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What is an automobile? Is it a mode of transportation, or is it an object that defines our personality and who we are? For most of us, it is a combination of both. However, there are variables that influence the decision about which make and model we will drive. The cost of acquisition and maintenance, in most cases, is the limiting factor. Often times, the maintenance consideration is neglected. Our objective is to educate and provide a facility which makes owning a high calibre vehicle, such as Mercedes, possible.

Monday, August 29 2016

When posing the question, "Is your car a 4-matic or rear wheel drive?" many customers do not know! The distribution of 4-matics was, for the most part, in northern climates for obvious reasons, but 2nd generation owners acquire 4-matics through auction and the lease system in other parts of the country where 4 wheel drive vehicles are not in great demand for commuter usage.

For those readers contemplating the purchase of a second generation 4-matic car, the advantages always outweigh all other factors except one. Plainly and simply, operating a 4-wheel drive vehicle costs significantly more, especially when these cars have attained the 100,000 mileS mark.

The 4-matic provides better handling and better traction - handling which cannot be attained by the rear wheel drive model. However, this comes at a price: lower fuel economy as well as requiring more operation parts, such as additional drive shaft, differential, axles, and tire consumption. Overall, for the average Atlanta driver, I would opt for the rear wheel drive vehicle.

Posted by: KEN AT 02:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 29 2016

As seen by a member of the Baby Boom generation, no sports car satisfied the needs of the status-seeking individual more than the R107 Chassis Mercedes. This car's production run was from 1971 through 1989. During this period, the basic formula to make this car desirable did not change: the hood, grille, fenders, doors, deck lid, headlights, taillights, seat, and body trim from a 1971 model were the same as on a 1989 model.

The basic formula of great styling, V-8 engine (U. S. market), independent suspension, automatic transmission, removable hardtop, and mechanical soft top did not change. None of the components that went into the car and into subsequent models were designed specifically for the 107 chassis. The parts that went into the 107 chassis all came from earlier model Mercedes.

The first model planned to be marketed in the U. S. was the 350SL. However, because of U. S. emission constraints on the 3.5 engine, it was replaced by the 4.5 litre engine. 1972 and 1973 models were basically the same: V-8's with electronic fuel injection coupled with a 3-speed automatic transmission that would power this stylish gentleman's luxury sports car. (The phrase sports car was meant to be used in the styling sense, rather than pertaining to performance.)

The interior of these models was designed ergonomically in the true Teutonic fashion, with electric windows (in most cases), manual climate control, comfortable adjustable seating, topped off with the well designed, no nonsense, easy to use convertible top. Of course, this U. S. version would come with an additional "hard top" for winter use. However, many owners in the Southern climates would only occasionally, if ever, use the hard top.

The 1974 model was basically the same as its predecessors, except for a couple of "improvements." Actually, these were not improvements, but modifications resulting from Big Brother mandating changes. The first and most obvious was the legislation requiring that bumpers withstand a 5 mph collision without damage. The sleek and elegantly profiled bumper was replaced with an obnoxious, gaudy, and heavy device which featured two large shocks and protruding rubber bumper ends. Of course the rest of the world did not suffer from this styling fiasco. The other major change resulted from the growth of pollution in California. Mercedes had to meet the EPA restrictions in all 50 states (including California) so the resulting emissions had to meet the California requirements. This resulted in Mercedes adding catalytic converters to their cars. The result for the SL was that the catalyst was placed under the exhaust manifold. The increased heat from these ill-conceived devices played havoc with engine management and run-ability. This engineering concept continued until 1977, when the catalysts were moved from underneath the car to about where the driver's position is.

The next major change occurred in 1976 with the implementation of the CIS (continuous injection system). This fuel delivery system was more reliable and continued in modified forms through 1989.

In 1978, there were no mechanical or styling changes, but a new climate control system was introduced. This system was "borrowed" from Chrysler and was problematic to say the least.

The last year of the 450SL was 1980, and this is a model to avoid because of extra emission requirements and the continuation of the Chrysler AC system.

The 380SL was made from 1981 - 1985. In the years 1981 - 1983, MB engineers installed a single row timing chain, which MBNA agreed to change as warranty. In 1982 a much better and more reliable climate control system was added and remained unchanged through 1989.

Posted by: KEN AT 12:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 29 2016

Over the last 10 years and with with synthetic oil becoming a main stream product, service intervals have certainly changed. Many posts and articles that I read advocate extending the oil change intervals upward to 20k miles.

However, every different make and model, as well as each individual's driving habits, affect service intervals, and I would rather err on the side of caution as opposed to some variable dictated by monitors and oil tests, possibly conducted on some newer MB models. The Benz Store's recommendation for oil change intervals for model 2000 and newer:

under 125,000 miles: 7,500 – 10,000 miles

over 125,000 miles: every 7,500 miles

Most of the expensive repairs that we do are transmission related. Most people will religiously change their oil, thinking that they are servicing their cars.

Personally, I would recommend changing transmission fluid just as often as engine oil but I know this gets expensive, especially on the post 2007 cars. Transmission services need to be performed when the car is cold and the tech must have access to the Star diagnostic system.

Replacing a transmission on the 2007 and newer cars is an expensive ($5000) financial nightmare. So it is critical that transmissions be serviced. Intervals should not exceed 35,000 miles. I know this suggests overkill, but I cannot stress this more emphatically. This service costs roughly $300, but if you own one of these cars with a 722.9 transmission (2006) and newer you have to do this!

On the 2006 Mercedes and older, I would change fluids every 30,000 miles. In between these 30,000 mile services, at 15,000 miles, fluid only would be changed. I know there are some individuals who are rolling their eyes, but in my immediate family there are currently 3 cars with an excess of 300,000 miles, each with the original transmission and engine, and they last because of religious fluid and filter changes. In 35 years of owning various Mercedes, I have never had a transmission or engine failure under 300,000 miles.

Also, coolant should be changed every 2 years. This is so important on older cars because they have developed leaks and people will refill with just water, creating an imbalance in the 50/50 mixture. This will affect everything including the water pump, radiator, thermostat, hoses, etc. The estimated cost is $100.

Brake fluid should be changed every 2 years, estimated cost is $100.

Change the air and cabin filter every 12,000 miles, the fuel filter every 50,000 miles.

The high end models, such as the S, SL, CL, CLS, do have systems (airmatic, ABC-active body control, top operating systems, closing assist, pneumatic locking, and others, which have no preventive maintenance. However, if you want one of the above-mentioned cars, the cost of ownership can be mitigated by due diligence. If possible, buy from a first generation owner, who bought, not leased. Get all previous repair orders – obviously you want a nice dossier of repairs. And finally, get a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. Finding a car that meets these criteria will be difficult, but you can reduce your time and effort by talking to the individual before you visit the prospective purchase. Be specific in your questions concerning service and repairs. Finally, find a good independent mechanic and put your trust in him. Trust this mechanic until he (or she) gives you a reason not to trust. A good technician will explain to you in detail what he is going to do.

Posted by: Ken AT 11:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

The Benz Store specializes in the early mechanical speedometers, and early electronic S-Class 1981 and newer and SL Models starting in 1981 thru 1995 on most models. 

 Mechanical repair $75.00/Exchange.

Electronic $95.00/Exchange and the correct mileage it provides.

2 Day Turnaround. Email any questions.

The Benz-Store
4321-C Buford HWY | Chamblee, GA 30341 | Phone: 800.631.4170 | Email:
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