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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I haven't posted a while. Just picked up a second E320 CDI, a 2005, for my son to use. Only had 134K on it. No rust, since it was a Florida car. However, the interior took a bit of a beating and the top of the roof's clear coat is shot from the Florida sun, so I'll have to work on those things with my son. Nothing like a little bonding time with a boy working on a car. The drive train and suspension is nice and tight as expected.

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My dad and I started off the same way. My first car at 16 was an '83 300SD! That car got me into working on Benz's and started this whole love of the Mercedes diesel. that car was also a complete train wreck and i'm pretty sure had the odometer rolled back about 348924729472398 miles since its recent life as a taxi cab in Lebanon.
Its been a decade since then, and I've had 6 other benz's since then. It makes a fantastic Father-Son hobby.
I highly recommend getting a Star Diagnostic system now if you don't already have one ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My dad and I started off the same way... It makes a fantastic Father-Son hobby... I highly recommend getting a Star Diagnostic system now if you don't already have one ;)
That'd be cool, but I'm not sure if this son has the mechanical aptitude gene. Watching him use a screwdriver is painful. I'm sure he can learn.

Yep, I bought the Star diag tool a few months back.
 

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My sons initially did not show my mechanical genes, so I had to force them to work on their first cars, but oldest one after graduating as geologist, work in the field and went back to community college to get diploma (with straight As) in diesel mechanics.
I ask him "but you never liked to work on the cars" his answer was "becouse you forced me to it".
The youngest was assisting me when I was working on his first cars, but we never had serious jobs to do.
Yet few years later he landed 2000 miles from home and was buying new car. Talk with his mother and she ask him "do you have a friend who can help you with inspecting the car?"
His answer was "I know the cars, don't you remember me working with father on them?"
So you never know when even forced lessons will eventually pay off
Enjoy.
 

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2005 E320 CDI *black on black with nearly every option*
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My father essentially forced me to learn how to fix the car I was driving without ever telling me that.

He simply told me that paying for maintenance and repairs was entirely my responsibility.
Being a high school student and later a college student, I couldn't afford to take depreciated German luxury to a shop to have everything fixed. I was forced to learn to do things myself.

Fortunately, I grew up right during the boom of Google and YouTube, and the W126 forums were ripe with tutorials and diagnostic information on these cars, made fixing them alot easier.

I always tell people that are afraid to work on cars, that they have vastly more Information on how to diagnose and fix these cars than mechanics did when they were new.

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Right you are, @Rossafuss. YouTube and this forum have been among my best friends in the mechanical arena, too.

@smeyers, congrats on your second E320 CDI. Your son is going to love the CDI's power and fuel efficiency.
 

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Your son is going to love the CDI's power and fuel efficiency.
Continuing how my oldest son changed his perception growing up >>>
when in college, he bought sporty Mitsubishi (for his own money).
But when he come home for long weekend and wanted to have some fun with his HS friends, he ask me if he can drive my diesel MB Saturday night.
I agree on condition that he will fill it up. So next morning on Sunday drive I noticed tank only 1/2 full. Ask my son why he did not fill it up and his answer was he did... before he picked up his friends.
The car was making 450 miles on tank in the city. I let you do the math and figure out why Mitsubishi was 2nd choice for the night.
 

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^^ That's funny as heck. :-D

And that's what my car makes in town as well--about 450 miles. That's just amazing for a nearly two-ton executive sedan.

The stories here remind me of my neighbor's kid, who had a W124, a 300D turbodiesel, about 5 or so years ago. He worked with his Dad on it and dealt with pretty much all of the problems that a W124 of that age typically has. It was bought for him because:

A.) it's a tank and thus pretty safe,
B.) it's got way low insurance rates, and
C.) everything's mechanical and thus can be fixed by wrenching.

He would've kept it, had it not been for the truly excessive body rust, to the point that the floorpan was getting dangerous. The car ended up being donated to one of the local high schools for their auto shop and auto body classes, and they were rather grateful to get it. Today the kid, now in college, drives a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta with a 5-speed manual transmission and does the majority of the maintenance on the car himself.
 

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People constantly rag on newer cars because of the higher presence of electronic gizmos (I'm looking at you hoovies garage), but they're there for a reason. They're there to help diagnosing a car more precisely and easily.
I've owned several of the "mechanical tank" era of Mercedes, and they really are a crap shoot to diagnose on certain issues, often relying on just throwing parts at a problem until it's resolved. Mechanical things are sometimes much less reliable than electronic. Relays vs transistors for instance.
The odometers on older benz's ALWAYS fail, now they last forever.

Having the correct equipment for diagnosis makes these newer cars much more pleasurable and easier to work on in my opinion, and pulls you into a whole new skill set with electronics and computers.

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^^ Oh my...did I give that impression?
 

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No no, just a generic rant against the "nothing's better than the 1979 240d" type of people out there lol
 

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It is comparing apples to oranges, but old, mechanical odometers would fail at 300k miles or 20 years. Some cleaning and clock oil would put them back on the road. Now how many digital clusters have been replaced on W210 way before they reached those numbers?
I am not fan of computerized systems at all, especially when you have to add SCN coding, what makes replacing couple of stupid sensors a 4-digit cost, but then hard to beat 60 mpg.
Even the "new" Sprinter bus I bought makes over 22 mpg.
 

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It's more about using a solid state circuit for a specific job that can be done much more reliably than mechanical. Both my w201 190D and w124 300D I had in the past had the odometers wear out well before I bought the car. The plastic gears in the odometer itself had stripped. At that point, what's the point of fixing it when an untold number of miles have already passed.
Whereas with the new cars, even if the instrument cluster fails and needs to be replaced, computers from other systems still continue to accurately collect the miles driven.

I'm completely with you on SCN though. The entire concept of a software calibration number is a scam. Why is it required that there be a database of software version codes installed on each and every car associated with the VIN Number? Why on Earth is that necessary? Even if it's only for the engine and transmission, why can't you just update or install that software the way every other control module is updated?!

Changing the rear SAM in my W164 a couple months ago, just programming the version coding into that prompted me for an online connection for SCN. Luckily it wasn't mandatory and I was able to get past it.

The only reason I can think SCN even exists is to lock out as many users as possible and force all programing to be done at a dealership.

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To fight customers scamming - register at https://repair.org/
When I drove W123, I collected 3 or 4 sets of odometer gears and never had a problem with making them working. Stripped gear indicated serious problem becouse I remember there was some kind of torque limiter on the system, who would disengage before gear stripping.
Anyway, anybody has dial phone he wants to get rid off cheap?
 

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Certain things are better with electronics and transistors in particular, no question, and I have little problem with computerization (I'm in the IT business), when it's applied properly and not to excess, i. e. when it shows a real benefit. For example, fuel metering and spark sensing for complete combustion, those are good things. We like more efficient fuel combustion. Honda has been doing a terrific job of that since the late 1980's with their ECU's. I just took a drive to Virginia Beach and back, a 400-mile trip in our 1994 Honda Civic. Averaging between 70 and 75 mph, the car returned 39.5 mpg. When running at, say, 65 mph, it's even higher. In town, it consistently gets 29 to 30 mpg. This is pretty close to what I see with the E320 CDI (26-27 city, 39 highway), which also carefully monitors fuel. Same goes for our M113 gassers; they're considerably more efficient than the older cars ever were. Dad's 2000 S430 gets 27 mpg highway at 80 mph and between 16 and 18 town, and that's a W220 full-size. His 1992 Lexus LS400 back in the day routinely turned in 18-19 mpg city, and with care, he actually got 21. In town. With a 250HP, V8 engine in a full-sized luxury car. Compare these results with Mom's 1974 Buick Regal with the 350 V8 engine and a carburetor. There's just no comparison.

Clearly, monitoring fuel combustion is a good thing and works well.

Where I have a problem is when the manufacturer locks us out of working on our own vehicles (the SCN coding example is a very good one). I also have a problem with having to go to the dealer to get your battery changed (certain recent-model BMW's, you actually have to program the battery to the car!) or anything else that smacks of vendor lock-in crap. Just a week ago, I had to buy a replacement key for the wife's S500. Here in the States, you can only go to Mercedes-Benz to do that. Apparently in Europe, there was a lawsuit for monopolistic practices, and some EU court ordered Daimler AG to knock it off and provide the information so independent key makers can also provide those keys. Same, apparently, applied to SCN Coding; Daimler were compelled to provide that information to people. Unfortunately, my understanding is that this only applies in the EU, kinda like the SBC 25-year warranty applies only in the United States.

It should be easy and simple for us to just buy parts, like shifter modules, EIS's, DPF's, conductor plates (a real problem with the 722.9 trans), TCM's, all that, just so long as we show that we own the car for certain more-sensitive parts like keys and EIS's (driver's license and vehicle registration, for example) at the counter. Just show ID and ownership proof at the counter, pay your money, and walk out with the new part. That's how it ought to be. But too often, it's not. Even the computerized Honda and Ford keys, while $70, are available from just about any ACE Hardware Store.

And that, I believe, is the basis of the "older cars are better for long-term ownership" position. It's not the cars, it's the lock-down policies of the manufacturers and their national distributors.

The neighbor's son didn't have SDS, and at the time, it was apparently harder to get a good clone SDS than it is today. So, for him, the 300D turbodiesel made sense, along with its other good, tank-like qualities.

I must say, Daimler did a fine job with the E320 CDI, the 300D's great-grandkid. Matter of fact, I'm driving it today. The car isn't fancy. It doesn't shout, "I'm a luxury sedan!" in your face like the S's kinda do (not that that's a bad thing, mind you, just a different automotive personality). It just WORKS. Damn, that car is good.
 

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We like more efficient fuel combustion. Honda has been doing a terrific job of that since the late 1980's with their ECU's.
He, he, that remind me my friend using my yard for replacing engine in his early 1980's Honda.
At the time cars had air logic system, what you can see on W124.
But Honda had 3 junction boxes for vacuum tubing where 2 of them had like 30-40 connections and only 3rd had less.
Took my friend most of the day to figure out connections.
Still those cars made over 30 mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Certain things are better with electronics and transistors in particular, no question, and I have little problem with computerization (I'm in the IT business), when it's applied properly and not to excess, i. e. when it shows a real benefit.
Yep! Great post. All very true.

And of course another downside of electronics is like I'm having on this '05 as there is a slow drain on the battery that I haven't yet determined where it is coming from. It isn't a problem on my '06. But I honestly haven't had the time to really get into that particular problem yet. I suspect the Comand and Nav. Might have to run to the local junk yard and rip the comand and nav out of one of the donor cars over there.
 

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what Noodles said, Audio gateway is a huge cause of a drain if it doesn't shut off the fiber optics loop when the car turns off. in some cases the radio will stay on when the car is turned off, but that's a less common symptom when the AGW fails.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
what Noodles said, Audio gateway is a huge cause of a drain if it doesn't shut off the fiber optics loop when the car turns off. in some cases the radio will stay on when the car is turned off, but that's a less common symptom when the AGW fails.
This is good information. I did have the radio stay on at least one time that I noted when the car was shut off. Guess I'd better hook up the STAR system and have a poke around. Just haven't gotten to that yet. I intend on going back over to the junk yard and pulling a bunch more stuff out of one of the two donor cars over there. Guess I'll grab an audio gateway too when I grab the trunk DVD drive, since it is right there next to it.

We just finished putting everything back together under the hood last night and only have the oil change left to go, so the car is almost ready for the road again. Funny how my 17 year old son was more interested in getting the car on the road than working on power drain and other such "unimportant" details. When I told him it was high priority that we had to replace the thermostat before he got to use it as his daily driver, he had this pained look on his face. He asked, "Do I really need to replace the thermostat right now? It was fine all the way back from Florida." My response was, "We live in Ohio. It's October. How do you feel about heat and being able to defrost the windows?" He's learning. If he learns nothing else, I hope he learns more patience and how to be thorough. Of course in the end, we had to do A LOT more than just the thermostat. LOL

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