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Entries in Mercedes-Benz (6)


Tire Pressure

When Ron was built TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) as we know it with the sensor in the tires, and you can see the actual pressure of the 4 tires in the dash did not exist yet, or was not offered in Canada.

Ron was washed and has not been driven in a couple of days notice the rust on the brake discs.

A few weeks prior the winter wheels / tires were installed on Ron, the tire pressure checked, it was all good.

Ron monitors tire pressure by counting the revolutions of the wheels, basically if one wheel is down on pressure it will turn faster than the other wheels.

Here is the deal...

Brutally early on a Monday morning, its cold, its snowing, its slippery. Its the first snow and everyone on the roads is either being cautious or bold.

Driving on a slushy 400 series highway at reduced speeds, staying in the tire tracks of the lane. Its "Get used to it these are winter conditions".

Out of nowhere the dash turns RED "Check Tire Pressure".

Obvious that when the dash turns red you want to pay attention as to why it turned red.

Its dark, its snowing, have a plane to catch...who has time for s*#t this morning.

Does not feel like its a flat, or a ton of air pressure is missing, and in how many tires? Better make it to the airport, who wants to stop on the side of the road. Yes...there is a pressure gauge in the door pocket.

Finally park the car at the airport, the tires look good, not the time to start checking pressures.

The classic case of technology intersecting with reality.

It looks like a rear tire is possibly down on pressure. Perhaps its a slow leak, perhaps its the cold, who knows.

Anyways no time to do anything about it right now. Lets hope there is air in all 4 tires in a few days when we return.

Then...its do I really need to find a tire almost down on the return?

To keep on going..."why is my flight not on the screen?"

Yes...the blues classic "Stormy Monday" comes to mind...the flight was cancelled but since it was brutally early got on the earlier flight.

On the return...there is air in all 4 tires, did not check the pressure, got in the car drove home, and yes the dash turns red again...yes a tire must be low. Yes...a rear tire was lower in pressure, get the compressor going and recheck the pressure in all the tires.

How to reset the pressure monitor...easy take out the owners manual and follow the steps.

Its cool that the car advises you that the pressure is low in a tire(s), but not knowing which tire, and by how much...not so cool




1 Year Update

Time goes by very fast...really fast. Its already 1 year that Ron is part of the "family".

Wires and insulator that were on the ground

A few facts:

  • By now you probably know that Ron is used sparingly, spends a lot of time parked, and travelled approximately 8,000 kilometers in 1 year.
  • Yes...its up to 70,000 klms.
  • The car was detailed in April and waxed twice with Visible Shine.
  • Its had an oil change from our friendly M-B dealer who always provides us with superior service. Not that it needed an oil change after only 8,000 kms, but it was about 13 months when the oil was changed last.

Ron has performed well during this past year.

But...and there is always a but, and a first time.

Approximately 10 days ago the suspension malfunction light appeared on the dashboard. Yes...its an air suspension and a bunch of stuff can possibly go wrong. The worst is if the suspension goes all the way down at an inopportune time, and leaves us stranded.

As expected this stuff always develops at a time when you don't need it...its always the case.

We drop off the car at the M-B dealer after hours with a note to change the oil, and check the suspension. In the meantime, we find a couple of "chewed up" wires under the car. read about rodents chewing wiring on cars, and it always happens to others, until it happens to you.

Suspension malfunction, wires under the car is it just a coincidence? No its not...some rodent chewed the wiring harness from the front right hand suspension level sensor to the strut...generating the malfunction.

In the meantime The Colonel is travelling, after a few e-mail exchanges more to know if the wires on the ground were related to the malfunction (yes). The dealer resolved the issue in a cost efficient manner. While keeping in mind the labor rate is $152 per hour.

The Colonel usually has a good idea of the cost to repair issues on vehicles, and this repair was "sort of within the estimate" usual The Colonel never asked how much it was going to cost. Something happened to the suspension, its riding very hard, it needs to get repaired as soon as possible. Simple fix the car.

Its still a cool "lead sled"...





The Summer Tires 

Its that time of year to install the summer tires on Ron.

Agreed...when you have high performance summer tires, its best to wait a little longer to make sure the possibility of a spring snow storm is eliminated. Good rule is to wait till the end of April in the GTA.

If you have your tires mounted on wheels, can do it yourself in your driveway. Make sure you have an hydraulic jack, stands, the proper tools, and a torque wrench.

If you have bigger than smaller wheels, Ron has 5 spoke 18 inch wheels for the summer tires.

Obvious that with that wheel set up the disc hubs, calipers are quite visible through the wheels.

This year The Colonel elected to freshen up the "behind the wheel" appearance while installing the summer tires . Yes...winter takes its toll on the various components behind the wheel.

Its not just remove the winter tires and wheels, and install the summer tires. Its remove the winter tires and wheels, refresh the disc hubs and caliper area, then install the summer tires and wheels. The process is longer while achieving a finished look.

If you have intentions of freshening up the "behind the wheel" appearance, pick a color that is similar to the stock factory color, and a matte (flat) finish.

The idea is to improve on the black brake dust look especially for the front wheels.

A quick update on the car

  • The car has travelled almost 6,000 kms in 7 months. spends most of its time parked.
  • The camshaft plugs have been the only issue so far.
  • Drives much smoother with the summer tires.
  • The appearance is improved with the staggered summer wheels and tires.
  • Started a spring detailing, as the climatic conditions warm up will continue.



The Camshaft Plugs

Its a Benz, it would be naively optimistic to even remotely think that its all perfect. Its not in the Benz tradition and it would be boring not to have minor issues.

We have had Ron for a little over 3 months, and 3,000 does not get used that much, does not commute on a daily basis, spends a lot of time just parked.

Yes...its a cool car, with an absolute killer sound system, and a good level of power.

A couple of weeks after we got the car we notice oil spots under the car. Benzes have a blanket under the engine, the oil spots are on the LH side towards the back of the engine, and are progressively making a bit of a mess on the driveway.

As usual this stuff develops when there are other priorities, its motor oil, it leaks, not so much, its more annoying that anything else. Yes...we have no patience, and get irritated when a car is not correct.

Finally on a trip in the east end of the GTA, we stop to visit our friendly mechanic. the conversations goes as follows "There is an oil leak on the LH side behind the engine"...."Is it motor oil?"..."Seem like motor oil, its not transmission".

Propping the hood vertical and taking a look "Its the camshaft plugs a regular occurrence on these engines" Our friendly mechanic orders the plugs and a few days later we return to have the plugs replaced. Its very easy to replace the plugs, almost a do it yourself task.

Its even easier to have our friendly mechanic do the work, have a chat, a spend a few minutes in a shop.

Precisely 2 days later, the RH Xenon headlamp is not lighting. A quick look behind the headlamp reveals that its not so easy to replace a Xenon bulb. You can probably find aftermarket bulbs for less money. Its Friday with a busy pre Christmas week end on the horizon.

A visit to our friendly M-B dealer, for an original Xenon bulb at $163.80...agreed not inexpensive, and an immediate replacement of the bulb solved the problem. We were pleasantly surprised by the prompt and attentive service we received from the dealer.

Its a coupe with a chopped top, with parking sensors. Side visibility is challenging at times with the door window sills relatively high to the seating position and line of sight.



Ron vs Walter

Owning Walter for 8 years, having an innate understanding of what Walter could do, comparing Ron to Walter or vice versa is a given.

Ron is appreciably cooler than Walter, and resonates at a higher level.

Walter was a classic older school sedan with the stump puller 3 valve V8, and 5 speed automatic. It would pull quite strong in 5th on the highway.

Ron has a bigger engine by half a liter and 80 HP, and a 7 speed automatic. It pulls very strong once it downshifts a gear on the highway. Accompanied by a 500 RPM difference (lower) to cruise at the same speed.

Ron's idle is a little rougher than Walter, the 5.5 L has an inherently rougher, noisier idle compared to the 5.0 L in Walter.

Walter felt lighter and nimbler, dealing with on/off ramps. Ron feels heavier, not as agile, but very precise. After all those years it was second nature to negotiate on/off ramps with Walter.

Walter with SBC had ferocious brakes, Ron has no SBC and softer brakes, you have to stand on the pedal harder with Ron.

Ron's performance envelope is higher than Walter...let's leave it at that.

Ron has 255 front and 285 rear, Walter had 255 all around both on 18 inch wheels for summer tires.

Ron has a dramatically nicer interior, we have a thing for well styled interiors. Walter had a classic Benz interior which was nice but not as cool. Although Walter had a folding rear seat back which was very useful.

Sound systems, the Bose in Walter, the Harman Kardon in Ron both great sound systems. 

Center of dash, Ron has an appreciable edge with older school navigation, satellite, 6 disc CD changer, older school Bluetooth. Walter had a CD player. Here is the thing, The Colonel needs to know where he is going and does not rely on a navigation system, and is not a proponent of using a phone while driving. Perhaps The Colonel is a little old school in his own way.

Dimensions, Ron is almost 5 cm wider and 9 cm lower than Walter, which immediately explains the cool look compared to a sedan, and by how much the top is chopped.

Keyless Go, simple you do not use the key with Ron, to open or lock the doors, and trunk, start or stop. Walter required the key.

Fuel Economy is about the same less than 10 L per 100 kms on the highway.

Outside Visibility, better with Walter, but you quickly get used to a chopped top.

Parktronic, is required with Ron, Walter did not have or need parktronic.

With 4 adults Ron and Walter never lose their composure, the beauty of an air suspension.

In some ways its the same car, but not really the case, different cars, different personalities, different execution. Walter was a mid size sedan with a V8, Ron is a sophisticated mid size 4 door coupe with a higher performance envelope.




Meet Ron the CLS

How did The Colonel arrive at a 2008 CLS?

544 Carneol Red with 204 Cashmere Beige Leather  H05 Laurel Wood

5.5 L V8 382 HP with 7 Speed Automatic Transmission

AMG Sport and Premium Packages

1- In 2005 when the CLS was launched the styling captured The Colonel's imagination. was 10 years ago. There was a timeless / enduring cool factor about the styling.

2- Think of a 1949 Mercury coupe with a chopped top, the CLS has the look of a Benz with a chopped top. Agreed...there are positives and negatives, linger on the positives, and the cool factor.

4- Think of a "shoebox Chevy" ideally a 55-56 coupe, with a strong small block.

5- Think of a 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne coupe The Colonel's first car.

6- Complemented by an utter dislike of black interiors especially in a coupe with a chopped top.

Connecting several seemingly disconnected dots, the "metal" of a CLS resonates. At this juncture in time the metal MUST resonate.

Its a coupe, a 4 door, a chopped top, a fastback, V8, rear wheel drive, a serious cool factor, with a touch of sophisticated hot rod.

This version has the "lead sled" look compared to the newer model with the indented crease on the side, and the funny looking grille.

Yes...the Strada Crew is in agreement that the metal of this CLS resonates.

The rear good for about 60 minutes for adults...its a coupe with doors to access the rear seat.

The chopped bend your head a bit more getting in the front seat.

Is it the ideal family car...not really.

Is it a totally cool Benz with a V8 and rear wheel drive...ABSOLUTELY.

Cars that resonate have to sit just right, this CLS has the "stance" augmented by staggered wheels and tires.

Yes...we name cars this one is RON.

How did The Colonel find Ron? A bit of serendipity aided by a methodical search.

The age old question "Why go out and get a 7 year old car?" Its a Benz, it RESONATES, has the correct options and kilometers (61,952), superior waftability, age and model year are sort of irrelevant.