Consumer Reports - yikes

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edward ohare wrote:


Do you doubt for a minute that Japanese automobiles (toyota, Honda,...) are more reliable than German ones? Why is that?
riserman
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No, I do not. My own experience is that the Lexus build quality is much better than the Mercedes (and BMWs) that I own.
gamini
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my experience is there is no better build quality than MB. It is reinforced every day as I open the door to my like new 25 year old 300SD. Toyota and its divisions (lexus) builds disposable cars. MB does the opposite.
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wrote:

The above is a REALLY illogical post. The thread was about CURRENT production Mercedes-Benz autos, not your 25 year old 300SD, or my 1977 240D. They no longer build reliable vheicles like they did 15 or more years ago.
A neighbor bought one of the M-B SUV's (ML320-I think)- piece of crap. In the first year of ownership, she had to have the interior trim aound all the doors replaced as it bubbled up and fell off. Then the alternator needed replacing, the power steering pump then failed, etc, etc. She had that thing back to the dealer at least a dozen times in the first year for warranty repairs.
Meanwhile, I chugged along with my Dodge Caravan of the same year. Despite the Caravan's mediocre reputation for reliability and despite the fact that it cost less than half of the M-B, I had one warranty repair in the last 5 years - front sway bar strut bushings. It's now chalked up 95,000 miles with only those strut bushings and usual brake replacement.
I participated in a Consumer Report survey. While I do think that their results are skewed in the sense that they only survey their subscribers, who by their very nature may have a bias against US built vehicles, I think they are fairly accurate, at least in terms of the analysis of the survey results that THEY HAVE RECEIVED.
They are not interested in minor defects or repairs. The survey asks owners to report repairs that caused the vehicle to be out of service for a day or more.
Doug
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My post was a response to the prior poster, not illogical. As stated ealier, its alot easier to bitch about a squeak in a V12 twiin turbo than it is in a minivan. a V12 may very well be out of service for a squeak. Buyer expectations are much higher. Regarding CR, they downgraded my 2000 vette convertible bacause the manual top was difficult to put up. I never understood how, it was a smooth 10 second operation if one was not handicapped in some way. I do not put alot of faith in their surveys. I suspect the average CR subscriber drives a priuus or accord, or a minivan, They did rate a modern E and S class cars as the finest handling, most comfort, braking, fit and finish. That is a direct result of build quality. My brother works at a reputable euro speed shop in N. Dallas, on many occasions I have seen the "build quality" of a modern toyota part and that of a comparable Benz part. Cheap pot metal vs real thick machined steel. And the alignment guys are the ones that notice the build quality of the Benzes,when they say "every car should be built this way" . Like the ads say, "Engineered like no other" is still true. Now if they get the electics in order..which is happening
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Volvos.
I stopped paying attention to Cr when they compared (in 76 I think) the Porsche 914 and the Fiat X1/9 and rated the Fiat "unacceptible" because when you rolled down the window your hand hit the armrest. Never mind you have an overhead cam mid engined Itlain car you could actually afford that the roof came off of. I care about the window?
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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For the 100,000 plus price of the new S Klass, I can buy several cheapo american kars. Say two of them. Then if one breaks, I can just use the other one. And when the one S Klass breaks, and the old ones sure did, the local stealership, Heavy Carl, does not give you a loaner car to drive while fixing your first ride. I am old enough that I just don't want to have to have a second vehicle around, other than my wife's. So I made the next least distastefull choice - buy a kudzu burner. It is NOT a mercedes, but it is reliable. The meredes is NOT reliable - it breaks down totaly and leaves you on the side of the road calling the 800 number which allways says it will take them a couple hours to get there so just call AAA and have it towed in to the neares stealership. And then there are the sub-leathal breaks like the things that go bump and grind and fall off and screech, etc.
mcbrue in the trailer down by the river under the bridge
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I own two Toyotas, and have owned two others over the years. I have a 1982 Mercedes 300 TDT. I've driven both the Benz and my Corolla over 250,000 miles each.
My '85 Toyota rear wheel drive Corolla was called "the best car ever made" by the "Car Talk" guys on NPR. I agree it's a great car, but I know it's not the best because my '82 Benz is better.
But the Benz is not low maintenance. It is made of replaceable components, however, so it can be made to last indefinitely. I never have to take the throttle linkage apart on the Corolla and grease the ball joint pivots like I do on the Benz with every oil change, but I did have to replace the throttle cable on the Corolla at 260,000 miles.
The Benz rides like a dream. You can drive all day and feel more rested than if you stayed home and sat in an armchair in your living room. The climate control in the Benz is thermostatically controlled and can keep you cozy at -25 or comfortable at +125 F. Not so for the Corolla. But my 4Runner AC and heat work fine, but have manual control.
I don't agree with the use of vacuum for operating the locks and climate control on the Benz. Electrical control of those systems makes more sense and is easier to test and repair if there are problems.
The original set of front brake pads in my Corolla lasted 175,000 miles. My Benz has the "organic" pads made of carbon. They last about 25,000 miles. But the brakes on the Benz have a special, soft, confidence inspiring feel that the Toyota lacks. Both have disk brakes on all four wheels.
It may be that a Lexus combines the special comfort and feel of a Benz with the super low maintenance of the Toyota. I would not be able to comment on that because I have not owned a Lexus.
But Benz in 1982 was still competing with Bently and Rolls Royce in the hand made vehicle class to some extent and built their cars heavy like tanks. In 2007 Benz has a much different approach.
I am not that surprised that they received that low rating from Consumer Reports. I remember standing in line at my Benz dealership in Seattle about 15 years ago and looking over the shoulder of the guy in front of me and noticing that he was paying $474 for an oil change in his SR500 or whatever the name of those two seater sports cars is. It took several hours of labor to get to the oil filter, so the maintenance costs were insane. CR finds maintenance cost like that unacceptable.
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...
...
And that is what the Consumer Reports article addressed. I have also owned a few Mercedes cars in the 80s. They were very good cars. Better than the Japanese. However in the in the last two decades (especially with the ML series) Mercedes quality has dropped. And the Japanese quality has risen.
gamini
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Well Heav, I would not recommend that you own a Lexus. They are reliable. We have had two for my wife, and they do require only small amounts of work. Of course the 2000 ES had warped brake discs which realllllly chattered at speeds over 15 mph. My 06 LS430 deluxe edition has the same kind of problem, but they assure me it is normal for the brakes to vibrate and grab. This is NOT a car thay you drive in all day and get out of feeling comfortable. It is cramped in the front seat. Typical of Japanese lack of engineering is the bump on the left side of the drivers well - I guess you should rest your short legged little foot on it instead of stretching it out like I like to do. And the seats themseles are not realy comfortable like the old S Klass seats. All the engineering thingies are there in the car, but it is like the Japs just sort of dumped them in and didn't figure out how to hook them up right. My good Kraut Kousins did absolutely think about how to hook them all up, and invented most of them. But the Japs evidently use more solder or something because the whole contraption hangs together better. I could spend several pages detailing the problems with the LS430, and from what I have seen of the 460 it is not much better. A squinch bigger, so that it is more nearly comfortable for a long drive, but still much smaller then the S Klasse. Take the windshield - MB uses soft glass that pits something awfull and at times need to be polished with Jewlers Rouge. But the wipers clean the rain off it quite nicely. And it is at the right angle. The LS glass is nice and hard and the wipers can't really clean it off and the wipers skip a lot of times. And it is at the wrong angle so you get lots of glare - but of course they saved money on the anti-glare tinting on top of the windshield which has about 1" vs the 6" on the Merc. But the dratted thing won't break and leave me stranded the way the old Mercs did talking to a useless 800 Mercedes center giving me excuses why they couldn't get out to me! The LS has coverage with the Lexus 800 number to road service only for the first 50,000 miles and no on-star type service available. We wanted to take a road trip out west and go through the Big Bend among other places. That is a deserted but incredibly beautifull area and you sometimes go 3 or 4 hours between passing cars, so it is no place to be broken down - hence the unbreakable Lexus. Wheeeee ...
mcbrue in the trailer down by the river under the bridge covered in Kudzu
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mcbrue, I'm sure around Big Bend you'll find plenty of illegals making their way north eager to help you.
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mcbrue, I'm sure around Big Bend you'll find plenty of illegals making their way north eager to help you.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Which reminds me of this:
Pedro and Carlos are panhandling in Los Angeles.
Pedro drives a Lexus SUV, lives in a mortgage-free house and has a lot of money to spend.
Carlos only brings in 2 to 3 dollars a day.
Carlos asks Pedro how he can bring home a suitcase full of $10.00 bills every day.
Pedro says, "Look at your sign. It reads: 'I have no work, a wife and 6 kids to support'. Look at *my* sign."
Carlos looks at Pedro's sign. It reads: "I only need another $10.00 to move back to Mexico for good."
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I have driven my '82 300 TDT 252,00 miles and it had 144,000 on it when I got it. I have never been stranded when using it and it has never broken down while traveling except breaking belts a couple of times, but I had tools and replacements with me. I live near Death Valley and belts suffer in the 50+ C (128 F) temperatures.
Also, I replaced an alternator with a NAPA alternator and the bad replacement alternators failed twice, leaving me needing a jump start both times, once in the desert between Death Valley and Pahrump, NV and once two blocks from the Mercedes dealer in Salt Lake City. Both times I had cables with me and I was able to get a passing motorist or the help at the Best Western in Salt Lake to assist me.
So I have never been stranded in my Benz in all those miles.
Also in my Corolla I only got stranded and needed a tow, actually, one time. Fortunately, although I had left my Seattle apartment for Western Montana, the timing belt broke when I came out from the grocery store 4 blocks from my apartment. This was when rubber (I know they aren't really just rubber) timing belts were a new idea, and I didn't know about replacing them on a schedule. I was lucky because the engine in my GTS does not have an interference fit like some do, which means that the pistons crash into the valves if the timing belt breaks.
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Excuse me , did you say you got 175 thousand miles out of a set of front brake pads in a Toyota Corolla ? With all due respect , I believe that to be impossible . -Dana
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wrote:

why is this so hard to believe? I had over 150k miles on pads on an MB that I sold
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Do share your braking techniques. You've probably got a world record. Or a good imagination.
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    I believe it, start with a good set of pads. Then don't tailgate, use the engine breaking, time yourself with the traffic lights so you don't need to break constantly. I am constantly amazed to see people with SUV's floor the gas pedal when the light turns green and then stomp on the brakes when they get to the next light... what a waste of money on both gas and brakes and an unpleasant driving experience to boot.
cheers, guenter
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On Wed, 27 Jun 2007 13:32:49 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Guenter Scholz) wrote:

yes, smart driving has a lot to do with it and 3/4 of my miles are on interstates, so you can go a 100+ miles without your foot coming off the accelerator. My current MB, bought new has 75k miles on the original pads, I'll probably get to 100k and have to put new ones on
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Lucky you. I am in the DFW area. I'm one of the unfortunate ones who must face ever increasing traffic congestion where brake pads do not come close to lasting 100k miles.
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I did indeed get 175,000 miles of driving out of the original set of front brake pads on my 1985 Toyota Rear Wheel Drive GTS Sport Coupe Corolla. The dealership was impressed as well. I lived in the city at the time, Seattle, but many of the miles were driven on the interstate between western Montana, where I had a farm, and Seattle. But plenty of the miles were in the city too. I am on the third set of pads now, and they are pretty new. The aftermarket pads I put on for the second set didn't last as long as the originals.
Anticipation, in a word, would be the secret to not wearing out your brakes or many other components. Watch for slowdowns appearing ahead, and if you see one coming, be it a stop sign, a red light, or traffic congestion, take your foot off the accelerator immediately and down shift to use the engine compression to slow down. I am on the third clutch now on the car at 262,000 miles, so perhaps I wear out clutch plates faster than some, but I enjoy driving that car with its 5 speed manual transmission and limited slip differential and rear wheel drive with plenty of manual shifting.
The second clutch was poorly installed and I had to replace it soon after it was put in. I replaced the transmission with a used one with 88,000 miles on it this spring and the clutch and pressure plate were in very good condition with lots of wear left in the plate.
Paul Fretheim

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