Have to follow up here, after starting the whole thread:
Yeah, I'm frankly *amazed* that the car could pass Starmark with the wiring harness impaired, and easily detected as being such. I mean, if there is any single classically characteristic defect in the early 90s vehicles, the harness is it. Definitely, a deterioration of service standards is taking place.
Although some of this may simply be MBUSA hoping that with enough time, the camel will learn to sing (ask me privately by PM if you've never heard that old joke, or just dig it up on the net).
So here's the verdict on the harness rework: excellent job. We just drove the car pretty near all the way across North America. 3800 miles of tough, fast driving in hard conditions.
The 500E started instantly, pulled like a freight train, purred like a kitten, executed a dozen letter-perfect panic stops, and soaked up uncounted potholes with great calm. It was totally unfazed by climate extremes from freezing cold in the upper Midwest, to an indicated 108F in Las Vegas. Altitudes from below sea level to above 9600ft at the Sonora Summit. This is quite the car.
It also has a very pleasing ability to make annoying drivers and their vehicles become very small and far away in a short time. Or at least it can do that where there is room to let it run. We are unfortunately no longer out in those open reaches.
The first hint I had that we were back in the Bay Area was when I watched some kid in a riced Accord pass someone who had been hogging the fast lane; this kid did it in the gravel on the left shoulder, blowing past someone who was already doing 80-plus MPH.
And we then looked in the rear-view mirror to find a soccer mom in a juggernaut SUV who was doing her mascara and talking on the phone, one-third of a car length off our back bumper, this also at 80-plus.
Yeah, definitely home again. Home to too many rude, dumb, dangerous drivers packed onto increasingly overloaded roads. Hmmmmm. I suspect that the urge to take the big dog back out into the wide open spaces is going to come up again soon. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to go driving.