Today’s featured post is a Fuel Pump Replacement on a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SE 6.9, brought to us by a client from Southlands, Vancouver.
This classic 4 door Mercedes-Benz 450SE 6.9 came to our shop by way of a tow truck directly from the Mercedes-Benz dealership service department. Our client had lost confidence when they suggested that he might need a new fuel tank during the fuel pump repairs that they had diagnosed. The fuel tank was estimated to cost over 5600 dollars, for just the part itself. 5600 dollars for a fuel tank!!!!! Fifty-six hundred dollars! That is an insane amount of money for a fuel tank on any car; OK perhaps not for a 1932 Rolls Royce but for a Mercedes 450 it seems crazy.
One thing that I can appreciate about Mercedes-Benz dealer service is that they have standards: high standards. They will use only Mercedes-Benz approved parts. These are good parts, no doubt. However when a fuel tank sells for $5600. alternatives could be sought out. For a fraction of that price a custom made fuel tank could be installed that would work equally as well as original. Their service adviser and technician could also have treaded more carefully with their estimate, looking for options and giving the owner a more realistic likelihood of whether this expensive part would really be needed. It is good to prepare the client for the worst but you can go too far.
In the end the fuel tank proved a moot point as it was in fine condition. The tank on this car sits inside the trunk giving it protection from the elements. We replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, accumulator and several fuel lines as Mercedes had correctly diagnosed and the car roared to life.
This 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SE is a special car even though its external appearance is quite nondescript. First off, it is equipped with a monstrous 6.9 liter overhead cam fuel injected V8 engine: quite advanced technology for the late seventies. Hydraulic height-adjustable suspension is the other unique feature: a rare option in any car. This vehicle makes an excellent vintage luxury sedan.
The core of this story is to point out a major disadvantage of dealer service: that their focus is often too narrow, whether that is related to the types of parts they will use or to the services that they perform. Dealership service departments are usually large and a personal connection to the technician is frequently unavailable. Like any good business, dealerships are focused on profit, however they are so profit focused that you as the consumer often lose. For your next service try an independent shop with a good reputation, high standards and great technicians who care: you may be pleasantly surprised at the money you save and the superb treatment you receive.
For more about the Mercedes-Benz 450SE click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W116
For more about the Bosch K jetronic fuel injection system used in the 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SE 6.9 click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetronic