Advice wanted: E320 dies one month after guaranteed diagnostic/repair at MB dealer - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Advice wanted: E320 dies one month after guaranteed diagnostic/repair at MB dealer

Hi folks! Hoping you can give me your wonderful added insight on how to deal with this MB dealership. The car died one month after they repaired it and said it was in perfect condition.

The initial problem: I took my MB into the MB dealership after the lights came on and we couldn't turn them off, and the car battery died. At the time, we told them we'd like the battery checked. I also told them that the car would lurch when switching between reverse and drive, and then it would hang in first gear for awhile before automatically shifting to 2nd, etc. Note that the MB was off warranty.

The supposed solution: The MB dealer did a full diagnostic and recommended a bunch of repairs. They replaced, among other things, the car battery and some belts that they said were responsible for the lurching/hanging problem. We plunked down for all the myriad repairs about $3K. They said that the car was in GREAT shape, and that it could run another 100,000 miles. We asked if we could take the car on a long trip, and they said it was good to go. Note that they said their repairs were guaranteed for one year.

The real problem: Fortunately, we did not go on a long trip, because the very weekend we were planning to go, the car started making a whirring noise and occasionally would not go into gear. We took it into the shop, and we were told something like a control pump had failed, and that because of that, metal had gotten into the transmission, and the transmission was hosed. Basically, the price of repairs to this problem was more than the worth of the car.

My question to them: How did this control pump (or whatever it's called) fail when a month ago you said the car was in perfect shape, and we told you in advance what to look for and what the symptoms were? They said they're investigating.

My concerns: I'm concerned that they will not replace the transmission, since they didn't fix the transmission the first time and it's not covered by their guarantee, and presumably didn't replace this control pump, even though it must have needed it. I'm thinking it was a really bad diagnostic job, and because of it, we've lost the car and the $3K we spent.

What should we do to either make them replace the transmission for free, or give us part or all of the $3K back?

I'd so appreciate a reply. Thanks!

Car: E320 1999, 124K miles (yes, it's really old, but we just spent a lot of money on it)

Last edited by amely; 12-27-2010 at 08:48 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 10:40 PM
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Sorry to hear that. However, dealers love people who bring 12-year-old cars to them, because they can always find $3,000 worth of repairs.

Look at it from their perspective. They didn't work on the transmission, and their comment about longevity wasn't meant to warrant that you'd have 100K trouble-free miles. If you'd blown a wheel bearing or the fuel pump died, you'd take it in stride, but what has you balking is the cost of the repair, true?

These transmissions are not terribly easy to diagnose and your described symptom wouldn't make me think front pump (the whirring whine is classic for that, though it sounds like that didn't happen before you took it in initially). If the lurch was gone when you picked it up, then they might well have thought they got it right. If it wasn't fixed and you accepted it anyway, that's a different story.

If you like the car then get it hauled to an indy shop and have them bolt in a less-used transmission (approximately 1,500-2,000 depending on the age of the transmission and your market). The dealer won't do that and their charges for rebuilding yours would be a month's vacation in Europe.

Or you could try and negotiate with the dealer for the shift-related work they did, but that will still leave you many thousands in the hole for the dealer repairing the current problem.

Good luck, I know it's tough. But be practical; after all, it's just a car. Run the pluses and minuses and do what makes the most sense.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, Greg

What do you mean by the "shift-related work they did?"

As for the lurch and hanging, it still occurred after they "fixed" it, but since I'm not a car expert, and I'd had an indie shop previously tell me not to be concerned about that, I figured that I was safe, fool that I was

On a different note, do you think it's possible to sell a '99 E320 with no transmission and front pump? Maybe we can recoup some money that way.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 11:43 PM
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>>... it would hang in first gear for awhile before automatically shifting to 2nd, ...
Cold weather shifting problem? Someone in W210 forum wrote that the problem was with some switch ($90).
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w210...roblems-2.html

Car battery and some belts, ..., what else did the dealer do to charge $3K?
From the itemized bill, something may prove that they broke the (transmission) inadvertently. Perhaps you should document everything to prepare for a day in small claim court.

Some time ago, I loaned my car to a friend. Only when he returned the car, I realized that he never waited for the rpm to drop to ~600 before shift to drive. Taking the car back, I got scared, dropped the transmission pan to make sure there's no metal shavings then replaced the drained fluid just to be safe.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by amely View Post
Thanks for the reply, Greg

What do you mean by the "shift-related work they did?"

As for the lurch and hanging, it still occurred after they "fixed" it, but since I'm not a car expert, and I'd had an indie shop previously tell me not to be concerned about that, I figured that I was safe, fool that I was

On a different note, do you think it's possible to sell a '99 E320 with no transmission and front pump? Maybe we can recoup some money that way.
"shift related work" means whatever diagnostic and repair work they did relative to you report of the lurch between 1-2.

The front pump is actually part of the transmission. Trying to sell it without a transmission won't bring much, I'm afraid. It's hard to figure a car's condition when you can't drive it. Depending on your location you might only get a grand for it. And depending on where you are, if you own a home, have some time and your neighbors don't mind, have it towed home and part it out. That should get you much more than selling it as a whole, but the bother may not be worth it (and you'll have to pay to have the rest hauled away, although a scrap dealer may do it for free).

Post where you are, you might get some suggestions for a shop or interest in the car or major parts. Toss a post in the FSTW forum and see if you get any interest...but much of that depends on how long the dealer will let it sit there.

Good luck.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 06:56 PM
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Amely, where are you located?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 05:12 PM
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first things first is what exact work was done at the dealer? you said some things, a battery and belts were replaced, well what exactly was replaced??? there are not belts that will cause a trans issue or any belts that relate to the trans. now just cause you paid $3000 for repairs and now your trans took a shit isnt the dealers fault. there is no such thing as a control pump in the trans, there is a front pump which circulates the fluid through the trans and if that comes apart the car wont move. your explanation of the situation is way too vague. we need way more details.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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So I got more information from the dealer, finally. They said that what happened is the B2 band inside the transmission snapped, and that's what destroyed the transmission and control unit. Is it normal that a full diagnostic doesn't look inside the transmission? I've been getting the impression that you can't just look inside a transmission, but if that's wrong, please let me know.

I'm located in Southern California.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 06:14 PM
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you still havent fully explained what exactly was replaced for $3000 at the dealer????????????? and now you said the dealer is telling you the trans is destroyed, what was done the FIRST TIME???????????????????????????????????????????

and now a trans diagnosis up front is usually consisting of a short test with the star diagnosis to check for fault codes, and they check the trans adaptations to see if all are within spec. and a road test is done to verify the complaint. with the 722.6 trans, another check is to see if the control unit has sustained fluid contamination from the electrical connecter which is common issue on those trans which your car has. now if there is a serious trans issue then dropping the trans pan and checking the fluid condition and to see if metal is present is done, if there is metal then usually at that point the trans and converter are recommended. these days depending on the problem depends on the cource of repair. usually tearing the tranny down is only done if there is an issue like a front pump that went out and you tear it apart to see if replacing the front pump will fix the issue, sometimes the front pump breaks and damages the trans housing, other times checking a clutch set but if there is metal then tearing it apart is a waiste of time
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amely View Post
So I got more information from the dealer, finally. They said that what happened is the B2 band inside the transmission snapped, and that's what destroyed the transmission and control unit. Is it normal that a full diagnostic doesn't look inside the transmission? I've been getting the impression that you can't just look inside a transmission, but if that's wrong, please let me know.

I'm located in Southern California.
What you're talking about would never include looking inside the transmission. There is no such thing as such a comprehensive analysis.

The only time that might be different would be if you complained about a specific transmission related issue -- which you did -- and the shop discussed with you removing the transmission and disassembling it to figure it all out (which it does not sound like they/you did). That's a huge chunk of time and money that would not be separately done without such a discussion, understanding and agreement.
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