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  #46  
Old 06-12-2002, 07:31 PM
mikemover's Avatar
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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It's true that you can go to pretty much any auto parts store and get a part for an 80s-era Japanese or American car....But it's likely to be a generic, low-quality replacement, or a poorly-done rebuild, unless you pay a very premium price for parts with a lifetime guarantee, which still does not ensure reliability or durability. Before my Mercedes, I lost count of how many "lifetime guarantee" parts I returned to my local parts store within a couple of years or so! Starters, alternators, water pumps, radiators, compressors............

The majority of the parts for all the most common Mercedes models built since WWII are STILL available! OEM parts that will LAST, not inferior imitations or hack-job rebuilds, and not just commonly replaced items, but body parts, interior parts, suspension.......


Mike
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1979 300 SD
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1985 300TD
270,000 miles
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1994 E320
not my favorite, but the wife wanted it

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  #47  
Old 06-13-2002, 09:08 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: England
Posts: 1,841
Hi,

Are we kidding ourselves here? Does anybody *really* expect any luxury German saloon (a Mercedes at that) to be as cheap to run as a Japanese econobox?
Unfortunately it works that, the more your car cost new, the more it costs to keep running. Speak to any Ferrari or 911 owner - they run superb cars, well-engineered, but they will tell you that they need constant attention and work at old age, and cost a fortune to run.
So why do they buy them? Not because they want a reliable car.. because they want a n.i.c.e. one.

So you have 2 sensible choices -

1. Buy well engineered, reliable but dull (ie Japanese) car
2. Buy well engineered, nice (ie German) car
3. Buy American car (doesn't count as a sensible choice)


All that said, I guess an MB shouldn't require attention every few thousand miles, but many cars on this forum DON'T.

Finally, I don't think you need to change your timing chain at 100k miles.
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190E's:
2.5-16v 1990 90,000m Astral Silver
2.0E 8v 1986 107,000m Black 2nd owner
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  #48  
Old 06-13-2002, 09:59 AM
WmHarlow
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I gotta chime in here....

ALL cars require maintenance. I must agree with Larry, here. Repairs made on my current Benz and my past ones have all stayed fixed! I am having to constantly make little fixes to my Mustang (now there's a money pit), and I just dropped $5K on the Town Car last year.... right now it is setting in the driveway with electrical problems and an oil leak from Hell! I haven't got $5K total in my Mercedes!!!

Let's see.... less than $5K in the Benz.... total, about $20K in the Lincoln (and it is not driveable right now), recently sold the wife's 78 300D for more than I had in her (about $2K profit), recently bought a Saturn wagon and just dropped about $400 for parts..... ON A NEW CAR!

I've owned or driven many cars and had at least one rice-burner in the driveway for the past 15 years. The only one that lasted more than 130K miles was the Nissan Sentra.. she went 250K before I sold her in '95... last I checked she was still running.

I'll stick with Mercedes for reliability, ease of repair, and overall cost factors. BTW, if anyone wants to direct me to one of those $800 deals for a nice, running diesel... let me know.... I have a Lincoln to bury in the back yard....
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  #49  
Old 06-13-2002, 10:15 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Re: I gotta chime in here....

Quote:
Originally posted by WmHarlow
I've owned or driven many cars and had at least one rice-burner in the driveway for the past 15 years. The only one that lasted more than 130K miles was the Nissan Sentra.. she went 250K before I sold her in '95... last I checked she was still running.

So how expensive was the upkeep / repair of teh 250K mile Nissan?
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  #50  
Old 06-13-2002, 02:59 PM
WmHarlow
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yosshimura,

I bought the car from my grandmother with 112K on it. She works for the State and drives 60-70K a year. She trades every two years. They would not give her anything on it in trade, so she offered it to me for $100 and transfer fees.

I put another 140K+ on her in the 4 years I had her. In 4 years time, I replaced the clutch once, replaced both front axles, boots, and other required front end parts, and the usual tires, brakes, plugs, wires, oil & filter changes, etc...

When I sold her, the 5th gear (overdrive) had just gone out, but all other gears were fine, and the cable that moves the driver's window was broken. Last time I spoke with the current owner, he had not replaced the tranny yet and spent $15 to fix the window.

All in all, I spent maybe $1000 on that car... some days I wish I had her back as a spare in the driveway.
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  #51  
Old 06-14-2002, 01:32 AM
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Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 55
Mercedes Benz is a prestige make and therefore everything about it will be expensive. Unfortunately for a lot of us, the car will be quite a few years old before we can finally afford it and this usually coincides with when the various parts are ready for replacement. So the poor old sods with stars in his eyes are faced with having to spend $$$ on their "new" pride and joy. Only enthusists like us will pay $4000 for repairs because we love our cars so much. If you are not one, you wouldn't have bothered and would have bought a japanese car instead.

So for those like Yoshimura, my question will be...how much do you love a Merc? If you do, money should be no object. If it is, buy a new or near new Japanese car and you will be very happy financially. A Merc is not perfect nor as reliable as a Japanese car.

As for me, I have an understanding bank (I think) and a large overdraft.....but I'm happy......most times, until something else needs fixing!

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  #52  
Old 06-14-2002, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
[i] Only enthusists like us will pay $4000 for repairs because we love our cars so much. If you are not one, you wouldn't have bothered and would have bought a japanese car instead.

So for those like Yoshimura, my question will be...how much do you love a Merc? If you do, money should be no object. If it is, buy a new or near new Japanese car and you will be very happy financially. A Merc is not perfect nor as reliable as a Japanese car.

[/B]
So, you say it is OK to pay the bucks for the prestige of having an MB emblem on your car and you don't quality is not a requirement when you buy? ........ I buy and fell in love with the MB b/c on build quality, durability, comfort..... ANd I kept seeing MB's with 100K++++ miles and figured, "damn, those are some reliable machines!"...... but, then I realized it is after pouring $$ into them each year for repairs/high maintainance.. This info I got right from this board.... when I asked can you maintain an MB for $1K annually?...and it doesn't seem to be always the case...just look at the tech area, all the problems listed (trust me, even after all this I will probably end up with a mb) So, the reliability that I once thought is non existant. How come, a head gasket on a Ford or a Chevy you don't have to change at around 100K miles and on the M103 you probably do? How come MB, designed the evaporator so difficult to access? Did they figure it would never break? Did they look at it as a revenue producing process for their MB authorized dealerships/mechanics? Did they figure most owners keep the cars under 100K miles and screw the second/third owners after that?

Another reason you see more MB's with higher miles on the road is b/c they were worth more in the beginning therefore worth repairing and putting $$ into them. Do you think if you/I have a "bought new" 95 Chevrolet and it now has 130K miles and worth maybe $3K , we are going to refurbish the motor if you have a problem? Probably not worth it, but if you were going to do you could rebuild the motor for about $350 engine kit, $500 machine shop, and $300 labor to put it together and you would have another 100K miles or so for $1150...... Then again, the interior and other components at that mileage on the chevy look like crap and are falling apart BUT on the MB they are LIKE NEW>....... see, even I am confused , but bottom line, as I said before it is sad that on such a prestigious marque like MB, they have such problems .
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  #53  
Old 05-03-2004, 06:40 PM
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
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I think Yosh is onto something

But I blame myself for not realizing that MBZ are really created no better than other cars as to reliability (JD Power and CR will support that with data, actually). I also blame myself for not polling MBZ drivers about how much they spend maintaining their cars. These are well-built, well-engineered cars with high feature contents but they have no advantage with regard to reliability over anything else on the road (well, let's not nitpick by bringing up Ferraris or Yugos). But I've come to realize that these are status cars and you end up paying 3x for status. Can I afford it? Yeah. But am I willing to? I don't think so, not anymore. If I have to have a great german car in the future I'm going to go buy a BMW. At least they really are more fun to drive. But there are quite a few compelling choices in the VW lineup now too that should offer similar reliability. And there are even some interesting cars coming from the japanese segment (including a saaburu, no less) and well hell, the new Chrysler 300C at $32k loaded would get my money looong before a $77k S500 (which it would lay waste to also with the hemi's 348hp). And the CLK? Looks kinda pussy next to the new GTO and unless you're willing to fork over $80k for the AMG version it's going to get trounced on perfomance by a $34k chevy. I'm happy for you if you have the love and money to throw into this brand. My 1993 2.6 is still happily whizzing me to work every day on the best commute this side of nurburgring and it's holding up pretty well (except that the fasten-seatbelt light flashes constantly and the factory alarm died a year ago). But it has 150k miles and although I've put a ton a money in it all the way along - to 'maintain' it - I suspect something major is going to happen again soon. After all, the vacuum pump is starting to buss a little (~$2k rebuilt and installed - my tech tells me they typically go - like everyhting else on an MB - at 125k miles) and the alternator is starting to make a little noise too (~$1k rebuilt and installed). I figure I'll wait until the next big repair and then I'm out. Nice chatting with you all and thanks for all the help and advice over the years - it's been a fun, pricey and educational (from a personal finance standpoint) experience.
Matt (aka Makakio)
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  #54  
Old 05-03-2004, 06:53 PM
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Oh yeah

And I'm expecting the fuel pump to die too (that goes between what, 110-130k miles?), considering I'm at 150k miles and climbing... It's about the only thing I haven't yet replaced. Good to know that when it does go, I'll be totally stranded. I guess I could just pop for the 'maintenance' of keeping up the car and swap in a new one before the old one dies and affects some other part of the car. Sure, that's only a $600 job. No problem. Thank goodness there are people willing to pay for these cars - they ARE pretty!
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  #55  
Old 05-03-2004, 07:29 PM
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yal yal is offline
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Sell the car. Buy yourselfs another make. Its quite obvious that no amount of typing by us is going to convince you guys otherwise. I also understand that its good therapy for y'all to wail and have us wail back. I know, I once spent an afternoon at a Nissan site doing just this after my decrepit 200sx died on me.

So wail away, let it all out, and Good luck on your Bimmer or whatever.
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  #56  
Old 05-03-2004, 08:07 PM
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Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
Matt, I have four MB's and do all my own repairs except aoto tranny rebuilds and may tackle that. Some parts on a mercedes are expensive ,I just paid 134 for a coil not quiet like a coil for a small block Chevy. But if Mercedes's get in your blood with their their handling,style, comfort, saftey and that hard to define quality found in very few other makes then that is what we are paying for.If speed for the money were my objective I'd buy a WRX..........

Going to have to guess that overall BMW's will be more expensive to repair and maintain than MB's. Of course doing ones own repairs is a big part of the pleasure of owning a quartet of them for me.............

William Rogers.........
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  #57  
Old 05-03-2004, 11:21 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 33
Matt, your engine only needs valve stem seals replaced at this mileage. This can be done with the head still in place in a few hours at a MB shop. The cost of parts and labor should be a few hundred bucks, the MB tech's should have givin you this option.
S.
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  #58  
Old 05-04-2004, 12:56 AM
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Location: So. California
Posts: 744
I've just read this complete thread. Am I dreaming or did Matt just say his mechanic wanted $2,000 for a vacuum pump? He has a 2.6 gas (they don't have vacuum pumps do they?) $1,000 for an alternator? That includes the gold plating doesn't it? Matt, perhaps the car isn't the problem, its your mechanic's kid's college education at Stanford :-) Good luck Matt
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  #59  
Old 05-05-2004, 03:37 PM
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Location: Lexington, Kentucky
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I feel the need to chime in here. Other than the ACC problem I'm having(which may be from using rebuilt rather than new parts) My 1984 300SD and 380SL have given me a minimum of problems.

The SD has had a new water pump, alternator, A/C compressor and battery. That's it except for regular maintainance (brakes, oil changes, etc).

The SL has had to have a new starter, water pump, timing chain and battery.

Both have over 100K on the clock.

By comparison the Cadillac Fleetwood that I used to own had ( in the span of 3 years) 3 water pumps, 2 alternators, 2 ac compressors a power steering pump
and more fuel pumps than you could put in the trunk (a little exageration).

I'll keep my Mercedes thank you very much
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  #60  
Old 05-08-2004, 12:41 AM
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it seems to me that most people who are having serious, repeat problems are not the first owners of their automobiles--- i'm not saying that everybody has fallen upon a neglected car, but if you're buying one of these things secondhand it's reasonable to expect to have to bring them up to par.

out of 4 mercedes bought new, and still having 3 of them (1983 300td, 1987 300tdt, 1993 190 2.6), none of them have had any problems or wear as severe as the cars on this board have had. fluids are changed, bushings replaced, and a/c refreshed as scheduled or needed; all the finances are monitored via excel, and ownership costs have been extremely low per mile (getting close to 800,000 combined)

i prefer BMWs for dirt cheap parts and availability--- but maybe it's smart to take one their rules and transpose it: $15,000 for an E30 M3--- what you save on the price of the car, you'll need to put back because of wear.
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