Jist a skritching ana skratchin ma haid

Bin waiting 7 weeks for the bankrupt car warranty company to kick through some coverage for the $4500 front end job prescribed by Hanz und Franz down at Heavy
Karl's Mercedes shop. (Upper & Lower Ball joints and associated pull, push, and whatnot rods; replace steering box; do front end steering shocks). Well ole Randi Massokist (hey - he works for an insurance company buying out car warranty outfits that go broke) finaly came with the proposition that they would cover the absolute essentials. Which got me a thinkin - got lost in thought as it is not familiar territory, of course. Took it into the front end shop and told them it had been diagnosed with a bunch of stuff including the ball joints. They said it needs about $1100 for shocks and upper ball joints. Took it to the ole Merc Shop which specializes in old Mercedes and did not tell them anything about symptoms. They drove it and examined it. Came in and asked me what the problem is with it. I said that was for them to find. They finaly said they could fix the slightly leaking seal on the steering box by rebuilding it and that would cost about $600, but it doesn't really need it. This last opinion fits with my impresion of what it should be at 120,000 miles. The tires do not show any strange wear patterns, it shows no symptoms, and I have never even driven it on a gravel road! So should I take it back to Hanz und Franz and let them do their thing and pay about $2000 for stuff which is probably not needed?
And by the way - ole Merc Boyz took a look at the check engine light and found a burned out relay which had generated 9 different problem codes - or - my worrisome thought says the relay had been burned out by 9 problems. They did explain that the carbon build up is caused in some etf tube or something that takes exhaust gases and cycles them through the intake system to burn them up. This problem takes about $300 to fix and not the $1500 - head remove - grind carbon out - replace heads suggested by Hanz und Franz. They did have one Eclass that had to have the heads pulled to get the etf tubes reamed out or something, but that was only one case out of many. Sound familiar to anyone???
Gee - kin ah git them ole boyz in tha bak hooked up to them ole etf tube does ya think? Sum dayz after them ole boyz haz bin a partyin on all nite .... shore culd improve tha air quality ta close ta EPA standards!
mcbrue headscratchingly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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Confirms what too many of us have learned about stealers!
Dealer during the warranty and exclusively to an independent thereafter.
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Dealers... We took our CL500 to our dealer in Anchorage to fix a fluid leak in November of '03 (car was still under original warranty). They "diagnosed" the problem and replaced the power steering rack; drove the car 140 miles home and guess what, exact same leak. Was fed up with these guys after scores of similar fixes on several MBs we've had so I decided I would deal with it later. The original warranty expired in December but we have four years of Starmark so I wasn't concerned. Took the car back the next time we were in Anchorage (March '04) and this time they "diagnosed" the problem as the suspension leveling hydraulic hose. Surprise, Starmark does not cover hoses. I pointed out that it was the same leak that they had previously "repaired" but the dealer said that just couldn't be possible because they had fixed the first leak with the power steering rack (leak never changed). Now mind you this is the hydraulic system high-pressure hose that connects above the transmission so the transmission has to be removed to replace it. Also bear in mind this car has only 20K miles. The dealer said although the car was "out of warranty" by a few months they were confident that MB would cover the repair due to the low mileage. After weeks of hearing nothing from the dealer, per usual, I attempted to contact my MB regional warranty manager, of course he would not talk with me directly; "the dealer was the best contact to resolve the issue" the message said. I finally got my dealer on the phone (who never called me back even though he vowed he would, normal here) and he said MB had determined that the car was out of warranty and that was that. The car still has only 20K miles. After much discussion and reminding him that the original leak never changed, the dealer offered us a 75/25 split. He would pay 25% of the repair in "good faith". By the way, he said that the repair might be much less than the $1500.00 or so he quoted because they might "get in there" and discover it was actually "something else" leaking. There's another surprise, they really don't know what's leaking so they just replace pieces and parts until they get the right one. I already knew that though.
Conversely, on the same trip to Anchorage, we took our 560SL to an independent shop for a check over. The independent kept the car for three days and checked everything. He advised us that it was in great shape. He recommended that we do nothing about the very minor oil leak we had mentioned because it would cost much more than it was worth to repair it. And the leak is really only a nuisance. The independent called us everyday to let us know how things were going and when we picked the car up the bill was much less than we had anticipated. The independent's mechanic who worked on our SL came out to greet me when I picked it up and thanked me for bringing it to them. Turns out he also owns an SL and was very happy to work on ours.
To summarize my rant; The dealer still doesn't know what is leaking on the CL but is happy to keep replacing parts as long as we pay, even though they never fixed the original problem. And MB will not involve itself in this "non-warranty issue". Starmark? What Starmark? But they do "happen to have several beautiful new models on the floor if we would be interested in taking a look"...
The independent carressed our SL for three days, did several minor things for free, and practically begged us to bring the car back for a check-up next time we had it in Anchorage. And charged us much less than we thought for labor.
Bottom line: If you want to drive a late-model Mercedes, better plan to buy a new one and replace it every four years because you will not be able to afford the maintenance these new-era cars need to stay on the road.
Mercedes Benz customer service? Mercedes Benz quality? Mercedes Benz reliability? Where have these thing gone? But alas, I still love these leaking, smoking, stalling, high maintenance autos. Shrug... Thanks for your patience. Dale
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I may be a bit naive, but you might want to verify if a suspension hydraulic hose is not covered with MBUSA rather than the regional mgmt. I looked at my Starmark warranty and it included (in the suspension section) the high-pressure oil hose. Granted not every single nut and bolt is not listed (and therefore possible that MB could say "well, it's not listed therefore it's not covered"), but this doesn't sound like the same as a "normal wear" item. Heck, my dealership recently replaced a transmission piece that I can't find specifically listed under Starmark (some sort of gasket on a sensor unit), but there was no charge to me. So while not all hoses are covered (e.g. coolant), you may have a strong case with MB.

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I tried every argument but the dealer insists that my "Automatic Body Control High Pressure Hydraulic Hose" is not included in the "high pressure oil hose" catagory listed in the Suspension section (#11) of my Starmark extended warranty. He said he tried to convince MBUSA that this hose is covered but Mercedes would hear none of it. They simply will not replace it under Starmark. Apparently this hose is unique to CL's... I don't know about that but I do believe this is the last Mercedes Benz I'll buy! Dale

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So what kar might you buy next? Am realy thinking about that question myself now. Of course the trip down here to Hilton Head has just been wonderfull. That old antique is such a nice comfortable roomy car that I reallllly don't know what one to buy next !
mcbrue sunningly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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Well dear McBrue, I don't really know for sure. We are coupe folks; but who builds nice coupes nowadays? The new CL's are just very expensive pieces of junk. I'm still kicking myself for selling our '96 S500C. It was perfect for us, but I just had to have a CL... Huge mistake!
Anyway, I've been looking at the BMW 3 series but they are small little things. I've even looked at the Cadillac Eldorado but I just don't think a high dollar Chevrolet will "do it" for us. Lexus? Acura? I just don't see any nice coupes on the market.
If we could get past the idea of having two-too-many doors, I think maybe the BMW 7 series would be very nice for us but, well, it's just not a coupe. The VW Phaeton's are incredible but they are, well... Volkswagen's (I'm sorry, I can't help it).
When we've finally had enough of this CL500 fiasco (and MB in general) there may be something new available from BMW(I'm thinking a few years ahead now). I was even looking at the new Chrysler 300's the other day. Bold, but very nice. Not an MB mind you but that may only mean far less time in the shop for us. I hate to say it but MBUSA has finally managed to break my heart. I fear I'm on the cusp of joining the ranks of the MB naysayers and abandoning MB completely. Well, except for our '88 560SL... now that's a Mercedes! And it will always have a warm, dry place in our garage to rest and gracefully age with us. What ever became of that Lexus you bought? Any other suggestions? Dale

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Well dear McBrue, I don't really know for sure. We are coupe folks; but who builds nice coupes nowadays? The new CL's are just very expensive pieces of junk. I'm still kicking myself for selling our '96 S500C. It was perfect for us, but I just had to have a CL... Huge mistake!
Anyway, I've been looking at the BMW 3 series but they are small little things. I've even looked at the Cadillac Eldorado but I just don't think a high dollar Chevrolet will "do it" for us. Lexus? Acura? I just don't see any nice coupes on the market.
If we could get past the idea of having two-too-many doors, I think maybe the BMW 7 series would be very nice for us but, well, it's just not a coupe. The VW Phaeton's are incredible but they are, well... Volkswagen's (I'm sorry, I can't help it).
When we've finally had enough of this CL500 fiasco (and MB in general) there may be something new available from BMW(I'm thinking a few years ahead now). I was even looking at the new Chrysler 300's the other day. Bold, but very nice. Not an MB mind you but that may only mean far less time in the shop for us. I hate to say it but MBUSA has finally managed to break my heart. I fear I'm on the cusp of joining the ranks of the MB naysayers and abandoning MB completely. Well, except for our '88 560SL... now that's a Mercedes! And it will always have a warm, dry place in our garage to rest and gracefully age with us. What ever became of that Lexus you bought? Any other suggestions? Dale

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My wife still has her E300 Kudzu Kar. And it is really nice, except they are going the way of the MB also, I fear. She has about 22,000 miles on it and the rotors are realllllllly shot. Vibrates the steering wheel out of your hands practicaly. Found that out when we had to take it down to the coast instead of my car because the front end was going to fall off mine! And the local dealer when queried about it on the phone said he may pay half the cost!!! The 02 and 03 ESs have a known problem with factory guidance on how to replace the rotors for free. Since my wife never brakes hard enough to get the rotors to the warp point, it is obvious to me it is a factory fault. So I am loosing interest in buying the big LS430, but am reallly lost as to what to buy. All I want is a big old monster car that runs and stays out of the shop. It has to have a big drivers seat and so far only BMW, Lexus, and MB seem to. The BMW has a hole between the back and the extended front so it is out. The Lexus has the above problems and it is a tad smaller than the old MB Kar, and the MB is ... well ... just off the charts I fear. Not sure what I will do.
mcbrue meditatingly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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Congratulations!!! Let Hanz and Franz send their kids to public schools! You are now one of us.... knowledgable, cautious, suspicious, and frugal, knowing that the magic is in the Car, its Parts,.... and a damn good mechanic
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It is so disheartening to finaly have proof positive that the stealership is just that - a blatent stealership. Of course when you look at our political leadership ... Still a big disapointment. Realllllly getting serious about the Kudzu boyz next time, not because they are that much better but because their karz are more reliable. I just don't think that any of them could be more comfortable than the old junker S Klass - drove all the way down to the beach today, about 4 hours, and was just fresh and relaxed when we got here.
mcbrue sadly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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MCBRUE wrote:

Repair quality is a very important part of the ownership experience
Vehicle manufacturers should be more proactive when it comes to monitoring the quality of their dealer repair services.
Perhaps the manufacturers should test out their dealers by occasionally bringing by a car to be evaluated and repaired.
McBrue's dealer should lose his franchise.
.
.
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