Mercedes-Benz Forum - View Single Post - To "used" or "not to used" that is the question and Chinesium issue
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Member
Date registered: Dec 2012
Vehicle: 2006 S500 4matic
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 185
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
To "used" or "not to used" that is the question and Chinesium issue

Hello everyone,

There were many posts over last several years expressing elitist attitude toward Mercedes and its parts. I would like you to share your views about Mercedes reliability, parts and repairs.

First about reliability Mercedes as an apparatus. I bought my first Mercedes several years ago. I paid $25K for 2006 S500 4matic with 26K miles. My thinking was that it was a bargain to get a car which can yield another 250K Mi for that price. Previously I bought a new Chrysler Concord for the $24K and it started break apart at 60K Mi. with getting to miserable shape at 90KMI. I also bought two new Cadilac DTS, one at $56K in 2002 and one at $48K in 2003. They were beautiful cars initially but the first car developed electric problems by 98K Mi and 5 years old and the second one developed multiple parts failure at 110K Mi concidering replacing transmission at 85K Mi. Failures were of very different nature like rusted brake lines so I lost brakes on a highway to water pump, power steering pump etc. Thus, I decided that buying American was a bad investment. Then I heard about legendary Mercedes reliability. I friend of mine had and still has S-class car made in 1980s, which he bought used and now it is 660K Mi and still running. I decided to finally become a shrewd investor and bought S500. Men, how was I wrong about my expectation of MB reliability.

However, I fall in love with S-class cars and I realize that my perspiration about cars performance was wrong! I thought that DTS is an equal car to S-class at half the price since it is the same size, weight and color(all are black LOL) and same features or more (like night vision, GPS etc - remember - it was 15 years ago). Then I found that is it not size what matters but the engineering. S-class and DTS were two different animals like a donkey and a horse. So, I decided to keep the car just for performance.
Since I am not a snob and I don't care about perception of my neighbors on my fleet, at cars I am always look for as economists say "utility". I have more important things in my life then spending time on my cars, I just "use them" which means I appreciate safety, comfort and least amount of maintenance. I calculated the cost of acquisition of a car, divided by miles to drive to the end of life (car Ė not mine) and based my decision on that. What I did not know that cost of ownership of a MB is way off of cost of acquisition. I replaced fan blower, air ride pump, airstrut, drive shaft, both front ball bearings, battery, 15 lightbulb replacement, CV axle, inner and outer rods on one side, the electronic thingy which is under the switch gear handle ($1200 part and 250 for labor at a dealer), air ride computer module $800 part which I fortunately bought on ebay for $18, main cylinder, belt and harmonic balancer. I also have leaking valve cover, I need a conductor place for transmission, I need to replace soon rest of airstruts and all suspension parts on the front which is not cheap proposition on 4matic.

After that long pre-history of my dealings with my car I would like to express my views about car repairs and the reason why I use used parts to fix my cars. And let me note that NEVER in my life I was using not OEM brand new parts only at a dealer for two Chryslers, Dodge Ram and Caddys. There are two main points to make here. First, I would like to pick up on "Chinesium" thesis. I don't believe that what is good for Toyota is not good for Mercedes. If you install a brake hose on a Ford F450 ( I have a 15000 LB bucket truck) you will use a Raybestos or Dorman hose made in China, I guess. I doubt that you will try to find a German hose for it. I guess the brake pressure inside the lines is going to be the same or more in Ford than in S-class. Why people buy Chinese rotors for Toyotas, Dodges and Lexus but can not do it for MB? I would agree that there are big number of shady companies in China who make crap. I guess Hamburg Mechanics is one of them. However, in the area of my expertise of LED lights and Solar panels for the last 10 years Chinese company made tremendous progress in technology. For instant when my team was in the process of designing an outdoor LED light fixtures with an idea to bring manufacturing of them to the USA, a Pennsylvania plant of a Swedish company which makes aluminum extrusion could not replicate a Chinese made prototype of a heat sink because of lack of ability at any of their 12 huge size plants all over in the USA. You also will not find any single company in the USA which can make a neodymium magnet. I visited 6 US based "manufacturers" to find out that they all buy them from China. One of the plants in Allentown PA which makes ceramic magnets for US military application and medical devices is capable to manufacture C1 type of magnets which is the worst one but their Chinesium suppliers can make up to C8 types. We are losing infrastructure in the USA and I would not be surprised if in 10 years Chinese will call US parts as "Americanisuim". To summarize I would thing that to judge ONLY by country of origin would be a mistake. I believe that there are companies in China which can produce good stuff.

Second point is about using used parts. I remember that sometime ago I contemplated on dilemma of either fixing my car with all new genuine parts and put another 100K Mi on it or put used parts and sell it. Somebody here accused me that it was an unethical proposition to sell a car with use parts since it is not fair to a new owner. I am open to learn your guys opinion I want to and can afford not to be ethical. However, my logic is: I sell A USED CAR. If I pull a blower, a control arm, an airstrut or even a rotor and pads (which I will not do) it is perfectly fine, unless I mislead a customer telling her something that "I just put new brakes or struts". Can someone explain why it is perfectly fine to use the same caliper on a donor car and it is not OK to install in on another car?
And finally: MB OE parts are overpriced. A control arm CAN NOT COST $1200!!!! It is nonsense!!! Front brake pads replacement can not cost $750 at a dealer. Do I have $750 to pay to a dealer to replace my pads? I do, but that is where I learned to buy $70 pads on Amazon and replace them at about 45 minutes myself. Before Mercedes I never touched my cars and was considering using dealers for repairs. Fortunately, S-class is designed well and it is very easy to work on compare to DTS. Hence I do my repairs (and I frankly enjoy it) why donít use practically free used parts since I have about a dozen of yards where I can pull parts and every month I have about 15 cars to choose where I get a part.
Can we get to a consensus that occasionally it is OK to use Chinesiums and occasionally it is OK to use used parts either for yourself or for sale?
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