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Old 07-31-2003, 03:57 AM
Posts: n/a
Buyer beware story - pls read as I need advice

Hi all,

( I know it's a long post but please help with your opinion/advise)

I am a little embarassed to ask for your opinion on this buying story coz, a lot of you might say I should have known better.

I have been on the outlook for a really good 560sel for quite a while. I came across a low miles (62000) black on grey -89 original owner in LA. My father in law was very close so I had him look the car over initially. He babies his cars too so I knew he would be hard to impress regarding interior/exterior. I knew when it came to mechanics I would have to do a buyers inspection. My father in laws gave interior/exterior A+, which he was right on.
The car was a original owner with all service stamps in book.
The owner stated no problems and a strong and smooth running engine.
I had the car goneover by a reputable mercedes only repair shop in LA. He came up clean with a couple of things needed.

Oil pan gasket+ pan
Oil level sensor
P/s hoses
Valve seal.
All belts.
Front brake pads.
Fuel actuator - fuel leaks
- a quoted total of $750.
After talking to the mechanic he attested to have test driven the car himself.

I was really happy to hear this and my father in law told me that when picking up the car there were about 20 other people picking up MB's. Very professional store it seemed.
I told my father in law to have the repairs done as he were to drive it to Seattle.

Well this past weekend has been eyeopening and scary.
The first day I noticed that a belt would screech even though all belt had just been changed?
When the car was cold it would start right up but when hot I had to pump the accelerator for it to catch on.
On these hot starts and some other starts the cabin smells of gas the first couple of minutes. The air condition has not been upgraded, which I didn't mind as the seller stated that ot blew cold air. A LA car must have this working I thought.
I noticed during sunday driving that the rear bounced quite a bit.
It turns out that the spheres needs replacement as they don;t work at all.
And finally monday morning on my way to work, the oil lamp came on steady. I took it to my very much trusted mechanic here in Seattle, he took a quick look into the engine through the oil cap and he said that the build up on was much more than he had seen on other 100k miles cars. I turned out that the engine had burned 2-3 quarts of oil in 1500 miles of freeway driving. Auchhh.

This perfect low miles example that I had inspected by a professional big MB repair shop is now so far facing the following list of issues:

Belts screech
Burns oil excessively
Oh BTW the emergency brake dosen't hold the car at all.
Rear suspension
Leak fuel, smell in cabin and hard to warm start.
Air conditioning.

I have approached the mechanic in LA and he basically claims that he didn't find anything. He looked at the spark plugs and did a compression test.
My mechanic took 30 seconds to look into the engine and found more right away. In his experience the build up is a bigger warning sign that sparkplugs as they can have been replace.

Regarding the suspension the LA mechanic claims he drove the car with no detection.
My mechanic bounced the car manually after driving it for 1 min.
He noticed the fuel smell after coming back from the test drive as he started it again.
The belt screeching was obvious from the get go.

I approached the seller as he had stated the pristine no problem car, but of cause he now refers to the mechanical inspection and that what he said was the best to his knowledge. When I told him about the emergency brake he said that he never uses it.
He knows nothing of the bouncing suspension or the excessive oil usage.

I have approached the mechanic and he told me to get a carfax to verify the milage as he claims that with 62000 miles no such problems should be present.

I need suggestions on how to get either the seller or the mechanic to pitch in on repairs.
I really believe they share responsibility morally in this case.
I paid top dollar for the car and the 750 repair bill which I feel I got nothing for.

Thanks for your time reading this long posting.
If nothing else let this experience help other people avoid my experience.

PS. The picture is taken through the oil cap.

Jari Kristensen
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