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Mercedes-Benz S-Class



  • benznutbenznut Posts: 104
    You are right about the Mercedes Hotline. They do not know much about their services. I called to ask for a video of instructions about the navigation system, as my in-laws have a S430 and they don't know how to utilize the system and the lady did not know what I was talking about. She thought I was asking for instructions of how to use the stereo of the E class. I had to repeat it to her that I needed it for the S430, because she probably had no clue that 430 was a designtion for the S Class as well as for the E. Bottom line is I did not get such a tape, instead I got the brochure, which is of no help in this direction.
    Do you think the dealers will have such a tape? If yes, I will have to go there, although i hat gong to dealers, they will always try to sell you something else, at least in my area. I need this tape so bad, because my in-laws don't speak English very well and they are not able to mater the instructioins.
  • hfrankelhfrankel Posts: 18
    Here's what i would do.

    Drive the S-Class to the dealer and make them sit down with you and explain the system. Watching a video on using the navigation system is analagous to learning how to type by reading a book. It's way too involved, and it needs some personal attention.

    I can tell you firsthand (2001 S500) that once you learn the system, it really is intuitive. There'a learning curve, but it all seems to come together in the end.

    So - make the dealer do what they should have done in the 1st place -- spend the time and instruct their customers. If enough buyers demand this level of new car delivery instruction, I'm sure Mercedes will be forced to create some sort of easier means to learn.

    Plus - if you think you have it bad, my wifes' ML has a TOTALLY different Navigation System. Going between vehicles can be a challenge (never mind that Mercedes create a HUGE safety issue by placing the major COMMAND controls on the right side of the dash. Guess that's why they built the vehicle to survive rollovers, etc.

    Good luck
  • Has anyone with the 275/40 R18 wheel in the back (Standard AMG setup) encountered rubbing of the wheel against the fender lip on soft suspension mode over bumps at freeway speed? I can see clearly where the tire rubbed, nothing major but annoying, especially for a nitpick like myself. This is a Dunlop tire on a Brabus wheel by the way. It doesn't happen at low speed or in firm airmatic mode. Thanks in advance...
  • Has anyone gone to start the car (actually before entering the car I should clarify), and found that the car appeared to be sitting much lower than normal, only to have airmatic raise the car upon ignition? Sometimes the sequence appears to be in reverse of what I've described, although the car doesn't go as low as aforementioned (at rest).
  • mbguymbguy Posts: 1
    We just picked up our S600 the other day and I noticed that the "grill" in the lower part of the front bumper is different than the one shown in the brochure. Instead of having a mesh type of grill in the middle opening, there is a black bar that goes across horizontally. The smaller holes on the side have a black plastic mesh type grill.
    Is the black bar the newer design? What does everyone else have on their cars? Thanks in advance.
  • mlbarnesmlbarnes Posts: 48
    I drove my S430 this weekend to Atlantic City, New Jersey and it was a very pleasant ride. Is there any way to re-program the navigational setting from fastest to shortest after it has started?
  • Before grad school I had an '86 560SEC which was by far the best car I've ever owned. I am now looking at the S500 Coupe and the '95s are in my price range. Is there anything I should look out for when shopping? I have to say, I am a little concerned about all the electric gadgetry and the inaccessibility of the engine in the S500 compared to the SEC. In my old Benz, the water pump, alternator (twice) and spark plug leads, cap and rotor all swapped out with relative ease. The electrics on the SEC also held up strong (except for a bad aerial, also easy to swap) and were much simpler. Are there any horror stories out there about the 93-98 S-class and the coupe in specific? For instance, I have heard about bad evaporator coolers in the S-class ACs that are tucked behind the dash and no mere mortal could replace by himself. Any truth to this?

    If I can expect significant repair bills on an ongoing basis, this would kill the deal for me. Buying the car you've drooled over for five years and then finding out its a dud really takes the fun out of it. (This happened to me with a 300ZX, so no more Nissans...) Thanks in advance for your help!
  • tony112tony112 Posts: 1
    One way to reprogram the navigation system from fastest to shortest is to simply cancel the navigation in progress and start over. I like the COMMAND system with exception of the navigation system which is cumbersome and not at all intuitive
  • georget3georget3 Posts: 53
    For the S class, how critical is it to maintain the recommended tire pressure for optimal ride quality? Can anyone recommend a practical seasonal tire pressure change routine for New York/New Jersey region?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No difference in pressure during the summer or winter. Keep all 4 tires at the MB recommended specs at all times, regardless of the season.

    I personally check the tires ever two weeks or so.

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  • I learned from a poster on the boards that your MB Dealer will actually "roll" your fender lips if you decide to upgrade to the AMG setup or any other larger rear tires for the S (supposedly for $60 per fender). This will prevent the rubbing scenario I posted earlier. Beware of tire shops that may offer to "cut" the lip as that can cause other, more serious issues. I encountered two shops that offered this by the way if you can believe it.. For S cars with the optional Sport Package, this process (rolling) is done at the factory of course.
  • benznutbenznut Posts: 104
    How much can the suspensin of the S Class be raised in ABC mode? I have heard it goes up to two inches. Is this true, or too optimistic? Is it the same with ABC as with the airmatic suspension?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No, not two inches. Perhaps about an inch or so...yes, it can be raised with the ABC suspension setup, or the Airmatic ADS setup.

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  • blehrlichblehrlich Posts: 92
    I brought my car in for service and the sales manager gave me his car to borrow for the afternoon. He tossed me the keys and said "It's the black S500 parked outside, but it's actually a S430". What prompts people (the previous owner) to badge their vehicles as something it is not? I know this also occurs with BMWs. I would be embarassed to do this. I don't thik that there's anything wrong with driving the "lesser" of a series (S430, S500, 525i, 530i, 323i, etc.)
  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    Wanna be even more embarassed?

    Outside Chicago O'hare airport I saw a BMW 750il with a MB V12 emblem on the C-pilar like the 600 series has on it. HA!

  • I generally agree with Drew but a bit of experimentation may be tried if one is so inclined.

    The tire pressure ratings for German cars seem to me to be set with high speed, mirror-smooth Autobahn driving conditions in mind and are often unduly firm for American urban areas.

    I recall an article not long ago by LJK Setright of the British magazine, "Car," who made exactly the same argument.

    Given the extensively potholed, cracked, frost-heaved, and otherwise highly uneven streets and highways I regularly find myself on, I've learned to take the rear tire pressures down 4 or 5 pounds, sometimes even 6 pounds, from the manufacturers' ratings. This gives me much, much better ride quality, and only diminishes the handling limits ever so slightly. I'd say that most drivers would not sense any meaningful change in the balance and "feel" of the car at all. I've done this for the better part of 15 years now with one Porsche 911, a BWM 740i, and 4 M-Benzs, including an E500 (where it made only a slight difference -- the car rode well already), and 2 SLs (where it made an enormous difference -- indeed I may have gone through a set of tires ever so slightly faster, but on the other hand, when I gave up my 1995 SL500 it was as tight and rattle-free as the day I bought it, despite traveling 77,000 miles in and out of NYC everyday for 4 years).

    I intend to do the same with my new S500 with the AMG Sports Package when it arrives at the end of the month. Especially, now that the consensus seems to be that the ABC suspension option seems to add a bit of harshness to the car's ride (thanks very much for the dead wrong advice, MB techs in Montvale). If you order the optional dashboard tire pressuring monitoring system, as I did, keeping track of the state of your tires is easy. Forget checking it every two weeks -- I can check it on the fly!

    A couple of notes of caution for any of you who want to experiment as I have. While I consider this a safe thing to do if you don't go overboard, I wouldn't recommend reducing your pressures if you have any ambition to try for a top speed run on an open stretch of highway you may have been eyeing. There isn't a day that I don't hit 100 MPH on my way to work on a particularly fast interstate that's part of my morning commute, and I am very hard on the car on entrance and exit ramps (which is why I keep the front tires within a pound or two of factory contrast to the rears), BUT anything much beyond that speed is pushing your luck, in my judgment. If 110 MPH or higher is a part of your regular daily driving diet, or if you are lucky enough to be able to travel at sustained high speeds for hours at a time, then keep the pressures where the factory recommends them. And certainly, if you do adjust your pressures down, keep a watchful eye on them, as any significant further drop due to neglect, unusually cold weather, or a slow leak, can lead to tire over heating and ultimately catastrophic tire failure. Not to mention that inordinately low pressures will tend to throw the rear end of the car out wildly which would be a most unwelcome surprise during hard cornering.

    Secondly, reducing the tire pressures WILL at all times adversely effect traction during snow and rain storms (though really, really low pressures on glare ice -- I'm talking sheer frozen lake conditions now -- actually may be of some benefit). So, stick with the factory recommended set up during seriously inclement weather -- or be more cautious, at the very least.
  • georget3georget3 Posts: 53
    Actually that was the reason that I raised the question. My new S500 seems to give "unduly firm" ride around NYC/Bergen County's urban potholes and waved road surface, such as Cross Bronx Expressway. The last few days the harshness got worsened. Then it occurred to me that the weather has warmed up to the 60s from the 20s. Thanks again. I'll check my tire pressure and most likely I'll need to let go some air because of the warmer weather. Since I do not have auto pressure gauge option, any recommendation for a good/reliable tire pressure gauge to buy?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Any digital tire pressure gauge (MB has one) will work well. FYI, your tire pressure should be checked when cold (read: after the vehicle has been sitting overnight). You should not have to adjust your pressure for warmer weather as MB takes this into account. Don't forget that under inflated tires combined with the summer heat was partly what caused all of those Ford Explorers to shread their tires.

    Personally I inflate my tires 2 psi above the manufacturer's suggested cold tire specs for a normal load since I prefer slightly less sidewall flex.

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  • itsuiitsui Posts: 15
    Anyone knows 95'S500 having a recall for the transimiision. When can I found out the recall information? Thanks for your help!
  • I'm visiting from the C-class board. While getting the oil in my C320 changed yesterday, I noted that MB of San Diego (Balboa Drive in Kearny Mesa) had a 2001 S600 in their showroom. It's brilliant silver with charcoal interior, and is loaded (MSRP $125K)- I think it had every option except the self-closing trunk. Salesman told me that the buyer was delayed returning from overseas, so had cancelled. MB of SD claims to sell at MSRP and is waiting for a walk-in; anyone interested?

  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378

    1. Great car for 123K

    2. A bit rough on the ride due to ABC. I don't agree with this, since I have ABC with my 2001 S500.

    3. 5.4 sec in 0-60 vs. 6.1 sec for S500

    4. ABC improves lateral G to .82 vs. "non-ABC" S500 of .75. I had always wanted to know the ABC differences! YES!

    5. S500 has a little better subjective comfort rating than the S600

    6. C&D seems to like the Audio S8 sports sedan more than the E55, S55, or even the BMW M5.

    It's nice to have a V12, but I am very happy so far with my S500 + distronics+ABC. Still impresses me after 7 months! Biggest 4-door Porsche I'd ever owned.

  • Paulchiu,

    Wait until you try the S55 if you think the S500 is a 4-door Porsche. It's not quite as blindlingly fast as the E55 and CLK55, but it's close. It just leaps away from other cars on the highway -- that's the sign of a truly fast car, in my judgment, and something the S500 can't quite accomplish.

    Still, the S500 is very satisfying, and since the dealer gave me $3500 off on a Silver AMG Sports Package, ABC equipped S500, vs only $1000 off on the much more expensive S55, and since I know I'll put 80K or 90K miles on this car and I worried that the S55, mighty as it is, might not hold up as well, that's the way I went, too.

    With regard to the previous tire pressure discussion, I'd like to add one more comment: The manufacturers recommended settings are really what manufacturers feel to be the best compromise between performance and ride quality. If you're a hard charging autocrosser, higher pressure settings than spec are certainly the way to go. But, if like George3 and I, the Cross Bronx or some other woefully pockmarked thoroughfare is a familiar route, then softer than spec will not only save your backside and sanity, it'll help reduce the rattles to a minimum, and may even keep various and sundry suspension and engine parts from prematurely wearing, loosening, and eventually failing.

    The rear tires are the most important tires when it comes to ride quality, so that's what most people reduce a bit to get some added suppleness.

    As for overheating, that can certainly happen at high speed if you take the tire pressures too far down. But a 16 percent reduction from say, 36 lbs. to 30 lbs. at the rear, shouldn't create any problems and will make a noticeable difference in the car's ride.

    If a rear tire does blow whether from overheating or other factors, any M-Benz is far less likely to flip than an Explorer or Expedition obviously, even in the hands of the truly ham-fisted. And if it somehow does go end over end, the odds of survival in a Benz, even in a roll over, are extraordinarily good, something that can't be said for any domestic SUV (save perhaps an ML class!).
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    You right about the S55's performance over the S500. I had the luck to have driven the E55 numerous times, and the 2001 E55 was on my purchase order for almost a year before I changed my mind toward the bigger, more comfortable S500. The E55 was a blast to drive, it felt like a cacoon that hugs your torso as it catapults with minimal effort into hyperspeeds. In an E55; you feel much faster at 80mph than in a S500. For one thing, it's a smaller vehicle, and another is the grippier tires and tighter suspension in the E. It was a tough decision for me, but the S won out at the end when ABC and distronics became available. The roomier rear seats won my wife's heart; so I'll probably look forward to the SLR coupe in 4-5 years as the next dream car.
  • I agree with your assessment of the relative merits and comfort levels of the two cars. In addition, the E55 felt like a much older design to me when driving it, even in comparison to the CLK55, let alone the S500. I find that the entire E Class line, including the E55 AMG, has styling that is starting to look a bit dated. In that respect the E55 reminds me alot of the E500 that I bought in 1994, which also was at the end of its product life cycle.

    Still, it's a great car. I can certainly see why many covet it even as it approaches its dotage.

    I'm also torn by the small car/big car comparison. On the one hand, nothing approaches the ride, comfort, interior luxury, and utility of a big car like the S Class. But something about smaller, relatively compact cars has always attracted me. They're easier to park, easier to manoeuver in traffic and when backing up, and usually are far more responsive in their handling -- in general they're easier to manage which counts for a lot when your litterly in a car every single day, day after day.

    Then again, maybe the essence of the E55's problem for me is that it's neither fish nor fowl. It's not a truly small, responsive car, like CLK55 or the SL500 which replaced my E500 after just 8 months and which I enjoyed far more, and it's not the big, comfortable, luxurious, yet still relatively fast car that the S Class is.

    Or, maybe it really just all comes down to a shallow matter of looks. The AMG equipped S500 is far prettier to my eye than the E55 AMG, and so is the CLK55. From some angles, the E55 looks very frumpy to my eye, just as my previous E500 looked dowdy in comparison to my much more modern (at that time) SL500.

    Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm certain there are many who find the E55 perfect in just about every respect.
  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    What do you mean frumpy....?

    Thats a new one to me

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I still get watery-eyed when I hear someone mention the one of the best if not the best mid-size Benz ever made...the E500. Why did you get rid of it so soon?

  • benznutbenznut Posts: 104
    You Drive bothe the S600 and the S500?
    what do you mean the 600 has less of a subjective rating than S500?
    Is that harshness in the ride of the 600 maybe due to the radials which come as standard?
    5.4 sec. from 0-60 mph? Wow, your benz must have been warmed up really well. New, they may hopefully break 5.9 s. What was your method of testing? you might have overlooked a half a second there. However I sure am glad to hear a 600 benz can do that eventually
    please keep us posted
  • keshankeshan Posts: 1
    just picked up the above with 37 k miles.
    Where can I get the manual explaining all
    the bells and whistles on it?
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    I test drove both the S500 and S600. But the results I quoted were done by Car & Driver magazine, the May 2001 edition. I compared the report carefully with the S500 report back in May 1999. In conclusion; the magazine editors reported that the S600's ride was a bit harsher than the ride in the S500. The S600 is meant to be driven in; as in the back seat, where there is zero harshness.
  • Merc1,

    I hope I don't burst your bubble, but my E500 was a pain. Yes, it had incredible acceleration, a great ride, and the best high beam headlights I've ever had to this point, but frankly, everything else about it was wanting.

    It was assembled by Porsche rather than M-Benz, and at least on mine, you could tell. That thing spent more time in the shop than it did on the road. It got so bad, the MB rep offered to pick up one of my payments as compensation (I'm not kidding).

    The last straw was when the traction control module failed coming out of DQ parking lot, leaving me with the acceleration of one of MBs diesel models -- while a large dump truck was bearing down on me. After getting over the scare, I limped home at 15 or 20 MPH (all it would do!) and put it up for sale (once MB had towed it away and repaired it, of course).

    Even without the problems, I would have been happy to see it go. While the acceleration was great, the handling was poor compared to my previous SL and 911 (an unfair comparison, I know -- I suppose I just wasn't ready for a sedan at that time in my life). It felt like the modest sedan it really was, not the thoroughbred it looked like. And little things like the climate control system were dated and didn't work well which is most impractical if you intend to use the car every day as I did (not to mention that the HVAC smelled like gas all the time).

    Fortunately, the car that followed, a 1995 navy blue SL500 was the best car I ever had. No problems, plenty of power, a reasonably supple ride, great handling, and never a rattle, even after almost 80K miles. I'd have kept it had it had a modest back seat for children (which I need now that I'm married).

    I have high hopes that my new S500 will be as good a car.
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