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  #1  
Old 07-04-2001, 11:34 AM
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What are some things that I can look at in order to tell if a car has had a previous accident? Any tips are appreciated.

THANKS
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2001, 12:15 PM
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The first way I tell is by looking at the paint. Suspect body reair if the car has had any area repainted.

To tell about a repaint look for overspray in the joints, look at the surface for dirt (stuck in the paint), look at the surface for uniformity of texture (orange peel) and examine door jams/edges for tape lines.

Look for the decals that should be on the radiator core support and some hoods. Look to the fit of all panels. Look underneath for signs of fresh undercoating/seam seal. Look underneath for all new parts that aren't explained by maintenance.

Take it to an expert!
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  #3  
Old 07-04-2001, 12:19 PM
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. . . here's a few

I'm certainly no expert but here's some I have used:

1)Check the paint job: the paint surface appears as ripples;
2) Underneath the car, check for seams in the undercoat or patched workmanship;
3) All replacement MB body parts have an "R" on their pn sticker;
4) The driver's door labels are missing;
5) Shows in the Carfax report (not very often);
6) The car's seams don't fit properly;
7) Driving behind the car in question and you see it's going down the road sideways!

I'm sure there's a bunch more but if you find these, beware.
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  #4  
Old 07-04-2001, 12:49 PM
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You guys are the best!!!

What is orange peel? Is it the hills and valleys of the paint? For the replacement MB body parts, where can I find the pn sticker? Will they be on the underside of the hood and trunk? THANKS
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  #5  
Old 07-04-2001, 01:20 PM
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Orange peel...

is fairly self explanatory. Imagine the outer surface of an orange rind. Kinda bumpy/pitted, "moon surface" looking. On some repaint jobs there may be a small area or two that display these traits. On a really poor paint job it may be present in larger patches.

Not to be confused with the intentional orange peel found on the rockers of some newer cars. This is apparently done by laying on a heavy coat to protect the rockers from rock chips and such.
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2001, 02:00 PM
roas
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Another couple of hints,

1. Look inside the door mounting area, run your finger nail over these areas and see if you can find a edge that may have been created by paint build up on masking tape.

2. On metallic paint, take a step back, find the right light and look to see if the grain of metallic is the same throughout the car. If an area was resprayed, you may be able to tell with this method.

3. Inside the engine compartment, look to see if any of the fender mounting bolts have ever been disturbed, this may be apparent with paint looking disturbed or bolts with paint disturbed on the bolt face. This doesn't mean the car has been a wreck, but it could point to it.

4. If you really want to get dirty, take a quick peak under the car and see if the frame rails have been worked on. Clues are fresh, clean paint, new parts and new under coating.

5. Last and most important, go with your gut feeling after looking at the car!

Are you car hunting?

If so, Good Luck.

[Edited by roas on 07-04-2001 at 01:04 PM]
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  #7  
Old 07-04-2001, 04:01 PM
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Refer to this thread for detailed info on how to tell.

Hollow Sounding Door

What I finally learned was that my passenger front door was not original, there was no VIN number stamped onto it. You will find the VIN # on every peice of sheet metal. They are on the undersides of the doors, are on the bottoms of the bumpers, when the trunk is open, you can see that one... and the 2 rear quarter panel's VIN are seen when the trunk is open (same idea with front quarter panels when hood is open).

My car has been repainted and the only peice not original is the passenger door. Oh well, other than that, car has been just great. Be sure and review the afforementioned thread!
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2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2001, 08:20 PM
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Dents!
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2001, 02:15 AM
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If you are thinking about buying a fairly new MB because of the high replacement cost insurance companies will send some pretty badly crunched cars to the body shop, some body shops are so good it can be hard for even a good mechanic to tell if a car has had a fender bender or a hard hit. When I worked in a shop and someone brought a car in with this question we sent our customer to a reputable frame shop where they could check all the critical measurements with their high tech equipment.....
William Rogers.......
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2001, 11:04 AM
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Our '96 E300 Diesel has been in two accidents; both wife-induced rear-enders.

The repairs made at a collision shop that specializes in this work have been flawless. This shop does Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Ferrari. The car is cannot be seen as anything but 'zero-time' but it is not original. More

importantly, we have driven it 30,000 miles over the past year without any regrets and with few problems. She has a long commute, and we love to drive it!

In my opinion any car that has been properly repaired is OK to drive. The key is proper repair, including measuring multiple points on the body to check for 'bent frame' which is really a torqued body shell.

A good collision shop can probably give your potential car a look-over to spot replacement parts, and can measure for proper body alignments.

So, you could have a Technician check the mechanicals and a collision shop check the body.

BCingU, Jim

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  #11  
Old 07-05-2001, 12:07 PM
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I've seen the local dealership use an instrument that can detect layers of paint as they scan the instrument across the various body panels. On an undamaged car, the readings are uniform. Otherwise, a repaired panel shows a different reading. Some older cars may have been repainted due to age, so a repaint may not always mean that there was damage.

An old trick was to use a magnet. Some repairs are done using bondo, if the repair can be done without replacing a body panel. Typically done on lesser makes and cheaper, but quite possible done on an MB if the customer wasn't picky. The magnet does not adhere to the non-metallic bondo'ed area, thus revealing the repair.
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2001, 08:03 PM
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THANKS TO ALL FOR THE GREAT REPLIES

Roas, yes I am car hunting for myself and quite a few other people. The car I am looking for is a rare 95 S500 with the ADS system.

David C Klasse, could you elaborate on finding the VIN# on the pieces of sheet metal. I searched and couldn't find them, possibly because my car is an 86. Can anybody with an older car confirm where exactly the VIN#'s would be if they were in fact stamped on to all the pieces of sheet metal?

THANKS

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  #13  
Old 07-06-2001, 01:21 AM
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Well I just looked at the CLK (2001) and could not find a VIN # on any body panel, or anywhere where on the CLK that they'd be on my car... Interesting...
Now I'm not sure if your car has them... I will have to look at another Mercedes and see if this is normal. Now this makes me curious if my MB is the only one with this...

Well I will tell you where they are on my car. On each door, they are on the front side of the door... this is hard to explain. The rear doors VIN numbers are closest to the B pillar and you can only see them if the door is wide open. Same with the front doors only to the A-Pillar.

As for the bumpers, they are on the bottom of them, you have to look from below the car, up at the bumpers to see them.

For the trunk, it's on the inside of the trunk lid where it meets the rear window. And the quarter panels are in the drains on top of the trunk (left and right), trunk must be open to view them.

And as for the front quarter panels and the hood, I believe it's similar to the trunk explanation.

I hope you can find them, if you can't, then the way Mercedes did it must have changed over the years. Anyway, HTH, and keep us posted.
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2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

Previous:
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2001, 02:46 PM
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David C Klasse, thanks for the reply and I will also look at a few Mercedes to see if they have the VIN#'s stamped on to the sheet metal. By the way how did you like your previous S420? Why did you get rid of it?

Many thanks
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  #15  
Old 07-07-2001, 04:36 PM
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One more question

Where would one purchase a paint thickness gauge?

THANKS
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