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Old 11-26-2012, 10:09 AM   #1
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Unreal Repair Quote...Airstream Interstate

Well..a few weeks ago we were forced to park our Airstreams (I have a classic 1989 345LE and my father and his wife have a 2012 Interstate)

As I pulled out - it seems my rear bumper hit one of the bottom panels on the passenger side by where the door slides open -- the mechanism etc. all is fine.

What is crazy - is that the place they took it to for an estimate -- in Dallas -- is asking for $3600 + ...claiming some 1200 in parts and paint, and 20 hours worth of work. I think they are trying to take my dad for an idiot.

They will be getting a second estimate in Florida (Davie County) and will get it fixed down there or on the way -- Anyone know of anyone in the Florida/Miami Dade/Davie counties that could:
a) Give us a rough estimate based on the attached pictures?
b) Comes recommended by you guys?

I mean, don't you think $3600 is completely insane?????? I remember I once flipped a wrangler and it cost about 8K to fix the whole darn thing.

Whats going on??

Thank you for any response, ideas etc. SYDTR

Chris
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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Oh -- and off course feel free to PM me :-)
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
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The Airstream repair situation in Florida during winter is dismal at best. I would look harder and try to get it fixed in Texas now rather than dealing with the snowbird situation in Florida.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
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Doug says----body work is expensive. Period.

We have had body work done on our Interstate, at a trusted local body shop. Always rather pricey.

One of the reasons is that the Interstate will not fit inside the body shop and parts have to be removed to be taken into the paint booth, painted, then reinstalled.

If panels have to be replaced, that is not inexpensive. And, they don't come painted, that is done at the body shop.

Looks, too, like there are two panels involved.

May be worth making a claim on their insurance.


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Old 11-26-2012, 05:28 PM   #5
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What is crazy - is that the place they took it to for an estimate -- in Dallas -- is asking for $3600 + ...claiming some 1200 in parts and paint, and 20 hours worth of work. I think they are trying to take my dad for an idiot.

I mean, don't you think $3600 is completely insane??????
Not insane at all.

1 - If the parts are Mercedes Benz parts, they come off the same assembly line in Dusseldorf as the original Sprinter van, and there's no other source than being imported by Mercedes Benz.
2 - If the parts are Airstream add-ons, they come from Jackson Center, and there's no other source there, either.

So, $1200 for parts is not at all unreasonable.

Twnety hours to dismount and disassemble, replace parts, partially reassemble, paint, then complete reassembly and remount, not at all unreasonable. $120 per hour for labor, right in line with what most body shops charge.

You may actually get a better price taking it to a Mercedes Sprinter dealer for the repair work. Or it may cost more; hard to say. Definitely worth asking, though. According to The 2013 Sprinter Van. Built to Work Smarter., (stupid web page renamed the MB Sprinter USA link) there are two Sprinter dealers in Dallas/Ft. Worth; Park Place Motorcars in Grapevine, TX, and Euing Autohaus in Plano, TX.

In the Miami area, there's Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay, and Mercedes Benz of Miami.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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Good body work is always more expensive than people realize. If you have a bodyshop that will work to high standards, pay them! Most damage like this is never fixed correctly and the vehicle suffers in the long run....
Just my $0.02.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
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Auto paint can cost over $500 a gallon, the paint suppliers always blame the EPA.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
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For me $3600 is far too expensive for that repair, but many shops can get away with charging that much. I worked my way through my first University degree in an autobody shop and would fix that myself, but most people wouldn't even know where to begin and body shops know that.

Remember you're driving a Mercedes, parts are expensive and shops will assume you have the money for the very best and most expensive repair. Many shops will not repair anything anymore and will only replace with new parts, and some customers think that replacement is the only way to do a proper repair, that is simply not the case.

A properly experienced body man would repair the dent in the door, the quarterpanel wheel opening trim damage can be repaired with sandpaper and alittle plastic filler (filler made for plastic parts, not bondo). The only potential problem is the large trim peice which could be expensive. If I were making the repair I would try to work the trim back in to shape with a heat gun and then reinstall.

$120 per hour would be near the top for body work in my area, and anyone who spent more than 8 hours fixing that doesn't know what they're doing.
Even at $500 per gallon for paint, that repair would take about a pint of paint so don't be fooled in to thinking this is a major cost.

Shop around, there are lots of shops looking for work that should be able to cut that quote way down.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:12 PM   #9
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Or leave it till you make a Mexico trip??

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Old 11-26-2012, 07:22 PM   #10
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You could try Maaco or one of the other bargain body and paint shops. They may bump it out, smear it with bondo, and paint it so that it's close to matching, for half of that. You'll be reminded every time that you see it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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No Davie County in Florida that I am aware of. Down here in Miami, there is a dearth of RV repair facilities (at least any that I would take a Sprinter to).

Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay has a decent rep but where are your folks planning to hold up while the rig is in the shop?

If they have their hearts set on getting this fixed in Florida, I think they might want to talk to JD Sanders in Alachua. Good people.

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Old 11-26-2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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You could try Maaco or one of the other bargain body and paint shops. They may bump it out, smear it with bondo, and paint it so that it's close to matching, for half of that. You'll be reminded every time that you see it.
I've used the Maaco shop local to me in Ottawa for a number of years. They have always done good work for me. In fact, they now are contracted to do the Nissan body work for one of the Nissan dealers.

When it comes to the actual paint job at any body shop, it is the very few that can actually do a finish that actually looks like a Mercedes high-end's factory finish. The average person wouldn't notice that difference.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:57 PM   #13
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Although it seems high - I agree with the estimate. I dented the side of my Tacoma and $1200 was a good deal to get it repaired. Removing and repairing doors is expensive... you have to gut the whole thing, replace the skin, reassemble, and paint. You can't order the entire door assembly... so unless you could find one at a salvage yard that matched...

Same thing with end-gates for trucks... the factory replacement is just the shell... you have to R&R the guts...
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:24 AM   #14
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You don't need an RV repair shop for this, it's an Interstate.

I wouldn't waste time looking for an RV dealer to do body work.


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Old 11-27-2012, 09:36 AM   #15
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You don't need an RV repair shop for this, it's an Interstate.

I wouldn't waste time looking for an RV dealer to do body work.
Considering the way most RV's are built, I'm not sure an RV repair shop COULD do a good job of it. You definitely want an automotive body shop, not an RV shop.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #16
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Considering the way most RV's are built, I'm not sure an RV repair shop COULD do a good job of it. You definitely want an automotive body shop, not an RV shop.
Yep.

We have had a number of scrapes and boo-boos dealt with at the same body shop that deals with our other vehicles. Always do a good job, never has been inexpensive because of the dismantling/reassembly that is required for something our size.

On another note, you don't need an RV dealer to service an Interstate. Unless we have been on the road and needed service, we always go to Peterbilt here and they have been wonderful.


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Old 11-27-2012, 12:11 PM   #17
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On another note, you don't need an RV dealer to service an Interstate. Unless we have been on the road and needed service, we always go to Peterbilt here and they have been wonderful.
But will they honor a Mercedes Benz warranty on a late-model Interstate? Probably not. In general, if the vehicle is still under warranty, and it's a warranty repair, stick with MB (but only Sprinter dealers, regular MB dealers may not have a repair bay big enough). If it's not a warranty repair, then Peterbilt or Freightliner should be considered.

For body work (body work never is warranty work), a body shop that works on semis may be a viable option, since they're bound to have repair bays big enough.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:30 PM   #18
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But will they honor a Mercedes Benz warranty on a late-model Interstate? Probably not. In general, if the vehicle is still under warranty, and it's a warranty repair, stick with MB (but only Sprinter dealers, regular MB dealers may not have a repair bay big enough). If it's not a warranty repair, then Peterbilt or Freightliner should be considered.
Well, I don't know for sure but suspect they will. Would be worth asking about. Our experience with routine maintenance at dealers with our cars is that is ridiculously expensive.

We have a MB engine, had a design flaw dealt with at a Dodge dealership in Knoxville, TN. I don't know that you have to use a Mercedes dealer to use a warranty.

We are out of warranty on everything.


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Old 11-27-2012, 12:52 PM   #19
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Well, I don't know for sure but suspect they will. Would be worth asking about. Our experience with routine maintenance at dealers with our cars is that is ridiculously expensive.

We have a MB engine, had a design flaw dealt with at a Dodge dealership in Knoxville, TN. I don't know that you have to use a Mercedes dealer to use a warranty.

We are out of warranty on everything.


Maggie
Dodge is a special case. When the Sprinter weas first introduced to the US in 2001, it was sold through Freightliner. Later, around 2004, Dodge partnered with Mercedes Benz, and several Dodge models got MB gasoline engines, including the Grand Caravan. Dodge also took over marketing of the Sprinter imprint until 2010, when Mercedes took it back.

If you own a 2011 or later Sprinter, I believe you do need to go to an MB Sprinter dealer for warranty work. Since Dodge divested itself of the Sprinter line in 2010, they can't honor a Mercedes warranty, even if several Dodge models have Mercedes engines.

Dodge used to get a lot of its small-block engines from Mitsubishi (including for the original Dodge Caravan), but you'd never take a Mitsubishi to a Dodge dealer for warranty work. Or vice versa.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #20
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Oaky, warranty work may be a special situation

Routine maintenance, however................



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