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  #1  
Old 06-01-2001, 02:18 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 301
I realize this is not the proper forum for this question but I am hoping some of the mechanics reply so I can see both sides.

I brought a 1991 420SEL with 150k to a MB indie MB shop for a pre-purchase inspection. Their inspection concluded that various and assorted items/repairs were needed, the smallest being a muffler hanger, the largest a major front brake job. Their opinion was solid car good price.

I bought the car and started to educate myself via this forum. The more I read the more I feared the timing chain. I called the owner of the shop who said "don't worry they give plenty of warning". After a few days I went to the shop and asked/begged that they check the guides, he said "it's real tough to do, wait until we need to perform a major service and we'll check then" I stopped driving the car.

Over the weekend I read all the patinate posts and found I need only remove the valve cover to get an idea of the condition of the guides.

Cut to the chase.....

The guides were a beautiful amber color, one even had a crack.

The car required chain, tensioner, guides plus valve seals and a power steering hose.

Had I been aware of these problems, at the time of purchase, I could have negotiated a lower price or passed
on the car.

My questions are,

Shouldn't an MB shop that is aware of the 420's history with Tchains do an inspection that includes it?

Should I ask that they pay some of the repair cost? Should I ask that they just refund their fee? Should I just chalk it up to experience and move on?

Thanks for all opinions.
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2001, 02:50 AM
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I really do not know what to tell you as far as what you should do, but it could be that this particular place wanted you to buy it because they figured you would then need to bring it to them to have the work done.

Now I am not saying this is the case, but I would be suspicious of it at the least.

If the car seemed fine, and has only now had it happen, it could be inevitable that it was going to happen, or it could be a fluke.

The guide rails I believe are plastic, so they will become amber no matter what. and they do tend to get brittle.

Was the car using oil when you bought it? that is a sign that the valve guides are probably worn, because they let oil slip through.

When I took my car to my mechanic, he looked it over, checked fluids, listened to it, and drove it and put it up on the rack to take a look, and said it was all good. He did notice a msall tiny oil seapage from the head gasket area, but it was very dry oil, and the car has hardly used any oil between 3k oil changes.

7000 miles later, roughly 6 months down the line, I have had to have the tranny rebuilt.

Sure he probably could have pulled the pan and inspected it, but would I want to do this to several cars that I am only thinking of buying? and what would the car's owner think if you were to do that to their car.

There was no way to predict this happening on my car, and he drove it and the car drove great up until the one day, no noise of a break, nothing, I just lost 4th gear completely on the freeway, and then I partially lost 3rd gear, which would slip out occasionally, of course the first thing I did was take it to my mechanic, and had him open the tranny, only to find the clutch packs disintegrated int he pan in the form of black stuff.
Alon
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2001, 03:00 AM
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Alon,

As I understand it, brown guide rails on a 420SEL is a serious matter demanding immediate attention.

The valve seal issue was discovered from a severely fouled plug so apparently they did not bother to look at all the plugs.

You do raise a good point about opening up someone else's car.

BTW I can't thank you enough for the Mr.MB recommendation.

Best regards
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  #4  
Old 06-01-2001, 03:31 AM
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Is the car there now?

He just finished my car last week, and it drives amazingly now, and he was soo pleased with the outcome of my lowering springs wheich he usually hates.

I have to go back there for some front end noise when I make a sharp left turn, probably a bad bearing or ball joint or something. I will probably stop by him Next week sometime.

Alon
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2004 C240 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2015 ML350 - P1, Pano, Ash poplar wood, Sport Dinamica interior, Running Boards Keyless go.
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2001, 03:46 AM
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Alon,

Got the car back this week, runs smoooooooth. I was never so happy to drop a dime in a repair shop. Enrique is a great guy and makes it look easy. I can't imagine taking my car anywhere else. If you ever get by the Grand Havana Room, the stoogie is on me.
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2001, 02:05 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
It looks as if there was a happy outcome to this issue but wanted to relay the following: when I bought my used MB, I had the party I bought it from take it to a near by MB dealer’s shop to do the equivalent of a Starmark inspection. This is a 130 point review of the car used to decide whether to permit a factory extended warranty. From previous experience, I found that in this inspection they do not look underneath the valve cover, nor underneath the battery. I paid a small extra amount to have them do this as well as a few other extra things, as I wanted to know the condition of the top of the valve train.

Still they didn’t check the timing chain or tensioners. That was okay with me as the car had a mere 60K miles on it. The moral of the story is that if you want even a MB dealer to check for specific items, you have to expressly tell them to do so. It kind of sucks but on the other hand it’s difficult to second guess where an inspection starts and stops. For $150 or so they are not going to spend all that much time….

Hope you continue enjoy your fine new toy none the less!

Regards

…Tracy
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