Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog How To Articles Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help



Go Back   PeachParts Mercedes-Benz Forum > General Discussions > Off-Topic Discussion

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-28-2013, 09:01 PM
w123fanman's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,544
The high costs of being an idiot and trying to own a Mercedes cheaply

Well I was over at my mechanic's shop yesterday to check up on my car and that all went well, but then we noticed out front that a Sprinter owned by one of my mom's friend's relative. The guy works fixing and installing appliances which is why he has a Sprinter. So my mom had been talking to the guy a month or two ago and asked where he took his Sprinter because he used to go to our mechanic. He said, "I take it the Christian Brothers, Tony *(our mechanic)* is too expensive." So my dad was surprised to see the van there and asked out mechanic what was wrong with the vehicle. So our mechanic said, "This guy used to be very good with getting his Sprinter serviced when he first got it but after 2007 he stopped coming to me. So the other day he drives in and comes up to me and says, 'Tony, I need your help. My van only drives in 1st gear. The guys over at Christian Brothers couldn't figure out what was wrong.'" So Tony had him send over the receipts of what the other shop had done and it was mostly stuff that was regular maintenance or common issues with the Sprinter. One of the sheets said that after the alternator was replaced, there were many electrical problems popping up. It said the owner was having to jump start the vehicle every morning (battery would not maintain charge overnight) and the battery had been replaced but it was still having the same problem. Also the transmission was starting to have issues. So Tony had a look at the alternator and found it was not an OEM alternator but a cheap one probably bought at a place like autozone. So then Tony explained to us why this was bad: with a Mercedes, if the computers and electronics are not receiving the correct voltage (within small tolerances), they will not function properly. So he ran the codes and found several codes for the alternator plus the transmission. So the owner had been putting off having it looked at cause he didn't have the money. Well, unfortunately for him, the transmission codes stated that there was slippage in all 4 gears, meaning that the transmission would have to be rebuilt. A probable cause of this was that since the transmission computer wasn't receiving correct voltage, the shifts were not regulated correctly and that destroyed the transmission. So now the guy has a $4000+ bill to rebuild the transmission plus whatever the cost of an OEM alternator is.

Also there was one other story he told us. A woman showed up 2 weeks ago with her Lexus and complained that Tony had not done the job right when he tried to repair an issue with the steering wheel. Well, this was 7 years after the service had been performed. A hose to the power steering pump had been leaking causing there to be a loud grinding sound when the wheel was turned in the car so that was what he had replaced 7 years ago. He also told the woman that she should probably have the power steering pump replaced but she insisted that he did not replace it because she didn't have the money. This repair apparently worked for several months. So over the years she kept having the same problem and was going to cheap chain Jiffy Lube like place which had replaced that line 3 or 4 times at $200 a pop. One time they replaced the power steering pump for $400 which temporarily solved the problem. They had not replaced that line when the replaced the pump and the line failed shortly their after and took the power steering pump with it. So the woman comes to Tony and says he needs to fix her problem and has to do it that day. He says that he isn't obligated to redo the repair for free since the service had been 7 years before and that he did not have the time to do it that day because he was busy working on other cars (like my 190D and a beautiful W126 300SDL that someone brought in). Well the woman wasn't please and that night she filed a complaint against Tony's Quality Imports with the BBB (which all small business owners know is a fraud), which he is fighting citing the fact it was over 7 years ago that the service was done and she refused to have a part replaced that he requested be replaced.

__________________
80 300SD 183K
83 300D manual 100K chassis
86 Yugo GV 48K
88 Yugo GVX 9K
90 300D 230K
90 Lexus LS400 189k
91 F150 4.6 4v 160K
93 190E 3.0 Sportline Limited Edition 230K
93 190E 2.6 Sportline Limited Edition 91K
96 MGM LS 242K- RIP
03 Sprinter Passenger 220K
06 MGM LS 105K-sold
Parts cars:
77 240D Auto-RIP
79 300SD- RIP
80 300SD
83 240D-RIP
85 240D-RIP
87 190D-RIP
91 190E 2.3- RIP
93 190E 2.6-RIP
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-28-2013, 09:10 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 5,396
Why bother fighting it? BBB isn't a gov't agency -- it's a voluntary association. Most people get info about mechanics from Yelp.com or word-of-mouth -- no one will even check the BBB status.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-28-2013, 09:24 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,210
Customers like her can put you off your feed. There are some people out there.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-28-2013, 11:20 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3,001
Quote:
Originally Posted by w123fanman View Post
Well I was over at my mechanic's shop yesterday to check up on my car and that all went well, but then we noticed out front that a Sprinter owned by one of my mom's friend's relative. The guy works fixing and installing appliances which is why he has a Sprinter. So my mom had been talking to the guy a month or two ago and asked where he took his Sprinter because he used to go to our mechanic. He said, "I take it the Christian Brothers, Tony *(our mechanic)* is too expensive." So my dad was surprised to see the van there and asked out mechanic what was wrong with the vehicle. So our mechanic said, "This guy used to be very good with getting his Sprinter serviced when he first got it but after 2007 he stopped coming to me. So the other day he drives in and comes up to me and says, 'Tony, I need your help. My van only drives in 1st gear. The guys over at Christian Brothers couldn't figure out what was wrong.'" So Tony had him send over the receipts of what the other shop had done and it was mostly stuff that was regular maintenance or common issues with the Sprinter. One of the sheets said that after the alternator was replaced, there were many electrical problems popping up. It said the owner was having to jump start the vehicle every morning (battery would not maintain charge overnight) and the battery had been replaced but it was still having the same problem. Also the transmission was starting to have issues. So Tony had a look at the alternator and found it was not an OEM alternator but a cheap one probably bought at a place like autozone. So then Tony explained to us why this was bad: with a Mercedes, if the computers and electronics are not receiving the correct voltage (within small tolerances), they will not function properly. So he ran the codes and found several codes for the alternator plus the transmission. So the owner had been putting off having it looked at cause he didn't have the money. Well, unfortunately for him, the transmission codes stated that there was slippage in all 4 gears, meaning that the transmission would have to be rebuilt. A probable cause of this was that since the transmission computer wasn't receiving correct voltage, the shifts were not regulated correctly and that destroyed the transmission. So now the guy has a $4000+ bill to rebuild the transmission plus whatever the cost of an OEM alternator is.

Also there was one other story he told us. A woman showed up 2 weeks ago with her Lexus and complained that Tony had not done the job right when he tried to repair an issue with the steering wheel. Well, this was 7 years after the service had been performed. A hose to the power steering pump had been leaking causing there to be a loud grinding sound when the wheel was turned in the car so that was what he had replaced 7 years ago. He also told the woman that she should probably have the power steering pump replaced but she insisted that he did not replace it because she didn't have the money. This repair apparently worked for several months. So over the years she kept having the same problem and was going to cheap chain Jiffy Lube like place which had replaced that line 3 or 4 times at $200 a pop. One time they replaced the power steering pump for $400 which temporarily solved the problem. They had not replaced that line when the replaced the pump and the line failed shortly their after and took the power steering pump with it. So the woman comes to Tony and says he needs to fix her problem and has to do it that day. He says that he isn't obligated to redo the repair for free since the service had been 7 years before and that he did not have the time to do it that day because he was busy working on other cars (like my 190D and a beautiful W126 300SDL that someone brought in). Well the woman wasn't please and that night she filed a complaint against Tony's Quality Imports with the BBB (which all small business owners know is a fraud), which he is fighting citing the fact it was over 7 years ago that the service was done and she refused to have a part replaced that he requested be replaced.
What is your point? You are only hearing one side of the story from Tony, your mechanic. Obviously he would tell you everything to justify his costs. I am not saying what he said is not true, just to say take it with caution. My advice is that if you do not have reasonable wrench skill, do not own an old, cheap, beat up Mercedes. One will come to regret the cheapness. It is proven true all the time.

Good luck with your MBZ.
__________________
Not MBZ nor A/C trained professional but a die-hard DIY and green engineer. Use the info at your own peril. Picked up 2 Infractions because of disagreements. NOW reversed.

W124 Keyless remote, PM for details. http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/mercedes-used-parts-sale-wanted/334620-fs-w124-chasis-keyless-remote-%2450-shipped.html

1 X 2006 CDI
1 x 87 300SDL
1 x 87 300D
1 x 87 300TDT wagon
1 x 83 300D
1 x 84 190D ( 5 sp ) - All R134 converted + keyless entry.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-01-2013, 01:16 AM
Diesel911's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Long Beach,CA
Posts: 32,051
People have odd ideas about stuff.
I stopped working on My Mother's Car because If I worked on the Tail Light; later if something happened under the Hood She would say the item under the Hood was working until you worked on the Car; even though I did nothing under the Hood.

So I can identify with that issue of that Lady trying to get the work fixed under warranty.

Some Shops have enough Guts to tell the Customer that they won't do the Job unless they can do the Job right.

I have even seen on TV on one of those Peoples Court type Shows where the Judge held the Mechanic liable for doing a patch up Job the Customer insisted on. The Judge said He should have turned the job down.

In part of the issue with the Sprinter; I don't think you can expect most Vehicle owners to have the detailed knowledge of how their Cars work concerning how erratic and decreased Voltage can have an effect on the Electronic components of the Car.
In fact I learned part of that Myself reading this thread.

Yesterday I read a thread that said the Newer Alternators Have a Computer Chip in them and that is the reason they can regulate well enough for the Electronic Goodies.

Now why the other Shop that the Guy took His Sprinter to did not know He needed a High Quality Alternator is another issue.
That place should have at least accessed the Computer Trouble Codes.
__________________
84 300D, 82 Volvo 244Gl Diesel

Last edited by Diesel911; 03-01-2013 at 01:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-01-2013, 03:27 AM
Skid Row Joe's Avatar
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: #KeepingAmericaGreat!
Posts: 6,909
Was there more to the Christian Brothers garage story?

Tony sounds like the type of indy we'd all like to have.

Since you brought it up........
RE: "Christian Brothers"
I've been suspicious of the Christian Brothers independent franchise service garage, ever since they started radio advertising around here several years ago stating that they did ALL kinds of engine and car servicing/repairs, for less money, on all brands of cars, and were honest. Really? Is it possible to know all types of vehicle repair, on all kinds of cars/trucks, and competently know what you are doing? Maybe so, however I was initially put off by the name of the shop; "Christian Brothers." Most any business that has to lay claim to being of Christian orient, to gain your business, may not only be the highest priced indy shop around, but not necessarily competent or honest either. What isn't clear to me though, is whether utilizing the name of the business as Christian Brothers, has anything to do with their theme of business as Christian, or whether the founder's surname is, Christian, and the owners happened to be brothers. I knew a guy named Eugene Justice in Dunwoody, GA. years ago, that was a heck of a nice guy, but I have no idea whether he practiced actual justice in how he lived, worked, or thought. Having said that, anytime I see a business stating; Christian principles or the "fish" outline in their marketing or signage, I usually run the other way from experience. Sometimes ppl use the religious schpeel in their marketing of business in order to break down any resistance or to have ppl drop their guard, since after all, they're dealing with good, Christians. Put me down as *skeptical*.
__________________

06 E320 CDI - PEWTER/CHARCOAL
2017 C7 Stingray Vert /M7-speed manual trans/3LT/FE2 - Arctic White / Jet Black interior
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-01-2013, 08:21 AM
benhogan's Avatar
CPA/Greasemonkey
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chapel Hill
Posts: 1,088
interesting points guys. timely too. my little small engine repair season is about to start and last night I was thinking about last season.

there was this one customer who brought his mower for me to fix. after I fixed it, I called him up to tell him it was ready and what the tab was ($80) for parts and labor.

he did not want to pay. he claimed that since I never called him for an estimate of how much it would cost, he never authorized the repair (so why did he drop it off?). it was just a standard repair and a standard tab and nobody has ever complained since I started doing this 5 years ago. If people bring me a broken mower, I am going to fix it. A mower is not a Ferrari.

Anyway, so he pissed me off so much that I said I would install back all the broken parts and he can pick it up. As I was about to dismantle the mower, it dawned on me that doing that was just stupid since I would be doubling my work for nothing. I decided to leave it in the 'fixed' state. I left a note on the machine tell him that I decided to keep the machine in the fixed state to prove to him that I am not an %hole. So he came and picked it up. He left me a note that just said 'thanks' but no money.

I happen to know that that mower of his is very sensitive to ethanol in the gas. In time, that mower will need to be worked on again (maybe not this season) and he will probably call again for help. I am the only small engine repair guy who has a one-day turnaround time on repairs. The next guy will sit on it for weeks.

When this donkey calls me again for help, either I will insist that he pay me for the prior repair and pay in advance for the next repair OR I might just tell him to take his biz elsewhere since he will probably find another technicality to avoid paying.
__________________
Ben
1987 190d 2.5Turbo
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-01-2013, 08:32 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by benhogan View Post

A mower is not a Ferrari.

No it isn't because a mower will start and run well 95% of the time without $4K worth of work! Of course it ain't quite as good as a "chick magnet"!
__________________
“Whatever story you're telling, it will be more interesting if, at the end you add, "and then everything burst into flames.”
― Brian P. Cleary, You Oughta Know By Now
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:11 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TX
Posts: 3,725
This is not limited to mercedes - its for any car if you install cheap substandard parts you will pay for it by installing it over and over again - more chances of error as cheap parts usually are installed cheaply too.
__________________
2012 BMW X5 (Beef + Granite suspension model)

1995 E300D - The original humming machine (consumed by Flood 2017)
2000 E320 - The evolution (consumed by flood 2017)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:11 AM
Fold on dotted line
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SE Mich
Posts: 3,163
Quote:
Originally Posted by benhogan View Post
interesting points guys. timely too. my little small engine repair season is about to start and last night I was thinking about last season.

there was this one customer who brought his mower for me to fix. after I fixed it, I called him up to tell him it was ready and what the tab was ($80) for parts and labor.

he did not want to pay. he claimed that since I never called him for an estimate of how much it would cost, he never authorized the repair (so why did he drop it off?). it was just a standard repair and a standard tab and nobody has ever complained since I started doing this 5 years ago. If people bring me a broken mower, I am going to fix it. A mower is not a Ferrari.

Anyway, so he pissed me off so much that I said I would install back all the broken parts and he can pick it up. As I was about to dismantle the mower, it dawned on me that doing that was just stupid since I would be doubling my work for nothing. I decided to leave it in the 'fixed' state. I left a note on the machine tell him that I decided to keep the machine in the fixed state to prove to him that I am not an %hole. So he came and picked it up. He left me a note that just said 'thanks' but no money.

I happen to know that that mower of his is very sensitive to ethanol in the gas. In time, that mower will need to be worked on again (maybe not this season) and he will probably call again for help. I am the only small engine repair guy who has a one-day turnaround time on repairs. The next guy will sit on it for weeks.

When this donkey calls me again for help, either I will insist that he pay me for the prior repair and pay in advance for the next repair OR I might just tell him to take his biz elsewhere since he will probably find another technicality to avoid paying.
Tell him to find another shop, you won't go broke.
__________________
Strelnik
Invest in America: Buy a Congressman!

1950 170SD
1951 Citroen 11BN
1953 Citroen 11BNF limo
1953 220a project
1959 180D
1960 190D
1960 Borgward Isabella TS 2dr
1983 240D daily driver
1983 380SL
1990 350SDL daily driver alt
3 x Citroen DS21M, down from 5
3 x Citroen 2CV, down from 6
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:26 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,061
What is the old saying? Buyer beware? How about Buyer/Owner GROW A BRAIN when it comes to knowledge of your vehicle? The Sprinter owner should have taken the time to become knowledgeable of Sprinter vans and then he would have known that it required a special alternator; but since he was STUPID (lack of knowledge), he didn't know to INSIST that the new shop install the correct part. This is where STUPIDITY (lack of knowledge) becomes very very expensive very quickly. Secondly, any vehicle requires ongoing maintenance and to ignore that fact is a virtual guarantee of break downs of the vehicle.

On the other hand, if the shop had been true professionals, they would have KNOWN that Sprinter Vans require a special alternator. The story here is one of an IDIOT taking his Sprinter Van to other IDIOTS for repair. As Aklim has stated in other threads, it was "A Marriage Made in Heaven".

Thirdly, I'm a believer in staying with only one mechanic. He/she then gets to know you and know your needs and the needs of your vehicle. "Shop Hopping" may result in substandard care procedures which in the end, COSTS you more $$$$$$$.

Seek out knowledge of your car/truck/van and it will come to you. You will be in a more powerful position when it comes to dealing with ANY mechanic.

Last edited by HuskyMan; 03-01-2013 at 10:36 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:27 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
dieselarchitect
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 35,579
Quote:
Originally Posted by strelnik View Post
Tell him to find another shop, you won't go broke.
x2. Some people no matter what precautions you take will cost you money to do business with. He sounds like one of those.

What you did is probably the better way to go but back in the day when I was younger I probably would have kept his mower until he paid or it rusted away to a pile of black and green stuff.
__________________
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:43 AM
link's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by benhogan View Post
interesting points guys. timely too. my little small engine repair season is about to start and last night I was thinking about last season.

there was this one customer who brought his mower for me to fix. after I fixed it, I called him up to tell him it was ready and what the tab was ($80) for parts and labor.

he did not want to pay. he claimed that since I never called him for an estimate of how much it would cost, he never authorized the repair (so why did he drop it off?). it was just a standard repair and a standard tab and nobody has ever complained since I started doing this 5 years ago. If people bring me a broken mower, I am going to fix it. A mower is not a Ferrari.

Anyway, so he pissed me off so much that I said I would install back all the broken parts and he can pick it up. As I was about to dismantle the mower, it dawned on me that doing that was just stupid since I would be doubling my work for nothing. I decided to leave it in the 'fixed' state. I left a note on the machine tell him that I decided to keep the machine in the fixed state to prove to him that I am not an %hole. So he came and picked it up. He left me a note that just said 'thanks' but no money.

I happen to know that that mower of his is very sensitive to ethanol in the gas. In time, that mower will need to be worked on again (maybe not this season) and he will probably call again for help. I am the only small engine repair guy who has a one-day turnaround time on repairs. The next guy will sit on it for weeks.

When this donkey calls me again for help, either I will insist that he pay me for the prior repair and pay in advance for the next repair OR I might just tell him to take his biz elsewhere since he will probably find another technicality to avoid paying.
For the time it’s better just to let it go and give the mower back with your thanks for the opportunity. Perhaps even apologize for the misunderstanding. After all, it sounds as if you did not provide the estimate.

It’s easy to let this kind of thing consume the seller if you let it happen. Instead, learn the lesson - in the future, get a signed work order and follow the defined rules and provide a written estimate or whatever is standard, so that your future efforts are covered enough to win in court should it come to that. Not that anyone would go to court for $80 but doing it right means you can dangle that detail. But mostly doing good work nearly always brings good results. We all eat one every now and again.

The track record is nearly as important as excellent customer service, no matter what.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:49 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by link View Post
For the time it’s better just to let it go and give the mower back with your thanks for the opportunity. Perhaps even apologize for the misunderstanding. After all, it sounds as if you did not provide the estimate.

It’s easy to let this kind of thing consume the seller if you let it happen. Instead, learn the lesson - in the future, get a signed work order and follow the defined rules and provide a written estimate or whatever is standard, so that your future efforts are covered enough to win in court should it come to that. Not that anyone would go to court for $80 but doing it right means you can dangle that detail. But mostly doing good work nearly always brings good results. We all eat one every now and again.

The track record is nearly as important as excellent customer service, no matter what.
Amen and Amen. Any mechanic should understand that a written estimate followed by a SIGNED IN BLUE WET INK work order will CYA. No, signature, no worky. A work order might state that in the event that the customer chooses not to pay or pick up their equipment within ten business days after having received notice that the lawnmower is ready for pickup, the customer hereby grants a lien against the property and if payment is not received, customer agrees to surrender their lawnmower, weed whacker or whatever to the mechanic in lieu of payment.

Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs, but to me, paying small claims court fees plus losing a half day of work going to court over $80 seems like a total waste of time. The aforementioned work order gives the mechanic real teeth in dealing with people who can't see the light. Merely sell the lawnmower to cover the $80 or, perhaps price it up to $250 and make a few nickels. And, if the customer chooses to sue all the mechanic has to do is bring the written estimate and signed in wet blue ink work order to court and CASE CLOSED.

This plan of attack keeps everyone on the straight and level so that there is little chance for misunderstandings.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-01-2013, 11:05 AM
benhogan's Avatar
CPA/Greasemonkey
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chapel Hill
Posts: 1,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by link View Post
The track record is nearly as important as excellent customer service, no matter what.
amen brother. check out the testimonials on my google site.

https://plus.google.com/101075725612679982780/about?gl=US&hl=en-US#101075725612679982780/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

life is way too short to hold a grudge. I have a no donkey rule.

__________________
Ben
1987 190d 2.5Turbo
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts, LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Peach Parts or Pelican Parts Website -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page