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Old 02-05-2007, 05:22 PM
That Guy's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 412
American Service Center Hacks (arlington)

Just got my car back from an indie tech (Sterling Star Automotive) and he informs me that the repeated clunking that has been emanating from the drivers side front ever since American Service Center (ASC) replaced my sway bar bushings and linkage bushings is because they failed to tighten the linkage up but rather just left it loose.
If you are paying what ASC charges (arm & leg), then they had better do the job right. Instead I received hackery.

GP at Sterling Star tightened up for free (even though he wasn't the one who hosed it up) and was very helpful and informative and didn't cost anywhere near what ASC charges.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern, Virginia
Posts: 2,016
Here is my recent ASC experience, as entered into their customer satisfaction survey:

I brought my car, a 1985 300SD, in for a VA Safety Inspection.

The courtesy shuttle to the Metro was clean and timely and the driver was very pleasant.

My car was failed on the safety inspection because of an unspecified problem with the rear sway bar links. The service advisor promptly called and told me of the situation. I declined his offer to have the parts replaced then, preferring instead to do so myself. For me, the pleasure of my three Mercedes is just as much driving them as it is working on them.

My car was clean upon being returned to me that evening; however, the hood star was pushed back and off to the side - not proudly centered as it was when dropped off.

I replaced the rejected plastic sway bar links myself the next morning. They were without any cracks. looseness, or clunks; although the ball joint boots were worn. In my opinion these links were still both serviceable and did not present a hazard sufficient enough to warrant a safety inspection rejection. Rejecting them was, I believe, bordering on petty.

Upon elevating my vehicle to replace the links the next morning I found all lugs on the driver's side rear wheel not adequately torqued - two of which require absolutely no effort to move with my socket (barely hand tight).

I returned after replacing the links for a safety re-inspection. I discussed all of my concerns with the service advisor and showed him the removed rear sway bar links, demonstrating that they were still functionally adequate. He immediately took the vehicle for the reinspection. He them advised me that he had spoken with the technician about the loose lugs (which I suspect occurred when the replaced wheel was not then subsequently removed again after the service advisor informed the technician about my declining to have the links replaced at that time).

The service advisor additionally, on his own, surprised me by graciously replacing my aging hood star with a brand spanking new one - which I very much appreciate. The base diameter of the new hood star, however, is slightly smaller than the original W126 one, revealing an approximate 2 mm circumferential wear line from where the old one sat for the previous 23 years. Perhaps that will be less noticeably during the next 23 years after a little buffing.

I will return shortly for an alignment, just as soon as I find the time to replace the tie rods and upper control arms. Unfortunately I have a real job to which I must attend so as to be able to support my Mercedes habit.

Thank you for the opportunity to let me share with you my experience.

Peach Parts W124.128 User Group.

80 280SL
85 300SD
87 300TD
90 300TE 4Matic
90 300D 2.5 Turbo
92 300D 2.5 Turbo
92 300TE 4Matic
01 Saab 9-5 Wagon
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:00 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Brambleton VA
Posts: 793
Wow, American Service Center takes the cake. 7 years ago I had the mysterious wiring harness failure which caused the CAT to overheat and started a small fire under the car. My insurer had it towed to ASC. I spoke with them and kept in touch with them. I was told it would be about 3 weeks to repair. 5 weeks later still sat untouched. I called and started to push them and my insurer. As I went up the chain of command to the GM ( who never returned my call) I got pissed. I finally received a call saying they were going to total it.
This was ridiculous ! Anyway I bought out my loan balance and took the car ( it is a clean title not salvage) I repaired everything for less than 5 k in parts( had just bought the car for 32000 k ) Now I had purchased 2 other Mercedes from them in the previous 5 years so I was a repeat customer. Needless to say I was not happy and as I continued to receive emails and mailings from them I contacted them and told them to remove me from all of their mailings etc.
Now in all honesty my sister is an insurance claims adjuster ( automotive) and she said that even though the damage was minimal the dealers try to avoid repairs where the wiring had burned because invariably it will become a nightmare with "comeback" work. As for Sterling Star I have also heard nothing but good things about them as well.
92 500E Silver 66k
82 Porsche 911SC 84K
68 Cadillac ( Gone Now )
03 Suburban Z71 200K
85 300SD 217k From Original Owner ( Dad )
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:39 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 7,190
Wow, I bought my CLS from ASC, but usually do not go there for service. I always thought they probably did good work, though. Of course, I have high expectations, when the cost is as high as it usually is at a dealership like that. Mercedes dealers have generally impressed me as being far above the typical car dealer's service department. Like most things, service is done for people by people. Some people are better at what they do than others are. I would prefer to go to Euromotor Cars in Germantown, MD and always have John Heflin work on my car. You can't get any better quality work than that!
" The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do."- Warren Buffett

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Old 07-10-2014, 04:40 AM
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Wayne R. Dempsey, Founder, Pelican Parts Inc., and Author of:
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 7,190
I have to say that I've heard many stories like these about ASC. I have not had any problems with them personally, but Mistress had her car failed in a safety inspection for brakes. When she asked or the pad thickness remaining, they quickly back-pedaled and passed the car. This is why we both drive all the way to Germantown and had work done by John Heflin at Euro Motorcars.
" The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do."- Warren Buffett

OBK #55

1998 Lincoln Continental - Sold
Max 1984 300TD 285,000 miles - Sold
The Dee8gonator 1987 560SEC 196,000 miles - Sold
Orgasmatron - 2006 CLS500 25,000 miles
2002 C320 Wagon 113,000 miles
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 790
Had ASC work on our w210 once. Once. Got it back and the wheel lugs had been so over-torqued, one of them sheared off when I attempted to remove it. This was with those elongated lugs, that when they shear, the wheel is still bolted to the car, so you have to drill it out. The other lugs came off ok, but required a 4 foot steel pipe slipped over my breaker bar to get them loose. They must have been on with over 300 ft/lbs. They tried to charge me for the repair, but eventually they relented and admitted fault, claiming the tightening of lugs is performed by an hourly contractor not by their mechanics... whatever that means.... needless to say, I won't be back.
1998 E300 turbodiesel

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