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Old 08-22-2001, 03:10 PM
sbourg sbourg is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
What to expect from a shop? (longish)

This is to bring up some points, out of my own curiosity, that relate to my experience with my late sister-in-law's car and the shop at which she had all her work performed over many years.

As her estate executor, and as my wife is the beneficiary, I have had the opportunity to evaluate her '91 190E 2.3 and restore it to good condition. There is an outstanding bill against her estate for $1200 from this shop. The complaint was malfunctioning air conditioning and a rough idle. As executor, it is my function (superceded by the court, if they deem) to determine the legitimacy of this bill.

As we received the car, less than a month after it came back from the shop, the air functions well, but the idle was poor, barely running when started from cold. Of the bill, $150 was for cleaning the fuel distributor - presumably the service intended to address the idle issue.

Being unfamiliar with MB's before this experience, I proceeded with the diagnosis slowly, and as there were more pressing problems with regards the car's safety to be addressed, it was awhile before I really paid attention to the idle problem.

What I found, though, was interesting, and I detailed some of it in a previous post. The main problem was that the throttle was not returning properly to the closed position, due to a problem with the throttle cable to the accelerator pedal. There were two problems: a broken idle stop adjuster, and a cable end pivot that had not been properly snapped into its retaining clip.

Now, since the throttle cable would have likely been detached to remove and clean the fuel distributor, this last problem can be directly traced to the last repair for which her estate is billed, in my view. It is hard to imagine that the broken adjuster would not have been noticed too, during that repair, or possibly occured during it. I am not suggesting that this part of the bill should be withheld, because I have no way of knowing whether the service done might have corrected some other legitimate problem than the idle issue I noticed.

I DO feel that the work was done in a sloppy and incomplete manner, and the problem should have been apparent in any test run. I am also disappointed that sloppy handling due to a loose rear track arm and worn steering idler was immediately apparent to me in a short test drive - followed by five minutes of quick diagnostic - but not caught by a mechanic who had a long-standing relationship with this vehicle.

I am not just venting, I would really like to know how others view this situation?

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