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Mercedes-Benz S-Class



  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I have had a 91 500SL since new. I drove it as my primary car (although I had others for special interest). Three years ago I bought the car after leasing it for a total of 7 years and switched to a Jag. XK8 and now a XKR. The two reasons for switching were: 1)I needed a small back seat for my daughter so she could learn the joys of top down motoring at an early age and 2) My dissatisfaction with my local Mercedes dealer. I still drive the SL on occasion and it is a solid now as it was 10 years ago. The only recurring problem I had was an area of excessive wear on the soft top which required replacing the top twice in 7 years. It was located just above the rear window. I would check the soft top carefully since it is expensive. The first replacement was under complete warranty and the second partial. I think any year is ok. The earlier cars were rated at a higher H.P. but the later got better gas milage.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382

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  • 3pointstar3pointstar Posts: 45
    I know most of you have been posting about the new S-Class. It's a beautiful car, but I like the previous generation big-body S and I am looking for one. Came across a 94 S500 with +100K, but the condition is very good for mid $20Ks. I test drove it and it has that suspension shudder that some have mentioned in the big deal. The question I have is it had its AC unit replaced at one point. I know this is a problem with the last generation S, but will this problem reoccur again on the replacement unit?
  • mrman_3k1mrman_3k1 Posts: 52
    Hello everybody, it has been a little while since I last posted, it has been really busy here. Anyway, the Designo Silver leather gets very dirty for anybodies information. I don't want to try cleaning it myself and do something to hurt it, but I would like the original color back since it is only several months old. If you know of any really good places in the Bay Area that can do a really good and clean job, please post it. Thanks in advance.
  • dre2011dre2011 Posts: 2
    Does anyone have any concerns about buying a 1995 S350D, the last year of the S-Class diesel, w/ 80k miles? Were there any common technical problems w/ '95 S-Classes? I've heard that S-Classes have a/c problems from 1992-96--is this true/false? Any comments at all would be appreciated. Also, comments about performance, power, acceleration, and reliability would be appreciated. I know that a diesel doesn't accelerate very well, but is it unbearably slow? your opinions are appreciated.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Apart from the fact that all but the most modern diesels belch tons of stinky carcinogenic fumes every time you accelerate?

    Fortunately, my Lexus constantly smells the outside air and switches automatically to recirculate when a diesel is in front of me!
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Diesels haven't had a smoke probleminyears-unless the fuel metering needs repair.Some 90s BNenz diesels had very serious problems-I think it stemmed from trying to meet more stringent particulate emissionn for the West coast.I don't remember the years now,unfortunately.But do find outp-it is important.(there are not many years to navoid).I would say acceleration is not opbjectionable.Wirth windows/roof open,it is just a little clattery,but nothing like the old,smokey days.Great milage,of course,but as a car increases in value,I would think milage would not be such an issue.And yes A/C can be a huge problem.If A/C is essential in your clime,get it professionally assed.
    Finaly.I do think they are wonderful-one would bring any motorist a lot of pleasure.But have you considered a 6 cylinder gas?
  • chapman7chapman7 Posts: 23
    I am curious as to why the interior of your car is getting so dirty in just a few months and am wondering what you are carrying in the car and who the passengers are and what they are wearing that is causing this problem. I haven't experienced this with other cars with very light interior colored leather seats.
    I have a Designo Silver car on order and maybe I should think twice if this is a major maintenance problem.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Unless you're thinking of wearing light knakis all the time. Wearing jeans will darken the light leather. Dark leather jackets will darken the leather too. If you have kids or pets, think twice before ordering the designo silver edition.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    This won't work either, as the oils on your skin will darken the leather as well.
  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    You actually tried?

    How many times did it take for you to drive Nekked in your S and notice that the seat was getting dirty?



  • mrman_3k1mrman_3k1 Posts: 52
    I would definetly caution anybody that is getting the Designo Silver because it is a very light color and everybody including myself that gets in is always clean and not dirty. I am very careful and try not to get it dirty, but it is just the normal "dirtiness" that happens. It is not that bad, just that original "brightness" is basically gone. I am sure if I cleaned it, it would look like new, but I want someone qualified after paying almost an extra $10K for that color. I know the salesman at the dealer warned me about this but I really liked the picture in the brochure. Anyway, any tips or people you know of to clean the leather, please post it. Thanks.
  • I love my 2001 Brilliant Silver S430 which my husband and I purchased in Nov.2000. We broke it in immediately with a drive from Scottsdale to Los Angles. It is the ultimate in luxury and comfort and drives like a dream! Everyone that sits in the back seat can't believe how much room is back there. Everyone ooh's and ah's over the GPS Nav Sys and the voice activation. The best part for me is when I have to go somewhere new, I can just get in the car, program it, and off I go.
    The problem I am experiencing is a pause in the sound system, or several. Whether the radio is on or the CD player, I get hiccups where the sound just stops. Sometimes for a few seconds and the longest was for 2 minutes. This is VERY FRUSTRATING and IRRITATING. I have the factory installed phone but this happens when the phone is or isn't connected. The dealer tried to tell me that I have a phone message hung up in the system (which I don't) because I rarely even attach the phone to the car. I have been told that they are waiting for a software update and have no idea when it will arrive. They admitted to us they knew this problem existed , but never told us about it before we purchased the car. We were now told the more bells and whistles we have, the more that can go wrong. So, now we are waiting for a supposed software update.
    The other problem is that all of a sudden we have a dirty sock odor, or ammonia smell comming from the air conditioner. The dealer says that because we live in Arizona, mold grows at the bottom of the AC unit and they have to spray a disinfectant in there to kill it and therefore the smell. They say this will re-occur and this will be an ongoing problem. So, they have sprayed the stuff, and now sometimes we have a odor like ammonia, sometime we smell the disinfectant (which actually smells good.. like strawberries) and sometimes no odor at all. The service manager told me it would help to turn the air conditioner off about 5 minutes before I arrive home to help minimize this effect. I DON'T THINK SO!!! H-E-L-L-O ??? I live in Arizona??? 120 degrees in the summer??????
    Now you tell me why I should have to put up with this CARP in a car that cost $85,000 out the door??
    Has anyone else experienced similar problems?? If so, please advise possible solutions! Thanks for reading this. Since I just joined the forum, I don't know if there are any other messages pertaining to either of these problems. Maybe someone can help me out in that respect.
  • In my last posting #703, the spell checker changed my word "CRAP" to CARP. I will put up with fish such as Carp...but not CRAP.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    He said to turn off the A/C so that the fan can at least blow out some of the condensation out of the evaporator. That is what causes your mold and the damp smell when you first start up. It doesn't affect just the S-class but all vehicles with A/C. Personally what I do is turn the A/C off when I'm about a minute from home and then turn the fan to a high speed. This helps to increase the rate of evaporation. Problem solved!

    Your other alternative is just to put up with the smell for the first couple of minutes of the trip the next day. You can also try spraying Lysol yourself into the air intake (with the fan running at maximum speed and A/C off) to get rid of the smell. Open all of the windows/doors though and don't sit in there immediately after :-)

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  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    First off, you're right, no one paying $85K should have to deal with cut-outs in the audio, or vile smells coming from the air conditioning.

    But what's worse, from what you say, is the DEALER'S ATTITUDE. My advice is to call MB corporate and complain about your dealer's insulting and incompetent attitude and demand some service. You could also try another dealer altogether.

    Of course not all dealers are the same, but you certainly expect better service from a Mercedes-Benz dealer.

    Good luck!
  • THanks for the comments. We are now dealing with the General Manager. He told us that all Mercedes Dealers have a certain procedure they are suppose to follow. Step One, Step Two .. etc...which means you end up bringing your car back 4 times for the same problem. Now that we are dealing with the General Manager, he has wisely choosen to SKIP steps 3 ,4, and 5 and jump to the nitty gritty. When I was talking about smells I meant vinegar not ammonia. Anyway, we are bringing the car in tomorrow and he is going to remove the Charcoal filter for a few days to see if that makes a difference. He said that Mercedes thinks this filter may be part of the problem. They originally thought it was a little sponge at the end of the drainage tube that absorbs the water and then dries up. Turned out that wasn't it. So, the charcoal filter is the next step. He said while that filter is out, we will be getting MORE COLD AIR than ever from the blower (fine with me). We will see how that works. He also says this problem is unique to extremely dry climates. It would seem to me to be more prevelent to have mold in a humid climate, like HAwaii, where we lived for 3 years. We had a Ford and a VW there and had NO PROBLEMS!
    As far as the sound system, for some reason they are thinking it has something to do with the software of the phone talking to the software in the car. (Or not talking). HE asked me if my phone had a green readout which it does. Its the little silver Motorola Timeport. To me, with all my electronic knowledge(none), it sounds like its a loose wire or connector somewhere, since it started on our trip to LAX the first week we had the car and its intermittent. I asked the General MAnager why they couldn't look at the whole system, to see if thats a possibility. Well, at least the dealer is addressing the problems now!!! Thats all I can ask!! They didn't build the car . SO, I guess I must be patient. They are finally trying to help.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Glad you've got the 'buck stops here' guy helping you now anyway. As far as following steps 1, 2, 3, etc. that's fine but it's attitude that makes all the difference. If they try to make you seem stupid or they're indifferent to your impatience, then they know little about good customer service.

    Having said that, it would surely be better, faster and cheaper in the long run to do ALL the darned steps to try to make you happy than drag you through this kind of experience and potentially turn you off the dealer and even the car at some point.

    My dealer has made mistakes (ordered a wrong part or not in fact fixed something), but the attitude of my service advisor is so good that I still have good things to say about the dealer as a whole.

    As for checking all the wiring in the stereo/phone system that's easier said than done in today's tight spaces! That might involve taking the entire dash apart, removing seats, etc.

    Can't you just not use the phone or have it permanently disconnected from the car and see if the audio problem persists?

    Anyway, good luck.
  • mrman_3k1mrman_3k1 Posts: 52
    I can say that the MB dealer that I go to, Smythe European, has excellent service and is very patient and accommodating with me and my cars. The sales people do not operate on commission so there is none of that pushy stuff, and the service people are very knowledgeable and great to work with. I know this is not the case everywhere, but I just wanted to make sure you know that there are good MB dealers because I have mainly seen complaints on the forums.
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    1. If you're not entirely happy with the General Manager and would like to go a step up, there is also a regional rep you can discuss the problems with. It may be good to check with him on these supposedly known problems.

    2. I find that most MB dealers are not very familiar with the Timeport phone and would often blame the phone system. If I were in your shoes, I would ask them to put in a new radio unit and see if the problem persists as a first step.

    3. I use a CDMA Timeport with a non-COMAND stereo on an E-class 2001. The green/blue/orange readout means it's a CDMA phone. If you need help, Motorola has a special telematics division dealing with BMW & MB phones. Call Brian Carlson at 1-847-907-7917 for additonal clarification on known system bugs if they truly exist.

    4. The only time the radio will mute is when I receive an incoming call with the phone attached. Since you have GPS, I wonder if your cut off has anything to do with the voice prompts?

    Good luck.
  • Did you check your voicemail? There is a pause in the system when you have a message waiting. Same thing happened to me at first and it freaked me out. Check this first before replacing software. Good luck and congrats on owning such a great car.

  • sean2gsean2g Posts: 17
    This is the one year update that MT did on the S500 Sport, the pic of it is so sweet. A regular S looks quite large, not fat, sort of hefty without the sport package. Does anyone have chromed AMG rims with their sport package??? Do they come chromed, or the dealer did it, how is the chrome look?


  • is4b2rdis4b2rd Posts: 66
    Mrman_31k, who is your service advisor at Smythe? I need to find a GOOD dealer service, because the service advisors at my dealership are really bad. Absolutely NO follow through, they don't listen to what you are saying, don't know the status, etc. If you have a great service advisor, I'd like to know. Thanks.
  • Large and PHAT!

    Guess i like with and without sport. If I had it to do over again I'm not sure which I would choose. My S500 is non-sport.

    Cool pics, thanks for sharing

    BTW - chrome wheels are dealer-installed accessory. Should be a simple markup, since they can keep the standard AMG wheels (original) as a "core", ie. replacement.
  • mbc6mbc6 Posts: 1
    I have a question . I was looking at buying a 1989 420 SEL. The car is owned by the original owner and has always been dealer maintained. The car has 168,000 miles on it. I was looking to make this my daily driver. They are asking just under $10,000 for it. I would like to know how reliable this motor is, with this many miles on it? can the vehicle make it another 100K with no major motor work. Does anyone have any history with this motor?
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    On a trip to Long Island this morning, I averaged 25.7 MPG for 23 miles in my S500. ABC off and standard ride height, with windows all closed and A/C on. Average speed was 49 MPH.

    This was the first time I averaged anything higher than 22 MPG on a trip.

    I had 2 passengers and the temp was 76 degrees with wind 5-10 mph....
  • hfrankelhfrankel Posts: 18
    First it was the Active Body Control warning light coming on.. which necessitated a new ignition switch and programming (hard to believe).

    Then the hands-free speakerphone (integrated phone option) stopped working. Dealer replaced the phone, phone cable, and 2 black boxes in the trunk. Still can't find the problem (it's not the microphone).

    And the final straw..... i opened my garage today to find my S500 leaning on one side (like a flat tire). Started the car and get a RED ABC warning message that the car is too low. I was ticked.

    Now get this .. I called Mercedes roadside assistance and was on hold for 10 minutes.. only to find out that Mercedes DOES NOT provide towing as part of the Roadside Assist program. I'm dumbfounded over this. They did say that I would "probably be reimbursed" if the problem is under warranty (i would guess that a brand new car leaning on it's side would have a warranty issue to begin with).

    To be honest... i've lost faith in Mercedes and the quality of their product. I don't want to worry that my wife is out driving a car that might decide to "reboot" on the highway... or require a laptop computer to get it "restarted".

    Anybody else experiencing these kinds of issues?
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Sorry to hear your problems with your S. The only problem I had with the ABC was a red message a month ago telling me to drive carefully. The Benz tele-aid girl told me to just shut off the engine and restart; which got rid of the message. She said that things like this could be due to a slow computer. And if the car dirves; things ought to be all right. Not very reassuring, but the car had no mechanical problems after that.

    You know! These days, it's very hard to get good customer satisfaction anywhere, no matter how much you spend on things. With corporate cutbacks on personnel and processes, customer support everywhere is the first thing that suffers. That's a slowing economy for you.
  • hfrankelhfrankel Posts: 18
    I had the same ABC warning light on my S500. It always went away when i restarted the car, but the real solution was replacing my ignition switch and reprogramming the software for the key. There's a Mercedes bulletin out on this problem. Hard to believe that the switch (and its' programming ) was the problem.. but it was.

    By the way -- when the tow truck arrived this am, and he started my car.. the sagging front end rose to the right height. So... there's obviously a problem,and I HOPE the dealer can trace it.

    Stay tuned...
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