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Old 10-18-2003, 05:57 PM
fz500sel's Avatar
Happy now in paradise!
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Venice, FL - "sharktooth capital of the world"
Posts: 712
sometimes you think you have it good!

This is a long post so if you don't feel like readin'......

Well, all the time I've had my MBs I had a couple of independent mechanics working on my vehicles. One worked at a MB dealership and did work on the side. The other worked at the same dealership and then took over an independent shop from his uncle once his uncle retired.

It took a trip down south and a stop into MB Autowerks to see Benzmac at his facility, to make me realize that these 2 mechanics aren't very reliable.

I am in the process of moving down to Florida from Michigan and since I was driving my 1990 350SDL I was going over things on my engine and I noticed that the tensioner idler was cocked. I'd say it was a good 20degrees cocked off center from being parallel with the serpentine belt. I showed it to one of these mechanics at his shop and he looked at it. His response? "I'd say 90% of the ones that come in here have that cocked like that. Some even worse. I wouldn't even worry about it." When I asked him about the switchover valve spitting oil? His response? "You're gonna sell the car anyways. I wouldn't worry about it!"

I asked him to check the rear window defroster cuz it wasn't working. I had looked at the window itself and the lines for the defroster were so small that I overlooked them. I told him that I thought that maybe the window was replaced at one time with one that didnt have them since the car was originally a Florida car. After he checked it out his response was "the window is bad, You need to have a new one installed cuz its the wrong window."

Since this mechanic (that I had trusted my faith to) had told me not to worry about the tensioner idler, I decided to start my trip down to Florida. Well, everytime I stopped for gas I would look at the idler to see if it had gotten cocked even more. Each time it looked ok, but the low rumbling that I was hearing from the front of the engine was getting worse. When I stopped just north of Atlanta, the noise was making me very nervous. Also the idler, although it was still only cocked about 20degrees off center, it looked to be a bit more wobbly. I called my buddy Larry Delor (the guy who turned me on to MBshop) and told him about it. He gave me phone number and directions to MB Autowerks.

I called and spoke to Benzmac (Donnie). He told me that although they were extremely busy, he would take a look at it. Well after looking at it he ordered the parts from his warehouse and told me he would be able to put them in later on in the afternoon.

When Donnie went to put them in, he found the other MB mechanic (works at MB dealership) had crossthreaded the idler housing into the timing cover when he changed the shock and idler assembly for me less than a year ago. Donnie informed me that when he installed the new assembly it may hold or it may give out 15 miles down the road. Donnie put the new one in and within 5 seconds of starting the engine the whole assembly went cocked again. Donnie informed me that the timing cover needed to be replaced also.

When you hear about stuff like this it just pisses you off. I think about all the other work I had these guys do and I wonder just what else is gonna' crap out again, because of these so called "master mechanics".

Donnie runs a first class operation. Bill Wood (webmaster) was nice enough to show me around the facility. If I had the money I would make sure that MB Autowerks was the only place I took my car to.

The place is immaculate. Although they have enough bays to work on 8 cars at a time. They only work on a couple at a time. I understand why also. Donnie is such a perfectionist that he wants to be able to keep his hands into each and every job to ensure that it is done to his high standards. I applaud him.

He took the time with me to go over the old parts and show me how my old mechanic had screwed up. He also explained to me how things worked as well. Same goes for his mechanic Jeff. Top notch.

If you are ever in the Atlanta area, I definitely recommend that you stop by and visit.

In summary, until you've had someone like Donnie work on your vehicle, you may be thinking you are getting the best service when actually you are getting subpar service.

Just a thought.
85 300D 310K (sold)
90 350SDL 184K sold
83 300D 118K (sold)
88 300E 153k (sold)
93 400E 105K (sold)

Last edited by fz500sel; 10-18-2003 at 10:41 PM.
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