1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 560 SEL from North America - Comments

7th Jul 2012, 21:54

You know, most people don't understand it's a heavy car. I have 3 old heavy Mercedes, and front end bushings and suspension, especially hydraulic suspension, are maintainable items. The suspension could have been avoided by replacing the accumulators, but I see people all the time in these S500's and such, with the back end as solid as a rock, hitting bumps hard, ruining the hydraulic ram seals.

It's just disappointing, people knock a car, when they don't realize automatic climate control in 1980's was a luxury, and running right, I get about 18 MPG out of my 560, but that's down to having the typical dried out little plastic seals around the injectors replaced, and the vacuum hoses replaced.

It's an old complex engine management system, with many controllers etc etc, but if you let one thing go bad, it starts to snow ball, and then gets expensive to catch back up. But injectors, fuel pumps, window electrics, etc etc can't be good forever. I mean we throw out cell phones every two years. And yet we expect the most technically complex car on the market to require no maintenance over 20 years??? Not going to happen!

I was reading somewhere that on a space ship during launch, it was something like 10% or 15% of all components fail, it's expected but that's like out of 5 million components. When you are comparing a complex German luxury automobile to sheet metal, engine, and four wheels of an 80's American car, the American car can't have anything go wrong, otherwise it wouldn't run; you only had a few things to actually go wrong. And most of them did; door latches were always a big failure, wiper motors, air con. My Mom has a story of a door on her Suburban coming open on her around a corner.

So next time someone is writing a review about a car, think about the technical complexity and what you are basing your review on.

8th Dec 2012, 20:34

I must suggest that buying a 20-year-old Mercedes as your first car at age 18 sounds like a bad plan, unless perhaps your dad owns a German car shop.

The cost to buy the car may be low by now, but everything else about it retains the original $120,000+ in today's dollars quality AND replacement cost. Years and distance add up on any vehicle, so the last thing to consider is probably the purchase price.

This is true of many old high-end cars (throw in a V12 and things happen twice as fast). They quickly become cheap to buy because at some point any major drivetrain repair costs more than the car. If they're allowed to decay to the point of being worth well under $10K, then almost all of these cars will be purchased one last time, and then they'll go to the junkyard when something fairly major breaks.

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