Monday, 19 March 2012

The Failures - Mercedes W202...

We've been with you for just over a year now, and while we like to come across as 'all knowledgeable' when it comes to buying cheap cars, we're afraid that in reality we've bought some pups. Some just failed a little bit. Some failed so spectacularly that clean-up crews were needed, branches of Government had to be informed and entire counties were shut down (okay, we might have exaggerated a bit there). With that in mind, we've decided to share them with you from time to time, starting with our most recent 'failure' - our dreaded W202 C230 Mercedes Benz. Shudder.

The Failures - Mercedes W202...

It started off well. Sort of. We had a W126 S-Class which decided to eat its own gearbox and then promptly vomit it back out. It was very dead. We needed a car. We needed a car URGENTLY. Calls were made and the internet was scoured with a keen eye. Nothing turned up. Just as we were giving up hope, however, A WILD MERCEDES APPEARED. What's more, it looked good...


Very green. But that's cool, green's a lucky colour, right?


It got better, too. Not only was this car ready and waiting, it was also bloody cheap. For just £500 this vision of German, urm, green-ness could be ours. It had a load of MOT, plenty of tax, a musky 'old man' odour flooding through its innards and one of those keys that flip out of the keyring. IT HAD IT ALL! And, amazingly for a Mercedes of this vintage, it had no rust, just one owner and the dash displayed a verifiable (full history, y'see) 27,000 miles!


Now that's GOT to be a winning sign...


Happy as a clam, we exchanged money for keys and set about enjoying our *cough* new Mercedes. We enjoyed it for roughly three days, then this happened...

That...that's not good


That there is the ABS light, but it wasn't telling us the ABS was borked. Oh no. It was telling us the car was in 'limp mode'. It sounds comical. It wasn't. What 'limp mode' is, is a function whereby should the drive-line components of the car throw a wobbly, the ABS light will come on and the car won't go any faster than 15 MPH. Annoying. Even more annoying for us, as our 'limp' Mercedes liked to engage this feature every time we stopped. Driving without stopping is fun, but it does tend to attract police attention. Not wishing to end up on World's Wildest Police Crash Horror Been Framed shows, we did a lot of this in a bid to find the problem...



...to no avail. Sometimes the car said it had fault codes. We'd clear them, and then the green git would lull us into a false sense of security and 'ping' would go the ABS light, resulting in us sitting in a lot of fields and hard shoulders waiting for it to sort itself out. OH YES, IT FIXED ITSELF. When it could be bothered to. Sometimes simply turning off the ignition for a second would cure the issue. Other times we'd have to sit on the side of the A38 for 17 weeks. Either way, it'd break again and again every time it came to a stop. Many a garage looked at it, but none could fix it.

Not to be deterred, we took it to a car show. We then just ended up doing this again. A lot. Because it had broken. AGAIN.


Hmmmm, feel that German comfort and luxury


During that show - and knowing that we were going to cut our losses and get rid upon our probably lengthy 'drive' home - we let people have some fun via the medium of Sharpie...




...which was fine until someone drew a 'Police Aware' sign on the driver's door. Still, at least we didn't break down on the M5 on our way home. Next to two Police cars. Oh wait, we did. That was a fun conversation.

We got home and sold it via a forum for about £3.22. We were glad to see the back of it. Apparently it's going to become a track car (with a manual gearbox, thankfully). Since we sold it, though, it's been stripped out, bastardised and left in a barn until its turn arrives. Crucially though, NOT PISSING ONCE HAS THAT ABS LIGHT COME ON DURING THE NEW OWNER'S TENURE. Hateful car.

Still, you live and learn. Or not in our case. Next on The Failures will be our 1997 Escort track car. One Escort, two Mondeos, three engines and not one wheel ever hitting a bloody track. Stay tuned.