To keep or not to keep, that is the question (2003 G500)

JCH4

Observer
We have a 2003 G500 which we have had for 5 years. Usual problems here and there but overall very happy with the G500. I am a point where I need to decide whether to buy a new car or keep this one. I prefer to keep this one but it has 150000 miles. Does anyone have any opinion on what is a realistic number of miles to expect out of a "well maintained" G500 V8. Any other issues/things to consider. In addition, if the engine was to need to be replaced/rebuilt the cost and difficulty of doing so? Advice appreciated.
 

colo77bronco

New member
I have a very good friend who is a 2nd generation Mercedes Certified shop owner and I am buying a G currently at his recommendation. He did warn me of the endless electrical repairs and frustrations but says the mechanics are second to none and will probably be good for 350,000-400,000 miles without a problem if maintained.
 

NYCRover

Observer
Based on some guys around here and on P3, 250k+ isn't an anomaly for the V8. I think the biggest concerns with higher mileage most likely manifest themselves in either a front end rebuild or the transmission takes a crap (this is probably on the rarer side).
 

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mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
My mechanic says he'd be concerned with the newer 7 speed but the 5 speed rarely has any issues.
Agreed. 150k is nothing with proper routine maintenance. These M113 V8's are very strong. As with any of the German vehicles, rubber related components are what will need to be replaced.
What are you considering instead of the G?
 

PH4

Observer
Still want to stick with the G but did not know whether to trade in for a newer model or keep this one. Have no desire to trade in for a newer model but did not know expected longevity of the 2003 with 150k miles. Needs two new door locks and the keeps say T/C shift incomplete so do not want to dump a bunch of $ into something that is nearing end of life.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Still want to stick with the G but did not know whether to trade in for a newer model or keep this one. Have no desire to trade in for a newer model but did not know expected longevity of the 2003 with 150k miles. Needs two new door locks and the keeps say T/C shift incomplete so do not want to dump a bunch of $ into something that is nearing end of life.
Sounds like you might need 2 electronic door latches, and a possible transfer case motor(would be interested to see what you have for stored fault codes in the TCU). Last TC motor we replaced had this fault code; P2213 (2213) the sensor from component direction sensor is implausible.
Here's some info I had gathered off the forums for the TC display saying N vs H or L;
“Well, the TC control module only "knows" the position of the shaft by keeping count of pulses coming from a Hall effect sensor on the motor. If the splines are slipping, then that method doesn't work any more. The motor is spinning, sending pulses, but it's not moving anything. The module doesn't know about the slipping, it just knows the motor is spinning. So pretty quickly, the shift fork in the TC is not where the module thinks it is, leading to unpleasantness.

If you never shift from H to L, you might think this would not affect you. But it does. The reason is that every time you turn on the ignition and engage D, the TC module does a quick confirmation that it is in the right position by running the motor back and forth a little, touching briefly against what it thinks is the end of travel and coming back a bit from that. If the splines are failing, then it's not going to find the limit of travel where it was expecting it, and then it no longer knows where it is. So you get a blank square instead of H or L in the display. Or possibly a TC in Neutral message if it came up with a new incorrect position that is close to where N is.

This is a process that would lead to progressive failure of the splines. Each time they slip, they wear a little more, making them more likely to slip next time. Each time the control module loses track of the position, it runs the risk of ramming the motor against the limit and causes more spline damage. This is a very unvirtuous cycle between the motor and the control module.

Once the process really gets going, the servo motor is bound to fail. The splines will get stripped to the point that they can't work at all, and no amount of resetting or re-adapting will fix it. How long that takes probably depends on just how much torque your particular motor can make, how strong the splines are in that batch, etc. So some may go forever, and some start to fail right away. If you never strip that first tooth, the process never gets going.

I suspect that the problem was exacerbated by faulty control modules in 2002. If the control module was not functioning correctly, eg miscounting pulses, or forgetting it's position, then it makes it more likely it will drive the motor to the end limit, and start stripping splines.

At some point, Merc started improving these parts. My servo motor was made in July 2003 (replacement of the original 2002 motor) and it was still too weak. The control module was also upgraded several times. I suspect you need to have a good motor and a good module to eliminate the problem, but I don't know which versions/dates would be good. The latest versions of both would be a good place to start.”

HTH some.
 

Don Raptor

Observer
I also have the 'TC in neutral' occasionally. disassembled the TC motor, whole gear set is in perfect condition...
a bit more search on the internet showed that it could also be the TC controller...the software seems to be the problem.
so I live with the 'TC in neutral' message...

Malte
 

otiswesty

Regular guy
Mine was fixed with a new TC control module on my 2002. It needs to be reset/relearned with a Star System at the same time.
I would keep it, the mileage is not an issue for a well kept G.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Mine was fixed with a new TC control module on my 2002. It needs to be reset/relearned with a Star System at the same time.
I would keep it, the mileage is not an issue for a well kept G.
Or an Autologic scan tool would work too. :)
 

JCH4

Observer
Sounds like you might need 2 electronic door latches, and a possible transfer case motor(would be interested to see what you have for stored fault codes in the TCU). Last TC motor we replaced had this fault code; P2213 (2213) the sensor from component direction sensor is implausible.
Here's some info I had gathered off the forums for the TC display saying N vs H or L;
“Well, the TC control module only "knows" the position of the shaft by keeping count of pulses coming from a Hall effect sensor on the motor. If the splines are slipping, then that method doesn't work any more. The motor is spinning, sending pulses, but it's not moving anything. The module doesn't know about the slipping, it just knows the motor is spinning. So pretty quickly, the shift fork in the TC is not where the module thinks it is, leading to unpleasantness.

If you never shift from H to L, you might think this would not affect you. But it does. The reason is that every time you turn on the ignition and engage D, the TC module does a quick confirmation that it is in the right position by running the motor back and forth a little, touching briefly against what it thinks is the end of travel and coming back a bit from that. If the splines are failing, then it's not going to find the limit of travel where it was expecting it, and then it no longer knows where it is. So you get a blank square instead of H or L in the display. Or possibly a TC in Neutral message if it came up with a new incorrect position that is close to where N is.

This is a process that would lead to progressive failure of the splines. Each time they slip, they wear a little more, making them more likely to slip next time. Each time the control module loses track of the position, it runs the risk of ramming the motor against the limit and causes more spline damage. This is a very unvirtuous cycle between the motor and the control module.

Once the process really gets going, the servo motor is bound to fail. The splines will get stripped to the point that they can't work at all, and no amount of resetting or re-adapting will fix it. How long that takes probably depends on just how much torque your particular motor can make, how strong the splines are in that batch, etc. So some may go forever, and some start to fail right away. If you never strip that first tooth, the process never gets going.

I suspect that the problem was exacerbated by faulty control modules in 2002. If the control module was not functioning correctly, eg miscounting pulses, or forgetting it's position, then it makes it more likely it will drive the motor to the end limit, and start stripping splines.

At some point, Merc started improving these parts. My servo motor was made in July 2003 (replacement of the original 2002 motor) and it was still too weak. The control module was also upgraded several times. I suspect you need to have a good motor and a good module to eliminate the problem, but I don't know which versions/dates would be good. The latest versions of both would be a good place to start.”

HTH some.
Thank you for the information. This has been going on for a long time. The transmission shop I took it to could not get it to ever work right and the Mercedes Dealer says I need a new Transfer Case to the tune of $6,900.00. I am not sure I agree with them. I really wish I had a shop that was super familiar with the G and the TC issue within striking distance but have had no luck. I would even take it two hours way if there was a really good G mechanic.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Thank you for the information. This has been going on for a long time. The transmission shop I took it to could not get it to ever work right and the Mercedes Dealer says I need a new Transfer Case to the tune of $6,900.00. I am not sure I agree with them. I really wish I had a shop that was super familiar with the G and the TC issue within striking distance but have had no luck. I would even take it two hours way if there was a really good G mechanic.
You're very welcome.

Maybe other G forums like P3 or ClubG could help you locate a good G technician?
 

jackajm

New member
Mine has over 210,000 miles on it. Runs great! It is an 03 G500 as well. I have had to replace the air compressor but thats because it is extremely hot during the summer in Texas.
 

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otiswesty

Regular guy
Thank you for the information. This has been going on for a long time. The transmission shop I took it to could not get it to ever work right and the Mercedes Dealer says I need a new Transfer Case to the tune of $6,900.00. I am not sure I agree with them. I really wish I had a shop that was super familiar with the G and the TC issue within striking distance but have had no luck. I would even take it two hours way if there was a really good G mechanic.
There is a guy here in Portland with a 2003 G500 TC on Ebay right now. I have bought quite a few parts from him and he is a stand up guy. PM me for his phone number.
 
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