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Old 08-20-2003, 03:31 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
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Is there any MB cars that use have electric power doors/trunk/gas flap etc...?

Dear friends:

Are there any MB cars that have power doors/trunk/gas flap etc... that use electric switches instead of vacuum actuators? Every MB car (which is older than 1990) that I have run across ALWAYS have problems with power doors/trunk/gas flap, and I must say that this is too much annoying and frustrating for me. The Japanese cars use the electric switches and they have never failed, at least for all the old Japanese cars that my friends and I have ever owned.

Also, when the vacuum stuff works, why on earth MB engineers wanted to design a gas flap that is unlocked whenever the driver door is unlocked. If the vacuum system fails or the flap actuator fails, the gas flap is always unlocked and exposed to malfeasance by good-for-nothing people.

Oh well, if someone asks me what is the thing that I hate most about MB cars, I would say it's the failure-prone (I would say "pathetic") vacuum power doors/trunk/gas flap etc...

Just my 2 cents.

Best regards,

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Old 08-20-2003, 04:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: California
Posts: 2,068
I rarely hear of vacuum lock failure with the W124 cars. They use essentially the same system as the W126 and W201 cars - the vacuum / pressure is provided by an electric pump which rarely fails. Also, only one vacuum line needs to run from each actuator to the pump.

However, W123 and previous models used a vacuum reservoir and required that there be two lines run to each actuator, doubling the potential for leaks.

The current C-Class and new E-Class no longer have vacuum operated door locks. They are electric just like every American and Japanese car out there. As a matter of fact, the vacuum locks are one of these little things that I LOVE about MB's. It's something different and I just find it cool. The vacuum locks on both my W124's operates flawlessly. I admit that the use of the electric vacuum pump is superior to the older design with the reservoir though.
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Old 08-20-2003, 08:21 AM
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In almost a million miles of driving MB cars with vacuum actuated system locks, I have replaced two diaphragms, one on a drivers door and one on a fuel tank flap at a cost of less than $10 each.

The vacuum system is simple, effective, economical and trouble free. I think your luck has been very bad. Additionally, I would bet that I could fix any one of those cars for $10 worth of parts or less.

To answer your question, my 2001 C240 has electric locks. I consider this to be a step backwards.

Also, my daughters Honda has electric locks. This car is two months old and has been at the dealership almost three weeks supposedly awaiting an ECU that has been on order all that time. Japanese cars are mostly crap and just because they have electric locks does not mean that electric locks are superior. If it's on a Japanese car it's probably on there because it's cheap.

Have a great day,
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Old 08-20-2003, 01:52 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,118
My beef with vacuum systems is the greater likelihood that a single failure will take down the system. As Larry mentioned, this is possible on late model cars with an ECU for the door locks. Our 97 Caravan is susceptible to this but the first 125K miles have been trouble free in this regard. To Eric's point, I've seen more MBs with vacuum lock problems than the aggregate of cars I've seen with electric lock problems. But that's just another unsubstanciated statistic.

Eric, are you really concerned that miscreants will pour something into the fuel filler when the rest of the car is unlocked? Most American cars don't have locking fillers.

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Old 08-20-2003, 04:43 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
The ML also has electric power door locks

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