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Old 01-07-2002, 02:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,513
The dealers - I've used two - have actually been pretty good. So far they have correctly diagnosed and repaired everything the first time. I've never had a take back for a problem, and never had a repeated problem.

My real complaint is more with Mercedes Benz North America - in my opinion they do a lousy job of supplying parts for this car. My first problem was a failure of the transmission electronics - it put the car into "limp home" mode, so I limped over to the dealer. They correctly diagnosed the problem the next morning - but it took 14 days to get the part, which had to be ordered from Germany, and shipped through the national parts headquarters in Baltimore to have the correct software version loaded.

About a year later the glow plug system went out. Again, the dealer diagnosed it in a day, but only had four glow plugs in stock. It required about a week to secure the remaining two. What I find odd about this one is the dealer was in Dallas (Plano, really) and the MBNA parts distribution center for the Southwest is in Dallas - out near the airport. We should have very fast access to parts around here!

Most recently air was being drawn into the fuel system. This time it was the dealer in Midland. Again they diagnosed the problem correctly. But it took them about a week to order and install the parts.

Other than a dead CD changer (swapped out same day) all my problems have been diesel specific. Perhaps this is an indication that I really should trade for an E430...
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Old 01-07-2002, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: At the Birkebeiner
Posts: 3,810
Originally posted by Diesel Power
Pit your car with my truck (3/4 ton by the way, not a 1/2 ton as pictured), and we would both likely end up walking away unscathed. You due to the higher quality engineering, and me due to the heavier mass absorbing MUCH less of the impact.
Right, according to the law of conservation of momentum, the Mercedes E320, weighing in at 3,624lbs vs a Dodge 3500 Ram 4x4 extra cab at 5,901lbs, the Mercedes would have to be going at 32mph and the Dodge at 20mph in order for the energy to be equally distributed to both vehicles. This implies a coupla things...

1) The fatter you are the safer you will be in a full frontal collision.


2) If a collision is unavoidable, step on the gas to inflict an equal amount of damage on the heavier car.

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Old 01-07-2002, 04:23 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 298

>1) The fatter you are the safer you will be in a full frontal collision.

>2) If a collision is unavoidable, step on the gas to inflict an equal >amount of damage on the heavier car.

I don't think that's valid, thinking of the ultimate situation:

If one heads on with a 18 wheeler in a MB, 18 wheeler is moving a 10mph, if MB is moving a 10 mph, MB driver may have good chance to survive, if as you said, MB driver tries to transfer more damage to the truck and increase its speed to 100 mph, it will kill the MB driver and maybe the truck driver as well.
99 BMW 540i 6-speed 110K Km
03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
Still missing the days with the Benz, it kept me busy.
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Old 01-07-2002, 04:49 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
I think Kuan was kidding...:p

There is some purely ancedotal evidence to suggest that the poor structural quality of the full-size pick-up is more of a detriment than some think.

A friend of mine was rear-ended in his W210 E320 by a Dodge P/U, and him and his family were fine, while the truck driver lost his leg due to the wheel and wheel-well intruding into the cabin. Had the truck had a proper passenger-space protecting design along with it's outrageous weight, the driver would have walked away.

Another member had his 300E W124 stuffed by a Dodge, and the driver of the truck suffered a similar fate.

I think the worst fate would be to drive a car like a Neon. Not only is it small and light, it's part of the Chrysler product line that I feel is underdesigned when passenger-space protection is concerned.

"Slap some air-bags in 'em, and people will think they're safe."

I also find that large vehicles like trucks and SUV's are not driven with the care that they require. Stopping distances are much longer than cars, and emergency handling is poor.

My Dad has a full size Dodge P/U for hauling lumber. When I have occasion to drive it, I rarely exceed the speed limit (most of the time below it), leave huge following distances, and avoid any instance where I might have to make sudden direction changes. Not that I don't drive my car defensively, but I increase my defense level when driving a truck.

It's okay to drive unsafe things. I love roadsters, especially ones made in the '70's. I also love motorcycles. I just don't try to say that they're safer. Trucks may have instances where they are indeed safer than a mid-sized German car, but I feel that overall they are not safer.

I have never been in a collision in a Mercedes. It's active safety capability has kept me out of trouble so far, and in a couple instances, in a lesser car (or truck) I would surely have been in a collision. If the time comes, I also know that my car has exceptional passive safety, but hopefully the active safety features will help reduce the effect of the impact.

It's all about perception, and I feel that most people have been sold a bill of goods by The Big Three. How?

1. Big is good. Why not have most people driving 2800lb family sedans? Things would be equal, and we'd use fewer non-renewable resources. In some insane attempt to have the biggest (and therefore safest) vehicle on the road, we've got freeways clogged with SUV's being driven as commuter cars.

2. Airbags. They only increase your safety slightly over wearing seatbelts. Marginal increases at best. We'd be better off taking the $1000 or more per vehicle and pouring it into driver training.

3. Active safety is bad. Manufacturers have stopped talking about brakes and suspensions. They talk about airbags and weight. And you know, maybe they're right. Your average driver can't seem to drive straight ahead, much less emergency brake or swerve. Oh well, I'll just smash into that guy and let my 3-tonne mass and airbags do their job.

Remember when Road & Track and Car and Driver catered to enthusiasts? They stuck out their tongues at Ford Country Squire wagons. They laughed at the boats that many makers called cars. It was about cars, and not just any cars. Cars that were fun to drive.

Now they test mini-vans and SUV's with regularity.

Oh well. As I enjoy being a contrarian, this era of trucks and SUV's should be my hey-day.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 01-07-2002, 08:22 PM
Diesel Power
Posts: n/a
Your statement here is what matters most - driving SAFELY!!! I've driven everything from small cars to tractor trailer combinations with two traliers and hauling 112,000 pounds of total weight. Get people to take driving SERIOUSLY and there would be FAR fewer wrecks out there.
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Old 01-07-2002, 09:02 PM
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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1. a Pickup truck should be used for its intended pupose, picking up and hauling things in the bed, or for offroading fun.

2. SUV's, AKA, Explorer, Tahoe, escalade, suburban etc, are still essentially station wagon designs, and have two main differencedes between them and station wagons. - 4x4 in most cases, except some awd wagons, and higher ground clearance. I find most people like the latter, the higher ground clearance.Most tend to have the "I am above the other vehicles and therefore can see where I am going." kind of attitude. I say if most need to be in a taller vehicle to convince themselves they can drive better because thay can see over the other cars, then they need to learn to drive more than they need to be up higher.

3. Most SUV Drivers do not know the limits of the vehicle, or the sheer size of it makes it hard for the average to below average driver to properly gauge distances and therefore they hit things all the time.

4. Most of the young teens with SUV's, drive them at high speeds, because as a teen you are still learning, so you do stupid things. I know I did plenty of stupid things as a teen, but nobody ever got hurt... Luckily...High speeds in SUV's is not a terribly smart thing to do. I have a friend with an expedition, who has on more than one occasion in traffic, gotten his car to bounce off the rev limiter at top speed, and weaves almost smacking cars on the roads. I drove in his truck with him once. Now I wont even get in any vehicle if he is driving it. Bad Drivers are bad drivers, no matter what vehicle it is. These things are essentially boxes with wheels, so don't drive them like race cars.

5. Suv's are great for hauling stuff, hauling kids, taking on long ski trips or towing boats or doing all that good stuff. But they are horrible for several reasons. I like SUV's for all the good reasons myself.

1. High up = higher center of gravity = can flip more easily
2. Suspension is always bouncier and less controllable than a car.
3. bigger tires = more spongy ride, and possibly more sidewall = more possibility of debris causing damage and blowing the tire.
4. 5mph bumper crash tests on SUV's usually do a lot of damage = weak construction and poor design
5. no trainig course or special license classifications to be able to drive an SUV = people who can't drive, don't know the vehicles limits, and driving vehicles that make them even more unsafe on the road. because of it.

don't get me wrong, I like SUV's and I use them for specific purposes.
1. TOW my Boat.
2. Take on Ski Trips
3. Go Off Roading
4. Haul equipment etc when needed
5. Major Trips to Costco

Other than that, I have no need for an SUV or truck, which is why I have a car. Anyone who does not have similar needs for an SUV, should not be driving one, because the ones who use it for similar needs as me, will know how to drive a truck in the first place.

I'm not saying everyone who doesn't use it for similar purposes can't drive one, but most can't.

Thats just my opinion though. I have always been an excelelnt driver, and have driven many things, from large (66 caddy deville convertible) to small (80 MG B), and I know how to gauge distances. I have only been in two accidents in my life, both of which were other people hitting me due to their lack of attention to the road.
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Old 01-07-2002, 10:01 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 298
I agree with Ashman on his judgement.

Actually most of SUVs handle quite good in low speed maneuvers, but they can barely hold themselves at high speed.

The steering is very sensitive and requires minimum effort, this makes them very responsive at low speed, also allows them to steer in offroad condition, also gearing normally is very low, my 96 explorer has 3.73 rear differential, some explorers even have 4.10 rear end, compared with the 2.24 rear end in my 400E, the acceleration from standstill is as effortless as highway passing on my 400E, so they can climb steeper hills than cars and tow heavy load. In city stop and go traffic, I would rather drive my Explorer then my 400E.

But when come to high speed, they just handle awful, the steering is too light for high speed, unexperienced drivers can easily oversteer in response to emergencies and cause rollover. low gear and their low rpm engine characters make them losing steam at speed higher than 140kmph. Most of SUVs have ancient leaf spring on rear end and have high center of gravity, their lateral Gs are normally under 0.7, when most MBs can take more than 0.8g.

SUVs and cars are built for completely different purpose, I use my explorers for fishing camping and ski trips extensively, and to deal with extreme Canadian weather, it makes me feel safe in remote areas, I don't even think about driving Mercedes to any of those locations.

I noticed that modern SUVs are getting more powerful which is not a good trend, some "underpowered" SUVs are quickly losing their popularity, some SUVs have close to 300 hp now, this makes them extreme dangerous, people doesn't realize what SUVs really need is torque, they are not to be driven for speed, extra horsepower can only be used to kill themselves.
99 BMW 540i 6-speed 110K Km
03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
Still missing the days with the Benz, it kept me busy.
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Old 01-07-2002, 10:18 PM
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Location: Plano, TX
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Close to 300HP? Hell, the new Escalade has 345HP! Now that is scary!
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Old 01-08-2002, 03:16 PM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
I enjoyed reading the Dodge 2001 (yes 2001) truck announcement regarding the increase in the body torsional rigidity: An increase of 40%

Well what were they before! Scary
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Old 01-09-2002, 11:46 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 387
I read in today's paper that Dodge is putting the V-10 500+ hp Viper engine in the Ram truck... 150MPH top end in a truck...
Bill Streep
San Antonio
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