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Old 04-06-2003, 11:15 AM
stevebfl stevebfl is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
With so little to work with my best advise would be to seek a professional.

Ten year old cars do break, and body shops do some of the worst mechanical repairs known to man. If ever there were need for regulation in the auto field it ought to require real technicians to perform the mechanical portion of body repair.

For those not aware, body shops have a totally different way of pricing repair work. We have a separate body shop and here is some of how it works. The issurance industry determines the labor rate. Our labor rate is $68/hr for technical mechanical repair (we charge less for service fifty something an hour - I forget). I think our body shop still gets $26/hr (for body operations). This works out because they charge larbor for every piece installed unlike mechanical that has a basic job operation and add-ons.

The real problem comes from what are considered (by the labor guides) to be mechanical repairs. Those repairs are made at the current mechanical rate. Thus things like brakes, suspension, SRS, etc can be assembled by body part installers and be paid the increased mechanical rate. I have this arguement with my body shop partner all the time.

I do final alignments of most of their repairs and those of others. I am constantly seeing issues that a trained techniocian would never let exist. Things like rubber brake lines installed in the wrong order such that they wind up in a bind or riding on suspension pieces. We also go back over their electronics and SRS assembly work and do the final code removal. Luckily those systems have pretty good self-diagnostics.

I had a 2001 E320 in the other day from a body shop over 50 miles away. They had only repaired a rear door. During the repair the airbag was removed and someone turned the ignition on, bingo the SRS light was illuminated. They thought they would try and clear it by disconnecting the battery.

Putting the SRS light out was just the first of the items that then needed attention. ESP was down because it was restarted without the steering angle sensor initialized. The windows, the trans, the sunroof all needed relearning or initialization. I can't remember all the things that needed reseting.

I would advise anyone recieving a car back from a body shop to have their most trusted facility check it out mechanically as quick as possible.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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