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Gordon

This Time, It's The Steering

9 posts in this topic

Aaargh,

 

I had sworn off dealer service after I was told I would have to wait two weeks for an appointment the last three times I needed work done. Found a mechanic near where I live and work who took care of an exhaust system problem lickety split. Turns out, it was the flex pipe that needed replacing.

 

Late August, the ABS and traction control lights start coming on intermittently. Suddenly the power steering was gone. My new mechanic did their best, and didn't charge me for their efforts. They even sent the car over to their electronics shop. They tried to troubleshoot an ABS node but said that it was a guessing game. They couldn't just put in a Benz part and send it back if it didn't fix the problem. The owner was very apologetic and said, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to bring it back to Benz." 

 

Three years ago, Benz had my 451 in for twenty days over January and February. It was lurching violently in gear. On visit#

 

1. They replaced the clutch actuator -- it started lurching again within a couple days.

2. They replaced the clutch actuator and the clutch, thinking they might be binding. Again, I'm back in a day or two.

3. After many days of testing, including having one of the mechanics bring it to his home at might, they deduce it's a faulty wire harness -- about a $100.

 

All of this was under warranty -- not my dime while they fiddle around with expensive parts.

 

Just last week, however, the power steering works again for a few days -- right after I roll out of a car wash.

 

So this has got my spidy sense tingling. I want them to check connections, wire harnesses, before they do anything else. If they're going to experiment with expensive parts, they're gonna keep the car until we know it works.

 

Below are the codes my local Speedy printed out for me. Any thoughts?

 

 

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

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With ABS faults the first place I would look is at the condition of the rear reluctor rings.  The P0410 is due to a fault in the emission air injection system.  I do not know if the ABS fault can effect the power steering but it may.  The other faults you should be able to google for yourself.

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Holy smokes! Is this ever bad news. Here's the text of an email sent to me by the service rep:

 

Quote

This is what the smart car requires. to correct the issue that you're experiencing 1. The steering shaft from steering wheel to rack is loose $1470.00 2. There is play inside the steering rack $1861.50 3. ABS/ESP ring on the right rear axle shaft is no good and the seal is leaking $1020.00 4. alignment after the above work $200.00 esitmated sub total $4551.50

 

Obviously I can justify putting $4500 into a seven-year-old car that I purchased for about $23,000, if I recall -- it had been employee-driven for three months. 

 

At the same time, it has less than 80,000 km on the clock; has been serviced regularly; has had no collisions; and has been driven safely in the city. I can't see how I have any trade-in value with these expensive repairs.

 

Benz only does trade-ins. After this experience, and the trouble I had three years ago (fortunately under warranty), I can't put faith in another smart. So I've written to management asking them to buy back the car for a few hundred with the extra winter rims and tires. I'm investigating places that pay cash for clunkers.

 

Once I get the formal estimate from them, is it even worthwhile going back to my other mechanic to look at after-market parts? Everything above makes me think there's a ton of labour in this job even with possibly cheaper parts. And what breaks next? I've driven cars for ten years without this kind of escalating repair costs.

 

Any recommendations on what I should do? Besides lay down and cry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You can buy a pair of reluctor rings for a few dollars and it should only take a few hours to change them.  New drive shaft seals should only be a few dollars.  Some transmission fluid.  Their alignment charge is twice what it should be.  As far as the steering items go I have a hard time believing the M-B assessment.

 

I would get a second opinion from one of the known independent mechanics from the service options link.

 

With the other electrical problems you have had I would wonder if there is a wiring issue to the power steering.  If it was me I would obtain used parts if the steering items really need to be replaced.

 

Start with the reluctor rings and see if that is the cause of the power steering problem.  Does the power steering only stop working if the ABS light is on?

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So here's the update. Benz called me and offered to absorb $1500 of the cost of the work. Remember, $4500 was the estimate without actually tearing the car apart. I declined. In my note to them, I had proposed they buy it off me, so the assistant manager asked me what I wanted for it. I just decided I wasn't having any more to do with them. I declined again, told them I'd be there within the hour to get the car and their estimate.

 

My wife drove me up there, and we waited while they looked for my key and billed me $286 for the diagnostics. I was fuming at the cost, especially when I saw how little detail there was -- no parts numbers or hours. Seems to me when the numbers are that high, and I'm paying for diagnostics, I should get some deets.

 

Well, I get home, and see a reply email on my phone cc'd to me. It's the GM to one of his assistants, asking how they're coming along with my complaint. I 'reply all' that I was none too chuffed about forking over $300 for the diagnostics.

 

Minutes later, I receive a text from the service advisor, who is a really nice guy, who tells me they weren't informed of the asst manager's decision not to bill me for diagnostics. Can I give him my credit card number, and he'll reimburse. The alternative was to drive back to collect it on my debit. I'm not a nasty person, but this episode has made me angrier than I've ever been.

 

But I got that money back, so something went right.

 

My wife and I talked about it. The closest service provider recommended on this forum is Mississauga, which means the two of us driving out there in two cars from East York outside of work hours. So I called my local Speedy mechanic -- they'll look at the car and report on Monday and tell me what they think they can do.

 

Having trouble uploading captures of the invoice because the files are too large.

 

Got back to it later... Typed out the report below:

 

Quote

Checked and found steering wheel to be binding, noticed steering shaft joint to be binding, due to time of joint having play, may have caused damage to rack, steering shaft requires replacement to start, possible steering rack, connected vehicle to charger, connected vehicle to DAS, performed short test, retrieved ESP fault C1131 implausible value from right rear rpm sensor, check and found pieces missing out of rear speed ring, shaft requires replacement, axel seal is also leaking.

 

Quote

*****The following work was recommended but not performed.***

Description: TUM60 replace steering rack and shaft

Comments: Excessive play

Estimate: 3531.00

 

And on the next page...

Quote

 

Description: TUM60 replace r/r axle shaft & seal

Comments: Leaking and inoperative.

Estimate: 1020.00

 

 

I expect to see more description: parts numbers, shop hours, to get to $4500. Especially if you're charging $300 for a so-called report. 

Edited by Gordon

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On ‎2017‎-‎09‎-‎17 at 8:12 PM, Huronlad said:

With ABS faults the first place I would look is at the condition of the rear reluctor rings. .  I do not know if the ABS fault can effect the power steering but it may.  

 

I agree. And MB confirmed that one of the reluctor rings is defective and needs replacing. They replace the whole axle and charge you over a $1000. 

In the past I've removed the axle, replaced the reluctor ring and reinstalled for $200

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Thanks smart142 and Huronlad -- I will be sure to mention that to my mechanic. I've already put hundreds into it in the last year. About $500 to replace the driver's side window motor. Brake job last spring. Recent repairs to the exhaust system. I also can't be driving two cars back and forth to Mississauga every time something looks pricey. If this job goes much north of $1000, I'm walking away.

 

I'm totally defeated by this.

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