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Discussion Starter #21
This is a forum for the exchange of ideas. We can read what others are doing and make an informed decision.

I read the forum, listened to Mercedes and made an informed choice. There is no reason to attack. You should be glad that I'm willing to be the control in the experiment. Changing the oil may help and may not. You don't really know.

Now lets take a look at who I should listen to. An internet person that I know nothing about or Mercedes, the company that designed and built my car?

I don't think I'm pushing off the car on the next sucker. The "sucker" can go to Mercedes and see the history. I'm not cheating anyone. I might be helping them by not screwing with the sealed system.

I'm glad the forum is here. It's helped me many times. Maybe now I'm helping someone to not stir up trouble.
 

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B15M...well said. We all need to remember to agree to disagree at times. Fluid flushing is one of those "grey areas" where intelligent people can form differing opinions.

The only thing I want to add is that when I brought my SL500 into the dealer with an ABC problem, it took them three tries to find the bad part in the system and replace it...even when consulting with their resident ABC expert. The ABC system is not on many MB models and shop techs aren't very familiar with it. You can't assume they are experts. Of course you can't assume we here on this forum are experts either.

You aren't really taking any risk either on flushing. The fluid normally circulates anyway, and you are just letting the system take in fresh fluid and diverting out the old fluid. No extra pressure or unusual flows are being introduced. Same goes for the filter. All the particulates trapped by the filter are on the inside surface, not the outside surface, so removing it should be safe.

I think you are fine not flushing at 30,000 miles, but I would reconsider it around 40-50K miles. The ABC fluid accumulates microscopic particles from the rubber hoses and rubber diaphragms in the accumulators, which is what turns the fluid black over time. This gunk has a habit of collecting on the seats of the valve blocks leading to sagging problems (a $2K repair each). The cleaner the fluid, the slower the rate of build up.

I sleep a little better at night knowing I have clean fluid and have reduced the risk of sagging problems appearing.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
 

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I lean towards doing the flush though I wouldn't beseech someone that doesn't do it. I have an '09 with 59k miles and my pump was replaced under warranty a year ago and would have cost me $3412. The factory extended warranty (to 7/75k) has more than paid for itself. But it expires in May and I'll decide whether to keep it a few months before then. The mileage is high but I think I could get ~$45k for it. But with that new pump I'm tempted to keep it since I love this car. I'm sure the '13+ models are better but I can't justify shelling out another $50k for one.

To stay on topic with this thread I wonder if I should replace accumulators and valve blocks? If the car sits for a few weeks I hear a motor start running when I get in the car. I think the car is leveling itself but I don't notice any sagging or feel any lifting so I'm not sure what's happening and I'm not going to leave it at the dealer for weeks to try to recreate it. A neighbor of mine has an '03 CL which sits a lot and is visibly sagging most of the time but he says he doesn't have any problems (yet).
 

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IF the system is working fine, I'd recommend just replacing the accumulators (and maybe the dampeners). These have flexible membranes that are under a lot of pressure, and will eventually fail, allowing fluid into the area that should only be nitrogen. Thus the fluid is in contact with metal (probably) and a source for rust etc. contamination of the fluid. I replaced all four on my '03 with <55K miles 2 years ago.

As long as the fluid is, and has always been, clean (green, indicating little or no moisture dissolved in it) and the system is working fine, the valve blocks should be OK.

Gary
 

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"... I hear a motor start running when I get in the car...."

FWIW, that's probably the SBC pump coming alive as you get in the car.
 

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Since this thread was bumped, here is what happened to B15M SL:

The other day I noticed some oil in the garage where the back tire would be.

...

This time they came back with right back strut shows signs of a leak and other side also has some signs.

...

We bought the car with 20,000 miles and sold it with 40,000 miles.

...

Today I traded the car in for a SLK.
Little more than a year after this 2014 discussion ABC on B15M's car started cascading failure and he dumped it in a hurry. We would never know if it would have lasted longer with a fluid flush, but we know it didn't last without one.
 

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Since this thread was bumped, here is what happened to B15M SL:


Little more than a year after this 2014 discussion ABC on B15M's car started cascading failure and he dumped it in a hurry. We would never know if it would have lasted longer with a fluid flush, but we know it didn't last without one.

At that point the car was 13 years old, and started to show its age, therefore, member traded his car for a newer one, likely because they found a car more suitable to their needs and lifestyle. Nowhere did they mention "dumping in a hurry"

Kindly do not manipulate conclusions to support your agenda or views.

PS. Did I mention that keeping record of what each member did with their vehicle, YEARS after a heated discussion, is borderline creepy, or stalkerish at best?
 

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I get it, you don't like hearing anything bad about R230 and would rather run alternative facts R230 forum and run out anyone else. This is partially why it is so dead here. you are fairly successful at running people out. However, you are doing disservice to potential and current owners by painting misleading rosy picture of what it is like to own deeply flawed and expensive car like R230 in its old age. Consequently, people who listen to your alt-facts are out of good money and likely never going to come back to Mercedes brand.


Kindly do not manipulate conclusions to support your agenda or views.
I am not surprised you also don't understand formal logic. The expression you are looking for is "do not manipulate premise to support your agenda".

PS. Did I mention that keeping record of what each member did with their vehicle, YEARS after a heated discussion, is borderline creepy, or stalkerish at best?
I know it is useless to report you for personal attacks and hostile behavior, but you are making stuff up. All it took to find this out is quick post history search. It is all there, and it turned out exactly as I predicted - fail to maintain ABC, suffer cascading failure, dump the car.
 

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Guys, I think both of you have made some good points. Why not focus on that instead of picking at each other? For example, I think it should be quite obvious that the R230 is not a car for everyone. In fact, most older MBZs aren't good cars for most people. As I've stated many times in the forums, if you aren't a skilled DIYer or willing to pay what it takes to maintain and older MBZ, then don't buy it. There is a very good reason why you can buy a 4 or 5 year old MBZ for less than half what it sold for new, and that is because it WILL need some extra scheduled and unscheduled maintenance that "appliance cars" do not.

The R230's extra complex systems just add to the cost of long-term ownership. Without proper maintenance, they will probably fail early. Of course there are plenty of stories where a guy drove his for 120K miles and never had an issue, but there are also stories about a grandmother who smoked three packs and put away a gallon of whiskey everyday and lived to 100, but those are not normal.

I will say that it would be interesting to have some statistics on who did what with their cars. How many people buy R230's for "cheap" (half to a third of original value) and then find out they are in over their heads? That information, combined with that buyer's skills and budget expectations would make a great basis for the advice a prospective buyer should be armed with. Of course gathering that data from the forums is really inconclusive because most people come here only to deal with problems. We rarely hear about the happy owners with no problems.

I believe the majority of R230 owners are actually happy with their cars, warts and all. It's just a matter of expectations. For me, I expect to have to spend time, effort and money on the car, but I am able to do that. I'd never consider replacing my ABC system because I like what it does and I'm willing to pay the price for that. But as much of an R230 and overall MBZ fanboy that I am, I want to make it clear to anyone in the market for one what they are getting into. And for those that do buy these cars and are then upset over the maintenance, all I can say is that you shoulda done your homework! :)
 

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...the R230 is not a car for everyone. In fact, most older MBZs aren't good cars for most people. As I've stated many times in the forums, if you aren't a skilled DIYer or willing to pay what it takes to maintain and older MBZ, then don't buy it. There is a very good reason why you can buy a 4 or 5 year old MBZ for less than half what it sold for new, and that is because it WILL need some extra scheduled and unscheduled maintenance that "appliance cars" do not.

The R230's extra complex systems just add to the cost of long-term ownership. Without proper maintenance, they will probably fail early. Of course there are plenty of stories where a guy drove his for 120K miles and never had an issue, but there are also stories about a grandmother who smoked three packs and put away a gallon of whiskey everyday and lived to 100, but those are not normal.

I will say that it would be interesting to have some statistics on who did what with their cars. How many people buy R230's for "cheap" (half to a third of original value) and then find out they are in over their heads? That information, combined with that buyer's skills and budget expectations would make a great basis for the advice a prospective buyer should be armed with. Of course gathering that data from the forums is really inconclusive because most people come here only to deal with problems. We rarely hear about the happy owners with no problems.

I believe the majority of R230 owners are actually happy with their cars, warts and all. It's just a matter of expectations. For me, I expect to have to spend time, effort and money on the car, but I am able to do that. I'd never consider replacing my ABC system because I like what it does and I'm willing to pay the price for that. But as much of an R230 and overall MBZ fanboy that I am, I want to make it clear to anyone in the market for one what they are getting into. And for those that do buy these cars and are then upset over the maintenance, all I can say is that you shoulda done your homework! :)
Well said.

I didn't do my homework and I don't DIY but I'm fortunate to have the means to pay the price of admission. I paid peanuts for a low-mileage 2003 SL500 so I reckon I've saved about $70K off new sticker, which should be enough to cover quite a few ABC problems :) In the meantime I get to enjoy one of the most comfortable cruisers on the road. Oh, and it looks pretty good too!
 

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In response to Rodney's question about whether people buy "cheap" R230s and then find themselves in over their heads, I didn't know that much about potential ABC issues and purchased an '09 (delivered in May '08) R230 in '11. It was high mileage (36k) but I got a great deal on it at $63k. Purchased factory extended warranty to 7/75k and it paid $3412 for a pump replacement at 54k. Decided to keep the car after the 7 years expired and have had an $1187 repair for an accumulator at 75k. No regrets and still love this car. I'm not DIY (anymore) and am trying a new indy. I understand that maintenance is more than the average car but the car is far better than average.
 

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... I'm not DIY (anymore) and am trying a new indy. I understand that maintenance is more than the average car but the car is far better than average.
Too bad. I'm finding that if I can DIY, I can do it for 10% to 20% of the price from the dealer or an indy. I just changed the rear ABC accumulator for $126 in parts.
 

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Well said.

I didn't do my homework and I don't DIY but I'm fortunate to have the means to pay the price of admission. I paid peanuts for a low-mileage 2003 SL500 so I reckon I've saved about $70K off new sticker, which should be enough to cover quite a few ABC problems :) In the meantime I get to enjoy one of the most comfortable cruisers on the road. Oh, and it looks pretty good too!
Nice fogs. Are they stock or aftermarket? Source?
 

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I think I'm one of Rodney's Boys who got in over his head. I've finally got just about all my problems with mine fixed. Some I did myself and some I paid a local M-B shop to do. Now that it is fixed, I am going to sell it. Rodney's right, mine is a 2004 and it is just one problem after another. As the saying goes, nobody ever sold a used car because it ran too well!
Good luck - and keep that credit card handy.
 

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I think I'm one of Rodney's Boys who got in over his head. I've finally got just about all my problems with mine fixed. Some I did myself and some I paid a local M-B shop to do. Now that it is fixed, I am going to sell it. Rodney's right, mine is a 2004 and it is just one problem after another. As the saying goes, nobody ever sold a used car because it ran too well!
I'll say this: Because I was tired of my CLK and wanted an SL, someone got a really nice CLK550 with a nearly brand new canvas top, a partially rebuilt transmission (new fluid pump and torque converter), no "balance shaft" worries, nearly new Michelin tires, new brakes and super clean inside an out.

It's all about expectations. If you expect to deal with the high cost of maintenance, then you'll be happier than if you are just blinded with excitement over buying a $100K car for $20k.
 

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Too bad. I'm finding that if I can DIY, I can do it for 10% to 20% of the price from the dealer or an indy. I just changed the rear ABC accumulator for $126 in parts.
That implies a markup of 5-10x. Not trying to be flip but with those kinds of margins you should change businesses. If this is the markup why doesn't competition lower the price?
 

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That implies a markup of 5-10x. Not trying to be flip but with those kinds of margins you should change businesses. If this is the markup why doesn't competition lower the price?
Because businesses have 5-10x the expenses. Insurance, wages, rent, taxes, gourmet pastries/coffee just to name a few. They are also a for profit venture!

You definitely can save a lot if you can DIY though!
 

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That implies a markup of 5-10x. Not trying to be flip but with those kinds of margins you should change businesses. If this is the markup why doesn't competition lower the price?
Markup is not equal to profit. And as mentioned, a dealership or an indy has a lot more expenses than I do. All I know is that the previous owner paid $3,136.24 to replace the rear valve block because the car was sagging twice a day. I had the front sag overnight and fixed it for a $40 set of o-rings. I also replaced the accumulator when I did the o-rings.

Of course, the dealership LOVED the previous owner because she could not DIY.
 

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Guys, question is for how long does the fluid remain light green? After flushing my ABC the fluid was bright like new for about 1k km and yesterday after level checking I mentioned the color turned to dirty green (however not so dirty black as was before flushing but not like new). Am I have a problem (dirt scurf in vavle blocks) or it is regular condition after fluid work?
 
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