Jan 16 2012 - 09:47 AM
Driving in traffic last Tuesday, my car 'blew up' going through an intersection in London, Ontario. Loud bang followed by rattling and clouds of white/grey smoke, then nothing. I pushed it around the corner and found it wouldn't start, although it would turn over. No immediate codes on my Scangage. Flat-bedded it across town to the MB dealer where they thought about it for a few days.
First problem they found was an EGR code. EGR valve unit was quite dirty but not plugged. Dealer quoted $794.55. + $118. diagnostic cost + tax for a new one. I took the old unit home and spent the afternoon dismantling, cleaning it and testing the solenoid, restoring it to like-new condition. Dealer jokingly asked if I'd like a part-time job restoring used parts. Reinstallation cleared the EGR problem, but engine still would not start. The dealer next thought that bad fuel was the cause ('everyone' there thought they could smell gasoline in the tank). When they asked for the go-ahead to drain the tank and refill it, I said no. My last fill-up was a week earlier and I'd travelled almost 100 km with no trouble, plus the fill-up was only 16 litres (not a complete tank). BTW... I always throw in an additive with every fill-up. I strongly doubted a fuel problem, and suggested they drop the pan and look for oil, coolant, metal or other clues. They did this on Friday and concluded the engine dropped a valve. I went to the dealer this morning (Monday) and spoke with the mechanic. They think a valve dropped in the #2 cylinder, impacted the piston, bent the piston rod (visible with the pan off), then took out the #2 fuel injector resulting in all the white smoke at point of failure. Piston damage was visible in the cylinder when the injector was removed. They said they had seen this before with this engine, always in the #2 cylinder. They also mentioned that MB was aware of this type of failure. Everything now is currently on hold at the dealer until I can explore all options. Dealer quoted rough costs for a new engine at $6700 + 12 hours labour @ $98/hour + some discretionary extras (belts and tensioner, new fuel filter, etc.) + tax, totalling something over $9,000. They are currently exploring any corporate good-will assistance that might be offered to a 'good' Smart car collector customer (I have a second Smart) with a low-mileage, dealer-serviced car in otherwise great condition that came off of extended warranty just 7 months ago.
Another option is a used engine from somewhere. A third option is a re-built engine thru Glenn in London. He currently has a local machine shop working on a motor. A forth option is rebuilding my engine (costs unknown, but potential parts availability problems and/or delays). BTW... MB does not rebuild this engine themselves at their facility in Toronto. A fifth option is to sell the car as is (90Km Passion coupe with leather, Brabus sub-woofer, re-map, various mods, recent turbo and HP fuel pump, 3 sets of wheels and lots of extra parts might fetch a decent price from the right buyer. Plus I could get top dollar for a like-new EGR valve - haha). A sixth option is to part out the car. And a seventh option is to say "What-the-hell" and install something VERY different for a engine (Hyabusa, Honda V-tec, etc.). I know a local racing shop that might be interested in such a project. Interesting potential, eh.
I'll post any news from MB re courtesy cost reduction when I know it.
Pray for me.
Both me and L'il Toot could use it.
Jan 16 2012 - 11:15 AM
Man that sucks! I'm very sorry to hear that....
Jan 16 2012 - 12:29 PM
Woah, and the engine let go with no warning at all? That's the car we saw last summer in Nanaimo, I am honestly shocked.
I hope M-B offers a fair cost-share on this one. I would be inclined to unload the car after it's repaired (assuming the cost to you is minimal) and concentrate your efforts on the Canada 1 Concept car.
Jan 16 2012 - 02:02 PM
Hope the remap doesn't work against you. M-B didn't like the power window switch and other small light mods when I had the alternator trouble at 60K. They kept bringing these modifications up as we tried to figure out the problem (MB was the real problem in the end). Since they were prepared to play a waiting game instead of satisfying the customer, I decided that I had experienced enough pain.
I'm really enjoying my FIAT.
In my humble opinion, Mercedes should be replacing your engine. They goofed - 90Kms is too low for an engine failure.
Jan 16 2012 - 05:57 PM
Sorry to read about that Bill. Please keep us updated.
Jan 16 2012 - 06:53 PM
I was browsing the flyingtiger.ca sight and noticed a used 450 CDI Engine going for $3150 CDN. Go to clearance centre, SMART, page 5.
Jan 17 2012 - 01:15 PM
Don't go the used engine route, way to much to lay out for something that might give out again shortly. There were new motors on ebay last year, keep your eyes open stuff does come up. I would really want an explaination as to why it failed before going ahead, and if they are able to correct the problem with remanufactured parts.
Jan 27 2012 - 08:56 AM
Same thing just happened to me. Car has 138K on it and last Sat pulling out of my parking garage the engine felt sluggish. On the way up the parking ramp to the garage door exit there was a loud explosion, followed by clouds of white smoke, rattling, then nothing. I managed to push the car back into my parking space and got the car to the nearest dealer, Downtown Mercedes in Toronto. Just got the call from them a few minutes ago with the details.
Cylinder 1 has no compression whatsoever. Cylinder 2 about 7 bar and cylinder 3 virtually nothing, about 2 bar. They suspect that piston 1 has failed completely. They quoted $8500 to replace the engine. I can't understand why this engine would completely fail- this was a well maintained (dealer + me) vehicle. I've asked the service manager to investigate why something like this would happen to a 7 year old car with 138K on it before I junk it.
For those that have experienced similar problems- have you received any corporate good will from Mercedes?
Jan 27 2012 - 09:28 AM
Uh-oh, the Service Manager at Downtown Mercedes is Brian Spath. He wanted me to be "completely satisfied" when I took my car there for what turned out to be a bad alternator. My car was fully serviced by Mercedes and only had 60K. After three and a half weeks, my car was "normal".
I now drive a FIAT.
I spent a fortune on the smart, even bought a complete set of spare panels. Was going to keep it forever. Never going back.
Best of luck with this.
Jan 27 2012 - 12:12 PM
QUOTE (morbo @ Jan 27 2012 - 11:56 AM)
They quoted $8500 to replace the engine. I can't understand why this engine would completely fail- this was a well maintained (dealer + me) vehicle. I've asked the service manager to investigate why something like this would happen to a 7 year old car with 138K on it before I junk it.
Do not have the dealer replace the engine unless they will do it for free.
There are lots of Independant mechanics who will install a used engine for half the amount you were quoted.
Better yet wait a week, Glen (smart142) has almost completed getting a rebuilder in London to rebuild smart engines with new parts from Europe. He will let us know how much it will cost soon.
Feb 3 2012 - 04:57 PM
I heard from MB via the local dealer mid-week. They're going to supply AND install a complete new engine with new injectors for $2,000 + tax.
Transfer existing starter, alternator, AC compressor, etc. I'll have them install 2 new belts (50Km since change). Note... no labour charge, only cost of belts.
They'll absorb the approximate $1,200 installation cost (+tax), 9 hours of diagnostic costs (+tax) plus re/re the EGR valve (I cleaned it up myself).
It's a deal I can't pass up. Much better than I thought it would be for an out-of-warranty vehicle. Remember, they're not obligated to do anything.
Should end up around $2.300 total. That's a LOT better than over $9000.
I asked the dealer if they had anything against my posting this info in the forum, since it's not their normal solution to similar problems.
They had no issues, but pointed out that MB's service decision was based on the fact that I was a good customer, the vehicle had always been serviced by them,
the maintenance schedule had been followed properly, I had an extended warranty (ended 7 months go), there was only 90Km on the clock and that the overall condition of the car was excellent. They pointed out that this solution is unique to this situation.
I should have the car back by the middle of next week. Can't wait cause it's costing way too much to run the diesel Tahoe (unless I'm plowing of course).
I'll post upon completion and delivery.
Feb 3 2012 - 05:13 PM
I guess it DOES pay to have good customer/dealer relationships.
You lucked out Bill. Congrats!
Feb 3 2012 - 05:50 PM
Feb 3 2012 - 06:29 PM
Very good news. I heard the same when talking to my dealer's service advisor: basically that the goodwill extended to the customer is on an individual basis, the factors being how long the person has been a customer, how well the car has been maintained, whether the maintenance was at a M-B dealer, total distance out of warranty. Here is another example of that, two grand is very fair considering that your will be getting essentially a new car again (the rest of it being so well maintained).
Kudos to the decision-makers.
Feb 4 2012 - 10:32 AM
Quite a saga, Bill! Glad that it is turning out well for you and your car.
Feb 6 2012 - 01:54 PM
Yet another twist.....
Just got a call from the dealer informing me that on re-assembly they found debris (probably bits of an injector) blew through and took out fins on the turbo.
Needs a new turbocharger.
They're classifying this as 'incidental damage to the original failure' and installing a new turbo at no charge.
I don't know if I can smile any broader.
IMHO, MB and the London dealer are both 'honourable gentlemen'.
Feb 6 2012 - 04:37 PM
Sweet. That old engine grenaded in a BIG way.
Feb 6 2012 - 06:17 PM
Good for you. Too bad Mercedes is so erratic when assessing good will warranty repairs. I had 60K, full maintenance with M-B, extended M-B warranty, and just 600 kms after the extended warranty expired (and I paid for a pre-expiry peace of mind examination) they wouldn't admit the alternator was toast. I waited weeks for a decision. Nada.
I loved the little car, but hated the service experience and just didn't want to wait for something really bad to happen.
Feb 6 2012 - 07:26 PM
I don't think the techs at the Downtown Toronto dealership knew what the heck they were doing......but maybe if your engine had blown up, you too would have had good treatment. Hard to say. Very different situation from Bill's.
Feb 10 2012 - 03:10 PM
After a delay due to non-starting issue (transmission pairing difficulties) I got the car back today.
They tested it thoroughly and test drove it over several days.
Purrs like a kitten and drives like brand new (nice and quiet, with no clattering).
Everyting is running fine and seems OK... so far.
Dealer did a great job cleaning it up, knowing what it went through over the 31 days they had it.
Not many km's on it yet, but I'll give it a good run within a day or two.
Unusual situation.... both outside rear view mirrors no longer adjust within the same range they did prior to going to the dealer.
Neither will adjust down past a horizon line, or out past the sides of the car. Great if you want to watch planes or undersides of overpasses.
Not just a simple matter of moving the mirrors to new setting points. No matter where you start from you end up at these limits.
No mechanical work was done, bur they won't adjust as they did previously. I tried, the service advisor tried and a technician came out and tried.
Dealer is contacting MB to see if anything similar has ever been reported.
Any ideas out there?
Feb 10 2012 - 03:49 PM
The outside mirrors could be folded slightly in, causing the inability to tilt the mirror away from the car. As for the up/down adjustment, it is possible that the cable for tilting that way is pinched somehow (Possibly from the mirror being slightly folded inwards?)
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