2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test - Maintenance
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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Brake Pad, ABC and Check-Engine Warning Lights

February 9, 2015

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

When last we reported, our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG was back in the shop. It was there with three warning lights:

  1. Brake pads
  2. Active Body Control (ABC) fault
  3. Check engine light.

The day after our CL's flatbed arrival, the dealership sent us this $16,000 estimate for repairs. Take the jump to see what happened next...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Another ABC Fault

January 26, 2015

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Stop me if you've heard this one. Our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG hitched a ride to the Mercedes-Benz dealership on the back of a flatbed trailer. Here is what happened...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Pitted Windshield

January 5, 2015

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Every time I drive towards a rising or setting sun in our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, my vision is blurred by some serious pitting in the windshield. Those little specs act like water spots that have dried on the glass, intensifying the sun's reflection, limiting forward visibility. They aren't just in the lower left corner there either, they're spread across the entire windshield.

I've replaced windshields on my personal cars that weren't nearly as damaged, and while this one isn't even close to dangerous, I wanted to see what the cost of replacing it was. Try to guess before you read on.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Detailing

January 2, 2015

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

When it comes to cars, I'm drawn to shiny parts and I don't mind manual labor. So when I signed out our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG and noticed a few parts that needed attention, I decided to get out a can of elbow grease (along with some metal polish) and give the AMG-stamped hardware a new lease on life.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: 15,000 Miles

December 24, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Before I worked here, I followed our old long-term Ferrari 308. You remember, the thing that started this whole "I could buy a reasonable car, or this crazy used sports car for the same price!" deal. I loved the idea and when I got on board, I vowed to do anything I could to support it and to add a used AMG to the fleet. In December of 2013, six years (and some really awesome used long-termers) later, we finally got a 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.

Now, one year and 8 days after Takahashi and I raced a snow storm out of Reno, we recorded our 15,000th mile behind the wheel. That's 3,000 more than our "Everyday Supercar" NSX and only about 4,000 behind our CLA250 which was new and had satellite radio and never leaked green stuff on anyone's anything.

Clearly, a celebration was in order.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Dead Battery

December 22, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Let's be clear: This was my fault.

As I was leaving for work in the morning I found our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG had a dead battery and it was my fault. The car had nothing to do with it.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Broken Seat Trim

December 17, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

It has been about 6,000 miles since our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG has seen any shop time. Since August our big Benz has been Camry reliable without any of the boring.

Still, this is a nine-year-old car, so you gotta expect some little things to crop up. And I mean little things.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Misaligned Trunk Lid

December 15, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Several pieces on our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG are showing their age. I noticed the pitted windshield first, then as my mother was admiring the CL's unbroken window line, I spotted the quarter-inch panel gap on the trunk lid. I opened and closed the trunk a few times, checking for obstructions, finding none and hoping that the panel gap was an anomaly. Even after several open-shut-open repetitions, the gap remained. "Ruh roh," I thought out loud, "this is gonna be 'spensive."

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Needs More Oil

December 8, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Once again, our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG  is asking for a liter of oil. Since this is something we've come to expect in the CL65, there was already a quart (0.946 liters) of 0W-40 waiting in the trunk when the warning light came on. I bought a replacement quart but I also wondered how much oil the CL had gone through in the last eleven months.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Oregon Road Trip Part 3

September 9, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Read Oregon Road Trip Part 1

Read Oregon Road Trip Part 2

It is absolutely worth the drive to Crater Lake. Like with most national parks, the term awe-inspiring gains new meaning when you first experience the majestic views and connection with nature it provides.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: 10,000 Miles

September 4, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

In mid-December, we bought our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. Nine months later, we hit 10,000 miles.

With our new cars, we do everything in our power to hit 20,000 miles within a year. With our fun ones, things like maintenance and general levels of comfort usually keep us from hitting this mark, but we try. Our Acura NSX got 12,000. Our beloved, dearly missed 2002 Corvette Z06 hit 18,000. Even our museum piece Buick Grand National hit 10,000. So we needed to clear SOME milestone with the most powerful car we've ever had in the long-term fleet. We bought it with 56,413 miles and have had 66,413 burned into our brains ever since. We had to hit that.

Cue James Riswick taking a road trip to Oregon.

Cue the fanfare.

What did it take for us to hit this mark? Money. How much?

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Replacement Tow Hook Cover

August 25, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Whether it's using brushes, rollers, pinstripes or aerosol cans, painting is fun. If you make mistakes, you can make them birds. Yeah, they're birds now. And as Riswick previously mentioned a nefarious character hijacked the tow hook cover from our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG and the replacement we ordered needed some paint. I volunteered to do the work and here's how it turned out.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Missing Tow Hook Cover

August 20, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

For quite some time now, the little plastic cover that conceals the rear tow hook of our  2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG has been missing. We're not really sure when or how, but I'm guessing it was stolen. Why? Because as I discovered, the replacement part is $95 (they originally quoted me $135) with another $45 needed for the paint.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Multiple Cylinder Misfires

August 18, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our last update of the 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 ended with an all-too-familiar picture of the AMG parked in the service drive at the W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz dealership. I want to tell you it was back in action the next day. Or three days later. Or even ten. But I can't. That's because we didn't see it until 12 days after Mike dropped it off with a check-engine light. So what happened? The picture is part of the answer...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Back in the Shop

July 24, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

In the likely case you don't follow me on Twitter, you're probably unaware that our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is back in the shop.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: New Rear Tire

July 23, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

We couldn't have placed a nail in the tire of our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG any more perfectly. Didn't lose any air, and was still too close to the sidewall to be repairable!

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: B-Service

July 15, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

With the frequent unexpected problems that arise in our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, it's nice to see our big coupe at the dealer for a normally scheduled service for once. We showed up at our local Mercedes-Benz dealership for the CL's B-Service.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Road Trip Ramblings

June 18, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Last weekend I drove our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG to what is probably its primary adopted North American habitat, a swanky resort in Santa Barbara.

On the grounds were variously brand new Range Rovers, Bentleys, other Benzes galore, and...pickup trucks. Yes, the trend of full-size pickups as the personal transport choice of the rich has arrived on the west coast, after a long gestation in the Midwest.

Most common of all were BMWs, and not necessarily the largest or most expensive. Plenty of 3 and 5 Series and X3s, oddly enough. Everything was pretty late model. No cool old cars at all. I was disappointed by the lack of imagination.

Anyway, when I arrived, I pulled up to the entrance where I was greeted by a flotilla of valets. As soon as I stepped out one of them asked, with genuine enthusiasm, "Hey, how fast have you gone?"

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Big New Battery Saves Idiot

June 16, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Fellow editor Brent Romans recently replaced the battery in our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.

And it's a good thing, too, because I'm an idiot.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Another Quart of Oil Requested

June 13, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Make that a liter. Our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG popped up an alert on the instrument cluster to "add 1.0 liter of oil at filling station." But all I had was a quart...

Since said quart of 0W-40 Mobil 1 was previously placed in the car by some thoughtful editor (probably Herr Riswick), it made my job that much easier. Thanks, person!

So, why is the CL65 consuming oil?

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Replacing the Battery

June 11, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

After the battery died in our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG it was time to get a replacement.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: A Dead Battery Stops Even the Most Powerful

June 3, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

"It'll be fine."

This was me telling my wife about leaving the long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG parked at the airport while we went away for a trip. Originally, a friend was supposed to give us a lift. But he couldn't at the last minute so I decided we'd just take the CL. It did seem a little undignified to leave it parked, but I also considered that it's a nine-year-old car that Edmunds bought for less than $40,000. Plus, nothing can break on it if the car's just sitting, right?

Famous last words.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Adding Oil...Again

April 14, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our twin-turbo V12-powered long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is using oil. About a quart every 1,000 miles.

We bought the car back in December with 56,000 miles on it. It was a CPO car and had just been serviced by Mercedes-Benz of Reno, NV. However, we've already added oil to the big V12 four times: a quart at 58,500 miles, 59,000 miles, 61,000 miles and now at 62,000 miles. Per the car's spec we used Mobil 1 0W40 full synthetic European Car Formula, which ain't cheap.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: License Plate Light Bulb Replacement

April 11, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG has finally developed a problem that doesn't require a dealer visit and a spare $3,000 to correct. A warning bell from the instrument panel display alerted us to a burned out license plate light bulb. I grabbed a pair from a local auto parts store and set to work.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Plate Light Out

April 9, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

One of the lights illuminating our license plate is out and our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG was nice enough to not only let us know, but let us know which one.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Tow Hook Cover

March 21, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

I love driving this phenomenal car, but it makes me nervous. I keep bracing for the next problem. This morning I discovered the cover for the rear tow hook fell off. It leaves a small but unsightly black square in the right side of the rear bumper.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: White Glove Treatment

March 20, 2014

2014 Acura MDX AWD

Exploring our long-term 2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG is like going on a treasure hunt. Everywhere you turn there's some nice little touch to pamper you.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Adding the Right Oil Is a Challenge

March 19, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

I was halfway into a 160-mile trip when I got a stern warning telling me to add 1 liter of oil to the 2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG. I knew that Mike Schmidt had added oil only 1,879 miles ago so I wasn't completely surprised. But checking the oil level and responding to this message wasn't easy.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Active Body Control Failure and Repair

March 13, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

We knew going into our test of the 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG that its Active Body Control (ABC) System was a potential crutch. The life of its components averaged about 60,000 miles according to many owners. When the ABC system acted out for the first time at 58,900 miles, we weren't completely surprised. Now, just 1,500 miles later, it's failed again...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Something's Leaking

March 12, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

It was only the second time I drove our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. Not 10 minutes after I got to my desk, somebody stopped by to tell me something was leaking from it in our parking garage. At this point I've taken to calling it the Silver Plague.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: It Won't Start, Part 2

January 31, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

We towed our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 to Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz in Newport Beach after it left us stranded. "I called to tell you that we received your car," started our advisor. "I walked up to check it out and the car fired right up. There was a stored misfire fault code, but no check engine light." We discussed our potential next steps...

There weren't many options. We decided to leave the car overnight to see if the dealer could get it to fail again. No luck. This will have to be something we monitor. Maybe it will never happen again. Wishful thinking is okay, right? While the CL65 was in for this service, we also asked to have an unusual dashboard clicking noise investigated.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: It Won't Start, Part 1

January 30, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

This is our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65, parked on pit row at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. We had just completed a series of routine performance tests. The same tests we do on all long-term cars. And our CL65 did great.

We parked the car and came back about 20 minutes later. When we turned the key this time the CL65 wouldn't quite start. Instead, it shuddered violently. We shut it down. Then this happened (take the jump for video)...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Consuming Oil?

January 29, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

I recently read an update James posted mentioning that our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 was low on oil. It was down about a quart at 58,500 miles, so he added as much. Here we are, 500 miles later and I get a warning that the Mercedes is low another quart-and-a-half. Curious, I looked around...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65: ABC Warning Light, Part 2

January 22, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65

Earlier this week we towed our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 to the dealer for service following an Active Body Control (ABC) system failure. Here is what happened next.

As mentioned previously, Dan, our advisor at Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz, called us once roadside assistance dropped the car off to him. He called again the next morning to tell us what they found and the cost to repair it. His third call brought good news, "Your car is ready."

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65: ABC Warning Light, Part 1

January 21, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65

Before we get to this picture, let me give some back story.

I was on my way to the grocery store when the Active Body Control (ABC) warning light on our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 illuminated. I drove the remaining half-mile, bought my milk and quietly hoped the light would be out when I returned. It wasn't. Four miles later I was back home, pulling into my driveway. That's when I first smelled it...

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Checking and Adding Oil

January 9, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Before heading out on a road trip, it's always a good idea to do a simple spot check of your car, especially an older and infinitely complicated one like our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65.

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