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Old 10-02-2008, 08:44 PM   #1
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Split personalities

425 miles on the Mercedes SLK 230.

First let me make this point. My Honda Civic VX is a resurrection of a car totalled 14 years ago. The benefits of that effort will continue regardless of which car I might decide to drive, even to the next owner if I decided to sell it at some time in the future (which I doubt).

That being said at one month from my 58th year on this planet, I have enjoyed driving a car that when it was first sold would have taken me almost a year and a half of take home pay to purchase.

Driving the Honda is work, not the actual operation of the vehicle, but the effort to conserve fuel. It requires dedication to a cause, the elimination of our vulnerability to energy sources outside our control.

The Benz means a constant smile on my face, and feeling like I am 10 years younger. Few cars I have ever driven could compare to the rock solid, point and shoot competence of a GT built by one of the recognized masters of automotive technology dating back over 100 years to the name Mercedes Benz itself and the history of the company.

I took my wife for a drive tonight down to a local beach for a walk. one particular turn combines every attribute of highway construction you could imagine that destroys the competence of a vehicles suspension. Rapid switchback, extreme changes in the crown, and a nice pothole. Few cars I have ever driven could have made that turn at that speed, with absolute confidence that there would be absolutely no problem.

Scared the wife half to death.

The Honda would have plowed into the oncoming lane of traffic. Her Murano would probably have been on two wheels. The Benz snickered and just made it a ho-hum event. To me the most important attribute of any car is its ability to take me out of danger, when danger is imposed on me and anyone in the car with me. The Benz does that with absolute certainty.

One of the things that still gives me a thrill, after 42 years of driving, is a car that feels like it is wired to my brain. This car comes as close as ANYTHING I have ever driven. I don't even want to know its limits.

While I appreciate simplicity and long term low cost of maintenance (read Honda) I also love to drive a car that can cruise all day at 130 MPH, even though I would never do that.

It looks like the first tank was about 26-27 MPG, including driving the first 160 miles with the tires at 25 PSI should be 30F 33R. I set them at 32-35. The front end alignement was off, steering wheel was at about 12:30 position. Directional stability was squirrely, like when the front toe is out. The alignment straightened that out perfectly ($80).

Both mirrors were inop, only the right side would adjust and only from inside to outside. This told me the system was properly fused. I assumed (bad mistake sometimes) that since the switch was the only human connection, that it would be hard to believe that all 3 systems were defective. I popped the new switch in in the dealers lot and both mirrors work perfectly. Total cost $41.

The service indicator light stated that nothing had been done in 18,000 miles. I immdeiately did an oil change myself. Got the oil and filter, 6 quarts of Mobil 1 and a filter for $38. I may do it agin in 300 miles. The engine is still clean inside and runs perfectly. The adaptive transmission controls adjust the shifting points to the drivers habits. This means shifts at 2000 RPM to the higher gear, just about exactly where I shift the VX. 5th gear engages at 35 MPH. Revs are 2250 at 60 MPH. I still think I can average 30 MPG in the SLK, but the temptation to give it some gas is hard to resist.

Can you tell I love this car.

I wonder if I can get the factory 1998 Cell Phone working .

regards
gary
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:02 PM   #2
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good to see you got a car you enjoy. when i worked in a tire shop, i worked on several Mercedes coups. from what little i got to drive them (alignment test drives) i would agree that they out perform about anything else i have driven. one customer, who was paranoid about letting other people drive his car, took me on some back roads. lets just say, we were taking corners at speeds that would be suicide in anything else.

they are awesome cars. i believe that if you control your foot, you should be able to get 30 if not more.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:35 PM   #3
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I can answer that question... I'm a moderator on a cell phone forum. (www.wirelessadvisor.com) In all likelyhood you have an analog phone in that car and analog service is no longer supported. Chances are it cannot be activated. Some cars can be upgraded to a newer model phone. Check with your dealer and see what is available (if anything) for your particular model.

-Jay
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.I.D.E. View Post
The Benz means a constant smile on my face, and feeling like I am 10 years younger. Few cars I have ever driven could compare to the rock solid, point and shoot competence of a GT built by one of the recognized masters of automotive technology dating back over 100 years to the name Mercedes Benz itself and the history of the company.
[...]
To me the most important attribute of any car is its ability to take me out of danger, when danger is imposed on me and anyone in the car with me. The Benz does that with absolute certainty.
Are you a professional copywriter? You sound like their marketing department...

Quote:
The service indicator light stated that nothing had been done in 18,000 miles.
Did you remember to reset the light after doing the service?
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
analog service is no longer supported.
Verizon was still supporting it, by special request only, two or three years ago when I canceled the analog phones (which had to be special-ordered from Motorola in 2003) that I had in a couple trucks. Did they finally give up? I can't imagine it's cost-effective to keep that stuff running.
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:59 AM   #6
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LOL HC.

The previous owner bought the Benz with 66k miles for his 16 year old daughter to drive to High School.

When I was 16 my Father and I went to the Newport News abandoned car auction and bought a 57 Chevy for $52. I had to learn to work on that car to keep it on the road.

Now I am in a position to buy and the previous owner is in a position that forced him to sell.

I paid 16% of the original sales price for a car with 89k miles. Compare that to what a Civic VX would sell for in very good condition with the same mileage, even though it would have to be 5 years older.

I didn't think the cell phone could be used. Its kind of funny to see a Motorola phone with a 3 pointed star emblem.

regards
gary
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:00 AM   #7
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First of all the FCC has required that all new activations be E-911 compliant. Analog is not compatible with location based services. The FCC gave permission for carriers to start shutting their analog systems down early this year. You may find small areas where analog is still up and running, but for the most part its dead. Right after the cutoff date AT&T killed their systems in my area - the towers still transmitted a dead carrier wave for another 2 or 3 months though. Verizon supported it until early summer then theirs went down. Now when I turn on an analog phone I get NO SVC. I was even interviewed for an article in The Washington Post... (Page 1 of the D section no less! The article was the entire page with a huge graphic of a cell phone in a grave)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...803436_pf.html

Quote:
Fading Out
Analog Cellphone Users Are About to Lose the Signal

By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 19, 2008; D01



On Feb. 18, Jay Sincavage will make one last phone call to say goodbye.

He'll bid farewell to the network technology that powered his first cellphone, an old StarTac -- once considered the technologist's model of choice -- that's bulkier than his wallet. At midnight that day, wireless networks across the country will start shutting down the old analog networks that launched the cellphone business 25 years ago. Now, with the vast majority of the country's quarter-billion cellphone users calling and texting over digital networks, only about 1 million customers still use analog networks.

The Federal Communications Commission authorized carriers to phase out those networks to free more airwaves for digital services. So the non-tech-savvy who haven't upgraded their phones in several years, as well as people in areas too remote to receive digital signals, could end up without a lifeline.

Sincavage, who lives in Sterling, plans to summon power to his StarTac and, with a few dozen other analog loyalists, make a final call with the obsolete technology.

"Maybe we'll overload the network and make it crash one last time, for old times' sake," Sincavage said.

The demise of a mainstream technology often happens under the radar, as companies and consumers embrace new formats. The record player and the tape recorder faded gradually. DVD rentals phased out VHS tapes. Now the CD appears to be making a slow exit, replaced by digital and downloadable music.

For the past seven years, mobile-phone companies have pushed people to upgrade their analog cellphones by offering discounts and rebates on new digital phones. Each successive generation of the network was more efficient, sending more calls, pictures, videos, and text messages over the airwaves. Maintaining the old networks became an expensive chore.

The cellular switch-off is the first phase of a larger transition to digital technology that will culminate next year with the end of analog television signals.

Other widely used technologies also rely on analog cellular networks. Older versions of OnStar, the communications system installed in many cars, will stop working next month. General Motors, which owns OnStar, said some cars made as recently as 2005 cannot be upgraded.

About 400,000 security systems use analog networks as back-ups to land lines, according to the Alarm Industry Communications Committee. In homes without land lines, the analog network is the only connection.

Sincavage, for example, recently paid $250 to have the ADT alarm system in his dry-cleaning business upgraded to digital.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Alltel say less than 1 percent of their customers use analog services, which the companies plan to phase out over the next year. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile already use all-digital networks, but their customers may be affected if they roam on other carriers' analog networks.

Over the past year, Verizon Wireless has been contacting thousands of customers using analog phones to offer them digital models. Spokeswoman Debi Lewis said the company hasn't reached some of those people.

"The people most at risk are glove-box users -- the people who bought a phone 10 years ago to use in case of an emergency," Lewis said. "Pretty soon, those phones won't work anymore, and we want to let them know."

Analog signals translate voice communications through a series of radio waves that require a lot of airwave capacity. Digital signals convert voice and data -- e-mail, text messages, photos -- into bits of data that can be compressed, allowing the information to travel more quickly and requiring less capacity.

While digital signals are considered more reliable than their analog predecessors, they don't travel as far and may not reach sparsely populated areas, such as mountains and deserts.

Analog signals rescued Jorge Torralba when he broke his foot while hiking in a remote area east of Seattle. Unable to get a digital signal with his cellphone, a friend climbed a nearby hill and found an analog network for just long enough to call Torralba's wife in Portland, Ore. She gave their location to a rescue squad, which picked up the hikers in a helicopter.

"I was bummed out that we're going to be losing analog because when you're out in the middle of the woods, that's the only way to get help," he said. "I know digital's the way to go, but analog is a lifesaver." Andrew Moreau, vice president of corporate communications for Alltel, which serves many rural areas, said analog towers will be replaced by digital ones before the service is shut off.

Still, some analog-users are afraid they'll be left in a lurch.

Cody Toy lives in Rodeo, Calif., a tiny town tucked between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and still uses analog signals for every call he makes on his cellphone. He's concerned that digital towers won't keep up with the demise of analog.

"Digital is like . . . a highway with potholes . . . and analog . . . is the tar that . . . patches the holes," Toy said over an analog cellphone, interrupted by frequent bouts of static. "It's good for city slickers . . . but bad for folks in the boonies."

Roger Entner, senior vice president for the communications sector at IAG Research, said he expects few people to mourn analog networks since most new devices do not use the technology.

"It's a nostalgic event because it's the first wireless standard to be put underground," he said. "But nobody will show up at the funeral."
I also have a thread on Wireless Advisor for people to record when their analog goes down... http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/ge...rk-turned.html
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:08 AM   #8
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im glad you like the car!! it is amazing how different german cars can feel even when the numbers on paper may be the same or worse than other cars.

i dont know about you, but i would have a hard time going back to the good old 92-95 civic after getting comfortable in any of the german big three. i guess the cost of fuel does that...
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.I.D.E. View Post
...
When I was 16 my Father and I went to the Newport News abandoned car auction and bought a 57 Chevy for $52. I had to learn to work on that car to keep it on the road.

Now I am in a position to buy and the previous owner is in a position that forced him to sell.

I paid 16% of the original sales price for a car with 89k miles. Compare that to what a Civic VX would sell for in very good condition with the same mileage, even though it would have to be 5 years older.

...
Wow that's an amazing price. I mean I guess it's 10 years old, but sounds pretty well taken care of. When I read the first post I thought you were talking about one of the big luxurious models, silly me, when I looked up the code and sticker price (curiosity, you know), I found this: http://www.theautochannel.com/vehicl...lig040301.html
So you have a retractable hardtop and a supercharged engine? That's awesome. I didn't know any of the Germans had OEM super chargers. It says 30MPG highway, so that should be doable, in fact I'd aim for 35 if I were you, though the supercharge probably robs some efficiency. Doesn't seem like a bad price for a '98 either, a bit cheaper than my Lexus, I guess it is only a 2 seater though. Still nice find, stupid Lexus we got 3 y/o from a dealer with 66k (lease return) for about 35% the sticker... Still not bad though NEVER had an issue with it for 40k. Just oil and go. She usually has bad luck with cars so she's been very happy.

As for the first car, $52 sounds like a good amount of money whenever 'back then' was. My father and I just did sealed bid auctions on old police cars, my first car was an '88 Caprice 9C1 for $262 (there were only 2 bidders, heh) and I had to learn to keep that going (though when the wheel hub inexplicably exploded and the wheel drove away I had to use a shop...).
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:30 AM   #10
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Weren't those old caprices fun to drive? We used to have an 86 Caprice with the police package at the rescue squad. Really fun car to drive - especially with lights & sirens running. That 350 V-8 gave a very satisfying roar as it nailed you in the back of the seat when you stomped on the go pedal.

-Jay
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