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  #1  
Old 03-17-2002, 05:50 PM
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repairs again?

Reporting charging system failure. 1990 300e 133000 miles. srs and abs dash lights come on while driving. Not to long after car go's dead. The car manual indicates charging is under 10 volts. Ok , towing insurance is great. Read your article on oil getting on alternator brushes from head gasket or front covers. If my leaky motors headgasket is failing but the motor still has good power, can the car be trusted on a long trip? Again I ask, how much oil usage is to much? Should I drive this car hard like I like to, or baby it? The car is fun to drive, more like a sports car of some sort. Dependability and cost of repairs are unsettling. Also I must say that even small repairs seem intimidateing, and they must be to real mechanics also because they fire out some real big prices. I could only afford a Benz that was over ten years old, but I must say of all of them I looked at , I don't rmember one with a clean engine. So I say MB is a fine coach builder but marginal engine maker.
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  #2  
Old 03-17-2002, 06:03 PM
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Its to MBs credit that people buy a 12 year old car, don't repair the problems it has and then gets blamed when the abuse causes further problems.

Most cars are such POSs at 12 years that we expect them to fail.

Part of the reason cars become cheaper as they grow older is that usefullness has been removed. Those that fix the problems properly as they come, can drive these cars indefinitely. Its all a matter of economics, after all you could probably get a Kia with a ten year warrantee for near what that 300E is worth.

As my mom used to say: "You can't have your cake and eat it too"
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2002, 07:15 PM
benzat
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well mine is 20 years old with 121,000 miles on it and it wants parts parts parts parts

I purchased the car in 1998 for $6,000.00
todate Ive spent $6,000 in parts and labor.

still driving the thing and refuse to sell it.

I have a new front end (all parts), new fuel stuff, new relays, brake system, you name it, I think Ive had it done including the timining chain, the ac system and the last money part this car wanted was a new alternator.

keep looking for it to stop the parts parts parts stuff and get it painted. I can blame the last owner for the awful paint job.

some day that car will be back to normal if there is such a thing.

benzat
(benz with an attitude for parts and labor)

1982 380 SEC
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  #4  
Old 03-18-2002, 01:00 AM
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POS ? !

Damn, the truth is most car owners are POS to expect finely engineered, high tolerence, intricate mechanical systems to function flawlessly and forever in a state of abuse, neglect, and ignorrance. You've got to be kidding ****s' happening and you wonder? if you should drive it hard, maybe on a long trip. The average auto consumer is much better off paying ad infinitum for disposable **** boxes and the automotive industrial system's mechanical apptitude challenged, part swapping techs. True appreciation of quality automobiles is like like that of a fine aged single malt, its something that must be cultivated not simply acquired.

I hope no one takes my opinion as a personal offence because it is not meant so. But when I see, hear, or read some things sometimes it reminds me of an old adage:

It is sometimes better to remain silent and let people think you to be the fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt!

My emotional outburst is in no way the type of reply that you should expect as you participate with the thousands of others in this forum, as most are much better mannered than I and would never even bother to respond. Good luck! Or better still spread your gospel far and wide because there are many waiting to own and/or scavange the cars you don't appreciate and that supply is ever shrinking!

P. S.,Taking on the challenge of performing the maintenance and repair of these vehicles has rewards far greater than saving money; you might be pleasantly surprised at much of the subtle engineering beauty that underlies the artistry, comfort, performance, and longevity qualities that so many, around world, have come to value and appreciate.

I apologize and thanks for the edits Mr. Moderator.

Last edited by Billybob; 03-18-2002 at 01:33 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2002, 01:29 AM
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Place any MB made in the last 30 years next to most any other car, you will see the differences in actual look, feel and quality of materials, fit and finish, and overall driving satisafction.

Most any car's besides a mercedes to me feel light, and unsafe...

To me if a car isn't maintained and it breaks down, it doesn't matter what car it is, any car will break down if not maintained.

Too many people are sold on so-called maintenace free crap. If these things didn't need mainteance they would be perfect.

Show me anything mechanical with moving parts that doesn't need maintenance, and I'll show you something that is perfectly engineered and truly unbreakable. Its a myth, and it will most likely never happen in our lifetimes or our children's lifetimes. Even the human body needs to be maintained. Don't feed it and it withers away and dies. Don't maintain a car, and it too will wither away and die slowly.

Alon
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  #6  
Old 03-18-2002, 02:39 AM
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And then there is always the fun in the challenge of taking a car that was well cared for for years, then abused for four more years, and bringing it back to it's glory. Yes, there will always be more repairs, but you reach a point where it the work is no longer repairs, but rather "maintenance".
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  #7  
Old 03-18-2002, 01:14 PM
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You've already received some pretty accurate responses from a number of posters in this forum, and I too, share the same sentiment...

...many of us were smitten by the opportunity to own an older, legendary MB vehicle at a good price (thanks to depreciation), only to find out that old cars wear out.

Many MB parts are expensive, partly because they are designed to last for more than a decade of use. Labor costs are daunting, and the same skills needed to maintain a 2002 MB applies to older models too.

This forum has a large share of its members who own older MBs, enjoy them, and are looking to defray the cost of maintenance by learning how to work on them. It's easier if you have a standby car that you can drive while you're baby is on jackstands.

This forum is valuable in achieving that, and I can attest to saving $$$$$$$ by doing the work myself. Sure, I would like to be able to just drop it off at the local MB shop and say "fix everything that's broke". Since my last name is not Gates, that's not an option.

So if it takes me a week off and on to replace an alternator, so what? It cost me $130, and not $750!

Hang in there, as there are many 300E owners here, and the problems you've described sound like common issues, not catastrophic ones. And as said earlier, what the PO did (or didn't do) could take several years to cease erupting into problems...my 300E has only recently stopped breaking stuff, although now the wear items are longing for attention. So it's a work in progress. But it runs and takes me to work daily, andlooks good doing so.
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2002, 04:02 PM
moedip
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I have put a lot of money into my 560sel restoring it to full glory. I could have bought a Lexus for what I have invested. Most of it was stuff that proper maintenance would have taken care of, had it been done on a regular basis - which it was not. Was it worth it? - you bet! I could drive down the street in a Lexus and not turn any heads - the SEL style still turns heads. The feeling of driving a car that drives like a dream with the star emblem on the curved hood staring at you as you drive - you can't beat the feelin!! Would I do it again??? - in a heartbeat - but on a 560SL!! Never saw a Benz with a clean engine?? - you can eat off of mine - It's called engine cleaning is regular maintenance. All my VW diesels have spotless engine compartments - because they are cleaned regularly. Want to see a grungy mess- don't clean a diesel engine!! I don't care what kind of car you have - if it is over 10 years old - you will have problems. My daily winter driver is an 80 Olds Delta 88 - in the past year I have put brakes, master cylinder, water pump, fuel pump, alternator, new hoses, new belts, new distributor computer, new plugs, wires, rotor, cap, etc etc - Is it a POS - Nope - just normal maintenance. Just because you have an older car with the MB Logo on it does not mean - "I am a great car - I never need service". Granted repairs done by an MB shop are expensive - But so was the car and all it's technology when it was made!! This forum has made the repairs that would normally be an arm and a leg - much more palatable. One thing about a Benz - you can luv em or hate em. If you are bitten by the bug - you'll luv em!!!
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2002, 04:53 PM
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My dad just met a guy at the MErcedes classics for charity show at the berverly hills dealer. Who restored a 1974 450SL which had 25k on the odo to brand new condition.

He spent apparently over $100,000 to do the restoration, stripping the car down to the bare frame and re-powdercoating everything to factory specs, including replacing most every part on the car, including interior, switches, wood, you name it.

He even ahd the engine rebuilt even though it only had 25k on the odo.

To me that was a bit excessive on a low mileage car.

Alon
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2002, 05:03 PM
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Where'd P Connor go?

Well, if you are still here, there's plenty of info in the archives, but I just had the same thing happen to me recently. The car lost power while driving and the same dash warning lights came on.

It was a simple case of replacing the brushes in the alternator. A cheap $25 part and approx. 5 minutes of labor on my part.

BTW, my 13 yr old 300E looks and drives like new. A little preventative maintenance goes a long, long way with these cars. People constantly put my car at a '96-97, not an '89.

Good luck.
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2007 E550 4Matic - 61,000 Km - Iridium Silver, black leather, Sport package, Premium 2 package
2007 GL450 4Matic - 62,000 Km - Obsidian Black Metallic, black leather, all options
1998 E430 - sold
1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
1977 280E - sold
1971 250 - retired


"And a frign hat. They gave me a hat at the annual benefits meeting. I said. how does this benefit me. I dont have anything from the company.. So they gave me a hat." - TheDon
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2002, 11:41 PM
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Alternator

Zeus, great and useful info. Could you elaborate on step by step brush change,when you have time? 7:30 pm here got to quit for tonight. Railroading early tomorrow. Also read interesting info from man who's wife left window defrost on. Also tech. says battery probs. common. MB dealer will check system out for I think he said 45 or so bucks. Not bad. Also electrical parts at good prices, this website. Things may be looking up. I have no manual at this time. My wife wants the Benz back in service. I have one tow bill so far, plus waiting in the car with hundreds of speeding motorists going by. Anyway Thanks so much again. Be looking for your articles.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2002, 11:58 PM
minman
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C'mon fellas, easy on P Conner. For all the magic in the Mercedes (in my case 300E), there are a few pissers. A/C for one, head gasket for two, valve stem seals for three. We hate it when they go out, as they seem to on most 124's, then we remind ourselves of everything that is right with our 10-15-20-25 year old Benz, and we smile.

Just got back from the gym and my buddy gets into my car with my new auction-acquired stereo system. Pioneer deck for 270 (not that great a deal), retail Infinity Basslink purchase, but 32 bucks for a pair of Memphis audios in front (shipped) and 37 bucks for Polk (shipped) in rear. Put in Murder by Numbers by The Police. "Damn, that sounds fantastic, way better than my Bose in the Infiniti," is his response. Even more rewarding is that the bass notes are tight, with no cheap plastic resonance coming from the interior fitments. 150k+ miles, 15+ years young, and almost tight as a drum.

That's why I own a Mercedes. Be patient P. Read the wise counsel of the veterans of this forum (I am a mere pup), and you will start to appreciate the incredible amount of knowledge and assistance this site provides. Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2002, 01:57 PM
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The brushes are part of the entire regulator unit. Replacing the regulator is easy - look for a small plastic panel on the back of the alternator with two Philips screws in it. It will probably be white in color. It will be on the back of the alternator (facing the engine firewall). Unscrew the two screws and the regulator assembly (including brushes) can be lifted out.

A new regulator should be cheap and it installs easily. Just guide the brushes into the alternator, align the unit and screw it back in with the same two screws. Make sure you don't damage the brushes when installing the regulator. You may have to play with the unit a bit to get it to fit into the alternator (the brushes will be taller than your old unit), but it will fit in properly, you shouldn't have to fight it. Good luck!
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2007 E550 4Matic - 61,000 Km - Iridium Silver, black leather, Sport package, Premium 2 package
2007 GL450 4Matic - 62,000 Km - Obsidian Black Metallic, black leather, all options
1998 E430 - sold
1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
1977 280E - sold
1971 250 - retired


"And a frign hat. They gave me a hat at the annual benefits meeting. I said. how does this benefit me. I dont have anything from the company.. So they gave me a hat." - TheDon
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  #14  
Old 03-23-2002, 03:10 PM
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Posts: 24
regulator

Thanks Chris. I wrote that info down and will try to obtain the part. I had the car up on stands a few days ago and had the wires off the alternator. cleaned off some corrosion applied an anti corrosive, reapplied wires , reappied engine cover . Had battery charged and reapplied battery cables. The car starts with a renewed vigor now, and no lights are showing. Guess we'll start driving it again. The car looks exotic in the barn with old tractors arround it. Thanks again, You Canucks are always saving our bacon. Be talking with you.
Phillip
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  #15  
Old 03-24-2002, 01:28 AM
realneal
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Now, all we need is a good ole ammeter.

Since 1955, many manufacturers have dropped the good old ammeter. I am thankful my '85 Volvo has a voltmeter. That is better than nothing, but I really like an ammeter, because it will always point out problems with your charging system, hopefully before you get the red light of death.

Not so my wife and I, on the road in 1994, where out of the blue, our venerable 85 500SEL flat-ass died on the Interstate. I usually carry a toolkit with me, but did I have a clue as to what was wrong? I had no indication of a problem before it quit. I felt like a fool. I tried to restart it. Nothing. I cleaned the already clean battery terminals, no rats had chewed through the cables, so I was at a loss. We waited about 15 minutes, then tried again. The mutha started! Still no clue from the idiot light.

We got to the next town and I bought a battery. We figured it decided to die (intermittently). Wrong. One hundred miles from home, it acted up again, this time while starting it after getting gas. This time, I had time to find an automotive electrical shop.

The shopowner knew right away what the problem was. He pulled out what was left of the brushes from the alternator, found a set that fit, and we were on our way again.

I have never seen a better example of what I would consider a major flaw in a manufacturer's instrumentation scheme before or since. That $^#$% idiot light never did light up, although the alternator must have been putting out zero amperes.

You electrically-adept guys can slap me on the wrist if I am wrong about this.

I was supremely disappointed in 1955, when the major auto manufacturers began putting idiot lights in place of the always critical gauges for oil pressure, charging rate, and sometimes even temperature!

Not satisfied with slapping we auto enthusiasts in the face, the fancy-dancy stylists did not even leave us enough room on the dash to insert the now-missing instruments, we had to hang them off the bottom of the dash, where our significant others would snag their panty-hose!

Double-trouble! Now not only did we have to look down and to the right to see if everything was still OK, every time our honey wanted to get closer, she skinned her shins on those &%^$# out of place gauges. Shades of 'discouraging words'!
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