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Topic: To "used" or "not to used" that is the question and Chinesium issue Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-15-2019 09:40 AM
cowboyt I spoke to using "cheap" parts above (e. g. "Chinesium"). Now, regarding the issue of used parts:

I will use certain used parts, absolutely. If it's a steering knuckle in good shape, you bet. If it's a wheel that isn't damaged or re-welded, yep. Body panels, yep. Alternator, sure. Exhaust systems in good shape, yes. Transmission, if it's relatively lower mileage, sure; same goes for the engine. AIRmatic valve block, yep, as long as it's lower mileage (matter of fact, I did that on a car--put my rebuilt one on there later, though, so this is now a spare). Arnott air springs, long as they're Arnott.

Headlight assemblies, generally no; DEPO has proved to be a better value with their new ones.

Suspension parts, no. I would go new on those. "But, the bushings can be pressed out!" Yes, they can...but the control arms also have built-in ball joints in them, and you need those in good shape, too. That includes axles and hub assemblies; best to go new.
04-15-2019 09:09 AM
cowboyt @Barmaley , allow me to provide another perspective, as the owner of MB's, Hondas, and a Ford.

Like Kajtek1--whom I've actually met, and both he and "Mrs. Kajtek" are very gracious people--I also own a Ford Super Duty truck, a Diesel. Great truck, and I understand why he bought his. The local Stealership told me that the left rear brake "wasn't stopping like it should." Said it would cost $1,100 to repair it. Sounded like a ripoff to me.

I was right. I went online and got a set of pads, brake discs, and reman'd calipers, for $250...yes, that's plural, i. e. for *both* sides. Left and right. Less than two hours later, the job was done for both sides, and I knew it was done right. That includes a brake fluid flush, BTW.

My lady and I between us own two Hondas as well. I just got through overhauling the whole suspension on her car, a 23-year-old Civic. Handles like a dream now. Also replaced the valve stem seals, because the car needed it. I've done a bunch of stuff to that car (cooling system, tires, battery, *all* fluids replaced, etc.).

Our Hondas are very reliable...because I do these things.

Now let's get to Mercedes-Benz. Between her and me, we have four W220's and a W211. The 2003 S430 is Honda-like in its reliability. This car got a very similar treatment as the aforementioned Honda Civic. Whatever needed replacing got replaced. It's quite a list.

The result: I would trust that S430 on any road trip, at any time, of any distance, even with her all alone, going coast-to-coast across the United States...and back. That's about 3,000 miles each way, so 6,000 miles total. We just get in the car and drive at this point--no fuss, no muss.

The same is true of our other Benzes. The E320 CDI is also Honda-reliable, as is Dad's S430. Just get in and drive. The S600 TT does require a bit more attention, but it's far, far from terrible. The project 2000 S500, "her Benz", wouldn't require hardly any attention if it weren't my "test mule" for projects like the new Android head unit.

The commonality here? I maintain my vehicles and keep them in "good repair" in the first place, with good parts. What is "good repair"?

"good repair" (adj): the state of repair in which CowboyT would trust it on a road trip at any time, to any place, without hesitation, without even needing the benefit of roadside-assistance companies or a cell phone; see "pristine mechanical condition".

That's a high standard, indeed. That's how Dad taught me to maintain a vehicle, and that's what I do for every last one of them, the truck included. Yes, I would trust the S600 TT on a coast-to-coast round trip, too. Yep, that car, too.

On all of my vehicles, I use quality parts. has gotten plenty of my money, as have FCPEuro and The truck got Bilstein shocks a few years ago (it was time). If I do use aftermarket, I get good aftermarket, and I avoid "Chinesium" like the Plague. The Honda got KYB Strut-Pluses and Moog Problem Solver suspension parts. The Benzes have gotten OE or Genuine-MB, since the aftermarket's kind of thin for those cars. Either way, I get good parts that I *know* will last for the next 15 years. Do it right and do it once.

The moral: get your Mercedes-Benz into "good repair", as I have done with all of my vehicles, using good parts, and you will have a luxury car that is "Honda-reliable". My current stable of cars is proof.

As a former neighbor puts it: "It really is cheaper to go First Class."
04-15-2019 01:44 AM
Originally Posted by Barmaley View Post
I guess the flow in my logic was taking for granted a wrong premise: I wrongfully thought that Mercedes makes reliable cars.
Mercedes do make reliable Cars, they just need Proper Maintenance using decent parts

As has been said a million times, stay away from cheap parts, stay away from dross "mechanics", learn how to repair the car safely and properly yourself, buy SDS etc etc etc
04-14-2019 08:33 PM
Huachipato I was going to say that sometimes the expensive costs are self inflicted (or when we pay someone who isn't really familiar with these cars).

Losing a wheel causes a lot of expensive collateral damage....

In my case working with the wing mechanic meant my car would need a new strut and sit for about a month....

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
04-14-2019 08:22 PM
Originally Posted by Barmaley View Post
What I did not realized was that 250K additional miles on MB will cost me $30K more in repairs.
That can happen only when you don't do your homework and let mechanics milk you.
Sure it can go very fast from this point.
For me MB was the cheapest drive ever. Even cheaper than VW Jetta tdi I was driving years ago.
Newer models do have very expensive sensors + SCN coding, what changed economy quite a bit, but than I can drive 600 miles on $45 worth of fuel, so I am getting my money back.
You want to drive MB for cheap? >>> keep it as far from mechanics as you can.
04-14-2019 10:48 AM
Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
First I see conflict in OP logic.
He says he buys the car observing expenses, yet he bought S class for his commute?.
Makes no sense to me.
I guess the flow in my logic was taking for granted a wrong premise: I wrongfully thought that Mercedes makes reliable cars. I thought that spending $25K on a car which can yield another 250K Mi is a better investment than two new ford. What I did not realized was that 250K additional miles on MB will cost me $30K more in repairs.

Now I know that utility is an Lexus 430LS Long which is very reliable. Unfortunately I don't like the way how it handles bumps on the road, also it is not as fun to drive as S500 4matic.
04-14-2019 09:31 AM
Kajtek1 First I see conflict in OP logic.
He says he buys the car observing expenses, yet he bought S class for his commute?.
Makes no sense to me.
Coming to parts cost, it takes evaluation like members previous noted.
Chinese make very good rubber parts and lately I bought W212 trunk wing from Taiwan (don't call it China) and it matched factory paint perfectly.
Than my other vehicle is Ford Truck.
When using internet MB dealers I am buying MB parts for good prices, Ford offers me 20 % discount at local dealerships. To date all comparable parts come more expensive for Ford, than for MB.
Installing used? Did you evaluate the part role? Buying used brake caliper is not the same what buying used brake pads.
04-14-2019 02:11 AM
Dave2302 /\ /\ /\ Absolutely +1 very well put
04-14-2019 02:02 AM
Deplore As Tusabes said, its all in QA. Lots of manufacturers have moved their productions into China, and they have multiple layers of QA during productions, post production, and pre delivery. That's how they are able to weed out the chinese factories who like to play fast and loose with material composition and/or loose tolerance.

However, as it often happens, the chinese are very good at IP theft, and it's not uncommon for the same factory to run a third or fourth shift producing the same exact parts as the original parts on the original factory line/assembly line, only this time using the leftover reject materials that didn't meet the QA. Hell, they might even take the QA rejects and turn around and sell it anyway, but under a different name.

Then in this case, the nature of the game becomes "How much is my time worth?" German cars being germans cars, some jobs that used to be piss easy on other manufacturers are suddenly 3-4 hours long...sometimes more. Motor mounts on a W220, for instance, are a 2-3 hour job. More if you're unfamiliar and doing it on the floor. This same job on a Altima, or Camry, or hell a F150 is a cake. Often I can do those in 30 minutes flat, that's including pulling the car in my stall, time taken to pull my tools, and tooling about.

So then, chinese MM on W220 don't make much sense. Do you really like torturing yourself every year, or every 10-20k to change the MM because it collapsed again?

But lets say....the antenna shark fin broke. URO sells that piece for what, $20? Our glorious mothership wants over $100 for what amounts to be a fancy molded plastic. And it takes all of 30 seconds to replace it. Maybe a whole two minutes if you're being distracted by your dog or something. At this point, even if the shark fin breaks every year, it's worth buying chinese because it's not a critical component, it doesn't rob you of your time, and even if you have to replace it every year, it'll take you 5 years before you break even if you had bought the OEM piece to begin with.

So in cases like this, you have to juggle between OEM, OE brand and chinese, calculate your time worth, the time taken to break even between chinese and OEM, and see where it lies. Problem with Mercedes, and other german cars in general, is that there are far too few aftermarket companies who produce parts that exceed OE quality. I am a few clicks away from finding couple companies who can and do produce hardened camshafts, lifters, lifter rods, additional oiling tubes for all those Chevy Vortec engines with AFM. Likewise, I can find dozens who sell parts to disable AFM permanently. Same story with Dodge and valve lifters, rockers and valve retainers for 3.7, 4.7 and 5.7 engines. This is not the case with MB, BMW, or others (Porsche is an exception, but that is a long story and I won't go into it). So very few aftermarket companies who actually design and sell parts that are beefed up compared to original....and we're back to the whole OEM vs OE vs aftermarket vs chinese argument.

Then we come to brakes. As a shop owner, and as a mechanic, I find it very difficult to justify saving a couple dollars on critical components. Sure, I can do it, save a couple dollars....but what if my family members took the car because whatever reasons, and then they crashed? Would that be my fault because I cheaped out on the lines? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but that thought will be on the back of my head. That's why I pushed so strongly in other thread, but like I said, it's ultimately your prerogative.

It's not like we can buy stainless steel brake lines for our cars.
04-14-2019 01:31 AM
Dave2302 Hi,

I know I run a Garage, but this is what I'd do to my own Car, and also how I advise Customers

Do not forget there are Mercedes Remanufactured Parts and a few other good Remans out there, (Air Compressors, Struts etc)

Used Parts (Do not remove from the same area as any crash damage)............................

Any Electronic Modules and certain Sensors, (NOT CRANK SENSOR)
Trim Pieces
Major Assemblies, (Diff, Trans and Engine),
Body Panels and Glass
Locks and Handles
Wiring Looms
Lamp Units
Fuel Tank
Steering Rack, (after careful assessment for play and weeps)
Hub Carriers, (but Change Wheel Bearings also Lower Swivel on 4Matic)
Bare Sub-Frames
Wheel Rims (but check very carefully for cracks and out of true, do not use weld repaired rims)

New Parts (all OE or OEM not cheap Factor / EBay budget rubbish etc).........................

Any Hoses or Pipework (OE or OEM)
Brake Calipers (OE or OEM)
Suspension Arms, Bushes, Swivels (OE or OEM)
Bearings (OE or OEM)
Water Pumps (OE or OEM)
Air Flow Meter (OE or OEM)
ABS Sensors OE only
Lambda 02 Sensors OE Only
Tyres (proper decent Brands, not hop sing lotus flower or ding ding poppadiddlediddledom)

Chinesium .......................

Anything that is genuine MB OE
Head Units, Stereo Equipment etc, (the worst it will do is blow a fuse)

Not an exhaustive list, but hopefully yourself and any others who need to can get the picture

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