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  #1  
Old 12-19-2002, 01:44 AM
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Question FSS cars, why do you have to use syn. oil

I was on the MBCA board answering a question regarding what oil to use on a FSS car that was a diesel. Now this is not a oil question, so lets not start any flaming. What I would like to know is WHY is syn. oil mandated by MB. Maybe I don't fully understand the FSS system, but it seems to me that the system basicly tells when your oil is due for a change based on the condition of the oil. Why then would it matter what type of oil is in the crankcase. Granted the viscosity of dino oil won't last as long as syn., so the "service oil" sign would come on sooner. Unless their FSS system is seriously flawed and mandating synthetic oil is a way to cover that. I know that MB just got class action suit brought against them over this. To me IF the sys. is working as it should, then those who choose to use synthetic, will go longer before the "service oil" sign comes on, versus a convential oil user. Just something I was wondering about. Any FSS car owners out there who may be able to shed some light on this.
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2002, 06:22 AM
steve hutson
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The answer I got from Mercedes was something like this: the FSS system works fine, but if you use dino oil, change it halfway through the FSS cycle. That was it. No explanation. So I tend to agree that there might be some flaw with the FSS system and Mercedes wants to preempt future warranty claims . I have yet to see this recommendation in writing. As far as the diesel cars go ,I was told that the engine warranty has been extended to 150,000 miles, but again I received nothing in writing from MBUSA on this matter.
There was a FSS mailer from MBUSA that, according to a service advisor was to include all of the above information as well as a discount coupon for an oil service. What I received after a series of calls was a letter stating that I should be sure to use only MB
approved products and a list of approved synthetic oils to use. Funny thing was, the last time I had an oil service at the dealer, they used dino oil! That has since been changed to synthetic.
I'll do some research on the class-action suit and post the results here or on the diesel board.
Steve
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2002, 07:38 AM
LarryBible
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My gas engine cars warranty was ALSO extended to 150,000 miles. There was a law suit filed. It originated because an engine had sludged up by running the distance indicated by the FSS with dino oil.

I don't think that there's a mandate to run syn in these cars, it's just that the FSS is "calibrated" for them. I run syn and change it in between dealer visits anyway.

Have a great day,
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  #4  
Old 12-19-2002, 09:18 AM
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If you have a 1998 thru 2001 you must use synthetic oil OR the terms of the class action law suit won't allow for warranty of "OIL RELATED" engine problems.
And if you perform your own oil changes YOU must have proof that synethetic oil was used OR they don't have to fix you "oil guzzling" engine.
MANY of these engines are using a qt. of oil every 500 miles!! Including the 1998-99 E300DT!
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  #5  
Old 12-19-2002, 09:18 AM
it leaks, its german
 
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FSS uses a "oil quality/level sensor" More or less it checks the continuity of the oil and determine life left, however, Europe has different processing standards (germany) and their dino oil is of better quality/pureity.

Use synthetic is you plan on following the FSS, you also can have your dealer reset the system from the 10k default setting to 7500. Otherwise you'll be putting oil rings in it due to coking.

Personally I feel the cly. walls have a hot spot near the base which heats up the piston skirt. This will lead to early coking of the oil rings. (323 1.6 mills did the same thing, Mazda added sprayers in 91)

While there is no "mandate" we were told by the rep to run mobil1 in the FSS cars, the coking problems pretty much went away.

Just change the oil every 7500 or switch to synth and it'll be fine.



Joe
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  #6  
Old 12-19-2002, 09:49 AM
LarryBible
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M.B. Doc and Joe,

Thanks for the clarifications. My C has not yet seen anything but synthetic and I had no other plans, but it's good to know the technical details as well as MBUSA's position on this. I think it was clear in the letter, I just have short memory.

Have a great day,
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  #7  
Old 12-19-2002, 12:39 PM
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Ok we all know syn. will last longer than dino oil. Again though, if the FSS system is monitoring the "quality" and conditon of the oil, why then does it wait until it's too late for dino oil, to tell you to change it. In other words lets say under "X" driving conditions, dino is good for 5K, why then does the sys. wait until say 10K, to tell you to change it, if the sys. is supposed to tell you when the oil has reached it's useful life? I mean, if you use synthetic oil, you certainly don't need a computer to tell you that you can go longer between changes.
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  #8  
Old 12-19-2002, 01:15 PM
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Actually, only six and eight cylinder gasoline cars have the oil level/quality sensor. Four cylinder gas and diesel cars make do with a less sophisticated version of FSS which calculates the oil life based on miles driven, cold starts, driving style, etc.

- Jim
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  #9  
Old 12-19-2002, 01:32 PM
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change your oil every 3k and forget about the fss.

broke in the g with dino and swapped to mobil after 9k. the engine makes a little more noise ,but economy has increased.
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  #10  
Old 12-19-2002, 01:49 PM
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rickjordan: you've asked the $118 million dollar question. That is the estimated value of the class-action lawsuit that MBUSA has agreed to settle regarding FSS-equipped vehicles.

During 1998/99, MBUSA was recommending dino oil and extended FSS oil change intervals. This led to instances of engine sludge build-up and failures. MBUSA was very clumsy in responding to the problem, unlike Toyota who quietly replaced engines due to sludge problems a few years ago.

MBUSA decided to deny the problem, then fight with owners over warranty claims, then offer "good-will" cost-sharing for repairs and engine replacements...all of which led to the lawsuit.

You will find a great deal of info on this issue at http://www.jacobsenlaw-pa.com.

MBUSA has so-far put up over $12 million in oil change coupons so every FSS vehicle can have synthetic oil installed. The remaining $106 million, as the value of extended warranty coverage, is under dispute between MBUSA and the lawyers because...you guessed it...the legal fees are based on a percentage (40-50%) of the final settlement value and MBUSA must pay the legal fees.
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  #11  
Old 12-19-2002, 01:58 PM
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Under ideal conditions dino oil can make 10,000 miles in later MB engines. BUT under most conditions its life is done at 5-6,000 miles. THE FSS program is set for a minimun of 10,000 miles & MB realized that dino can't make it that far.

OF course the biggest problem is that MOST people wouldn't service the car at the MAX mileage(FSS light) but would run over by 2-3,000.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2002, 12:40 PM
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My first experience with the FSS system was in 1998 when I got a 1998 E320. Mercedes makes it sound like FSS is a sophisiticated sensor system that actually analyzes the oil and determines when a change is needed. Instead, I think FSS is nothing more than a computer program that measures engine operating factors, driving styles, driving time and distance. Based on these inputs the program calculates when the oil should be changed using a predetermined Mercedes guideline.

The FSS system usually tells me changes are due about every 11,000 to 12,000 miles which is about 1 year for my cars. In both the 1998 E320 and the 2001 E55 I now drive, I change the oil at about 5,000 or 6,000 miles using Mobil 1. After these changes, the remaining mileage until the next oil change doesn't increase at all. This tells me FSS isn't actually testing the oil quality. I bet if you reset FSS and replaced the oil with old crankcase oil it still would tell you the next oil change was due in about 10,000 to 12,000 miles!
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2002, 02:55 PM
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Bob, FSS is what you say it is, with one difference. The sensor in the oil pan measures temperature, level, and di-electric ability. This is used to calculate the amount of impurities in the oil. The other factors you mention are also used in calculating service intervals.When I attended technical training in'97 we were told that piston ring "blow-by" was the major factor in oil contamination. With the development of the "modular" 112/113 engines the engineers were confident that the "blow-by" problem would be enormously reduced, and they were right. In previous years the oil was contaminated well before it lost it's other attributes. FSS was developed to take full advantage of the new piston ring/cylinder wall design, allowing the oil to effectively do it's job for a longer period of time. I'm certain the logic behind this was to keep the maintenance costs down.
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  #14  
Old 12-21-2002, 02:57 PM
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I am quite certain that if there is an oil quality sensor it is something simple like conductivity, not an actual measure of lubricity, and no sesnor in the oil pan is going to sense sludge buildup. This means it can only measure really bad oil (or lack of it), and all the other "data" is run time, temp, cold starts, etc matched to expected oil life. Needless to say, it isn't possible to enter the oil grade or supplier info.....

Many owner experienced severe sludge problems, the MLs were the worst for some reason, if they used dino oil, even the better brands, and changed by the FSS indicator. My friend the MB mechanic has been warning his customers to use synthetic based on his observation of the condition engine when the oil was changed. One customer did ruin the engine, but got it replaced, I think.

I'd ignore the FSS and use synthetic oil, changed (with filter change) at 6000-7500 miles unless oil analysis is done. If you do oil analysis, change as indicated (or sooner!). Oil is cheap compared to a new engine, and even a lousy design will run forever if cared for -- our 1990 Chevy box van now has 300,000 miles with no engine work at all except for tuneups, serviced at JiffyLube since new!

Peter
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  #15  
Old 12-21-2002, 05:13 PM
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What is really pathetic is how MBUSA was forced to admit a problem regarding FSS and oil change intervals that every honest mechanic already knew.

What is really tragic is that MB Canada still denies there is a problem.

All of you FSS owners south of the 49th can enjoy an extended warranty that I just had to pay $2600 Cdn. for.
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