After buying the cheapest Mercedes E63 AMG wagon in the country, and having it leave me stranded a few days later, I was hoping the next chapter of AMG ownership would be a happier one. Unfortunately, it broke again within hours of picking it up — but this time, the failure was very strange, and monumentally stupid on my part.
What originally left me stranded 200 miles short of home was a failed gateway computer, which wasn’t allowing the instrument cluster and ignition to communicate with the rest of the car. Apparently, it had gotten water damaged somehow — but thankfully, the part was only $300. The cost to diagnose the problem and replace the computer cost another $800, but at least the $1,100 bill took care of all the warning lights. That is, at least until I started driving, which immediately prompted the ESP failure light to come on, indicating I had no traction control. Since this was an issue that existed when I bought the car, I expected it.
The drive to my regular mechanic, the Car Wizard, for my postrepair inspection was uneventful — and once I arrived, I decided to demonstrate to him that my traction control wasn’t working. I figured the best way to do this was by performing a beautiful burnout and single donut in his parking lot, which didn’t seem to amuse him much. Immediately afterward, though, my little stunt triggered a check engine light, and the power steering was dead. Instant karma.
The Car Wizard immediately investigated using his scan tool, and was able to reset all the error codes thrown from my display of stupidity. Sadly, the stiff steering persisted, and after a little research, we discovered it was a common issue for Mercedes power steering pumps to grenade during donuts. The high revving of the engine increases the pressure inside the pump, and when coupled with rapid steering inputs, it becomes too much for the pump to bear. In my case, with my 204,000 mile car, it only took one donut.
Figuring out how much my single donut cost me would have to wait though, because the Wizard continued his investigating, and found even more issues. Minor items included a brake stop switch and ball joint, but the more expensive items included a leaky upper oil pan, and badly worn brakes. I had forgotten how expensive AMG brakes were, but was reminded very brutally once I sat down in the Wizard’s office for the estimate.
The total bill to sort the cheapest E63, even after the $1,100 repair had paid earlier that day at the dealer, was $3,750. $1,700 of that was just in brakes, and another $600 was needed to replace the failed power steering pump. While this estimate wasn’t the worst I’ve had in recent memory, this probably wasn’t one of my best purchases. Hopefully this rare wagon behaves itself for a while after round two with my wallet — especially if I promise to never do another donut! Find a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG for sale