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Old 30th March 2022, 13:35   #256
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Old 30th March 2022, 13:45   #257
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by siren373 View Post
Just curious. Where do you source these parts from?
From Mumbai. Will PM you once your 'Newbie' tag is gone.
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Old 30th March 2022, 16:30   #258
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Question: Can an air suspension setup be replaced with a normal mechanical type, the one with springs, oil, etc..?
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Old 30th March 2022, 17:36   #259
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Thank you all for the great suggestions and comments. This time I am definitely going with the MB dealership as it would not be convenient to look for a cost-effective hospital with the patient in ICU :-) Based on some excellent suggestions here, I have decided to get only the essential stuff done and declined approval for other items. I can always get them done during the next routine service. This being the end of the financial year, things are moving very slowly and these parts (involving rubber and high value) are not stocked that generously so the downtime will be substantial. I will keep you guys posted with updates but I am afraid it is going to be slow.

I will check out some private garages for future needs. However, I must tell you that the grass always looks greener on the other side.

Typically Mercedes India charges 3x the dollar/euro price. Mercedes offers 2 years unlimited KM warranty on the new parts. Direct import works out to be 2x and you don't get any warranty. Grey market is hard to trust. Carrying it on person will not be practical.

Few times when you can save massively is when a private garage can repair instead of replacing an expensive part like engine, gearbox, etc. Or there are high quality non OEM replacement parts.

Labour is not that expensive even at authorised dealerships.

So far I have only dealt with routine maintenance and this is the first time I am in this situation. A bit of learning curve for me, hopefully I will find a good workshop for future needs. Mercedes could have allowed me to live in my little bubble by offering a decent goodwill discount. For all the "brand" bragging they do, they are just another stupid call centre no different from the likes of Airtel.

Replacing air struts with steel springs is ruled out, even though there seems to be a proven solution for the same. It is no longer an S Class without air suspension. Every time I drive the S-Class back-to-back with other cars, I told myself that I would pay for the damn repair of the air suspension. Things like Mercedes air-suspension, VW DSG, Toyota hybrid battery, etc are sure to need replacement and will cost you big time but they are really worth having if you can afford.

Last edited by androdev : 30th March 2022 at 17:38.
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Old 30th March 2022, 18:21   #260
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

I will go against the tide here by not recommending an after market garage.

There is a certain sense of satisfaction knowing that the dealer has trained staff along with having the backing of the manufacturer and their warranty if anything going wrong.
There is less hassle and headache with the only downside being the cost.
If you really like the car, then at the end of the day it is only money.
I would’ve also expected some generous goodwill discount, but i fear that’s not too often the case in our country. All I have ever gotten from VW is 50% discount on a steering rack which is an 8k part when i was spending 1L on the car for front and rear suspension.

I would suggest you to take the 15% discount, and use that amount to get the mounts, tie rods and control arms changed. All of this will heavily improve the ride quality you love so dearly. Don’t let it go to waste. I remember how you did not claim insurance for your front bumper a long time back and still they didn’t give you zero dep past the 5 or 6 year mark. I claim insurance every year and had the same result with no zero dep after 5 years. I hope you don’t let free repairs go awry this time, think of the 15% as free parts and not as discount on the suspension. Easier to digest

Engine, transmission and center mounts degrade around this KM mark, at least that has been my experience in the cars i own.

As per the rear suspension, if the 5L extra cost is not an inconvenience, then i would prefer to get it done at the same time. Because of the simple fact that it will fail eventually, don’t know when. Could be 100kms or 10000 Kms, but a replacement at this time will for the most part give you no headaches for another 50k of your usage. And unlike other failures, this renders the car non-drivable. There is also the time required for parts to be ordered that will have to be redone at a later stage when it fails. I do not think you will be going to an aftermarket for the rear suspension due to the interior disassembly required.

Last edited by H_Dogg72 : 30th March 2022 at 18:28.
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Old 30th March 2022, 18:35   #261
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review





Just wondering, can the old damaged struts be repaired by some competent garage or workshop. Are there such garages/workshops existing in India??
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Old 31st March 2022, 07:26   #262
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Two more thoughts:

- Your air suspension actually lasted very long. I have seen failures happen at the 5 - 6 year mark too. In that sense, you had a good run. My cousin's W221 suffered 2 air suspension failures, one when the car was <5 years old. IIRC, it was in Shirdi.

- Is there any sort of check of the air suspension that can be done? If yes, it should be mandatory for the S-Class at each & every annual service. Not cool to leave customers who have paid 1 - 2 crores stranded by the road. Heck, the owner of a Mercedes dealership himself was stranded at a popular hill station due to air suspension failure.

Am sure there is some way to know of an impending air suspension failure? Some hardware check?

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2022 at 08:01.
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Old 31st March 2022, 08:35   #263
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Two more thoughts:
- Your air suspension actually lasted very long. I have seen failures happen at the 5 - 6 year mark too. In that sense, you had a good run. My cousin's W221 suffered 2 air suspension failures, one when the car was <5 years old.
Not to mention that the car was an old unsold stock (Mfg 12/2010) bought in 04/2012 thanks to some generous discount - that's how I could stretch myself to buy the car in the first place. There is no doubt I have had a great run. I have had many instances of high speed impacts (not noticing speed breakers, potholes, crazy road dips over bridges), in some cases things were downright scary but the suspension held very well. On the day it failed, I was just pottering around in city traffic on a smooth road. Maybe Bangalore climate and garage parking helps rubber parts to last longer?

At USD 1300 per strut, it is a very good investment for S Class to have, except things get very expensive in India and the residual value comes into the picture as the car gets older.

Before I read all the opinions here, I was all ready to go with full repair at the dealership (front and rear) but now I am certainly thinking of exploring alternatives. I still feel Mercedes-Benz could have saved me all this hassle by taking some moral responsibility for the breakdown. What is the smallest part in a Mercedes-Benz car? It is the empathy towards the customer by the brand :-)

Quote:
- Is there any sort of check of the air suspension that can be done? If yes, it should be mandatory for the S-Class at each & every annual service. Not cool to leave customers who have paid 1 - 2 crores stranded by the road.
I don't think there are any checks as far as I know. In majority of the cases, you get slow leaks allowing you to have the repairs done before a total breakdown. Mine is a relatively rare case of things going kaput all of a sudden. Getting stranded is a bummer for sure - now you know why there is always some Innova, etc. in a convoy of big boss cars :-)
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Old 31st March 2022, 13:11   #264
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

For the benefit of luxury car owners in Chennai, I'm just posting the phone number of an imported engine/pump shop that offers everything from MB to Porsche. He can also be reached via Whatsapp.

Kannan - 94440 51901
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Old 31st March 2022, 13:34   #265
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Not to mention that the car was an old unsold stock (Mfg 12/2010) bought in 04/2012 thanks to some generous discount - that's how I could stretch myself to buy the car in the first place. There is no doubt I have had a great run.
Indeed. 1 breakdown in 10 years of S-Class ownership is nothing. On the forum, I see people with <1 year old XUV700s, Kushaqs, Harriers etc. suffering worse. Including some of the newer Hyundais & Kias.
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Old 31st March 2022, 13:51   #266
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I don't think there are any checks as far as I know. In majority of the cases, you get slow leaks allowing you to have the repairs done before a total breakdown. .
If we see the video by "Mercedessource" it's possible to check the cracks on the rubbers and also any leaks using soap water. He also recommends changing the pump mandatorily with struts (Waco). A lot of things are behind the on-demand, paid video though. He also advises making sure that the car is not left with failed suspension for an extended time (overnight) and how to use a Jack and keep the other parts safe.
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Old 1st April 2022, 02:51   #267
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

I’d say it again, we don’t get goodwill after warranty here. One can thank our (Lack of) consumer protection laws here for the same.
The manufacturer won’t go above and beyond because they are not obligated to by law.
MB doesn’t understand, just give 50% discount and you’ll get a customer returning for life happily spending on stupid bills.
If you end up going the aftermarket garage route it’s heavy long term loss for them. Sad they don’t see it.
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Old 2nd April 2022, 15:02   #268
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

So to the best of my knowledge you need not change the whole suspension , you can only consider to change the air bag/bladder if there is a leak , the strut tube/cylindrical tube should be fine if you have a new set of bags.
Secondly Arnott claims that their products use an improved double thickness air spring bag/bladder manufactured by Continental which provides longer lifetime than the OE.
This entire process will save you lot of $$ without compromising on reliability
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Old 28th May 2022, 16:56   #269
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

The white elephant is back on its feet (that's Bangalore CBD peak traffic for you!).

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-01speedo.jpg

This is how the story unfolded. MB offered a 15% goodwill discount which I declined and asked the dealer to proceed with the repair at full cost. I felt the right thing to do would be decline that token discount to remind MB that it's not about money.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-02rightthingpeanuts.gif

Anyways, I paid 5L advance to Sundaram and asked them to start the repair job. Meanwhile a lot of replies to this thread came in suggesting that I should consider an outside garage. I took the hint and told Sundaram dealership to cancel the repair so I could get it done outside. They were very decent and promptly refunded the whole amount without any silly deductions like estimation fees and parking charges, etc. Sundaram dealership has been really great - had MB given me a respectable goodwill offer, I would not have ventured outside.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-03carleavingmb.png

I was a bit lost as I know very little beyond Sundaram after ten years of smooth pick-up/drop service. I received many references/contacts from helpful members on this forum - thank you so much guys! In the end, I decided to go with someone I know personally as I'm a bit socially challenged to build quick rapport with anyone. (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/banga...bangalore.html (Exterior & Interior Detailing : Keystone Enterprises (Bangalore)) Mr Nirmal) Though I have known him for long, I didn't have much service/repair experience except for some car-detailing and minor trim replacement jobs. I had zero knowledge of his ability to service the car and do a job of this nature but after speaking to him I felt confident I could trust him. I thought, in the worst case, I would do my own research and gather all the repair guides and videos and collaborate with him to get the job done to my satisfaction. I really wanted to avoid rich and famous garages that won't have time or willingness to discuss and take my feedback.

Though they were never needed, my full research notes were ready :-)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-042filelist.png

Took notes on torque setting for each nut and bolt. Sample for control arms:

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Obviously I don't have any other private garage experience to compare with, but it was a pleasure doing business doing with Nirmal and his team. I am a very painful/demanding customer like many of us here on the forum and for me to say things worked out well is a relatively rare thing.

Nirmal and his team tried to save me some money by ordering parts from China/Turkey - apparently very reputed and widely used. I requested them to return those parts and order only the reputed German OEM brands which they obliged without any attempt to convince me.

After inspection and considering the costs, decided to replace a lot of stuff:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-04partsreplaced.jpeg
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-041mounts.jpeg

Parts procurement, some were returned as per my request and different brand parts were ordered:
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They spent a lot of time helping me source genuine OEM parts as I made it clear that I must approve every nut and bolt that goes into the repair. Some parts I bought over the counter from Sundaram dealership and the main Air struts I imported directly from the US. A lot of time was spent in waiting for parts, especially Bangalore airport customs clearance.

Airmatic struts, after a long delay at the customs clearance:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-07customswait.png
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-08newstruts1.jpeg
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-09newstruts2.jpeg

I have only ordered front struts as I wanted to do this in stages and I was not sure about customs clearance, parts quality and capabilities of the workshop. Apart from the time delay in procuring the parts, everything went smoothly and I have already ordered the rear struts.

Step by step update of the repair over whatsapp. I insisted on seeing the torque settings (as per MB official installation guide)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-10updates2.png

All new and shiny parts:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-11susp1.jpeg

Wheel alignment in progress:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-12alignment.jpeg

I paid 2.5L for all parts (top tier German OEM brands) plus labour excluding the front air-struts which I imported directly. Approx 1200 USD per strut + shipping of 200 USD + 50% approx in duties and other charges. 42% is the duty amount but I think I paid a few other miscellaneous charges. I went with Bilstein which is OE but there are many alternatives if one is interested in cheaper alternatives. It worked out to 1.5L approx per strut whereas MB India was charging 2.2L per strut.

The amount 5.5L is substantial but I got a ton of replacements done. All suspension parts, mounts and front struts, front and rear brake jobs and a few other stuff. I would have probably paid double of this amount at Sundaram. Sample part prices (dealer vs outside):
Engine Mount: 19K vs 7.5K
Front brake disk: 25K vs 15K

Hope to update on the rear struts soon.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-13tracking.png

Last edited by androdev : 28th May 2022 at 17:09.
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Old 30th May 2022, 09:42   #270
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
This is how the story unfolded. MB offered a 15% goodwill discount which I declined and asked the dealer to proceed with the repair at full cost. I felt the right thing to do would be decline that token discount to remind MB that it's not about money.
The word "goodwill" is overused these days.

I had an over charge on my sons Microsoft xbox Game pass account. Its a subscription based service where you pay $12/month and you get access to the entire Microsoft boutique of games. If you are a gamer, there is nothing like it. Its like the Netflix streaming model. When I called up their Support and explained the matter to them, they said they were offering a refund as a "goodwill" measure. My question back to them was, how do you call this goodwill when your service screwed up! Its as though you are doing me a favor, quite like that Peanuts strip puts it. This did not go down well the Customer Service representative I was talking to. I don't think she understood what I was alluding to. Anyway, I did get back my money but need to keep a tab on if this problem repeats again. That "goodwill" gesture may not work again and its my money. I did not get an apology for their error.

Glad to read that your car is back on the road. You'd think that the owner of a flagship Mercedes vehicle gets that same flagship treatment too at the shop. I guess not.

Those fuel economy numbers make me . You need to go all electric my friend.
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