualify as a senior citizen Is it when it is time to explore outside options?
Once your car is out of warranty, you MUST get an expert indie workshop. They will be 50 - 70% cheaper for big work. It's a must if you own a German car out of warranty.
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Old 10th July 2023, 11:50   #310
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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My spend analysis looks something like this. I need to explore how I can bring down the cost of schooling, food and other non-essentials!
This is hilarious and somehow similar to how some of my daughters hobby classes were suddenly considered "waste of time" when I replaced my car.
Lol.
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Old 21st December 2023, 16:37   #311
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-01stronger.png

As much as the smooth ride offered by S Class is a big plus, it also makes you very OCD about it. I observed some very mild/hushed suspension noise while going over rough patches and had to get that addressed immediately. The best or nothing business has become an expensive affair :-)

Took the car to the dealer (Sundaram) myself as I was worried they'd send back the car saying the noises are in my head. I'm not a noob to fall for that SOP (standard operating procedure). I was worried I may not be able to find a suitably wretched road to demonstrate the noise issue. How wrong I was! The service advisor took to me to a stretch not too far from the service centre that looked like a purpose-built test track for researching suspension problems. My relief of being able to demonstrate the suspension noise didn't last long as I started getting anxious about developing new suspension issues!

My experience with the service department at Sundaram has been fantastic. SA told me he doesn't want to order parts on a trial-and-error basis, instead he would take sometime to fully diagnose the issue and suggest the right remedy. I believe him because all the recent fixes - two check engine light errors (one due to faulty mass airflow sensor and another due to faulty intake manifold actuator) were diagnosed very systematically and resolved to perfection in the first attempt. So a couple of days later, I got a call informing me that control arms need to be replaced due to ball joint failures.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-02failedcontrolarms.jpeg

The unfortunate part is that these control arms were replaced as part of the air suspension replacement job as a preventive maintenance done in an outside workshop. Airmatic struts I personally imported from the US but control arms I allowed them to source and ensured they are OEM brands. Either counterfeit parts (or parts from a bad batch) were procured or the fitment was done with incorrect torque settings resulting in things going bad in just few months. I am going to stick to A.S.S - no appetite for experimenting to save few bucks.

New control arms in place:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-03newcontrolarms.jpeg

The car showed an error to replace AUX battery. It has a small aux 12V battery to handle emergency functions like shifting the transmission to neutral in case the main battery is dead.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-05auxerror.jpeg

New aux battery:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-05auxbattery.jpeg

The car is back from the workshop with the following jobs taken care of:

1. New control arms: 1.7L
2. New xenon bulbs as old ones were getting dull: Rs 20K per piece
3. AUX battery replacement: Rs 12K
4. On the day of supposed delivery, the car shows "speed sensor" error. New speed sensor: Rs 20K

I requested them to allow me to import the control arms as that's a big ticket item to which they agreed. I paid 80-90K (landed cost) to import them from FCPEuro. Grateful for the small mercies!

Speed sensor:
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-04speedsensor.jpeg

Having to redo the control arms is a bummer but the rest of the items are not too bad considering the age of the car. Speaking of age, the car tries its best to hide it.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-06seat.jpeg

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 22nd December 2023 at 20:13. Reason: edited
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Old 22nd December 2023, 18:49   #312
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Attachment 2546672

2. New xenon bulbs as old ones were getting dull: Rs 20 per piece


something tells me that is a typo and should read 20K per piece. Please update, I am on tenterhooks...
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Old 22nd December 2023, 19:13   #313
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by Ravi Parwan View Post


something tells me that is a typo and should read 20K per piece. Please update, I am on tenterhooks...
Same here, please confirm it's not 20 a piece. That speed sensor looks like JBL ear pieces but costs 20K! I am shocked at the maintenance this beauty demands.
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Old 22nd December 2023, 21:44   #314
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Sorry for the confusion. The post has been edited to reflect the correct price which is Rs 20K. How I wish it's Rs 20 :-)

The dealer price for the battery is Rs 11,420 and speed sensor is Rs 22,610. Below prices from FCPEuro (tends to be pricy but quality/freshness is assured) should give you an idea about price comparison. Notice the cheaper OEM alternatives to genuine Merecedes-Benz parts. You just need the part number to find a good deal.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-prices.png
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-aux.png

One important lesson I learned is not to ask the dealer for discount but instead ask them to fit the parts provided by me. Of course, such requests make more sense when the repairs are expensive and there is some level of discretion involved. I let few things slide if the amount is not too high. It also helps that I have been servicing the car at their dealership since 2012.
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Old 23rd December 2023, 00:28   #315
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

My control module blew seeing the control arm cost. I am sure I shall faint standing next to this car. Whatever the case, regal machine and a very thorough approach to maintenance and upkeep.
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