Thanks for the reply. I've had a 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo for 6 years now, and have used synthetic oil and tranny fluid exclusively in it. I'm a firm believer in synthetics--even use it in my portable generator and lawn mower!
Before I bought the car, I had the dealer take it to the local M-B dealer in Indianapolis. While their policy was not to do a complete used-car inpsection (liability reasons, they claimed) they would inspect anything I requested. Here is the list I sent them:
1. Check installation quality of recently installed belt tensioner.
2. Check transmission function, fluid level and condition, leaks. Harsh shifting?
3. Inspect condition of brake rotors, front and rear.
4. Inspect condition of brake pads. Estimate of useful remaining life?
5. Check ASR system.
6. Check sunroof operation.
7. Check HVAC operation. Cools and heats to spec?
8.Check steering system for operation and fluid leaks.
9. Check battery charging system/alternator. Proper voltage output?
10. Check CD/radio operation.
11. Please check all gauges and bulbs, turn signals, and headlights for proper function.
12. Please check engine compression and overall condition of the engine. Oil/coolant leaks? In need of coolant flush?
13. Please report on overall condition of interior and exterior.
The only thing they noted was the useful life of the front pads (70% left) and the weak battery, which they recommended I replace. (Sure enough, the battery went south a month ago.)
As to keeping the car stock, I am definitely wrestling with that demon. On one hand, I like the idea of driving the car exactly as Mercedes engineered and intended it to drive. On the other hand, I'm especially tempted in the first-gear start valve body and the Y-pipe adapter. I don't think I'd ever chip a car; I've heard it has a detrimental effect on the engine, specifically, the head gaskets. I'm very interested in how the new wheels and tires will impact the ride and handling, but for right now, I'll probably just enjoy this magnificent automobile!