Originally Posted by Musikmann
I didn't get a flush, that was a typo - my apologies. It seems that the tech only emptied the drain pan (removing 4 qt/lt) replaced the filter, pan gasket, and the lock pin. Then he put 4 qt/lt back in, which means I now have approx. 50% new fluid and 50% old.
Parenthetically, the tech noted that the plug that they remove to use the special M-B transmission fluid-level dipstick was red, but they come from the factory with a black plug. His conclusion was that someone has done something with the transmission already.
I thought I had a complete service history on this car. What I have is a print-out of everything the original dealer (and who performed all of the A and B services) did to it. Now I'm beginning to wonder if the original owner took my vehicle to AAMCO (horrors, and a transmission shop we see around here) or Sears, etc.
I'm 99% certain no one ever touched the dipstick tube on my 210 before I had it serviced, and it had a reddish-orange plug. I'd bet the tech has just never seen them in different colors.
Re: the ongoing "DEALER ONLY" vs. "SPECIALTY SHOP" debate, it's much like anything else. A good dealer is fine, but a good indie is worth his weight in gold. (Unfortunately, many of them charge like it.) And a true specialty shop is also invaluable. Would I trust my transmission to Jiffy Lube? Well, as much as I'd clip a coupon for heart surgery. There are dealers who regularly perform transmission work and for them I say more power, but that's pretty rare. And from what I've read on this forum most dealers won't touch it. (Besides, I have a general distrust for dealers...).
I'd probably prefer a good indie for an ATF swap, but from my inquiries it's not a regular thing for most of them, even in car crazy bay area. All of the ones I talked to didn't sound especially knowledgeable and I didn't have a good comfort level with them, which is why I expanded to transmission specialty shops. The shop I eventually settled on I visited because I saw some premium cars in their lot and shop and they're very busy. That was enough to make me consider them. When I then went and talked with them I quickly understood that they appreciated what the job entailed and knew what they were doing. They also charged a fair price for what they did. That's why I posted them as a recommendation for folks in the bay area.
So the bottom line is, take YOUR car where YOU feel YOU will get the best service for YOUR dollars and where YOU have the greatest comfort level. But what point is served by castigating others for their choices (okay, unless it's Jiffy Lube!) or making grandiose sweeping directives to others about what they must do in maintaining THEIR car?
Take care and enjoy maintaining YOUR ride,