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Discussion Starter #1
I often ask myself ... is it worth buying the cheap stuff off eBay ?

I am one who does not mind paying a bit more, if the quality is there.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself if it is or not.

Here is an example, where there are sometimes gray zones not black & white.

I purchased some valve caps off ebay for my ML, last year.
A Chinese source for 4$ (shipping included)
It was more an exercise in curiosity more than anything.
(sorry no longer have the link)

I was happy with what I received.
A year later ... how are they holding up?

The caps themselves have not changed.
The locking mechanism however is a different story.
As you can see the small hex locking bots are what has changed.
They are rusting and tarnishing the rest of the cap.
With that, I will remove the locking mechanism & polish them back up.
If they get borrowed ... not a big loss.

Thought I'd share.
 

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I bought the caps for ours at the dealer. Still look great. I think they were like $15 out the door. I do agree with the pay more get the same crap deal though. That's why I research stuff like crazy before I spend my hard earned cash.
 

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I often ask myself ... is it worth buying the cheap stuff off eBay ?

I am one who does not mind paying a bit more, if the quality is there.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself if it is or not.

Here is an example, where there are sometimes gray zones not black & white.

I purchased some valve caps off ebay for my ML, last year.
A Chinese source for 4$ (shipping included)
It was more an exercise in curiosity more than anything.
(sorry no longer have the link)

I was happy with what I received.
A year later ... how are they holding up?

The caps themselves have not changed.
The locking mechanism however is a different story.
As you can see the small hex locking bots are what has changed.
They are rusting and tarnishing the rest of the cap.
With that, I will remove the locking mechanism & polish them back up.
If they get borrowed ... not a big loss.

Thought I'd share.
Steel grub screws will have a tendency to corrode whatever. When you've cleaned them, replace them with a smear of silicone grease, and push some into the key-hole.
 

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Steel grub screws will have a tendency to corrode whatever. When you've cleaned them, replace them with a smear of silicone grease, and push some into the key-hole.
Some Vaseline smeared on it would also work, may be a bit more accessible than silicone grease.
 

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It's very confusing for today's consumer, especially with all the "knock off" product that comes out of China. I would probably disagree with what some are saying that "often times it's the same stuff". If you are purchasing reputable "branded" items, you can be sure that you are getting not only quality but also a company that will stand behind their product. Beware of look-a-likes as you really do get what you pay for.

What really makes it confusing however, is when the "Branded Quality Manufacturers" make an item for....say.....Costco. Here as a consumer, we recognize the brand name and think that we are familiar with the product. But upon close comparison with a "version" of the same product at another retailer, you will often find something missing or a short cut that was taken for Costco in order to achieve a price point. You have to look close, but usually you will find it.

It is then up to you as a consumer as to whether or not you need the missing component in the product. I will spare all of you from all the particulars. I can just tell you that in my business it is important that we bring these things up to the end-user when they are shopping us.

Also remember, when you buy a product is not just the quality of the product that you should be interested in.........it's also the quality of the merchant in standing behind the item and correcting it for you in the event that it fails.

My pop used to tell me........"Don't step over a dollar to pick up a penny"!
 

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It's very confusing for today's consumer, especially with all the "knock off" product that comes out of China. I would probably disagree with what some are saying that "often times it's the same stuff". If you are purchasing reputable "branded" items, you can be sure that you are getting not only quality but also a company that will stand behind their product. Beware of look-a-likes as you really do get what you pay for.

What really makes it confusing however, is when the "Branded Quality Manufacturers" make an item for....say.....Costco. Here as a consumer, we recognize the brand name and think that we are familiar with the product. But upon close comparison with a "version" of the same product at another retailer, you will often find something missing or a short cut that was taken for Costco in order to achieve a price point. You have to look close, but usually you will find it.

It is then up to you as a consumer as to whether or not you need the missing component in the product. I will spare all of you from all the particulars. I can just tell you that in my business it is important that we bring these things up to the end-user when they are shopping us.

Also remember, when you buy a product is not just the quality of the product that you should be interested in.........it's also the quality of the merchant in standing behind the item and correcting it for you in the event that it fails.

My pop used to tell me........"Don't step over a dollar to pick up a penny"!
^This^

There is such a thing as being a smart consumer, but there is also the popular axiom of "Pence wise, pound foolish".

It is the difference between purchasing a car from MB and a similar car from a used lot. May be a couple thousand dollars cheaper - but the difference in price is justified typically by a full service history and an obligation from the franchise dealer to provide a quality product.
 

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Some Vaseline smeared on it would also work, may be a bit more accessible than silicone grease.
Vaseline, being petroleum based is very bad for rubber, and although we are only talking small quantities, it's good practice to keep it away from things like valve stems and valves (which have rubber internals).
 

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^This^

There is such a thing as being a smart consumer, but there is also the popular axiom of "Pence wise, pound foolish".

It is the difference between purchasing a car from MB and a similar car from a used lot. May be a couple thousand dollars cheaper - but the difference in price is justified typically by a full service history and an obligation from the franchise dealer to provide a quality product.
I'd rather eat worms than buy from my local MB main dealer*. And it's not just me - search the thread about the poor guy with rusting calipers, where MB are giving him the run-around. MB's attitude toward the seat heater issue, etc., etc.

I bought my 55 from and independent dealer (albeit with a full MB history) and they have been very helpful (and generous) in getting my niggles put right.

* My local MBUK parts and service centre OTOH, are very nice people - but they can't do much about their pricing policies.
 

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Vaseline, being petroleum based is very bad for rubber, and although we are only talking small quantities, it's good practice to keep it away from things like valve stems and valves (which have rubber internals).
I thought the inside of valve stems (the metal ones) were some form of coated metal? None the less, you do raise a valid point.
 

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I'd rather eat worms than buy from my local MB main dealer*. And it's not just me - search the thread about the poor guy with rusting calipers, where MB are giving him the run-around. MB's attitude toward the seat heater issue, etc., etc.

I bought my 55 from and independent dealer (albeit with a full MB history) and they have been very helpful (and generous) in getting my niggles put right.

* My local MBUK parts and service centre OTOH, are very nice people - but they can't do much about their pricing policies.
The issue with dealer experiences is that they completely are subjective to who runs the franchise and the culture of the workplace.

The MB dealer in my city has treated me very well when I take my cars there. Sure, there are some issues with MB Corporate with goodwill warranties but that is something beyond your dealers control, and regardless of where you buy your car it is susceptible to those common faults. The rusted brake calipers are an unfortunate problem, but those probably could of been picked up by a PPI, which I recommend doing even if it is a dealership vehicle.

I also did not mean to imply "mom & pop" lots are not trustworthy, I was speaking from personal experience and general wisdom.
 

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I thought the inside of valve stems (the metal ones) were some form of coated metal? None the less, you do raise a valid point.
The actual O-ring which performs the seal (the red part) inside the Schraeder valve, was traditionally natural rubber. Some (or all) may now be synthetic, but I'd sooner not risk having petroleum grease blown inside during inflation.

 

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The issue with dealer experiences is that they completely are subjective to who runs the franchise and the culture of the workplace.

The MB dealer in my city has treated me very well when I take my cars there. Sure, there are some issues with MB Corporate with goodwill warranties but that is something beyond your dealers control, and regardless of where you buy your car it is susceptible to those common faults. The rusted brake calipers are an unfortunate problem, but those probably could of been picked up by a PPI, which I recommend doing even if it is a dealership vehicle.

I also did not mean to imply "mom & pop" lots are not trustworthy, I was speaking from personal experience and general wisdom.
Maybe you miss my point. There are good and bad franchised dealers, and certainly the same goes for independents. The difference is that franchised dealers necessarily have a higher overhead - and are more subject to MB corporate directives. My personal experience (and general wisdom) is that franchised dealers naturally tend to focus on new car sales which is the core of their business - and every aspect of their operation is geared to 'value-added', to service their overhead. It follows that when they offer pre-owned cars, that philosophy continues. Like for like, you will pay more for a pre-owned car from a franchised dealer, but you may get less attention in after-sales service, which is where I believe your "Pence wise, pound foolish" suggestion fails.
 

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Maybe you miss my point. There are good and bad franchised dealers, and certainly the same goes for independents. The difference is that franchised dealers necessarily have a higher overhead - and are more subject to MB corporate directives. My personal experience (and general wisdom) is that franchised dealers naturally tend to focus on new car sales which is the core of their business - and every aspect of their operation is geared to 'value-added', to service their overhead. It follows that when they offer pre-owned cars, that philosophy continues. Like for like, you will pay more for a pre-owned car from a franchised dealer, but you may get less attention in after-sales service, which is where I believe your "Pence wise, pound foolish" suggestion fails.
The issue with the whole conversation in general is the subjectivity - it is all may, might, and probably. Everyone needs to decide what purchasing option is best for them based off of their economic situation and past experiences.
 

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The issue with the whole conversation in general is the subjectivity - it is all may, might, and probably. Everyone needs to decide what purchasing option is best for them based off of their economic situation and past experiences.
There's nothing subjective about the overhead burden of a MB franchise - and you don't need to be an economist, an accountant or a genius to work that out.
 

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There's nothing subjective about the overhead burden of a MB franchise - and you don't need to be an economist, an accountant or a genius to work that out.
The part of the "overhead burden" that is subjective is how a particular dealership presents it to their customers.

*as a side note - this is a stupid debate.
 

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Replace the grub screws with stainless steel ones. I'm sure you will be able to find some somewhere. You want 316 grade or 304 at least.
 

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The part of the "overhead burden" that is subjective is how a particular dealership presents it to their customers.

*as a side note - this is a stupid debate.
* It is now...
And here I was asking myself how long it would be* before I came across a thread on SLKworld with two protagonists engaged in a verbal joust which has very little to do with the original topic... :rb

Cheers,
Brian

*5 days shy of 10 months.
 
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