What quality in Mercedes has been cut? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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What quality in Mercedes has been cut?

I would like to hear from older and newer Mercedes owners as to what changes have been made? We have all heard about the quaility cuts but what exactly are they? I have few I have noticed. Mercedes themselves said a 210 was 35% cheaper to build than a 124. Why? What did they cut?

1. Sheet metal I have a 124 and a 210 is for sure thinner sheet metal.

2. Inline 6 is gone to a cheaper to make v6. Even Mercedes when they came out with the v6 said it was to cut costs not make it better. Inline 6 of course is perfecty balanced motor far superior design to v6. The v6 and v8 share parts .

3. Spring loaded seats in older Benz's not cheesy foam that breaks down. My 1986 are like the day it was new. They are spring with I believe a horse or some kind of hair covering the steel so no breakdown in time.

4. Carpet is fantastic in 124 looks like brand new. I still have orginal floor mats!

5. Plastic is very high quality showing no wear on switches. I have been in many newer 210's where you see wear where there was touch. Wear makes a car look dated

6. 124's were fully galvanized steel. I know this was cut and the rusty spring perch's on 210's are proof.

7. Everything is mounted in rubber on a 124. The fuel pump hangs in rubber. (to cut vibration. Do they still do that? I do not know?

8. Mono plunger control valve is mounted in rubber. It is what moves to let in coolant to the heater core. They put everything in a old benz in rubber. You can see no expense was spared to cut vibration.

9. Ricirculating ball steering gave way to rack and pinion. I can only guess but rack and pinion is cheaper. I now Mercedes old steering does not get looser in feel. My 1986 feels the same as 17 years ago.

10. Big steering wheel gave way to smaller one. I do not know if that was for cost or looks but I can only guess new one is cheaper.

11. I was reading before once about the roof lines on the 124 being very expensive to make. This was in a car mag talking about how the 210 did not have the special quality touches on the roof line and was just like any other car.

12. Dual fire wall. Is it still there in all models? Keeps the electrical components from water around engine.

13. Sub floor. Is it still there where they have second floor to keep salt and ater from getting to the frame?

McBear and others can you fill us in on what else was cut in the cost cut drive? Is it lower quality electrical components? I know my window swithces are individual not a single switch for all the windows. Is the transmission made cheaper? I can see cheaper quality seats. I have a book called the Ultimate History of Mercedes Benz by Trevor Legate. In the book he talks about when the 210 came out that Mercedes felt they had to make sacrafices in order to compete with BMW and Lexus. (read between the lines means cheaper built car)
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 08:43 AM
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It looks like you have covered most of the bases, but I'll be following this thread especially since you asked McBear - he is quite knowledgeable about the W124, W126, and W210.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 10:44 AM
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1) According to the W211 press kit, the hood, front fenders, trunk lid, front subframe and crossmember, are all made of aluminum. I don't know if that can be viewed as a quality cut or a means to save money. It does make the car weigh less though. The remaining components of the bodyshell are made from sheet steel, however, the proportion of high strength steel grades were increased by 85% over previous models. It may be that those areas you view as thinner, are in actuality the larger crumple zones that Mercedes employed.

2) The inline six is a “better design”, as is an inline eight, but that wouldn’t make the inline six a better “engine”. According to Mercedes-Benz, the M112 has better fuel economy, produces more power, cost less to manufacture, weighs less, and produces fewer pollutants.

9) For a "car", rack and pinion steering is a much better design than recirculating ball. If one is designing a truck or bus, recirculatiung ball is probably a better choice.

10) I'm not sure steering wheel diameter was decreased to save money. Large steering wheels were originally used to eliminate some of the difficulty involved in turning the wheels while stationary. Since the new cars have variable rate speed-sensitive steering assist, that's no longer a problem. I don't know, are the 124's equipped with variable rate speed-sensitive power steering?

I can’t speak for all later transmissions, so I’ll stick with the things Mercedes-Benz' fourth generation automatic does that I don’t believe were available in prior versions. The way a 722.6 transmissions shifts is a lot like a person would shift when driving a manual. It recognizes grades and adjusts shifting as a result. Abrupt pedal lifts don't result in immediate upshifts, such as when on a road course and lifting for a turn. Staying in the same gear means it doesn't have to downshift again when power is reapplied later in the turn. This keeps things smooth. Along that same line, the 722.6 is networked to the ABS, traction control, the yaw sensors, and steering sensors so that it can adjust shifting patterns based on the environment (cornering and low traction come to mind). The 722.623 has touch shift, which allows the driver to select gears without shifting across gates (2 years ago AMG’s North American Product Manager, Rob Allan, referred to prior versions as clumsy). I can't assuredly say the torque converter’s lockup clutch is better. I know it only locks in 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears, is the same true for the earlier transmissions?

Last edited by MarcusF; 03-01-2007 at 11:35 AM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 10:57 AM
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Thanks Marcus, there's a lot of good info there!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 11:40 AM
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Count me in as well, I'd like to hear McBear's thoughts as well. Even though I'm a W210 owner myself.

I still wonder how much would a Benz cost today if they still continued to build in terms of W124 standards.

97 W210 E420, stock !!

Last edited by Rhansantiago; 03-01-2007 at 11:43 AM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 12:07 PM
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Jodyt covered a bunch of what I have seen. A couple of other 124-126 vs 202-208-210 issues.

The electric switches for the window lifts. The earlier models look like they were designed for the space shuttle and never fail unless spilt upon - repeatedly.

Some of the logic boards for the newer cars are generic, meaning that a single board might be used for 202, 208, 210. That can be a good cost savings measure BUT when requiring different actions, the boards should have different hard code. MB failed to do that with early CLK window lift circuitry as an example.

Now some pieces of the 210, suspension wise are very good. I am using some of the rear suspension on the older 124 as tired pieces need replaced. New ones seem stronger, lighter. Time will tell.

I do not see a problem with Aluminum being a replacement for steel on panels. MB did this on some 126's with aluminum hoods and trunk lids. The good news is they are light weight and will not rust. The bad news is they are "replace only" if they are damaged. Very hard to get someone who can correctly fix aluminum panels.


From several conversations I have had, I think many of the major problems that Benz has had with QUALITY is focused on 1996-2000 era cars. If you take into account the 36-42 month rampup time for the new designs and factor in the EU environmental regulations that occured at the same time you can see where MB had a hard time with their suppliers getting everything right. BMW had the same problems. My wifes E36 [1996] has nearly the same list of problems that the 96 era Benz have. I have just gone through and replaced nearly everything on that car that was a problem, including cheap plastic.

Once everyone got the hang of the EU regs and new manufacturing processes, the quality has started coming back up. A last year W210 is a much better car than a 96 E420 as far as quality is concerned but the new W211 is even better. The new CL and S are very good, from what I have seen in a few drives.

Now if Benz can rebuild their dealer/MBUSA structure to get off the defensive and again start providing top level client service then things will get back in line.

McBear,
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Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 12:22 PM
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Thank you too McBear; makes for interesting reading, and a different angle than Marcus used.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 01:30 PM
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Thanks once again McBear.

97 W210 E420, stock !!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MarcusF
1) According to the W211 press kit, the hood, front fenders, trunk lid, front subframe and crossmember, are all made of aluminum. I don't know if that can be viewed as a quality cut or a means to save money. It does make the car weigh less though. The remaining components of the bodyshell are made from sheet steel, however, the proportion of high strength steel grades were increased by 85% over previous models. It may be that those areas you view as thinner, are in actuality the larger crumple zones that Mercedes employed.

2) The inline six is a “better design”, as is an inline eight, but that wouldn’t make the inline six a better “engine”. According to Mercedes-Benz, the M112 has better fuel economy, produces more power, cost less to manufacture, weighs less, and produces fewer pollutants.

9) For a "car", rack and pinion steering is a much better design than recirculating ball. If one is designing a truck or bus, recirculatiung ball is probably a better choice.

10) I'm not sure steering wheel diameter was decreased to save money. Large steering wheels were originally used to eliminate some of the difficulty involved in turning the wheels while stationary. Since the new cars have variable rate speed-sensitive steering assist, that's no longer a problem. I don't know, are the 124's equipped with variable rate speed-sensitive power steering?

I can’t speak for all later transmissions, so I’ll stick with the things Mercedes-Benz' fourth generation automatic does that I don’t believe were available in prior versions. The way a 722.6 transmissions shifts is a lot like a person would shift when driving a manual. It recognizes grades and adjusts shifting as a result. Abrupt pedal lifts don't result in immediate upshifts, such as when on a road course and lifting for a turn. Staying in the same gear means it doesn't have to downshift again when power is reapplied later in the turn. This keeps things smooth. Along that same line, the 722.6 is networked to the ABS, traction control, the yaw sensors, and steering sensors so that it can adjust shifting patterns based on the environment (cornering and low traction come to mind). The 722.623 has touch shift, which allows the driver to select gears without shifting across gates (2 years ago AMG’s North American Product Manager, Rob Allan, referred to prior versions as clumsy). I can't assuredly say the torque converter’s lockup clutch is better. I know it only locks in 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears, is the same true for the earlier transmissions?
Marcus an inline 6 is a better design. An inline 6 is a naturally balanced motor. An inline is used for extremely low vibration. An inline of course is the mainstay of BMW who choose not to cost cut there. A v6 needs to be balanced as best as it can be. As far as Mercedes saying a 112 costs less to produce that is WHY they did it. It may be better on fuel but so would a newer inline6. BMW's inline's have gotten of couse better on fuel than 20 year old designs.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 05:32 PM
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Cool Very few could afford cars built the old way

Hello, Rhan.

You asked what would a Benz cost today if it were built the way a W124 was built. The answer is, too much. My car cost its first owner $79,000 before delivery, prep, and taxes. Allowing for inflation, that would be over $105,000 today. How many buyers do you suppose M-B would have for CLK 320 Cabriolets at that price? But at $50,000, they sell a bunch. Some things have to give to get costs down, including most hand-assembly, weight of materials, quality of components, and testing time.

Cheers!

Dave
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