1972 280se 4.5 - repair quotes and questions - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Nov 2010
Vehicle: 1972 280se 4.5
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1972 280se 4.5 - repair quotes and questions

Hi forum!

I bought a w108 280se 4.5 a few weeks ago and while I can do minor maintenance on it, for larger repairs I have to go to a shop.

I took the car in today and got estimates on the following work, which I think does need doing. The power steering is leaking fluid, and so is the transmission. Do you think this quote is reasonable? Is there anywhere else near Berkeley, CA that I should contact to check about getting this work done?

Power steering gearbox $930
Power steering pump $340
Power steering coupler $160
Labor (6.5h @$120/h) $780

Subframe mounts $340
Labor (5h @$120/h) $600

Transmission replacement (incl torque converter) $1875
Transmission mount $90
Driveshaft disk $115
Labor (7h @$120) $840

Do these prices seem reasonable? What could I negotiate with the shop on?

Thanks for all your help and advice!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 02:26 PM
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Date registered: Jul 2010
Vehicle: 1972 Mercedes 250C
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Search on the forum under recommended repair shops...if one is near your location, go to them with the list of things you got the quote for and see what they will charge. It will give you a ball park figure on whether you got a reasonable quote the first time. If you have time and not in a hurry check other recommended repairs shops and comparison shop. Good-luck and keep us updated.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 02:42 PM
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Date registered: Aug 2006
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My power steering had multiple leaks. We ordered a seal kit that cost 6.60 from German Star. The mechanic charged 300.00 labor. All the leaks are now gone. This work was done on a 1972 350sl.

I would at least get a second estimate from another shop.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 11:03 PM
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I second the notion of getting another opinion. Getting yourself most of the steering system replaced seems nuts to me. In my experience, the steering pump either works or doesn't , or is leaky. If leaky, I'd replace seals before replacing the whole thing. The gearbox either turns the wheels or doesn't, or is leaky. If leaky, replace seals first.

Tranny replacement costs are huge - I took mine to Aamco and had everything done for a little more than $2000. Same tranny as yours.

I'd especially get a 2nd opinion for the subframe mounts.

Let me dispell you of any possible misconceptions about the rarity of parts or knowledge for our cars. Though they're no longer made and are coming on 40 years old, parts are plentiful. Do general searches in this forum and on the internet for providors. Knowledge isn't scarce either, nor are the manuals. There's an "online resources" portion of this forum with a ton of articles, repair articles, parts lists and more, covering our cars, W112's, W109's, and others. If nothing else, when taking it to a mechanic, you'll be forarmed with knowledge...
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 05:47 AM
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I just replaced the steering box on my 1972 280 SEL 4.5 and I bought a rebuilt box and coupler from Star motors in NewYork, $550 for the box and 115 for a new coupling. There was a core charge of 500 for the old box. Also had the seals done on the steering pump, all that made a huge difference in the steering and it was not too bad before the fix. Here in Indiana the two shops I use charge $80 per hour, at $120 I would do it myself! Check out ADSIT company in Muncie Indiana for parts prices.

Last edited by SCCA Racer; 12-08-2010 at 05:49 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 10:31 AM
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All of your steering elements can't go bad at the same time. Clean everything with brake cleaner and see where it's leaking from. The most difficult is the steering box. If you're handy you can reseal it yourself ($20 seal kit at AutohausAZ). An easier solution is to buy a rebuilt steering box, in the $500s, There is a guy specialized in that who is very helpful, I don't remenber his name for now. You can swap the steering box yourself. Not the most pleasant job, but not undoable with the help of forum members. Same for engine mounts.

For the trans, you have to determine where it's leaking from, and how much. They all leak anyway, so I wouldn't worry for a few drops. Pan seal is easy, rear seal is more difficult and front seal requires dropping the engine.

Unless you car is in stunning condition, you will never recoup money spent via a garage. Best is to do it yourself and learn with the help of the forum.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 10:34 AM
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Also, make sure it's not all the same leak. A bad steering leak can send ATF along the trans cooling lines and steering linkages and make the trans look as if it is also leaking.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 07:35 PM
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Vehicle: 2004 S500. 2000 CLK430 Cab, 1999 C43 AMG. 1999 S500. 1999 S320. 1977 230 4 spd, 1972 280SEL 4.5
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Wish you were in this area. I have a shop that will do a 3 speed rebuilt for $900. But before we get into the pricing, why do you need the tranny rebuilt, did you lose reverse or is it slipping. The leak probably is from the pan gasket.

Regarding the disk, it is on EBAY for $ 36, the tranny mount for $ 23. The coupling for $35. parts for these cars are extremely inexpensive.

Net: prices are too high and I would start with the seals first.
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