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"It's a piece of shit."

Started by JasonP, 05 May 2013, 10:41 PM

JasonP

Just a general question - how many of you have experienced a garage mechanic telling you to your face that your car is a piece of shit?

It happened to me.
1979 300SD
Color: 623H "Light Ivory"
1979 300SD
Color: 861H "Silver Green Metallic"
1977 280 E
Color: 606G "Maple Yellow"
-------------------------------------------

Squiggle Dog

It's unprofessional, for sure. I've had similar experiences. I used to have a 1959 Ford that I bought in high school and the mechanic I took it to told me same, saying I needed to get a Ford Fiesta instead... I guess one man's junk is another man's treasure. The same mechanic asked me if I thought I was an elf because I was wearing red sneakers. Funny story, though... the owner of the shop was actually quite wealthy and only worked there because he needed a hobby.

I was also ripped off when I took in a 1955 Pontiac that I was trying to get roadworthy after I graduated high school. It needed the brake master cylinder replaced. The shop complained about it being such an old relic and how there was only one place in the USA that could rebuild brake cylinders for old cars. Every week I would come back in to check on the car, the manager told me the brake cylinder was in one state for boring, then shipped off to another state for sleeving, then shipped off somewhere else for honing, another place for parts, etc. When it was finally completed, the bill to replace the master cylinder was $800. I worked in a bicycle shop making $6 an hour, so you can imagine how much money that was to me at the time. Then I looked up master cylinders online and found out they are the same ones all the GM cars from the 1930s-1950s take, and are only about $30. Then I took it in to have the spark plugs replaced. It was a 10 minute job and they charged me $80.

When I used to take in a Mercedes I had into an independent Mercedes repair shop to get parts, fluids, or advice, the mechanics would tell me that it wasn't worth putting any money into, to just use the cheapest stuff I could to limp it by. They seemed to have a philosophy that the cheapest stuff works every bit as well as the expensive stuff.

I finally got tired of hearing mechanics complain about my cars and overcharging because of my ignorance, so I started to teach myself how to repair them. Of course, for about five years after high school, I couldn't afford to own a car, so I rode my bicycle everywhere.

Picking up a free parted out W116 300SD shell on craigslist was a good lesson in that you can get parts super cheap at wrecking yards, and many of them actually have older Mercedes. I got the factory service manuals, joined some Mercedes forums, found some good parts sources, and discovered that Mercedes-Benz still carries almost all of the parts, most at reasonable prices. Join the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and get 15% off of parts. Even though that 300SD had no exhaust, bumper, headlights, grille, air cleaner, alternator, front wire harness, or back seat, within a few months it was a complete, reliable daily driver for very little money.

Actually, after owning a few different types of cars over the years, I don't want to own anything but a Mercedes diesel. Mercedes as a brand is fantastic and seems to be unsurpassed in engineering, logic, good sense, safety, quality, and parts availability as a whole. The diesel engines run forever, are very simple to work on, get great mileage, and have ample power. In my eyes, nothing else can compete.

It's a shame that even some mechanics see these cars as just old junkers and don't appreciate what incredible cars they are.
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! [url="https://challenge22.com/"]https://challenge22.com/[/url]

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

djenka018

he'd have to be either my friend or an idiot (mutually exclusive) to be saying that.

Is that your friend mechanic that told you he does not understand superior engineering (aka "your car's a piece of shite")
Vitamin C for SL... the SLC

oversize

I wouldn't be taking my car to anyone that told me something like that; clearly they don't need your money.  Whether it's a financially unviable proposition is none of their business.  They give you a quote for repairs and you make those decisions.  If it's a death trap then they should just tell you why.  For all they know the car could be a treasured possession, with great sentimental value and to say that is plain rude.

10 minutes to change all the plugs on a V8?  Yeah, they probably just charged you for new plugs while the original ones are still in situ.....
1979 6.9 #5541 (Red Bull)
1978 6.9 #4248 (Skye)
1979 6.9 #3686 (Moby Dick)
1978 6.9 #1776 (Dora)
1977 450SEL #7010 white -P
1975 450SEL #8414 gold -P

Squiggle Dog

Quote from: oversize on 06 May 2013, 12:38 AM
10 minutes to change all the plugs on a V8?  Yeah, they probably just charged you for new plugs while the original ones are still in situ.....

It only takes 10 minutes to change them on the old American V-8 cars. That's all it took me to change them when I did it myself. Lots of room under those hoods. I could tell they changed them because the car went from being a slug to actually having some power. That Carter carburetor was missing parts so I had to rig it to run with motorcycle spokes. I eventually bought an NOS Rochester carburetor to replace it with and that fixed the plug fouling issue. Bought 5 new wide whites for it. Then my dad told me I needed to get rid of it to get something practical... bad move, and I've learned to not let people dictate my life so much anymore.

It's funny, though... my first few cars were all American V8 autos. They always seemed to struggle a bit and would lose speed going up this long, steep grade of road on the way to Park City, Utah. My mom's van would barely do 40 MPH up it. I ended up buying a $300 W116 300SD. I was worried about it being slow since it was a diesel and heard so many horror stories about them not getting out of their own way. When I drove the car, it seemed plenty fast.

Then, I took it up that steep road... I could not believe it... the car did not slow down one bit, and was actually gaining speed. And it only had 5 cylinders and 400,000 miles on the odometer! My 5 cylinder diesel car had more power than those 1950s American V8s. I took it for a loop through Park City, Salt Lake City, through Provo, and then back to Heber Valley. The fuel gauge barely moved. If I was in my American V8 cars, I would have used almost an entire tank of gas.

That opened up my eyes toward Mercedes until I went to buy parts (from the wrong sources) and they wanted $200 for a power window switch, $200 for a door glass (I broke it trying to get it to go down), and I couldn't figure out how to repair the climate control or power windows which were stuck up. But, years later I got that free Mercedes as mentioned in a previous post and got back into them again.

People tend to think of my current 300SD as a temporary beater or inheritance car because the paint is so bad. I really hate it when people aren't careful with my car because they assume I don't care about it. I think that once I have nice paint on it, people will see it in a different light.
Stop paying for animal cruelty and slaughter. Go vegan! [url="https://challenge22.com/"]https://challenge22.com/[/url]

1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

ZCarFan

Heck, I've even had some people refer to me that way ;)  Just remember --  mind over matter --- you don't need to mind 'cause they don't matter.

It is accepted practice to advise a customer when you believe that it is financially ill-advised to continue repairing a car, but bad manners is bad manners.  My '90 Civic has been called all sorts of things but I remind people that it's current condition is only temporary as I continue to undo the damage from prior owners and that with 320,000 miles on the clock it has already outlasted most "good" cars and will continue to do that until it is either legislated off the road or lost in an accident.  It too has some dents and peeling paint but it's latent potential is great.   Funny too how many a "piece of shit" manages to get it's owner from point A to point B with stunning regularity year after year.  That this fact seems so incongruous to the detractor only makes the lesson more poignant for those who are attentive to it; see the thing that is, not the thing you think is.

You might want to read "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by  Matthew B. Crawford.  Toward the end of the book he has to tackle the problem of working on a motorcycle he believe is not worth the cost of repairs, yet the customer insists on having the job done.  He takes one approach, the mechanic you encountered took a very different one.

ZCarFan

Oh, and to underscore what Squiggle said about taking control of your own repairs, I bought a new Mustang in February and just took it in this weekend to the dealer for my free oil change.  I mention to the service writer that the doors were leaking a bit inside the weatherstrip (but not on the carpet) and that I was getting some odd vibrations sometimes around 3k rpm when snapping the throttle closed with the clutch engaged, such as when you are about to upshift but road conditions make you lift before shifting or braking.  He was a bit confused about the water leak (never heard that one before he said) and no recognition of the vibration.  In 15 minutes on Mustang forums, I was able to find out that both are known issues with the SN197 due to plastic clips in the door drains and some quirks of the dual-mass flywheel respectively.  If I can find this in 15 minutes, why is a service writer acting so oblivious?  He only has to know ONE FREAKING LINE OF CARS!!!!

Anyway, unless I have no choice or with a few specific exceptions, I don't let anyone else work on my cars.  If you take your car to a Mercedes or German car specialist and they don't know most of the common knowledge on this forum, don't bother with them as they apparently don't care much about their craft.  If they insult you or your car, it's even worse, they don't care about their competence or your car.  No good will come of it.

JasonP


Well, needless to say I was pretty insulted. Not only because something I owned was called a "pos," but because I think he said it so I would agree to any price for any fix he threw out there, therefore taking advantage of my supposed fear, vulnerability, and ignorance about the car.

He said the same thing about my sister's car, which is beautiful, and almost completely restored.

Thanks for the feedback.





1979 300SD
Color: 623H "Light Ivory"
1979 300SD
Color: 861H "Silver Green Metallic"
1977 280 E
Color: 606G "Maple Yellow"
-------------------------------------------

gf

If in doubt, once they tell you the things needed fixing, source them your self, and ask for all old parts back. The mechanics tend to be a tad bit more cautious with you that way. A piece of shit is too much a ball park figure. Mechanic told us our old volvo 245 was one at 500K. They do look like shit :)A decade later and it clocked itself with minimal maintenance.