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Discussion Starter #1
GALVANISING OF MERCEDES CARS.

It is often asked, when did Mercedes start galvanising the steel panels of their cars. Some threads refer to Mercedes and BMW beginning galvanising in 2004. I now have -from an unimpeachable source- the detailed picture concerning Mercedes.

I set out the picture –model by model- below. I hope moderators/administrators will consider making this a sticky for a while as it is of general interest, not widely available, and because new threads are posted so often now that threads disappear from the front page in the twinkling of an eye.

C CLASS -203 series- saloon and estates: -

All steel panels were galvanised from Quarter 2 2003 production onwards.
During the previous six months (Q4 2002 + Q1 2003) the process was
gradually introduced on the production line and therefore some vehicles
were galvanised during this lead-up period, but not all.

E CLASS -211 series- saloon and estates: -

All steel panels were galvanised from Quarter 1, 2003, production onwards.
During the previous quarter (Q4, 2002) the process was gradually introduced
on the production line and therefore some vehicles were galvanised during
this lead-up period, but not all.

CLK CLASS – 209 series

All steel panels were galvanised from Quarter 2 2003 production onwards.
During the previous six months (Q4 2002 + Q1 2003) the process was
gradually introduced on the production line and therefore some vehicles
were galvanised during this lead-up period, but not all.

SL CLASS –R230 series

This is not so easy to be specific because the change-over period
continued right through into Q3 2004. So although many SLs were galvanised in early 2004 it is not till the end of the third quarter of 2004 that one can say that all were galvanised.

S CLASS –220series and CL class 215 series.

The S class and CL class are built of a combination of aluminium and steel. For the
aluminium components there is, of course, no galvanising process.

All steel panels were galvanised from Quarter 1 2003 production onwards.
During the previous quarter (Q4 2002) the process was gradually introduced
on the production line and therefore some vehicles were galvanised during
this lead-up period, but not all.

I hope members find this helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've been asked do Mercedes galvanise both sides of the steel panels as apparently some car makers galvanise one side only due to the difficulty of getting a good paint finish on galvanised steel.

I can confirm that Mercedes galvanise both sides of the steel panels - and still get an excellent paint finish.
 

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I had not seen this mentioned anywhere before. Is it because Audi and likely many other cars had been doing it a lot longer and there would not have been any sales value making big publicity out of this. Publicity could even have been negative, like MB accepting recent rust problems?

Considering the paint quality, all new cars to me appear to have a bit of "orange face". Nothing bad but if you look very close, the paint isn't as even as it used to be. Could this be caused by galvanised steel panels? I'd take this compromise any time before non-galvanised steel panels, was just wondering if this would explain my observation (and do others agree).
 

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This must be a description of when they went back to galvanizing. Two sided galvanized steel on cars has been commonplace for a long time - since the 80s I believe. Obviously at some point they went backwards - between the 124 and the 210 for example. The 210 is much more prone to rust than a 124 from a decade earlier. Why they went backwards I do not know other than they are subject to the same cost restraints as everyone else. This is another great example of why it is naive, and risky, to blindly assume, as so many do, that Mercedes should always be trusted to have done the right thing. They have been a very mistake prone car over the last 10 or 15 years.
 

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Diesel Benz said:
I had not seen this mentioned anywhere before. Is it because Audi and likely many other cars had been doing it a lot longer and there would not have been any sales value making big publicity out of this. Publicity could even have been negative, like MB accepting recent rust problems?

Considering the paint quality, all new cars to me appear to have a bit of "orange face". Nothing bad but if you look very close, the paint isn't as even as it used to be. Could this be caused by galvanised steel panels? I'd take this compromise any time before non-galvanised steel panels, was just wondering if this would explain my observation (and do others agree).

I don't know this for a fact , but I've been told the "orange peel" look is a result of going with a non-lead based paint to a water based paint. At least that is what I've been told.
 

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That is very helpful, do you know where I can find similar information for my V class Viano?
 

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At least with the W201 and W124 chassis, built in Bremen and Sindelfingen, Mercedes did dip the entire chassis in a rustproofing "bath" before further assembly. After the full submerged dip, wax was also injected into the box sections of the chassis. Primer was then applied, a color coat and then clear. The painted sections were heat baked for finish. This procedure likely predated those chassis, but those are the ones that I am aware of.
 

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That's comforting to know, MTI ;)

Check out the orange-peel on this brand new £65,000GBP CLK63 AMG:



Pretty shameful, i'd be pissed if it were my car.
With many German marques, the range-topping cars (Audi A8, BMW 7-Series) usually have superior paint to the others, never any 'orange peel'.
Can the same be said for the S & SL-Class?

BTW, Porsche have been Galvanising since 1977.
 

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I believe the issue with paint would have more to do with durability than finish. Paints tend to peel worse on galvanized panels than those which are not. It would seem they would have to radically change their procedures for painting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bumbly1 said:
That is very helpful, do you know where I can find similar information for my V class Viano?
Most models are 2003 onwards. You could assume that or contact Customer Service via the MB website.

As MTI says earlier models had a rust proofing dip and other measures which in my experience worked really well. My cousin has an E class over twenty years old and no visible rust. But then came health and safety and environmental concerns which demanded water based paints. These are not inherently waterproof and it is the lacquer used as a topcoat that prevents water ingress. Hence stone chips and scratches must be attended to, as once the lacquered surface is broken water can be absorbed by the water-based paint.

I am not an expert but galvanising does seem to be accepted as the best rust prevention process especially now water based paints are pretty universal. Other threads suggest BMW moved to galvanising in 2004, but maybe someone else has more details.
 

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I had an '86 Volvo 740T and the lower body panels were galvenized.
 

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190Evoluzione said:
That's comforting to know, MTI ;)

Check out the orange-peel on this brand new £65,000GBP CLK63 AMG:



Pretty shameful, i'd be pissed if it were my car.
With many German marques, the range-topping cars (Audi A8, BMW 7-Series) usually have superior paint to the others, never any 'orange peel'.
Can the same be said for the S & SL-Class?

BTW, Porsche have been Galvanising since 1977.
The orange peel is because modern environmental regs have forced them (and everybody) into water based paints. It takes A LOT of handwork to get that level of orange peel out of modern paint.
 

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If own a 1986 fully galvanized 300e. I believe that was the first Mercedes to be fully galvanized. I do know it it 21 years old in the same family for 17 and the car has almost NO rust. It will last around 40-60 years my guess. Here are some pictures of a 500e that sure odes interest me. Look at the paint! Mine has been repainted due to chips and dull not rust. I will take years for the confidence is back in this brand. A friend of mine owns a new SL and was embarrassed when it was pointed out how bad his paint was.
 

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jodyt said:
If own a 1986 fully galvanized 300e. I believe that was the first Mercedes to be fully galvanized. I do know it it 21 years old in the same family for 17 and the car has almost NO rust. It will last around 40-60 years my guess. Here are some pictures of a 500e that sure odes interest me. Look at the paint! Mine has been repainted due to chips and dull not rust. I will take years for the confidence is back in this brand. A friend of mine owns a new SL and was embarrassed when it was pointed out how bad his paint was.
Well, had another thought on this galvanizing issue. The paint on my W221 is like typical for current cars but I'm sure it isn't galvanized on any visible part (not sure about the roof), the point being that the visible parts are all aluminium, or plastic (what ever bumpers etc. are).

The comment earlier about water soluble paint seems to be the reason as claimed earlier. This being the case, you cannot expect "the quality to come back" as this is forced by today's environmental rules.

A typical case where it simply is not fair to compare old models with new ones.
 

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I just fixed a few rust spots on my ml and I'm surprised at how rust resistant the sheet metals were. Mind you, this ML's been driven in NY since 02, and there's been alot if snow/rain in the past few years(well, not this year). I had a few dings and long scrapes that exposed bare metal, but I just painted over with touch up paint. 3 years later, paint flaked off and rust started showing up. I just left them alone as I was going to give my car a fresh coat in the future. Another year, and rust spots started getting red and real rusty, so I sanded off the surrounding areas, expecting to see rust under the paint. To my surprise, the rust didn't even spread beyond the exposed area. There is no rust anywhere else on the car.
 
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