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  #16  
Old 02-16-2001, 05:37 PM
Ashman's Avatar
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Yes I plan on having the car taken tomy independent MB Specialist who years ago when we had an 87 560SEL, which the same dealership said it needed a new tranny, he fixed it for $300 it was a stupid oil cooler line and the dealership tried to tell us that car needed a new tranny at 75k miles.

My independent left that dealership because of their practices and their can't be fixed diagnosis.

They say the front pump went bad. Fromt he looks of things, it seems like the main seal is bad, and thats where the leak is.

My thinking is that if the pump is available on partsshop fastlane for around $300-$400 then labor and all should not be extremely expensive, maybe like $1000 give or take a bit.

I really would like to get some opinions on how the pump can fail, how likely it is that it failed due to dealership mistake, how likely it is that they used the wrong type of trans fluid or did not clean things properly before putting the trans pan back on when they changed the filter.

And how something like this can happen 3 weeks after a trans service.

All of this has made me seriously think about how something like this can happen.

My dad will get the trans replaced if needed, and all, but he just does not want to be screwed over.

I would send E-mails to benzmac, steve, MB Doc, AAron, MB Stars, etc, but I feel that it would be better for me to let them se this post here and answer it if they want. I don't want to bug them with myproblems in e-mail. The information they could post in here might be helpful to someone else.

So guys, any ideas? Should I just have it taken to my independent?

My dad will callme soon to ask me what I have found out from here, so I am hoping to have some info on costs compared to the dealership, and if the diagnosius by them sems to be totally wrong or completely correct.

thanks for the info so far guys, I'm just concerned that my dad is getting screwed here by the dealer.

I do know my other posts sounded like I was ready to tear someone a new one, and really if they diagnosis by the dealer turns out to be BS, then they will be hearing from my dad after he talks to mbusa. But if they are right on, then thats all I need to hear to calm me down about it.

It just puzzles me that 3 weeks after the car was in for a trans service the trans gets screwed up. The coincidence alone in that makes it hard for me to not try to point blame, but things like this can happen at any time.

I am concerned with their diagnosis being a proper diagnosis. If their diagnosis is wrong, and my dad spends $5000 or so on a new trans and torque converter, then it will have beena complete waste, and I will consider it as bloody highway robbery by the dealer.

I have been telling him for the last year to take it to the independent only, he just assumed the dealer was better because they may have more tools etc, but I seem to think that they are trying to replace something that can be fixed for less.

I guess it all comes down to the old argument of dealers vs independents. The dealers tend to replace things, independents tend to fix things.

i just don't want to see my dad get screwed out of his hard earned money, he spent the last 40 years of his life, working 20 hours a day on average, nearly 7 days a week to get what he has today, and I hate to see him have to work more now that he is not in the best of health to be able to work like that now. He is a borderline diabetic with heart problems, and had an angioplasty done 2 years ago instead of having a bypass done, and so he cannot over exzert(sp?) himself much because if he does he will have chest pains.

So essentially I help him out as much as I can to try to reduce the stress on him when having to deal with stresful situations.

He does not really go into his office anymore at all and only travels now for his clients, but does nto deal with all the day to day operations of his business anymore because when he comes to the office and starts getting hammered with this and that being brought to his attention he starts to feel chest pain and has to leave and relax.

Well enough about my dad's problems. But you guys do understand what I am looking for.

Is the dealerships diagnosis correct?
Does the front pump fail often?
Does it really need a torque converter if the pump failed?
Are the prices ok or are they ridiculously priced?

Thanks for the help and I do apologize for writing such long messages.

Alon
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  #17  
Old 02-16-2001, 05:57 PM
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" I guess it all comes down to the old argument of dealers vs independents. The dealers tend to replace things, independents tend to fix things."

One of the best things you can know in life is what to expect from the people with whom you work. Knowing their nature can give you a far better idea of what to expect.

IMO, it really depends on whether fixing the “obvious” problem will be the end of it, or if it represents the first failure in the system. Since you don't know, a second opinion is the key.

Best of luck!

...Tracy
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  #18  
Old 02-16-2001, 06:52 PM
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My gut reaction is that an SL600 represents major dollars to these folks. They probably figure, "what's $5,000 to a guy who (as far as they are concerned) paid $150,000 plus for his car?"

My experiences with my car since I bought it a few years ago have made me quite cynical and suspicious of some mechanics, especially those at dealers, who are too quick to fix what is not broken, or feel that they can hoodwink me because I do not have vast knowledge of my car. (My over-abundance of common sense, however, compensates for any deficit.)

My opinion is that they are trying to screw you. Honestly, how does a torque converter, which is about as complex as an electric fan, fail? And I am sure that the tranny in your dad's SL600 is a lot tougher that the one in my 260E, yet I drove for several weeks with the fluid half-empty without any failures. (At least none that I know of!!)

I agree with the person who suggested some legal counsel. Perhaps a phone call from a lawyer or some other authority will get some results. I had a steering problem when I bought my car and the dealer blew me off, saying it was not their fault and that I would have to pay for any repairs. A few days later a big, shiny Virginia State Police cruiser arrived at the dealership with the trooper responsible for safety inspections in that region inside. Suddenly, the dealer became very motivated to fix the problem (and was cited for selling me a broken car). So don't underestimate how effective such passive-aggressive tactics can be.

Any work the mechanics have done on your dad's tranny carries an implied warranty, whether you received anything in writing or not. The evidence suggests that they goofed something up. Do a bit of research on the condition of the car prior to their service, so that you can pinpoint what, if anything, they may have done wrong. Get some facts on the lifespan and durability of that particular transmission. Then get them to describe in detail, and with full documentation, everything they did to the car over those five weeks. Then compare notes and take any appropriate action.

Good luck.

Eric Silver
1989 260E
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  #19  
Old 02-16-2001, 07:34 PM
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Torque Converters

Also, regarding your question about torque converters:

I am hardly an expert, but know enough to say that a torque converter is simply a fluid coupling between the engine and the transmission, and not part of the transmission itself. It is essentially a turbine physically connected to the engine that spins a fluid (ATF) that turns a second turbine that is physically connected to the transmission.

Although there is some merit to what the dealer is saying about the transmission pump failure being linked to possible torque converter failure, as the tranny (piston) pump's function and the torque converter's (centrifugal) pump functions are basically interdependent, it nonetheless seems very far-fetched.

Eric

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  #20  
Old 02-16-2001, 07:37 PM
Stevegman
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This is crazy

Unless the trans was broken prior to your buying the car, there is no way it should fail so soon. I know the trans in my 500 is so sensitive to fluid level that MB changed the dipstick and the new transmissions are sealed. There is no dipstick anymore. (Anyone who knows, please confirm). I believe MBUSA will help you out. For the flagship to lose a tranny at such low mileage would be shameful to any builder.

Alon, do not be too timid about taking charge for your fathers affairs. I once got a friends entire engine rebuilt (under extended warranty) by claiming I was him and dealing with the dealership. My friend doesn't know the difference between a spark plug and a drain plug. He didn't know what I meant when I said his car was blowing oil, so he asked for my help. Another time I got Cadillac to provide all the motor parts free (he paid labor). I never get so lucky with my own problems.

Steve
'85 500SL (Euro)
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  #21  
Old 02-16-2001, 08:03 PM
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Sorry to read about the situation. I totally relate to your predicament- when I encounter mechanical, cosmetic,& aesthetic issues with my '94 E320 Starmark Coupe, it always incites a strong emotional reaction- never fails.

To best address these types of issues I first acknowledge my emotional state and then meticulously focus on a logical process/plan to gather complete information on the failure, causes, and solution-resources/options (as appropriate). Thereafter, I allow myself to make an educated decision on how to proceed to achieve the outcome desired.

I've learned that often my suspicions are just that, they do not foster a friendly trusting relationship with those that can help resolve my problem, and left running wild- impair my ability to make the best results happen. I am cautious though not to be too trusting and be placed in a situation to be taken advantage of.

Good luck with your information gathering, problem solving, and in making the best situation out of this unfortunate circumstance.

Keep in mind that MBZ's in general are very robust- however there's no real way to know for certain the effects of a previous owner (caveat emptor) and the randomness of chance circumstances.

-fad
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  #22  
Old 02-16-2001, 08:08 PM
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Ashman,

forgive me for stating the obvious, but,with 55K on your car, any car, there is grounds for claiming on fair wear and tear. Certainly on a Benz, I would expect to drive throught 200K on any transmission without any sort of drama what so ever !. Seems to me to you have just cause to demand a fix, free of charge !!!! Good Luck !
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  #23  
Old 02-16-2001, 09:52 PM
dlswnfrd
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Alon

Stop trying to rationalize the pre mature failure of a mechanical item.
There is no way to seperate the long lived part from the one that failed pre maturely.
I believe you should take all of the logical data along with a calm and cool head and go after the problem.
All of the proper methods are in these posts; pick and choose.
Happy Trails Beep Beep from Houston!!!
Donald, El Cheapo
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  #24  
Old 02-16-2001, 09:54 PM
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My dad spoke to the service advisor and was told this..

The main seal is leaking. The trans is very harsh when going into gear (i.e) reverse, and he recommends replacement because:

a: They have to drop the tranny to do the seal
b: since engaging gear is firm or harsh as the guy put it, the trans should be replaced.

So essentially they have changed their story from the main pump to the main seal and have changed from needing torque converter to replacing the trans because reverse engages firmly or harsh as the guy put it.

My dad has a meeting with the dealership on monday. I had him threaten to call MBUSA, and they guy immidiately changed the story on what needed to be fixed.

Sounds like MBUSA should be called regardless because if he had given them to go ahead to fix it today, he would have ended up with a $4000-$5000 bill for a new trans and torque converter.

So now the service advisors list of whats wrong and needs to be replaced has changed somewhat.

So on monday my dad will be deciding on what to do.

He values the information I will be providing him from here, so if any of you techs got some info for me that you can get to me by then, I would appreciate it.

Arming my dad with more knowledge about it before he caves and opens up the wallet, will assist in him getting the problem dealth with.

Also I think if he does need to do the trans, he should get it done at the dealer so it has a warranty.

Either way, he might just decide on the trans because of the firm gear selection, but when I moved the car on tuesday night for him, it did not seem harsh at all.

So essentially I think they are making more excuses, but I think I will pop in on monday and have the service advisor show me another sl600 and how it engages gear for comparison. If it really is very harsh then maybe he should change it.

I just don't think that a main seal requires a trans rebuild or a replacement.

But since they said the labor would be the same, he might as well just do it.

Does that seem strange to you?

Thanks for all the replies so far, the opinions have really helped me open my eyes, and have helped me stay calmer than I was.

I'm the kind of person that will overreact at first then as I do more thinking or research, I tend to calm down and see things differently.

Alon
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  #25  
Old 02-16-2001, 10:50 PM
MedMech
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I had a similar problem with a frame noise in my piece of crap Yukon. The first call to GMC yielded nothing, the second call I finally received results. MBUSA will probably advise you to take it to another MB dealer and will deal with the service manager directly, and he will not back up his buddies across town if he thinks something is fishy. As for a tranny problem at 55k on anything even a GMC is ridicules and needs to be addressed. I really hope you get this straightened out in your favor, we all know what it feels like to be screwed. If something really does stink call you state Attorney General, in most states they do act. I wish you the best of luck my friend.
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  #26  
Old 02-17-2001, 04:34 AM
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I have another question.

If they put too much fluid in the tranny when changing the fioter and fluid, could that cause a main seal and pump to fail?

If so, then I think my dad has the answer to what caused it.

Right now he is looking to find out what caused the problem, because if it was overfill of fluid or something that the dealer could have done by mistake then he will know how to handle it.

He is an Attorney, so he knows how to deal with people and get things done to his satisfaction.

So Benzmac, Steve, MB Doc, MB Stars, Aaron, anyone else, can you please shed some light on this?

I know you guys are busy, but my dad is planning on having it dealt with on monday so time is limited to get some answers from you great people here.

When we go see the independent which is where he might take it I'm going to bring the laptop, and show them the site here, I'm sure my independent will love this place and all.

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this guys,

Alon
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  #27  
Old 02-18-2001, 01:37 AM
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Sorry for the impatience, but I am still looking for some more info on the questions I have...

Thanks in advance,

Alon
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  #28  
Old 02-20-2001, 02:15 PM
Stevegman
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Don’t expect traitorous responses.

I would expect that you won’t get any responses from the professional mechanics on a question like this because, as a professional, they would not second guess the diagnosis of another without being able to personally diagnose the problem themselves. I imagine they wouldn’t guess with the limited information you have, especially if you are asking them to castigate the dealer service technician.

If you ask a doctor or lawyer for an opinion about a colleague’s decision, you won’t get one unless there is compensation or another reason to do so. The ethics are questionable. For example, how could a doctor evaluate a condition without examining the patient? Is it similar for the car? I think so. The lack of responses only shows the good judgment of the professional mechanics that moderate this site.

Please understand that I am not defending the dealer. Read my earlier post. But I believe you will not see responses from the pros.

Steve
’85 500SL (Euro)
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  #29  
Old 02-20-2001, 10:37 PM
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Steve,

Thank yo for the response. I understand exactly what you meant.

The car is now at my independent mechanic who is going to fix the problem and it wont cost anywhere close to what the dealer wanted.

My independent looked at the car, agreed that it was the main sel and front pump. and he will be fixing it.

He checked the rest of the tranny and he said it was fine other than the main seal and pump.

Hopefully my dad will take my advice next time and just take it to the independent.

The same dealer that told him he needed a new tranny, is the same dealer that told us we needed a new tranny in our old 87 560SEL which had 75k on it, when all it had was a small leak that was easily fixed by our independent. And the same independent who fixed that car is now fixing my dad's car.

So anyway, thank you everyone for the responses. The opinions in here helped me convince my dad to take it to the independent and to stop messing around with the dealership.

Thank you all, you have helped me convince my sometimes thick headed father that the dealership is not necessarily better than a good independent shop.

Alon

Keep up the good work Everyone!
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  #30  
Old 02-20-2001, 10:45 PM
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WAIT A MINUTE!

If the service was just done on the tranny, I would think that they should have SOME sort of obligation to warranty something....

They might be trying to cover up a problem. I have seen this many times on the dealer level. Just be careful and cover yourself...Not all things are done as deception, but this looks like it is in that category.

I would call MBNA first, then take it for a second opinion. It sounds like the fluid came out all at once, this happened to me once when a filter collapsed and sucked flat. It was a part failure, therefore I had to eat the repair. Not all work is profitable.

Be sure you know the CAUSE of the problem, not the result. That is how you will win.
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