Can an S-Class be serviced on a budget? - Rojer
My first posting so please be gentle! ;)

I\'ve (finally) bought a Mercedes S280 1997 4-speed with 95K and FMBSH to 88K. It\'s had a major \"mechanical\" service a few thousand miles early and it\'s due a \"short service\" in about another 2k.

I\'ve always pondered about this but I intend to run the S280 on a budget, which means not taking the car to a Mercedes dealership for a start ... having tried to buy an S-Class from MErcedes Dealerships THREE times and failed!

But how much CAN I get away with in terms of servicing costs? Surely there must be a large built-in margin in the service schedule to cater for those that thrash their cars. I don\'t.
I always let the car warm up in the mornings, I try to avoid long journeys and I\'ve only taken the car abive 3,000 revs twice in the month I\'ve had it so far and that\'s the way I intend to keep it. Honest.

The Mercedes schedule is a lubrication service followed by a \"mechanical\" service one after the other. What do these services cover? Is there a detailed schedule somewhere on the internet?

We did manage to keep a 9 year-old 190E going for another 11 years by changing fluids once a year and a \'full\' service every four or five years. Can an S280 be treated in the same way? I expect to keep it going for another 10 years, at least.

Any help, tips, experience, advice or links very appreciated.

PS It\'s pleasure to drive!
rojer@lycos.co.uk

1.3 \'A\' Astra
\'W\' Renault 18
\'H\' Renault 25 TXi
\'H\' Astra Est
\'K\' Passat
\'
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - kal
Drive the car sensibly and it will last a lifetime, but please no need to warm up just drive slowly and smoothly for first mile or so and then gradually speed up. It will also cost you less in fuel as the cold start enrichment will come of quicker. Use top quality oils (Mobil 1 - full synthetic) and filters and change say, every 6-12 months.

Long journeys are good not bad for the car as the car is running at an optimum temperature and the engine is being worked through properly. Short runs and city stop start is what kills a car?

You hould keep to the service schedule but 3/4 years is to long for a mechanical service, better to do one every 1-2 years, parts do age.

Use top quality fuel say Shell and avoid supermarket fuel.
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Rojer
You sound quite knowledgable about the S-Class. I shall drive the first few minutes slowly, as you say. In fact, my family say I drive (too) slowly all the time anyway!

I noticed that MB also used Shell (I forget which variant) and then Mobil 1 (or was it vice versa?) so I shall check the service book and continue their lead.

I SHALL get a mechanical service done once every two years but does anyone know what each service covers? I know, for example, that at 100,000 the oil pump on a Mercedes 190E gets renewed.

What major parts are changed on an W140 S280?

I've also heard that the timing chain is due at 250,000. Sounds good. Is it true?
rojer@lycos.co.uk

1.3 'A' Astra
'W' Renault 18
'H' Renault 25 TXi
'H' Astra Est
'K' Passat
'
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Rojer
Sorry, I meant to say "I avoid short journeys"
rojer@lycos.co.uk

1.3 'A' Astra
'W' Renault 18
'H' Renault 25 TXi
'H' Astra Est
'K' Passat
'
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Chad.R
Sorry Rojer, You must have posted while I was too -I missed this.
Chad.R
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Chad.R
Rojer,

Firstly, congratulations, hope you enjoy your new car.

I'm no expert but from the many pearls of wisdom that I have gained from this site -
I always let the car warm up in the mornings,


Letting the car idle for too long is not necessarily a good thing, leave enough time for the oil pump to circulate the oil - 15-20 seconds(?) and that should be enough.
I try to avoid long journeys


Long journeys running with the engine at normal temp is surely better than short journeys where the engine never gets to warm up properly.
I've only taken the car abive 3,000 revs twice in the month >> I've had it so far and that's the way I intend to keep it.


It's good to give the engine an "Italian tuneup" or (a "thrashing" in English) every so often to keep the injectors clear and reduce any carbon buildup. This will also helps with exhaust emissions.
We did manage to keep a 9 year-old 190E going for
another 11 years by changing fluids once a year and a
'full' service every four or five years. Can an S280 be
treated in the same way? I expect to keep it going
for another 10 years, at least.


I remember that the 190 was built like a tank and was probably over engineered in the best Merc traditions - so you could probably get away with servicing on a budget and tripling the service schedule. I've heard the '92-97 S class' upheld that tradition, though I'm sure if something major were to go wrong it would cost much more than a 190 to fix. So IMO, preventative repairs and servicing would be a more cost-effective option.

That said, this model's been around a while and the independent specialist must have gained a fair knowledge of potential problems and remedies. Also spares can be had *fairly* cheaply from places such GSF, Eurocarparts etc.

Hope this helps,

Chad.R


Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Rojer
Glad to hear that the W140 falls into the same paragraph as the 190 even! ;)

I am a little nervous that the W140 may not be quite as well engineered as the W124 190E. Mercedes seem to be cutting back on cost all the time. My mother has a 1996 E250D which has had silly, unforgiveable, things go wrong it in the three years of ownership and other family have the 1st generation C-Classes which definitely show signs of cost-cutting and poor quaility buttons, trim, finish, paint etc.

My fathers 1996 W140 S320 has been problem-free bar tyres and a battery at first purchase.

At least in my 19-year-old 190E all the buttons and two(!) of the dashboard and internal bulbs still worked.

Okay, the drivers windows took 18 seconds to wind down and needed a 'helping hand' to wind back up .. but it DID wind!

:)

Are there any known problems out there? I've not heard of any although there seem to be a handful of "nightmare" stories but a large majority of "no faults".
rojer@lycos.co.uk

1.3 'A' Astra
'W' Renault 18
'H' Renault 25 TXi
'H' Astra Est
'K' Passat
'
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - peteH
post on www.mercedesclub.org.uk where you will find plenty of very knowledgeable people on what should be covered in a service.

Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Aprilia
Trying to run an S-Class 'on the cheap' is a good way to ruin it.

You must change fluids and filters in accordance with MB schedule (which is mileage AND time dependent). Don't forget fuel filter - I have seen these rust through and leak.
Change coolant every 3 years and use ONLY MB a/freeze.

If something big does go wrong then it will be expensive. Last year I changed a faulty climate control ECU in a W140 and it cost best part of £2000.

Know problem areas are front 'shimmy' (well documented) - difficult to cure. Also ignition HT problems (leading to misfire) - new leads, coils to cure.

Service time is 3.8 hours (short service); 4.8 (long service) - does not include additional items such as brake fluid replacement.

MB's are good cars but they do break; things go wrong and have to be fixed.
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Rojer
>Trying to run an S-Class 'on the cheap' is a good way to ruin it.

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that stretching the intervals a *little* and using a specialist MB servicing agent are probably the only things I could to sensibly. And, to be honest, if the S280 is anything like the 190E, I'll probably know when it's due a service as the engine idle seems to change. It already seems to have changed in the last 1,000 miles that I've had it believe it or not. Almost exactly on schedule!

> You must change fluids and filters in accordance with MB schedule (which is mileage AND time dependent). Don't forget fuel filter - I have seen these rust through and leak.

Okay, will bear this in mind. When will it have been last changed if it's had a full MBSH? It's had MB services untill 90,000

> Change coolant every 3 years and use ONLY MB a/freeze.

Will do and same question as above.

> If something big does go wrong then it will be expensive. Last year I changed a faulty climate control ECU in a W140 and it cost best part of £2000.

Ooops ... is now a good time to mention that the climate control things doesn't appear to blow cooled air? Seems to work otherwise. I'm not bothered to be honest but thinking about it I guess I should check the fuse first

> Known problem areas are front 'shimmy' (well documented) - difficult to cure.

What's 'shimmy'? I've never heard this term before

> Also ignition HT problems (leading to misfire) - new leads, coils to cure.

I know what leads are .. available from Euro car parts for what I though was very cheap in comparison to my Renault 25. But what are coils? And how are they changed?

> Service time is 3.8 hours (short service); 4.8 (long service) - does not include additional items such as brake fluid replacement.

Wow! 3.8 hours seems extremely long .. But only an additional hour for a long service. How peculiar ...

> MB's are good cars but they do break; things go wrong and have to be fixed.

Agreed. I'm used to the 190E which was a workhorse for 9 years and treated gently for the last 2 years of retirement ..! But I can appreciate that you wouldn't want to risk anything serious going wrong on a S280. And perhaps it's a case of you reap what you sow in the long run ...

rojer@lycos.co.uk
Astra, Renault 18, Renault 25 TXi, Astra Est, Passat Est, Mercedes 190E, Mercedes
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Pat L
Rojer

I'm no expert on this model (or any other car, for that matter) but I've found that applying a bit of common sense to car maintenance can keep costs down.

I too had a 190E (1.8 manual) until last year. Bought it at 116,000 miles with fmbsh and sold it to my brother at 205,000 miles with original engine, gearbox and clutch. Did a lot of the basic servicing myself, rest done at local trustworthy back street garage. Anyone can undo a spark plug, sump nut, oil filter, etc - you don't have to be a specialist! If the car suffers a fault (esp a car like your S280)then you would probably need a specialist, but not for general maintenance.

Incidentally, I put the 190 into a main dealer in B'Ham for its 180k service, thinking it would be a good idea at this stage in its life. Cost over £700 for a car that was probably worth (then) about £2000 max.

Its replacement for SWMBO was a BMW 318i Touring, 4 yrs old 134k miles, fbmwsh. Has now reached 144k with no faults apart from a blown headlight bulb. This car is unlikely to see the insde of a BMW dealer's workshop! Local guy in the village does the servicing as I can't get underneath the car due to sports suspension/side skirts (the car, not me!)

Good luck, enjoy the car.

Pat

Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Wooster
No great pearls of wisdom from me on Mercedes, but can't you use 'specialist' companies who service Mercedes / BMW at less than the MB rate? You are not alone in thinking MB servicing is expensive.
On another note: On holiday last year in Spain, taxi was a MB Estate. (What else?) My wife was practicing her Spanish with the driver, and I noticed the odometer read 988000 Km. (About 610,000 miles.) The driver explained (through my wife) that he and his two sons ran the taxi business, 8 hrs a day each. The car was only ever switched off for fueling and servicing! Its only fault was a duff bearing in the (manual) gearbox at 500,000Km. (Tyres, batteries, exhaust not included.) Driver said he had it serviced by a man who specialised in servicing MB cars - but didn't use MB themselves as they were too expensive...
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - BobbyG
< >

Amazes me that there are still some people out there that think Supermarket fuel is any different to your brand names. Wheres the proof? Think they have their own refineries? Think that your local Petroleum Officers would allow anything inferior?
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Reg the Rover
Can anybody put an end to the pro/cons of supermarket fuel?
Can an S-Class be service on a budget? - Roger Jones
Rojer

I'm on my second MB E320 Coupé. For what it's worth:

* I NEVER "warm up" the car. The manuals for this car, my Golf VR6, my now-departed Audi 100 and every other car I've driven say that you should drive off immediately after starting. I recall a report from HJ who said that a Ford engineer had described cold idling as "incredibly damaging". Add to that the noise annoyance for neighbours and the pollution, and it's a no-no as far as I'm concerned.

* I make sure that I hardly ever do a journey of less than 10 miles. Short journeys ruin engines; long journeys are good for them.

* I get all fluids changed regularly and am on a six-monthly regime for the engine oil. I'm about to go to KwikFit to get an interim Mobil 1 refill at half price: they have a tariff that they stick to, notwithstanding the fact that I'd have to pay twice as much for a couple of 4-litre packs at Halfords (I've pointed this out to them and they shrug their shoulders and, of course, smile -- they no longer jump in the air).

* I stick rigidly to the service schedule. To date I've stuck to MB main dealers, having bought the cars from them with the benefit of the Signature warranty run by the RAC, which I have extended (I think it requires me to use a main dealer). My experience with them has been expensive and mixed, my faith being seriously shaken last time around when they failed to refill the autobox properly at the 36,000 mile service. I have a mobile independent guy service the Golf; he's a German-car specialist and I am strongly tempted to switch the MB to him, especially if the RAC warranty will allow me to. His charges come in at about half those of the VW dealers and he inspires a great deal more confidence -- and I can talk to him sensibly. I found him by asking about independent specialists at a local VW/Audi parts shop.

* You'll pick up a lot of useful information from the MB enthusiast sites on the Web. There's a big US one that's very active.
 

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