Ahhh... the lessons we learn.
Probably the greatest value an independent specialist can offer is his experience with where money can be saved through good quality aftermarket parts and techniques. One example is we have been building A/C hoses for ten years. We now do it for many shops on any sort of vehicle or boat. We started doing this to deal with the muffler hose assemblies on MBs; some of which cost $600 from MB. As a side benefit we always used barrier hose so everything we ever did was preprepared for a R134a conversion.
After multiple failures (for leaks) of factory MB A/C compressor rebuilds we have found a source of brand new Jappanese compressors with clutchs for almost the same price as the MB rebuild without a clutch. The first installations are cooling great with less noise and vibration than the factory Nippondenso's. If we have problems with these we will cover our customers. It is a capability the dealer can't have; to find aftermarket solutions to real problems.
The experience of independent specialists in this area is probably as valuable as their technical capabilities.
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
[This message has been edited by stevebfl (edited 06-01-2000).]