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  #46  
Old 11-30-2001, 03:43 AM
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Location: Kingston, Ont.
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I cannot comment on what people in Germany or Europe actually beleive, or whether these beleifs consitute the intent of the design teams who invented the 124, but it would be difficult to imagine that a company that sells cars internationally to varied markets for a hefty price with a reputation for quality will somehow overlook an automatic transmission as a mere provincial detail thrown in for the boorish colonials who consider a chevette with air conditioning to be a luxury car. The whims of mb's domestic market mean little unles you actually drive in europe daily. mb builds cars for a truly international market .
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  #47  
Old 11-30-2001, 04:04 AM
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Just think of when automatic transmissions came to american cars years and years ago. With names like powerglide etc, push button trannies and what not.

This was considered aluxury item.

As we all know, most vehicles in europe do not have the same luxuries we consider standard equipment here in the states.

Leather is an option in europe, but not usually on luxury cars here in the states. you either get it with leather or you don't get it at all.

I personally love a manual transmission, but when you have to sit in stop start traffic most of yoru day, you will then really appreciate the efforlessness of dricing an auto tranny car.

I love shifting gears, I just hating doing it in stop start traffic.

Alon
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  #48  
Old 11-30-2001, 07:57 AM
LarryBible
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Mike,

I might be mistaken as to the exact model and engine, but about 4 years or more ago, there was an article in the Star magazine about a big body Benz, with a manual transmission.

I'm pretty sure it was a 4.5, but I am very sure that it was the same body as your car. The article talked about buying the car with 250,000 miles, and the fact that it had a manual.

Again, I might be mistaken, it might have been a six cylinder car. Nonetheless it was a really neat car with a manual transmission.

Everyone,

Also, as far as a manual transmission in traffic goes, the only thing I like about getting stuck in stop and go, jammed up freeway traffic is that I get a chance to use the clutch and stick just that much more.

I realize that to most everyone on this forum and everywhere else that I am a NUT, but I ENJOY handling a clutch and stick. You're either a terminal, true stick shift lover, or you're not.


Additionally, if MB is such an automatic transmission specialist, how come they used automatic transmissions made by others, such as Borg-Warner, until not too many years ago? HmmMMM???

I am stuck with my daughters 300D with an automatic. ALL my other MB's have manuals. If they didn't have manuals, I wouldn't own them.

This is why they make different cars with different equipment, because we all like different things. The world would be pretty dull otherwise.

Stick and clutch forever,
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  #49  
Old 11-30-2001, 09:29 AM
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Larry/all,

I always thought MBZ (post '70s anyway) was a well-regarded slushbox manufacturer? My brother's '80 Porsche 928S has an MBZ auto, as I recall.

As to the Mercedes philosophy, having been to Germany a couple of times now I feel confident that the manufacturer prefers you drive a manual transmission car, for the increased control it gives you as an operator. The Germans take their driving VERY seriously, and having a stick affords quite a bit more control in the hands of a qualified driver.

Maybe because we have so few of those here in the US, we prefer the automatics we buy. I know I wish there were a reasonable way to stuff a 5 or 6 speed in my 500
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  #50  
Old 11-30-2001, 09:46 AM
LarryBible
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I'm sure that the REASON many Germans prefer a manual is not only their preference for driving a manual, but maybe more importantly is that gasoline costs about four times as much in Europe as it does in the US.

The extra mile or two per gallon that a competent manual transmission driver can get with the manual is very important with $4 or $5 per gallon petrol.

Have a great day,
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  #51  
Old 11-30-2001, 10:09 AM
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I have been hanging out on the Vintage forum lately, so I just saw this thread and I am glad another 5-speed has joined. Mine just turned 195K and is still a joy to drive. Using a little oil, a little coolant, and a little R134, but still going strong.

I have been getting 25-28 mpg on the road.

Allow me to offer the 300E blessing!

"May your AC blow cold, your heater blow warm air upon your feet, and your ABS light stay off. And may your alternator put out at least 13 volts and not die without the warning light coming on."

BTW - if anyone wants to check out my projects, try

www.geocities.com/ctaylor738us/chuckscars.html.

The 280C is now running and driving. I am converting the 250C to a 4-speed, which should demonstrate my credentials as a stick-shift guy second only to Larry.

Larry -

I am going to get around to timing a 0-60 blast to see how scalded my dog is!
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'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #52  
Old 11-30-2001, 11:58 AM
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I knew a guy who converted his RV to a standard transmission.
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5 speed '91 190E 2.6 320,000 mi. (new car, fast, smooth as silk six, couldn't find any more Peugeots)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.5l Turbo Diesel 266,000 mi. (old car, fast for a diesel, had 2 others)
5 speed '01 Jetta V6 (new wifes car, pretty quick)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.2l Turbo Gas 197,000 mi. (wifes car, faster, sadly gone just short of 200k )
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  #53  
Old 12-05-2001, 12:10 PM
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As fervent a defender of the automatic transmission as is possible, I still find it difficult to reconcile an interesting phenomena I witnessed at my local MB dealership: they have a used 500 SEL, red, with a detachable hardtop roof, gorgeous body, the works and it has an automatic transmission. An automatic transmission! Its been sitting there for a year, no takers...
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  #54  
Old 12-05-2001, 04:01 PM
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Chuck, (ctaylor 738),

Thanks for the welcome to the elite club of 5-speed 300E owners and the 300E blessing!

By the way, before I join the fray on projecting what the German people think and want in a Mercedes-Benz transmission, I have a question. I have been unable to figure out how to get the window actuator switches out of the center wood console. I don't want to damage the wood as it is essentially flawless right now. I thought this would be much like a W123 installation, but have not been able to find how the wood trim is fastened. I am embarrassed to say I have also been unable to get the ashtray out, as it does not seem to push in and come out like the ashtrays on the other cars I have.

Well, Larry and all, the German availability of manual transmissions never covered an 8 cylinder engine to my knowledge. I believe this is because in Germany and much of Europe, going back to the 60's and 70's when I lived there, taxes and insurance were related to displacement and horsepower. Eight cylinder engines were always reserved for higher displacements and could only be afforded by wealthy people. This included "S" class cars, as you could always get a 6 cylinder "S" class car (we had a 1959 and then a 1964 220S car with column mounted 4-speeds) with a manual transmission. In Germany you could get your "S" with manual windup windows and cloth interiors as these were not (added by edit) baseline only on the "SEL" models (which were really perceived as luxury cars so they had electric windows and leather as standard in the '80's) through at least 1985 (W126). I do not have the order book for later models, but I think the policy continues to this day.

The cars were always designed to take advantage of whatever optional equipment the owner ordered, even an automatic transmission. The added torque of the larger displacement engine made the existing array of manual transmissions for the 4, 5 and 6 cylinder engines unsuitable. The owner's status as an advertised "wealthy" individual with the "3.5", "4.5" or other decklid designator, led to very limited interest in manual transmissions in these cars as well (as another noted in an earlier post, the perception of shifting manually when, for added cost a wealthy individual could have a machine take care of that task, made the big Mercededs with the big engine only seem properly outfitted with an automatic). As a result there were no manual transmissions developed for the larger engines and none were offered.

I also agree with Michael that Mercedes-Benz designs and builds most of their own transmissions. They may well out source the odd ball unit, or some that are experiencing unexpected demand, but I am sure they are designed by Mercedes, in house staff. Where they are built is likely a cost/benefit analysis consequence.

I agree with Larry that such customers may exist for Mercedes to sell cars to, they may even be the majority of Mercedes customers in the US, I am just not one of them. I have one car with an automatic left (the C230 Kompressor is leaving because it is an automatic, and convinced me a modern automatic may be a better gadget than an older one, but it is no comparison to a manual), only because I wanted a Diesel that would last for several hundred thousand miles and Mercedes only makes that car available in the US with an automatic.

This has become quite an interesting thread. Good Luck, Jim
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Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)

Last edited by JimSmith; 12-05-2001 at 04:07 PM.
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  #55  
Old 12-05-2001, 04:36 PM
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Location: BC, Canada
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There is another positive point to manual transmissions in cars: they are much better in winter driving. Not that Larry has to worry there in Texas, but most of the rest of us do. With the standard, I have direct control and can work the car out of a lot of slippery road sections. You can't burn out the transmission if you are stuck. As well, it is easy to put in the clutch and coast on black ice. This has worked 3 of 4 times for me. Well, one time I should have put in the clutch while sliding on a bridge, but didn't. I ended up putting my dad's new Blazer over an enbankment and caused $12,000 damage 21 years ago.
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  #56  
Old 12-05-2001, 07:00 PM
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Location: Kingston, Ont.
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Driving an automatic is an aesthetic experience of a particular flavour, an expression of mechanical beauty and harmony, of an attempt at utopia where freeedom means less control (which of course implies its paradox). naturally, some dislike automatic and prefer manuals, but this would be similar to someone saying they prefer strawberry over vanilla ice-cream; vanilla does not become "inferior" ice cream due to their preference, all other things being equal.

an auto is practical for those who have arthritic left knees. A 190 with automatic would be the top luxury car for places like the Cayman Islands of Bermuda with narrow roads and no long stretches.

manuals use less gas, but thats quite an indictment coming from manual 300e owners driving a 4000 lb car.
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  #57  
Old 12-05-2001, 07:43 PM
Mateo
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Clarke German Auto Service in Provo...

I've never heard of this place. Are they any good? I only knew of one or two places close by that would work on a MZB. Anyway, thanks for the update.
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  #58  
Old 12-05-2001, 08:19 PM
Brian Morse
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4 speed 300 turbo

I have a 1978 300d 4 speed car. The original 240 engine was bad and the previous owner (a friend) installed a rebuilt 300d turbo engine. Also, has 15" alloys and 307 rear end from a SD. Front drive shaft had to be shortened along with some other odds and ends. It is a great combination. This car drives great and is fun to drive. It's a shame they are not imported like this. I guess the U.S. market will never support a large car with manual transmission.
BTW, I seem to get 29mpg no matter where I drive. I'm sure it would improve if I drove slower on the highway. I enjoy passing 300d automatic's. My trunk still shows the 240D emblem.

Last edited by Brian Morse; 12-06-2001 at 01:24 PM.
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  #59  
Old 12-05-2001, 09:23 PM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Mateo,

I am not from the Provo area, I just found the car I bought on the internet, and it happened to be in Provo. So I went there and bought it, then drove it home without incident. If you need a few places to consider taking your car, I have listed the places the previous owner of my car took his to have it worked on, based on the invoices he gave me with the paperwork for the car.

The Clarke German Auto Service, LLC is located on 1725 South State Street, in Provo, phone 801-375-0556. I have never been there but the prices for work does not look bad, about $200 for a tune up, without parts, consisting of changing fluids and filters and plugs and doing something to make sure it passed the Utah emissions testing.

There was another place I got an invoice from, German Car Service, on 4325 South 300 West, Murray, Utah, 801-264-9911, where the valve seals, timing chain, cam cover seals, and valve cover gasket were changed.

Then there is an invoice from Import Auto Center, can't make out the address, but the phone number is 801-374-8881. Had a fuel pump relay changed and the transmission and differential fluid changed there.

Finally, the compression check I paid to have done was performed by Ken Garff Imports, 531 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, no phone listed on the invoice page I have.

The car seems fine, after putting on over 3,000 miles. I will be changing to Mobil 1 grade 0W-40 oil this weekend. The previous owner was using 30W Valvoline, I believe. At any rate, the car leaks and uses next to no oil. I have replaced the oil cap as it was cracked (and so noted on the Clarke German Auto Service inspection report that was attached) when I got the car, but nothing else.

Hope this helps if you were looking for some places to work your car. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #60  
Old 12-06-2001, 08:16 AM
LarryBible
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That's right, it's personal preference, and I prefer Vanilla. I'm the first to admit that I'm an odd ball in the US as a manual transmission lover. The down side is all mine though. It makes it VERY DIFFICULT to find a car to my liking. My list of possibilities is a very small percentage of the size of the same list for a slushbox driver.

Also, I chuckled at the comment about not worrying about icy roads in Texas. Last week I was in Boston for a few days and the weather made me wonder if I had taken the wrong plane and was actually in Hawaii. It was beautiful. When I came home, I got back to DFW airport and found the shuttle train shut down due to ice. I saw someone crash into a bridge railing on the way home. They didn't have enough sense to realize that the bridges were icing over. Of all the times, I was in my daughter's car, the only automatic MB on the place.

Last Christmas, we had an ice storm in NorthEast Texas that ultimately received disaster area status. It broke zillions of limbs from trees. The problem in North Texas is not snow, snow is easy to drive on. The problem is that when it snows or drops other precipitation, it typically melts off during the day, then refreezes into black ice at night.

Long live the clutch and stick,
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