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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All
Guess What?
I’m going to post this in diary format to chronologise (is that a word?) my experience, please feel free to comment.
September 2018
Bought car, absolutely gorgeous and immaculate. Very happy! But I was aware of Fire Opal Red paint problems and only bought it as it had an MB Tier1 Warranty.....
Summer 2019
Attended many car shows both MB and Classic. Received many complimentary comments re the colour, which TBH is lovely!
20th October 2019
Washed and shammy’d the car as usual, lovely.
30th October 2019
Walked around the car, noticed some tree sap spots on the boot, strange! I haven’t parked under any trees....gave it a wipe, oh dear, it’s not tree sap, it’s pin-marks. Took a closer look, some other panels affected and also vague “watermarks”....
Of course I knew what it was.........:frown:
Note. This happened in ten days!
More to follow.
TonyS
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
31st October 2019
Rang MB Bristol to say my Fire Opal Red has gone bad. They said they’d be in touch.
1st November 2019
Got a call back from MB Bristol from their Bodyshop Repair man, explained what I had, the answer didn’t surprise me.....arranged an appointment for Monday 4th November.
Monday 4th November
Took the car in for inspection, with V5 and Service and Warranty details.
Next coming up....
TonyS
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The inspection
This was interesting, took about an hour.
He took a quick walk around the car and said every metal panel was affected which amazed me. But he took me around and showed me very, very tiny pin marks that I hadn’t spotted, I guess he’s used to it!
Took the car into the LED lighted area for pics and paint depth measurement, presumably to check it hadn’t been painted previously.
So, full respray hopefully.....but...l
Note 1
MB UK will only spray the metal panels as the plastic panels were sprayed in a different factory and aren’t affected (they say).
He has submitted a claim to MB Germany for Warranty Repair Approval. Apparently this can take up to six weeks. I’m pretty confident they’ll approve it but hey, who knows. TBH I don’t care as long as the plastic panels don’t react and the paint matches.
Now the bad news.
MB Bristol have twenty seven cars in front of mine to be done one at a time and each one takes a month, that’s over two years....
OOOOPS!
TonyS
 

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Super Moderator UK SLK 55 AMG 2007
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28,052 Posts
Sorry to hear that Tony.
The FOR is indeed a great colour.

Do you happen to know if those in front of you are FOR too?

This will serve as a reminder for others to inspect paintwork closely.
The earlier it is spotted, the more likely a successful claim.
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hi AD
Yes, twenty seven cars in front of me all for Fire Opal Red problems covering all models.
MB Bristol only has one body shop but is “Head Office” and draws in cars from all the local MB Sytner Dealerships, Gloucester, Weston Super Mare, Bath.
My advice, be very vigilant on a weekly basis!
TonyS
 

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Super Moderator UK SLK 55 AMG 2007
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28,052 Posts
I've made this an announcement.
It will appear at the top of the 172 General page for a month.

Should give other FOR owners a reminder to inspect paintwork thoroughly.
 

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Premium Member 1999 SLK230-sold
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15,349 Posts
Sorry to hear Tony that your car is a part of the problem. Since every panel is affected of the car besides a respray did MB or the Dealer offer any other solution like a buy back find a car in a different color same features that you could trade for etc etc. or will you have to get a lawyer. I don,t know how it works over there would be interesting to hear how it works in you neck of the woods.
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Some things you may not know know about Fire Opal Red Cars
1 What causes it?
I’ve been told three different stories
a) It’s a reaction between the primer and the undercoat.....not sure but I don’t think so.
b) It’s a reaction between the undercoat and the topcoat (colour). Maybe but not sure about that either.
c) It’s a reaction between the lacquer and UV light. My most recent diagnosis.
This seems to make sense as all my problems are on upper surfaces facing the sun, not on the sides of the car.
2 Should you buy a Fire Opal Red Car?
Yes, maybe, ...BUT....... and it’s a BIG but. Check it has a fully paid up Tier 1 Warranty from MB and hasn’t already been repainted by them.
3 The bubbles come up and go down according to temperature, hot weather smooth, cold weather bubbly! Amazing. But it explains why mines erupted when the cold Autumn weather arrived. Maybe I should just leave it till next summer, ha ha ha.
4 Will Mercedes Benz U.K. give it full respray?
No, I think not.
In the early days all cars were. They were chemically stripped and had a full respray from primer, base and top colour. Times have changed, presumably as a result of ongoing costs and liability.
When you take your car in for inspection they will only respray affected metal panels (or at least Sytners will and I expect this is the same now across all Dealerships). This has an interesting result. Do you take your car in early or after you’ve established all panels are affected? Having said that you can take it in, get it inspected and then take it home again for another day.
5 If the car doesn’t have a full MB Tier 1 Warranty, DONT BUY IT!
6 How do they fix it now? They rub it back to flat and then give it a coat of two pack primer to isolate the original paint from UV light. Then they paint the colour and apply gloss coat. I’m told they haven’t had any cars come back.....watch this space.
That’s it for now, I’m waiting to hear back from MB Germany re my Warranty claim.
More coming soon.
I do hope that this thread will be useful to current Fire Opal Red users and potential buyers.
TonyS
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Sorry to hear Tony that your car is a part of the problem. Since every panel is affected of the car besides a respray did MB or the Dealer offer any other solution like a buy back find a car in a different color same features that you could trade for etc etc. or will you have to get a lawyer. I don,t know how it works over there would be interesting to hear how it works in you neck of the woods.
Hi BH
No, apart from a respray they didn’t offer me anything and I didn’t expect them to.
I note (from your post? sorry can’t remember) that a Class Action has been launched in the USA this week re Fire Opal/Mars Red
This may have repercussions in Europe in time, who knows.
TBH I’m not too bothered, just want my car lovely again by whatever means,
I don’t think I’ll be taking on Daimler Benz on in the European Courts any time soon!
Best
TS
 

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Super Moderator UK SLK 55 AMG 2007
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28,052 Posts
I spoke to a FOR owner at a classic car show a couple of years back.
He'd got the issue and MB were resolving with a full respray.
His dealer mentioned the cost was something like £12,000 to MB.

No wonder they changed their approach.
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I spoke to a FOR owner at a classic car show a couple of years back.
He'd got the issue and MB were resolving with a full respray.
His dealer mentioned the cost was something like £12,000 to MB.

No wonder they changed their approach.
Absolutely. I’ve been in the Classic/ Sportscar fraternity for many years now and I thought a respray would cost £10-15K.
Downside MB Warranty costs have rocketed for my car as reported elsewhere here, that’s another matter which I will address soon in this thread.
TonyS
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Yes! Thanks
Got that

BH
“I note (from your post? sorry can’t remember) that a Class Action has been launched in the USA this week re Fire Opal/Mars Red
This may have repercussions in Europe in time, who knows.
TBH I’m not too bothered, just want my car lovely again by whatever means,
I don’t think I’ll be taking on Daimler Benz on in the European Courts any time soon!”

TonyS
 

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Premium Member 1999 SLK230-sold
Joined
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15,349 Posts
I note (from your post? sorry can’t remember) that a Class Action has been launched in the USA this week re Fire Opal/Mars Red
This may have repercussions in Europe in time, who knows.
Yep here in America they like to sue and ask questions later. :grin::grin:
 

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Premium Member 2008 SLK55 AMG "Mabel"
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15,090 Posts
Sorry to read your car has fell foul of this problem Tony, but at least it sounds like it will be sorted for you, and hopefully before the 2 years you mentioned pass.

I certainly wouldn't want to be getting the car resprayed a different colour, as personally I think that it looks great on the SLK. Mind you I'm slightly biased in my opinion! :grin:
 

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Premium Member 2013 SLK55 AMG
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1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
So sorry to hear of your dilemma Tony, mine is a 2012 and to date I've had no such problems. I'm wondering if it's specific to just certain years of manufacture?
Hi Botto
Unfortunately not I think. I believe it’s common to all FOR metal panels on all classes of cars painted in the same factory over all years.
If the ultraviolet light theory is correct I believe that it’s just a matter of time and exposure till it catches up with you. How long that might take I've no idea, maybe never?
It’s a dilemma isn’t it?
My advice for what it’s worth.
If you don’t have an MB Warranty take one out if you can, you’ll need a full, unbroken, main dealer service history and it’s not cheap, £1,700 per year for as long as it takes. Third party warranties generally cost around £900 but crucially will not cover paint problems.
If you can’t do that I’d seriously consider selling the car. I know it’s drastic but do you want to pay for a respray at some point in the future?
Of course you could get it wrapped, which I very seriously considered in Solarbeam Yellow equivalent. From a reputable company including door reveals etc. I was quoted £2,500. However they would have had to ”flat back” the existing bubbles at additional cost and I was worried that despite being protected from UV it may continue to bubble and thus put pimples in the wrap and then there was the cost of the wrap itself of course.
Or you can take a chance like I did (but I had an MB Warranty in my pocket). Although maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon and tempt fate as my Warranty claim has yet to be approved in Germany, five weeks and waiting....


Best
TonyS
 
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