MB build quality - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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MB build quality

I have read that "J D Power surveys, demonstrated a downturn in the quality and reliability ratings of Mercedes vehicles in the late 1990s and early 2000s" Mercedes Benz Encyclopedia of Cars, History ,Wikipedia.
I am not bashing any owner of MBs of this time frame but rather am inquring if owners have found this to be true. Does this mean that i should only consider pre 1995 models? And if i did get one.....say a 1989 Diesel ....should it or could it be treated as a daily driver car or treated just as a weekend car ?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 08:51 AM
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I had W210 1996 model and it was built very well, only rust problem took some attention, they solved it on newer models.

MB Diesel engines from all generations surviving very impressive millage. But in 20+ years old car most important is how previous owners treated it. I would recommend W210 or W211 if your budget allows, they have powerful and very economic CDI Diesel engines.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 12:34 PM
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The JD Power survey is correct, Mercedes built from about 1995-2005 are a maintenance disaster. I wouldn't say they were poorly built, the interior and exterior quality of my car is really nice and has held up well. However, expect a $1600 headgasket or similar repair about once a year. The upside is that BMW and Audis from the same time period are even worse

Your second question is one I've wondered myself; would something like a 1987 240D be more reliable than my car? Probably not but it might at least be easier to fix.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 04:15 PM
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. . . expect a $1600 headgasket or similar repair about once a year.
Seriously? Can we blame that on Chrysler?
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 04:29 PM
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Seriously? Can we blame that on Chrysler?
Unfortunately no, my car was made before the merger. It was just a bad decade for cars.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 06:27 PM
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The JD Power survey is correct, Mercedes built from about 1995-2005 are a maintenance disaster. I wouldn't say they were poorly built, the interior and exterior quality of my car is really nice and has held up well. However, expect a $1600 headgasket or similar repair about once a year. The upside is that BMW and Audis from the same time period are even worse

Your second question is one I've wondered myself; would something like a 1987 240D be more reliable than my car? Probably not but it might at least be easier to fix.
Why include 1995? 95 was a great year, maybe the best.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2012, 08:45 AM
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Not all, but quite a few of the quality issues were also traced back to suppliers, like Robert Bosch. In a way, it's a lot like the "bad capacitor" issues that Dell, Apple, Sony and other computer companies had during the same period . . . done in by their subcontractors.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2012, 09:48 AM
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The JD Power survey is correct, Mercedes built from about 1995-2005 are a maintenance disaster.


96-99 W140s are just as reliable as the earlier W140s. If anything they are arguably a bit more reliable.

95+ Mercedes did some cost cutting so many things were replaced. For example headlights, tail lights, leather quality, side panel moldings, climate control panel, engine cover and MANY other items were replaced with different versions. The power inside rearview mirror, park assist masts and a few other minor things were deleted but at the same time some other things were added on the later versions like the 5 speed driver adaptive transmission, xenon headlamps and rain sensing wipers to name a few.

Any W140 can turn into a maintenance disaster with deferred maintenance from previous owners.

Last edited by SaleenS7; 03-30-2012 at 09:57 AM.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2012, 06:20 PM
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The important question is if MB builds reliable cars now.

Most surveys cover the initial quality of the car, how many defects or component failures in the first year or so. I, for one, am interested in long term reliability. I tend to keep my car for many years. My w209 is 8 years old with 150k miles.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2012, 08:58 PM
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We are talking about entering technical revolution going into digitalized cars. That sure had some glitches, but remember what happen few years later when Toyota went digital?
Our 98 E300DT is in excellent condition with 233k on odometer and never needed headgasket.
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