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Old 01-30-2017, 05:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greater Metropolitan Beaverdam VA
Posts: 2,245
Mercedes Benz are superb cars but they are still just cars and the older, the more basic. Scotch the dealers. It is true that they probably don't have anyone in the shop that is older than your car.

For alignments and other fe work, go to a front end shop. Most other things that you can't or choose not to do can be handled by an independent general mechanic. Mine appreciates it when I acquire the parts for him. For older Benz, aftermarket or ebay can supply everything. BTW, I drive a W123.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,440
A few years back, they stopped offering free towing on older cars. I remember one evening in 1997 going home from work, my '79 300CD wouldn't start. it was six o'clock, and I called the number on the glove box placard. They asked me where the car was, and I left the keys with the parking attendant. Had supper, and by the time I was done and back, they had arrived, replaced the glow plug fuse, called to let me know, and were gone. That's SERVICE.

AFAIK, they still service everything, even if they no longer tow or supply drive outs.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 6,931
A few things.

Older cars have a whole different set of problems not found in sub 15 year old cars. ( rust , grease , parts that have gone off spec just enough to cause problems but not enough to completely fail. )

Drivers of older cars tend to be cheap , ( extra points if it is a diesel ), expect the best service and whine / cry the loudest about needed repairs. One can't get top flight quality at Wallmart pricing.

A dealer needs to be able to guarantee their work to a higher level than a regular shop. If the dealer isn't confidant this can be accomplished due to over all car wear, "customers" unwillingness to properly maintain the car over it's life, they will turn away the work. ( see above. )

Sourcing parts for older cars can become difficult, the parts dept isn't going to spend hours chasing down a few obscure parts only to have the "customer" yell and scream at them. ( RE: if it isn't in the dealer parts pipe line, time sourcing parts from external sources gets expensive and the " customer" will be unwilling to pay for this. )

There have been posts on this site that some independent service garages are turning away older car work. I'd call the dealer turning away 15 year old cars as reasonable.

With the attitude of some of the posters here, why would a young person with enough intelligence to be a mechanic want to follow that career path only to be belittled by " customers "?
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:10 AM
wolf_walker's Avatar
Zen And The Art Of Diesel
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 2,046
I don't have so much a problem with them declining to do work, for the very good reasons listed above, but the attitude that comes along with it often times is an issue to me. And that extends to even trying to buy parts as has been mentioned.

I ran my Alfa 164 by a local alignment shop the other week to have the toe checked mostly and they, politely, declined. I know they could have done it, nothing complicated about that cars suspension or steering, but I'd not want anyone that didn't want to having to grudgingly do a thing. They were polite, suggested a much more capable shop, and I went away not annoyed. Easy.

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One more Radar Lover gone...
1982 VW Caddy diesel 402K 1.9L AAZ
1994 E320 175K
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:03 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 2,984
As a longtime DIYer the only things I have done at our local MB dealer are: state inspections and complex jobs that I cannot handle, e.g. evaporator replacement. Over 20 years I have developed a relationship with a service advisor who I call for advice when I need it. He will always return my call and spends time to discuss any topic I call about.

As for parts, the Parts Department can provide any parts that I am unable to purchase online, e.g. catalytic converter ... and has them available the next day from a distribution center. The rep is courteous, helpful and takes the time to look up parts in the MB parts system.

If you are having problems with a local MB dealer contact MBUSA and they will give your dealer an attitude adjustment. MBUSA wants consistency from dealer to dealer, including the appearance of dealerships. Our local dealerships were renovated in recent years to conform to their standards, despite the fact that one of the dealerships had done some upgrades a few years previously.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:15 AM
Stretch's Avatar a shield of steel
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere in the Netherlands
Posts: 14,442
In Europe Mercedes have been actively encouraging their dealership network to accept older vehicles. They even have a list of specialised dealerships that are only too happy to look after the real stuff!
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:44 AM
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Watching SB LII every day
Join Date: May 2005
Location: in the back of beyond a.k.a. Pa.
Posts: 2,767
i was working with an indy mechanic who decided not to work on older cars due to rust......

i was thinking one of the reasons for the MB dealer's actions (although not as mustache-twisting, and insidious as some of the ones posted herein) would be the fact that a lot of older cars have not been serviced properly, and would require a lot more work to be 'up to par' than the owner is aware of.

for example, a car comes in for an oil change and brakes, but they notice the flex discs are ready to fly apart, the engine mounts, trans and diff mounts are shot and some other deferred maintenance needs to be completed. the car owner gets a laundry list of stuff and thinks the dealer is trying to hose them (as the vulgate goes).

EDIT: 97sl320 posted this already for the most part and said it even better!
James 4:8

"...let us put aside the blindness of mind of those who can conceive of nothing higher than what is known through the senses"
-Saint Gregory Palamas, ---Discourse on the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ

Centrally located in North East Central Pa.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TX
Posts: 3,566
as I said.. I contacted MBUSA and got a letter of apology and also a gift voucher with enough dough that would pay for a mercedes dealer alignment.

this is in houston where rust on cars is not common, and if the dealer sees that the flex discs are worn or has some other safety hazards - they can always pull out the waiver sheet and ask the customer to sign off.

nothing out of the ordinary everyday work.

refusing to work on older cars of a brand marque that is exclusively displayed outside just because older cars look like cancer against the new ones and the buyers of the new ones dont like seeing ancient artifacts parked on the forecourt - Its completely against brand recongnition IMO.
2012 BMW X5 (Beef + Granite suspension model)

1995 E300D - The original humming machine (consumed by Flood 2017)
2000 E320 - The evolution (consumed by flood 2017)
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:30 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 6,931
Originally Posted by Ferdman View Post
As a longtime DIYer the only things I have done at our local MB dealer are: state inspections and complex jobs that I cannot handle, e.g. evaporator replacement. Over 20 years I have developed a relationship with a service advisor who I call for advice when I need it. He will always return my call and spends time to discuss any topic I call about.

This is the key for working with any shop. Shops tend not to like "homeless / shopless " car owners ( those that wander from shop to shop all the while crying about pricing. ) Also, independent shops talk to each other and know what "customers" to turn away.

When I first got my SL I was in the dealer parts dept every few weeks getting parts to tidy up the car, probably spent 1K in 4 months. The parts guys were happy to see me and would even search the parts system for odd screws that were missing.

The key is to come prepared and knowledgeable about what you are working on, it isn't the parts guys job to diagnose or tell you how to work on your car. It also helps not make comments " Wow, you really want an arm and a leg for that part." While some may think that is funny, it isn't to a guy that gets enough grief throughout the day.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:48 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: seattle
Posts: 38
I got the stink eye treatment when I took my w220 in last year. The troll at the shop claimed that the Lemforder replacement upper arm was the wrong part. My indy had done the install to rectify an issue with the air suspension and does not have the new software to rejigger the codes. Since all the troll did was compare the new part to the original part on the other side without checking his own parts department, that led to all manner of three ring circus. Turned out the Lemforder was the correct part after all, as the indy ordered a second part from another dealer out of area and his aftermarket provider came over with one. Same exact part but for the star and part numbers being ground off.

The looks I got even driving into the service area were less than welcoming. Had I arrived in the SDL, I am sure they would have scampered about looking for something with which to cover their noses and averted their eyes.

2002 s430 - Victor, a Stately & well tailored chap
1974 450sl - Frosch - Two tone green
1986 SDL - Polei

retired models-
1976 300D - Blei Vanst - it looks silvery
1972 220D - Gump - She was green, simple and ran
1995 E300D - Gave her life to save me against a Dame in a SUV
POS 1987 SDL - Beware Nigerian Scammers
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:49 AM
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Save the manuals!
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,354
I have received a few sideways glances from the sales staff when I pulled up to the local dealer for parts in my W123 or W124. They do always come greet me when I pull up in my F150 though...

My local parts counter has always been extremely helpful in getting parts and always knocks a few dollars off from the already discounted MBCA price. I think the 5 speed conversion got them interested and now they want to see the car kept on the road.
1977 MB 240D 4 speed 145K - Nearly Perfect
1993 MB 400E 212K - New Project
2014 Honda CR-V 85K - Wife's DD
2018 Ford F150 5.slow 15K - My DD

1979 MB 280E 90K - Sold
1983 MB 240D 238K - Scrapped
1984 MB 300D 347K? - Sold
1984 MB 300TD Wagon - 188k - Sold
1987 MB 300E 5 speed 258K - Scrapped
1991 MB 300TE 5 speed 276K - Sold
1993 MB 400E 130K - Sold
1995 MB E320 Wagon 190k - Sold
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:09 AM
300E Portline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 7
Just bought a 92 300E Sportline, one owner, 189k miles. This guy had cash -- spent $13,000 in the last few years, on just the usual, at the Mercedes dealer. They did a valve job and dented the fenders. Replaced the belt and tensioner pulley without noticing the water pump was worn out. Broke the rubber grommets which hold the air cleaner to the block, then broke the air cleaner itself. Replaced the drivers door window mechanism and tore the door pull. $186 dollar oil changes. 5 flex discs (you think maybe the driveshaft itself is out of balance?). Nah. Flex disc number six. Didn't notice the massive oil build up on the engine until it looked like a 73 Vega, then charged $100 to steam clean it. All the while leaving the source of the leak, a hard as a rock power steering pump cover gasket. Replaced the fuel distributor with a junkyard unit because the car had a bad idle. Check the fuel injectors or cold start valve? Nope, hey, those things never go bad. Unless they did. Welded on a new rear muffler -- $900 unit -- crooked. Etc.

Either inept, or crooks, probably in between somewhere.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 6,931
5 flex discs (you think maybe the driveshaft itself is out of balance?). Nah. Flex disc number six.
An out of balance driveshaft won't damage the flex discs. How are they failing? ( Cracking, metal bushings pulling out , . . .)
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Ye Old Dominion
Posts: 2
Personally, I'd go find an indy shop as tell those guys to piss off. Of course if you have the time and inclination you could write a letter to MBUSA, although franchise dealers can pretty much do what they want these days because of arcane local (state) laws that protect them, especially in states like Texas and Virginia. Check out for an indy shop near you.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:23 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,492
I have never had any issues buying parts at the dealer (though I try to avoid it, online OEM parts are much cheaper) but I have never had service done. Once I asked about having an alignment done on my 190E Sportline after rebuilding the suspension because my friend did an alignment on a rack at his school but couldn't perfect because they didn't have the spreader bar to set the tow. I figured the dealer would have that tool since that suspension set up was used on so many cars through the 80s to the early 00s. They didn't but offered to do a 2 wheel alignment for $175. Took a few calls but found a shop closer to my house that could do it for $55.
80 300SD 183K- Brother's
83 300D manual 100K chassis- Dad's
87 190D 320K
88 Yugo GVX 9K
90 300D 226K
90 Lexus LS400 189k- Brother's
91 F150 4.9 160K
93 190E 3.0 Sportline Limited Edition 230K-Mom's
93 190E 2.6 Sportline Limited Edition 91K-Mine
96 Mercury Grand Marquis LS 242K- RIP
03 Sprinter 2500 Passenger 220K
06 Mercury Grand Marquis LS 105K-sold
Parts cars:
77 240D Auto-RIP
79 300SD- RIP
80 300SD
83 240D-RIP
85 240D-RIP
91 190E 2.3- RIP
93 190E 2.6-RIP
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