Clara's exhaust has been getting noisier still and my new back box is waiting for me at Silchester. We were originally going to wait for the clocks to come back from their refurbishment and do it all together but as it turned out I'm very glad they were able to fit me in earlier (for reasons which will become apparent later).

I don't begrudge her a new exhaust at all: this one has done brilliantly considering that a local tyre and exhaust specialist told me that the whole exhaust would need replacing over 2 1/2 years ago - and we have done over 30,000 miles since then and had only two small pieces of welding done on the exhaust!

Clara's Old Exhaust

The extent of the rot very soon became apparent (no, I wasn't driving her with one pipe missing - the pipe objected to being used as a lever to get the rest of the back box off!)...

Old Back Box

The new one looks a lot better though!

Old And New
Back Box Fitted
Clara On The Lift

One of the other things that I asked them to investigate was a squeak coming from the steering somewhere, mainly at very low speeds and when the steering wheel was just either side of the straight ahead position. This has been happening on and off for a little while but has just got significantly worse. She was making this noise on the way to the garage and I was desperately hoping that she would do it when she was there.

Nothing doing when we moved her into the workshop (of course!) but fortunately she did it on a very slow test drive. Further investigation revealed that the offside lower balljoint was worn and since they couldn't say for sure that it would be ok for a bit longer a new one was immediately ordered from the local main dealer. This is why I'm glad that Silchester were able to fit her in earlier than planned! As they were busy with MOTs all afternoon (and this was an extra, unplanned repair) they couldn't fit her in until the following day so they lent me one of my very favourite courtesy cars:

Courtesy Car

This 2.8 litre V6 202 goes very nicely indeed! I like her so much that I have asked them to let me know if they ever want to sell her and I will try to find an excuse / reason to buy her...

Fortunately Silchester were able to fit the new balljoint the next day and I got a call to go and collect Clara. A lovely afternoon for a drive - the trees are the most amazing colours right now!

Clara Home Again

The Mercedes data sheet that I have downloaded gives an approximate build date of November 1988 for Clara, so she is around 31 years old (her official birthday is 15th December as that is the date of the pre-delivery inspection stamp in her service record). She still drives beautifully and is a pleasure to use, she looks great (after a little bodywork) and she goes very nicely (after some engine work!): I wonder how many other marques still feel as good at this age?

My clocks are now done and will be in Silchester next week. I'm looking forward to being able to see how many miles I'm doing on a trip - and I'm hoping that the external temperature display might come back to life. If not it will be just another job for the future. There are a few...!

Clara In France Again One