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Old 10-27-2000, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I know we are all a polite bunch, but occasionally I like to stir the pot, so to speak. I just read a post and it brought something to my mind that might deserve saying.

I regularly get private email in reply to my comments and sometimes out of the blue. I appreciate someone asking my advise and usually give what I can. I have often been questioned without being properly addressed and without signature.

I will not reply to such email. My participation here is not designed to put professional technicians out of work. I enjoy the diagnostic pursuit and don't believe in the privacy of knowledge, but I have no use for those who take the skills of my trade for granted.

So much for my Friday evening rant, please excuse me.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician

[This message has been edited by stevebfl (edited 10-27-2000).]
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Old 10-28-2000, 12:13 AM
Bill Wood's Avatar
Retired Webmaster
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Johns Creek, GA, USA
Posts: 5,013
I agree 100%.

If someone sent me an e-mail asking for advice but did not show the courtesy of signing their name to the message, I would not answer them either.

...well, unless they wired a large sum of money into my bank account first!

Bill Wood - Webmaster, LLC
MB Autowerks Inc
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Old 10-28-2000, 10:17 AM
Posts: n/a

I don't think that your "excuse me" was necessary. You made a very fair request.

I am sure that I am not the only one who frequents this forum that appreciates very much your scientific approach to diagnosis. I think that most folks, although they may not specifically thank you, do not take your efforts for granted.

Unfortunately, there are always a few that were not taught to appreciate and respect others and their efforts.

One of my many favorite movie lines is from a movie called 12 Angry Men. It is about a jury deliberation. On the jury is a very polite man who makes several polite comments and challenges about the case. In beginning to make another polite and respectful statement, a not so polite man asks him in a hateful tone, "Why are you so polite all the time?" The polite man quietly responds by saying, "For the same reason that you're not, I was brought up that way".

So, some people are respectful and appreciative and some people are not.

I hesitated to go to this, but I'm going to do it anyway. My father was a "garagemen", an independent auto repair shop owner, a "mechanic" as they were called in those days. About the time I was in junior high school, he then went into the fork truck business, and continued to dirty his hands every day. Much like Steve Brotherton, he was a scientist at what he did. He was an insightful troubleshooter and fabricator. My Dad is a great, honest, and hardworking guy. It always really boiled me, and still does, when people in other professions seem to belittle "mechanics". Hollywood is probably the most guilty at producing this stereotype. They always script a "mechanic" as if he doesn't have enough sense to find his way to work. If repairing a car is so simple that these "Goobers" can do it, why are there so many questions from everyone all the time?

Auto repair work is complex and takes intelligence and many years of experience to get good at it. As far as I'm concerned it demands respect. Anyone who is willing to work hard enough to get good at it, deserves the respect of any other profession, and yes I do mean ANY other profession.

Honesty, hard work, intelligence, study and good common sense deserves respect regardless of the profession. And I'm not totally sure that maybe a "mechanic" maybe even deserves a little more. It's hard, thoughtful dirty work, that many people are not willing to do because they're not dedicated to it enough to sweat and get dirty.

I feel that maybe I'm in a little different position here such that I can rant about this because I'm someone that is not a professional tech, and I'm also someone who understands what it takes to be good at it.

So, that's the end of my rant. Have you hugged a technician today? If not, they deserve it. They are a good example of the honesty, hard work and perserverence that this great country has been built on.

Ranting forever,

Larry Bible
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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Old 10-28-2000, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Gosh, Thanks Larry, I feel better already.

A personal pet peeve I have comes from our school system where counselors direct those with learning and behavioral disorders into the mechanical trades programs, where they do poorly. Our local ASA has worked with our Junior College and High Schools to train these people that the skills necessary to succeed include math and science skills. Those that have avoided these are doomed.

I personally graduated #1 in my 750 member, senior high school class. I went on to put myself through engineering school at the University of Florida (where I got a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering; a five year degree program at the time) by working on cars (my first love). I believe a good technician should have a minimum of two years of college level math and science and probably five years journeyman/apprentice type work -study to finish.

I was lucky that during the six years I worked for dealers (two of which occurred before I graduated), I was unmarried and able to spend great amounts of unpaid time in on-the-job training.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
27 years MB technician

[This message has been edited by stevebfl (edited 10-28-2000).]
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Old 10-28-2000, 11:50 AM
Posts: n/a
I always enjoy and appreciate the insightful answers and comments on this forum. I agree with Larry regarding the stereotypes that mechanics get. Sometimes they're not just from Hollywood but from personal experiences. It's a shame how one bad experience can lead to generalization, in this case, of mechanics.

This forum has helped me immensely, and I am extremely grateful to all who have helped me in answering my questions and concerns. Some places I go to don't even put in the effort to answer any questions that I may have; and I know sometimes I can have silly questions. I'm glad to be a part of this forum and to know that there are people out there who are just as crazy and--dare I say--obsessed with their cars as I am Danke!
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Old 10-28-2000, 01:08 PM
JCE's Avatar
JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
Our educational system helps foster a bias against technical and scientific minded individuals - from the first grade through university. Even among university faculty there is a strong sense of boundry between the humanities and the technical fields.

Whenever a humanities faculty member would make a patronizing remark about engineers or scientists, I usually responded that the technical and mechanical fields were fathered by philosophy, and art was the mother, so why the hostility towards their child?

Part of the problem is the (perhaps inevitable?) subject compartmentalization in our educational system. Maybe most human minds are not capable of grasping that knowledge is an (infinite?) continuum, not a group of isolated fields. I used to challenge students who talked glowingly of their chosen major, to the exclusion of all other fields of study, to show me the exact boundry between Philosophy and math or physics, and then to define where physics stopped and chemistry began. And so on for the borders between chemistry and biology, biology to psychology, and psychology to philosophy, where we started. My point to them was that life is a diamond. The more facets you see, the greater the sparkle. If you only stare closely at one facet, you are looking in a mirror at yourself.

Maybe a modular, throw away society also breeds a cavalier attitude for "things" and the technicians/technologists who maintain the "Things". Maybe as the devices of modern society become more complex, and more dependent on disposable modules, people develop the attitude that technicians just replace the parts a computer told them to remove. Maybe it is just that life has grown so complex that people ignore or trivialize anything outside of their own work, family, and social groups.

This forum has many experts, and it is great to see people with so many different backgrounds meeting and exchanging ideas. I would hate to see the actions of a rude or selfish individual dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.

Whew - got a long way from MBs on this rant. Sorry for the length.

87 300E, 65k miles
Smoke Silver
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Old 10-28-2000, 02:32 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,246
Steve I did not realize you had a metallurgical degree. Maybe I can sometimes ask questions concerning metallurgical type problems that I sometimes see in the steam boilers and pressure vessels that I have been given the opportunity to oversee the operation and repair of. It is interesting that some of the problems on the boilers are kinda related to the problems I have seen asked about on here - overheating. When was the last time you heard the term - nucleate boiling? I was just kidding about asking you metallurgical types of questions. I have some company resources that I can call on and you may not want me shipping you a couple of boiler tubes for analysis. LOL
take care and I will say that I always enjoy your post, along with everyone elses. I have been able to get some tremendous help from this board.
'95 E320
'97 Honda CRV
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Old 10-28-2000, 03:24 PM
Posts: n/a
Hollywood is good a demonizing various groups that are not 'politically correct', such as conservatives, gun owners, and the religious.
A good friend of mine is an Aeronautics/Airframe & Powerplant instructor at a Junior College in California.
He has to go around to the local High Schools to recruit students. Too frequently the high school counselors are referring "developmentally disabled" students to be aircraft mechanics. The message here is loud and clear- only dummies and retards work with their hands. Think about that the next time you board an airliner or pick up your Benz at the shop.

Steve Forscutt

1982 240D
1973 & 1980 450 SEL
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Old 10-28-2000, 04:01 PM
Posts: n/a
As a relatively new member, let me be bold and speak for what I believe are the majority of people who post here...
Thank You !!!
You guys take the time and care to answer technical issues with absolutely no reward other than the satisfaction that on gets from helping others. I for one greatly appreciate both the specific issues addressed along with the underlying spirit of generosity that spurs your involvement.
As a Mercedes owner, I can't tell you how enlightening this forum has been. It provides me with a source of info for what can be very complex automotive issues. One result is to enhance my ability to provide my Benz with the proper care to avoid costly repairs. The other, is to more fully understand the issues involved in more complex repair and engineering issues.
Now, before I get too serious....let me also say that this forum is FUN....OK..OK...I guess my true techonerd character is showing...but hey..what the hell..I like it !!

Anyway, what I wanted to say, simply, is that we truly appreciate the contributions of the experts who make their living at working on our automotive issues.

Thanks !!

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Old 10-28-2000, 04:46 PM
Ashman's Avatar
Service Advisor
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
I personally appreciate any and all help that I recieve here. I am sure that you guys have better things to do with your time, but seeing you guys take your time and expertise to provide us with knowledge, makes me appreciate you guys tremendously.

Personally if I need information, Rather than bother you guys with E-mailing, I'd post it here and wait for an answer if someone feels like it. If I do E-mail someone, I always sign my E-mails, as well as almost always sign my posts... Sometimes I forget to type my name in my posts, I might just have to add it to my signature file.

In anycase, I think there should be some sort of awards page or something on the site for the excellent assistance from people like benzmac, Steve, Larry, Lee, And all the others who provide their assistance to us. I wish I knew all of your names so I could list them here, but you guys know who you are, and the more I visit this board, the more I will get to know you.

I look forward to coming to meets and meeting up with all the familiar voices in here. Without you guys, I don't know what I would do.

No matter what, always know that I appreciate everything you guys do. I know how much training and time you have spent learning about these cars, and I know that I can trust in your knowledge.

In anycase, Remember that you guys are the ones who keep people on the road, and you should never be taken for granted.



'92 300CE
Metallic Black (Blue Flaked) on Creme
Clear Corners
Black Grille Insert
78k Miles

Future Upgrades:
Sportline Suspension
17" AMG Monoblocks or EVO II's
94-95 Tail Lights
Euro Headlights
AMG Exhaust

Click here to Go To My 300CE Page
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Old 10-28-2000, 10:00 PM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
Ghoulardi Rules!
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 576
As to PSinger and Ashmans comments...DITTO!

Anyone who looks down their noses at a "mechanic" needs to crawl under one of these hot and dirty beasts and figure out how to fix what's wrong.

Or when it's cold,dark and raining like hell,remember who they are going to call, to rescue their snooty behinds? Not a Dr.,Lawyer or Indian Cheif. They will be desperately looking for a TECHNICIAN to save the day.

Like all professions,there a some bad ones who tarnish the good ones. You guys aren't doing anything but helping us novices determine what we can and cannot do. And remind us that there are techs we can trust.

I was always taught, do good and it will come back to you. Obviousely,you all were taught the same.



90 300SE
85 300D
84 300SD (sold)

[This message has been edited by Mr. BILL (edited 10-29-2000).]
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Old 10-29-2000, 03:26 AM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
I consider myself a DIY and I truly enjoy working on cars. However, I KNOW my limitations.
I have a cousing who is a pro. mechanic (for an american car company) and he tells me all about back aches, the HOT weather conditions in south Florida, burned hands, long hours, etc, etc.
I do respect mechanics and, I had the opportunity to meet Steve and his brother briefly, when I showed up in his shop about a month ago, unannounced, on my way to Tampa. Oscar, his service manager, worked me in (they are very busy), to fix my instrument cluster (no lights) in less than two hours. Thank you!!!!!!!!
As you can see, not only Steve is one of the "good guys" but, his infectious positive attitude reflects in the service provided by his people.
Steve, keep up the good work and don't let a few of the "bad guys" make you change the way you do business.
BTW, as far as I'm concerned, this is the best MB forum in the internet.

'86 300E
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Old 10-29-2000, 11:01 AM
Posts: n/a
How sad that this situation even exists, let alone that it has to be said out loud.

I really do not understand anyone who looks down upon or has a lack of respect for someone else who can do something they can not? A Automoive Technician is a trained professional (if you doubt it, just look at the pay rate) and often underappreciated.

My point is, the good ones, (and you guys know who you are), can do it better than 99% of the rest. The problem is that some people are not insightful enough to know a good one when they run smack face first into them! I am not trying to fan the flames here, but this message has a direct connection to a few individuals with a lack of understanding and humility.

As a former Avionics Technician and Aircraft Electrician in the US Army, I think it needs to be said that having your "Act Together" is much harder that people think might imagine. Troubleshooting is a ARTFORM, every person can have a different way of doing it, but the competent ones, do it reliably and efficiently every time. Mistakes happen, but that is called Learning!

Steve, and all the competent Technicians and DIY'ers, I cannot apologize for these rude individuals or there comments, but I feel that I can speak for the 99.99% of the 2400+ registered user's of this board, a Huge and Heartfelt THANK YOU!!!!!!!

For the individuals who feel they "Know Better", I doubt it! The fact that these Technicians and DIY'ers contribute untold hours on and to this site at no cost to the User speaks for itself. Attacks on anyone for advise given is just uncalled for (IMO) and if I must admit, shows a short sightedness and lack of knowledge that deserves no public (or private) forum. In other words, keep it to yourselves.

Sorry for the long rant, now if I can just get off this big soapbox without hurting myself!

Have a nice day!

Ross Newcomb
96 C280, Greenish Black

[This message has been edited by roas (edited 10-29-2000).]
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Old 10-29-2000, 11:18 AM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,028
Unable to come up with anything else that would add to the excellent comments already made, I am hereby forced to say: "I agree 100%" and, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
That goes for everything, from technical advise, opinions, and an occasional snippet about life in general. Being in the restaurant business that I am, I do not often come in contact with people as intelligent and polite as I do here, and for me at least it is downright refreshing to come here and read the posts, and be able to add my few cents here and there.
Thanks again!

(ironically enough, I myself was recently a recipient of an email that was short, rude and unsigned..what a letdown)

[This message has been edited by Larry Delor (edited 10-29-2000).]
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Old 10-29-2000, 05:41 PM
Ashman's Avatar
Service Advisor
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
I consider myself a mechanic but not in the automotive industry. Being a computer technician, I have to diagnose symptoms and fix problems. Its not easy work, and computer problems for a talented and well trained tech who works hard is a commodity that is hard to come by.

People like Steve and benzmac and anyone who works hard to be the best that they can be in whatever they choose to do are the real commodities of this country. People who work doing what they love and they do it with knowledge and expertise.

I love cars and I love computers. Since I am always amazed with the computer industry, I am always just as amazed with the automotice industry. The blending of the two is always happening more and more.

Cars are getting more computers, and computers are getting more style and models and manufacturers like cars.

Both are now becoming more than just functional machines, but Completely Functional Art.

The people who keep these machines together do it because they love to do it. And because they give out information they are providing a service without expecting any payment for their time and knowledge. Its just wrong to take someone's good advise and not provide some kind of thank you for them.

In my business when a client refers another client, they get a thank you form me, and it definately makes us appreciate the people who use us time and again for our assistance.

Mechanics are usually underappreciated, and that is wrong for people to do. I appreciate everyone who helps me here, especially because they are taking out time they could be doing something else to help me.

When I had my MGB, I had a great mechanic who always made the car run great, and would help me to no end to keep my car on the road and he was very resonable. He would offer me a used part, notifying me of it being used but he would tell me it was in escellent shape, and It always was. He was always looking out to fix the problem and do it to keep the costs down for me. He was always thinking of things like that when dealing with me.

I could call him on the phone and discuss modifications or he would walk me through a repair over the phone. I appreciated him tremendously, and even though I don't have the car anymore, I still call him up to see how he is doing and to chat with him. But when I get another MGB one day for my toy, He's going to be the one I call to find me the car and fix it when it needs to be fixed.


'92 300CE
Metallic Black (Blue Flaked) on Creme
Clear Corners
Black Grille Insert
78k Miles

Future Upgrades:
Sportline Suspension
17" AMG Monoblocks or EVO II's
94-95 Tail Lights
Euro Headlights
AMG Exhaust

Click here to Go To My 300CE Page
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