Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently attended a technical forum on the new SL covering items like the roof, the brakes and electronics. There were 4 cars, some with interior trim removed to see 'inside'.<br>
<br>
There are more than 40 electronic control units all linked together with a twin local area network, one for high priority stuff like the brakes, engine management and suspension, the other for lower priority items like the lights, sat-nav, audio, seats. Even the interior light has its own network connected control unit. <br>
<br>
One interesting demonstration was that of the Active Body Control. An attached computer was used to feed testing signals into the car to tell it it was on a very uneven road surface. With its four wheels planted firmly on the ground, the car started bucking around like in a rodeo with simultaneous pitch and roll.<br>
<br>
All very impressive. This is one complex car.<br>
<br>
One concern is how economically maintainable the car will be down the line. The brake control unit (the silver block at the right front of the car) has a pressure vessel loaded to 160 bar (more than 2000 PSI) and costs more than $3000 to replace. If you had a 10 year old car and it needed one of these (or any of the other expensive control units), you might quickly find the car was a liability and the sheer complexity of the car may put off used car buyers down the road, with a knock-on effect on residuals. This is not the sort of car you can fix in your drive-way on a weekend.<br>
<br>
In Europe, car manufacturers are soon going to have to pay for their cars to be re-cycled at the end of their lives and it was said that the SL is built around a 15 year nominal life, with more than 95% of it recyclable. Clearly, Mercedes-Benz are thinking ahead to minimise that re-cycling cost.<br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
My mechanic has been doing the technical training on the R230 and has emphasized to me that the operating costs will be much higher than the R129. Those $3,000 parts are meant to be replaced, not repaired - ouch! Looks like the R129 may go the way of the beautiful but costly BMW 850i.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I've no doubt your mechanic is correct. There are whole new systems in the car which do not exist in other cars, they're complex and, especially with the SL55, they are stressed and high performing.<br>
<br>
High performance cars cost money to maintain and I think the R129 is pretty good. My other car is a Ferrari F355 which needs its $50 timing belts changed every three years, figure $3000 a pop because the engine has to come out, at least there will not be that sort of nonsense with the R230. Ferrari have never heard of 'maintainability engineering'.<br>
<br>
It's the case that as the technology gets more complex, there is no option but to replace complete components. In my R129 SL600, I had to replace a similar but much simpler control valve for the adaptive damping which cost $900, all because one of four solenoids was shorted. The solenoid could have been replaced for a few $$ but of course was not available separately and the whole thing had to be replaced. That trend will be even more evident in the R230. The complexity is such that it's just not possible to repair below what IBM calls an FRU - Field Replaceable Unit.<br>
<br>
Another complex area with the R230 is the roof. The roof splits into two major assemblies - the roof itself and the rear trunk lid and the fear is that any inexpert adjustment could lead to the two parts colliding when operating which would be very expensive to fix. To start with, all roof adjustments in the UK (say, if there's a leak), will be handled by a specialist centre and not the dealer, at least until more experience is gained with it.<br>
<br>
There's also the spectre of the cost of repair of a rear-end shunt if the roof is down. I got the impression that the whole roof is regarded as a single replaceable component because critical alignment and fit requirements means the complete roof is pre-assembled and pre-aligned on a jig.<br>
<br>
On the plus side, the diagnostics in the new car are much better than the old one which should speed problem diagnosis and cut down labour charges.<br>
<br>
The R230 is a good news product though. Fresh, exciting and a step back towards the build quality we know and love in the R129.<br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Have you heard anything about the new glass roof on the SL R230? I have heard it is supposed to be dimmable. Does it change from dark to clear fast (SPD) or slow (electrochromic)?
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top