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Thread: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

  1. #1
    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Some of you may or may not be familiar with my recently acquired S280 which has featured somewhat in my owners thread. The car has full service history and all records from new and was due the 45k mile service now. I usually do all my own stunts regarding maintenance and this S280 has recently had a lot of work done to it since I bought it– including the oil change / service BUT given the low miles I did want to ensure the service book was kept updated / stamped by a Mercedes Main dealer none the less.

    I first phoned them to book the car in and advised it was due the 45k miles lubrication service only in the book. When I queried what oil they would propose to use they suggested 5W-30 initially.... I declined. I was advised that they did not actually have any suitable oils for this car on the shelf and that I would be better to bring my own oil in the car for them to use. (They have MB 5W-30 for example but not m104 suitable oils) I had no problem with that and duly ordered up / supplied 2x 5 litre bottles of my preferred oil for them to use.

    I dropped the car off yesterday evening with the oil in the passenger footwell and they serviced it today. I was curious where they might fill the oil level to as there was a service bulletin issued by Mercedes for the m104 and motors of that era to only fill them with engine oil to half way up the dipstick. (Attached) I did think of telling that to the service advisor when handing over the keys but decided the message would likely not make it to the guy in the workshop anyway and besides – they should know that anyway!!

    They were very complimentary on the condition of the car which was nice of them to say. So I collected the car and I went on my way home – 25 mile trip or so. Now being a pedantic git I didn’t like the felling of driving the car not knowing precisely where the oil level was at. So when I got home I checked the oil level. I needn’t have worried about them filling it above the half way mark on the dipstick. They had in fact overfilled it above the max mark by a good 4mm. Above the max lettering itself too. The actual oil level is hard to see on the picture below but you can see the markings on the dipstick I am referring to.

    20180705_200959.jpg

    So I had to get my oil vac out and remove approx 1.2L of oil from the car just to set the level 1mm under the max mark. (I will also vac more oil out tomorrow to bring down further to meet half way mark) Now I’ve never overfilled oil in any car in my life and it’s ironic that the first time I bring a cherished car of mine to a MB main dealer they overfill it for me. Is this because they blindly followed a specified oil fill qty without even checking the dipstick? (Some modern MB models don’t even have dipsticks now....)

    So are my expectations too high re the half way mark? Is overfilling it above the max mark a big deal?
    I’m not the complaining type so I do not know if it is worth phoning them to notify them of this.... what good will it do at the end of the day I’ve already corrected the oil level to where it needs to be.

    It makes you wonder if you got more work done on an older benz beyond the scope of just an oil change what else might they mess up due to being out of touch with the older models? Do you negate the MB stamps and keep your own service records instead then?

    00.57EngineOilLevelSI.pdf
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Joe, they definitely should have checked the level on the dipstick. Anything over MAX is not acceptable IMO. My guess is they trusted the FSM / WIS and didn't bother to verify afterwards.

    That said, when I first changed the oil on my M104 (1995 E320), I put in 8 quarts (owner's manual spec was 7.9 quarts), which I expected to be in the middle of the dipstick. Nope, it was above MAX, and I had to drain out a quart just like you did. Next time I only put in 7 quarts and it was below MAX. Oddly, the FSM says 7.0 liters (7.4 quarts), which is a half-quart different than the owner's manual spec.

    I also had a hard time reading the dipstick, which had a very narrow range - less than what appears in your photo. The oil pan must be different between the M104.992 in the S124, and the M104.944 used in the W140... they specify different dipsticks. Yours has a much wider range, similar to what we're used to on the M119.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    To answer your question, I’m gonna go with “probably not, unless they have an ongoing relationship with you and/or the car.” But that’s the same as everywhere, I suspect. You can find a few “Klink’s” here and there but they are rare. And your chances of accessing them at the dealership are about the same as your chances of accessing them at an independent shop. I will say, though, that in general the dealership is not the place for any car over 10 years old. Something to do with that whole leasing business model. Servicing old cars means keeping older, more experienced techs happier over a long term (in addition to tying up hoists while parts are on order, etc.). And today’s businesses seem not to want to do that, when they can “churn and burn” the young techs the way young people “churn and burn” lease cars.

    What’s one to do?

    maw

    P.S. I guess in all fairness I should say, the car is probably in great hands. They’ll happily guess and throw new parts on the car at your expense. Your finances and general disposition, however, not so much.
    Last edited by maw1124; 07-06-2018 at 07:44 AM. Reason: P.S.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Indeed Joe, as sad as it sounds, unless I knew the tech personally, I would not stray anywhere near ANY benz dealership.

    Do i smell a group buy for custom service dep’t stamps coming on?!???


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    Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    My closest dealer is 45 minutes away, and they have one tech that has been with MB since 1990. So he cut his teeth on w126 w124. He performed both alignments on my cars, and double checked all my torque on the suspension I replaced. He also refreshed my fluids and Tire pressure.

    Same folks who own our Klink’s dealer in Abstract plains Alabama own the dealer I use.
    Last edited by nocfn; 07-05-2018 at 08:52 PM.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    I've only been to an MBz dealer twice; once to pick up a new keyed ignition tumbler at the parts counter, and once to have a windshield put in (on?) my coupe.

    After assuring me they had an old-timer who had installed dozens over the decades, I had them order the (dozen+) pieces of trim, seals, glass, etc (only would do retail) and brought it in.

    They did a PERFECT job from beginning to end. And their thorough complimentary 18 point inspection revealed only some tiny cracking of the rear flex disk, but nothing to try and sell me.

    The coffee was excellent, the women attractive, and the MBz memorabilia collection outstanding.

    The only disappointment was the 2 year old MBz (SportUte?) POS they gave me for the half-day they worked on the glass.
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    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Joe, they definitely should have checked the level on the dipstick. Anything over MAX is not acceptable IMO. My guess is they trusted the FSM / WIS and didn't bother to verify afterwards.

    Yes I agree – there is no excuse for not checking the dipstick oil level correctly before it left the workshop. We could be giving them too much credit RE reading FSM / WIS. Chances are I just got a sloppy tech who didn’t care very much about accuracy


    Quote Originally Posted by maw1124 View Post
    I will say, though, that in general the dealership is not the place for any car over 10 years old

    Yes I concur with this statement. Given they didn’t even carry any engine oil suitable for the M104 suggests it’s not something they service very often, if at all. All cars around the place were either new or a couple years old. W140 looked out of place big time..........


    Quote Originally Posted by a777fan View Post
    Do i smell a group buy for custom service dep’t stamps coming on?!???

    I have often considered a small sideline of specializing in older Mercedes diagnostics and servicing – a service that is not offered anywhere in our area. Might only see 1 car every 6 weeks but that’s AOK! So if that was the case I would have my own service stamp made up and could mark my own service books with some degree of authority. Not dealer stamps but then specialist servicing stamps are acceptable too no? It is clear my w140 would have been in much better hands serviced at home.


    I didn’t mention the amount of oil hand prints around the previously pristine engine compartment and even on the hood edge and right fender there are hand prints left over. They did not wash the car....... they did offer to but phoned me about it to say my car was so immaculate they were afraid they might leave streaks after washing it. I said don't wash it.... but didnt expect it to come back with oily handprints on the paintwork.


    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    My closest dealer is 45 minutes away, and they have one tech that has been with MB since 1990. So he cut his teeth on w126 w124. He performed both alignments on my cars, and double checked all my torque on the suspension I replaced. He also refreshed my fluids and Tire pressure.

    Same folks who own our Klink’s dealer in Abstract plains Alabama own the dealer I use.

    Lucky you – that’s a decent option for you!


    Quote Originally Posted by northNH View Post
    I've only been to an MBz dealer twice; once to pick up a new keyed ignition tumbler at the parts counter, and once to have a windshield put in (on?) my coupe.

    After assuring me they had an old-timer who had installed dozens over the decades, I had them order the (dozen+) pieces of trim, seals, glass, etc (only would do retail) and brought it in.

    They did a PERFECT job from beginning to end. And their thorough complimentary 18 point inspection revealed only some tiny cracking of the rear flex disk, but nothing to try and sell me.

    The coffee was excellent, the women attractive, and the MBz memorabilia collection outstanding.

    The only disappointment was the 2 year old MBz (SportUte?) POS they gave me for the half-day they worked on the glass.

    That’s good they did a decent job on your screen install! And I agree the showroom is a very glitzy / impressive place to be but for me personally that didn’t mean much. If the guys in the workshop can’t follow an Oil Dipstick then are you paying for all the flash and no real Mercedes expertise you can actually trust? I did get the inspection report too:


    20180705_183813.jpg

    Only one item was identified which I already knew of being the front left upper suspension arm has a worn bushing. (A new genuine MB arm is ordered from Germany)

    So yeah - I don't think any of my car's will ever darken their service department's doors again.
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Hi Joe,

    Did you ask the service shop in a “de-briefing” kind of way on how many liters of oil they filled?

    To be honest I have a habit since younger days that I immediately check the oil level of engine oil and tranny refills before the car leaves the shop.

    Anyways, don’t worry cause you drove the car not a lot with oil over fill, no damage to engine I believe in such a short time.


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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Good read, thanks!

    And to original question, in good hands or not... I don't think its just a dealerships, mb or not, seem that the "pride" in doing the job well is slipping away in many places... My C-Class (long term daily driver) came with "lifetime" free oil changes. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind getting $130 free service, but, I have been doing my own oil changes for the past 3 years for this very reason. Last 3 times - overfilled.

    It is my piece of mind, doing it myself, knowing that I did tighten every thing well, changed the drain plug washer every time and did not overfill the oil. Filters are cheap enough in bulk, and wallyworld/costco oils are well priced when on sale.

    Regards,
    D

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    My indie shop is a 45 min drive away in good traffic and, like most indie shops, isn’t open on weekends and isn’t open late. So it’s a major hassle for me to get there after work, and when I can, I have to pay about $50 for a Lyft home. So about a year ago when the 500E developed an oil leak, with all the other stuff going on in my life (new baby and toddler at home, work etc.), I just had to do what’s easiest and took the car to the MB dealer about 7 mins drive from my house. Open late, weekends etc.

    Tech #1 is a young guy who has never worked on a W124 before, but I talk to him and he seems excited about it. So I’m feeling ok. He can’t be sure where the leak is coming from so he puts in dye. I drive for a bit and take it back.

    This time another tech looks at it and diagnoses it as coming from the sub oil pan. Seems strange to me as it wasn’t that long ago that Jono opened that up to check for guide bits (nothing to worry about on that front at least) and resealed it with no problems. But I trust the tech knows what he’s doing. $600 later, not including the earlier diagnostic charge (!!!), I have a new oil pan, gasket etc. I get home and...notice the same oil leak. I went to Ntrepid’s house to use his lift and sure enough, it looks like exactly the same leak.

    I go back to the dealer and tech 3 looks at it. Crankshaft seal leak. Obviously it was this all along and the oil pan was fine. But the dealer absolutely refused to admit that. They were 100% adamant that my oil pan, and only my oil pan, was leaking and then, on the day that was fixed, an absolutely new leak developed. After some fighting I got a little money back, but not much. And then they wanted to charge me some crazy amount for the crankshaft seal leak. They wanted to change out a ton of parts at the front of the engine. No thanks.

    I took the car back to my indie and told him what happened and explained that I just didn’t have time to take the car to him. He gave me his personal cell number and told me he’d meet me at his shop late or on weekends to take the car. And he fixed the crankshaft leak for something like 1/4 the charge the dealer wanted.

    So I will never take a car to my dealer unless it’s under warranty (like my E550 still is). The dealer has a tech that has been around for a while. I’ve talked to him briefly and he seems to know his stuff. But that’s just one tech. The chances of him working on my car if I take it in are pretty much zero. And even he knows way less about W124s than my indie who usually has one or two in his shop at any point in time.

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    Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    The ONLY thing I have EVER taken any of my cars to an MB “stealership” for in the past 20+ years has been alignments. Because I KNOW they can properly perform an alignment on any vehicle.

    Everything else, it’s myself or trusted Indy shops. And since 2009, only one time at an Indy shop for any of my vehicles for repairs — everything else done my myself. The exception was to prepare my G-wagen for the trip to Maryland last year that I drove it. I did not have the time nor space to work on it given I was living in an apartment my last 16 months in Texas.

    I had a new A/C compressor and receiver-drier installed, the system tested, new motor mounts installed, new coolant expansion tank, new belt tensioner and a few other small things. I just about keeled over when I got the bill. But I was happy to pay it because the work was done well and properly by a shop who knew what they were doing, and I counted the owner as one of my closest friends in Texas.

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  23. #12
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Having worked as a tech in an MB dealership for the past 26 years, I'm very disappointed to hear all the negative experiences and attitudes against dealerships. I can't help but feel a bit defensive about some of the comments, but on the other hand have also seen several of the situations described above play out right in front of me because of some lazy coworker. It really is a shame that it happens, especially at the prices dealers charge.

    It's a bit sad, because it only takes a couple knuckleheads to ruin what 95% of the other employees work really hard to achieve. I know that personally, I take a lot of pride in providing the best workmanship for the vehicles that come into the shop. Whether it's a 2018 AMG GT-R or a 1956 190SL or a 1983 240D (all of which I've worked on in the past couple weeks at our dealership), they all pay the same labor rate and all deserve the same attention to detail. Unfortunately, it sounds like not all dealerships are the same. Luckily at the dealership where I work, I can honestly say most of the techs in our shop genuinely care about doing quality work. I also know that it's completely possible for someone to come into the dealership where I work and have a horrible experience, as I said, it only takes one knucklehead to screw it all up.

    My advice to anyone who is contemplating bringing their car to a Mercedes dealership is: don't be afraid to ask questions about who will be working on your car and what kind of servicing experience they have. It is completely normal for someone to come in and request a specific technician, just like you would when getting your hair cut. I would say at least 80% of my daily work is from client's who have specifically requested to have me work on their car. As long as you're willing to wait an extra day or 2 for your favorite tech to be available, it's well worth it when you find a good one. I know most people feel like they're being to pushy or too much of a nuisance, but if it's your first time walking into a dealership, I think it's completely acceptable to ask who would be the best tech in the shop to work on your vehicle. If the dealership is worth giving your money, they'll do their best to accommodate you and if they don't then go somewhere else. I would be pretty confident that every dealership has at least a few techs who are enthusiasts and have a good work ethic, so don't be afraid to seek them out. If you don't and just hope for the best, you never really know what kind of experience you're gonna get.

    And to the OP, it is absolutely inexcusable to release a vehicle to a client with the oil level set incorrectly. That's basic auto mechanics 101 and should never happen.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Hi,

    Let me share my experience at my dealer's with you.

    My car goes to the dealer every year for a check up and they do a very good job due to the qualification of the head of the workshop, an old guy in his 50's .

    Two years ago, he told me a funny story. After I left the car, he gave the infra red key to a young mechanic and asked him to bring the car in the shop. 5 minutes later the young guy came back and said that the remote controller was not working and that the car was locked. Surprise of the head of the workshop who then took the keys, went to the car and opened it. It happened that the young guy was not pointing the IF beam to the driver's door or the trunk's door but just cliking in the air...

    I could be frightened by such ignorance but in fact I am not.

    First because the head of the workshop is always overlooking the job of this mechanics.

    Second, because he trains his best young mechanics, especially when they personnaly drive old Mercedes. The mechanic who look after my car is in his 30's and drives a W111 SE coupé.

    Hopefully that young guy will stay in this workshop and be able to look after my car after his boss retires in about 10 years... just like me in fact...
    Last edited by alexis; 07-07-2018 at 02:40 AM.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Sadly, it's simply true that many if not MOST MB dealerships are ill-equipped to handle cars that are 20+ years old.

    When I lived in Portland, the dealership there (at the time called Don Rasmussen Co., now called Mercedes-Benz of Portland), which is the oldest continually operating MB dealership in the United States, had one guy who on staff who had knowledge of and qualifications to work on something as old as a 108/111. This was 20 years ago. MB Portland generally told their customers with older cars to the city's leading independent shop, called MBI Motors.

    I have seen this time and time again.....where a dealership has ONE PERSON on staff who has SOME knowledge of older cars.

    All I can say, is that I would NOT take any car older than a 210 or 211 to an MB dealership today, unless it was CONFIRMED that there was appropriate expertise on staff.

    It's the way the world works, and it's a great thing for independent shops as it creates lots of jobs.

    MB dealers are generally geared toward warranty work and routine maintenance, and have been for many years.

    The MB dealerships and mechanics I've seen -- and personally know -- in Germany are FAR more knowledgeable and qualified to work on older cars than the ones here. They must receive considerably better factory training than MB mechanics here, because the guys I've shared beers with (even younger guys) know cars like 124s and 123s just fine.

    Cheers
    Gerry

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  29. #15
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    I have a great relationship with my SA at the dealer I use to service our new Mercs. He's a track rat like me. Time permitting, we have great car conversations when I'm there.

    I have to drive past three other MB dealers to reach the one I strongly prefer.

    Having said that... I don't own an older Merc. But what I would do in the case of dealer service, is simply ask my SA if he was comfortable having one of his techs work on the car in question.

    And I would trust his answer 100%.

    If he thought I'd be better served going somewhere else, he would tell me. Without a doubt.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    IMO, there is a deeper root cause to this.
    Lack of standardized training in classroom regarding the old models and in the field.

    Maybe lack of implementation of trainings from so called “Official MB dealerships”

    Qualifications of staff, trainings, revision of trainings, recurrent trainings, hiring criteria, etc etc
    Some companies do not send staff on recurrent or even initial training to cut costs.

    I don’t know the approval process for trainings of MB in the States but HQ of MB in Germany should have some kind of quality control regarding the criteria of hiring mechanics, classroom and practical training and familiarization of MB classes and older models like W123, W124, W140, etc

    But, IMO these mistakes are not just human errors, the root causes maybe deeper than that....




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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Some great replies and opinions so far! It appears you all have the same thoughts as myself.

    Eno- No I did not ask how much oil they used. I did get one of the 2x 5L oil cans back in the car so I could check it to see how much oil is left over out of the 10L supplied. I should clarify that I don't get to even see where the workshop is- it is all well sectioned off from the customer areas. When you go in there is a full Bar type deal and afternoon tea available in the showroom...

    Quite flashy stuff and they go to great lengths to keep customers well out of the way of the workshop areas. Inside they take your keys and someone disappears out to take your car through automated barriers for service.

    So alas, It might be a little unusual to ask to see the workshop or speak to a tech. I am kicking myself for not printing off the service bulletin regarding the oil level and taping it to my oil cans. But at the same time I did have a reasonable expectation they should know what they were doing.

    I didn't phone to complain about the overfilled oil. However the dealership phoned me today for feedback on the service so I let them know the mistake that had been made. They took a note of what happened and I also mentioned the service bulletin recommendation of half way up the dipstick which they also should have followed never mind overfilling above the max mark.
    Last edited by JC220; 07-09-2018 at 11:28 AM.
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    I have to agree and disagree with several of the opinions here. I can speak mostly for the European and Middle Eastern market, not for the US since I don't know the MB USA standards.
    However just some info to some points:
    Getting a older or even let's say more unusual vehicle to a dealer (any brand) will increase the likelihood of someone not experienced in this particular model working on it.

    Then we come to the personal interest point of the staff to really check out the WIS instructions and follow them in case it is a uncommon model to ensure proper handling and for me this is often the reason for any issues so you have to be lucky to find a interested or even better experienced guy in the dealership which can be like a lottery.

    Trainings, nowadays there are pretty high standards for training in place and they are annually checked by the dealer standard audits. Every technician in the middle east has to pass the maintenance technician test and the qualification level is a fixed given ratio which must be proven by annual man training days etc.

    Workshop equipment, a old and proper run dealer will have the required special tools available, newer dealers won't have the old stuff or older dealers which were stingy about the purchase of special tools. Nowadays anyhow the special tool availability is a fixed given point which is monthly updated and again availability annually checked in the dealer standard audit.

    Basic training and qualifications is in Germany entirely different since any job requires a proper apprenticeship which takes 3 1/2 years for a technician. Therefore the basic level of qualification is quite different. However this does not help anything if the person has no interest or doesn't bother to do a good job due to lack of interest.

    So in my experience it comes mostly back to my second point. It's a personal factor and the work can be only as good as the person who utilizes the available tools or work manuals to do the job in a proper way. I see this in my daily work life, experienced this from colleagues in my former positions etc.
    W123, W124, R129, W163, W201, R230

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Hi,
    I would like to share something about that oil dipstick : I have an old Jaguar and the maintenance manual says "do not overfill" about oil. Once, I got my car back from the workshop and did just like you : I cheked the oil level 5 minutes after I came back home. Result ? way above the upper limit. Not need to say I was furious... But we were invited for diner that night and it was quite late already, so I postponed my mad phone call to the next day. "La nuit portant conseil", I decided, the next morning, to check the oil level before making my not so much mad phone call : and I did right as the level had dropped under the higher mark...
    Then, I decided to go back to bed...

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Oh yeah - good idea to check the level both cold and hot. There may be a slight difference, but you shouldn't see a big difference - if so, check multiple times, and make sure the dipstick is fully seated for a good 5-10 seconds before pulling it back out. The MB TSB says at least 3 seconds, I like to go longer.

    Some oils (particularly Group V / ester-based synthetics) tend to be "clingy" and also can require multiple attempts to get an accurate reading. I run into this with Red Line oils on the M119. Sometimes, when stone cold, the first removal of the dipstick shows the level waaaay above MAX. Repeated, careful measurements subsequently show normal readings. Anyone else noticed this?


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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    This is similar to the discussion here few months ago about older cars versus new world reality of leased cars and transportation as a service. Same applies to repairs of older cars. Dealerships today are for computerized diagnosis and routine maintenance that drives predictability and volume which means more $$$. With shrinking number of older cars, it is not economical to invest in time/effort to chase issues.

    Around here, some of the shops have started increasing their rates if the issue is not diagnosed within the first 3-4 hours (meaning standard rate for first 4 hours, then 10% premium for every hour after that if still chasing the original issue). The idea is to discourage such cars from taking up shop's resources unless owner is willing to pay extra. Unfortunate but times are changing

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Interesting point. However we have a different situation, we have as a Monopol holder a (yes the only official dealer in the country - that's common in some markets)different situation. The retention rate of new vehicles is usually almost 100% in the warranty period. Then the customers quickly dissappear to independent shops. We reduced our labor rate and increased the discount rates for parts for vehicles older than 5 years to increase retention for the so called segment 2 car pool and attract customers back from the less qualified but cheaper indy shops in order to increase our overall market penetration and market share.
    W123, W124, R129, W163, W201, R230

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    W124s are hard enough to work on and diagnose even with lots of experience in the 1980-95 model lineup. To think bottom feeder techs coming through the pipeline doing service work at the dealer will have any clue is delusional.

    Even independent shops can do some crazy/stupid stuff, had an 1987 M6 come in the other day that had the thrust arms replaced at a "BMW specialist" shop about 10 years ago. They were installed backwards (wrong side), even though they are stamped L and R...

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Bottom feeder techs are for service work only for diagnosis you have higher qualified staff so called system or diagnose technicians... Ignoranz or disinterest is the worst enemy of qualified work.
    W123, W124, R129, W163, W201, R230

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    The only dealership I would trust in the US is in Birmingham, AL.

    Ask for Klink. Hear he knows a bit about our cars.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rouven036 View Post
    Interesting point. However we have a different situation, we have as a Monopol holder a (yes the only official dealer in the country - that's common in some markets)different situation. The retention rate of new vehicles is usually almost 100% in the warranty period. Then the customers quickly dissappear to independent shops. We reduced our labor rate and increased the discount rates for parts for vehicles older than 5 years to increase retention for the so called segment 2 car pool and attract customers back from the less qualified but cheaper indy shops in order to increase our overall market penetration and market share.
    That is the same situation here in Northern Ireland. 2x Mercedes main dealer branches owned by the same company so they do very much have the monopoly. Parts prices are also very high for me compared to USA members prices

    I have a nice level section of my driveway for checking oil levels and also headlamp alignments etc. I did check the S280 after the return home at full operating temp and checked the oil level a good 6 - 8 times to confirm what I was seeing. It was overfilled by id say minimum 1.2L max 1.5L range. The oil went into my Sealey oil extractor which was empty at the time so that's reasonably accurate. About 4mm up the dipstick past the max mark and over the MAX lettering. This was both immediately after shutdown and 2 - 3 minutes after made no discernable difference in reading.

    A plus point to this is the 3bar+ oil pressure the S280 has at hot idle in drive was unaffected by changing from 10w-40 Semi synthetic to 5w-40 Shell Helix Ultra fully synthetic oil. I have always run my older Mercs on 10w40 oils but may make the change now to fully synthetic that I know it does not have a negative impact on the idle oil pressure.

    I have a couple times seen it drop to 2.8 bar approx after a long motorway drive in (highly unusual) 32c ambient temps in Ireland recently so I know the gauge is functioning correctly just that the 45k mile m104 is barely run in
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trae View Post
    The only dealership I would trust in the US is in Birmingham, AL.

    Ask for Klink. Hear he knows a bit about our cars.
    "Klink is busy, this is Alex..he graduated top of his class at UTI!"

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    It might be helpful to make a list of "known" technicians at trusted dealerships that 500Eboard members could contact,

    similar to our "known" trusted indy shop list across the nation.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    well for start, youre not going to find many older techs at a benz dealer. Theyre phasing out unfortunately, and unless youre like me, most technicians dont experience many older benz's and some dealers even turn them away.

    That being said, we need to clear things up. im very familiar with all older benz's and i dont know of any such bulletin speaking of oil level half way between max and min. So i looked them up and there isnt one of the sort. there is one describing over fill malfunction lights displaying due to gasoline mixing into the oil from the combustion chamber but that clearly isnt the one youre thinking of. The mercedes work instructions, WIS, does not saying anything about it either. the owners manual does specify that the oil level should be between the max and mix but not directly halfway. However, they should not have overfilled it but being overfilled by that much isnt going to cause any damage. next time make sure they know how you want it.
    On another note, whoever told you that they didnt have the approved oil doesnt know what theyre talking about. Mercedes Benz requires use of their specified oil, 229.5, otherwise vehicles that have engine failure or internal damage can be kicked back out of warranty. So all mercedes benz dealers have 229.5 5w-40 oil. according to the mercedes benz approved oil sheets, a m104.994 in a s280 and all other m104s are approved to have 229.2, 229.3, and 229.5 engine oils.
    also, to clarify, after the succession of the m112/m113 with the m272/m273 all mercedes benz engines have dipsticks.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenzMercD View Post
    well for start, youre not going to find many older techs at a benz dealer. Theyre phasing out unfortunately, and unless youre like me, most technicians dont experience many older benz's and some dealers even turn them away.

    That being said, we need to clear things up. im very familiar with all older benz's and i dont know of any such bulletin speaking of oil level half way between max and min. So i looked them up and there isnt one of the sort. there is one describing over fill malfunction lights displaying due to gasoline mixing into the oil from the combustion chamber but that clearly isnt the one youre thinking of. The mercedes work instructions, WIS, does not saying anything about it either. the owners manual does specify that the oil level should be between the max and mix but not directly halfway. However, they should not have overfilled it but being overfilled by that much isnt going to cause any damage. next time make sure they know how you want it.
    On another note, whoever told you that they didnt have the approved oil doesnt know what theyre talking about. Mercedes Benz requires use of their specified oil, 229.5, otherwise vehicles that have engine failure or internal damage can be kicked back out of warranty. So all mercedes benz dealers have 229.5 5w-40 oil. according to the mercedes benz approved oil sheets, a m104.994 in a s280 and all other m104s are approved to have 229.2, 229.3, and 229.5 engine oils.
    also, to clarify, after the succession of the m112/m113 with the m272/m273 all mercedes benz engines have dipsticks.
    I did attach the oil level information sheet to the first post in this thread. It is also under this link: https://www.500eboard.com/Manuals/Se...aintenance.htm

    In that sheet it describes the ideal engine oil level as being half way between min and max. And that they must not be overfilled above Max.... but that is pretty basic information for any mechanic! If they had filed it up to; but not over the MAX marking that would have been fine too.

    What they told me is they could get the 229.5 oil in and it does exist obviously.... but they had none on the shelf to use right away and 20L drums is how they would get it in. They immediately suggested I bring my own oil which they would be happy to use in any event - so that wasn't an issue or complaint for me.

    The engine has not suffered damage from this thankfully but it does make me angry to even have to worry about that when trying to do the right thing and keep the service book properly stamped by a main dealer. This experience for me and the consensus from this thread appears to align that MB main dealers are sadly not the ideal option to have your older classic serviced in due to lack of experience in those models.
    Last edited by JC220; 07-09-2018 at 10:30 PM.
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Hi,

    Sadly I have to say that I have seen too much failures and vague working methods that I don't thrust local dealers, although there were some individual specialists who know what to do. W124.036 is far to old and odd car for mechanics of today. Hence I'll try to do by myself as much as possible.

    With myself the reclamation process doesn't need long dialogues.
    Last edited by Efraim; 07-11-2018 at 12:20 AM.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenzMercD View Post
    That being said, we need to clear things up. im very familiar with all older benz's and i dont know of any such bulletin speaking of oil level half way between max and min. So i looked them up and there isnt one of the sort. ... The mercedes work instructions, WIS, does not saying anything about it either. the owners manual does specify that the oil level should be between the max and mix but not directly halfway.
    It does exist, published in 1995, probably in print. It has been available on my website at the link below since 2005:
    http://124performance.com/docs/mb/ot...l_checking.pdf

    I don't know if it exists in the WIS, but remember, not all MB documentation exists in the WIS. A lot of info from that time period was never converted to electronic format. As Joe mentioned, the PDF file is also attached to the first post in this thread. Here's a copy / paste of the title & description:

    SUBJECT: ALL MODELS ENGINE OIL LEVEL
    TO: ALL MERCEDES-BENZ PASSENGER CAR DEALERS

    DATE: November 1995 (Supercedes S.I. MBNA 00/57, October 1994)
    REF. NO. MBNA 00/57A

    Revision: Revised checking/correcting oil level procedure

    Dave M.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?



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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    changing from 10w-40 Semi synthetic to 5w-40 Shell Helix Ultra fully synthetic oil.
    Keep in mind that if you/they used a full synthetic oil during your service, they most likely checked the level cold and it very well could have been below the max line. Synthetic oil expands quite a bit as it gets hot. I don't think 7.5 liters of oil will expand 1.2-1.5 liters, but usually about 0.5 liters when going from cold to operating temp.

    Just an FYI in case you were unaware.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    The posts arguing in favor of dealers caused me to give the local dealer one more try. I've been meaning to get my 500E's oil changed but haven't had a chance to get it done. I arranged for an appointment right when they opened last Saturday. The dealer is so close to me I had to take a detour to make sure the engine was up to operating temps. In and out in about an hour. Oil level filled perfectly. I brought my own oil and filter--no problems there. I asked them to fill up a container for a Blackstone analysis. Also no problems. The total charge was something like $40 or $50. I was expecting a full hour rate charge as I assumed that would be their lowest increment. So, happy with that too. I also bought a jug of power steering fluid for something like $12 which seemed like a good price. I chatted with another guy in their lounge while I waited about the low mileage 2006 SLK he just bought and was getting checked out. A pleasant conversation with a car guy. And I enjoyed some coffee and muffins in peace (which would not be the case if I were chasing my kids around at home). The cherry was that a bunch of the people that worked there were commenting on my car. Moral of the story, I should not let one experience ruin my relationship with the dealership.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melville View Post
    The posts arguing in favor of dealers caused me to give the local dealer one more try. I've been meaning to get my 500E's oil changed but haven't had a chance to get it done. I arranged for an appointment right when they opened last Saturday. The dealer is so close to me I had to take a detour to make sure the engine was up to operating temps. In and out in about an hour. Oil level filled perfectly. I brought my own oil and filter--no problems there. I asked them to fill up a container for a Blackstone analysis. Also no problems. The total charge was something like $40 or $50. I was expecting a full hour rate charge as I assumed that would be their lowest increment. So, happy with that too. I also bought a jug of power steering fluid for something like $12 which seemed like a good price. I chatted with another guy in their lounge while I waited about the low mileage 2006 SLK he just bought and was getting checked out. A pleasant conversation with a car guy. And I enjoyed some coffee and muffins in peace (which would not be the case if I were chasing my kids around at home). The cherry was that a bunch of the people that worked there were commenting on my car. Moral of the story, I should not let one experience ruin my relationship with the dealership.
    Thanks for sharing and I am glad you had a great experience with your MB dealer. That price is very, very good too. Mine was just shy of £100GBP. (But they did supply the filter )
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    So just to wrap up my MB dealer experience. I did respond to an email feedback request from MB which I stated about the engine oil being overfilled.

    To be fair they phoned me back yesterday and offered to take the car back in and correct the oil level. I explained the oil level had already been brought back down and there was no need to do that. They apologised for it and said they would remind their technicians to ensure oil levels on dipsticks are correctly set before any car leaves the workshop.

    I think it was decent of them to call me back. It is what it is and no harm was done to the engine. I can't say I'll ever get a car serviced with them again however. But I will continue to get all my parts from them. I am having my own service stamp made and from here on in I will keep servicing my own MB's but also stamp the book and retain the receipts for the genuine filters + oil used. I think that's perfectly reasonable and if any potential future buyers don't like it.... well they can sod off!
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    I am having my own service stamp made
    Joe, that is awesome! I want to see pics when you get it.


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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    I've had another good experience at the big, local dealer. This time for my E550. I think the key is developing a good relationship with your service adviser. I always fill out the dealer surveys and always give out all 10s. I realize that a lot of people's compensation could be affected by a bad survey or by not completing the survey. It's not fair to those people who did their job well if one person dropped the ball. If there is a real problem, I'll raise it directly with the service adviser. And that's only if there is a real problem. Life is so full of annoyances that if I make a fuss about each of little thing, I'll waste all my energy and the time of the service adviser. When I get a call from the dealer after each visit, I make sure to note how great the service adviser is.

    So moral of the story is, if you want a good dealer experience, one of the best things you can do is be a good customer so your service adviser wants to keep you as a customer. And accept the reality that dealer rates are generally higher than indy rates).

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melville View Post
    I've had another good experience at the big, local dealer. This time for my E550. I think the key is developing a good relationship with your service adviser. I always fill out the dealer surveys and always give out all 10s. I realize that a lot of people's compensation could be affected by a bad survey or by not completing the survey. It's not fair to those people who did their job well if one person dropped the ball. If there is a real problem, I'll raise it directly with the service adviser. And that's only if there is a real problem. Life is so full of annoyances that if I make a fuss about each of little thing, I'll waste all my energy and the time of the service adviser. When I get a call from the dealer after each visit, I make sure to note how great the service adviser is.

    So moral of the story is, if you want a good dealer experience, one of the best things you can do is be a good customer so your service adviser wants to keep you as a customer. And accept the reality that dealer rates are generally higher than indy rates).

    Is this the place which rhymes with Schmeuro Schmotor Schmcars?
    2014 MB E63S, 2008 Tundra, 2006 Lotus Exige S, 1989 FJ62 Land Cruiser, 1996 Ford Bronco, and some other interesting and not so interesting vehicles.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by ace10 View Post
    Is this the place which rhymes with Schmeuro Schmotor Schmcars?
    Yup.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melville View Post
    Yup.
    That's who I was referencing in post #15. I've tried all of the NoVA dealers, and they aren't even close to the place in MD.

    Wonder if we use the same SA. There are a couple of decent ones there.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by ace10 View Post
    That's who I was referencing in post #15. I've tried all of the NoVA dealers, and they aren't even close to the place in MD.

    Wonder if we use the same SA. There are a couple of decent ones there.
    I went through a couple of Service Advisers before I settled on the one I've stuck with. Initials TP.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by SG-Motorsports View Post
    Having worked as a tech in an MB dealership for the past 26 years, I'm very disappointed to hear all the negative experiences and attitudes against dealerships. I can't help but feel a bit defensive about some of the comments, but on the other hand have also seen several of the situations described above play out right in front of me because of some lazy coworker. It really is a shame that it happens, especially at the prices dealers charge.

    It's a bit sad, because it only takes a couple knuckleheads to ruin what 95% of the other employees work really hard to achieve. I know that personally, I take a lot of pride in providing the best workmanship for the vehicles that come into the shop. Whether it's a 2018 AMG GT-R or a 1956 190SL or a 1983 240D (all of which I've worked on in the past couple weeks at our dealership), they all pay the same labor rate and all deserve the same attention to detail. Unfortunately, it sounds like not all dealerships are the same. Luckily at the dealership where I work, I can honestly say most of the techs in our shop genuinely care about doing quality work. I also know that it's completely possible for someone to come into the dealership where I work and have a horrible experience, as I said, it only takes one knucklehead to screw it all up.

    My advice to anyone who is contemplating bringing their car to a Mercedes dealership is: don't be afraid to ask questions about who will be working on your car and what kind of servicing experience they have. It is completely normal for someone to come in and request a specific technician, just like you would when getting your hair cut. I would say at least 80% of my daily work is from client's who have specifically requested to have me work on their car. As long as you're willing to wait an extra day or 2 for your favorite tech to be available, it's well worth it when you find a good one. I know most people feel like they're being to pushy or too much of a nuisance, but if it's your first time walking into a dealership, I think it's completely acceptable to ask who would be the best tech in the shop to work on your vehicle. If the dealership is worth giving your money, they'll do their best to accommodate you and if they don't then go somewhere else. I would be pretty confident that every dealership has at least a few techs who are enthusiasts and have a good work ethic, so don't be afraid to seek them out. If you don't and just hope for the best, you never really know what kind of experience you're gonna get.

    And to the OP, it is absolutely inexcusable to release a vehicle to a client with the oil level set incorrectly. That's basic auto mechanics 101 and should never happen.
    +1.Agreed
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by ace10 View Post
    I've tried all of the NoVA dealers, and they aren't even close to the place in MD.
    Yes, the worst is the one in Tysons. Of all the NOVA dealers, the one in Arlington is the best...but still leave a little to be desired.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by 8899 View Post
    Yes, the worst is the one in Tysons. Of all the NOVA dealers, the one in Arlington is the best...but still leave a little to be desired.
    That aligns with my POV, as well.
    2014 MB E63S, 2008 Tundra, 2006 Lotus Exige S, 1989 FJ62 Land Cruiser, 1996 Ford Bronco, and some other interesting and not so interesting vehicles.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    No new Mercedes Benz has had a dipstick in the last 15 years. I'm pretty sure that your dealer tech had no idea what that was


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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    No new Mercedes Benz has had a dipstick in the last 15 years. I'm pretty sure that your dealer tech had no idea what that was
    Well, 8 years anyway... 2009 E63 with M156 engine still had a good ol' fashioned dipstick. Which they revised FIVE, count 'em FIVE times. No electronic level display in the cluster on those either, like there was on the M113's...


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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Well, 8 years anyway... 2009 E63 with M156 engine still had a good ol' fashioned dipstick. Which they revised FIVE, count 'em FIVE times. No electronic level display in the cluster on those either, like there was on the M113's...
    You're spoiling my fun

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexis View Post
    Hi,

    Let me share my experience at my dealer's with you.

    My car goes to the dealer every year for a check up and they do a very good job due to the qualification of the head of the workshop, an old guy in his 50's .

    ..
    I would be interested to know where you are going to in Paris, if it is Stains then you know the head of the workshop has left. I do not know of any other good MB dealership in Paris knowledgeable with youngtimers or oldtimers.

    I can add a story as well. A colleague drives (and following the story I should say drove) a w169 A Class which would not start. Initial dealership assessment was a cost of €6,000 to replace ECU. My colleague came to me as known Mercedes enthusiast if I could help. I called the head of the workshop who I know well, he double-checked the assessment, and finally the cost of repair was €900.

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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    The sad thing is many MB main dealers are simply parts swappers even with modern models. As soon as electrical gremlins manifest themselves they can rattle through new Key fobs, ECU's etc etc each time telling the customer that they are parts ordered for their car and non returnable. How do I know this? It happened before with our more modern family benzes time and time again. Hence why I have my own Star setup which has earned it's keep more than once!

    On another matter - the synthetic oil change on my w140 appears to have sprung some small oil drips each night on the driveway. This weekend I will jack it up and investigate. Rear crank seal is new. So I'm thinking front crank seal and upper timing cover seal are suspect now. I will likely re seal the cam magnet at the same time for good measure.
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    Re: Is your classic Benz “In good hands” in a modern MB dealership?

    i have to be honest...and i do respect everyones personal "experience."
    but what seems to be missing in all these "examples"..is the lack of understanding that " this can happen anywhere"..it is not exclusive for either OE dealers or independent shops.
    Where im trying to go with this..is that i really think it has no point in "telling" people about it.of course its not cool to experience a "poor experience"...but what are you going to do?I think stuff like this spreads more "fear" of dealerships and shops than what is needed.And to generalize dealers ,and talk downd and say many dealers are parts changers?its not good.Cause parts changers is a wide expression.You will have to remember it can mean two things...
    1:it can mean changing parts only for the sake of faultfinding/trial and error
    2: parts changing cause these days you cant fix most of the parts when they break.Parts changing because of the way things are made today.Parts are made this way because of the technology is just that way..and so manufacturers can controll whatever they are trying to control.Either quality,,function,or sales of new parts.

    The parts changing deal is not a normal thing i think..cause the policies at the dealerships when it comes to "ordering parts and try them out on the customer car"..is not easy ...and not liked by the parts department..so its not like that happens alot.Especially when it comes to electrical components.Its almost a no go.At least my experience from the dealership i worked at.it is.PS:im not saying it doesnt happen...but it does not happen as often as it often is portrayed.Again ..the variable is "Knowledge"..and the knowledge varies from dealer to dealer...even though i do think that most dealers have pride in what they do..and strive to achieve the best results possible.

    But to make a long tidious story short...bad experiences can be had from whatever dealer or shop it may be....so not supporting the dealers is not a good thing i think...and by that i mean "talking down on them"..and saying many dont know what they are doing just because they are younger,,or dont know all about everything.

    I dont know if my point comes across..but i have to say i understand it is not nice having a bad experience.But to talk down on dealers,and "techs" that work there ..is not a nice thing to do i think.

    At least thats my two cents
    Last edited by lowman; 08-16-2018 at 03:36 PM.
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