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Old 3rd September 2008, 22:54   #16
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awesome pics!!! permission to use them as wallpapers?
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Old 4th October 2008, 01:16   #17
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Originally Posted by aadix View Post
awesome pics!!! permission to use them as wallpapers?
Thank you, feel free!

Continuing from where I had left this off last. Other things took a bigger precedence in the intervening time.

This was the first set of pictures taken after procuring the car.

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The way time flies is an aspect to wonder!

The car was shod with Goodyear Eagle Ventura tyres and was hardly worn a bit. I was new to the car and at that time it did not seem that the tyres weren't enough. However thetyres screeched a lot and had a lot of rolling noise as I found the serene calmness later on my second set of tyres.

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The Accelerator pedal had a initial resistance beyond which it was smooth and I was aware this was common with most Benzes of the time and earlier. Press the throttle and the car would raise its head and go, marked by the vertical movement of the three pointed star. There was a little bit of body roll on hard cornering although on Texas's less than perfect concrete roads and its undulations were always tackled beautifully by the E320's suspension.

The telescopic wiper had always been an object of my fancy from the late 80's. The wiper arm used to extend at the corners and retract at the base and when vertical.

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But this facelifted W124 did not have the headlight wipers.

Months went by and there was actually no problem from the car, not even a squeak. However the E320 was eating its tyres and I would be put to blame squarely for this. The midcorner adventures with the throttle was actually getting better.

Very soon rental cars taken on outstation trips would start to pose as disappointing. However I always confined myself to not using the car beyond a 200 mile radius from base.

Around November it was time, the tyres were onto its last threads, giving me the opportunity to hunt for a nice set of Shoes. 4 Yokohama Avid's adorned the car a few days later, courtesy the Tire Rack website, for the price of 4 Fusion branded tyres from Firestone dealer. Speaking of Firestone, I had a small scare at their facilities a few months earlier.

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I had given the car for a regular oil change, when the job was done, I was surprised to see the "check Engine" light on. I knew they changed the air Filter and wondered if it had something to do with that. Showed it to them and outrageously they demanded 80 dollars to do a diagonostic for the car. Logical explanations as to what can possibly cause the light to turn-on only after they worked on it, varied from "oh its an old car" via "these cars are like that only" to "maybe you did not notice". I came back dejected and took to the dealers mechanic, some 23 miles away and one look at the engine bay and he smilingly put back the connector to the mass air-flow sensor into its plug. Problem solved. I could not see it as I was concentrating on the MAF end of the connector. However felt good about not falling into the trap of spending for their diagonostics.

New tyres in, the car was a different sensation. It became amazingly quiet, even while sliding it hardly let a shreik. The earlier scary experiences on wet streets vanished too.
Troublefree motoring just got better with a 13 year old car (lets just forget that it was a Benz on this statement).

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cntd..
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Old 4th October 2008, 01:41   #18
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Touching story. The green suits the car so well. Tell you what, go home to India, get yourself a W124 and paint it the same color.

I dread the day I have to let go of my E36. Speaking of which, we both had a common engine config, 3.2L inline six with RWD !!
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Old 4th October 2008, 01:52   #19
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excellent pics and touching story. But why did you let her go??
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Old 4th October 2008, 01:59   #20
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Truely a story from heart
The pics are so good , that couldnt restrict myself but save them after saw the permission to keep as wallpaper.
Cheers man!
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Old 4th October 2008, 02:16   #21
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Amazing write up. Thank you for sharing the nice snaps with us and the experience.

Oh and the First snap with your little one kissing the other one will not fade from my eyes for quite some time now.
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Old 4th October 2008, 02:42   #22
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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Touching story. The green suits the car so well. Tell you what, go home to India, get yourself a W124 and paint it the same color.

I dread the day I have to let go of my E36. Speaking of which, we both had a common engine config, 3.2L inline six with RWD !!
Straight sixes have that passionate/addictive engine note, not much available from V6's (which, this is entirely my opinion, no offence meant to anyone, sound very fuzzy) and V-8's (But on this ground the V-8 growl hits a different set of sensibilities).

Speaking of V-8's, I had the opportunity to drive a W124 400E. I understood very well why they used to call it the "land rocket".

Anyway, I think I am done with the W124. There were some specific other models that too kept attracting the mind-space from a longtime, namely the 190E (w201) and the W126 (560SEC in particular). 190E, many would say, its small, cramped rear seat etc, however it is now beginning to be regarded as a classic, mainly because of its fantastic engineering. W126 is a car that defined the word Mercedes in my mind. Have driven both, but the way the behemoth shrinks in size is an experience. Maybe someday, lets see what luck has in its store for me.

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excellent pics and touching story. But why did you let her go??
Will go back.

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Truely a story from heart
The pics are so good , that couldnt restrict myself but save them after saw the permission to keep as wallpaper.
Cheers man!
Thank you.

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Originally Posted by CorsaLove View Post
Amazing write up. Thank you for sharing the nice snaps with us and the experience.

Oh and the First snap with your little one kissing the other one will not fade from my eyes for quite some time now.
Its being increasingly difficult now, trying to explain why the car is not in the parking lot. One day she threw a lot of tantrums refusing to take a ride in a friends Altima. She never knew that when the car was taken away, she would not see it again.

There will be a third part to this, but that will require a decent amount of typing and memory gathering!

Last edited by 1100D : 4th October 2008 at 02:45.
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Old 4th October 2008, 07:38   #23
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Quote:
rjstyles69 : That's a million dollar pic mate,..
A perfect pic, and perfect description !

Quote:
1100D : Pardon the deposit on the battery terminal ...
Why do the words bring a smile to my face ? No, I'm not surprised.
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Old 4th October 2008, 07:54   #24
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Brings tears mate, reading this story.

I saw a W124, it was in a good shape, but had electrical niggles. Was quoting 4 lakhs for it. I slept over it for a week, my heart saying go for it, and my head saying no.

How easy it is procuring parts for these cars? Whats the cost of maintenance like. I'm dying to get into the 3 pointed star club
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Old 4th October 2008, 14:35   #25
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Spoken from the heart, man! Great writeup. Took an entire post-lunch Marlboro before I completed the latest two posts.

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There were some specific other models that too kept attracting the mind-space from a longtime
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The handbuilt-by-Porsche E500? Come on, your daughter deserves it . 325 BHP, 480 NM of petrol torque and top whack of 270 kph

Goodbye Star-270.jpg

Quote:
, namely the 190E (w201)
I'd see it as a downgrade from the 124.

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and the W126 (560SEC in particular).
Quote:
W126 is a car that defined the word Mercedes in my mind.
. But make sure you test a W140 too (atleast a 500).
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Old 4th October 2008, 18:51   #26
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Awesome and very touching. Driven Straight from the heart. The pictures with the little angel speaks a thousand words. Mindblowing traces of memories. Its a saying "The one which comes......Goes" , holds very true indeed.
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Old 5th October 2008, 00:38   #27
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Hey 1100D thats a great write up! I always wanted to get myself one as a DD but have kept away as I always thought the maintenance to be expensive. So let me ask you how much is it to keep one of these on the road? What about oil changes and regular maintenance, are they more expensive? Also one last question much did you buy it for and how much did you let it go, its ok if you dont want to answer that
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Old 11th October 2008, 03:21   #28
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The handbuilt-by-Porsche E500? Come on, your daughter deserves it . 325 BHP, 480 NM of petrol torque and top whack of 270 kph
Oh God. A colleague of mine at the client site has the exact same car. Little chit chat apart, I had asked for a drive and I was surprised by the fact that she too wanted to try out mine. To her, mine looked sweeter as she said (maybe just as a courtesy), I would bet, better maintained being the better word. The pulling power apart (which you also got from the 4.3 V8) the engine note was to die for. It was a growl that got intense with climbing revs. But on the handling front, owing to my car being lighter and having the sportline package, felt equally good, if not better. It could be suspension problems (which the lady denied) but that car mostly felt reluctant to get into turns and once in it, did not want to get out of it. Although no rattles or unwanted noises here too. It was actually a blast.

But what I missed out on was that when I came here, I used to see a Brabus w124 staring at me from the parking lot (my seat being by the window).


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'd see it as a downgrade from the 124.
GTO, its a smaller car, no doubt, but no less capable. Handling wise a bit better even. An old 190E that I drove, felt just as good, only a lot cramped, but at that time, it was the Baby Benz.

Quote:
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. But make sure you test a W140 too (atleast a 500).
[/quote]

For some reasons, the W140 never appealed to me. I dont know why. It had all the classic Merc design lines. Was it because of its wide body (that jut out wider than the wheel track) , or was it because it was too long with a bonnet that was too long for proportion, I shall never know. Till this day whenever I have looked at a W140 I have been confused as the W126 that I so like would display the same characteristics and still remain desirable for me.

However lets see what the future has in store, with a little luck might get to experience those as well. W124 itself was a dream for a person like me.

Last edited by 1100D : 11th October 2008 at 03:24.
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Old 11th October 2008, 03:23   #29
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Default The Final Long one

Goodbye Star-picture6.jpg

The positive experiences though were soon to run out of gas. One very chilly and freezing wet morning in December, while needing to take a quick turn around after having received an emergency phone call from a friend needing to drop his dad at the airport urgently, I had spun the car out of control, clipping the median in the process. I knew very well how to regain control over the sliding car, but I did not expect it to slide at such a slow speed and besides the cold weather, freezing palms and jacket hindrance ensured that my opposite lock came a bit later than I would have liked. The days preceding that unfateful one were perfectly pleasant. Later I found other cars slipping and sliding too, could have been minute droplets of freezing water on the road surface that was only appearing wet and not frozen.

It was a left turn, the rear slid right, as the opposite lock was applied a bit late, the car regained grip and climbed the median and then came down. In the process the oil sump got a "bang".

Initially I did not notice something had been damaged, the car was running fine. The airport call was also attended to without issues. The urgency was that, the guy's dad had a flight to catch and they wrongly read the flight time as 1 hour later. But later on during the day, I was shocked to see oil on the floor. The next day the car was taken to the mechanic and the oil sump was laser welded for around $350.

Now I was being very careful on the roads on wet days, but enjoying its propensity to slide at the slightest pretext.

Goodbye Star-picture7.jpg

Three weeks later, the car refused to start. I would twist the ignition key but nothing would happen.

Generally in such cases, you would lock-unlock the car, move the shifter to neutral and fire up. But this time it didn't respond. In the meanwhile a security guard at our residential area, who owns an old BMW (E28 - one of my favourites) had recommended the repair shop he normally uses for his car, on the premise of very good knowledge of German cars and a very reasonable price. This particular problem appeared to be a small one, so decided to give him a try. This was to be the biggest mistake I had made.

The car was towed to his place. The person diagonosed this as a problem with the neutral safety switch. Which was logical. He said, he has ordered the part from MB and being christmas time, it might be 2-3 days before he gets the part. Well, later I found his shop itself was closed for 3 days and it took another 2 for him to procure the part.

Being 22 miles away, and us being busy at office, did not really have the convenience to go and see what was actually happenning till that time. Borrowing someones car, I went to the garage to get the shock. The steering column, the central console were open. The person said, all the wiring for the ignition switch system needs to be checked as the car was not starting up. Wasn't convincing enough. But since the car was already there, I had no choice other than to wait and watch. A day later the car was handed over to me with a charge of $450. The safety switch only costing $50. Rest being labour. I was sure everything was hogwash. I still had to get my car out of there. Agreed to pay $350 and drove out.

But the nightmare was just beginning. The Check Engine light had turned on. The person reset it, saying "oh its nothing". 3 cycles later it came back. He had asked to come back later if the light didn't go out on its own after 4 days. On the day of driving to him, I was also noting the car heating up in stop and go traffic, hitherto an unknown problem with it. The person this time was mostly being rude, trying to cough up a logic by which I would have driven the car further. Since I smelled a rat, I asked him to diagonose both the heating problem and the check engine light. Very soon he utterred the words, "throttle body actuator" and "fan clutch". He also was able to show an exact W124 E320 fan clutch at his disposal!

Drove out from there straight to my usual mechanic.

He was surprised to see that the accessory drive belt he had installed prior to delivering the car had become old. The pretentioner looked from an older car. Same story for the Fan clutch. The throttle body actuator being same but the wiring was severed. The throttle body actuator being a costly part that retails at $1200, I was devastated

However as is common in US, there was someone to bail me out!! The dealer I bought the car from.

The extraordinary Nigerian gentleman helped me procure original parts for less than 50% of the part prices as available in retail. He also gave me the suppliers number and recommended me to him. All this for a car he had sold 9 months back.

$1000 (parts + labour) later the car looked like running normally, but not before having to replace the thermostat too. All this for having tried a new place to get my car fixed. That too, I had only gone to a place recomended by someone whom I knew.

Goodbye Star-picture5.jpg

A few days later, in the chilling cold, there was a flat! Another few days later the car was dead again. This time it was the battery. I was unable to fathom how a car that was highly reliable for 9 months, was starting to fall apart in a timespan of 1.5 months. I had decided to not take the car for long drives from then on. However that was the last problem faced, apart from a key barrel issue (where the key broke and stayed stuck in the ignition cylinder).

Now that I think, the car itself hadn't given me the trouble, it was just a bad time and chance encounter with bad people.

As the next few months piled on, confidence on the car returned, long drives, high speeds were back. February to September the car ran without a hitch. Till the last day I had it, there was not a rattle or squeak from any area. It used to be stuck to the road like glue. However, this set of tyres too, although lasted longer than my first set, due to slow driving during the troubled months, were onto their last threads.

In the meantime, there was another Firestone incident. This time too, during an oil change.

I had decided to write off the earlier experience as a one-off incident. Since Firestone is walking distance from my residence decided to use their services on a day I had other plans as well. After having got the car back, I found oil drips on the floor. Took it back to them and faced the same set of statements. But somehow did not check the oil level. One drive to our mechanic and he was quick to point that the guys had overfilled causing the oil to leak out through various openings. He just used some sealers, as this car did not have head gaskets etc but silicone adhesive.

The car selling experience was also a bit bumpy at first, owing to a fellow countryman playing dirty tricks. In the end, the person who took the car turned out to be a Nigerian and as mentioned, a Merc lover. I am sure the car will live on healthily.


Goodbye Star-picture4.jpg

All in All, how was the Mercedes experience? Most of the negative experiences I faced were mostly related to the perception that owners of cars like a Mercedes-Benz are :-

1> wealthy and dont have issues parting with the money,
2> busy folks who are not bothered about finding the micro level details

Just that perception also ensures that most shops would like to lay their hands on such a car and enjoy the money making. But if you find the right people to take care of your repair and parts needs, carry out preventive maintenance religiously, verify genuineness of parts going in and attend to problems when they appear without any procrastination, the car will return you the favour with not only a smile on your face but plant one on your wallet. Considering all the experiences written above, only happenned during a 1.5 month window and the car was generally trouble free other times, it was fantastic. The 14year old car drove, rode and ruled the road like it was "Engineered to be the best in the world".

Last edited by 1100D : 11th October 2008 at 03:43.
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Old 12th October 2008, 15:55   #30
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The last one was more a review of the service in US. Didn't have any idea such malpractices are common in those places as well. (or is it just in Texas?)

Touching story and beautiful pictures of a loved car. Are you going to visit her once more before you return?
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