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  #46  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:28 AM
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Reply to Chuck

I thought we put a bullet in this thread a long time ago...Can't we give it a rest.

Okay, here's the deal. I live in NYC (borough of Manhattan). I work 32 miles away in Parsippany NJ. I have a job and have to be there everyday.

It is not a good option for me to get my car fixed by a dealer (or independent if i knew of one) here in Manhattan. I have not heard good things about them, they charge $100 plus per hour and if I have to leave my car there it will cost me $60-$100 a day to rent a car to get to work while it is there. Plus, I have to beat it uptown into Midtown to get the car there, a fate worse than death right there! I may live right by the WTC, but I I don't have to deal with that mess up there.

There is a dealer 10 minutes from my work. They charge $90 an hour, which I could live with, but they have a lead time of 2-3 weeks for any work whatsoever. I have been buying parts there (that I install myself) because it is convenient.

There is a great independent 'near' my work. I had some work done there last week. I put near in apostrophes around near becuase it is about 10 miles away (each way). but, it took me almost an hour and a half to get there and back in the morning and almost an hour round trip after work all due to regular traffic. I had to rent a car and I had to schedule the work over a month in advance. At one point, I had to cancel my original appoinment due to business travel. I was then rescheduled 2 weeks later. So, it really tooka bout 6 weeks to get it in. Oh, and I almost did not get there before they and the rental car company closed because I was held up in a meeting. If I had not made it I would have had to keep the rental car another week because I would have had no way to get home, they do not take night drops and I was leaving the next a.m. on business again. This was all to have a shift linkage bushing replaced ($190 parts and labor big deal) and have the underside rubber (flex disk, control arms bushings, sub-frame bushings etc.) looked at just as a maintenance item - nothing wrong. Why did I go through all that? Because I don't trust anyone but a trained and experienced MB mechanic to anything but the simplest diagnostic or repair work.

Why do I have "a guy who works on cabs" change my oil or relace my brake pads? See all of the above...Yes, conveninece. As I stated so long ago in this thread, it is not just about saving money although I do save some. Somehow some of you can't seem to let go of that idea...It is about not making myself crazy for a little maintenance work. I get the parts mail ordered and he is open Saturday and Sunday so I can have the work done then. He was a mechanic at the big shop across the street for ten years. He is nice, he tries hard, he explains things to me, he saves the old parts and shows me wear (or lack thereof), he's honest, has kids to feed and is trying hard to make a living. I don't mind taking a little chance that for the convenience and opportunity to support a little guy that is working his butt off.


I've explained all this a few times in this long-long thread but it seems to keep coming back to money. I'm sorry I don't schlep all the way out to NJ, rent a car and bow the friggin' alter of the holy independent MB garage to get my oil changed, okay? It is not the end of the world. Sheesh....LET IT GO PEOPLE. There are more important things in life (ask the 2600 + people that died about 10 blocks from my house). I know you all have your opinions. This is mine.

Now that all that is off my chest...

Chuck, first, I really appreciate the fact that you appreciate that we all have options (and sometimes have to be creative, not just out of want, but sometimes real need). I whole hearteldy agree. This is America. Choice is one of the big reasons I live here. After having lived outside the US (no, I don't mean Mnahattan, but it's 'kinda similar) and not having choice, I greatly appreciate it...even if it is something stupid like being able to choose between 437 different breakfast cereals in the cereal ilse (I don't really eat much cereal but I love that example).

Second, I appreciate the fact that you appreciate the 560sl. I do do...

Third, to those of you who beleive that taking a car an expericenced Mercedes mechanic is the only "right" thing to do, I'll ask you one more time to try and understand things are not so simple or black and white in this sometimes complicated world. Given my circumstances, I think I try pretty hard to take care of my car. I spent 2.5 hours and $50 bucks renting a car just to get it to the shop of my choice just to get one bushing replaced. Please don't tell me I'm just trying to save 10% when I go to someone else. I've explained why that is not true about 10 times in this thread (okay, maybe just a couple of times but it feels like 20). This i making me quite tired...

Fourth have some pity on the poor souls on this board who just can't afford to get the job 100% done at a shop. They have a right to own an MB too, don't they? America? Freedom? Ring a bell anyone? It's not like these guys are the devil or something? really now...

C'mon guys, let's give it a rest...please?
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Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #47  
Old 06-04-2002, 03:37 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
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Joe,

Steve is being way too kind to you. Blackmercedes has many good points and euro287 is right on. I would never install owner supplied parts for several reasons. The first reason was covered by the restaurant scenario. Reason #2 deals with warrantee. Reason #3 deals with you brought the wrong parts, and now I have a dead car in my shop until you can fit it into your schedule to bring the right parts.

Getting back to your statement about making only $500 per real estate transaction, before I decided real estate wasn't my thing I sold real estate for a few years and had a California real estate license. I know that commissions run 6% to 7% here and I'm confident NY isn't much different. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Prices in NY can't be much higher than here in the Bay Area where a 750 sq ft shack goes for $300k. 6% of $300k is $18,000. Assuming you are not the listing agent and the selling agent, your office only receives $9,000. You,Joe, as the listing or selling agent receive a big chunk of $9,000. If you really only get $500, then there are only 2 possible scenarios; you are extremely naive or there is overhead. Now if your industry has costs that factor into your income, why can't you, as an intelligent individual, consider the costs of other industries.

On a final note I'd like to speak to the disrespect of professional mechanics everywhere. You ask us for help. You depend on us to keep you beloved vehicles on the road. If there were no professional mechanics, your machines would set by the side of the road.People sit, and objects set. I'm always willing to help the curious and concerned. I'm also willing to help those who enjoy mechanics. One of my passions is cooking, and I relish an opportunity to spend time with a chef. What I despise is cheap bastards. In the auto industry as well as dental, insurance,accounting, banking, legal and many others, there are those who overcharge and those who are incompetent. When you find a competent and trustworthy mechanic and ask him or her to do it cheaper, that is a slap in the face. What you are saying is; I don't think you are worth that much. I have all these wants, needs, and desires, and I can't be wasting my money on you. What if your boss got to thinking this person isn't worth that much and offered you a few bucks less per hour. If you take the cut, you know your value. If you don't you also know your value. Those of you who take your car in for service regularly may be charged top dollar for service, but what you may not know is that many times your service facility may spend many hours to correct an unusual problem at no cost to you because you are an appreciated client. Loyal clients always receive more than they pay for over time. Anyone else pays through the nose ala carte. As an example: my vet bills for 4 cats is astronomical, but if I have a sick cat on the weekend, my vet is there at no extra charge. I really appreciate her. Am I making my point here? Just like you expect to get paid for showing up to work, professional mechanics expect and deserve fair compensation. Joe, if you expect me to believe that several thousand dollars evaporates, where do you think a few hundred dollars goes?

Again Steve you are too kind,
Peter
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  #48  
Old 06-04-2002, 05:03 AM
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Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
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I'm fired up. Bribenz, you've got my help anytime. Jack, all professional mechanics appreciate your support.Chuck, you understand my previous post. A faithful client will receive every consideration to resolve a difficult problem while not actually being charged actual costs. Goofy Lube will say; we are not equipped to handle that. You'll need to see a specialist. You say I've been paying you $19.95 every time. Why can't you help me? They say; I'm sorry. Jkazzouh, what part of India are you from?

Peter
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  #49  
Old 06-04-2002, 08:57 AM
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My point in bringing this up was not to discuss the economics but the psychology of the situation.

I didn't intend to place blame on activity, only understanding of position. I was hoping to allow those who would take parts to a Tech, the awareness of tradition and values. I didn't say you couldn't use this info to your advantage, just respect it, keep it in the back of your mind.

I help technicians every day that are working over their heads for good customers who get good value in their trust.
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  #50  
Old 06-04-2002, 10:53 AM
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Peter,

One - Like I said in my post, I totally understand. I probably would not supply owned supplied parts myself. All I keep saying is there is another side to things. People have reasons for doing so.

Two - On real estate, I said the brokerage, not the agent. I won't go into the entire breakdown (But, I will if you really want). Trust me, it's about $500 net profit per home sale, on average, nationwide. The agent does net more. Yes, in CA and NYC area it is more for the agent due to higher home prices (but not more for the brokerage due to very high overhead and generally higher commissions to the agents).

Three - Is there really a reason you think I'm from India or was that just a racial slur? I'm not sure I understand the point.

Four - Of course 'Goofy Lube' won't do anything other than an oil change (and they can barely do that with the undertrained 16 year olds they employ). What's your point?


Steve -

Yes, I understand. I was responding to other more recent posts. You and I have exchanged many posts and I think you know I appreciate your position. Others conitnue to go back to making assumptions that everyone that buys his/her own parts is trying to save "10%". I think from reading all my posts you know that I trust and respect good mechanics and business people in general. I just get fired-up when people generalize, make assumptions or over simplify the issue. And, by the way, I wish your garage was near me. We would never have even had this discussion....

Thanks,

Joe
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Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #51  
Old 06-04-2002, 10:54 AM
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Steve and Peter

Thanks for your comments. In all the years Iíve owned cars (28 -- years, not cars), I never gave much thought to the issue of supplying my own parts for repairs. In fact it wasnít until the web brought effective shopping (read that savings on parts) that I ever thought about it. Ironically, in my case, it wasnít until I had a MB that I ever supplied parts when I took a car in for maintenance. That notwithstanding, Iím surprised to see such passion from technicians on this issue. Iím at a loss as to why Peter sees a customer supplying parts as a ďslap in the face.Ē But Iíll accept that it is. I understand that if there is a parts related problem with customer supplied parts it has a negative impact on productivity. Further explanation is not necessary.

FWIW Iíve been to 2 of the 3 local MB dealerships (Seattle, and Bellevue). Out of curiosity I called the other local mb dealer (Tacoma), and none of the dealerships mind if a customer supplies parts. I can only speculate that in a higher volume shop, the potential problems associated with customer supplied parts are minimized.

Again, thanks for your comments! I appreciate the opportunity to hear from the ďotherĒ side. I hope the technicians and shop owners have that appreciation as well......

Regards
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  #52  
Old 06-04-2002, 11:10 AM
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Let me try once more to be clear..

1. I think that it is generally smarter, more efficient and cheaper in the long run to use a knowledgable MB mechanic.
2. I also beleive there are times where it is difficult to do so for logistic reasons (in my case) or monetary reasons in other people's case.
3. I do not think any one way is right or wrong. To be clear, right or wrong is different than what smarter or prefferable. Wrong is killing someone, using 'Goofy Lube" to dignose a complicated problem would simply be the non-preffered method (in my opinion). It may be stupid (in my opinion), but it's not a crime.
4. Everyone has choice, let them make theirs regardless of whether you think it the best one or not. It's their life.
5. No one has made a comment about it, but I want to be clear. When I wrote the line about 'the holy alter of the indep. MB mech' I meant no disrespect to those in the profession. I have all the respect in the world. My comment was aimed at those who have, from my perspective, made it seem like a crime to go elsewhere for their service. I understand this is a subject near and dear to some people's hearts. People are proud of their profession and that is good. It's just not the end of the world when someone does (make another choice). Sorry to beat a dead horse...

Best Regards,

Joe
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Thanks,

Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #53  
Old 06-04-2002, 12:40 PM
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...and I can't spell either.
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Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #54  
Old 06-04-2002, 01:42 PM
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I'm running short on time and have to jet soon, so I'm only answering Tracy's question at the moment.I know the restaurant thing is old, but it still holds water.You are seated by the hostess, and when the waiter comes, you ask him to bring you a baked potato and some vegetables. You hand him a nice porterhouse and point out to him that you paid $6.95 a pound for USDA CHOICE at the supermarket. You ask him why you should pay him $28.50 for a steak dinner. There shouldn't be any charge for cooking it, because tho grill is already on. I'm not trying to be sarcastic; I'm only trying to point out that there is overhead to cover to supply that steak dinner. That restaurant can't pay the employees,the rent, the insurance, the utilities, the government regulatory fees, etc, selling vegetables. When you go out to dinner you are paying $20.00 a pound for the service. At $6.95 a pound you have to cook it and set the table and wash the dishes.As to the willingness of your local dealers saying they will install your parts, I'll answer that privately if you're interested.

That's all I have to say,
Peter
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  #55  
Old 06-04-2002, 01:46 PM
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Mea Culpa

Tracy,

One - I agree with all you said.

Two - I have to call myself a hypocrite. After reading your level-headed post I realized I am also passionate about the issue. I told others to let it go. Obviously, I have not done the same...Can I blame it on too much coffee?

Thanks,

Joe
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Thanks,

Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #56  
Old 06-04-2002, 03:16 PM
NikoE320
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Lebenz:

You called Barrier, Phil smart, and Larson and all 3 didn't question you of bringing in your own parts AND were willing to install them without question? That's really suprising...

I see everyone's point, and i just can't really agree with the steak analogy. The ONLY thing I can agree with there is that if I bring my own steak in, the restaurant also now has the liability that they don't know where it came from or if it's free of defect(germs, virus, etc) so they risk me getting sick. The car side of it is that the mechanics don't know what kind of parts they are, where they came from, are they factory benz parts or oem copies of the same thing, etc etc

either way, i still agree that everyone has a choice and these situations should be taken one by one by the shop. you don't want to take customer supplied parts? then don't.... If 50% of your customers asked to bring their own parts in, then you have a valid reason to be worried that your profits are getting dug into and you would be hurting financially. Isolated incidents of a few enthusiasts here and there offering isn't that bad.

I respect the mechanics and business owners point of view, so it's all good in the end.

jkazzoun, I am trying to let it go, hopefully my last one
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  #57  
Old 06-04-2002, 03:55 PM
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Peter,

Thanks for your comments. While out doing a service call earlier today I thought a little about the customer supplied parts issue, and the reason for such strong feelings and would speculate that it is probably the sheer number of folks wanting to save a buck at what is ultimately your (the technicianís) expense that is at issue. At least thatís the case your restaurant analogy makes. Plus of course all the complications that are involved when the inevitable wrong part(s) are part of the package. I agree it would be more difficulty than it is worth.

BTW, I would like to hear your comments about customer supplied parts at a dealership! If the offer is still there, please send me email or the PM feature of mercedesshop.

Joe: In Seattle we blame everything on coffee Ė especially our 2nd worst traffic in the world status!

Nikoe320: Iím a long time customer at Phil Smart, a 1 time customer at Barrier and never been to Larson, except for my SO to ogle the SLs while in the Ďhood. But they all say itís company policy, so I have to conclude it is.... Why do you find it surprising?

Cheers!
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  #58  
Old 06-04-2002, 04:05 PM
NikoE320
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If they say its' company policy, then that's cool. It's just they are usually so anal about everything and "by the book", that it suprised me when you said that. no big deal.

I'm actually heading down to the "hood" tonight for birthday party, so I usually detour off the freeway in fife to 'ogle' as you say, at the cars as well
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  #59  
Old 06-04-2002, 08:04 PM
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Tracy,

Where is the worst traffic? I've lived in the SF bay area, Cairo and NYC. Those seemed pretty bad to me...

Cheers,

Joe
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Thanks,

Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #60  
Old 06-04-2002, 08:21 PM
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Location: Austin, TX (OWA)
Posts: 154
5.6L OVP and some actual information...

Funny thing about all this discussion about wrong parts. The only time I've gotten the wrong part was from my local MB dealer the other week. I bought an OVP and he gave me the one from the 560SEL as opposed to the one from the 560SL. The difference, if I remember correctly is that the SEL version has 2 fuses, the SL has one. Also the size and pin schema are different. In this twist on the story I bought it from a dealer and installed it myself.

If you ever go buy one make sure they have both the vin and the current (old) part number. That is the only way they were able to get the right one. Mail order this part at your own peril...

Steve - I just saw your third or fourth post on this thread in which you said you should probably quit this thread. Maybe we both should have heeded those words, no?

Oh well, at least it has been entertaining ...
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Thanks,

Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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