recommend collision shop bay area, peninsula - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 10-03-2012
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recommend collision shop bay area, peninsula

03slk320 just got rear ended. about 15mph - no airbag deployed. thank god the top was up. Right qtrpanel/bodypanel, bumper, rear body panel, spare well, bent, trunk seems ok (but of course doesnt latch). no tail light damage. i fear even after repair, top wont be the same, even though theres no apparent damage to mechanisms i can see. although, the tubular assembly below the covers near the body panels may be bent.

long story short, i am loathe to goto smythe collision even though they are certified mb collision ctr. not that i think they are not technically qualified, but i need to make sure they dont jack up supplementals when they tear it down where final cost goes above 70-80% value of car. ie, their ultra-conservative and pricey. they showed me estimate for 320 with similar rear end damage which they quoted $14K!!

allstate (other guy's insurance that is paying) recommended car west in fremont which is also mb certified. alsoArt's Bodycraft in palo alto (experienced european cars). both seem to have good reviews. should i goto mb certified? does anyone have opinions about this?

again, biggest concern is getting hardtop mechanism repaired properly.

thanks

-r
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#2 Old 10-03-2012
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moving to r170 general discussion

r,

sorry about your situation.

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#3 Old 10-04-2012
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I personally think your best bet is to use a certified Mercedes repair facility. I doubt that Smythe does their own body work anyway. It's important I think to go to a shop that will have access to the equipment to put your car on a jig and measure various points on the chassis to make sure everything is within factory specs.

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#4 Old 10-04-2012
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EuroTech Collision Center
171 Industrial Road
San Carlos, Ca 94070
(650) 654-6805

These guys did all my mods. and their work was superb. Prior to Autobahn Motors in Belmont (Mercedes Benz Dealer) putting in their own body shop a little over a year ago, EuroTech did all the dealership's warranty work. They are MB Certified and one of the only independent body shops in the bay area that have a Mercedes Benz approved paint line. They are not the speediest guys around as they are extremely busy but quality-wise I highly recommend them.

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#5 Old 10-04-2012
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thanks for the input guys!

More pointedly, would mb certification outweigh long time in business. Arts Bodycraft (near my house but not mbcert) has 34yrs. All say they have latest computer controlled body alignment tools. I liked the mgr (Ruben). Very communicative and he made sense. Says theyve done quite a few vario related work (ie that its quite a bit of work to get the alignment right). They also work with Park Avenue Motors (mbcert service). You can tell i want to go with him.

I checked eurotech. They have 38yrs + mbcert + mechservice - great! But theyre further away. Will bring car in for looksee tomorrow. Interestingly, I did goto mb corpsite and and eurotech was not mbcert listed. Eurotech said they used to be affiliated with Autobahn (dealer) but chose to sever that relationship - which I presume then eliminated them from the official mbcert list. However, I'm tending to view this as a business circumstance. The only potential downside here is if they are as conservative as smythe where they would tend to replace rather than repair and therefore increase the total cost that would approach threshold for totalling the car (~0.7x$18k). Art's had some items that were repairs, albeit preliminary, that indicated they have repair experience.

I have not spoken with Car West yet.

-r
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#7 Old 10-04-2012
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For my dad being a auto body guy for 35 years, owning his own business for 7, and for me having my whole rear end apart to put new hydraulics in, your better off getting it fixed by a body shop who knows what they are doing. Also keep in mind with "CARFAX" "AUTOCHECK" and all that other stuff, their going to put in that the car has been in a accident in the rear. This will than drop some of your resale value and buyers. After it gets fixed, i would personally sell it. That top is one engineering masterpiece! If one little thing is out of align, it can really destroy lots of parts in seconds. But you do what you want! (: Best of luck!
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#8 Old 10-05-2012
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thats the question -- how do you determine if a shop knows what their doing based on whether they have mbcert or not, years of experience, yelp, ...

I am tending to think mbcert may not be an absolute requirement if the shop has dealt with similar type of repairs .. in my case, rear end mb320 with vario work.

-r
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#9 Old 10-05-2012
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My preference would be MB Cert shop that has done a similar repair before. I'd start with web and yelp reviews as seem to be doing, and then I'd call first to see if they've done similar repairs. If the reviews are good and they have done similar repair before, then that's more important IMO than a cert. However if they also have a cert then that's even better.

There are a few places in San Ramon that I've seen with damaged SLK's in the lot. And with the number of merc repair shops and SLK's in the area (I see several SLK's in my area everyday) my guess is the competition and familiarity of these shops would make them pretty good. I haven't needed any body work (thank goodness), but if I did, I would trust several of the shops in San Ramon (on San Ramon blvd North of Crow Canyon) to do the work.

I know this is somewhat far for you, but honestly may not be a bad alternative to someone closer if your aren't 100% confident.

Good luck with whomever you decide and please report back about the quality of the work done.
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#10 Old 10-05-2012
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so i just left my car with eurotech. as a 2nd data point, they indicated that smythes $14k is not crazy at all. on the bright side, cost aside, they say they can repair it back to original.

some interesting points george at euortech mentioned
the first vario design on the slk320 are more sensitve to damage. Subsequent designs were less so. im assuming the 300/350 are different revs.
in re-aligning the vario, the motor/hydropump will be used heavily .. where , in his experience, it is not uncommon for them to fail as well, certainly when they are old (as in my case for an '03) .. so he was sometimes able to successfully argue with insurers to pay for this as well.
in addition, he mentioned a particular type of frame tool that some insurers do not specifically cover, but, he was also sometimes succcessful in getting it paid for by the insurer.
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#11 Old 10-05-2012
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Hey Richy, did you leave it with them for the repair or for them to write up a quote?

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#12 Old 01-13-2013
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So, I finally got the car back in December after 2 months in the shop, and, it looks and works beautifully. In fact, better than before. The shop noted to me that the original fit of the trunk from the factory was commonly not good. I suspected this when I originally took delivery and found that the trunk latch was poorly aligned and I had to futz with it, and, after several years, a spot on the rear bumper had the paint worn away where it was close to the trunk lid.

I believe one key thing that made the repair successful was the use of a Celette Jig. This jig has tooling for every different make/model so that it can apply parallel ram points at precise points in the frame. But, of course, Eurotech's experience and expertise (knowing to use theis jig) was key.

All in all, Allstate paid 12.5K. Not that I would _ever_ want to repeat the experience, but,I have to say, dealing with them as a 3rd party claimant was not as bad as I thought.

Regarding estimates, for insurance work, the SOP is to first bring the car to the adjustor. Estimates prior to this are superfluous. His initial estimate is by no means the final amount that the work ends up costing. The car is then sent to the shop and additional work is usually required as the panels are removed and looked at. These are submitted as supplements, where, the adjustor reviews and negotiates/approves. My repair took 5 such supplements. One of them was the rental cost for the slk320 tooling for the Celette jig.

If you are paying for the work, I presume the same thing would happen. The initial estimate is just that. Eurotech didnt even bother to make their estimate since they knew the adjustor would be making it.

Thanks for all the input everyone gave.

-r
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#13 Old 01-14-2013
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Glad to hear it worked out for you. I have made an appointment with Eurotech to do the work, paint and install on the sport fenders. I'm hoping that the work doesn't take forever.

Did they tell you up front that your car was going to take 2 months to complete? That is a really long time.

Also, can you post some before and after pictures of your car so we can see the work that was done?

Thanks,
Steve

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#14 Old 01-16-2013
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Unfortunately, I was too bummed at the time to take pictures. It was not terribly dramatic. The rear bumper was drooping a bit. The person braked as she hit me, so it also pulled the bumber down. The gap between the trunk and everything else was doubled as most. The most obvious sign was a 6-8" crease in the right rear qpanel. The shop originally indicated that there was some possibility after being pulled that there was "some" chance the crease might pop so that the qpanel could be repaired. But it did not end up happening.

In terms of the 2 month turn, it was partly my doing. I had a 3rd car and was more interested in having them do a good job (ie not time pressured to take short cuts), so, I kinda told them to take their time. If they started on the car immediately, I think they could have finished it in a 3.5-4 weeks. The tail end of the work also straddled thanksgiving.

-r
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