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What's the best course of action?

  • Scrap it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Repair Gasket

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • Swap Engine

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Kill Yourself

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a lemon. I'm young and dumb and didn't check the carfax and have no one to blame but myself. I've sunk way too much into it to scrap it, and I'd much rather fix it.

The headgasket is blown, however. I don't know how NONE of the mechanics that worked on the car didn't notice that, but hey. So I'm very much inexperienced with cars, and I was just hoping for some advice.

I'm thinking about just swapping the entire engine, but I don't know what the best engine is, or how much labor costs are. Any information would be greatly appreciated. This whole thing threw a big wrench into my life, and it's time to wrench it out.
 

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I'd say that you need to have an understanding of what damage has been done before hitting the 'nuke' button.

Take a deep breath, ask locals to recommend a good garage that best fits your budget & then make a decision
based on the feedback.

Big decisions are best made with a cool head.

Who says the gasket is blown? I guess not the garage from your comments.

You had work done on the car, what was it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd say that you need to have an understanding of what damage has been done before hitting the 'nuke' button.
Take a deep breath, ask locals to recommend a good garage that best fits your budget & then make a decision
based on the feedback.
Big decisions are best made with a cool head.
Who says the gasket is blown? I guess not the garage from your comments.
You had work done on the car, what was it?

Thanks for your response! And for being so understanding! <3

Well, I had the leaky radiator replaced, brakes pads replaced, and the water pump replaced. I guess the mechanics couldn't see the gasket was blown past all the other issues the car had. When I first bought it, it ran fine, but soon began to deteriorate. I took it to another shop where they specialize in gaskets and he did some kind of "liquid test". He put a bottle of fluid on the coolant tank. As soon as the car started up it began bubbling, which is a no-no already, and it quickly changed colors which, according to him, means that the gasket is without-a-doubt blown.

I definitely agree that decisions are best made with a cool head. Sadly, this car is a real hothead. As soon as the acceleration goes past 20, it heats up extremely fast, which makes me think the issue has something to do with the "turbo engine". If the acceleration stays below 20, it doesn't heat up at all.

I've had a couple of "family friend" mechanics look at it, and they agree that the gasket is blown. To fix it, my friendly neighborhood mechanic said he'd cut me a deal for 1600, which is better than the 2000+ the dealership would charge, but a dealership would be able to say with absolute certainty what the issue is, so there's that.

I'm wondering if it'd be better to just replace the engine with a better engine, a more modern engine, if possible. But I've heard that this can be tricky since Benz have many electrical components that need to be wired 'just so'.

What's your take on that?

I'll definitely ask around and see if there's a well-known professional who won't charge me my soul. Thanks for the tip!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry for your troubles.
Do a direct swap with a similar engine with some sort of guarantee.
Do not, I repeat do not, open this bag of worms.

Tapatalking

Thanks! You understand my pain. :p

Yes, I've heard that it's best to just use the same engine, and I know someone who is selling one for a decent price. I'm going to contact the dealership and see what their pricing is for labor and see if it'd be best to go with a local shop. Thank you for advice! It's probably best to just play it safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
By the way, I'm sorry if anyone is offended by my poll! It was rather insensitive!

It's just, this issue has caused me a looooot of stress, that's all! It's driving me a bit crazy. Lol.
 

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By the way, I'm sorry if anyone is offended by my poll! It was rather insensitive!

It's just, this issue has caused me a looooot of stress, that's all! It's driving me a bit crazy. Lol.
We all have our moments of depression and most of us have been in similar situations.
Plato said that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge
You had the desire to get this car.
You felt the emotion when it let you down.
Now it is time to try to make the best out of it.
Be patient, plan your moves and acquire knowledge.

This forum can be a great help, not only because people that write here know about cars, but because they care about people.
Stick around, you will receive knowledge, in many forms.
 

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Minion
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Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.. just hold on. You're in texas, which means you can drive it all year round. Can you drive it this very moment? no. But that's better than having it sit in the garage for an entire season due to snow and ice.

You have 3 options here,

1. get the head gasket fixed [make sure the mechanic has good yelp reviews at the very least and warranties his work]
1a. get it fixed at the dealership, let THEM be accountable for any and everything that goes wrong post repair, it may be worth the extra $400 to let them do it. I doubt any other mechanic in the world is going to go out of their way to check this or that, pull extra codes or notice typical brand issues like they [the dealership mechanics] are trained to do [please.. I did not post this to get into a debate about what mechanics can and cannot do of course, it's just my opinion-you're not driving a chevy ;)]

2. replace the motor, incur a higher cost, and risk further complication if it's not installed properly

3. sell the vehicle for what it's worth + the cost of your recent repairs and buy something else [all the wiser]

All of that being said-Im a huge fan of if it isn't broke, I wouldn't fix it. Hence my option would be to fix the gasket at the dealership and put all the burden on them. AND they will provide you with an entire list of other items that need to be done at a later time in which you could fix at your convenience if possible, or at the very least somewhere else without paying the premium for their labor charge. It's a hard decision when you're so attached to the car I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.. just hold on. You're in texas, which means you can drive it all year round. Can you drive it this very moment? no. But that's better than having it sit in the garage for an entire season due to snow and ice.

You have 3 options here,

1. get the head gasket fixed [make sure the mechanic has good yelp reviews at the very least and warranties his work]
1a. get it fixed at the dealership, let THEM be accountable for any and everything that goes wrong post repair, it may be worth the extra $400 to let them do it. I doubt any other mechanic in the world is going to go out of their way to check this or that, pull extra codes or notice typical brand issues like they [the dealership mechanics] are trained to do [please.. I did not post this to get into a debate about what mechanics can and cannot do of course, it's just my opinion-you're not driving a chevy ;)]

2. replace the motor, incur a higher cost, and risk further complication if it's not installed properly

3. sell the vehicle for what it's worth + the cost of your recent repairs and buy something else [all the wiser]

All of that being said-Im a huge fan of if it isn't broke, I wouldn't fix it. Hence my option would be to fix the gasket at the dealership and put all the burden on them. AND they will provide you with an entire list of other items that need to be done at a later time in which you could fix at your convenience if possible, or at the very least somewhere else without paying the premium for their labor charge. It's a hard decision when you're so attached to the car I know.
Thanks for the advice! I don't think it's going to sell for what I put into it at this point. I'd rather make lemonade. I think you're right, that it'd be best to make let the dealership be liable and it's best to stick with the same engine. Problem is, I'm a college student. So.... money is an issue. (^-^;;) I mean, I'm not broke or anything, but 2000+ is nothing to sneeze at!

At the very least, I'll get some pricing info from the dealership first, before I consider another mechanic. I'm expecting a call back from them today.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We all have our moments of depression and most of us have been in similar situations.
Plato said that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge
You had the desire to get this car.
You felt the emotion when it let you down.
Now it is time to try to make the best out of it.
Be patient, plan your moves and acquire knowledge.

This forum can be a great help, not only because people that write here know about cars, but because they care about people.
Stick around, you will receive knowledge, in many forms.

Thank you! That's why I'm here, to acquire knowledge and make the best decision, instead of letting the disappointment drag me down. You've all already cheered me up so much, just with your readiness to give advice. I truly appreciate it, thanks so much for your kindness and advice!
 

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Minion
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Agreed,

You may have to pick up a few paper routes, but it will be worth it ;) If you absolutely could not get back the $ you have already put into it, let the dealership be liable for the repair. True story-I LOVED my slk.. more than any car I've ever owned. I bought it, modded the hell out of it, and kept it tip top. It had a chronic valve cover leak, and ended up getting married, the husband never fit in it, so I sold it. Now I could have let it sit in the garage and waited it out, but didn't.

Long story short-the slk was sold, my husband doesn't fit in ANY compact roadster, and im driving a bmw z4 [yeah yeah I know fellow readers never say never] but that excitement you have now for that little car? Never goes away. Let the right people take care of it, and you'll love it for many years to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Agreed,

You may have to pick up a few paper routes, but it will be worth it ;) If you absolutely could not get back the $ you have already put into it, let the dealership be liable for the repair. True story-I LOVED my slk.. more than any car I've ever owned. I bought it, modded the hell out of it, and kept it tip top. It had a chronic valve cover leak, and ended up getting married, the husband never fit in it, so I sold it. Now I could have let it sit in the garage and waited it out, but didn't.
Long story short-the slk was sold, my husband doesn't fit in ANY compact roadster, and im driving a bmw z4 [yeah yeah I know fellow readers never say never] but that excitement you have now for that little car? Never goes away. Let the right people take care of it, and you'll love it for many years to come.
I'm sorry you didn't get to keep the car you cared for!! I know how it is when you really put your heart into a project. Sigh, the things we do for love... ;)

It seems like you really understand what I'm going through. I don't think I can get back the $, so its best to repair the gasket at the dealership. I'll look into it right away, and I'm just going to have to hustle!! Thanks for sharing! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I would vote for swapping engines. The problem with just replacing the head gasket is you have no idea how much damage the prior owner caused or how long the gasket as been shot. You could end up with (1) a new head gasket and an engine that is worn out. (2) rebuilding the entire engine.

https://lkqonline.com/2003/Mercedes-Benz/Slk-Series/Engine-Compartment-Engine-Assembly/

The issue has been ongoing for a while, so it is likely the head-gasket caused damage to other parts of the engine, including the parts that I had to have replaced. So you think it'd be best to swap the engine out for one that we know is good? What kind of issues should I be prepared for if I do an engine swap?

Thanks for the advice! I was actually leaning toward the engine swap, but several people here and elsewhere have said that I should just try to fix it. But you're right in that there's a strong possibility it caused damage elsewhere in the car, like the cylinders perhaps. Do those get swapped with a head-gasket repair?

Thanks again!
 

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My two scents:
Scrap metal? No way. You'll get peanuts. Part it out? Great if you have lots of time, patience, and a car to drive. Also if you don't mind working for minimum wage bc that's what most buyers expect (my experience). Call several salvage yards like LKQ and ask what they will give you for the whole car.
Replace gasket? Probably quickest, cheapest option, but as stated, comes with risk. Don't let your neighborhood shade tree mechanic convince you of
a "bargain". Pay for some experience.
Swap engine? Perhaps the least amount of risk, assuming it was known to be in good working order. Don't let them do you the "favor" of disposing of your old engine, along with the good fully functional parts like starter, alternative, transmission, etc.
In any case get several estimates, don't sign ANYTHING that binds you until you've made up YOUR mind what to do. Get a WRITTEN guarantee or warranty for parts AND labor. In any case continue to seek advice from members.

Given your position in life (young, college student) you might consider just buying a different car. It doesn't have to be pretty, it doesn't have to go fast. If you were my daughter, I would try to convince you to ditch the pit, by a beater, and focus on the now. There'll be plenty of time later in life to find and feed other beasts. And they are out there, I promise.
You asked, so I put my thoughts out there. Whatever you do, be quick to think, slow to speak, and even more slow to react. Good luck to you. Roxie, awaaaayyyyyyy......
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The engine out of my SLK230 that was totaled out ran perfect and never used any oil. I wonder what the insurance company does with these cars? It had 71,000 miles on it. That would have been a great reliable replacement for you.
Nooooooo!!


So clooooose!! So close! And yet! So faaaaar..... T__T
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My two scents:
Scrap metal? No way. You'll get peanuts. Part it out? Great if you have lots of time, patience, and a car to drive. Also if you don't mind working for minimum wage bc that's what most buyers expect (my experience). Call several salvage yards like LKQ and ask what they will give you for the whole car.
Replace gasket? Probably quickest, cheapest option, but as stated, comes with risk. Don't let your neighborhood shade tree mechanic convince you of
a "bargain". Pay for some experience.
Swap engine? Perhaps the least amount of risk, assuming it was known to be in good working order. Don't let them do you the "favor" of disposing of your old engine, along with the good fully functional parts like starter, alternative, transmission, etc.
In any case get several estimates, don't sign ANYTHING that binds you until you've made up YOUR mind what to do. Get a WRITTEN guarantee or warranty for parts AND labor. In any case continue to seek advice from members.

Given your position in life (young, college student) you might consider just buying a different car. It doesn't have to be pretty, it doesn't have to go fast. If you were my daughter, I would try to convince you to ditch the pit, by a beater, and focus on the now. There'll be plenty of time later in life to find and feed other beasts. And they are out there, I promise.
You asked, so I put my thoughts out there. Whatever you do, be quick to think, slow to speak, and even more slow to react. Good luck to you. Roxie, awaaaayyyyyyy......

Roxie, you're a GEM! But even if I did get another car (which I'm not sure that I could afford to), that still leaves the issue of what to do with this one. I really don't want to junk it and lose my entire (bad) investment. As it stands now, I'm in a small town and people are really nice so I don't mind taking the bus. And my fellow students give me rides sometimes.

Either way, I certainly have a lot of new info to go over! I'll let you all know when I've come to some kind of decision. Pray for me though!! I have pretty bad luck and I won't complain about any kind of help! lmao
 

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A few things for you to research.

What damage a failed head gasket may cause (worst and best scenario)

You have an idea of the cost of doing the gasket, find out the cost of replacing the engine (like for like).

Scrap value.

We originally bought a 230, loved it, chased down most of it's issues.
But, eventually I got fed up of chasing issues and went for the newer 55.

When the 230 worked it was heaven. Not sure we'd ever have replaced it.
Might still have bought the 55 as well but left the 230 with her ladyship.

It sounds like this car has had years of neglect.
Go over it with a fine toothcomb (suspension, brakes, body etc)
If it's truly neglected you will see signs for yourself.

If it were me, on limited budget, I'd probably go replacement gasket by MB.

If that works and the car isn't completely neglected you'll have a fine car.
The bits and bobs can be done over time.

If it doesn't then time to move on.

Most of us will have bought a lemon of some description during our years.
Desperate for a particular car, seen on a sunny day in all it's polish.

Sometimes a little effort and a wedge of money gets them back.
Sometimes you have to bite the bullet.

Only you know your budget and where it would leave you were you to write it off for scrap.

In youth we are quick to buy.

Older we are wary. Either we, or someone we know has suffered the way you are now.
We get over the embarrassment of having an owner watching us with mirrors and magnets examining the car
and scrutinising the paper.

And never forget Karma.

Whoever stiffed you has an equation to balance someday.
 
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