Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: North Bay Area, CA
Re: Cars you drive
I do all my own work. All of it. Doesn't matter what the job is, how big it is, nor how complex. I won't own anything that I can't work on. I'm sorry to say that any modern Mercedes in in that class. I had a woman bring in a 2002 S500 a couple of months ago. Sure it was a nice car. It did all those neat things you wrote about too FOG. When it came down to it though, I couldn't do a thing with it besides charge the battery and read the codes stored in the computer. EVERYTHING had to be done by Mercedes. I looked at the Tech Service Bulletins on it and there were over 100. All referenced some Mercedes message that went to the dealerships. So, in order to track down what the company says is the correct fix, you have to be able to read those messages. Then they reference Mercedes specific lubricants to correct noisy power steering pumps....but there is no correlation between those lubricant nomenclatures and stuff you can actually buy. Only Mercedes can supply them. Then there is the ride control system. Did you know, Mercedes says to never replace any "shock absorbers" because they're actually hydraulic control units? Yep. There is a TSB out for that too. Apparently there is a pump somewhere on the car that pressurizes the hydraulic system and it uses a filter that you cannot source anywhere but from Mercedes. The "new" filter is a 1 micron filter versus the 10 micron filter that came from the factory. Not that you can find it, nor replace it anyway. So really, I could not own one. If I can't work on it, I'm damn sure not paying the going dealership rate out here for them to do it. FWIW, the local Mercedes dealership? $150 an hour labor rate. The brake job? I don't know what that books at, but I do brakes all the time. Complete with turning the rotors and everything. I certainly wouldn't hand over $740 for a brake job...not when it's my job. I had to send the S500 owner to the Mercedes dealer because nothing that was wrong with it was something I could fix. If that's the case, I'll never own one.
That said, we did own one, many years ago in Germany. It was a 1968 280SL. You could fit 4 adults across that back seat. It was a 4 door with real wood on the dash. It was a wonderful car to drive and ride in. Rolling down the autobahn it felt nice and plush but never like a land yacht. I drove it from the town we lived in down to Stuttgart and it was great. I wish we could have brought that one home...but it was European spec and wouldn't pass through customs. I can't imagine that it would be worth all that much today....but it was a great car and had such low mileage on it when we sold it. IIRC it was on 60K km. That was in the 1980s too.
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My garage: 2000.5 Aprilia Mille R, 2000 Ducati 996, 1994 EX500 basket case, 1993 Ducati 900 SS, 2004 Suzuki GSXR600, 1992 GSXR750 oil boiler, 1983 Suzuki XN-85 Turbo