so how do you deal with situations like this?
I was wondering how a professional would deal with a situation like this?
$550 is no small potatoes, and it still didn't fix it. I would be quite frustrated at that point, but if it was my car, and my diagnostic skills that reached this conclusion, I would accept it as the price to pay for learning and move on, but the bottom line is the car still won't work.
Cap'n, is there anyway you can toss the cat completely? Just stick a piece of straight pipe in there instead and see what happens, it should not cost much at all, and if the black soot is coming from the exhaust, then there might be something stuck in the cat causing this. I don't see how the engine would produce the soot unless you are burning oil, and you're not are you?
1985 190E 2.3L - a constant project.