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  #1  
Old 04-27-2005, 12:15 PM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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W140 : one more Achiles heel to the LONG list...

Recently, on first early morning starts, my S 500 L started to hesitate a little.

I assumed the battery might have lost some charge, so I proceeded to charge it a little on the weekend.

My car is factory equipped with the original Mercedes-Benz refrigerator/freezer unit which is trunk mounted on the left side (a $2,500 option at the time). The unit can hold six bottles of whine or four six-packs.

This setup has a peculiar "benefit" (I thought). The fridge comes with an AC-converter/Battery Charger that can be hooked up directly to the fridge line and charge the battery from a regular 110V outlet.

The procedure is clearly explained on the Owner's Manual with graphics and everything.

My surprise was that after disconnecting the charger and started the car, the alternator light came and stayed on. This had never happen before.

When the tech came to inspect the alternator, he found the negative diode's board at the alternator fried. He commented that the diodes on W140s are very prone to sudden failure. I was very dissapointed since the charger is factory supplied and recommended for this procedure.

I guess this is (for me!) a new item for the long list of Achiles heels on W140s (next weekend I will be installing the THIRD door closing assist pump in a period of two years!). It is a shame, because I definitely consider the W140 the best ride around, period. You just have to be patient with it.
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Last edited by A. Rosich; 04-27-2005 at 12:24 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2005, 12:47 PM
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Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
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Sorry to heart about that. Your car is the S 500 L? Why not just S500? Is it a special edition or something?

I know about all these issues with the W140. However, I just purchased a 1995 S350 with a bad engine at 171K. I checked all the service receipts and it seems like the car was trouble free it entire life so far. Just maintenance and no repairs. Then I also came across a man who owns a 1998 S420 with 139K miles. He acquired it at 80K miles right off lease and the only repair he has done on it is to fix a leaking power steering pump. On the other hand, there are many people like you who always have something to repair on their W140.
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2005, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braverichard
Sorry to heart about that. Your car is the S 500 L? Why not just S500? Is it a special edition or something?
My guess is that in other parts of the world, like Costa Rica, the S500 might have been offered in short and long wheel-based versions.
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2005, 12:52 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
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That's a common . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Rosich
Recently, on first early morning starts, my S 500 L started to hesitate a little.

I assumed the battery might have lost some charge, so I proceeded to charge it a little on the weekend.

My car is factory equipped with the original Mercedes-Benz refrigerator/freezer unit which is trunk mounted on the left side (a $2,500 option at the time). The unit can hold six bottles of whine or four six-packs.

This setup has a peculiar "benefit" (I thought). The fridge comes with an AC-converter/Battery Charger that can be hooked up directly to the fridge line and charge the battery from a regular 110V outlet.

The procedure is clearly explained on the Owner's Manual with graphics and everything.

My surprise was that after disconnecting the charger and started the car, the alternator light came and stayed on. This had never happen before.

When the tech came to inspect the alternator, he found the negative diode's board at the alternator fried. He commented that the diodes on W140s are very prone to sudden failure. I was very dissapointed since the charger is factory supplied and recommended for this procedure.

I guess this is (for me!) a new item for the long list of Achiles heels on W140s (next weekend I will be installing the THIRD door closing assist pump in a period of two years!). It is a shame, because I definitely consider the W140 the best ride around, period. You just have to be patient with it.
problem in ALL cars: the diodes 'blow'. Sorry, hope your wine didn't get to warm; like mine chilled abit!
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  #5  
Old 04-27-2005, 07:52 PM
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Location: England
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It's sad to think there may be be a lot of W140s falling into disrepair because of all the expensive problems, and you'll soon see them being sold for next to nothing, and driven & used as 'beaters' until something else breaks and it no longer goes? It could happen.


Russ
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2005, 11:31 PM
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I like the W140 platform, and a buddy of mine just bought one (1994). Unfortunately, I bought my '90 300 SEL several years ago and it's nearly trouble free. Currently has about 225k (50k of them mine) miles and runs like a top. Yeah, I've replaced the brakes a couple of times, the fan clutch, and center muffler. Other than that, the darned thing just keeps running and running. The interior is a bit rough, and the body ain't too shiny any more.......but I'm finding it hard to let her go. Darned Merecedes.
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2005, 11:59 PM
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Oh yeah... I've been keeping my eyes on eBay for high mileage W140s and I still haven't seen any. It seems to me like there aren't many high mileage (say, over 150K miles) W140s because they haven't been around long enough or they spend so much time in the shop that the opportunity to rack up miles on them never comes, or people just don't drive them much because in whatever form you choose they guzzle gas and cost $$ to keep on the road OR all of the above combined.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2005, 07:28 AM
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L = Long Wheel Base !!!

Normal countries have the normal wheel base models and the additional choice of 'L' long wheelbase models. There's no L badge, you just look for the extra length.

Edit: Hey, it automatically decapitalized my message!
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2.5-16v 1990 90,000m Astral Silver
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http://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall.jpghttp://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall2.jpg
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2005, 10:55 AM
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Location: Chicagoland
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I had all four door pumps blow on my car. Luckily, I purchased the extended warranty so they all got fixed. I think the dealer quoted me something like $1,300 to fix all four. I laughed because they were under warranty. Also, because of this forum, I know how to take my doors apart so I don't have to go to the dealer about this problem anymore.
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-1984 Mercedes 190D 2.2 5-speed gray market(bought@30,000 miles) (Sold back to original owner@170,000 miles)
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2005, 11:01 AM
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OK... what exactly are these door pumps? Are they the devices that control that vacuum "door assist" feature? If so, that means you can live without them right?
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2005, 11:48 AM
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First, thanks to everyone for their replies...

The S 500 L designation comes, as mentioned before, from the fact the here in Costa Rica, as in Germany and the rest of the world, the 500 could be had in short and long wheelbases. The car rear deck badge does not sport the "L", but EVERYTHING else (from maintenance books and records to the car factory production card) do specify the model as an S 500 L).

The stupid close assist pumps are a real nightmare, most customers (I have been told by the local dealer) do prefer just to abandon the issue and slam the doors. Although, there was a customer who demanded his money back on his brand new S 320 when in a period of seven months they had to change the close assist pumps six times!

I'm still waiting to find the "maintenance free" Mercedes, and I do believe the W140 is right up there in terms of maintenance trouble with the W210, W124, and others (W123 and W126 excepted). The big problem is cost, parts on the W140 are so expensive it borders on the offensive.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2005, 03:24 PM
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What is the actuakl problem wuth the pumps? Can't they fix it after all this time, and sell pumps which don't break in a few months??

!
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http://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall.jpghttp://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall2.jpg
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2005, 08:28 PM
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There were some short wheel base 140's sold in the US as well, 2 examples I know of are the 140.032 S320 vs the 140.033 S320, and also the 140.042 400SE vs the 140.043 400SEL.
The pumps will last longer if there are no leaks in the system, very often the problem is diagnosed as a defective/inoperative pump, without thinking it is replaced with no regard as to "why" it failed.

Quote:
Can't they fix it after all this time, and sell pumps which don't break in a few months??
Because the pump is running for a number of years worth of running time in only a few months.

Gilly
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