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The story so far...
We've had the Uber Barge for a couple of years already and other than routine servicing, it's been *touches wood* quite pain free. Indeed it has been the cheapest motoring I've ever done. Sure we took some precautions, at the first service in our ownership we went to town and had the belts and all fluids swapped. There was just no knowing how long anything had been in/on it so it seemed sensible to do. Since then the only real show stopper has been the clutch master/slave cylinder. One of them failed, don't know which so both were replaced to be sure. Otherwise it just works.
Also it had a broken headlamp lens, probably a stone on the motorway. Rumour had it that Mercedes still made all the parts for a 190E, so I thought I'd put this into practice. I nipped up to the local dealer, they stuck the reg number into their database and a few days later I had a new lens in my mitts fresh from Germany. Most impressive, though it was a bit of a swine to swap out.
The brake wear light came on last week so I decided it was about time for me to get my hands dirty. So Haynes manual in hand, I ordered the brakes from Euro Car Parts and set about it. As with everything so far on this car, they were very reasonable indeed. I stuck them all on at the weekend and it's once again good to go. The Pagids have a little more bite that the old OEM brakes. Otherwise the braking is as it ever was, which is not up to modern standards and in fitting with it's less frantic nature.
Really I should do more of the maintenance on this car myself. It really is proving pisspotically easy to deal with. It's about due a little service so I'll do that this weekend coming and see how I get on.
I thought the 190 might have expired last week. Oil in the water, so suspected head gasket failure. I had that replaced and still there was oil in the header tank. I hoped that was just residue left over in the system and a flush and refill proved it to be the case. But that period in between had me looking at potential replacements and I came to a couple of strange conclusions. Firstly that I'm perversely attached to this 19 year old German tank of a car and secondly that modern cars simply have no character. We're human, and as humans we like to imbue inanimate objects with human traits. For me that's cars.
Take the current Ford Mondeo. It is without a shadow of a doubt, the most competent all round car I've ever encountered. Drive the 2.0TDCi and it's big enough for 5 adults in comfort, has a huge practical boot/trunk, is effortlessly economical, pokey enough, drives well and is cheap. I challenge anyone to drive one and find anything at all wrong with it.
This is the thing. Not that faults equal character (the terrible gearbox in the merc is not endearing), it's that supreme competence isn't everything. The Pork has the screaming flat six engine that gives you goosebumps when you stir it into it's manic fury. What the Merc has is a laziness. It just won't be rushed and as such driving it is stress free and relaxing. It makes you feel good. The Mondeo just doesn't make you feel anything. It's merely a tool to get you and it's contents from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.
Is the Mondeo a better car than the 190? Good god yes in every way you can imagine (apart from build not a lot out there is as well built as a 190E). But I found that I didn't *want* a Mondeo. I wanted my 190 back. I wanted it and it's shitty gearbox.
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