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Old 01-09-2001, 08:51 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
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A customer comes in with a complaint of the speedo not working properly in her C class. She gives me a bill from a dealer, it reads: "Speedo inoperational, test with HHT. Found speedo head faulty and will need to be replaced". 2.0 hours labor. Estimate is $800.00.

Now I checked it with a test drive only and found that the needle would stick until about 15 mph at which point it would jump to the correct MPH. I knew the was the paint on the rest peg inside the speedo. The paint will gel and get sticky.

My remmedy is to take out the speedo and clean the peg. Problem SOLVED in less than one hour.

I GAVE it to her because of all of the other work done on her car.

Why did that dealer need to replace the cluster at an EXTRA charge and why in the hell did they charge a 2 hour diagnostic fee? No HHT was needed.

To make money, if this was the only complaint, I would have charged about 1.5...???????????????????????????????????????

Donnie Drummonds
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Old 01-09-2001, 09:45 PM
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Posts: 535
Gee, I wonder what fault code was "displayed" that led the dealer's mechanic to the conclusion that the speedometer head was faulty.

This is laziness bordering on fraud. I'd request a chargeback on the dealer's bill if I were the customer.

Nice work Benzmac.
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Old 01-09-2001, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 380
my 2cents

Although I live in Austin, Tx., I think I'd like to drive to Atlanta for servicing when you'll open your new facility!!

The timing for reading this was perfect as I JUST finished a letter written to my service advisor and the director of service at the local dealership concerning my 500E. Without going into a lot of detail, I have had my car in/out 4 times over the last 9 weeks JUST to have items addressed that were introduced by the delearship associated with a timing chain/TBA/Wiring Harness replacement. When I got the car back (after 4 weeks), it idled like a "diesel in the morning" and reeked of gasoline. I took it back a second time and 7 days later and an invoice for $450 ADDITIONAL dollars, the car was absolutely the same!! THe third visit(6 days) involved the Service Director and the Shop Foreman and finally the gasoling leak was traced to faulty Suppressors. Finally I still have a slight gas smell so it goes in a fourth time tomorrow morning.

The letter I wrote is an attempt to document the remaining problems as well as complaints in billing and an outstanding request to consider a goodwill repair on the wiring harness. Believe it or not, they are getting irritated at me. I am sure we will get this resolved but as with most of the owners on this site, the anxiety and stress over the last weeks is NOT anything ANYONE wants.

thanks for the ear/eye!!

Mark Herzig
1995 E300D 153K
1985 300D 142K (sold)
1979 450SL 122 miles (sold)
1992 500E 127K (sold)
1987 300SDL 132K (sold)
1986 300E 161K (sold)
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Old 01-10-2001, 01:24 AM
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I live in Calgary Alberta CANADA and I am tempted to drive to your shop for service. The dealer here (the one I bought the car from) has "techs" the give a whole new meaning to the term "grease monkey" (no offense, in fact at one time I was a mechanic for dare I say......General Motors)
It's good to know there are still good techs out there who have some smarts and will use them, not to mention a little honesty.
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Old 01-10-2001, 05:08 AM
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 190
Hey Trent I also live in Calgary.

Which dealer do you usually deal with?
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Old 01-10-2001, 06:59 AM
Leon Hernandez
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Benzmac, great job AND great timing. My 94 C280 is doing the exact same thing.
Is this a task for a DIY person? If yes would you share the details on how to access the needle and what is used to clean the peg?PS The speedometer needle looks like it has a slight indentation from resting on the peg, is this a problem also? can just cleaning the rest peg solve this or does the needle have to be replaced?

If not a DIY task what would be a resaonable charge? DOH dummy you said about 1.5 hours right? If that still holds then I can deal with my MB tech here in Houston.

Keep up the good work though this type of incident can really raise one's frustration level. It just reflects the professionalism of those on this forum. You represent your craft very well indeed. Wish I could get my car serviced there! Best regards. LH
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Old 01-10-2001, 07:33 AM
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This is a good example of "attitude".

A good shop and a good tech involves two almost seperate traits. The tech obviously has to be competent in troubleshooting and executing the repair, just as the shop must have this capability. But even if you had a group of technicians with the best skills in the world, the ATTITUDE must be correct.

The bottom line result of skill and attitude in the right combination provides the customer with a well maintained car at a fair price, while providing the shop owners and techs with a good living. In addition to a good living, this group of techs and shopowners will be able to sleep at night with no guilt on their minds.

Keep up the good and honest work,
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Old 01-10-2001, 08:51 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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Benzmac was it an

improper application for the type of paint? Are there any other areas that we should keep a "heads-up" concerning the use of this paint on/in other areas of the cars?
'95 E320
'97 Honda CRV
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Old 01-10-2001, 10:45 AM
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yal yal is offline
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Unbelievable...but I can't say I am stunned!
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Old 01-10-2001, 11:18 AM
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Location: Chesapeake, VA
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Funny, I thought the sticky peg thing was just my car. I had the same problem with the gas gauge on my 1995 C280. At first I thought it would be something like the stepper motor, but just for giggles I pulled the cluster and opened it. The needle was stuck to the peg with a sticky substance that looked, on a moist rag, like dried Coca-Cola. I thought, how weird? I wonder how many dealers actually know of this problem as they almost never open the newer clusters.
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Old 01-10-2001, 03:26 PM
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It's been my experience that dealers don't fix things they are typicaly only in the business of replacing things. Better profit! Clean work! Straight forward "book rates"! No fuss!
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Old 01-10-2001, 04:22 PM
Leon Hernandez
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Vince, you mentioned that you pulled the instrument cluster and inspected the fuel guage. What is the procedure to pull the cluster and is the removal of the clear plastic instrument face an intuitive thing once the cluster is removed? While you were in there did you clean all other rest pegs too?

Well look forward to the replies thanks all. LH
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Old 01-10-2001, 08:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
You have to use the specail tool to get out the cluster. They are long, small, strong hooks. Then you have to slide it by the steering wheel. Next you take out the screws and the gauge will come out from the rear.
There is no indent on the needle, it is just paint and gooo that has transferred onto the needle.

So far, the C is the only one to do this.......Yes it was improper paint.
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 01-10-2001, 09:21 PM
Southern's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Carol Stream, Il, USA
Posts: 605

It is encouraging to know that there are Technicians who trouble shoot problems with common sense. I still here of shops who follow factory "flow charts" when trying to resolve a problem. Often times the "problem" my not be listed in the factory procedures or can be a combination of problems. This is where good old fashion common sense can identify a solution to a not so obvious problem.

Keep up the good work!
1998 Mercedes E320, 200K Miles
2001 Acura 3.2TL, 178K Miles
1992 Chevy Astro, 205K Miles
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Old 01-11-2001, 03:55 AM
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Benzmac, its things the dealer does like that, that makes me appreciate someone like you.

In my business, I get paid to fix computers. I have a knack for troubleshooting problems and fixing them. I always do my best to not have to replace parts. Sure I could just tell the customers that this or that needs to be replaced, or I can fix the problem and save my customer some money while still being paid well enough and still feel no guilt when I go home.

When you treat a customer like this, they will continue to come back again and again. A Teacher back when I was in school in a business class once told me it is 5 times harder to get a new customer than keeping an existing one. I try my best to stick to this basic idea, and so far it has been working well for me.

My mom used to have an 87 560SEL. The car was leaking a small amount of tranny fluid, but it shifted and drove beautifully. The Dealer when taken in to have it looked at, tells us it needed a new transmission, for a bill of well over $3000. Well After the shock of such a repair being needed when the trans shifted perfect and didn't have any problems apart from a small leak, we took it to our independant tech, who happened to be the manager of that dealership a few years beforehand. Well $300 later the trans leak was fixed, along with a few other things.

Benzmac with the business practices that you have and the way you fix mercedes, you guys will definately do well with MBAutowerks. I sense another motto...

The Best Service. Period.


'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - 744 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2002 C320 - 816 - Sport Wagon
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