Help! $6000 work list

1999ML320

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When I brought my 1999 ML320 (80K miles) to a Mercedes dealer nearby for an oil change, they have come back with an impressive (of course this is a sarcastic comment - just to be sure) list of work totalling $6000+:

1. Front pads and rotors
2. Rear pads and rotors
3. Rear main seal leaking oil
4. Need four tires
5. Valve cover gasket leaking oil
6. Spark plugs due
7. Engine air filter dirty
8. Transmission fluid dirty
9. Coolant dirty
10. Front and rear axle fluid dirty
11. ATF dirty
12. Fuel injector (flushing?)

After some clarifications they said I can wait tires and valve cover. But still I have $5000 or so to do. So I need to decide (1) what to be done, (2) which I can do, (3) which I have to ask professionals, and (4) which can be delayed.

I have experince on working on suspensions and brakes myself, so probably other than main seal replacement (they say transmission should be removed to do this), it is worth trying to do myself.

As brakes are important, it sounds reasonable that I start with front and/or rear brakes. Does this sound OK to you all?

As for rear main seal (to be honest I do not know what this is - I need to do some research), is it OK to wait some time, or is it urgent? This has more than $1K price tag. Probably I will shop around who offers better price than the Mercedes dealer, but still I expect it expensive. Would be great if I can wait for some time.

Thanks for your help!!
 

roadhog

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W124 300D x2, C124 300
That's truly an impressive list. Has the car ever been serviced? How did they find all this during an oil change?

1. Front pads and rotors -- DIY
2. Rear pads and rotors -- DIY
3. Rear main seal leaking oil -- gearbox out job, it's the rear seal on the crankshaft and will probably not fix itself. If a manual (unlikely I would think) it could contaminate the clutch. I'd get a man to do it. Urgency depends on how much oil you're losing.
4. Need four tires -- Not DIY unless you own a tyre place
5. Valve cover gasket leaking oil -- DIY
6. Spark plugs due -- DIY
7. Engine air filter dirty -- DIY
8. Transmission fluid dirty -- I'd get that done when they drop the box for the rear seal
9. Coolant dirty -- DIY, drain, flush and refill
10. Front and rear axle fluid dirty -- get it done when they do gearbox oil
11. ATF dirty -- how many gearboxes does an ML have?
12. Fuel injector (flushing?) -- you could try running some sort of injector cleaner with your fuel for a few tankfuls, if you don't have any running problems I'd leave it for now.

That should bring the price down a bit even if you use MB parts for the work. Let us know how you go. :)
 

television

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But are MB in the USA up to the same tricks as here,they tell you that the pads and rotors need replacing when they are only ½ way through their life. Only if they are measured can you be sure.

I can let you have lots of info on all of these things
 

gre1591

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Wheels off Big bills!!! That was the motto of the last main dealer I used, they seemed to think because they had taken the wheels of and messed about inspecting the brakes and using copaslip (wow!) On them a £500+exta over the normal (astronomical) service price bill was justified and that the poor thick customer was so in awe of the fact that the wheels had actually been off it (wow again!) That he paid up thankful that all was AOK and he wasn’t going to be compromised by the brakes should he care to use them.
 
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1999ML320

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That's truly an impressive list. Has the car ever been serviced? How did they find all this during an oil change?

1. Front pads and rotors -- DIY
2. Rear pads and rotors -- DIY
3. Rear main seal leaking oil -- gearbox out job, it's the rear seal on the crankshaft and will probably not fix itself. If a manual (unlikely I would think) it could contaminate the clutch. I'd get a man to do it. Urgency depends on how much oil you're losing.
4. Need four tires -- Not DIY unless you own a tyre place
5. Valve cover gasket leaking oil -- DIY
6. Spark plugs due -- DIY
7. Engine air filter dirty -- DIY
8. Transmission fluid dirty -- I'd get that done when they drop the box for the rear seal
9. Coolant dirty -- DIY, drain, flush and refill
10. Front and rear axle fluid dirty -- get it done when they do gearbox oil
11. ATF dirty -- how many gearboxes does an ML have?
12. Fuel injector (flushing?) -- you could try running some sort of injector cleaner with your fuel for a few tankfuls, if you don't have any running problems I'd leave it for now.

That should bring the price down a bit even if you use MB parts for the work. Let us know how you go. :)
Thanks for the quick but very useful advice. Ah...I bought this car from a friend of mine last month leaving the town last month, so I do not know how he has been taking care of this car. Judging from this list and its interior, he seems not a person who takes good care of cars.

For 1 and 2, I will DIY. Following Malcolm's advice I will first check the thickness.
For 3, the dealer says "it is leaking a lot", but I will take a look first. Then needed I will shop around for a better quote and have 3, 8, and 10 together as you say.
For 4, I will wait a while.
For 5, this is a good DIY project as I have never worked on things under the hood other than plugs, filter and fluids.
For 6,7,9,11, will DIY or shop around for more reasonable price.
For 12, as you say I will leave as it is, as I do not feel any problems.

Will keep you all posted. Thanks a million!

I will start with checking brake pad / disk thickness and checking main seal.
 
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1999ML320

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Wheels off Big bills!!! That was the motto of the last main dealer I used, they seemed to think because they had taken the wheels of and messed about inspecting the brakes and using copaslip (wow!) On them a £500+exta over the normal (astronomical) service price bill was justified and that the poor thick customer was so in awe of the fact that the wheels had actually been off it (wow again!) That he paid up thankful that all was AOK and he wasn’t going to be compromised by the brakes should he care to use them.
Wow! Yes I remember my service advisor talking to another customer about his service tag - it was $4,500 or so. It is jungle out there...
 
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1999ML320

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But are MB in the USA up to the same tricks as here,they tell you that the pads and rotors need replacing when they are only ½ way through their life. Only if they are measured can you be sure.

I can let you have lots of info on all of these things
Thank you, Malcolm. I will check the thinckness.
 

roadhog

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Before you commit to open wallet surgery for the rear seal you could try something like this .
It won't cure all leaks but it's worth a try. I know of a couple of people who've used it to good effect but it was on cars that hadn't been used for a while. I'm guessing the seals had dried out on theirs rather than actually been damaged.
 

Bolide

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Why don't you ask for a breakdown of costs so you can see the total parts cost. That'll be useful

Then I suggest (seriously) that you sell the car and buy another armed with the experience you now have. Have the new car professionally inspected and look for these exact problems and negotiate a discount accordingly - you'll know the parts prices

Nick Froome
www.w124.co.uk
 

television

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Why don't you ask for a breakdown of costs so you can see the total parts cost. That'll be useful

Then I suggest (seriously) that you sell the car and buy another armed with the experience you now have. Have the new car professionally inspected and look for these exact problems and negotiate a discount accordingly - you'll know the parts prices

Nick Froome
www.w124.co.uk

There is no point in selling the car at this stage,until further checks have been done. There are loads of cars that MB dealers sell that we could all find loads of faults on. Most cars sold by the dealers are road worthy and that is all and shown here on many threads. We could all find fault with any car if we were so minded
 

television

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To the OP of this thread,,if you would like the exact measurements for the pads and rotors please ask
 

Bolide

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There is no point in selling the car at this stage,until further checks have been done

Hang on a second. Are you suggesting that the OP considers spending $6000, or a fair proportion thereof, on a 10 year old car he's just bought?

What is the car worth before and after the service? How much would it sell for? How much would a replacement without a $1000 oil leak cost?

A couple of data points: there's a 1998 ML320 with 111k on ebay.com for $6990 Buy Now and a 2001 ML320 with 85k at $10995 Buy Now

You have to be fairly hard-nosed at times - and I think this is one of those times

Nick Froome
www.w124.co.uk
 

television

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Hang on a second. Are you suggesting that the OP considers spending $6000, or a fair proportion thereof, on a 10 year old car he's just bought?

What is the car worth before and after the service? How much would it sell for? How much would a replacement without a $1000 oil leak cost?

A couple of data points: there's a 1998 ML320 with 111k on ebay.com for $6990 Buy Now and a 2001 ML320 with 85k at $10995 Buy Now

You have to be fairly hard-nosed at times - and I think this is one of those times

Nick Froome
www.w124.co.uk

Fair point if all of the faults really are there
 
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1999ML320

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Before you commit to open wallet surgery for the rear seal you could try something like this .
It won't cure all leaks but it's worth a try. I know of a couple of people who've used it to good effect but it was on cars that hadn't been used for a while. I'm guessing the seals had dried out on theirs rather than actually been damaged.
Thanks! I will check the leak then I would try!
 
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1999ML320

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Why don't you ask for a breakdown of costs so you can see the total parts cost. That'll be useful

Then I suggest (seriously) that you sell the car and buy another armed with the experience you now have. Have the new car professionally inspected and look for these exact problems and negotiate a discount accordingly - you'll know the parts prices

Nick Froome
www.w124.co.uk
Thanks, Nick. Yes, I have a breakdown of cost for these items, although I do not have parts and labor breakdown for each. Hmm. Sell this car....it may make sense, but let me check if the list is real or something that the dealer is trying to take advantage of. My ML runs great, and I like it so far. So untill it is a real lemon I wish to hang on. but thanks, Nick, for your advice, really.
 
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1999ML320

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To the OP of this thread,,if you would like the exact measurements for the pads and rotors please ask
Yes, please. I will take a look tomorrow. For front / rear, for pads and disks.
 

television

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With an Email address I can send you the info on the disc and pads for the ML
 

television

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It worked and I have sent it :D:D
 

jberks

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Jaguar XF 3.0 S, LR Freelander 2, Fiat 500 & Fiat Panda
1. Front pads and rotors
2. Rear pads and rotors
3. Rear main seal leaking oil
4. Need four tires
5. Valve cover gasket leaking oil
6. Spark plugs due
7. Engine air filter dirty
8. Transmission fluid dirty
9. Coolant dirty
10. Front and rear axle fluid dirty
11. ATF dirty
12. Fuel injector (flushing?)

I'd question how much (if any) of this really needs doing.
Brakes - check them yourself. I suspect they'll be fine for another 10,000 miles (Mine is now 16,000 miles past the dealers replace warning).
Oil leaks - how bad? Probably nothing worse than a slight seep, perfectly normal for a car of that age and fine to ignore. I have a coolant leak on my E class allegedly - can't say I've noticed it. Slight trace of something around the power steering pipes but I never have to top anything up. Dealers report everything, no matter how normal and no matter how minor. Unless its pouring out, ignore it.
Plugs due - ok, they're due every 40-60k but unless its misfiring it can wait. Easy DIY job anyway.
Air filter and oil changes - just normal service items and perfectly DIYable. If its had a patchy service history probably worth considering.
Fuel injector flushing - not worth having a dealer do it and probably not worth doing at all. Maybe buy some fuel additive from your local spares place. I generally put some in every few tank fulls as a matter of course anyway.
 


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