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  #1  
Old 02-13-2001, 09:57 AM
Coming back from burnout
 
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Having just bought my second (newer) BENZ, an 85 300D, andgetting ready to tear it down, a friend noted " Dont you ever get bored with Mercedes?Why dont you trya Porsche or BMW?" My feeling is that a Mercedes is best because of
(1) Body longevity, low or no rust (2) Engine longevity (3) Diesel (4) Parts availability at moderate cost (4) Technical info easily available (5) Once rebuilt, low repair need.
To me a Porsche sounds tempermental, expensive, technically hard to master and parts very expensive. Honestly I would try one, but only if the above points were wrong. Can anyone help before I pull my 300TD engine?
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2001, 11:46 AM
LarryBible
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My thoughts on this are that you have one Benz diesel rebuild under your belt. This one will be much better because of your knowledge of the breed. I say go for it. If you get tired of doing MB's move onto something else after you reach that stage of boredom.

Enjoy,
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2001, 11:48 AM
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Contrary to popular belief, the earlier Porsche 911's are quite simple to rebuild and work on especially if you're thinking of running carbs instead of CIS. The whole car is easily dismantled and the tub can be sent to a good coachman. The engine/tranny is quite easily removed and besides your regular tools, requires only a floor jack and a jackpad. I'd say a person who has a good "parts swapping" aptitude could do the whole thing with minor problems.

Kuan
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2001, 12:52 PM
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I have cars by all the manufacturers you mention. They are all about the same for maintenance. I don’t do a lot of it myself, but the small parts such as spark plug wires, water pumps, belts, tune up parts, fuel pumps, filters, exhausts, brakes, and so forth cost within about 10% or so of each other. Of the 3, the Porsche is easily the best built, obviously the best performer, and has the nicest interior. MB, while certainly very nice is rather pedestrian compared to a Porsche. The nice thing about MB is that it’s relatively easy to find a service technician that isn’t an idiot and a thief. Sadly not the case with Porsche. That’s the reason I have 2 MB’s and after 11 years, am selling my Porsche

…Tracy

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  #5  
Old 02-13-2001, 01:44 PM
LarryBible
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Carrameow,

I would like to point out one other thing. You are the one doing the work and putting your heart and soul into the project. Put your time into the car you like, not the car that your friend says to do. Most likely your friend who is suggesting this has never had grease under their fingernails. Am I right.

You're doing this for the enjoyment, so do it to the car that YOU like.

My $0.02 and good luck,
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2001, 03:16 PM
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Porsche vs. MBZ build quality

LeBenz, I feel compelled to speak to your contention that Porsches are of superior build quality to a Benz, and to why they might be such. I'm not too clear on the details, but my understanding is that until recently, Porsche essentially ran 2 assembly lines; they put the car together on the first, then "got it right" on the second line. The 2nd time through the cars were made right, and any assembly problems were ironed out. Ultimately you end up with a very solid car, but this process almost caused Porsche to close its doors; consider the cost!

I think that the products that Porsche, BMW and Mercedes engineer and produce are the finest in the world, and are of comparable build quality. Just IMHO.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2001, 03:44 PM
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Carrameow: Based upon the factors you listed, I think you answered your own question. Also, I agree with Larry that you should wrench on stuff you enjoy the most. In my case, for some reason, MB designs make the most sense to me, so it's easier for me to learn about them than with other makes. I like their elegance and simplicity of design.

However, if the high speed performance factor matters to you, there is merit to looking into either a Porsche or a BMW. Neither make, to my way of thinking, seems to have the same long-term build quality as a Benz. But taking driving skill (or lack of it) out of the equation, if I were able to drive two cars at the same time on the same stretch of twisties on Highway 1 along the NorCal Coast, no stock W124 I've ever driven would be able to keep pace with my other me driving a same-year stock 5-Series, and no C-Class could keep pace with my other me driving a 328is. Porsches are apples to this comparison of oranges. As I've said before on this forum, I think the Benz offers the best compromise of quality, performance, utility, engineering and longevity of any marque. They are the best "balanced" cars made. For that reason and because I'll probably always just own one car at at time, I hope to always own a Benz. If I become insanely rich (according to my standards) and could spend the money, I'd have 2, and the second would be rip-roaring fast, fun and non-utilitarian. And it would be sexy and happy going topless.

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  #8  
Old 02-13-2001, 04:48 PM
s60
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BMWs are not worth rebuilding. They have problems of their own and do not seem to last. As for the comparison of the W-124 vs the 5 series. It depends which 5 series you're going up against 525-540 series and M5. There are at least 4 different models in this category. The 400 E I have seems more than adequate that I have used and unless I am against a M5 or something. I don't know if that is more or less true. I find that BMWs are complicated but fail more often and do not last as long as the MBs. Porsches, I do not know since, I never have owned or driven one. I have heard of conversions and upgrades of the older models to current models. They seem pretty pricey for parts compared to the MBs. However, it seems like more of a weekend car than anything else. Don't know of their dependability. Also, how pratical is a Porsche. When is the last time you saw 4 people in a Porsche? MB seems to satisfy all criteria.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2001, 05:17 PM
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Well, what can I say? The only thing that'll save you money if you decide to mess with a Porsche (911) is that there's no radiator Of course there's also the argument that you'll save on spark plugs! Personally, *I* have found that earlier P-cars rarely went 10k without going back to the shop. As for the 930's, those things in their heyday would go by anything but a gas station. One oil change would cost you $100 in oil alone! The reason those things needed a turbocharger was because the darn oil pump took 8hp to run! I still maintain that they're quite easy to work on although I don't know if it's easier than a 300D. What am I doing? I'm raggin' on my guys here! I'd give anything to ride in a 917/935/956/962. If you ever decide to give the Porsche a try, might I suggest one with a Volkswagen Engine?

Happy wrenching

Kuan
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  #10  
Old 02-13-2001, 06:15 PM
carl
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I've a 911 and a diesel; use the diesel for long freeway trips and the 911 for fun. Let's face it; the diesels are not terribly exciting to drive (except maybe when trying to "accelerate" during a slide on a wet road). If you've not driven a true high performance car such as a 911 go find one to drive.

Keep the diesel, too; it REALLY feels slow after you get out of the 911. The 911 is a very reliable car with a vast store of knowledge behind it and a parts network just as extensive as mercedes. The performance upgrade market is MUCH more robust.

Carl
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2001, 06:33 PM
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Oh-Tay!

You wanna compare parts prices? Go to the new parts shop!

Kuan
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2001, 06:44 PM
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Michael,

You know, I was all but certain there would be a less than open minded view of suggesting than anything other than a MB should be considered superior on this site. An excessive bias towards MB is obvious, even by those who have a hybrid MB & Porsche vehicle. And just why would MB turn to Porsche for reliable performance? Obviously because of the low quality of engineering and lack of performance. Not.

To your assertion, I don’t claim encyclopedic knowledge of the production lines of any manufacturer. If Porsche wishes to double check every vehicle they build, I would think it obvious that that step, while costly, indeed, does not imply that they did a crap job the first time around. These are Germans. They are not idiots, Michael. Porsche sets a higher standard than most. I would further suggest that just as every vehicle assembly line provides more than ample opportunity for elements to be missed or left in need of some further work, Porsche is willing to go several extra steps to better insure a superior product rolling out the door. Due to this, I don’t think you have much of a point.

Lets talk vehicles built for racing. Naw, lets not.

Lets talk mistakes: 924, 944. Oops. Perhaps that’s what you are talkin’ about? Okay the first couple models of water cooled Porsches were at issue, but ONLY because they were built to compete in the scum pond part of the market (and to use a lot of Audi parts bin stuff). The 928 and later water cooled vehicles didn’t have many built-in cost constraints. The air cooled Porsches only had minor constraints, with the more aggressive performance models (i.e. turbos) suffering the typical fate of over built engines on sport suspension. (No surprise there.) How about bad news: crash worthiness. About equal from what I’ve read (goes to the point of Porsche’s race worthy capability).

Without looking too far, you can find at least a few MB’s with predictable early life failures and high maintenance. I recall reading recently about serious problems with some of the turbo diesels. I forget the models… These were problems meriting massive recalls. Even well outside of warranty. Lets talk the early ‘90s 4-matic line. On second thought, I’m still stinging from that one, so lets not. Do you think that MB is exempt from build quality issues? Do occasional build issues determine the nature of the manufacturer? If so, MB has probably built more cars with problems than Porsche has built in totality. Sadly, build problems are an inherent part of mass production. Especially, it seems, with “cheaper” cars…

Porsche has survived and prospered as a comparatively tiny company, building a limited number of exceedingly well built vehicles, with a service life second to none. Yes they require maintenance. They are built to be used HARD. A Porsche gets thrown about far more often than the average MB. Were the average Mike or John to treat a MB as one would routinely treat a Porsche, I would suggest that the maintenance cycle an MB would be just a tad more frequent and a whisker costlier. Of course, most MBs would go pirouetting off the road if one attempted to keep up with a Porsche. There are exceptions, of course. All Porsches are built for performance & comfort.

Lets talk interior: I’ll put my original 21 year old Porsche’s interior against any MB or BMW of the same vintage. Extremely comfortable soft seats, quiet, leather everywhere, excellent ergonomics, nice sound system; all of which has served the test of time. Mine has only one rattle. Lets talk mechanicals: I’ll put the engine (original) and/or braking system up for review by the same scrutiny.

Did you know that many parts in Porsche are from the same manufacturer’s as are MB? So we’re really talking about chassis, engines, and manufacturer’s own built components, as well as a vehicle’s unique components built to the mfgr’s specifications. Does MB perform like Porsche? I don’t think so. Does MB last longer than Porsche. Maybe. But only maybe. I’d bet a lot more Porsches cut short their lives due to accidents. And parts cost. As stated above, most wearable items cost about the same for MB, BMW & Porsche. So what’s your definition of superior, Michael?

Thanks for the opportunity to elaborate. As I said in my post above, I have 2 MB’s, a Porsche and a BMW. The primary reason I favor MB’s is because the service department is far more competent than anything I’ve seen for Porsches. If I wanted to be snotty I could say that there are far more opportunity to solve problems on MBs than Porsches. While true, it is a deceptive truth. As we know, there are a lot more MBs made than there are Porsches.

A word about BMW: My Bimmer has more miles than my other cars and has less maintenance needs than the other cars. It is also one fine, quiet, and rattle free ride.

Regards,

…Tracy
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  #13  
Old 02-13-2001, 06:52 PM
Brian K
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I currently have all 3 of the cars you mentioned, and have had *many* BMWs and Porsches in the last 19 years.

I think Porsche build quality is quite good, at least on the 911. On lesser models, it can be very, very bad (like the 924). I think the build quality on the 911 (I am talking pre-90 cars, don't know much about the newer ones) is the equal of most model MBs. I've never had reliability problems with my current 911, or any of the other Porsches I owned. No major repairs, no major cash outlays (other than voluntary, i.e. restoration). Parts are actually quite reasonable once you know where to get them, other than certain engine "hard parts" like pistons & cyls. etc. The 911 engine is very reliable (other than the smog year, 74-77), lots of people in the Porsche club that I know have 200,000 plus, some 300,000 plus, with the engine never apart.

My SC has 117,000 miles on it, and I have all the records since birth (EVERY one), and it has been an economical, reliable car.

I love BMWs, but I don't think their build quality is the greatest in the world. Fun cars, though.

As for restoring, I think the above is right, you need to restore the car you love. I don't think the make makes that much of a difference. I personally think the easist one to restore of all the cars you mention is the 911. It is very easy to drop the engine and trans, the interior is simple, it has a very simple body (no side moldings, etc. you can get it to a bare body in no time), and it overall is a very simple car (no radiator, super simple suspension, brakes etc.). All the 911s up to 89 were surprisingly straightforward cars.

As for restoring a BMW, there are a few I'd like to do. A '73 2002 tii is a really neat car, and a fully restored, stock tii is unusual and a lot of fun. The early coupes (the CS cars) are very pretty, but really rusted and can be a costly restore. I like owning/driving BMWs, but I must admit there are not many models that I lust after, enough to justify full blown, labor of love restoration.

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  #14  
Old 02-13-2001, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Porsche essentially ran 2 assembly lines... this process almost caused Porsche to close its doors
I think the reason Porsche almost closed its doors was that they came up with models which chipped away at the 911's market share.

Kuan
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2001, 07:15 PM
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s60 - my bad

I forgot to incorporate the 400E or 500E in my comments. Thanks for refreshing my aging memory, because you make an excellent point. The comparo that I had in mind was my 300E vs. my friend's 96 525i. The basic point I wanted to make is that IMHO, a comparable 5-Series will outhandle an E-class. But the point which accompanies that statement is that in "real world" driving, which most of us do at least 98% of the time and which involves factors in addition to performance (and the performance factor itself is attenuated by other things), the E-class out-performs the comparable BMW. Benz generally gets the ENTIRE car right, not just parts of it, which I believe is true about BMWs.

I would certainly enjoy having the perfect car for that 2%, but then, I get to take laps in my friend's Porcshe SCCA pro stock something or other for that.

I hope that's clearer.
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