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Old 02-08-2006, 01:23 PM
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c class rust

Just got my 2002 c coupe back yesterday for it's first flex B service. My additional question regarding some very slight rust from under the hatchback hinges where the hinge meets the body received some weird answers. The service adviser said "maybe you want to leave it alone because the paint thickness will not be that of the original coat if we go ahead and fix it, and it may hurt your resale value". To which I replied "and RUST won't".
Next came the reason that "we might have to paint the entire rear quarter panels to wherever the first body seam is". My reply was "just match up the paint as best as you can in the hatchback rail/gap section since this is the only place where the paint exists where work needs to be done".
He went on to say that this is a big job and that "the hinges are welded to the frame". My reply was "Huh and so what".
I made an appointment for Feb. 20 and was told it could take 7-10 days.
Has anyone else had this or a similar occurrence?
The car is like new with 18,200 miles, garage kept and covered while residing it's entire life in warm weather central Florida.
Any insight or advise would be appreciated.
Ps the dealer was Mercedes Benz of South Orlando, not that it matters.

Old 02-08-2006, 02:40 PM
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Location: Seattle
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Well there are different ways to look at this probably. On the one hand 4 years is a pretty short amount of time to have any rust. I do recall that a TSB was issued for my C230 for a small area of rust at a weld seam at the base of the rear windshield. That is not exactly the same but similar. Mine never had that problem as far as I know though. I am superstitious about original paint as I can almost always tell when a panel has been repainted. Also my experience is that dealer body shops are often Maaco quality on a good day. Some are good and some not so good. This might be what the guy was trying to tell you. If it was me I might be inclined to get a bottle of touch up and some rust treatment and see what I could do, especially if it is very minor. You might end up with a better result than having the monkeys hit it with air sanders and god-knows-what. IMHO.

1998 C230 330,000 miles (currently dead of second failed EIS, yours will fail too, turning you into the dealer's personal human cash machine)
1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
Previous stars: 1981 Brava 210,000 miles, 1978 128 150,000 miles, 1977 B200 Van 175,000 miles, 1972 Vega (great, if rusty, car), 1972 Celica, 1986.5 Supra
Old 02-08-2006, 05:04 PM
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just out pf curiosity, have you checked to see if your mercedes waranty covers this??
1994 C280
2009 VW Tiguan
1993 Toyota X-tra Cab SE-5

1973 220D ... Gone, but not forgotten
1991 Alfa Romeo 164L Gone, wife MADE me forget it

2006 Hyundai Tucson... just straight out FORGOTTEN!
Old 02-08-2006, 06:39 PM
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I called the national Mercedes Customer No-Service line and was told that the rust warranty is the same as the car, 4yr-50000 mi. Pretty crappy for rust on a car that is marketed as the best "Like no other". Geez, a lowly Hyundai has 10 years. My last car, an 88 Scirocco had 12 year rust protection. My Mazda MPV has 10.
The marketing deushbags were right: "Like no other"
I cannot, with good conscience, sell this car knowing there is a potential rust issue.
I have not decided that I will sell it, but right now I am leaning towards it.
The way the service advisor reacted pissed me off to them as well. I am going to have the service manager in with a meeting between the 3 of us. I plan to nail the Sa's nuts to the wall. He comes out of this looking like a sleaze. If he gets me to put it off for another 6 months, it becomes my problem alone.
Old 02-08-2006, 07:40 PM
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It's "douchebag."

When you meet with the SA and his manager, be very classy. Take the high road and be a gentlemen. Until they say they can't do anything. Then rip their cojones off!!!

BTW: Over the last few years, MB has had numerous quality issues, and they have even admitted so. They will likely fix the problem if you push them hard enough. They are very, very afraid of losing repeat customers...
'01 SLK320, '79 450SL & '01 C320 -- What? 3 Mercedes? I am DEFINITELY crazy!!!
Old 02-08-2006, 08:46 PM
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Have you tried taking it elsewhere to have it looked at?

You mentioned 4 years/50K miles. It has 18K, so I am assuming that the time frame of the warranty very recently expired since it is a 02' model?

Rust on ANY four year old southern car is totally unacceptable. Was it possible that there was a chip in the painting there?

I have a 89' Pontiac Safari wagon that is still 100% rust free (southern car too) and it has not been garaged, so this should not be acceptable on a 02' Mercedes.

I personally think they should fix it for you @ no charge!
Old 02-09-2006, 04:43 PM
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I plan to speak softly and carry a big stick. The cowards way would be to tattle-tale on the SA to the manager. I will dress him down in front of his superior.
The car is still under warranty until July 06. The SA's wait and see attitude would jeapordize my financial immunity if I wait another 5 months.
A 4 year rust protection on a so-called luxury vehicle is nickel and dime. I expect this from GM products, not Daimler-Benz.
This experience has most likely turned me away from being a repeat customer.
This looks to be a defect on both hinges where they meet up with the frame. Someone must have missed painting and or rust proofing these two different parts at the exact same location. My car is white, so the colour difference is obvious. If you have another darker colour, my guess is, that it would be nearly impossible to catch this.
I have relatives in Germany and they call a Mercedes a Turkish built car because of all the factory workers are no longer natives. Maybe quality control disappeared when profit margins outweigh product reliability.
Old 02-09-2006, 05:49 PM
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What probably happened

It sounds like the problem is what they used to call "UAW Sanding" in the auto plants. Sanding is common on primer surfacers in auto plants. Some manufacturers like Toyota sand every car in specific points to get the desired appearance. When you sand, you are not to sand through the primer surfacer. Some plant workers sand through the primer surfacer all the way though the cationic e-coat. The e-coat is what really stops the rust, and if it is gone, corrosion protection is gone. If the oversanded area is small, most manufacturers will topcoat it. It will look fine for a couple of years, then it will begin to rust.

What to do? If it is not too big, you may want to leave it alone. If you have it fixed, make sure they sand the rusty area down to bare metal, spray a anticorrosive primer, and use a primer-surfacer before topcoating. It is critical that they do not remove too much of the OEM paint because you will be removing the e-coat also. If you do that, you will have more rust in the area. Unfortuately, there is no refinish substitute fro e-coat.
Old 02-10-2006, 03:14 AM
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Tell the SA and the Manager you want an appointment with the Mercedes District Service Manager.

Tell this person of your concerns. You might be amazed at what they will do for you. They have a budget to make customers happy.

Keep us posted,

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Old 02-10-2006, 12:20 PM
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Are you sure the rust isn't just surface rust? If only surface rust than some cleaning and grease would be best. Do NOT have the car painted, it will kill the resale (unless just some touch up at that area only). I would NOT buy a repainted car myself unless it was but a few grand or so (junker). My 98' C280 has no paint work on any metal surfaces, I paid a premium because of it.

Please post a pic so we know how much rust and how bad it is.
Old 02-10-2006, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ogseminole
...some very slight rust from under the hatchback hinges where the hinge meets the body...
Ok, that answers it,. DON'T, I repeat DON'T have them repaint the car and panels. AT the most, they could remove the hinges and clean the area with a rust cleaner (WD40) and put on some kind of anti-rust paste material, and then reinstall the hinges. The rust may be coming from the hinges and not the car body.

From your above description, I would just keep an eye on that area and keep grease or anti-rust type paste there, it should be fine.
Old 02-10-2006, 02:00 PM
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If the hinges are welded on I would not remove them

Again this goes back to e-coat. The e-coat (or any of the other coatings) will not survive the heat of a torch. E-coat becomes ineffective above 360 degrees F. Above that temperature, topcoats and primer surfacers lose their ability to adhere to e-coat. It just becomes too hard to paint over. When I was designing coatings technologies for the automotive industry, my company voided e-coat warrenties on a certian domestic production line because they were baking the e-coat higher than 360 F. We would stand at the exit door of the oven, read the car body temperature with a heat gun. If it was above the maximum temperature, we would record the body's serial number and void the e-coat warrenty. A torch will burn off the e-coat. This is always a problem with a welded repair on a car in a corrosive environment. Even if it is a good factory panel that has been e-coated, you lose e-coat integrity along the newly welded seam. In the plant, the welds are done before the cars are phospated, galvanized, and e-coated.

There is a lot of misinformation on repainting vehicles out there. Though I do not agree with the a lot reasonings and details you have been given, I would not be in a big hurry to repaint. If the way the work causes more compromises to the factory corrosion protection, the rust will spread. If it is refinished correctly, the repair will be invisible and no one will be able to tell, even someone with my training and experience. Most people do not realize this, but a lot of new cars are refinished in before they ever make it to the showroom. Cars can be refinished at the factory using OEM paint via various techniques. All the major importers have paint shops where the vehicles are unloaded to repair minor damage that may have occured in transit. Most peoples' concept that "refinsh is bad" comes from poor techniques, not an inherint problem with coatings repairs. The one true weakness in refinish is that there is no substitute for e-coat. If the person who does the work does not understand this, then the "bad rust from refinish" will happen. If the painter skips, misapplyes, or uses an inferior anticorrosive primer on the repair (it is important to use one of these even though they are inferior to the factory e-coat), then the car will rust more. If he does not carefully remove all the rust while leaving as much as possible of the OEM coating in place, you will have problems. Paint under no circumstances will adhere properly to rust. I could go on, but I think you can get the picture.
Old 02-10-2006, 02:22 PM
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Thanks for the useful tips.
Beware to any c class coupe owners. Look for rust at the hatchback hinge before your warranty expires!!!
I will keep you all informed as to what happens during my next encounter.
Old 02-10-2006, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by page62
It's "douchebag."
Or in this case deutschbag.
Old 02-10-2006, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ogseminole
Thanks for the useful tips.
Beware to any c class coupe owners. Look for rust at the hatchback hinge before your warranty expires!!!
I will keep you all informed as to what happens during my next encounter.
I will check mine tonight just for ****s and giggles. But I have never seen rust anywhere on my W203.

2003 Pewter C230K SC C1, C4, C5, C7, heated seats, CD Changer, and 6 Speed. ContiExtremes on the C7's.

1986 190E 2.3 Black, Auto, Mods to come soon.....
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