Thanks for your thoughts. As a result of my aviation experience (and awareness within the maintenance manuals to inspect the integrity of filters), I've always made a habit of inspecting the filter prior to use. Is the seal hard, cracked, glazed, etc? Is the media hard, cracked, etc? Sounds like we do pretty much the same thing.
As a shadetree I always keep about a 12 month supply of filters on the shelf and towards the end , order in the next years. Haven't had a problem yet.
I don't think I would be going out on a limb to say that for Mercedes (Hengzt, Mahl, etc) they watch their inventory very closely for overstock conditions for business reasons and that "old" stock is therefore a mute point (at least until one of the warehousemen sez "Hey, check this out. These were made when I was born.....".
Born on dating never made sense to me for beer, but it does for batteries and tires and probably should for rubberized and paper products, e.g. radiator/heater hoses (which they seem to do for Benz), fan and serpentine belts, spark plug wire and filters.
And hey you scamps at Daimler/Chrysler who scan these boards for your next "great" idea, don't forget where you saw it written first. DIBBBBBS
S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)