Why no dipstick?

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I note that there is no engine oil dipstick in my 2004 CLK 240, but instead a number of diagnostic messages are available.
However, for these to operate the oil must be at working temperature,
and the engine must have been off for 5 minutes.
So how can you know when oil changing exactly when enough new oil has been added. Trial & error?
This entire MB oil level management system seems vastly over-complicated, when all you need is a dipstick!
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Nah... not guesswork... they put in just shy of what is needed... if engine has 7 quarts capacity... they put in 6.75 quarts. if not 7 quarts. You should be able to buy diptstick for your car if you wanted to.
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Worse still if you live somwhere that has no level surfaces to park on. Even the car park at work is on a slope.
Interestingly my C class has no dipstick but the SLK does (as well as the dashboard level test).
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Duh! Don't stop with just the dipstick. The WHOLE CAR is preposterously over-complicated. Amazing amount of stuff is apparently done just because it's possible, not because it's a good idea. MB quality has gone straight to hell, in lockstep with the continual addition of poorly thought out electronic crap.
David J wrote:

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Decades ago, an MB engineer said that "We are answering questions that no one has asked".

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Years ago I had a story that if MB had their way they would only show a speedometer on the dash, since that's all you need.
I think they said the would consider a fuel gauge as people would probably want to know how far away they are from the low warning light.
DAS
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Nah, they would have some ridiculously complicated, unreliable "distance to empty" readout buried nine layers deep into COMAND. :-)
Kevin Rhodes
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My SLK has no headlight indicator on the dashboard. The only way you can tell if the auto lights come on is if the dashboard illumination comes on. It also has no temperature readout, you have to go through the menu options to find the readout.
Its the same in the world of amateur radio where you used to get a button for each control, you now get a digital display with three buttons and lots of menus.
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Re: Technology - article from PC Magazine
Finalist: Mercedes-Benz s550 The new Mercedes-Benz s550 towers above every other car when it comes to technologically advanced features. Apr 5, 2006
The new Mercedes-Benz s550 towers above every other car when it comes to technologically advanced features. And when it comes to price, too. Most nondriving functions are handled by the Comand cockpit controller and monitored on a deeply recessed center-console LCD. The Comand controller is superior to BMW's iDrive and nearly as good as the Audi A6's MMI. Buttons surrounding the controller let you preselect navigation, phone, and entertainment. A list of further choices pops up on the LCD as you scroll through the menus or when you enter a voice command.
The standard navigation system runs off a 20GB hard drive. An in-dash PC Card slot lets you play MP3 or WMA music through the 14-speaker, 600-watt stereo system. There's a line-in jack in the console. Bluetooth? Of course.
The Night Vision Assist option bathes the road 500 feet ahead with infrared light, which is scanned by a windshield IR camera; a clear-as-day black-and-white picture shows up in an 8-inch LCD panel in the driver instrument cluster. Distronic Plus (what Mercedes calls intelligent cruise control) uses short- and long-range radar for active cruise control and automatic braking: If you're not braking hard enough to avoid a crash, the car takes over ..[for remainder of this article, see the link below].
http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/PCMagazine/2006/04/25/1411108?ba=a&bi=0&bp=1
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Rob wrote:
> Duh! Don't stop with just the dipstick. The WHOLE CAR is
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Helen wrote:

Sheesh. All this while it's travelling at speed on the same roads as normal people. When does the technogeek get a chance to look where he's bloody well going?
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Stratman wrote:

It appears he doesn't! It seems to me that keeping 'old' cars for years is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Can you imagine these new cars loaded with sophisticated electronic computerized gadgets in, say, ten years? It seems to me that the newer cars are throw-aways - like Bic pens. Planned obsolesence seems to be the rule. When airbags first came out I wondered what would happen to them when the car got old and worn: would the latest pot hole cause the airbag to inflate? When cars get old and creaky, what happens to all that computerized wizzardy? I can just see a Hollywood movie in the making.
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Helen wrote:

a well-used Mercedes-Benz that they can barely afford, for the status. Those poor folks who buy a used 140-Series S-Class are stunned to discover what the damn things cost to keep running once the electronic crap starts to fail. The 215-Chassis is much worse, and will be an terrible money pit for the unwary as it ages. Can somebody tell me why the sunroof motor needs to be computerized? Is it really absolutely necessary for the switch to communicate with the motor via a MOST ring (MB-speak for a local area network)? Must the window motors be connected to the control switches via a multiplexed circuit? Does the electronic key really need HUNDREDS of invisible functions? Ten or twelve years from now, second and third owners of 2003 E-Class vehicles will be horrified to discover how expensive their "engineered like no other car in the world" luxury barges are to keep running. Change your own brake pads? Hah! Not if you want to keep all your fingers. Electronic brakes, dontchaknow? To the extent possible, much of the broken electronic stuff will be ignored. Check out an early 90's SL. Even money that the electronic dash has short-circuited itself into oblivion, either because of or in addition to myriad other short circuits throughout the interior, and many of the poor souls that were emotionally suckered into the idea of a Mercedes convertible can't begin to come up with the scratch to attempt a repair. This way lies madness ...
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Hey I don't think this is exactly fair, "travelling at the same speed as...", yes, but this may be 250 km/h like in Germany and the car should be as safe as possible there.
The sunroof, if you don't need the option that it automatically closes fully without keeping the switch pressed, or opens fully, or opens/closes from the remote key, then perhaps you would not need the electronics and could stay with a 140 or similar (actually a lot older model).
Should you have four brake pedals, one for each wheel, to have the ESP braking capabilities available for the driver?
Me too wouldn't mind having a dipstick but then again, I really prefer having an early warning system and oil quality sensor watching after the engine as the driver may not check the oil so frequently.
I still feel MB is mostly hiding the extra electronics quite well from the driver, just making the ease of use visible. Some details might have been done differently, as in any car.
Certainly agree that keeping the electronics up makes the maintenance harder than for a W123 but the W123 really would not be an option today (costwise, safety regulations, environmentally etc. etc.). If one disagrees with the advantages, there is always an option to stay with an old model.
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Its something people do for love. It makes no financial sense when you can change car every three years and get a new warranty and new tyres. Because we spread our mileage across three cars the servicing does not amount to much either, plus the cars never need an MOT test. We rarely do enough mileage ona nay one car to need new tyres. We change one car per year usually, althought this year we changed one early as it had been crashed (oops) and there was a special offer on the new A Class. It IS a large outlay, but it gives us total reliablity, no unexpected repair bills and saves me time.
One of my staff just paid 1200 to fix the suspension on an old SAAB, which would have been enough for 8 months finance on a new A Class on the offer they were running, but he likes the car and enjoys spending money on it. I would like to get a 560 SEL as a project car. It would be nice to have a car that had a dipstick....
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On Tue, 2 May 2006 10:22:32 +0100, "Gordon Hudson"

Further to my original issue about the dipstick, but on the same topic of MB over-engineering their recent models:
I was being guided by COMAND into a tricky part of London recently and I knew that I was getting low on fuel. Suddenly the map & voice disappeared and my multifunction display warned me that I was on Reserve fuel. I think that all other displays were also inhibited.
At this point, what I needed to know was the location of the nearest filling station, but the streetmap which would diplay that information was inhibited. Fortunately I knew the area well enough to find one.
Maybe I did not operate the system properly at the time to overcome this warning, and of course once refuelled it's not possible to replicate the situation.
Could I have recovered my map using the controls before refuelling?

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MoT tests are free on cars 3+ years old from the Merc-owned dealerships in London, Manchester and B'rum.
But it still costs time to deal with, of course.
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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PS. Just discovered this MoT service has been restricted to cars undergoing service.
:-( DAS
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I have an '05 vito van with all this electronic nonsence, the level indicator has never operated, three dealers have not been able to either operate or fix it, I just keep getting the van back and being told "Sorry we can't fix it, we've never had that probelm before".
Add this to I ocassionally get locked in, sometimes it takes up to 15 minutes to actually unlock and get in, the windows work sporadically, and the rear door sensors constantly tell you the back door are open, when they aren't (which apparently again can't be adjusted), the electronics on this van made me vow to never buy another Mercedes product again.
This is the nicest van I've ever driven but it is poorly let down by overcomplicated electronics and apalling technical back up, real shame really.
Alan M
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A good reason to complain, but I wouldn't call door sensors "over complicated electronics", just unreliable in your case, must be bad design (likely different quality from other MBs, even if electronics problems appear in other models too).
Also if the dealer does not have qualified service personnel is not entirely MB's fault (although MB could better see after their service personnel).
I've had three cars with the oil sensor and none had problems. Not a lot if three out of all work fine but from the dipstick I never could have seen as accurately the oil quality as the sensor did, allowing me not to worry if it would be time to change the oil or if I should check the level...
I'm not saying that unreliable electronics must be accepted, I'm just claiming that also reliable electronics can be built and is not too hard and specifically that much of the "must have" convenience would not be available today without accepting electronics based control. Your autogears would not change as smoothly, you might expect automatic air conditioning, but not as accurate, and you would not accept the cost today if it was built without electronics etc. etc.
I would not talk against electronics but instead would insist better reliability where not the case today.

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not stuck in the dark ages thinking nothing should change, I'm all for advances in technology which often lead to more efficiency but this shouldn't be done at the expense of reliability.
I use only main dealers, simply because I lease new vehicles through my business, it's the most efficient way for me to operate. My frustration is that the problems can't be fixed, even in this day and age where main dealer mechanics are not really mechanics in the true sense of the word (engineers) but more trained fitters who replace components in a set order to solve problems.
The back door alarm is a good example of this, when this first occurred I took a look around the doors for the little button that gets depressed when it's closed, assuming there would be a bad contact etc...no button apparently there's some sort of sensor in the lock, and it's adjusted as far as it will go, and there's no point replacing it as it will do the same, so every time I drive up a hill the alarm goes off and the dashboard tells me the back doors open. Bloody annoying, and three dealers have not been able to stop it.....That's the frustration.
Ironically I've just bought the car I always wanted, a 1990 560 SEC in Black, I've wanted one of these since I saw an AMG 500 SEC 20 years ago when I was a teenager, strangely I'm not bothered when something goes wrong with this, it's old, it's goes to the garage, it's gets a new bit and the problem is solved...but it really grates when it's a new vehicle, and the dealer can't fix the problem even with a component change.
Alan M
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