Is a MB any better than,say, a Ford?

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l5foye

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Joined
Jun 16, 2003
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Location
N.Ireland
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ML 300CDI
Recently when getting the SL (03-with 40k miles) ready for MoT, I was annoyed to discover it needed a bottom ball joint (left hand side) and a front shock absorber (right hand side). The ball joint was probably not that old as it had been replaced under a recall. Earlier the ML(03 with 30k miles), also being prepared for MoT, needed a bottom ball joint. I dread to think what the dealer's labour charge (at £100 per hour plus vat) would have been.
Compare and contrast all this with 1992 Shogun (2.5TD with 150K miles) which is used for towing heavy trailers and in the fields. For MoT, all it needed was to have its bottom washed.
Can MB not source decent suspension components nowadays?
 
It's a good question. I wouldn't say there were huge differences in quality between Mercedes and other main stream marques as your thread illustrates. Sometimes it can be bad luck, but Mercedes themselves admitted they made too much profit in recent years....$2bn instead of $1bn. They have vowed to make the quality as people expect, not as the accountants would love!
 
It's a good question. I wouldn't say there were huge differences in quality between Mercedes and other main stream marques as your thread illustrates. Sometimes it can be bad luck, but Mercedes themselves admitted they made too much profit in recent years....$2bn instead of $1bn. They have vowed to make the quality as people expect, not as the accountants would love!

I moved from a Mondeo to a W202 in 1997 based on depreciation. It depreciated even further, I could buy 2 Mondeos. Technology wise, Merc is behind a few years behind in 1997 - variable timing, fuel consumption etc. Merc quality was better and last longer. If you try to drive the Mondeo more than 90mph oil tended to leak. Moreover it front wheel drive, tended to wear the front tyres more. The only other plus point is multi-link suspension made Merc more comfortable ride. If you go back to a Ford or a Honda, the suspension noise will be unacceptable. :D

This is my personal opinion.
 
As a manufacturing engineer, all vehicle manufacturers will cut their manufacturing costs to the bone. The notion of 'quality' is subjective-the component supplies will be contracted the maintain quality whilst reducing the component costs by, say, 5% per year for each year of the contract. But it is very difficult to do.

The new W204 will be cheaper to manufacture than the W203 it replaced. The marketing guff says the W204 is now a better car. They said that about the W203 when it replaced the W202. Time will tell.
 
I've also worked for a tier 1 automotive manufacturer and can concur ddentrec comments about OEMs demanding a 5% reduction in piece price each year. We made parts for most OEMs and all parts were made to the same quality. The difference between a budget OEM and premium OEM was normally the complexity of design, which meant a higher cost. But from what I saw it was sometimes the simplest design that was the best, usually Honda were very good at simple yet clever designs.
 
Going back to the OP's original question, I would answer an emphatic yes.
Having owned both Fords and Mercedes, it is my view that Mercedes, even modern, current models are made using parts that are generally designed better and stronger (there are always exceptions) and tend to break less easily.
For example. Last week I was dropping my son off in Bromley and a bus came mighty close to giving me a side swipe as I was parked up. In fact he was so close the buses rear nearside indicator cluster clipped my drivers door mirror. This caused my mirror to pivot about its hinge, BUT ripped off the buses complete rear lamp cluster and was left hanging and dangling by its connection cables. Justice was served!
My point being, most other cars would have been damaged by this, but my W203 was TOTALLY unscathed. Even the paintwork was untouched.
Another example of a visible difference are the door hinges. These are cast items and properly bolted in place and look substantial enough to use on a lorry. On all my recent Fords, the door hinges are pressed out and welded in place.
Just a couple of examples where Mercedes excel others (not just Ford).
Mercedes still have a feeling of being "over-engineered" and therefore a more solid, tight construction. Gap closure lines are smaller and equal all over the car, whereas my last Vauxhall I owned, the gap lines were very unequal. My Fords were similar.
I would guess QA/QC is tighter at Mercedes than Ford/Vauxhall/etc/etc which always gives a better product at the end of the production line.
I also suspect materials selection is edged toward quality more than cost on Mercedes.
Also bearing in mind the quantities of cars that Ford and Vauxhall have produced over the last 20/30 years, how many do you see still running around?
You rarely see many Carltons, Cavaliers, Granadas, Sierras or Scorpios. But I still see many older Mercedes. That must count for something.
 
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You rarely see many Carltons, Cavaliers, Granadas, Sierras or Scorpios. But I still see many older Mercedes. That must count for something.

What that means is they used to build them well, up to the W126 and W124...then it went awry for a while and they seem to have got it all back on track lately...
 
Ball joints are a W163 ML weakspot. We replaced two earlier this month.
 
Before my 1994 W202 I had a 1998 Mondeo ST24.. I would say my Mondeo was very well built.. (even if some idiot at Ford decided that you have to lift the engine 3 inches to replace the lower arms!!, worlds most ridiculous design) However.. excluding the rust, my 4 year older Mercedes is much better kitted out, (ST24 being the highest spec Mondeo bar the Ghia) and I think much better built.
 
Don't forget that mercedes tend to cost a lot more to purchase, so people tend to look after their investment better.. or thats the theory.
 
My car has had like 11 owners haha!! 4 of which since last November.. 2 of which were the same person.. but with someone else in between..

Wouldnt really say was the best looked after car.. :(
 
Don't forget that mercedes tend to cost a lot more to purchase, so people tend to look after their investment better.. or thats the theory.

I suppose the next step for a fair comparison would be to normalise cost out. So that if for example, a c-class costs 20% more than a Mondeo then the c-class would need to have 20% better quality, just be equal to that of the Mondeo.
If that were possible to somehow calculate then my guessing would be that Kia and Hyundai's would be near the top of the table.
 
Don't forget that mercedes tend to cost a lot more to purchase, so people tend to look after their investment better.. or thats the theory.

And older mercs etc become enthusiasts cars and are well maintained. A 20yr old MB will have had a more pampered life than a 2-yr old mass car.

I've been in a 124 when it was a contempory car, and even as a little boy I knew it was a quality product, couldn't quite tell how, but it felt solid and nicer than my old mans mitsubuhsi.

MB body work, on the whole not the best aspect of the car, and for longevity a real issue, a BMW or VAG product is likely to be better unless we go along way back to the 70's. Mechanically they are suberb cars, and always will be, even rusty 210's with 300k ar going strong, the interior is solid, its just the blooming rust.

Now MB have good body work again, but it still needs to be better. Rust on early 211's and 203's.
 
You don't see many European taxis that are Ford Mondeos....
 
Mercedes used to be the pinnacle in terms of engineering, finish and longevity----but the gap between MB and the mass produced marques has narrowed over the years IMHO . The long term longevity of today's models with their increasingly heavy reliance on digital electronics is questionable. I should add this potential weakness doesn't just apply to Mercedes. How long do you expect your portable/desktop computer to last before it is beyond economical repair or obselete in terms of the software it runs?
 
Well having just been bitten in the wallet by one of the "bullet proof" W124 series -- it needed a new wiring loom, gasket, etc etc -- I'm not as convinced as I was 5 months ago about the "myth" of MB quality as when first got the car . Sure, I now know I picked a dud 'un and there are probably loads of people out there with great Merc quality stories and its true about the clunk of the doors and the general durability of the interior, I just wish the electrics and mechanicals were up to the same level! The car I sold to get into MB ownership was a 1977 Daimler (one of the British Leyland ones) and it never missed a beat. It was parked outside, rain and shine, often not used for weeks at a time -- and it always started, albeit with a fair amount of noise! It worked because it was simple -- no fancy electronics, just a good honest lump of an engine.
As for Merc quality -- ask me in 10 years -- coz that's how long I'm going to have to hold onto the W124 to recoup the latest outlay!
 
Saw a new B class towed from the hard shoulder a week ago. hmmmmm.
 
Maybe I have been lucky but the only suspension parts replaced on my w124 e300d have been anti roll bar bushes - thats in 13 years and 200k miles.

I think the difference between a MB and a Ford is that the MB continues to "drive" the same - apart from a tiny bit of vibration from much needed new engine mounts (are they suspension?) the car drives the same now as it did at 3 yrs and 30k miles old - no rattles noises bumps shakes and it is still pleasant to drive 250 miles in one go.

Just wish a/c had been standard all those years ago

My car was £35,000 to the first owner in late 95; cloth trim, sunroof, 7 seats, radio cassette that was about it. Not cheap.
 

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