1986 quality change at mercedes hq? fact or myth? - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 09:05 PM
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I would say from what I've heard and from experience that the "turn for the worse" as far as overall build quality occurred somewhere in the mid to late 90's.

The reason to simplify and in this case reduce quality wasn't to increase profits (the w124's sold for close to $75k in today's dollars) but to lower prices to compete with the other imports that were selling for almost half...think Lexus/Infinity/Acura...

The W124 and sometimes W140 are considered the last of the over-engineered Mercedes, not to say they don't have issues (W140 especially), but they were built to last. The cars that came after are 'better' as far as performance and comfort are concerned but many notice the materials and build quality are disappointing in comparison to W123/124. The 98-02 ML being the definite low point.

BUT that's not the end of the story. Rumor is that in the last couple years Mercedes has heard the complaints (and seen their market share slide over to BMW) and that build and material quality are back on track, the W212 is supposedly a return to the ideals of the better years for Benz but only time will tell
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 09:39 PM
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Than you need to realize what you are asking for. I still keep a souvenir I removed from 1970's Mercedes. It is gear shifter with cast aluminum cover/guide. You know -the part with P-R-N-D indicators that is made with plastic for last 30 years? So the cast aluminum today would cost high 3, if not 4 digits figure. That design also added to the car weigh. Sure it will be still here in 100 years, but the 1970's car was never design to make 40-50 mpg.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 11:37 AM
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Sure it will be still here in 100 years, but the 1970's car was never design to make 40-50 mpg.
Exactly.

PLUS ...

... the 1970s Mercedes didn't have to compete against Lexus ... or really even BMW.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 04:20 PM
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Yes indeed.

It also created near revolt among German taxi drivers.
I'm with deanyel, the cars were never better than what they built between '86 and '95. As for German taxi drivers? Now THERE is a demographic with credibility. They sit on their asses all day and drive the same car until they retire. I love the 123 as much as most people here but I also know what its like to have a heavy car with loose suspension and no power at your disposal. Leave a 123 and a 124 in the rain for a couple of days and I will guarantee which one has water in it... And water inside a car is the kiss of death so how could quality of gone downhill AFTER 1986?

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 08:10 PM
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Quality Change

I have owned a MB continuously since 1968 and feel that I can offer a few comments on this subject. The 60's, 70's and 80's were built like tanks and their reliability was damn near unparalleled. I also owned a 1991 560SEL and feel that is the last model of the tank like MB,s. The latter 1990's and earlier to mid year 2000's is where the quality went to hell in a hand basket; more specifically in the electronics. In my 560 you had a lever to adjust the driver's side mirror not a switch with an electric motor. It worked but it was not glamorus or high tech.
In the new age MB,s you have instrument clusters that die, sensors that go bad, brake systems that brake for you (they are also known to break) and a miriad of other electronic stuff. These are the systems that pulled MB quality into the toilet. After living through many of the gremlins, a light bulb went off and raised a question. That question was how many computer manufacturers and designers are German? None to my knowldge. Bosch with many of their parts today are matching the old Prince of Darkness ,Lucas, in reliability. Fortunately the post 2006 cars have improved significantly. My wife has an S550 and the car has been bullet proof; much like my old faithful 560SEL.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 08:18 PM
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When we sold our 1999 E 300 Turbo, we actually made money, great diesel. We now own a 2008 E350 Bluetech. You have to roll down the window to be sure the engine is running!
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Next 1983 240D, 1984 300 DT, 1985 300GD 5-speed Gelandewagen, 1985 300TD Wagon, 1986 300SD, 1995 E300 Diesel.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Lou K View Post
I have owned a MB continuously since 1968 and feel that I can offer a few comments on this subject. The 60's, 70's and 80's were built like tanks and their reliability was damn near unparalleled. I also owned a 1991 560SEL and feel that is the last model of the tank like MB,s. The latter 1990's and earlier to mid year 2000's is where the quality went to hell in a hand basket; more specifically in the electronics. In my 560 you had a lever to adjust the driver's side mirror not a switch with an electric motor. It worked but it was not glamorus or high tech.
In the new age MB,s you have instrument clusters that die, sensors that go bad, brake systems that brake for you (they are also known to break) and a miriad of other electronic stuff. These are the systems that pulled MB quality into the toilet. After living through many of the gremlins, a light bulb went off and raised a question. That question was how many computer manufacturers and designers are German? None to my knowldge. Bosch with many of their parts today are matching the old Prince of Darkness ,Lucas, in reliability. Fortunately the post 2006 cars have improved significantly. My wife has an S550 and the car has been bullet proof; much like my old faithful 560SEL.
You forgot that pre 1990 cars constantly leaked, CC would work intermittently, the automatic transmissions would make your dentures loosen and the couple of electronic circuits were famous for not working.
So from leaking oil we moved the failing electronic sensors. Sign of the time.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 04:11 PM
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After living through many of the gremlins, a light bulb went off and raised a question. That question was how many computer manufacturers and designers are German? None to my knowldge. Bosch with many of their parts today are matching the old Prince of Darkness ,Lucas, in reliability.
Agree with you on Bosch being equivalent to "junk" these days. They have "whored" out their name and will sell it to anyone. It ain't what it used to be. On the otherhand, if you have a component made by Seimens, now THERE is a mil-spec electronic piece if ever there was one. I figure there will be enough nice 124s left on the planet for me to drive one until I die. Maybe I'll try a W140 to spice things up :-)

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