I actually moved from Rockville, MD to Alabama last year and I am moving back in a month or two. So, I know that the Dealerships are very high priced. I wish I could remember tha name of a small garage in Rockville/Silver Spring that specialized in Mercedes and BMWs. They do great work and don't charge an arm and a leg. My mom has a 5-Series and the sun-roof got stuck open when she spicked it up from VOB BMW after being serviced. They could not get it closed and of course could only offer to ripp the headliner out, keep it for at least a week and could not give her a price on repair. She took it to this smaller shop that I am thinking of and that got it closed in 5 minutes and did not charge her at all.
I will try to find out the name.
When doing estimates I use a programmed database that pulls from averages, manufacturer labor hours and sometimes the parts are not all that accurate in price as the program tries to find the best part at the best price while keeping it an OEM part or a high end re-manufacturer.
The good thing about the estimator is getting how many labor hours you should get charged at a dealership for the job. But, as you stated, that can get tough as there is not a category for the repair you have. There could be extra hours from subsytems and other work, or sometimes the job could take less time depending on the parts that have failed. This is usually not much of a problem until you get into the High-End highly automated and electronically controlled cars. Then the estimates are only as good as the program and it does pretty well for the information we can give each other over text communication.
As far as finding the Mecredes air pump for less than $800, the best way to go is a dealership that does phone orders. These are usually in smaller towns and need the extra business so they advertise on the internet and do phone orders. You can save a bundle doing parts orders this way. The problem you run into is getting a dealership or repair shop to use these parts in the repair as they make a good bit of their money of the parts for the job.
As far as the struts go, yes they are re-mans and the axles/CVs are probably the same case. Acura does the same thing and will charge you $300 for a re-manufatured axle that you can get a high performance new replacement instead for the same price with comparable machine tolerances. That is one thing that I do not find to be, "Good Business".
Thanks for the information on, "Arnott", That is one of those places that do professional work and give advice and information that is priceless.
It is the kind of place I can throw into estimates as an option and there are not a lot of options in the Mercedes parts world.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 AT 7:36 PM