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Old 01-06-2001, 09:47 PM
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On a lighter note, the original owner of my '79 300SD had the oil changed, by the same shop, once a year. She was a widow who commuted to Florida from the Minnesota border. (She didn't pop for the cassette or the passenger mirror-let's say she was frugal), She put 100,000 miles on the car in 4 years. So we have 25,000 miles between oil changes.

The second owners tortured the car, by having it painted at Maaco (It's now a redhead, with an ivory body). They changed the oil even less frequently. The car has the original timing chain, and no replacements of any engine components whatsoever. Just a new tach cable. The rocker panels have absorbed all the pain.

I change the oil twice a year because of the change in weather temperature. It is about every 2000 miles. The car has 340,000 miles and goes like a "bat out of hell" (Meatloaf).

The only explanation for my luck, is that the engine was made by Mercedes.

I think this story is comparable to not flossing your teeth regularly. You may skip it, and later live to regret it, or you just might get lucky, and have teeth made by Mercedes. But why take the chance of gumming it through eternity.
(I said lighter note)

I am a huge Toyota fan. I just sold a 1988 Land Cruiser with 200,000 miles on it. I completely restored the body due to typical Toyota rust. The engine will die in 10-20,000 miles. I know this, the buyers all knew this. It's a sad truth made uglier by the Mercedes automobile. It was not easy to sell a truck that was over 200,000. Only a real Toyota devotee would not have a problem with the high mileage. on the other hand, my 300 SD is only going to get better every year. I will wear my high mileage badges with honor, and if we ever part, mileage will not be an issue. I would buy a Mercedes with 600,000 miles on it and not think twice.

I will stick with Mercedes for the rest of my life.

Toyota, Mercedes, and many other foreign car makers have always made a "200,000 mile" engine. Ford and other American car companies have always made a "100,000 mile" engine. Just in the last few years, Ford has started making a "150,000 mile" engine to attempt to compete with Toyota trucks. It is pretty obvious that Mercedes was using 200,000 for a minimum.

Mercedes prides itself in making parts available for all years, and models. I can get any part for my car. Last summer I ordered the inner frame rail(with jack ports) from the dealer for $80.00!!! To me that is remarkable. I never was able to purchase anything for my '88 Toyota at the dealer, in fact, the parts people basically told me that my '88 was obsolete. Parts were "rare", and very expensive. They want you to buy a new car. They claim their parts are 3 times stronger than other auto makers,Thus the outrageous prices. The customers service records are kept up in an attic after the car is ten years old because they assume it is dead. I will always remain a fan of Toyota, but they are miles behind Mercedes as far as what's important to me.

Mercedes sold more cars in the U.S. last year than at any other time (205,614). Lexus beat Mercedes this year by selling 423 more cars to become the number one seller in the luxury market.

Donald, my mother has owned more 10 year old Cadillac's than I can remember. I have always been impressed by the Cadillac engine. I drove a '73 Sedan DeVille to high school every day with a broken fuel gauge. That car was my pal, because every day I ran out of gas no matter how much I put in. She was thirsty, and I hated high school. The only complaint I have about Cadillac is the early '80's Eldorado that was supposed to be fuel efficient because it shut down from 8 to 4 cylinders when the extra power wasn't needed. I hope you did not design or have anything to do with that. If so, my apologies. I mean it in good fun. I have driven through the Mew Mexican desert in a Cadillac, and it was dreamy. I can only imagine how nice it will be in my Mercedes.


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Old 01-06-2001, 11:42 PM
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WARNING: This is a long-ass post, if not up for it, then skip it and go to the next one, or just scroll to the end for the wrap-up...The rest of us are on an away mission.


Understood. And no insult or slight intended against you or anyone. Your points are well stated, and contain reasonable examples to support them.

However, Mercedes is not Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Dusenberg, nor any of the long list of other car companies who "narrow casted" to a very small niche market.

Point-in-fact: Rolls Royce did not make either a well-made, or an affordable car. Their engines are legendary, and their coachwork and creature comforts are, as well. However, everyone I have ever met who owned one, owned it for the prestige associated with the nameplate. And all of them hated the amount of problems that they had with them, as well as the cost of maintenance. Bugatti and Duesenberg, IMHO, were cars made before their time. Dusenberg specifically fell prey to national economic struggles that they were not equipped to handle. What all of the niche market cars had in common with each other, and do not have in common with Mercedes was that they did not make ANYTHING (with the exception of the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines) but niche market cars that only the very wealthy could afford.

On the other side of this coin rests Mercedes. How could a motor car manufacturer survive the devastating losses that Germany was laboring under after the Second World War? Aside from the fact that this country pumped billions of dollars into our former adversaries' industries to help rebuild their countries, in the case of VW, it was by making a very easy to repair, inexpensive product that appealed to the common man who would not be able to afford a Mercedes. Again, IMHO, Mercedes simply made the best quality product in that country, and was recognized by experts and consumers for doing so. Of course, it didn't hurt that Mercedes made different types of vehicles that appealed to buyers in various income brackets. After all, during the war, the Vermacht had travelled, and hauled supplies and equipment from battle to battle in Mercedes trucks and other vehicles. And to this day, Mercedes continues to make commercial class vehicles of all kinds. It is no coincidence or slight on the car that the 300D is nicknamed (and known by many people around the world as) "The Beirut Taxi".

If Mercedes only made 500 series sedans, limousines, and niche market sports cars, they might very well be classified under your description without argument. But they have always made very well-made, albeit unglamourous vehicles like delivery trucks, truck tractors, and yes, even entry-level affordable (reasonably affordable at least) motorcars.

And as for marketing, Mercedes has always, as long as I can remember, made the fact that they were the "long distance", "high mileage" motorcar company the major thrust of their marketing campaigns. The fact that you could expect more from a Mercedes. And, that it's not all glamour and luxury. It is dependability. Remember, they give out awards in the form of grille badges for achieving each "level" of mileage plateaus. I can't think of one other company in the world that does that. Well, Chevy had a brief campaign focused on their pickup trucks, but that hardly compares.

In fact, I would go so far as to propose that it was Mercedes that started the whole "Made In Germany" quality hyperbole that companies like Krups, Braun, and all the others rely on to sell their products in this country. (Hyperbole does not always equate to B.ravo S.ierra)

Now, I would never say that German engineering is in any way exaggerated. But, I will agree with you to this extent: every marketing pitch made by a company in today's marketplace, including German companies, is carefully calculated and the German companies have adopted a version of what I refer to as the "Country Club" or "exclusivity" marketing angle. Simply put, the attitude conveyed is one of "Are you uniquely qualified, and truly sophisticated enough to recognize, and fully appreciate the high quality of our products?". You see? It's like asking, "Are you Man enough to measure up?". Who would say no to such a question?

Also, all companies now sell entry-level or "trial" products, as well as their top-of-the-line ones. If you buy a lower priced Braun shaver, for instance, and you like it, they are calculating that you will later buy either a more expensive one, or at least try another one of their other products. That, coupled with the increased affluence and sophisticated tastes of the American consumer, is why the German manufacturers will continue to gain ground in the U.S.

The marketplace continues to grow, as the population continues to grow. Products that have longevity benefit their manufacturer, as the continued existence of these products only serves to promote their quality; and through the hand-me-down process, those older models afford people who aren't prepared to purchase a new product the opportunity to buy a good quality used one that will lead them to purchase new at a later time. The only real argument for "planned obsolescence" are those products that you cannot have repaired, and therefore must have replaced.

Call it comparing apples to oranges, but Apple Computer is a fine example that I am familiar with. There is no such thing as a truly obsolete Apple computer. They can all still do what they were designed to do, parts are still available, they can all be repaired and upgraded, and even the older ones have now become collectible. Also, to point out another issue you brought up earlier about sticker prices not changing on your model Mercedes, the Apple III came with a green screen monitor, 256K RAM, an external 5MB HD, ran on a DOS-like OS, and could be used for spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and to write programs in Cobol and Fortran. That computer cost $5,000.00 in the early 1980's. Compare that to the current Apple G4 that comes with a color monitor capable of millions of colors, 128MB RAM, an internal 10GB HD, runs on its own proprietary GUI-based OS, has a velocity engine processor that is classified by the government under restricted weapons protocol, and sells for about $2,000 with the monitor. Both were top of the line at their time. Das ist gut, ja?

This is a discussion that has evolved from contentions that the oil change intervals recommended by Mercedes Benz are in some way intended to intentionally cause premature wear of engines so that the owner will be forced to purchase a new replacement. Or, at the very least, that those recommendations are only a guide to be used by people who are not concerned with obtaining the optimum serviceability from their vehicles before the eventuality of an overhaul.

While I feel that trying to argue in favor of longer oil change intervals is illogical, and therefore a futile excercise, I am nevertheless intellectually stimulated by the discourse, and find that these exchanges always yield additional valuable information to both the expert and novice Mercedes owner alike.

However, I personally feel that the most important thing to remember is just to change your oil regularly, and within the manufacturer's recommendations. Whether you do that every 3,000 miles, or 7,000 miles, use a TopSider, or a drainpan, or use dino gravy, or synthetic is not as important as just simply remembering to consistently change the oil and filter within that period. While doing the most thorough and scientific job of vehicle maintenance appeals to my anal-retentive nature, I recognize that the human factor enters into all things, and that sometimes a strict regimen is affected by outside influences.

[Edited by longston on 01-06-2001 at 11:51 PM]
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
- Marshall McLuhan -

Scott Longston
Northern California Wine Country...
"Turbos whistle, grapes wine..."
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Old 01-07-2001, 12:36 AM
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S. Longston:

Agreed - we are still saying pretty much the same things in different ways. Lets meet up some day over a bottle of Dry Creek Cabernet. Wine always makes me more easily understood, or the isssues become more clear, or something like that.


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Old 01-07-2001, 01:56 AM
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Oil change interrvals

Oil is cheap, hard parts real expensive. Engines cost $4K-$34K (600's)

short trip driving in winter max 3 months.
Long (more than 15 mi) in warm weather probably OK at 5K with 10W30, 10K with synthetics. Diesel stick to MB manual max.

Highway 18 wheelers go 20-40K or more, but have comprehensive oil analysis, large filters, large sumps, and often run up 3000 miles a week!
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Old 01-07-2001, 08:54 AM
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Speakers Corner

There is a wonderful tradition at speakers corner in Hyde Park, London, at which a speaker stands upon his/her "box" (meaning whatever contraption he/she comes up with) and speaks until they are done, interuped only by "hear hear" or "balderdash".

Here I go.

I have a '73 Volvo 164E [3L inline six with the same miserable Bosch electronic fuel injection which MB used in it's cars...{which in my car happens to work v. well}] that my family has owned in various places around the world [including Italy where oil turns RED as it ages] and we assiduously changed the oil every 3-5K miles with "a" 20-50 as per manual.

I have a '86 Porsche 911turbo in which I only use Mobil 1 20-50 [again factory rec] because of the superior high temperature stability [400F] which can be achieved by the turbo at spindown with engine off] ... it is a fine weather entity and gets about 3000mi/year and I change the oil every spring.

I now own an '83 300D-T [145k] and I change the oil with diesel grade 15-40 every 3-5K.

Certainly you all must agree that both the qualities and grades of oils have changed over the years as well as manufacturing techniques, tolerances and materials. Doesn't it make sense that there is NOT, in fact, one answer to this question??

I have my own questions... {rhetorical perhaps}

1] What place does 0-30 synthetic have? [Mobil 1 no less]
2] If you are change-o-philic, does it really matter whether you use synthetic [high temp example excepted]?
3] If people are so concerned about mixing, why would manufacturers [including Quaker] produce blends?
4] Does any sane person change the oil and not the filter?
5] Why does Italian oil turn red? {the Italian mechanic I posed this question to responded, "you would too if you ran around in a hot motor for 7500km!" but I considered the answer anecdotal and humerous rather than scientific}

thank you for your patience and I look forward to the continuation of this post
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Old 01-07-2001, 01:37 PM
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I have heard just a few naysayers with no evidence regarding the use of universal grade oil in non diesel engines. I have heard two reasons of which I am skeptical. Your reason is the third and I can't understand your mechanics response at all. The only difference in Universal grade and others is increased amounts of soot dispersal and other cleaning additives. The viscosity is the same as any other oil of the same viscosity, thus having no effect on oil pressure.

Just so you'll know the other two reasons which I believe are unsubstantiated, they are; "U grade will foul spark plugs", and "U grade will hurt catalytic converters". If these were true, how would this grade earn S(spark ignited) as well as C(compression ignited) ratings. I have run Delo in everything from lawn mower to 300E with great success. My 300E has about 179,000 on it now with no oil related problems, the same catalytic converter, and I have run the same spark plugs so long that I'm ashamed of myself.

Great thread,
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Old 01-07-2001, 04:37 PM
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Accumulative responses

For additional information about motor oils and additives, go to : This is a website for GS Suzuki owners, but if you click on the link titled: "In The garage", then you will see two links titled: "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Motor Oil" and "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Motor Oil Additives". If that's not enough, or if you are reading this whole thread anyway, then read on. (You Fool! HA HA HA HAHA ...)

Patsy, You kill me! I love your responses! I think that you must play deep left field, and I love that!

JCE, You're on brother!

Kebowers, As regards Class - A or Highway 18 Wheelers, fleets and very picky owner operators usually do comprehensive oil analysis, the rest usually just run down the road. There are exceptions. And, yes these trucks do have large filters and large sumps, but they also have very large engines. Everything is relative. As far as mileage accumulation, it can vary from 300 miles a day x 5 days a week, or 1,500 miles a week to around 10,000 miles a week. In the case of the maximum allowable mileage, I am using a team driver configuration as a model where there are two drivers that swap at the end of each duty shift, and average 60 MPH for a full "legal" weekly duty cycle of 80 hrs in 7 days (on their logbooks, at least) . In other words, the only time the truck is not running is during refueling, loading, unloading, and maintenance.

Deezl, I was told the very same thing by my local MB dealer as regards the advances in engine oil quality, the closer tolerances achieved by computerized milling, and the advances in electronic ignition and combustion management systems and filtration media resulting in cleaner burning engines, and much higher oil change intervals being recommended for the newer models. Hence, the FSS. The system, as I understand it, uses sensors to determine the conductivity of the oil. Consequently, accumulation of moisture, iron oxide particulate, and microscopic metal particles from the engine itself achieves a point where there is conductivity, and the FSS tells you to change the oil. It is logical to conclude that one can extend the period of time where the FSS will indicate a change being required by changing the oil (and filter...) before it being electronically indicated as necessary. (Thank you, Mr. Spock)

1. Lubro Moly also produces a "Voll-Synthese" that is 0W-40. Their literature on this oil states: "Provides the fastest oil circulation after cold starting thanks to the 0 W-40 viscosity. This means optimum lubrication and a lot less wear from the first crank of the engine. Due to the lower drag resistance the engine runs easier and the fuel consumption is lower, up to 10% during the warm-up phase when compared to a conventional motor oil. The engine develops maximum performance and remains clean. Exceeds API SJ, CF; SH, EC, CF;ACEA A3-96, B3-96 VW 502 00, 505 00 (1/97), Mercedes Benz 229.1, Porsche (all models).

Perhaps an antarctic application?

Here's the scoop on oil viscosity:

"The Viscosity Index or V.I. measures the change of an oil's viscosity over a wide range of temperatures. The higher the VI of the oil, the less it will thicken when cold, and the less it will thin out when hot hence a high VI oil will be more effective when lubricating your engine over a wide temperature range.

Once you understand the SAE viscosity grades, you can choose the best oil for your needs. Here's a description of the five most common SAE multi-grade oils:

OW-30-. Premium winter grade oil. Provides year-round protection and fuel economy. Where SAE 5W-30 is recommended.

5W-30: Premium multi-grade oil for easier cold-weather starts, maximum protection, excellent fuel economy and added engine life. The preferred grade for cars
built after 1989.

10W-30: The best-selling premium multi-grade. Delivers excellent all-round performance for the average driver.

10W-40: A premium multi-grade oil formulated for hotter-than-normal running conditions. Provides good fuel economy and extended engine life.

20W-50: Thicker premium multi-grade oil for added protection against metal-to-metal contact; specially formulated to meet the needs of high-performance European engines."

2.Two different schools of thought here. Synth people may say the the synth provides superior lubricity and depending on the additives; detergent properties, protection against thermal breakdown, better fuel economy, superior protection against wear, etc. The majority of independent garages I spoke to simply use Castrol non-synth, and do not see any added benefits to using synth oil.

3. I used to be concerned about mixing, based upon flawed information I had received, but a blend of additional research combined with a dose of Larry Bible has cleared this up. Your answer: Misinformation and flawed data...

4. I have been told (hearsay evidence) that the filter media continues to function properly, and does not reach a point of "saturation" well beyond the point where the oil has need of changing. In the case of a "spin on" filter, you would be keeping a quart of dirty oil in the engine unless you removed it to drain it, and in so doing, may as well replace it. In the case of a "canister" filter, the oil drains out of the filter housing when the oil is changed, and there is no additional labor required. As Chico Marx once remarked, "There is no sanity clause".

5. I did an exhaustive search on the internet for an answer to your question, including a series of searches using "Ask Jeeves". While I got a barge load of information on everything from motor oil to olive oil, most of the responses containing the word "red" were about RedLine, and Red Star. I might conjecture that the oil color change is possibly attributed to either a chemical that reacts to an accumulation of iron oxides, or to a dye additive that breaks down as the oil is cycled through the engine and results in the oil becoming red in color dependant not on time, but severity of service? I would love to know the answer to that question, so on Monday, I'll call the Ferrari zone office here, and ask them!

Larry, Thanks for your answer. I have been misled about this DELO issue for years, and have always wondered what the deal was. I have been told by several mechanics never to use DELO in anything but a diesel engine. I really never thought to use it in anything else anyway, as I have usually used Kendall, Castrol, and/or Valvoline in my cars.

Finally, here's a quote from a website called "Matt's Automotive":

"Motor oils do more than you think.

It's easy to name the prime function of motor oil: to lubricate every moving part of your engine with a protective film that reduces friction. But motor oil has at least 4 other duties, and failure to perform them all can seriously reduce the performance and life of your engine.

First, your motor oil cleans your engine. Gasoline and diesel engines can produce soot, ash, acids and moisture which form sludge, varnish and resins. If they collect on critical engine parts, it means serious trouble. A quality motor oil keeps them suspended until filtered out or drained away when you change your oil.

Next, oil seals microscopic hills and valleys on piston rings and cylinder walls. Without proper sealing action, you'll lose power and waste fuel.

Motor oil also protects your engine against rust and corrosion.

Finally, oil cools vital parts such as camshaft, rods and pistons that the engine coolant in your radiator cannot reach, As much as 40% of the cooling job in your engine is performed by oil in the crankcase."

[Edited by longston on 01-09-2001 at 04:21 PM]
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
- Marshall McLuhan -

Scott Longston
Northern California Wine Country...
"Turbos whistle, grapes wine..."
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Old 01-07-2001, 05:32 PM
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Mr. Longston,
Thank you for your informative reply as well as the smiles.

I suppose oxidation would be more time dependent than stress or strain related...

In addition to whistling, turbos provide much grinning.

Gregory Acampora
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Old 01-07-2001, 05:37 PM
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Man this would make a great bar room conversation, as long as the bar stayed open 24\7
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2013 Ford Explorer 15K miles
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Old 01-08-2001, 12:06 AM
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Leta smilie be yer umbrella...

Deezl, Smilies are easy, good answers are not. I rely on the membership to educate me, and I only contribute my ignorance in an attempt to get answers that we all need.

Hey, for your own Smilies, kids, click on the "smilies" link at the top of the posting page, and a seperate page will open with all the codes, OK? OK...

Shoe, THIS bar IS open 24/7!! If it were a real bar, I'm afraid that the discussion would likely get way off subject, be rather slurred, and not remembered the next morning...

BTW, I asked the head shop forman at Ferrari of San Francisco about the red color change of oil in Italy. He said he had never heard of such a thing, and proceeded to ask one of the home office reps from Ferrari in Italy who just happened to be at their shop that day. The Italian just laughed...he also had never heard such a thing, and suggested that it must be a joke. Ferrari uses Shell, and an Italian oil with the brand name, AGIP in their cars in Italy, and here.

[Edited by longston on 01-08-2001 at 04:44 PM]
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
- Marshall McLuhan -

Scott Longston
Northern California Wine Country...
"Turbos whistle, grapes wine..."
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Old 01-09-2001, 07:20 AM
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I finally got the time to read your lengthy posts and found them quite enjoyable and informative. One of your summaries involved making the point that the most important thing was to change the oil. Whether it's at 7K or 3K, change it. I couldn't agree more. The only principal I've seen in this thread that I take issue with, was the implication that because the manual says 7K, this works for everyone's situation. And it can't hurt to change it more often than the book says.

Your oil research paper was great. There is only one area of it I would like to add to, only because it appeared that your research explained what the VI additive does, but there is more information that should be understood about VI additive.

First, the quantity of VI additive necessary to achieve a greater span(e.g., the span of 10W30, would be 20)is not a linear increase. I don't know mathematically what it actually is, but it takes a very large quantity of VI additive to make a 30 weight span. This makes oils such as 20W50 and 10W40 have an alarmingly large amount of this additive. The enormous amount can cause severe carbon problems, particularly in smaller, harder working engines.

If I remember correctly, there are polymers that are added to the oil which coil up when cold, making the oil thinner. When the oil temperature increases these polymers straighten making the oil thicker. I could be backwards on this, but you get the idea. These polymers can break down with heat and cycling which eventually cause the oil to lose it's viscosity.

What I read some time ago, indicated that a span of 25 was the maximum recommended for the smaller harder working engines, or for extended oil changes in higher temperature applications.

Thanks very much for your research, it obviously took much time, but is useful to all of us.

Have a great day,

[Edited by LarryBible on 01-09-2001 at 07:57 AM]
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Old 03-26-2002, 07:17 PM
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Mr.Bible why do you only use mobil 1 for your new car-why not the same for your other cars?
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