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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ladies and Gentlemen,

My S212 just flipped over 80,000 wonderful miles. This car is absolutely outstanding- it's gotten me through this ski season in the Northeast through blinding snow, freezing rain, dense fog and highly variable road conditions, all without missing a beat. This car gets you out into the bad stuff and delivers you back home warm and dry with no fanfare.

It's due for a transmission fluid change. And of course this is not really a DIY item (unless you're Doc "G" of course!) because you have to fill it and then plug it into the computer to check the temperatures. And that is beyond my capabilities at the moment!

So it was off to M-B Manhattan, without a doubt the dealership with the most expensive real estate costs this side of Tokyo! I don't blame them for being expensive, there are many owners who just pay the bill without questioning it!

Along with the gearbox change I was getting the CEL for P0456, a slight leak in the evaporative emissions. This I think is traceable to the Purge Valve. At least that seems to be a common failure mode about this mileage.

They also recommended a brake job, rotors, pads and sensors, (about $2000) which I actually have planned for the spring, change the plugs (on time and mileage) for $600, and replace the serpentine belt, idler pully and sheave pulley for $1,000.

Naturally this is not an outlay that I desire at this time, or any time. I changed the belt and idlers on my old E53 (that's a BMW X5!) with great success. The Purge valve is literally two hose clamps. The brake job is half a day if you take your time. $600 for plugs, including Bosch plugs at $27 each, when they are available as a set of six for $38, including shipping?

This is not really intended to be a rant at the Dealer. My service adviser is a nice old German guy who does the best he can.

Fortunately I am posessed of the experience, tools and bravado to execute such repairs myself.

But can I trouble this crowd for the WIS? Are there entries for

1) Purge valve replacement;
2) Idler pulley and belt replacement, including belt path;
3) Front and rear brake rotors, pads and sensor?

While much is out there (on YouTube, who knew!) I would appreciate having the proper torque settings, particularly for things like the caliper bolts.

I can buy a day of WIS for whatever they charge of course, but thought I would ask here first.

It ain't Rocket Science.

But then again, Rocket Science ain't Rocket Science, to a Rocket Scientist.

THANKS

And of course I will post photos as I go. I think the great Edgar Allan Poe said, "Should you ever be drowned or hung, be sure to make note of your sensations." :)
 

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The Spark Plugs are about as EASY as EASY gets...

The Serpentine Belt & Idler Pulley?? Also quite Easy.

Brakes? Per WIS it looks Easy, as well. Have yet to need even a PAD change, at nearly 100,000 !

I would first measure your Rotors. The 'General Rule-O-Thumb' (your results may vary), is Rotors need changing EVERY-OTHER Pad change.

Once you decide 'which' services you will do, then I would STRONGLY suggest a One-Day STARTEK access.

Transmission Service? Ja... It's a bit of a challenge... I did my 3rd servicing a few months ago. You may wish to bite-the-bullet and leave it to a Dealer/Independent shop..
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks "G!" Your DIY on the belt is a HUGE help!

If the purge valve were a snake it would have bit me. There it is right in the front of the engine compartment.

How the dealer can spend 3 hours on this is beyond imagination-- maybe if they ran a complete smoke test and cleared the codes. . . and took a nice nap in an S-class in the showroom, maybe they could get 3 hours out of it. I was thinking of buying some Oetiker clamps to do it up right. . . but it looks like there are no hose clamps on the assembly at all. This should be easier than originally thought.

Purge valve on the way from OE Discount Parts, $125, free shipping.



The belt is also up front and it doesn't even appear as though the fan shroud will have to come off.



Parts are trickling in. . . belt and pulley kit from FCP Euro for $161-- this is a FeBi (Ferdinand Bilstein) tensioner made in Germany, appears to have had a part number milled off the side (probably M-B) and has the logo GATES prominently cast in. Appears to be a quality part, will report following installation and testing.



Likewise the belt is a Mercedes-Benz branded item made by Gates.



Pulleys are in INA boxes, one from Germany, the other from France. They appear high quality as well.





Also from FCP Euro I scored a set of six Bosch plugs, Nr. 517081, Bosch 0 242 135 509, AKA YR7MPP33, M-B part number 004 159 18 03. These don't have to be gapped, although I will check the gap when they go in. "G" has also provided an excellent illustrated and annotated DIY for this. I bought the factory spark plug tool for $55 from OE Discount Parts, an indulgence as an El Cheapo Harbor Freight is probably up to the job, but the possibility of a stripped plug, and the fact that I am an obsessive tool collector, sealed the purchase.

Included in the FCP tune up kit with the plugs was a Mann air filter, all for $58! So including the tool I'm at just over $100 vs. $600 from the dealer.



I will be replacing the squirrel cage fan, scored a new original M-B fan and cage (integral assembly) from eBay for $120 including shipping.

The brakes will be done later. . . I have been taking measurements of pads and rotors every time I change from summer to winter tires.

Last measurements were:

LR 21.78mm, 9mm pad thickness
RR 22.19mm, 9mm pad thickness
LF 31.92mm, 9mm pad thickness; and
RF 31.86mm, 8mm pad thickness.

These were measured with a Mahr digital caliper with jaws that clear the lip on the rotor, so they go on the true running surface, and the M-B brake pad tool that looks like a pen.

Hmm now if the front rotors are 32mm and the rears are 22mm, not only does that not imply a lot of wear after 83,000 miles (I bought the car at 44,000 with no indication in the VMI of a prior brake job) and in one case the rotor is thicker than stock! I'll have to look at where it's stamped on the rotor to be sure.

Unless anyone knows? These are the cross-drilled type.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
In a change of plans I ordered a Hazet 880AMGT-1 16mm (5/8") spark plug socket. OE Discount had the wrong price listed in the book and the true price was $75 or so. I'd rather have a HAZET than the M-B tool at that price.
 

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In a change of plans I ordered a Hazet 880AMGT-1 16mm (5/8") spark plug socket. OE Discount had the wrong price listed in the book and the true price was $75 or so. I'd rather have a HAZET than the M-B tool at that price.

Ja, the M-B socket is made by Hazet (HZ 4766)... but has a 'U-Joint' built in... It's GREAT for the M112/113 engines, but certainly not needed for the M272. Your cheaper 880AMGT-1 is fine... It has the same Fixating Springs on the inside (vs. the ol'-skool 'rubber' inner plug holder)


DANG! Dude! You *CURSED* me!...

I very rarely drive my wife's W212... Drove it yesterday?? Squeeking noise coming from the Belt Tensioner!! Dooohhhhh!
 

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Scratch that!!

I mixed up your HZ 880 A Mg T ( which has a MAGNETIC fixation... not the ‘spring-clamp’)
with the 880 A KF whcih has spring clamp.

Both sockets have same dimensions/profile.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sorry “G!”

I know what happened. Your W212 must have overheard us talking about maintenance...and wanted some!

Good cars are HAUNTED as the late great Harry Pellow a-used to say! (Harry Pellow A/k/a “the Maestro” was a retired GE engineer who was the best 356 engine restorer of his day. His ancient website is still up even though he left us in 2003. e.g.,
http://maestroslibrary.com/gretyl.html

Well anyway more bits came in today. The screwdrivers are a gift for a Porsche friend who just bought a 997 but does not DIY! Now he has no excuse.

The Hazet plug socket is a very high quality piece, this will be a pleasure.

A check of EPC shows that the purge valve has two vacuum connections- one to the charcoal canister, which is a quick disconnect, and the other to a piece of rubber hose! This will be a five minute job.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Why don’t we do it in the road..,

...said Paul McCartney in 1968. He was referring to something else but he might well have been talking about

PURGE VALVE REPLACEMENT

Don’t blink or you will miss this one. There is a two pin electrical connector with a wire release- squeeze the wire and it lifts off. The purge valve is held on to its bracket by a rubber mount that just pulls off. Once free of the mount, a pair of pliers is used to release the hose clamp on the side.

The bottom of the valve has a piece of 10 or 11mm hose that is about six inches long. This goes over a barb fitting on the bottom of the valve with no clamp. The other end goes over a rigid tube which is held in place by a plastic clip. By pulling up on the valve body the tube releases from the clip, giving you enough slack to remove the rubber hose. It comes off with a couple twists.

Installation is literally the reverse of removal.

30 seconds to plug in the El Cheapo Harbor Freight “Zurich Z11 Scan Tool and Julienne Potato maker” and the code is cleared.

It took me SIX minutes for the whole job. That is longer than it took me to type and edit this entry.

Oh, and I did it by the side of the road on a trip. I had some extra time and was sick of staring at the orange CEL so I fixed it. I was inspired by McCartney.

The part was $125. The “Zurich ZR1 Scan Tool and hunting bolo” was another $125.

The dealer quoted $600 plus tax for this repair—three hours of work. Maybe if they threw in a trip to the gym and a few oysters at Grand Central, does it take three hours.

Enjoy
 

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This is awesome, great info. Only comment I have is, why even bother taking it to a dealership to get *quoted* for all that work? There are so many quality independent and Benz-specialist shops in the area that will not overcharge you on labor like that, that if you didn't really want to do something yourself, you'd be much better off in the hands of a small business owner with a loyal customer base than a dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
This is awesome, great info. Only comment I have is, why even bother taking it to a dealership to get *quoted* for all that work? There are so many quality independent and Benz-specialist shops in the area that will not overcharge you on labor like that, that if you didn't really want to do something yourself, you'd be much better off in the hands of a small business owner with a loyal customer base than a dealership.
Well, I took it to the dealer for the gearbox oil change. For this they changed:

222 277 20 00 Gear Oil Filter
001 989 77 03 Gear Oil (7 bottles)
007 603 012 102 Ring, General, Metal (oil pan drain plug seal ring)
220 271 03 80 Gasket
004 990 35 12 Screw (these are single-use aluminum torque-to-yield stretch bolts for the pan
Service code 83335 "performed trans service"

Parts came to 388.16 and the labor was 230.00 for this. As mentioned above, the dealer charges a markup over MSRP for the parts, but there's no way to get around that, and their real estate is very expensive, so I get it.

The reason to take it there is that given that it's the gearbox, a critical system and the second-most expensive item in the car, I wanted the service done by somebody with the right equipment who would stand behind the work. Elsewhere http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w221-s-class/1721569-photo-diy-722-905-7g-tronic.html is the excellent photo DIY of "G-AMG" who meticulously details this process (I have a 722.960 box but it's close enough). . . as you can see it is a daunting task, even for the legendary "G" himself, that requires that you measure the gearbox fluid temperature with the STAR DIAGNOSTIC box, which I don't have! (I know that others report using an IR gun, or a surface thermocouple, but "G" reports a 10 degree differential from the IR gun to his STAR. . . enough to deter me from messing with it) And getting the torque converter plug out? Looks like the Marquis De Sade himself designed that procedure.

The rest of the "quote" was just that-- my SA didn't charge me, and the technician was just trying to drum up business-- hence, he generated the whole work order, which I then politely declined. Of course they put a big entry in the service report ****THE FOLLOWING WORK WAS RECOMMENDED BUT NOT PERFORMED******** as though they were wagging their finger at me! I told my SA, an old German who is always directing me to the free Salzburger Nockerel in the customer service lounge, that I was doing it myself, and he just smiled. I did find it helpful, though, to have them print out all the supersede part numbers. . . of course I double-checked them against the EPC, and they got one wrong (Caliper bolt a M12x1.5x35 for the rear, they proposed a M12x1.5x45, same as the front! Not sure I want the extra 10mm of bolt shank digging into my rotor.

I have yet to find an indy I can trust around here, not saying there isn't one, but to me, the job is either one I do myself, or it's one I would only trust to a dealer, nothing in between. I am open to suggestions of good indies in the NYC metro area, of course. Is Wolfgang good?
 

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I'm not sure of the NYC area but I do know a friend, with a father in law who has a fleet of Benzes for his livery business, and he lives in the NY area. I can ask about his mechanic if you're interested, and I'll send you the info? There are also local boards on here that may have suggestions for you.

You do bring up great points - if I didn't have a mechanic I trusted just as much as I'd trust the dealer to stand behind the work, I would also take it to the dealer. I am very fortunate in that there are a couple of fantastic "indie" shops in the area that work exclusively on certain makes. My mechanic, European Auto Solutions in Waltham, used to only work on Mercedes vehicles, and now also works on BMWs (that's a newer thing). One of the owners is also the new president of the Minuteman chapter of the MBCA. They do all sorts of great events for the Benz community, including a fun session in May where you get 15 minutes of free lift time and schmoozing with the other members.

But before I found them, I took it to another mechanic that worked on Alfa Romeos back in the day (before their initial hiatus from the US in '95). My thinking at the time was, if they could work on Alfas, they can work on anything, and I was right about that. And still, I feel more confident taking it to the Benz specialty shop, EAS. They actually do overflow work for some of the dealers in the area due to their reputation - I imagine on older cars and antiques, but not sure about that.

If you don't mind my continued rant: when I had my W210 E320, it got into an accident in the snow, and it was one of those "one in a million" shots. I had turned the wheel against the skid (bad idea), and slid into another car with the wheel turned the other way. The body did get crunched a little, but the b***h of it was, the suspension took most of the impact and the result was a bent steering rack. I didn't know of EAS at the time. I took it to my dad's body shop he had used, and they screwed the pooch on my poor W210. Paint overspray on my leather seats (???? and it was a body shop!), paint wasn't matched well, didn't even look at or try to fix the steering rack, central locking system wasn't working right, and the airbag light was on (the airbag hadn't deployed, but you need a dealer or a special machine to re-set that). The guy literally tried to act like it was fine. After having to carefully navigate that mess without ruining the relationship my father had with the owner, I found EAS. They did me right, I've never forgotten the attention to detail, and once I was back in a Benz last year, I knew I would only take it there going forward, unless there was an issue covered by the CPO warranty.
 

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@304065:

My friend currently lives in Mamaroneck, and highly recommended B&A Automotive, over his father in law's mechanic in NJ. He said to me:

"I would trust this guy with any car I'd ever own. He has taken such good care of us over the last six years and not only is a good mechanic on every make and model, including restoring older vehicles (this includes Benzes), but he will also identify the least expensive appropriate fix for a given problem."

If Mamaroneck is too far out of the way, let me know and I can still press him on the NJ guy.
 

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@304065:

My friend currently lives in Mamaroneck, and highly recommended B&A Automotive, over his father in law's mechanic in NJ. He said to me:

"I would trust this guy with any car I'd ever own. He has taken such good care of us over the last six years and not only is a good mechanic on every make and model, including restoring older vehicles (this includes Benzes), but he will also identify the least expensive appropriate fix for a given problem."

If Mamaroneck is too far out of the way, let me know and I can still press him on the NJ guy.
My Parents live in Mamaroneck - i will let my mom know to take her W212 there and not to the dealer - thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mechanic discussions aside, today was a day to get down to BUSINESS!

Oil Change with Mahle filter and Mobil 1 0W-40 European Formula using MityVac extractor
Brake Fluid Flush with Genuine MB Fluid using air pressure bleeder
Air Filter Change with Mahle Filters
Plug Change with Bosch Plugs with HAZET Plug socket. This socket made the job a dream, never dropped a plug.
R&R Blower Motor with Genuine MB (Behr) Part. This is a tool-free job except the T20 to drop the panel down, same as changing the cabin filter.
Serpentine Belt Change with Genuine MB (Gates) Part. 17mm hex to preload the tensioner.
Idler Pulley and Sheave Pulley Change with INA Parts E12 and E30 Torx, I used blue Loctite 242 on the idler pulley as there was a lot of swarf in the threads.
Belt Tensioner Change with FEBI (Gates)

Including lunch this was about eight hours of work.
Photos to come
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Everything lined up, ready for a day's work!

Oil and filter change was conventional using the MityVac Extractor. Every time I do this it gets faster and cleaner. . .I pour the new oil in through the hole in the bottom of the filter housing, using a funnel- I find this to be easier and cleaner than using the filler cap, because the funnel hits the timing chain and can bounce out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Air filter had 40K on the clock and was due for a change. This requires removing the filter housing and cleaning the "dirty" side of the housing- plenty of sand, grit and other FOD accumulates in the inside rear corner of the housing, where it gets blown by ram air.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Plug change was EASY! The original plugs had 84,000 miles on them. . . there was significant erosion of the center and side electrodes and the gap had opened up to about 0.95mm (from the original 0.8mm). The threads were coated in a brown viscous goop, that almost made you think they were installed with ANTISEIZE- but they were not, and the new ones are not.

The new plugs went in like a breeze, using the HAZET plug wrench with magnetic fixation feature! No dropping the plug, no guesswork, EASY. Torque of 23Nm was also found on the plug boxes. Coil packs held on with T20 torx.

Interestingly, while I used Bosch YR7 "Double Platinum" plugs, the originals were Y7 "Platinum." They were externally identical. Of course the YR7 are ""Double" which means they have a platinum fine-wire center electrode AND a platinum wire welded into the side electrode. The original has a Yttrium side electrode. Fascinating, I know.

I used Henkel Loctite dielectric grease on the boots.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Next came the serpentine belt. The best piece of advice I have is to take a photo of the routing of the belt, so you can refer back to it when installing the new belt! There are a couple different ways to do it but only one correct way!

As written elsewhere removing the tensioner requires that you first relax the tension using a breaker bar and a 17mm socket. The belt then slips off. With the belt out of the way you then crank the tensioner far enough to get a punch between the hook on the outer portion and the hole on the inner portion, locking the tensioner in place, allowing you to get clearance for the E12 external torx screw on the other side. There are only two screws. I torqued these to 25NM, your mileage may vary, investigate and apply torque settings at your own risk! I put 25 on the big pulley and 20 on the small one with a dab of blue loctite. Again, at your own risk, there is a serious paucity of torque information out there.
 

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