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  #1  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:03 AM
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Critical service?

Looking for a little insight if I may. Just recently purchased my first Mercedes a 1995 E300D. The car is a one owner dealer serviced car that I took to an out of state dealer where I live. After an hour inspection they came up with a $7000 dollar list of repairs including new tires due to uneven wear. The day before I had just installed brand new high end rubber and the tires had maybe 100 miles on them! To say I'm skeptical of their assesment would be an understatement. There are 2 things that do concern me. One issue is oil contamination in the vaccum system and the other being the serpentine belt shock rattles a little. Are these major issues, as in don't drive the car until they are fixed, or things that I can repair myself over the next couple of months? From the way they were explained to me, the car was going to explode if I didn't take care of it there and then. Any insight would be much appreciated. I'm really looking forward to a long term relationship with this car.
Thanks

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  #2  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:21 AM
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I would say your first priority should be to put this dealer where they belong-in your rear view mirror. Then I would place a call to MB-USA and let them know about those day-old tires that needed replacing.
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:22 AM
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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I'm not sure if the things you mentioned are incredibly critical, our van had a failing belt tensioner that made squealing noises, and we drove it that way for a while till it got in under warranty repair. When I got my 82SD 1.5 years ago our dealer went over it too, they found "a lot" of stuff to replace also, like thousands of dollars worth of stuff, probably close to what you mentioned. All in all we had about $2k done on it as it was stuff really needed, like timing chain/transmission seals and some steering components. Other than that, we didn't have them do anything else, and along the way I have just been doing a part here and there when it becomes necessary.....like water pump.....tires.....oil changes.....brakes and so on. I wouldn't trust that all of what the dealer said is true, it sure wasn't in our case. Probably the only truly "critical" item was the timing chain and steering parts, less than $800 total, far from the thousands they wanted. Dealers are there to suck money out of people....in my opinion anyways.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for the words. It really makes me sick when you pay good money, $90 an hour, just to have them try and bury their hand in your pocket. They also had me replacing all the bushings in the car which should be done every 100k... yeah if you want to lose a little weight in your wallet. I guess I will proceed as planned little by little.
Thanks again
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2004, 04:43 PM
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I've produce Quotes of many thousands of dollars before. I feel sorry for people with older cars, but newer cars that have obviously not been maintainedor cared for I have no sympathy. (a ML55 with 1" sand through the whole car, chip packets jammed under seats and most interior trims damaged in some way comes to mind........that was over 12months ago and I still remember it).

Unfortuantely what the tech says and the advisor tells you can be 2 different things. I often ask to see the customer myself so I can explain faults to them. I usually go through a list based on what is urgent and what can wait till a fault becomes evident.

They tyres are a bit of a worry though. I'd ask the tech to go through the faults they found with you and show you on your car. Make up your mind from there. If they aren't willing to do that for free then just walk away from that dealer. I consider not showing you a fault on your car on request an insult and they really are just after your money.
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2004, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinot
Thanks for the words. It really makes me sick when you pay good money, $90 an hour, just to have them try and bury their hand in your pocket. They also had me replacing all the bushings in the car which should be done every 100k... yeah if you want to lose a little weight in your wallet. I guess I will proceed as planned little by little.
Thanks again
The bushings should be good for 200K+ as they were in my W123 300D but then again I'm dubious about the quality of the "newer" MB's. Either way try to do as much of the work in your car yourself. I'm sure you'll be able to find help from someone in this forum if you become stumped with something.
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2004, 05:40 PM
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I'd worry about oil in the vacuum system. If the vacuum pump gives up, you will lose brake assist dramatically increasing braking distance, and it could send shrapnel into the timing chain.

The tech who checked your car was probably in diapers when your car was first sold. He heard the loose belt tensioner and assumed rod knock.

In the future, get the inspection done before you buy the car

Sixto
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  #8  
Old 11-20-2004, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto
The tech who checked your car was probably in diapers when your car was first sold. He heard the loose belt tensioner and assumed rod knock.

That reminds me of 2 stories of noisy diesels I had recently
1st is of a W124 300D which the customer complained of excessive noise. He recently had the injectors replaced and I've never heard the lifters give noise on this car either...........I just suggested he replace the missing hood lining and both (engine and gearbox) undertrays which were missing before we started looking into the engine noise.........service advisor couldn't understand why I didn't want to look any further until this was fixed. My diesel has all these in place and it's very quiet inside the car, the 300D was noticably louder.

Same service advisor a few weeks later with a different tech, writes that the engine is very noisey (W203). Tech check over the exhaust, filters, engine cover. No fault found. Asks advisor if he heard the fault when he moved the car in the morning. Turns out the advisor added the job without a customer complaint because he thought it was very noisy.........it was a C220CDI :p He didn't realise it was diesel (not very common is Australia) We're still giving him **** about that one!

Sorry, unrelated. Just thought it was a funny story bout people not knowing the cars they work on.
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W203 C32
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  #9  
Old 11-20-2004, 09:17 PM
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Alex, Cheers from across the Pacific. db
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  #10  
Old 11-20-2004, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for all the thoughts. Looking ati it now I feel a lot better. The car was dealer serviced and had a 1000k mile warranty and had its last service at Laguna Niguel MB just 3k ago. Today I spoke with one of the managers and he said the car was impeccably maintained. Thanks again
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:04 PM
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There is also a difference between "maintaining" a car, and "rebuilding" it to brand new status. It only is brand new once, and that is all we should expect of course. People performing inspections should realize this also...
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2004, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyL
There is also a difference between "maintaining" a car, and "rebuilding" it to brand new status. It only is brand new once, and that is all we should expect of course. People performing inspections should realize this also...
I think that this is one of the fundamental problems with getting things done by any M/B dealer. The service personnel are typically working on warranty issues on brand new vehicles. How often do they work on vehicles with 100K on the clock?

When a vehicle with 100K comes in, they look at the components on the front suspension and quickly determine that they are not in "new condition". So, without thinking to much, they decide that replacement is in order. They probably do not have the knowledge to fully understand exactly when a ball joint requires replacement. In their mind, it requires replacement if it does not function like it was brand new. They could be replacing front end components at 25K using this philosophy.

The same logic would apply to all belts and coolant hoses, the belt tensioner, brake rotors, brake hoses, wheel bearings, etc. Any item that will show signs of wear would be subject to their very arbitrary determination that replacement is in order.

This is an unfortuante consequence of the of the fact that they work on new vehicles all the time and, additionally, that their customers typically view vehicle maintenance as "cost is no object".

We, being of a radically different mindset, need to be very careful when bringing any vehicle into the dealer for anything. Most of us, including myself, will never go there because of this situation, exhorbitant labor prices notwithstanding.
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  #13  
Old 11-21-2004, 12:50 AM
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I agree with you there Brian.

I've been asked before by the quality controler why I haven't quoted certain items on older cars such as a drivebelt because of a few cracks, minor oil leaks, etc.

I judge every car as it comes in. eg. we have a W202 that comes in every now and then. 1998 model, 1000km/600mi per year average. Last service I quoted spark plugs and a battery (both remote and vehicle). I was asked why I didn't include the air and fuel filters as pasrt of the 4 year extras (already 2 years overdue).
It's simple, I would class that as over servicing. The owner is an old man who just wants his car to start every few months when he does go down to the shops. The battery was tested on the low end of the scale but it wasn't a fail, but judgement tells you to replace it due to the long standing time between use. That's something service schedules can't determine for you, it's the tech judgement.

Unfortunately there are techs out there who beleive that if brake pads can't make it to next service (15,000km/10,000mi) then they should be changed. Benz didn't put sensors in them for nothing. If they can make it 1/2 way to next service and they have a sensor then I just leave it as a report.......I'm not out there to take peoples money, I'm out there to look after their vehicles.

This really belongs in an open forum.

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W202 C240
W203 C32
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