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  #1  
Old 06-07-2004, 07:38 PM
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Nine weeks in a shop......

To make a long story short, my SDL has been in the shop for appox 9 weeks. Yes, nine weeks.

I brought it to Karl's German Auto repair appx the 1st week of April to remove the injection pump and replace all the seals/o-rings. That took about 3 weeks.

The day prior to picking it up, Karl decided to adjust the timing and somehow or another managed to crack the injection pump near the top of it.

He epoxyed it and the car was running like a bat out of heell, althought smoky and burning diesel like an SOB.

I brought it back a week later to inform him of such. HE said he was not particulary happy with the performance and decided that due to the damage he caused, he would replace the pump witha rebuilt unit for no cost.

One of his mechanics replaced the pump and the car is running terrible, at which point Karl determined that the pump was mounted incorrectly(I posted this earlier) and would have to be removed and re-installed correctly.

That was about 5 weeks ago.

My problem is that I have become friendly with him(too much) as he is my sisters neighbor and we have knocked back a few beers together at his shop after work.

Between all of his excuses(too much work, family problems,bad employees) I stopped checking on my car for a week or so, figuring I would give him a chance to catch up without seeming to pesty.

I went back last week and he was genuinely embarrassed and apologetic and promised to have my car this past Friday.

I haven't checked but I drive by everyday as my shop is down the street from his and my car was not touched. I will go by tomorrow and tell him to either fix it this week or next at the latest or I will have my attorney send him a letter.

Either that or I will just take it, fix it elsewhere and present him with the bill, and take him to small claims court if he refuses to pay.

Needless to say, I am really frustrated by recent experience and have lost interest in my car due to this ordeal.

I'm sure when I get it back I'll get into it again, but now........
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2004, 08:35 PM
Diablo-Diesel
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well .......

Hi plantman,
sounds like you have already waited to long for the task that was to be performed, change gaskets? should of taken no more than 1 day if they were on hand. using epoxy to fix a ip pump? I would of said enough is enough, I would of taken it some where else then and there an called it good, a lession learned. how does he stay in busness? relivtive or not. Because it involves a close relitive, I'd cut out with my loses, to keep peace in the family, an never let him touch you rig again. If he wasn't a relitive, I would of had him in court long ago, an maybe even out of business. I personaly have a very very low tolance for sloppy workmenship, at todays prices, workmanship had better be first rate. and a thing to ponder, when I farm out work for any of my rigs, I have written on any & all work orders, I deman to see all worn parts replaced or else I will not pay the bill! even if I have to write it on the work order myself. and if they are parts that they send out to get re-built, I tell'm I will see those before ya send them out. I got out of a 1400 dollar bill with sticking to this method, they took me to court, the judge looked at the work order, and threw it out an made them pay for my rental car I had to drive from when they finished the work, till we went to court, and they ate the parts & labor to fix my rig. I had the cash to pay for the repair no problem, but they also changed out acouple other things without talking to me first.
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2004, 08:52 PM
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He's not a relative. he is my sisters neighbor.

In any event, my patience is very thin with this issue and I will be visiting him tomorrow morning.

Regarding how he stays in business, I often ask myself the same question as I see the same cars there again and again for the same thing, although he is always busy and has been in business for about 15 years.

I am sort of caught between a rock and a hard place as I might get screwed worse bringing it to someone else as they will have to clean up someone else's mess. Well, how much worse could it really be?

If I leave it to get fixed there, it might be there until January at this pace.
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:37 PM
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IMHO, seems like you either get treated with respect, or not.
Not only does what you describe to be irrespectful, it sounds damn incompetent.

I would get my car the heck out of there, and certainly wouldn't think of threatening someone with a lawyer who was about to work on my vehicle.
Are you familiar with the BAR? (Bureau of Auto Repair)
I have never looked into them, but have heard from mechanic freinds that the meer mention of them is enough to instill great fear into the psyche of a disreputable shop.
I do wonder how the professional mechanics on this forum feel bout this.
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2004, 03:25 AM
Diablo-Diesel
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hi plantman,
sorry for missing the boat about it being a relative, in that case, take your car somewhere else, then stick him with the bill afterwards. for the simple fact, the time he's had your car, and you without it is totally uncalled for. you can rebuild a car from bumper to bumper in a week. lol there.
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Old 06-08-2004, 07:44 AM
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Well I will be leaving to go see him now. We'll see what happens.

After that, I'll go see another mechanic and ask how much to remove the IP and get the timing right.

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Old 06-08-2004, 08:05 AM
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I agree, you have been way too patient with him. You may want to get something in writing before taking the car unless he willingly lets you take it. For this one reason, it could appear you are trying to skip out on his bill. LOL------I know the answer to that. The point is to keep your nose clean until all setlements are made.
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  #8  
Old 06-08-2004, 02:35 PM
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I had something similar happen to me when some good mechanics sold their shop to a man who was a good mechanic but a bad manager.

You will be ahead if you mentally write off the whole vehicle, money spent, and move on with your life. Call it tuition and make sure you learn your lesson.

A really good shop does each job perfectly and quickly, or abjectly apologizes and discounts your bill (without your asking) if they make a mistake. F'r example, yesterday Les Schwab gave me two free tires because their employee changed and discarded the wrong ones last week. I didn't even have to ask them to do it. Naturally I'll buy tires for my truck a little early, from them, to show my appreciation.

Try out a new shop by choosing a simple job- hopefully one that won't wreck your car- and seeing how they do it. If they're good, take them some of the easy stuff as well as the knucklebusters. This will pay off in spades some rainy winter night when you have to tell the tow-truck driver where to take your car. Even more so if preventive maintenance keeps that from ever happening.

These days most of my time under the hood is spent cleaning the engine so the real mechanic won't get his hands all greasy. Good luck.
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  #9  
Old 06-08-2004, 03:32 PM
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I've driven by his shop a couple of times and he's been out.

Will try again before I leave for the day. If not, will try again this week. I do have to work sometime and that car is not making me any money, that's for sure.

In any event, I will give him until Monday of next week. If it's not ready Monday, or it's not being worked on, I will take it out and inform him that I will have the job done somewhere else.

I've already spoken to another mechanic and he says to bring it Monday that it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

BTW, I can certainly understand my mechanics reluctance/enthusiasm to undergo that RR of the pump a 3rd time.

Not my fault though.

We'll see how the story unfolds.
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  #10  
Old 06-08-2004, 08:55 PM
greasy griddle
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I disagree with tscott. You should not just write off the car and walk away, lesson learned. However, I do recommend to keep it clean, especially because you know him in other ways than professional and will probably run into him again from time to time.
Sounds like some direct talk will do wonders right now, if done with mutual respect. You might casually let him know that the situation has been very frustrating for you, you need to be able to trust that your car will work properly. And offer to take it to a Mercedes specialist and see if he'll accept the bill. If not, then get your car, make him sign that you don't owe him money, and go to the Mercedes specialist!
I am always amazed at how much my mech knows about tiny little details that make all the difference. Good luck!

ps if you decide to let him finish the job (risky IMHO), make him do it the same day you talk to him, right then while you're there even. He's had your car for way too long. Make him stay late to finish it. If he tries to weasel out, remind him that he's had plenty of time to finish this car, and obviously he isn't making it a priority. Remind him of his duty to you via his being a good and respectable business person.

Remember you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Keep the desired outcome firmly in your mind's eye!
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2004, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tscott
You will be ahead if you mentally write off the whole vehicle, money spent, and move on with your life. Call it tuition and make sure you learn your lesson.

No way on the write off. I have too much money and time invested in it.

He is a mercedes specialist btw.

Thanks
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  #12  
Old 06-09-2004, 02:35 AM
greasy griddle
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Good, I'm glad you aren't writing it off. I understand about the specialist thing too, I had a "Mercedes factory trained specialist" examine my car and work on it for the first several months. What a joke! That mech was barely ok. I now take it to someone who was around when these cars were new and knows all the little tiny tricks and tips, also a Mercedes specialist.
Point being, All Mercedes specialists are not created equal!
Find a damn good one! You and your car deserve it!
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  #13  
Old 06-09-2004, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by greasy griddle
Point being, All Mercedes specialists are not created equal!
10-4 on that! A friend of mine was directed to a Mercedes mechanic in San Jose, who supposedly had been trained in Stuttgart and was as much of an expert as anyone could be. After what my friend related to me, I was in shock...the guy seemed to know some things, but on other subjects, he was completely clueless.

Sad, in a way...and makes me real happy I do my own maintenance...
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  #14  
Old 06-09-2004, 03:56 AM
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Geez, write it off?
With all due respect to everyones opinions,
I aint writing mine off for such small stuff as an IP, even a tranny or motor.
I love my car.
And I'm poor, I will find a way.
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  #15  
Old 06-09-2004, 07:58 AM
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There is no doubt in my mind about his technical qualifications. He routinely gets flown to dealerships throughout S. America and Haiti to train their mechanics.

I just think he's putting my car off becauseL

A) He has to give me the IP free casue he broke the original one.

B) This will be the 3rd time removing and replacing it which I am sure must be a pain in the ass to have to do for free, so he's waiting for one of those really slow weeks when theirs nothing to do.

If he were to personally do the job, I believe it would be done right. Problem is, he has his flunky do it and I believe there is a huge drop off from one to the other.

Case in point:

I brought it to him for what clearly was an engine shock vibration. The flunky changed the tensioner intsead, and the noise continued. I returned the next day and said "hey they noise is still there". The flunky told the owner thast the vibration was the bearing in the ac compressor.

I pointed out that the vibration was present with the ac on or off and got a pry bar to put some sideways pressure on the front engine shock and the noise disappeared, revealing a worn shcok.

Well the owner was furious and fixed the shock for free.

Nuff said. Will go by soon.

Thanks
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