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  #1  
Old 07-22-2006, 02:20 PM
chc chc is offline
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W140, how good? how bad are they really?

Thinking about getting a later year S500, what are your experiences?
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2006, 05:47 PM
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Here is a good thread covering the S class
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2006, 08:46 PM
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I have an S320 which is very cheap to maintain and operate. Its ultra comfy on the highway and is rather fuel efficent for its size. The people who post stuff about the 140 being expensive to own and operate are people who don't have respect for the cars and are not willing to learn about their features and technolgy (ie. they should be driving japanese to begin with). 140's are complicated cars and if you buy one you should plan on learning about it. Bringing it straight to the dealership when trouble comes your way is a great way to part with thousands of dollars.

I personally would not buy an S500. There are a few reasons. The S500 has a big V8 engine in it which in itself will be more intensive to maintain than the 6 cylender. When the top end overhaul time comes around its 2 times as expensive because there are two heads rather than one. The 6 has plenty of power and gets better fuel economy. The S500's also commonly come with rear A/C (coolant lines run under the car and can corrode and cause your whole system to fail) and ADS which are options that I would avoid. ADS which is the Adaptive suspension does not give any better ride quality than the standard suspension and adds to the complexity of the car. Each one of the "shocks" in the ADS system costs about $1000 each. The shocks for the standard suspension are $130 each. Of course we won't even mention the computer that controls ADS that most scanners can't read codes from.

If your going to go with a 140 go late model. The 1992-1995 models have biodegradable wiring harnesses that are a pain to deal with. Additionally 1996 and newer 140's have OBDII that allows you to buy a cheap scanner for most engine related issues. Additionally the 1995 and older cars have a lot of much more complicated accessories that break and are very expensive to repair. They also got a lot of the bugs out of the 140 in the later cars. Evaporator failures (a common ailment of 140's) are quite uncommon on 1996 and later cars. The later models also give you a nicer 14 speaker bose audio system with 4 deckmounted subs and Tweeters in the rear view mirror housing. You also get more up to date interior colors and better exterior styling that makes the car look less massive.

There is NOTHING on the planet that rides better than a well maintained 140 chassis car. My friend's 2006 Lexus LS430 has a rough ride in comparision to my 140 that needs some minor front end service. Even the 220's seem cheap in comparison to a 140 due to the lack of double pane glass and lighter weight construction. The 140 seems like a bank vault in comparison to any car on the market.

The 140 was such a wonderful design that a Chinese firm has bought some of the plans from Mercedes Benz and is producing a similar car with some different cosmetics. I forget the name of the company but it says something when a design that was eliminated several years previously is still being produced.

In my opinion the 140 chassis was the last car that Mercedes Benz ever produced. Mercedes Benz Died at the turn of the 21's century and the company that exists now is just using the old companies reputation to sell inferior cars.

Last edited by rchase; 07-22-2006 at 09:49 PM.
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2006, 09:36 PM
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"Tweeters in the rear view mirror housing. " Really? Cool.

Cool because I just bought a '97 S320 , Dealer maintained with all records, local southern car , Black Opal Pearl Metallic , 106K miles, paid right at $12,000.

Headgasket done at 67K, lifetime trans fluid changed at 67K. I had written a long post about my thought process, but when I went to post it timed-out and I lost it. I don't have time to re-write the thing.

The car is a dream. I agree with the previous post. I can't really see many areas that are wildly more expensive than my 300E's.

The seats, oh the seats! Pneumatic lumbar, seat bottom adjusts in an out under your thighs. The double pane glass, quiet. Rain sensing wipers, two instead of 1. Interior room, huge trunk, self dimming mirrors, a glove box, a moonroof, nice projector head lights, great climate control, great sound system, cd changer in the trunk. On and on it goes.

I love this car.

Steve
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2006, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softconsult
"Tweeters in the rear view mirror housing. " Really? Cool.

Cool because I just bought a '97 S320 , Dealer maintained with all records, local southern car , Black Opal Pearl Metallic , 106K miles, paid right at $12,000.

Headgasket done at 67K, lifetime trans fluid changed at 67K. I had written a long post about my thought process, but when I went to post it timed-out and I lost it. I don't have time to re-write the thing.

The car is a dream. I agree with the previous post. I can't really see many areas that are wildly more expensive than my 300E's.

The seats, oh the seats! Pneumatic lumbar, seat bottom adjusts in an out under your thighs. The double pane glass, quiet. Rain sensing wipers, two instead of 1. Interior room, huge trunk, self dimming mirrors, a glove box, a moonroof, nice projector head lights, great climate control, great sound system, cd changer in the trunk. On and on it goes.

I love this car.

Steve
Get in the drivers seat of your car and grasp the steering wheel. Pull yourself forwards and look up beyond the back of the rear view mirror. In the windshield hugging box that your windshield wiper "eye" is located in is a a set of tweeters.

Not sure if your car has them but my 99 does.
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2006, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softconsult

The seats, oh the seats! Pneumatic lumbar, seat bottom adjusts in an out under your thighs. The double pane glass, quiet. Rain sensing wipers, two instead of 1. Interior room, huge trunk, self dimming mirrors, a glove box, a moonroof, nice projector head lights, great climate control, great sound system, cd changer in the trunk. On and on it goes.
Steve
I forgot about the climate control. The 140's have a high mounted condenser that is located right behind the dashboard. This makes the A/C system extremely efficient. My car is black and is probably the best car I have owned A/C wise. The A/C is ice cold almost instantly when starting the car and the rest feature allows me to keep the interior cool when I am running short errands. Even if I have to leave the car in the sun for a long period of time the rear roller blind and tilting sunroof with vented sunshade keep the interior reasonably cool even if you could fry and egg on the black paint. Of course Im sure the double paned glass and pneumatically sealing quadruple sealed doors help to keep it cool as well.
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2006, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rchase
In my opinion the 140 chassis was the last car that Mercedes Benz ever produced. Mercedes Benz Died at the turn of the 21's century and the company that exists now is just using the old companies reputation to sell inferior cars.
Well said.
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2006, 03:39 PM
chc chc is offline
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Mad1, thanks for the link, it is a good info for me.
Like mentioned in the other post, test drove the car, really like the feel of it. It is total different from my other mbz. E420 is my daily drive and I only drove 560 once a week. It is difficult for me to descide which one to keep. It is too ealry for me to worry. By the way, what is the biggest reapir for you guys?
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2006, 04:06 PM
chc chc is offline
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Greg
What is the status of your book?
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94 E420 116k
90 560sec 57K
90 560sel 57k
89 300E 138K (sold)
87 Porsche 930S 38K (sold)
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2006, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckwheat
And finally the speaker behind the rear-view mirror is not a tweater, but is just a center channel speaker for the Bose 5 channel surround sound. And there's not 2, just 1.
Interesting. Does it have a delay setting that can be adjusted?
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2006, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckwheat

The 119.970 and .980 is probably the most robust, toughest and powerful motors ever to be put in production by MB. I keep two on the bench as a hobby, I have never seen an internal failure of a 119. I have attended factory (NJ) V8 classes, albeit not specifically 119 (not available). Comparing the 119 to the in-line six is similar to a 2cyl Yugo motor to the 1400hp RR Merlin.
Not sure that I agree with you there. The 6cyl engine found in the 140 has been produced for many years before the 140 even existed and is quite reliable. Additionally its such a good engine its found in many other Mercedes cars from E classes to SL's and many many others. Comparing it to a Yugo engine is a bit silly actually.

Additionally as powerful as the V8's are they are not very efficent engines. My 6cyl engine develops 230 HP while the V8 found in the 220 chassis only develops 302hp. For as much gas as the V8 consumes and the additional cost in servicing you would think that you would get a bit more than 72hp for your trouble. With 2 more cylenders and almost 2L more displacement than the 6 you would think they could have squeezed more than 72 horsepower out of it. I wonder what the HP advantage would really be considering the extra weight of the V8 block? Comparing this whopping 72 horsepower to an aircraft engine is just as silly as the Yugo comparison. BTW Yugo's have 3 cylenders! FYI!

While it might make you feel superior to have the S500 badge on the back of your 140 your paying a premium for (maint and fuel) it and not getting much back in return. The bottom end S280 sedan is not even sold here in the US as many Americans don't do much real thinking when it comes to engines they just want their V8 regardless if they get any real advantage from it.

As for the V12 engine I think your comparing apples and oranges. The V12 140 is really a supercar in disguise. While you might make a similar claim at how horrible Ferrari engines are they like the V12 were produced with a different mission in mind than transporting Yuppies back and forth from the office. They require a lot of specialized care that most owners just can't afford. Quite honestly Im really surprised that MBUSA still imports them as we don't have any suitable roads to drive them here. Most of those cars idle in bumper to bumper traffic driven by owners that would crash and die if given a suitable stretch of road to open them up. Sad really.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2006, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckwheat
The condenser is located right behind the radiator, nowhere near the dash. You may be thinking of the Evaporator. In any event the 140 evaporator is agreed by most techs as a particularly inefficient unit as designed on a 140, succumbing to restricted airflow, complex plumbing, low drying capability and low heat exchange rates.
Right you are. I was thinking of the Evaporator. As inefficent as it may be mounting it behind the dash is brilliant as the cool air has less of a distance to travel. Rather than cooling the plumbing behind the dash it cools the passengers the purpose for which it was designed in the first place. Even on the hottest of days my A/C manages to cool the car quickly and keep the interior a nice cool 72 degrees.

It was my understanding that most of the Evaporator issues had been solved in 1997-1998 model year cars. Is this not true?
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2006, 08:36 AM
Sportlines
 
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Buckwheat wrote, "The 119.970 and .980 is probably the most robust, toughest and powerful motors ever to be put in production by MB. I keep two on the bench as a hobby, I have never seen an internal failure of a 119."

I'm with Robert. Why do we really need more than what the M104 6 delivers.
We aren't drag racing. Actually, the S320 does 0-60 in 8.9 seconds. Plenty fast for me. Cruising down the interstate at 80 mph is 2800 rpm versus a much lower figure for the V-8. About the same highway mpg as I understand.

The comment about never having seen a V-8 internal failure is kind a non-statement. So what. How many internal failures of IL 6 has anyone heard of? Virtually zero.

IL 6 has it's issues, like headgasket, but M104 is virtually bulletproof. Short timing chain path is a longevity advantage. I have a M103 engine with 245K, and an M104 with 252K. Both singing along.

It's pretty hard to argue that the maintenance cost on V8's is less. Maybe if you happen to keep a couple of engines on stands as you hobby. There are what, 5 people in the country that fit that scenario.

I have read about the oil tube failure issues on the V8's. No big deal if you do your own work. Big deal if you are paying to have it done. Same thing for timing chain or valve job.

There is no answer to the 6 versus 8 question, just different strokes for different folks.

Steve
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2006, 11:13 AM
chc chc is offline
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The hp difference between might be just 70. But it is still 30% more and the torque is 50% more which is pretty substantial.

Another question: I noticed a couple of 99 S on ebay and their production dates are shown as first half of 1998 like 02, 03, 04. Are they considered as truly 99 model? I thought the new model year starts in July each year? Can someone clarify this for me?
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94 E420 116k
90 560sec 57K
90 560sel 57k
89 300E 138K (sold)
87 Porsche 930S 38K (sold)
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2006, 11:54 AM
Sportlines
 
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What's the difference? I doubt anything changed between those dates.

I would never buy a car like an S500 on e-Bay. Talk about risky.

Just my opinion.

Steve
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