In January or February 2019, I decided that Gumby was starting to show its age with all the miles I put on it. So I decided to start looking for a more comfortable car that would be a good highway cruiser. Having had so few troubles with Gumby, I decided to look for a slightly bigger Mercedes along the lines of a mid-2000s E-class or S-class. After a few months and looking at a few of them, I was lucky enough to find this beautiful 2004 Mercedes S430 4matic in almost pristine condition even with its 107k miles on May 2nd, 2018 from a nice couple in Pennsylvania.
- May 2018, the front OEM orange markers were replaced with clear markers with a chrome-colored bulb.
- Also in May 2018, the windows were tinted to Ohio’s legal limit. Although not as dark as I wanted, the end result is that the car will stay cooler on sunnier days and the leather upholstery will suffer less too.
- June 2018, I installed K&N free-flow air filters.
- Also in June 2018, I installed an Android head unit in place of the original radio unit. It allows me to get on the internet for music, maps, news, etc. It also allowed me to mount a discrete little rear-view camera near the license plate for backing up. It’s very convenient since the windows are now tinted and barely noticeable.
- July 2018: My girlfriend bought me a rear AMG-style spoiler and it was painted to match the original paint. Prior to installation, I debadged the rear trunk lid of its S430 & 4matic lettering. I’ve always liked the way it gives the car a clean look.
- Also in July 2018: I bought a used front grill and modified it to fit a Mercedes R-series star and removed the hood mounted star with a button-style Mercedes badge.
- August 2018: Mounted some aftermarket rims, but kept the same size 17″ diameter as the originals to keep the original ride comfort (I still have the originals stored away).
- Also in late August 2018: Adjusted the electronics in the car so that the cooling fan comes on 5 degrees sooner. It helps the car a little bit in slow traffic and seems to keep the car running at no higher than 85 degrees.
- December 2018: Installed a dash cam that records both front & rear in high definition HD video. My parents were in an accident in early November 2018 and it got me thinking. (They’re okay)
- April 2019: Upgraded the headlight bulbs to HID Xenon for the low beams and LED bulbs for the high beams. They’re both at the 6000k level and it really helps and the low beams don’t blind oncoming drivers. However, the LED high beams have an awesome range. In the near future, I also plan on switching over the fog/driving lights to yellow LEDs to help more in fog.
- June 2019: Installed a trailer hitch receiver & wiring converter.
- Planned for this year are new rear mufflers which will necessitate to modification of the rear bumper lip. Single oval style tips are part of the new mufflers and I want to try to make them look as factory as possible.
- Also planned for this year is the installation of LED driving lights. It will require adding an additional ignition-on circuit to one of the front fuse panels.
I’m really looking forward to July 1st, 2020 when I can remove the front license plate. Ohio finally passed a law allowing it in early April 2019. Yay!