Perhaps I don't know enough about the repair in question, but to me it seems that cutting an access hole in the heater box is MORE like arthroscopic surgery, whereas the disassembly of the dash and/or other "hard" manuevers seems more like the the ripping of the joint wide open.
Granted Benzs don't heal themselves (wish!), but if the original suggestion is easier AND quicker than by the book, not to mention the money, (which he seems to suggest), then why not? If doing it the right way is a little bit more difficult and a little more time consuming (a little being key), then I am all for doing it the right way (money-wise being near equal). Afterall, those engineers that designed the cars and the procedures to repair them are among the leaders in the field.
Also, true, there are hack "techs", but they are wherever you go and with whatever you drive. They give the certified Benz mechanics a bad light. And that is a shame. But on the other side of the coin I know there are some indepedents out there that, all things equal, that would outshine some certified Benz tech.s.
I guess what provoked me to my post was that Steve got flamed only, yet no one backed their flame with the explanation of WHY what he suggested was wrong and/or what damage may be incurred by doing so.
It is obvious through the numerous replies from yourself, Benzmac, MB Stars, et. al. all over the Shop Forum that you guys really, and I mean REALLY, know your stuff. I doubt I would've responded if there was a given reason why not to create an access hole, be it if it was "Gee Steve, the right way is almost just as easy, why not try it that way" to "That is wrong for A., B., & C." similar to everyone's responses to questions about Kleen-Wheels and "No Dust" brake pads.
For me, I have to use my knowledge and the help of others as my local dealer is happy to help me with whatever I need, until I tell them it is Euro. spec. and twin turbocharged. So I really appreciate this site for all the help anyone is able to offer, but I also weigh the posts with reasons why heavier than the others.
In the end, an access hole would leave an ugly scar, but isn't it just covered up in the reassembly?
Thanks again for your feedback, Erik :~)