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Dear all thanks to the many of you who sent advice on this problem. I found a great Mercedes specialist 2 blocks from where I broke down and the fuel pump has now been replaced along with the fuel hose which was brittle and about to fall apart, and also a new fuel filter. $541 CAD.

It went as follows. Mechanic started the car and it ran for 2 hours straight. The only thing they could find was that the fuel pump was really making a growly kind of sound and so they concluded that the problem lay here (most likely)

The vehicle pulls better than before and the hot starting problem seems to have gone. We drove about 20 miles to a friends house after we got the car home (about 6 miles) and now we are noticing a kind of whooshing sound kind of like a rush of air escaping from a hose or perhaps it's a vacuum sound. Anyway it sounds like it's coming from the general area of the trunk and builds up with the speed of the car and at a certain point it gets no louder, but is only heard whilst the car is moving. Beats me - but at least I'm on the road again (for how long ?) Any ideas ? Have they left something loose or what ?

I'll take it back to them tomorrow evening as it can only be heard whilst moving. The mechanic can sit in the back and listen to the car whooshing (and me growling)

Thanks again for all the help and I'll keep you posted on the phantom noise. Gordon.
 
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