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Old 09-11-2003, 11:03 PM
hedpe's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 507
Thumbs down BAD SHOPS: Western PA

Bobby Rahal Mercedes Dealership in Wexford, Autotech Performance Cars, and possibly Smail Mercedes Service Department (not their autobody shop, they were excellent with me)

If you care the slightest bit about your mercedes you will NOT take it to this dealership. And here is the reason why...

My 1992 500E was in an accident, after the body work was done at Royal Automotive in the South Hills (excellent shop, Mercedes specialists), it was taken to Bobby Rahal for a couple things. I get the car back, and it went DOWNHILL.

First thing, I'm walking past the back of my car as soon as I get it back, and I notice a dent in my quarter panel. The WHOLE car was repainted and every dent removed, I saw it for my own eyes at the body shop. It comes home from Bobby Rahal and it now has a dent in the quarter panel. I'm furious, I call them and they said the famous "it must have happened on the way home, we didn't do it."

So ok I asked to speak to the supervisor, I speak to him, he says ok it must have happened at our shop, we'll fix it. I take it back up and they fix a door locking problem, give it back, and the dent is STILL there. I call and yell some more. They say that their "dent wizzards" could not fix it so they again deny that they did it so they wouldn't have to pay to get it done at a body shop. Unbelieveable.

I will say it again, the WHOLE car was repainted. Tell me, how does this happen then?

That was NOT there when it left the body shop. It looks like they took something out, set it on the trunk lid, slid it back and forth, then took it off. I was furious when I saw the scratches. I called them again "oh we didn't do anything to it."

Now I've about lost my cool with them. Then I notice the next thing...

There is a deep key scratch about 8 inches long in my right lower body panel. Deep enough to catch my nail and to notice. I'm ready to go postal on them by now...

...and its not the end. This is good enough for a law suit against them, but I have so many other things to deal with in my life that this is the last thing I want to deal with. I'm driving home on the freeway, doing 60mph, i switch lanes and someone is about to pull in front of me. I hit my brake pedal...NO BRAKES. I have absolutely no brakes going 60mph. My heart drops and I shift it down to third, let it engine brake a little, when the rpms drop, shift it into 2. Then let it ride it out till I was safe to pull over.

I get the car back to my house, take off my front left wheel. This is what I find:

Yes that is brake fluid on the floor, and yes that is a chewed brake line. What caused this you ask? Well, I had Rahal put on my brand new, out of the box EVOII wheels on the car and take my stock wheels off. So that's what they did. And what did they not do? PULL THE BRAKE LINE BACK FAR ENOUGH. The wheel/tire ate that brake line up. And you want to know whats even scarier? The car was INSPECTED after the new wheels were put on by Rahal. Rahal did a state inspection on the car and failed to recognize this. And you want to know whats even scarrier? When my father was driving it back to rahal for a transmission leak, the brake light was flashing on the dash. He told them about it, they said they looked at everything and everything was fine. This was about 100 miles later, if they even took the slightest glance, they would have noticed that the wheel/tire was rubbing against the line. I doubt they even looked.

So I told them that if they didn't fix it and take care of this that there would be legal action taken. They state inspected the car and failed to notice this problem. They were told the brake light came on, still didn't notice it. They put my new wheels on and did not pull the brake line back far enough. Disgusting.

Does it end yet with Rahal? NO. So they bring the flatbed to pick the 500E and take it to fix the brakeline. Going on the flatbed I said be careful, it came close to scraping the front end going on. "Yeah yeah, its ok we'll be careful." Yeah ok, I get the car back and the whole front bumper is scraped. I call them "no we definately didn't do it." I HAVE PICTURES TO PROVE IT. I took pictures of the front bumper before it went on to the flatbed. So I show them the pictures, so then they pass it off as the famous "oh it must have happened on the way home then." They REFUSE to pay for any of the damage they did to my car. You want to know how much in damage? I got an estimate done by the person who originally repaired the car. $1,300 in damage by Bobby Rahal. Thanks Bobby!

I'm sorry, but they do not deserve to be repairing cars. I just wanted to give the heads up. Because of all of their damage they have done to my car, and its on going problems, insurance is totalling it out. Some things on it are still not fixed and i'm fed up with the car and its problems and all the damage on it.

Please, do not go to them for service, do not buy cars from them. I had an excellent experience with Smail Mercedes Body shop out in Greensburg. They treated my car with care and were excellent with it. Their service department on the other hand was a little shady. They wanted to replace my front seal on my tranny, $1,300 job. I took it somewhere else, they found a small seal leaking, fixed it for $100 and never had the problem again.

Another bad shop in Western PA. Autotech Performance. They were the people who originally serviced my 500E. I took it to them for about 2 months. I knew that it was time to take it out when my lower door panels were loose on my front left and right sides. I told them SPECIFICALLY (dan fowler for all of those who want the name, their bosch tech) that the door clips needed replaced. What did they do? GLUED THE DOOR PANELS TO THE CAR. Thats right, i said GLUED. We stormed the car out of there, never to return.

Just a couple heads up. Keep your heads up Pittsburgh people, maybe one day, one day, someone will open a good, honest, and loyal Mercedes shop.
2013 C300 4matic
2009 C300 4matic

2001 E320 Sport
1992 500E
1989 300SEL
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Old 07-25-2004, 03:10 PM
Dan Rotigel
Posts: n/a
Hey Hed,

Its been a while, i just saw this post. Sorry to hear you had such problems. I've been taking my 16v to Indiana Sales and service. Its now a nissan dealership but was mercedes for 20 or so years before. Ask for the shop foreman, Joe Lash, hes the real deal, factory trained, still has the microfiche, etc. He did the timing chain+gears for me a year ago, is the only I let near my car. Indiana is maybe 1.5 hours outside of Pittsburgh, maybe more if you take rte. 22. Drop the car off at the shop, talk to joe and tony, walk up the street and have a beer at the coney. gimme a call if you're up there.



ps. yeah, smail is sleaze
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Old 10-21-2004, 11:32 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2
Boby Rahal

Just wanted to add my 2 cents, about Rahal. 2cents is all i would pay for their work.
I took my ML320 there for an oil, brake fluid and coolant change. Oil was black and dirty when I got home and checked it. Couldn't check the other fluids. They claimed they changed them all. Yeah, right.
Learned to change oil myself.
A few months later, bearing was going bad in serpentine belt tensioner. They insisted noise was bad belt. Charged for diagnosis. Changed tensioner myself and noise disappeared. Still have same belt on it because I wouldnt let them change it and then need tensioner changed later. They are bad.
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:23 PM
Posts: n/a

I lived in Pittsburgh for four years and absolutely loved Rahal! Started by taking my 300TE there. Traded that for a 94 E420. Sold the latter and bought a 94 E500 and 95E320 wagon.

They were always great to me. I am also pretty anal about my cars and they barely set a foot wrong. Sometimes took a little longer that I expected on fixing things, but otherwise, no complaints.

I also know their GM well - Bob Swetkis, nicest most customer oriented dealer bloke on the planet. Bob used to be the service manager but now it is someone called Julian.

Just shows how different experiences can be...

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Old 02-10-2006, 12:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Atlanta.
Posts: 366
I know your posts are older, but I wanted to give you my .02.

I actually did my apprenticeship at Rahal.
I worked under the wing of the foreman Bobby-U.

He's a great guy and a great tech.
I can't say enough good things about this guy.
he was busier than ever on problem cars and always managed to find time to help me out.
he was an excellent teacher and friend.
It sounds like you got one of the bad techs and the dealership just stood behind their guy.

I could not believe that Bob Sweatkiss would handle the situation like that.
At least when I worked there, Bob would always be on the customers side, and would not hesitate to chew a technician a new one if he screwed up.

At the time I worked there, Julian was just a service writer.
Maybe Bob was burned out and didn't care anymore, who knows.

Remember, you can always request a certain tech to work on your car, just ask for bobby-U.

From my experience there, the customer was always right, and the shop was very professional, but if you fly off the handle and start making accusations, you will get nowhere, you do have to handle things calmly at times, but I do understand getting furious under the aforementioned circumstance.
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Old 09-28-2006, 05:45 PM
kbenjamin0106's Avatar
83 & 85 300d's Turbo's
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 204
i live in westmoreland county

do you know anyone in westmoreland that work on 83 diesel benz's??
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:07 PM
Dan Rotigel
Posts: n/a

There is a foreign auto tech in greensburg, heading out of town on...i think old route 66. I've had friends that went there, I always saw a benz or two on the lot. My guy is still in Indiana...but you'd have to drop your car off for a few days; hes not the quickest anymore, but the work is still fine. 45 mintutes from gbg, the labor rate is still 55 bucks i think...smail is around 85?

What needs to be done?

dan r.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:57 PM
rebreath's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: pittsburgh,pa
Posts: 314
I have used..

Originally Posted by kbenjamin0106 View Post
do you know anyone in westmoreland that work on 83 diesel benz's??
richlin imports
1984 harrison city-export road
harrison city,pa 15636
18007985134 or

there is also a guy in hazelwood that is excellent.cant remember name of shop though.
1984 300D turbo 155k
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