Conductor Plate Problem; shady service rep... What to do? - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 01-27-2012
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Conductor Plate Problem; shady service rep... What to do?

Hey everyone I'm not a regular here like etyu, but I hope some of you remember me

Time line of threads:

Problem thread

Check engine light came on!

Thread referred to by Etyu

Not my thread but i think it's a similar problem

Cliff Notes: Standard conductor plate problem on my 2006 SLK with less than 22k miles on it.


Current situation:

The initial time, the check engine light went away after a few days... I literally have to study like 70+ hrs a week, so i thought, if i didn't have to go to dealership, i'm not gonna. Recently, (last friday), the check engine light came on again. I took it in saturday just to check there wasn't other problems other than the conductor plate being buggy.

Here is the good part: After waiting for an hour, the service rep came back to tell me there is a "valve cap" problem. Then he promptly proceeded to push the price tag of $2400 to replace it without actually explaining the problem.

Knowing what I knew already, I remained calm and asked him to ACTUALLY explain it. He fumbled around with failed analogies that didn't explain anything... then proceeded to ask one of the service mechanics to come explain this to me.

The service guy came to me to explain what was actually going on, a completely different problem than what he said. Standard conductor plate problem. At the same time, the service rep started a story about how he used to work for Lexus and they had "different terms" etc and that's why he called it a "valve cap". (fairly sure this was bullcrap to get out of trying to pull a fast one on me.)

After hearing that, I just high-tailed it outta there ASAP (which still took another hour).

The problem:

The service guy still kept the price tag at $2400, but at the same time, mentioned "he will work with me on the price". (WTF? he expects me to negotiate with him on a price on a repair that should cost way less?)

I felt like he was being very shady... what does everyone think?

My questions for the community:

How much SHOULD it cost to replace a conductor plate, w/o extended warranty? (I recall more than a few of us actually had this done).

There was no guarantee that the conductor plate will not be needing replacing in, say another 20k miles. Only standard (that doesn't really cover much) 1 year warranty from dealership.

There is another MB dealership around 30 mins away at the suburbs (and a few a bit farther). Do I have no option but to deal with dealerships that expects me to negotiate price? (the concept itself makes me feel like i'm being cheated) Is there a better way to locate some garage that can do reliable jobs w/o being so shady?

Could the conductor plate be just re-set? instead of replacing?

Any additional comments/advice welcome.

Thanks guys

P.S. : as i came home today, my car refuse to shift gears... it was stuck on like 2nd or 3rd the whole time...
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#2 Old 01-27-2012
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I just had it done last August and it was a total of $1,145.90. $524.90 parts & $621.00 labor. This was at a MB dealership.

Is there no other dealer near you where you can get a second opinion? Austin or Houston maybe?

BTW, my engine light never came on. The only symptom was the transmission getting stuck out of gear and limp-home mode until I restarted the engine.
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#3 Old 01-27-2012
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I just had it done last August and it was a total of $1,145.90. $524.90 parts & $621.00 labor. This was at a MB dealership.

Is there no other dealer near you where you can get a second opinion? Austin or Houston maybe?

BTW, my engine light never came on. The only symptom was the transmission getting stuck out of gear and limp-home mode until I restarted the engine.
Thanks!

my check engine light came on, but the diagnostic said it was the same problem.

I knew it was BS when the guy presented with a bill of $2.4k and he was obviously scamming....

Thanks for reconfirming...

Do you know if any independents could do it?
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#4 Old 01-27-2012
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Indy can do it if they have Star Diag. As mycroft said conductor plate problems don't trigger CEL's..



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Indy can do it if they have Star Diag. As mycroft said conductor plate problems don't trigger CEL's..
so should i call around and see which mechanics have star diag or is there a better method??

Do you all think there could be something else wrong with the car then? if the CEL is on?
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#6 Old 01-27-2012
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If it's throwing CEL's, something's not right. StarDiag should be able to point you in the right direction - even a AutoZone code reader would give you an indication what's going on....

I'd look online or in the yellow pages for Independent MB shops, and give a couple a call...



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Agree with Mycroft and John (UK--200). IIRC, sometimes the valve body also have to be replaced together with the conductor plate if they won't "talk" to each other. It may be close to $1600 if the valve body and conductor plate needs replacement. I would call the service rep at another dealership and see what they would quote, as well as look around for a competent independent MB shop.

The CEL needs looking into (not related to the valve body, conductor plate issue), as others have stated.

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#8 Old 01-27-2012
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Etyu, how do we know they're competent?
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#9 Old 01-28-2012
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Search online forums, look for local recommendations - Dallas is huge, you should be able to find someone good.

Did they give you a print out of the service recommended or the codes they found?



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Search online forums, look for local recommendations - Dallas is huge, you should be able to find someone good.

Did they give you a print out of the service recommended or the codes they found?
they printed out a list of things that they need to buy, but no code sheet,

My scanner is not working, may be i'll take a pic on my phone and upload it?
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here it is:




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#12 Old 01-28-2012
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I haven't used my parts look up program in forever, not sure if i'm able to look up all those parts
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From your estimate, it looks like they're doing more than just a conductor plate. It was the same with mine. The conductor plate job was $1,145.90, but they also replaced leaking valve cover gaskets for an additional $575.10.

So, with your engine light coming on, that could easily cause the additional costs in the estimate. I would still take it to a different MB dealership for a second estimate if I were you.
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right now the car won't shift out of first gear

so i'm sorta stuck going to one dealership...

i don't think the tow would make it worth while...
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here it is:




Parts breakdown looks like conductor plate and valve body, the problem is they are charging full price for the parts. See if you can bargain down to less than $2000 for the whole deal to include CEL diagnostics.

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Last edited by etyu; 01-28-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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#16 Old 01-28-2012
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I will try to bargain down, I had no clue the bargaining thing is standard at a MB dealership?

I also will try to call MB to see if they may give me a discount on the parts? is this a good idea? I have all the service record for my car....
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I will try to bargain down, I had no clue the bargaining thing is standard at a MB dealership?

I also will try to call MB to see if they may give me a discount on the parts? is this a good idea? I have all the service record for my car....
Economy is not great and some MB dealerships have fixed menu items for service which are reasonable, e.g., brake flush.

There's always room to bargain even with MB, especially if you have good relations with the service advisor or service manager.

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#18 Old 01-28-2012
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Offer to supply the parts. That usual sets a decent tone. ;-)



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#19 Old 01-28-2012
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Offer to supply the parts. That usual sets a decent tone. ;-)
How credible is this threat on my part? I mean if i demand i supply the part and just have them do the labor, could I (fairly) easily procure the parts that are the same in quality?

ofc i will bring my poker face, but it's good for me to know what my bottom line is.
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You can get all the parts for less than MSRP - might take a week or so if they have to come from Germany.

Looking at your list though, they are not charging you MSRP on at least a couple of the expensive items I checked...

Eddy, you mind sharing what you paid for the parts? May help him out...



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