Author Topic: How far are you willing to drive your car?  (Read 436 times)

raueda1

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How far are you willing to drive your car?
« on: 20 March 2021, 08:47 AM »
I'm toying with the idea of a Grande Tour tour this summer - cross country from Utah to Maine and back on side roads.  Most of my non-W116 friends say that this is crazy in a 45 year old car but most of them wouldn't do such a tour in any car.  Yet last summer I logged about 6000 miles all over the western US without a single real problem.  And this was mostly high speed driving in extreme heat at high altitudes.  The car is pretty much tiptop other than topping off tranny every 700 miles or so.  [As I've commented elsewhere, the amount of fluid from the bottom to top lines on the dipstick is amazingly small, so it doesn't take much of a drip for it to go down.]  Still, one 5000 trip seems more daunting somehow than five 1000 mile trips.
 
So what should I be worried about?  I'm trying to think of what might break.  It's a damned short list cause pretty much everything except rubber chassis bushings, differential and steering box has been renewed/rebuilt/replaced/restored.  Some of you in Oz seem to do similar stuff.  Preparations?  Spare parts?  I travel with spare fluids, tools, belts and suspension blocks.  Thanks and happy motoring!
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

daantjie

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #1 on: 20 March 2021, 08:54 AM »
I think Tim "TJ450" has done the cross Australia trip so he would be a good resource.
Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

rumb

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #2 on: 20 March 2021, 10:10 AM »
That's what these cars were built to do. A well serviced car should be no problem.

I drove my little MG Midget @2500 miles a few years ago.
'68 250S, '77 6.9 euro, '91 300SE, '98 SL500 '14 CLS550

s class

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #3 on: 20 March 2021, 10:25 AM »
I still use my 74 350SE as a daily including family holidays, business travel, and I routinely drive medium to long distances.

'76 6.9 Euro, '78 6.9 AMG, '80 280SE, '74 350SE, '82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro , '81 500SL

s class

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #4 on: 20 March 2021, 10:26 AM »
The only thing really to be worried about is fuel costs..

'76 6.9 Euro, '78 6.9 AMG, '80 280SE, '74 350SE, '82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro , '81 500SL

ptashek

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #5 on: 20 March 2021, 01:12 PM »
Pre-pandemic the highlight of my year was a round trip from Ireland to Poland, which is between 3850km and 4300km depending on which route I take. On one of these trips I've driven from France through Germany (~1500km) for 14h straight, stopping only for fuel and bio-breaks. Suffice to say, she didn't have much chance to cool down. The last one of those trips was even longer, about 5500km.

The only issues I've ran into on the road in 9 years of ownership were:

* severe warm start issues after I've put E10 fuel in the tank
* failed blower motor fuse

It seems your car doesn't lack for care and maintenance, so I wouldn't be worried about much else than fuel cost.
At least you guys get much cheaper gas in the US than we do in Europe, so your wallet won't suffer as much 8)

As far as spares are concerned: fuses, v-belts, some coolant, ATF and engine oil, bulbs.
Personally, I only carry fuses and bulbs with me as I'm never far away from a workshop or petrol station on my route.
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daantjie

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #6 on: 20 March 2021, 01:23 PM »
A good, compact metric toolkit can be a lifesaver as well as a long breaker bar, along with the usual safety related items.  Gloves, headlamp, coveralls etc as well as you never know when you might have to crawl underneath in the middle of nowhere in the dark :o
Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

polymathman

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #7 on: 20 March 2021, 09:51 PM »
     For years I carried pretty much a full kit - a machinist sized tool box with sockets, wrenches, misc. Then spare fuses, hoses, belts, and stuff. Fluids, tow rope, shovel, blanket, coveralls, hand cleaner and rubber gloves.

     Now all I carry is a bit more advanced first-aid kit and a spare fan belt, with every tool needed to change. The tool kit that comes with the car is most useful.
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raueda1

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #8 on: 21 March 2021, 08:31 AM »
     For years I carried pretty much a full kit - a machinist sized tool box with sockets, wrenches, misc. Then spare fuses, hoses, belts, and stuff. Fluids, tow rope, shovel, blanket, coveralls, hand cleaner and rubber gloves.

     Now all I carry is a bit more advanced first-aid kit and a spare fan belt, with every tool needed to change. The tool kit that comes with the car is most useful.
My knee jerk reaction is also a fill kit.  Who knows when you might need to replace a brake caliper?  But I quite like the minimalist view - just the tools in the pouch and belts + fliuds.  And it's a poke-in-the-eye to the folks who think the whole enterprise is crazy.  ;D

Thanks to all for the encouragement and ideas.  I'm going to start researching interesting routes. 
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

Mick74

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #9 on: 22 March 2021, 03:24 PM »
Like ptashek, I brought my car on a European trip in 2019. 4 people, full luggage, and in temperatures of 38 Celcius. We covered 3000 miles (4800km) in under 4 weeks, with the longest stretch in one go from Triberg, Germany, to Paris (580km in 6.5 hours). I had no serious issues.

I had another 6 week, 4500 mile (7200km) approx European trip planned for last summer, but that has been posponed until next year. I am fully intent on doing this next year, hopefully. It will include driving over the Alps from France to Italy, instead of using the Mont Blanc tunnel.

If your car is well maintained, with perishables replaced and you have breakdown cover, then use your car. Our trip in 2019 was that much more special in the W116, especially at the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. The reaction everywhere we went was positive, and we should use our cars as often as we can in the next few years, because times are changing and the opportunities may not be as plentiful in the future.

raueda1

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #10 on: 22 March 2021, 07:39 PM »
Like ptashek, I brought my car on a European trip in 2019. 4 people, full luggage, and in temperatures of 38 Celcius. We covered 3000 miles (4800km) in under 4 weeks, with the longest stretch in one go from Triberg, Germany, to Paris (580km in 6.5 hours). I had no serious issues.

I had another 6 week, 4500 mile (7200km) approx European trip planned for last summer, but that has been posponed until next year. I am fully intent on doing this next year, hopefully. It will include driving over the Alps from France to Italy, instead of using the Mont Blanc tunnel.

If your car is well maintained, with perishables replaced and you have breakdown cover, then use your car. Our trip in 2019 was that much more special in the W116, especially at the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. The reaction everywhere we went was positive, and we should use our cars as often as we can in the next few years, because times are changing and the opportunities may not be as plentiful in the future.
Nice, love it!  I'm all in - gonna do the trip.
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

gf

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #11 on: 25 March 2021, 10:05 PM »
Took my 280se from Hobart to broken Hill, Tibooburra and back in middle of summer.
Took water, fuel, coolant, oil, trans fluid, spare belts and hoses of all types, fuses, spare coil, gasket goo and paper, thermostat, water pump, ht leads, points set, jumper leads, tyer, wire, cable ties, torches, batteries, lots of tools, rags, gloves, workshop manuals.
Had no problems whatsoever even in 48 degree heat.
Can't remember the total distance I travelled but I think I ended up just under 10000km

gf

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Re: How far are you willing to drive your car?
« Reply #12 on: 25 March 2021, 10:14 PM »
These cars stand up to horrible dirt roads better than most modern cars. Some areas round whitecliffs and  had some shocking roads I wouldn't dare take a modern camry on. In the 6 month drive the only guys who weren't surprised by an old Mercedes toughness were farmers who often had parents or grandparents who had seen it all before.