Thread: California
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Old 08-18-2000, 01:47 PM
revbond revbond is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 199
Eric:

Try Import Motors @ 40th and Telegraph. There a couple of nice benefits to this shop: For older cars, they are very good, since the have "old timers" who like working on and have experience with the older stuff; they don't mind working on cars with non-factory mods or installing the mods for you; they seem to be generally nice people. I should mention that I don't have a ton of experience with them but they, for example, between three shops (including European Motors in Oakland) found a solution to a wierdo problem with my AC/blower control unit on my 16v. And Oscar at European Motors recommends them for my 6.9, for instance (I once asked Oscar what the techs do when an older car, like a 450 SEL or 6.9 pulls into the the shop. His response? "they cringe". Mostly this is because, I guess, they don't have older techs and need to keep up on the newest benzs and let knowledge of the older cars lag).

My general strategy is to figure out the strengths and weakness of the shops and use them accordingly. I don't think that any one shop will do everything right all the time. But it is important, if the get it wrong, how they approach resolving/fixing the problem. I can generally get satisfaction between these two shops.

There are a couple of other shops worth mentioning: Auto Pro at Claremont and Telegraph. This is a two person shop. As far as I can tell, he works primarily on older benzs ('80s and before). In my experience with him (only with 16v and 6.9) he is not so great solving elusive electrical problems but pretty good on the gross stuff. He also does a mean 4 wheel alignment. He can also be dreadfully slow. This shop is generally my last choice or a choice for things which I consider to be relatively simple and that I don't have time to do myself.

European Motors in San Fransisco: This shop seems too busy for their own good and I think the techs rush through jobs. For instance, they replaced a radiator hose on my 16v (along with installing a new radiator) but installed it so that it touched the fan blade on the alternator(?) air pump(?) which promptly chewed through it. I could have toasted my engine. That was two years ago. I haven't been back since. And don't plan any future trips (European motors in Oakland Oscar gave me no flak in replacing the hose and installing it correctly (and couldn't believe the stupidity of the tech that installed it incorrectly). No charge, of course. I'm sure that they were glad they didn't have to buy me a new engine!)

Hacienda Motors in Pleasanton: I generally buy all my self-installed parts (that I don't buy through mail order) from these guys. The brains of the operation is a woman named Dannika (very patient and good at finding that obscure part with the superceded part number). They are almost always a little cheaper than European Motors (SF or Oakland) or A&F. However, I haven't had much tech work done there. Though techs have come out to talk to me about installation/problem solving when I have picked up a part. Another big benefit: the parts department is open on Saturdays!!! They also have some limited service on Saturdays, as well. Besides, its a nice ride to Pleasanton on a sunny Saturday morning.

Hopefully, there is something useful in all this.

John
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