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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had my car detailed yesterday, and my mobile detailer said "have you noticed this?" It is a major rust event on the inside of my driver's-side rear door, and I was shocked!

I called my dealer SA and he told me that "MB stopped covering rust on our cars some time ago." So I am on my own!!

Anyone else had a problem like this? Any advice would be most appreciated!

Thanks in advanced...
 

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2008 S550
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Jayhawk, first congratulations to Kansas for the 2008 mens basketball national championship.
Sorry about your rust problem. I recently(3/2008) noticed rust on my sunroof frame, not the roof but inside the sunroof around the top of the frame piece everything is screwed to. One dealer said they would give me an estimate only and would not have a conversation about good will discounts. They screwed up my suspension on a previous repair anyway so I took my business to another dealer over 2 hours away.

Best they could do was 50% off parts (sunroof frame is over 1000.00 regularly), which took the estimate to 1650. It is done. In the end, I also had the interior pillars and sunshade headliner material replaced for 400 more(at an indy).

Now I can just make out the infamous rust bubbling on the roof, near the front right corner of the sunroof. Here we go again.

By the way, this is the best car I have ever owned, and will only get out of it to get into another one with more factory options(cool air seats and distronic), and it must be black with black interior.
 

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Jayhawk, check your warranty booklet. It may address rust. The warranty seems to vary by country, and also by model year. In Europe, some Benzes have a 30-year rust warranty. Rust protection was a weak area starting in the late '90's, running until the '04 models, which had zinc coating.

I would scream hard and loud, make the dealer take it up through the regional rep. Point out how you have had the car serviced, and complain that one would think the dealer would have pointed it out long before it got so bad. Mention your activity on the forums.

You may get something. Plus, a good body shop will be less expensive than the dealer in most circumstances. And fortunately, our silver color is a stable one on the Benz, and new matches pretty well. Be sure the original paint is used (by brand).

And check for any other rust - all the wheel wells, door bottoms, and trunk edges.
 

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2004 W220 (S430) ; 2001 R129 (SL500) Sport
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Jay--first congrats on the NCAAs. My Tarheels faded in the stretch, and I've got friends from Davidson that wanted David to slay the Goliaths. In the words of The Governator, "we'll be back."

I'm with Sky about raising a stink with your dealership. You may not get it all, but they ought to go shares with you.

My 430 was originally an Illinois car, so I'm now concerned that winters may have hatched the same cancer. Sky says the '04 models are galvanized, and I think I read that there is a gynormous rust-through warranty on it, but...

Has your car lived in particularly rough (salty) winters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Jayhawk, check your warranty booklet. It may address rust. The warranty seems to vary by country, and also by model year. In Europe, some Benzes have a 30-year rust warranty. Rust protection was a weak area starting in the late '90's, running until the '04 models, which had zinc coating.

I would scream hard and loud, make the dealer take it up through the regional rep. Point out how you have had the car serviced, and complain that one would think the dealer would have pointed it out long before it got so bad. Mention your activity on the forums.

You may get something. Plus, a good body shop will be less expensive than the dealer in most circumstances. And fortunately, our silver color is a stable one on the Benz, and new matches pretty well. Be sure the original paint is used (by brand).

And check for any other rust - all the wheel wells, door bottoms, and trunk edges.
Thanks Skylaw! Excellent suggestions... I checked my warranty booklet and my Operator's Manual and there is no mention of rust. The OM did say "Your vehicle has been treated at the factory w/ a wax-based rustproofing in the body cavities which will last for the lifetime of the vehicle. Post-production treatment is neither necessary nor recommended by MB because of the possibility of incompatibility between materials used in the production process and others applied later."

I think I will raise a fuss w/ the dealer. I've been having my MBs serviced and maintained by them since I bought my first one (280SL) in 1970; and I have taken my car into several dealer-sponsored Tech Sessions in recent years. I have spent a small fortune there and plan to ask them for help, if they can't get MBUSA to cover it.

I stopped by a good local body shop today and he said they could do a small repair and only paint a small area for $700-$800 w/out any guarantee, because the rust would probably come back, or they could do it right and cut out and replace the rear fender panels and repaint the whole back end and roof for $4,000 to $5,000! Wow...

I am taking the car to Eveland Bros (Eveland Bros. Collision Repair Center) in KC on Saturday--after another Tech Session at my dealers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jay--first congrats on the NCAAs. My Tarheels faded in the stretch, and I've got friends from Davidson that wanted David to slay the Goliaths. In the words of The Governator, "we'll be back."

I'm with Sky about raising a stink with your dealership. You may not get it all, but they ought to go shares with you.

My 430 was originally an Illinois car, so I'm now concerned that winters may have hatched the same cancer. Sky says the '04 models are galvanized, and I think I read that there is a gynormous rust-through warranty on it, but...

Has your car lived in particularly rough (salty) winters?
No, it has lived a particularly mild life here in Lawrence. Very little snow and salt and very well maintained over the years. Only has 81k miles and looks and handles like it did new. So I am more than a little disappointed. Will keep you guys updated.

And thanks for the congrat's! Needless to say the Jayhawk sport's fans are in heaven this year. Not only did we win the National Championship in basketball, our football team won the Orange Bowl against VA Tech!! My son and I spent the week at Loews on South Beach, which was an added treat.
 

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As far as I remember, in mid-90-s "green" organizations forced European car manufactureres to use less toxic paint, which resulted in lower rust resistance. So the problem of rust is actual for all Mercedes models, even for those that are being produced now.

I have rust on door bottoms (under rubber moldings) and inside sunroof (as 2strokepwer described), I have done nothing with it yet.

The only effective way I know to beat rust on these cars - is to repaint the whole car in a good workshop. You can paint the rusted part only, but rust will appear in some other place after some time.

I doubt that the dealer would do such job, but I would have tried to make them anyways.
 

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Thanks Skylaw! Excellent suggestions... I checked my warranty booklet and my Operator's Manual and there is no mention of rust. The OM did say "Your vehicle has been treated at the factory w/ a wax-based rustproofing in the body cavities which will last for the lifetime of the vehicle. Post-production treatment is neither necessary nor recommended by MB because of the possibility of incompatibility between materials used in the production process and others applied later."

I think I will raise a fuss w/ the dealer. I've been having my MBs serviced and maintained by them since I bought my first one (280SL) in 1970; and I have taken my car into several dealer-sponsored Tech Sessions in recent years. I have spent a small fortune there and plan to ask them for help, if they can't get MBUSA to cover it.

I stopped by a good local body shop today and he said they could do a small repair and only paint a small area for $700-$800 w/out any guarantee, because the rust would probably come back, or they could do it right and cut out and replace the rear fender panels and repaint the whole back end and roof for $4,000 to $5,000! Wow...

I am taking the car to Eveland Bros (Eveland Bros. Collision Repair Center) in KC on Saturday--after another Tech Session at my dealers.
I live in Missouri and had the same problem but in several areas.. left and right fenders towards the bottom. the front right passenger door Really bad and the trunk lid under the license plate frame I have a local (st louis) body guy who has done a lot of work for me He did the whole thing for 500.00 with quality paint and excellent clear coat you cant even tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I live in Missouri and had the same problem but in several areas.. left and right fenders towards the bottom. the front right passenger door Really bad and the trunk lid under the license plate frame I have a local (st louis) body guy who has done a lot of work for me He did the whole thing for 500.00 with quality paint and excellent clear coat you cant even tell.
I may have to give you a call/PM...
 

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Dude you cant even see it unless you open the door lol.

I had a rust on my rear fedner near my bumper, when my car got scratched I went for a paint job , the guy took off my rear-bumper and removed that rust bubble :)

p.s come back to mbworld
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay guys, here's the deal and I'd appreciate your advice: I took my car to Eveland Bros. Collision Repair Center in KC on Friday. They are a premier very high-end auto body shop and are MBUSA Certified. They do mostly MBs, RRs, Bentley's, etc. and they really know their stuff. Mark Eveland looked at my car and the first thing he said is "This car has been repainted, and it was shoddy work to say the least." The second thing he said was that in all his years of working on MBs he has never seen rust in that spot. He said it would be a difficult repair because of the location and that they would have to repaint 2/3's of the car to do the job right. He quoted me a price of $2,354 and two weeks in the shop.

I had completely forgotten the repaint at my dealer's (they called it a "touch-up") three or four years ago, but when Mark mentioned it it all came back to me. I had a door ding in the lower rear quarter panel area and the dealer told me they would touch it up for me for only $125. Well their guy really messed up the touch up and when I pointed it out the my SA made the guy redo the whole back end of the car. Mark Eveland said that whoever did, and redid, the "touch-up" should not have been painting, let alone repainting, cars. And that the guy probably left a tiny hairline, almost invisible, crack in the final paint job at or near the rust site. That crack allowed moisture to gradually seep under the finish and eat away the metal under the trim piece.

I then took the car to my dealer and explained the situation to my SA and asked him to talk w/ the service manager. I told him that I wanted them to step up and accept responsibility for the damage, and cover the cost of repairs. I just received an e-mail from him and here is what he said: "Both Jim and I aware of the situation and have reviewed your case. We are also aware that the repair was made 4 years ago, and the cost of the repair on your quarter panel was $125. We have spoken with the company that made the repair and he noted to us that he would not cover repair of your quarter panel due to the time that has elapsed. When I looked at your quarter panel on Saturday, it appeared that the rust had started from under the molding, which the touch up company does not remove to do any touch up repairs. They do not feel that they are liable for paying for any repair on your car. Both Jim Schmidt and I are offering to pay for ½ of the repair out of Goodwill and give you a free loaner car while the repair is being made. That leaves only ½ of the repair Mark Eveland quoted you for you to pay and no charge on a rental car. Please let me know what your decision is at your convenience."

Personally, I never thought they removed the trim piece, but instead tapped it off and ended the repaint job at that point, and that is where the trouble started. I am debating on whether to accept their offer or to pursue full reimbursement, and would appreciate knowing what others think...
 

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Jay, what's your stomach for a fight? I'm just speaking for myself, but I'd take the offer. I think you have a case that they should pick up the repair, but the settlement you might get in court is them (the guy who made a balls of it to begin with) repairing it at their facility. Then you're back to where you were with the clock ticking on the next rust-through. I don't have a lot of $1,100 laying around, but by the time you spend the time it will take (which is worth something, even if it's spare time), hire an attorney to represent you (unless you can do a credible job of representing yourself), and live with the delay that will result, you have to figure you'll be at least even on the deal that's on the table. If you push back too much, they may take this deal off the table, then you're stuck with only two choices, both of which are less desirable than the one you have. Again, I'm speaking for myself, but they can make some reasonable arguments that it's not their problem--and in civil court your win is by no means assured. There's my two cents.
 

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I would have accepted such offer. I doubt that now it is possible to prove that the touch-up repair has been done wrong 4 years ago.
You lose $1177 if you take the offer. If you decide to fight for the complete reimbursement, you might not get anything at all.
 

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So original damage was a door ding? Then it obviously was not on that rust spot, as the panel protects that area? And it looks to me as well that the rust has started from below the panel. If it started from there, I think it is not necessarily because of the door bumping into the fender and making at the same time a hairline crack below the panel. It could be, but could for example be due to a small piece of gravel being stuck there sometimes and causing a chip where the rust started. In any case, if the original $125 repair agreed was just for a touch-up of a door ding not in the same spot (and not originally for repainting the whole rear panel), I would not say it is justified to blame the painter for rust which appears after such a long time in what it looks like another spot.

In this context the offer from dealer, rebate exceeding the original cost paid by customer, and being almost ten times more than what was paid to them 4 years ago, sounds very generous.
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Before making any repair now, and knowing the rust spot is this big, it will be worth checking the back side of the rusted area to see whether or not the rust has penetrated the metal fully. If it has penetrated, which I suspect, then painting will not help, after a year of two the rust will come back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jay, what's your stomach for a fight? I'm just speaking for myself, but I'd take the offer. I think you have a case that they should pick up the repair, but the settlement you might get in court is them (the guy who made a balls of it to begin with) repairing it at their facility. Then you're back to where you were with the clock ticking on the next rust-through. I don't have a lot of $1,100 laying around, but by the time you spend the time it will take (which is worth something, even if it's spare time), hire an attorney to represent you (unless you can do a credible job of representing yourself), and live with the delay that will result, you have to figure you'll be at least even on the deal that's on the table. If you push back too much, they may take this deal off the table, then you're stuck with only two choices, both of which are less desirable than the one you have. Again, I'm speaking for myself, but they can make some reasonable arguments that it's not their problem--and in civil court your win is by no means assured. There's my two cents.
Good points DrJ. Thanks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would have accepted such offer. I doubt that now it is possible to prove that the touch-up repair has been done wrong 4 years ago.
You lose $1177 if you take the offer. If you decide to fight for the complete reimbursement, you might not get anything at all.
Thanks Nick...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
So original damage was a door ding? Then it obviously was not on that rust spot, as the panel protects that area? And it looks to me as well that the rust has started from below the panel. If it started from there, I think it is not necessarily because of the door bumping into the fender and making at the same time a hairline crack below the panel. It could be, but could for example be due to a small piece of gravel being stuck there sometimes and causing a chip where the rust started. In any case, if the original $125 repair agreed was just for a touch-up of a door ding not in the same spot (and not originally for repainting the whole rear panel), I would not say it is justified to blame the painter for rust which appears after such a long time in what it looks like another spot.

In this context the offer from dealer, rebate exceeding the original cost paid by customer, and being almost ten times more than what was paid to them 4 years ago, sounds very generous.
-----------------------------

Before making any repair now, and knowing the rust spot is this big, it will be worth checking the back side of the rusted area to see whether or not the rust has penetrated the metal fully. If it has penetrated, which I suspect, then painting will not help, after a year of two the rust will come back.
You may have missed some of the above posts: The ding was no where near the rust. The "touch-up guy" really screwed-up the original area and the SA made him repaint the whole rear quarter panel. He must have taped off the trim piece and sanded, then painted the area right up to the trim piece, which is exactly where the damage started. Gravity directed the moisture across the area and down behind the trim piece. And after a few years of that the area was completely destroyed. It ate through the metal completely. And Eveland plans to cut out the entire area, back to clean clear steel, then weld and mold new steel to the car, sand it and finish it before priming, painting and clearcoating the entire area covering about 2/3rds of the entire car.
 

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So the dealer will go $1100? I still think you are having to pay $1100 for a repair that you did not instigate.

However, the question becomes, how much is your time worth? If you spend 40 hours and a bunch of money driving back and forth to get it straightened out, it won't be worth the fight.

And an attorney will cost you at least a grand if you should go that route [even arbitration is around $250-500 depending on location and time].

Your decision becomes 1) get it fixed cheaply by an independent [under $500] and move to a newer car, although you really don't want to go to KBB.COM or Edmunds.com and look at S500 right now or 2) get it done right and keep the car for much longer. The other option mentioned of removing the fender and all that is way too much work with no ROI.

When they shoot the car, make sure they give you a match guarantee of some sort.

Good luck.
 
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