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1979 240 D, 1993 500 SEL
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203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a couple of questionable dealer repair recommendations which I declined (an independent mech verified that I really did not need new accums and brakes,they weren' "leaking" as the dealer said), I realized that if I want to keep my W140 and W123, I am going to have to learn basic maintenance and repairs.

I would appreciate suggestions regarding:

1. Basic tool kit -I don't want junk, but not premium either.What about Costco wrench sets in metric, or Sears Craftsman, or do you have other recommendations I could buy online? What do you use?

2. Jack lift and stands. what do you use?

3. Should I go to synthetic oil? I have heard it gives better mileage but then also have heard that it should not be used in older vehicles.

4. what do you recommend for repair manuals which are actually readable to a novice, with illustrations. Also a good online site for a novice.


In summary, I have a lot of time demands, so can't get into this as a major hobby, but I think that if I can maintain fluid levels, recognize problems, be able to change out a fuel filter,alternator, etc., I could gradually gain confidence and not be paying thousands for service departments.

Otherwise my fear is that I will eventually end up in a reliable but extremely boring Japanese car. Save me from this fate!

Thanks.
 

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Registered
1997 S 500
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89 Posts
I'm basically in the same boat you are and recently started doing some of my own repairs.

1. I happen to like Craftsman, I think the quality is good for the price. Buy a set of wrenches/sockets. Sears usually has these on sale for about $200 for a good set.

2. I also bought my jack (3ton) and stands at Sears - the set I got came with a creeper for ~$100.

3. I switched my 97 S500 over to synthetic and have seen no leaks/problems.

4. Although I haven't subscribed, everyone on this forum raves about ALLDATA DIY. Also, this forum has a wealth of information - be sure to check out the maintenance thread at the top. Also checkout:

ShopForum - Powered by vBulletin
V12 Uber Alles, Repair Help for Mercedes Benz S600 V12 W140
K6JRF Auto Page

Good luck,
Mike
 

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Premium Member
1997 S600 (sold)
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4,660 Posts
Tough to beat Sears Craftsman for middle of the road quality tools. Lifetime warranty on most things (note: torque wrenches excluded). I'd recommend one of the mechanic's tool kits for around $200-400. Most of the basics are there. Plus, get a rolling tool box to put it all in. This is exactly what I did. Now, I buy individual tools as I need them.

Check out Harbor Freight. Really inexpensive stuff, but made in China, so beware of some things. Some of the newer wrenches are decent quality like their ratcheting combination wrench sets (Pittsburgh Pro Series or something like that is decent stuff). I've bought a bunch of things from them including a couple of torque wrenches, the above mentioned ratcheting wrenches, jack, power tools (drill, mitre saw, cordless saw/drill set, belt sander...)

A lot of stuff can be done on ramps. Rhino Ramps are great. Get some.

If you'll be prying off door panels to get to windows and door lock mechanisms, etc., get some plastic pry bars and wedge tools made for this job. Don't use metal tools and damage the paint on the door and the leather/plastic of the door panel.

No problems with going to synthetic. Your personal preference. Just change the oil regularly. If you go to synthetic and decide you don't like it, just switch back. No harm, no foul.

Brett
 

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1998 S500
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446 Posts
Ditto on the Craftsman tools. I am still using the same tool set I got for my 16th birthday which is coming up on 34 years ago. Some have broke (or been damaged by misuse) but Sears really honors the lifetime warranty. Rolling tool box is also a great way to go.

I have a set of metal ramps which are too steep for the S500 to ride up on. I am going to have to check out the Rhino Ramps that Brett mentioned. That would be helpful although I do have a floor jack and jack stands from Sears.

AlldataDIY is a great resource and very reasonably priced. I also have the Mercedes DVD manual which I rarely use - good info but awkward to use and finding what you're looking for can be a challenge.

There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction (and some hair-pulling) with doing your own repairs and maintenance. Definitely takes time and tools but I feel that it's worth it.
 

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Registered
1994 s320
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514 Posts
You will definitely need ALLDATA.
From my own experience every DIY'er should have:

White touch up paint to mark for reassembly.
Magnet trey for bolts,nuts,clips etc.
Zip lock bags and black marker-to write on bags , if doing big job its very helpful.
Digital camera .
Patience....
 

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Registered
1979 240 D, 1993 500 SEL
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203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.I will check out Craftsmen tools and the alldata site.There is definitely something empowering about diagnosing the problems, fixing the basic stuff, and,importantly, knowing if the dealer or any mechanic is telling a story.

It also allows the ownership of a high quality car rather than a four year disposable car which falls apart after the warranty expires!
 

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Registered
92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
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3,886 Posts
I agree, with the tools opinion, buy the best you can afford, A slipping wrench can do damage to your body. I have been using synthetic for the lat five years with no issues, if you plan on saving money you picked the wrong car, and the car is assebled not to be user friendly.
 

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Registered
1979 240 D, 1993 500 SEL
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203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't plan to do major stuff-I have a good independent MB mechanic-he does this every day and I don't, and my time is better spent earning the money to pay him for his skill. Nevertheless, I think that if I can do basic maintenance I can reduce the risk of those major bills.I do believe, based upon some of the dealer "recommendations" which ran in the thousands and did not need to be done (frankly I think the mechanic liked my showroom W140 and was hoping I would trade up when faced with the estimate), that it is possible to save money by knowing enough about the care to decide if the recommendation for expensive work is legitimate.

At least that is my thought at this point.
 

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Current 1992 - 500SEL, W124 - 1989 230E (sold)
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1,387 Posts
HI AZMT123

Iam DIY novice but since i got W140 i have been doing stuff like oil changes,spark plug change, fuel filter change,replacing shock absorbers, removing steering wheel/indicator stalk, replacing cluster, duo valve rebuild and some mods like gearknob replacement etc... ...all just by using very basic tools and with great help from this forum and places like v12uberalles.com.
My W140 was great learning curver for me and iam glad i got it.... not to mention the amount of money i saved not paying labor to a mechanic (and sometimes i reckon i do better job myself as i take time and care to do it right)

Good luck with DIY, W140 is pretty easy car to work ok, everything seems to be in some what logical order(compare to japaneese cars) and if you need any advice on basic stuff i will gladly help....
 
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