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  #1  
Old 06-16-1999, 12:43 PM
stevepeck
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I just spoke to a local Mercedes mechanic (non-dealership shop) about rebuilding the center-vent vacuum-controlled actuator in my 260E. This is a common issue in the W124-bodied cars.

The way most people get to this involves completely removing the dashboard, etc, etc.

His way of doing this is different:
Cut open the plastic heater box! He says he has done this many times and simply glues it shut.

Anyone ever heard of this or done it? What a colossal cost-saver!

Interested in replies!

------------------
-Steve
  #2  
Old 06-16-1999, 10:51 PM
Benzmac
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Can we all say BUTCH together??????? Does he double as a Chevy tech at night?

------------------
Benzmac:
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
LEAD TECHNICIAN FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
PARTNER IN MERCEDESSHOP.COM


  #3  
Old 06-16-1999, 11:32 PM
MB STARS
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Would you pay someone to cut your Mercedes to piece and glue it back together????

------------------
MB STARS Master Guild Technician,12 years MB tech
5 years independent shop owner
  #4  
Old 06-17-1999, 12:01 AM
Lee Scheeler
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I wonder if Dr Kevorkian, OJ, or Jeffrey Dahlmer are the medical team for his shop's HMO?



[This message has been edited by Lee Scheeler (edited 06-16-99).]
  #5  
Old 06-17-1999, 01:20 PM
stevepeck
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Why no, I wouldn't pay someone to cut my MB to pieces, but I also wouldn't pay someone $400 to do something I could do myself in 20 minutes for $15. This is I believe, the nature of this forum - ask for advice instead of simply paying the mechanic to do the work.

I appreciate all the help I receive on this forum, but please understand - Not everyone who owns these cars is wealthy. I am reasonably skilled in repair and have seen that the heater box is quite stout. To cut an access opening into it should not compromise its "structural integrity," and if the right adhesive is utilized, it could be re-closed without risk of failure in the future.

While I appreciate the conservative nature in the responses so far to 'taking a blade to a Benz' I fail to see why nobody has stepped up to make reply to the question of why this IS or is not feasible.

Remember, there are several pounds of glue ALREADY in the car. That MB engineers did not include an access port seems to me no reason not to consider the creation of one.



------------------
-Steve
  #6  
Old 06-17-1999, 10:36 PM
Benzmac
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FYI, I have done the job without taking the dash out. It is hard work though no doubt about it. You have to work on the passenger's side and take off the side panel of the box and work from there...It is hard but much better than a saw.

------------------
Benzmac:
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
LEAD TECHNICIAN FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
PARTNER IN MERCEDESSHOP.COM


  #7  
Old 06-19-1999, 12:31 AM
krahe
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Well, (get ready with the flamethrowers) I'm going to have to side with Steve on this one.

I follow the "hod rod mechanic" school of thinking more than the "factory mechanic" school. I believe in "whatever it takes to make it work" more than "if the factory intended it to be that way, they would have made it that way, so it must be the best way the way it is." Think about it, Daimler Benz has to make comprimises so that the cars they build will suit the broadest range of their customers. On top of that, they do not hold the monopoly of having ALL of the brightest automotive engineers, others can be as or more clever.

Would I pay someone to cut my Mercedes apart? Depending on who they were, where and how they cut it! Afterall, that's what the top tuners do (in essence) to modify M.B.'s finest. Is anyone going to call what they do butchery? The purists I suppose.

Hell, I'm doing some of the cutting on my own car. I know whoever had it before me butched it, it had a *gasp* BMW airbox in it on the exhaust side of the engine. Probably because it fit there. Granted, that's PURE butchery, but what does one do for an airbox on the exhaust side? I opted for a cleaner looking K&N filtercharger off each turbo. Butchered? Maybe still to the purists. And the Electomotive system I'm installing will render my factory ignition and fuel controlling units into dead weight, so I will cut them out in the name of performance. More butchery. I plan on GIVING the Euro. spec. computer up to Jim C. for the benefit of all other 300E owners if Jim truly branches off into Benz tuning software.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this site! and have learned much from the posts and responses from ALL that have contributed here. I have held off on some minor (in significance) parts purchases waiting to support this site when the parts dept. opens, but I would hope that this site would offer alternatives to repair and performance that one wouldn't neccesarily find from the stuffy corporate, "by the book" way of the doing things. To reiterate a point another poster made, "not everyone who owns a Benz is wealthy." Not everyone can or wants to pay for a personal mechanic.

And seriously, what IS the true harm in cutting an access panel into the heater box, if it is done right, other than it is unorthodox? Anyone??

Thanks again for this great site, Erik :~)
  #8  
Old 06-19-1999, 12:53 AM
Lee Scheeler
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Erik,
You made a point in that there are GOOD modifications, and bad modifications. Mostly that is in the eye of the beholder. Hell, some say the Borbet wheels I had on the 400E were wretched... To quote one purist I was talking with the other day..."it is only okay if it has a MB part number for the item". Speaking of compromise, how about the compromise of time to fix vs fixing it right. There are many questionable "techs" out there who do poor jobs then give people like Benzmac a bad name. If your surgeon could go in through a scope and fix a tendon in your knee would you rather he ripped the joint open like a biology dissection project just for the sake of "hot rod medicine"?

Just my pair of cents...Lee
  #9  
Old 06-19-1999, 01:58 AM
krahe
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Lee-

Perhaps I don't know enough about the repair in question, but to me it seems that cutting an access hole in the heater box is MORE like arthroscopic surgery, whereas the disassembly of the dash and/or other "hard" manuevers seems more like the the ripping of the joint wide open.

Granted Benzs don't heal themselves (wish!), but if the original suggestion is easier AND quicker than by the book, not to mention the money, (which he seems to suggest), then why not? If doing it the right way is a little bit more difficult and a little more time consuming (a little being key), then I am all for doing it the right way (money-wise being near equal). Afterall, those engineers that designed the cars and the procedures to repair them are among the leaders in the field.

Also, true, there are hack "techs", but they are wherever you go and with whatever you drive. They give the certified Benz mechanics a bad light. And that is a shame. But on the other side of the coin I know there are some indepedents out there that, all things equal, that would outshine some certified Benz tech.s.

I guess what provoked me to my post was that Steve got flamed only, yet no one backed their flame with the explanation of WHY what he suggested was wrong and/or what damage may be incurred by doing so.

It is obvious through the numerous replies from yourself, Benzmac, MB Stars, et. al. all over the Shop Forum that you guys really, and I mean REALLY, know your stuff. I doubt I would've responded if there was a given reason why not to create an access hole, be it if it was "Gee Steve, the right way is almost just as easy, why not try it that way" to "That is wrong for A., B., & C." similar to everyone's responses to questions about Kleen-Wheels and "No Dust" brake pads.

For me, I have to use my knowledge and the help of others as my local dealer is happy to help me with whatever I need, until I tell them it is Euro. spec. and twin turbocharged. So I really appreciate this site for all the help anyone is able to offer, but I also weigh the posts with reasons why heavier than the others.

In the end, an access hole would leave an ugly scar, but isn't it just covered up in the reassembly?
Thanks again for your feedback, Erik :~)
  #10  
Old 06-19-1999, 10:43 AM
M.B.DOC
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Mercedes doesn't always design their cars with the thought of later repairs ever happening!!! The idea of redesign happens all of the time. Usually the problems start when folks w/limited ability attempt these ideas. Any good M.B. tech has done things not in the "book"! But cutting on the heater case?? I don't know. There is also a vacuum diaphram mounted at the top of the case that controls recycled/fresh air that usualy needs replacement at the same time as all rubber goes bad! Should we cut a hole in the dash to get at that diaphram?? I doubt it. As an American I always try new ideas, so as for the sacred "cow" I'll look into it.
  #11  
Old 06-21-1999, 01:45 AM
krahe
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O.K.-
Now about cutting into the dashboard to get at that rubber diaphragm... To me that sounds as silly as getting at the fuel pump with a cutting torch. Of course no one would do that. But this is because of common sense. Granted you won't blow yourself up by cutting a hole in the dash (at least I hope not), but it just isn't a good idea as it would leave a scar.

But what is common sense to one may not be to another. With that last post I just learned something. It sounds like that diaphram should be inspected and perhaps even replaced at the same time as the original repair, and that could only be done by removal of the dash (?). To you that's common sense, to me it wouldn't be without that knowledge. Your common sense comes from having worked on perhaps a hundred times more Benzs than I've even SEEN on the road. Please, help the rest of us avoid blunders and learn from your experience.

Thanks and happy repairing and motoring (not neccesarily in that order), Erik :~)
  #12  
Old 06-21-1999, 10:42 AM
stevepeck
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Could there be a COMMON misunderstading that someone actually proposed cutting into the dashboard? ...or just the single above post?

I REALLY hope other people don't think anyone proposed leaving a VISIBLE mark inside the car..



------------------
-Steve
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