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Repair Concerns

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benzbum's picture
Lucketts, VA
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First I'll apologize for the length of this message but my wife is fuming. She took her 2001 E320 4-Matic Wagon in for its A Service this past week. The FSS was telling her it was due in about 200 miles. The vehicle has a shade over 56,500 miles. It was a CPO purchased in January 2005 with a bit over 20,500 miles. She purchased the Extended Warranty. Although I have previously taken it for both A and B Services to another dealer closer to home (Mercedes-Benz of Hagerstown, Maryland), she took it to the dealer she purchased it from - American Service Center in Arlington, Virginia - closer to where she works.

The previous A and B Services at Hagerstown, although not cheap, included no surprises. Remember, I took it. This time, the dealer (ASC) tells my wife that in addition to the A Service ($327.82), she needs the following:

1.) Brake fluid flush and renewal - $97.56. This hasn't been done since we purchased the vehicle and I know it is supposed to be done every two years so I told her not to sweat this.

2.) Coolant flush and renewal - $89.95. This hasn't been done since we purchased the vehicle and I know it is supposed to be done every three years so I told her not to sweat this.

3.) Replace fuel filters - $267.17. I checked the Service Booklet and it indicates that this is recommended to maintain peak performance at 60,000 miles (the car probably won't be in for service before it hits 60,000 miles) although it is not required to maintian the emissions warranty. This really seems steep for a fuel filter change and I question the necessity.

4.) Fuel induction service - $163.09. Labor was $108.90 and she was charged $54.19 for something called "Inject-A-Clean." I can't find anything in the Service Booklet or Owner's Manual that makes any mention of any recommended service for the fuel induction system. What the @#$% is this? According to her, they told her she needed this to "clear (clean?) the rails."

5.) Transmission flush - $218.93. There is no mention in the Service Booklet of any required transmission service at any interval. In fact, page 269 of the Owner's Manual advises that "The transmission has a permanent fill of automatic transmission fluid. Regular automatic transmission fluid level chacks and changes are not required." The service ticket notes that this was needed "due to time or mileage." Did they see her coming or what?

6.) Replace spark plugs - $524.43. My Service Booklet says this is required every 100,000 miles or 5 years. It has significantly less than 100,000 miles. I know it is over 5 years since the date of manufacture (2/14/2001) but I thought the CPO program inspected/replaced things like this when the car was re-conditioned for resale less than three years ago. Was this really necessary?

They did do a few things under warranty (replaced driver's side headrest motor (it had quit working); re-sealed the rear differential and replaced side seals; replaced right rear differential seal). They told my wife that this was over $900.00 of warranty repairs. I think they were trying to make her feel better about the $1,800.00 in repairs and service they were charging her for.

She was so upset she waved them off from doing a few other cosmetic and nuisance things she wanted them to repair: driver's side flip down visor mirror door hinge is broken (they estimated $235 for parts plus labor); the rubber cap on the roof antenna has come off and disappeared (they estmated $310 to repair, including $85 for body shop painting - what for I don't know. It is just the rubber boot, not the painted piece.); one of the lights in the dash is out (they estimated $283 to fix but said that would include replacment of all 20 bulbs while they had the dash apart); the black trim on the right front passenger window frame is peeling/chipping and the exposed metal is showing some rust (they estimated $112 to repair).

Needless to say, she is fuming. She feels they took advantage of her because she is a woman and that she let them get away with it. I must say I think some of what they did and charged her for seems just a little beyond the pale and I'm glad she told them to forget about some of the cosmetic issues. I think they were really out to skin her on those. I told her I would post something out here on the forum and see if she had any real reason to be upset and, if so, what you folks would recommend she say/do. What say you? Anyone want to help me soothe the savage beast or, in the alternative, give me some gasoline to throw on the fire?

By-the-by, this is not the only MB we own. I have a 1985 300D TurboDiesel with well over 300,000 miles on it and a 1987 560SL with about 68,000 miles on it. Other than a transmission repair to the 560SL that cost be about $3,000 a few years ago (pump failure), I have never had a repair bill on either of these vehicles that is comparable to what the dealer got her for. Granted, they normally go to a trusted indie. She wanted to go to the dealer because she liked the salesman (he called her to schedule her service) and it is still under the extended warranty and she felt obligated to go to a dealer for the service.

Thanks in advance for whatever insight you might want to offer.

Steve

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Steve McPeak Greater Washington Section

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Ferdman's picture
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Re: Repair Concerns

Steve, Items 4 and 5 smack of a scam to me. Replacing the spark plugs is a good idea due to the 5 year interval ... I've read some horror stories of folks who ignored that criteria despite having low mileage. Spark plugs are not covered under the warranty. Replacing the fuel filters is good preventive maintenance. Personally I'd get an estimate from your trusted indie for Items 1,2, 3 and 6 ... and likely have him perform the work for significantly less money than the dealer charges. Documented repairs by a qualified indie will not void your Extended Warranty. When the Extended Warranty is about to expire have your indie perform a thorough inspection of all items covered under the warranty, then have any faulty items replaced by the dealer free-of-charge. I'd have your indie look at the other miscellaneous items too. Our newest MB is a 1998 with quality far inferior to our 124 cars as far as I'm concerned. I have no intention of buying a newer vintage MB until the quality and survey ratings improve.

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Fred Hoelzle

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Re: Repair Concerns

One time I took my 260E into the local stealership to have a few thing done : new key,turn signal would not return after making right hand turn,tie rod ends,etc. The service manager estimated $1000. So, I asked while he had it up on a lift to see if it might need anything else done in the near future. 2 days later he called, and had a list of $11,000 worth of repairs. He had done a full blown inspection at the tune of $395. All I got was the key $22. I did keep the repair list and prioritized it for future repairs. I think I have spent $18,000. I should have just let him fix it and saved $7000.

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benzbum's picture
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Re: Repair Concerns

Ferdman;124544 wrote:
Steve, Items 4 and 5 smack of a scam to me. Replacing the spark plugs is a good idea due to the 5 year interval ... I've read some horror stories of folks who ignored that criteria despite having low mileage. Spark plugs are not covered under the warranty. Replacing the fuel filters is good preventive maintenance. Personally I'd get an estimate from your trusted indie for Items 1,2, 3 and 6 ... and likely have him perform the work for significantly less money than the dealer charges. Documented repairs by a qualified indie will not void your Extended Warranty. When the Extended Warranty is about to expire have your indie perform a thorough inspection of all items covered under the warranty, then have any faulty items replaced by the dealer free-of-charge. I'd have your indie look at the other miscellaneous items too. Our newest MB is a 1998 with quality far inferior to our 124 cars as far as I'm concerned. I have no intention of buying a newer vintage MB until the quality and survey ratings improve.

Fred:

Thanks for the response. What I didn't say was that the car was running perfectly. The only reason it went in was for the A Service. There were no complaints other than the cosmetic issues/nuisances that she thought she would get repaired while it was in.

I am a big believer in preventative maintenance. However, the fuel system cleaning was what caused me the most pause. It only gets high octane fuel, usually Shell V-Power. If it needed it, I can dump some Chevron Techron injection cleaner in the tank. There was no indication of any fuel or injector problems. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this would have been necessary. Is there an MB service procedure that actually calls for this? What exactly is "Inject-A-Clean?" Can I buy it and do this myself?

Actually, I was more sold on the transmission flush and renewal than I was on the spark plug change, although I really think MB should cover this (the transmission fluid change) under the warranty. I don't know how any manufacturer could claim that a sealed transmission never needs a fluid change but that is what they claimed and that is the premise the vehicle was sold under. If MB has now seen the light (which I understand they have via a Technical Bulletin), then they ought to cover this under any existing warranty or Customer Goodwill program. They charged a premium for these cars, even under the CPO program, and they ought to stand behind their claims, such as the "never needs a transmission fluid change" claim.

The spark plugs issue concerns me for two reasons. First, the car was supposedly reconditioned before it was sold to her in January 2005. While the CPO checklist doesn't say the spark plugs were changed, it does mention that they were inspected and I would presume they were changed if there was any indication of fouling or other defect. Maybe it is just my way of thinking, but I believe they should be good for 5 years or 100,000 miles from the date it was sold as a CPO and that any necessary replacement should be covered under any existing warranty. The second issue I have is the cost. They nailed her for $143.28 for the plugs (12 at $11.94 each). That seems outrageous but, again, maybe that is just me. I can't believe a spark plug costs $11.94. Then there is the labor. $381.15 to change the spark plugs. Do they have to tear the engine down to replace the flipping spark plugs? This charge along with the "Inject-A-Clean" and the fluid change on a sealed transmission that supposedly never needs a fluid change really cause me to wonder about the integrity of the dealer.

I agree with you on the quality of the newer vehicles. While I admire the newer ones, including my wife's E320, for their superior safety innovations and for things like the 4-Matic, I also find that they fall far short on fit, finish and component reliability issues. Her E320 has had the electronic radio replaced twice under warranty and one of the rear window regulators replaced under warranty along with the differential seals and axle seals just replaced under warranty. I understand the radio and rear window regulators have been issues for many owners along with the other things we are currently having problems with - the break-away rubber cap on the roof antenna, the flip door on the visor mirror, etc. While I will admit that her E320 has fewer annoying rattles and creaks than my 1987 560SL, it has far more than my 1985 300D TurboDiesel with over 300,000 miles on it. I also think the paint quality is far superior on the older ones and the fit and finish of body and interior components is considerably better on my older cars than on hers. Finally, I find the road feel, steering feel/response and general joy of driving the older ones is far superior. When we go out together or on a road trip I find myself putting us in the 1985 300D more often than not, unless the weather is going to be questionable and I want to opt for the sure footedness of the 4-Matic (it is fantastic!).

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Re: Repair Concerns

It's all a scam.

Anytime, anywhere you hear a mechanic or service adivsor use the word "flush," walk away. This is a facility with zero credibility.

http://www.thecarconnection.com/Enthusiasts/Mechanics_Tale/Mechanics_Tale_The_Flushing_of_America.S281.A10297.html

http://www.babcox.com/editorial/bf/bf50412.htm

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Re: Repair Concerns

benzbum;124554 wrote:
I can't believe a spark plug costs $11.94. Then there is the labor. $381.15 to change the spark plugs. Do they have to tear the engine down to replace the flipping spark plugs?

They're platinum plugs, good for 100K miles. Quite reasonably priced at that figure. These are NOT the K-Mart platinums one sees in all the ads, but rather the real thing.

It took me all day to change 12 plugs on my former M112 engine. Lots of stuff has to moved out of the way.

At least they didn't suggest replacing the (12) wires, which retail at ~$30 each.

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Re: Repair Concerns

This sort of post always makes me nervous. For one, we don't know how these services were being sold to the customer. Did the advisor expalin that some were optional? Or not? Was the customer unreasonable in their expectations? Lots of questions.

The prices in 1, 2 and 5 are very reasonable for the services offered. As for 6 the spark plugs are quite expensive, but in my experience most dealers are charging quite a bit more for them (gouging?), but the labor seems a little high. I can do all 16 on my E430 in about two hours. But they are charging by book time. Also, it is not required of the CPO process to do every serivce that will bring the service items to "new car" intervals. I think that is an unreasonable customer expectation.

Skip 4. Unnecessary. Did the advisor make it sound like a requirement? Or an option?

5. This topic has been discussed ad nauseum. The consensus is to change the trans oil and filter between 30 and 50K. M-B went lifetime for a while, but has reduced the interval recently for good reason. Lifetime was a bad idea, a road taken to follow BMW and Audi/VW. It doesn't work for them either but they haven't acknowledged their mistake as M-B has. The price is quite reasonable. The fluid is around $15/qt. and it takes nearly 9 quarts. Before 2000 you could do a normal drain of the trans and converter, but the converter plug was eliminated in 2000, so a flush is the way to go.

As for the rest of the stuff, none is particularly over priced. The rubber tip for the antenna is not available separately and the asssembly is only available in a couple of colors. If one of those colors doesn't match, the cap must be painted. The cap is about $120.

All of the stuff could have been put off and maybe the advisor didn't do a very good job of communicating that, but the prices make me think they are a pretty honest outfit. I may take my cars up there (200 miles away) because I can't get those prices of of my local service department.

I won't say much about the 123/107 except to say after 40 years of M-B ownership I don't agree that the old cars were better.

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Vincent Canepa Member since 1973 1999 E430, Smoke Silver w/Parchment full leather  2014 ML350 4Matic Diamond Silver w/Auburn Brown-Black leather

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Re: Repair Concerns

vince;124584 wrote:
Did the advisor expalin that some were optional?

Vince:

When you get down to it, all of the repairs were "optional." She didn't have to take it in at all. Gas and go until it stops running. Under those circumstances, it would have been unreasonable to expect the car to continue to provide relaible service. It would also have been unreasonable to expect that the "day of reckoning" wouldn't someday come.

According to my wife, the service advisor told her these things were needed. As I said, I have no issue with the A Service (that is what she took it in for) and I know the brake fluid and coolant both need to be renewed (two year and three year intervals, respectively) and that neither had been done since she purchased the car nearly three years ago. I also believe in "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" and have no great issue in changing the fuel filter. However, $267.17 ($158.27 for parts - $144.65 for the filter, $5.16 for the hose clamp and $8.56 for some other clamp - and $108.90 for labor) seems awfully steep. I'd like to know if this is in the realm of reasonable. Where is the filter and what is involved? What makes this filter so darn expensive (other than dealer mark-up)?

Kent Christensen has replied that the cost of the spark plugs is reasonable and that there is a considerable amount of labor involved (thanks Kent and hope I didn't put words in your mouth with my paraphrasing). I'll buy your theory that maybe my expectations might have been a bit unreasonable in expecting that these would have been renewed or otherwise covered for five years or 100,000 miles from the CPO delivery date. Lesson learned and I'll pass this along to the lady of the house. Maybe she'll get over it, too.

I'm not going to argue the idea that there is no such thing as a lifetime transmission with no service required (unless you define "lifetime" as the time from when the car is manufactured until the time the manufacturer thinks you ought to be buying a new one). However, that was MB's mistake. I am glad they have acknowledged that mistake but they did market these transmissions as never needing a fluid change. There should be some consequences for their marketing folly and I would think those consequences should be that they pay for any newly required fluid changes/transmission service as long as the vehicle is within any warranty period. The consensus may be that I am unreasonable but then so be it.

No one on this forum has explained or attempted to defend the dealer for the "fuel induction service." I still have no idea what this is other than running something called "Inject-A-Clean" through the fuel delivery system. Is "Inject-A-Clean" an MB product? Is there any such procedure set forth in the maintenance manuals or service procedures? What is the MB job number? How is this any different than periodically adding Chevron Techron in with a fuel fill-up? According to my wife, the Service Advisor told her this was needed to "clear the rails." Funny, but the ticket notes "customer requested due to time or mileage" (as it does for the transmission service) although my wife insists she only authorized because the Service Advisor told her it was needed. She only did it because he made it sound like a requirement.

I'm glad to hear that at least the prices seem reasonable from your experience. I will say that my experience is that the prices are even better at the dealer in Hagerstown due to the considerable difference in labor rates. The little lady now appreciates why I told her to take it to them rather than into the city. She thought her way was more convenient. Now she knows that convenience comes at a price.

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Re: Repair Concerns

Your 01 should have had complimentary service during warranty that would have included some items like brake and radiator flush. The injector cleaning is not included in any A or B service, MB claims the trans is sealed for life, but I would have changed the fluid anyway. I would change the plugs before 100K The other stuff is fluff and dealer profit, I think the visor cover is available seperately

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Re: Repair Concerns

Peter Guenther;124596 wrote:
Your 01 should have had complimentary service during warranty that would have included some items like brake and radiator flush.

Complimentary? What is that? Other than warranty repair, none of the dealers I've ever taken any of my MBs to have ever done anything "complimentary" unless you include the occasional car wash. Certainly no maintenance or service items. Maybe I'm too demanding or unreasonable and they just want me to go away. The car is still under warranty for another six months. Maybe I'll be surprised and there will be something"complimentary" coming before then, but I won't hold my breath.

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Re: Repair Concerns

Steve McPeak,

You've been royally screwed by the dealer. Nothing you wrote surprises me.

I'm convinced that Mercedes-Benz dealers have to continue screwing their customers to stay in business. Why else would they screw us??

Take care.

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Re: Repair Concerns

I never said optional meant "don't care for the car". The advisor could have laid out a schedule to bring all the items into compliance, spread over a month or two, or combined with the next service. That way the customer is not hit with a big, unexpected bill for services that could easily be schedued differently without any harm. In industry it is called a "planned maintenance".

I think your expectation that M-B should cover the trans service is totally out of line. In fact, your attitude makes me think you will not have a good experience with your W210. M-B never defined lifetime as never - in fact their general recommendation of a lifetime was 100K, which by the way is over three times the life on your other two M-B. They should be done every 30K. I have seen these 722.6 transmissions at over 80K and they have been perfect. Others haven't had that experience. That is why the customer base has decided on 30-50K.

As for the fuel induction service or whatever it was called, most late model engines will build up some crud in the intake tract, no matter the fuel used. M-B aren't particularly prone to it, so I don't do it. There are flush machines that can be used to perform the service. Another option is to run a cleaner such as BG44K or the M-B product through the engine periodically. The local shop foreman told me he recommends it because the 112/113 engines will build up carbon on top of the pistons over time, causing a knock (harmless he admits) on start-up. Techron isn't particularly effective, IMHO. But it certainly isn't required. Now there - someone on this forum has explained it.

In general, my experience is that these cars require far less service that the old ones like your 300D. If you are following the service ritual religiously, as I did when I owned one, on that car you should not be a stranger to high service costs. I find that most 123 owners have found services that they consider "optional".

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Re: Repair Concerns

vince;124605 wrote:
I think your expectation that M-B should cover the trans service is totally out of line. In fact, your attitude makes me think you will not have a good experience with your W210.

That is why I posted here - to find out if my expectations were out of line. From some of the replies, it looks like there are opinions on both sides of the issue. I can also see and understand opinions on either side. Obviously, there is no consensus.

vince;124605 wrote:
In fact, your attitude makes me think you will not have a good experience with your W210.

With nearly three years and about 36,000+ miles on the vehicle we have had a generally good experience with the W210, notwithstanding this little "bump." I would still recommend the car over many others and neither my wife nor I are regretting the purchase decision. I will still maintain that the quality of manufacturing detail, fit and finish have slipped since the vintage of my 123 and 107 but the advances in technology and safety are hard to argue.

vince;124605 wrote:
M-B never defined lifetime as never - in fact their general recommendation of a lifetime was 100K, which by the way is over three times the life on your other two M-B. They should be done every 30K.

My 123 has over 300,000 miles on it (@305,000). The transmission is serviced every 30,000 miles, according to the service schedule. Still the original transmission (not "sealed for life, bever requiring fluid change") and never a whimper, a moan, a slip or any problem whatsoever. In fact, it was just serviced two months ago.

vince;124605 wrote:
Now there - someone on this forum has explained it.

Thanks for your explanation.

vince;124605 wrote:
In general, my experience is that these cars require far less service that the old ones like your 300D. If you are following the service ritual religiously, as I did when I owned one, on that car you should not be a stranger to high service costs.

I do follow the service regimen on the 123 (300D TurboDiesel) religously. The transmission service I had done on it a couple of months ago at my MB independent cost me $130.00 (vs. $218.93 my wife paid for the 210). Brake fluid bleed and flush was $98.76 (vs. $97.56 my wife paid on the 210). It's never seen a spark plug change but I did have the timing chain replaced, valves adjusted and injector return hoses replaced for $650.00 (vs. $524.43 she paid for the spark plugs on the 210). My total bill was less than $900.00 (vs. her $1,800.00 for the 210) and that was the biggest one I've had in quite a while for the 123. Granted, I probably spend about $2,500 (+/- $500) per year to service the 123 (averaging in what I pay for tires, brakes and such that I don't necessarily need every year). I don't find that necessarily "high" for a 23 year old car with over 300,000 miles and am glad to pay it (well, maybe that is a bit over the top) in lieu of a car payment. I hope to still be driving it in another 23 years and 300,000 miles. It is (and has been) a truly wonderful and remarkable car.

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Re: Repair Concerns

You must admit you are comparing apples and oranges when you quote service costs from an independent on the 123 and from the dealer on the 210. I have owned both. The 210 has cost me less by a substantial margin, but then I compare under the same exact circumstances.

All I can say about my 123 was when I got out of the car after a head-on accident in which I was blessed not to be hurt (since the car wouldn't brake or turn quick enough to avoid the Toyota Camry I hit) I said to myself "good riddance". The 123 was destroyed. The Toyota drove away from the scene. I always thought the 123 was way over-rated. I really liked my 114s (I had two) much better. They handled much better and were much roomier.

You may want to consider that ASC has a good reputation among GWS members. They have an event where they open their service bays to members for DIY projects and have techs standing by to offer guidance. I don't know of any other dealers that go as far to work with MBCA. That's enough from me on this subject.

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Re: Repair Concerns

benzbum;124508 wrote:

4.) Fuel induction service - $163.09. Labor was $108.90 and she was charged $54.19 for something called "Inject-A-Clean." I can't find anything in the Service Booklet or Owner's Manual that makes any mention of any recommended service for the fuel induction system. What the @#$% is this? According to her, they told her she needed this to "clear (clean?) the rails."

Steve

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this, but on newer benz I believe they don't use a float to measure fuel capacity rather it's via voltage and resistance (or something...). My dealer noted that failure of these units decreased to zero when they started using a fuel cleaner, a bottle of magic at something south of $10 on each service. I'll note I caused them to migrate to Mercedes fuel additive for gas engines A000 989 25 45 12 since the parts guy noticed it was cheaper than the additive they were buying from the parts house. Chevron Techron is the other MB approved product btw.

Inject-a-clean seems to be a Wynn's product
http://www.wynnswa.com.au/menu6_02_03.html

If so then an hour of labor, and $54 for the product seems a bit excessive, even if some machine is involved to be hooked up for circulating gasoline.

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Re: Repair Concerns

Steve, if you plan to use Chevron Techron the consenus is to use it in a tankful of gas right before an oil change.

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Re: Repair Concerns

Steve,

That outfit cheated your wife on the fuel injection "cleaning" and the transmission flush. After reading your post I called a couple of places, including the Mercedes dealer. With the exception of one outfit (independent shop) everyone admitted the fuel injection service was a scam. The Mercedes dealer said they only recommend a transmission flush, but leaves it up to the customer if they want that done.

A couple of times in the past the local Jiffy Lube has tried to sell me the fuel injection cleaning thing, but I've never taken them up on it. BTY- my Mercedes' always go to the Mercedes Benz store, even for routine oil changes.

The outfit where your wife took the car should be ashamed. If it were me I'd write them a very nasty letter, and let them know they will never get any of your business again.

Some of these independent shops are really something. For example, about 20 years ago my wife took our Audi Quattro to a local independent shop (the local Audi store couldn't/cant be trusted to put air in the tires)and they told her she needed to have the "clutch pack" in the rear LSD rebuilt. She called me about it and I told her to get the car away from those bozos ASAP. The Audi Quattro had open front and rear diffs. It was an obvious attempt to steal money from a customer.

In China they have a special way of dealing with people like that.............

jfouse

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Re: Repair Concerns

Here's the way I see it. Did you wife approve of these items before they were done? Most states REQUIRE approval before the repairs.

Personally, I think you got taken. And, I'd take it to the Regional Rep and your local BBB. I'd be screaming bloody murder about how she was taken advantage of.

Yeah, Vince, I know you might disagree on this, but seriously, she got scammed.

As for the transmission, she was owed at LEAST an explanation before it was done. Frankly, I'd hold up the info to the dealer about the "lifetime" deal, and hold them to it. Yup, I'd have had it changed, but, in your wife's case, it should have been fully explained AND she should have been given an option: "Yes ma'am, MB DID tell you that it is sealed and should last a lifetime. But, in the ensuing years, MB had determined that it is a good practice to change the fluid anyway. It's your choice, but that is NOW our recommendation".

Threaten small claims too: Think of how that judge will look upon the MB "lifetime" transmission fluid. He/she will give you everything else, after seeing that. BTW, if you've never done Small Claims before, it is SO much fun! It will cost you something like $65 to file/serve them (that's Texas rates...), and most of the time, they will call you.

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vince's picture
Chesapeake, VA
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Re: Repair Concerns

I'm going to break my rule and make one last statement about this discussion. When I see words like "screwed", "cheated", "scammed", etc. used here I cringe. Those words reflect an attitude that is provocative and unprofessional. I often see these terms used in disputes and they don't lead to anywhere good. In my real life I have been called in to clean up large contract disputes in which people took a position and provocatively stood by it until they ended up in court. The classic has to be the $7,300 dispute that ended up costing you folks, the taxpayers, $7,000,000. Thankfully, I don't have any of those on my resume and I try to maintain a professional demeanor in all my business relationships.

Based on my experience I think both parties were wrong here (in no particular order):

1) Steve should have done some research and asked more questions about the CPO process when he bought the car. When I bought the 2000 C280SE (a CPO car) I spend 30 minutes asking about the process, what was covered, etc. and have not had any surprises. He should also have checked all the internet sites for problems and service issues and would not have been surprised by the transmission flush issue. George Murphy has discussed it on this site and is adamant about periodic changes/flushes (at 30K in his opinion). There are countless discussions out there about the spark plugs, etc. His wife was blindsided by his lack of due diligence, but I find this common with many folks. Not doing your homework leaves you unprepared.

2) The advisor at ASC did their reputation no good by not framing his recommendations properly. If the advisor had spent more time discussing the rationale behind the recommendations and offering options like a performing them over time, the customer could have walked away feeling that they were being taken care off, not abused. Furthermore, they should have been clear that they weren't critical recommendations at the current time. I think dealerships should spend more time teaching their employees how to deal with the customer. I don't have a problem with someone trying to sell me something unless 1) they are lying or 2) the price is out line. I have no experience with them, but I assume Lexus does a better job here, based on rumor.

I think Steve and his wife should have a meeting with the Service Manager AND the General Manager, but I don't think he or she is in the mood to do so. My rationale is that there could be a very real benefit in having a good working relationship with a dealer close to the wife's workplace.

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Vincent Canepa Member since 1973 1999 E430, Smoke Silver w/Parchment full leather  2014 ML350 4Matic Diamond Silver w/Auburn Brown-Black leather

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lkchris's picture
Albuquerque, NM
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Re: Repair Concerns

I'd suggest also that Mercedes dealerships NOT venture past procedures recommended by Mercedes.

There are no "flushes" recommended, for example, although brake fluid and antifreeze replacements are. Transmissions are simply drained and refilled without concern for fluid that doesn't drain, since no concern is merited.

I deal with a dealership that thinks nothing of "converting to run on midgrade fuel" without authorization and skipping fuel filter replacement although consumer materials specify it.

Sorry, but there's not a mechanic or service advisor anywhere in the USA or the world that knows better than Mercedes.

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vince's picture
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Re: Repair Concerns

Kent - In general I agree with you. However, the problem with the post-2000 cars, relative to the trans drain & refill, is that the converter has no drain. The converter holds about 60% of the fluid. The M-B procedure actually recommends disconnecting the cooling line to the cooler and using the transmission's pump to "drain" or "flush" out the old fluid. Many techs don't like that method because they don't like the idea of running the pump dry. I don't like it either. So the "flush" methods using a standalone machine are considered safer.

On my 2000 C280 SE I devised my own procedure. I drained the transmission, topped up the fluid, run the car ten minutes, drained it agin. I did that three times to get clean fluid. I ended up using about 15 quarts of expensive fluid and it took me about 4 hours. I won't do it that way again. I'll take the $218 method any day. Cheaper and more effective.

Our 1999 E430 is easy because it has a converter drain and I can use the traditional M-B drain and refill method.

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Skid Row Joe's picture
Garland, TX
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Re: Repair Concerns

vince;124790 wrote:
I'm going to break my rule and make one last statement about this discussion. When I see words like "screwed", "cheated", "scammed", etc. used here I cringe. Those words reflect an attitude that is provocative and unprofessional.

Vince,

When I write the words; screwed, lied, liar, cheated, stole, theif, it's because the word accurately describes what the Mercedes-Benz dealer(s) and or Regional Reps. did to me. From the MB dealer where I bought the car in Omaha, Nebraska, to DFW, Texas, to three Louisiana dealers, to Montgomery, AL.

I can recite at any time all the MB dealers, and all the names of the personel at those dealers that most of the above words can be affixed to. I would not use them if they did not fit.

All those words reflect the result of the attitude of the MB dealers and MBUSA, when I was trying to get my Mercedes-Benz I bought new in '99 for fuel leaks fixed under warranty. This car to this day is still leaking fuel under the engine, 8.5 years after buying it. And now thousands of dollars out of my pocket to MB dealers.

I add the words "scum," and "scumbags" to the above list to describe them. Their behavior and unprofessional attitude displays it.

I have three inches thickness in receipts for the same fuel leaking problem, taking my car in to try to get it fixed by the MB dealer scumbags.

No company has treated me as poorly on a major purchase as MB has.

Steve is justified in his assessment of the scum MB dealer, in my professional view.

.

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Bill Stocklin's picture
Palo Alto, CA
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Re: Repair Concerns

Just a comment on item #5, the fuel cleaning. I recently had this done on my '01 Audi (40k miles), kindof as a casual gesture. I was surprised at the immediately apparent improvement in smoothness. I afterwards had it done on my wife's '02 wagon (44k miles), and I can say the result was a minimal but I think positive difference. Be nice to have data as to any improvement in mileage, but I don't.

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lkchris's picture
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Re: Repair Concerns

Skid Row Joe;124976 wrote:
No company has treated me as poorly on a major purchase as MB has.

This, unforunately, is how many see it.

It's the dealer, not Mercedes.

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Re: Repair Concerns

benzbum;124597 wrote:
Complimentary? What is that? Other than warranty repair, none of the dealers I've ever taken any of my MBs to have ever done anything "complimentary" unless you include the occasional car wash. Certainly no maintenance or service items. Maybe I'm too demanding or unreasonable and they just want me to go away. The car is still under warranty for another six months. Maybe I'll be surprised and there will be something"complimentary" coming before then, but I won't hold my breath.

I dont know if you are the origional owner , but my 01 E included oil changes, brake, and radiator service (flush) filters (air and cabin) and wiper blades, during the initial warranty period. As outlined in the service booklet and called for by FSS and is in the brochure!

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lkchris's picture
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Re: Repair Concerns

Econ 101 will teach that nothing's free (complimentary).

All warranties are purchased and all "freebees" are paid for in purchase price or service hourly rate as well.

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