Date registered: May 2013
Vehicle: 1961 190SL
Location: Northern California, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
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"And will his Chevy truck still be running in 50 years like your 190SL is? You can't expect any rubber part anywhere on the car to last indefinitely."
The 2006 truck that my son just bought came from a utility company where it was driven hundreds of miles every day. The odometer shows about 400,000 miles and it is still running but is very low on power. My son has another engine on the stand for rebuiilding.
My wife's 1961 190SL has 78,000 miles and has always been garaged. The underside of the 190SL is absoultely filthy, oozing grease and oil from every orifice. When I was under it to replace the brake hoses my skin and clothes were absolutely blackened by the wet grease/oil/road grime. It's really nasty, unlike anything I have ever seen.
In addition to being a truly disgusting leaker, somebody or several somebodys went way out of their way to make it extremely difficult to service. Should a mechanic have to remove the intake system to access a brake hose connector? I don't think so. Should a mechanic have to remove the intake system and generator to access a starter from the top or remove suspension components to access the starter from the bottom? I don't think so. That's nothing other than incompetent engineering.
There is another high mileage vehicle in my family, a 1971 Dodge van that I bought new and now has 348,000 miles. It is easy to service and has none of the leaks that the 190SL has. It is now on its second engine rebuild and I've replaced the U-joints a few times (they're easily accessible) and I've done a couple of brake jobs (all parts easily accessible) but the mechanical parts are the originals, even the wheel bearings, brake drums and rotors.
Do rubber parts last forever? Certainly not, but my 1971 van and my 1936 Chevy pickup that I restored in the 1970s still have not had any brake hoses "swell shut". Prior to reading this and another Mercedes forum I have never even heard of brake hoses "swelling shut".
Others have told me that the 190SL is notoriously difficult to service. This car has been in my wife's family since the 1960s. It generally had to go to MB dealerships to be serviced because independant garages wanted no part of it. From the brake work I've done I completely understand their refusal to work on this thing. If I hadn't promised my wife that I would "Get it running" I would list it on Craigslist for a give-away price and celibrate when it was driven or hauled away.
Since this is a technical forum I feel comfortable airing this issue out. Perhaps some other poor guy out there is working on one of these things too. He might be relieved to know that the dificulties he's encountering are not his fault. I've also discovered a few things that may help the next guy find parts that fit even though they are not listed for this car.
Maybe someone can suggest parts substitutions that can help me. For example, I've read that the OEM starter is troublesome and that there is an Audi gear reduction starter that may fit.