When a collision repair customer wants to get their car fixed back to factory specifications in Long Island NY, they take their car to Mid Island Collision for repairs. Sometimes we will get cars have been in prior collisions and we discover some really bad collision repair. Such was the case recently with this 2017 Mercedes Benz C 300 Cabriolet repaired at Mercedes Benz of Manhattan.
When an auto body shop carries an OEM certification, this means that their technicians have received the proper training on a specific manufacturer of a vehicle, they have all the proper repair equipment, only use OEM parts and agree to repair cars exactly the way a manufacturer specifies in their procedure pages. But just because a shop says they are OEM certified, it does not guarantee that that shop actually follows the OEM procedures all the time.
This particular Mercedes was in an accident that impacted the left door, left rear quarter panel and left side of the rear bumper fascia of the vehicle. Then about a month later, this Mercedes was in another accident and sustained damage to the same panels that were repaired by MB of Manhattan, only this time, the vehicle owner chose Mid Island Collision to perform the repair.
When inspecting the vehicle for an estimate, we noticed that the vehicle had several improper repairs performed in the first accident. Here is what we found:
During the initial damage analysis of the vehicle, incorrect repair and sectioning procedures were attempted.
- Uneven seam sealer applications were observed to the left rear quarter panel mating flanges to the upper left tail lamp pocket, upper left gutter panel, upper left quarter extension panel and to the upper rear area of the rocker panel.
This evidence suggests the quarter panel was replaced at the tail lamp pocket, lower quarter extension, upper gutter extension, lock pillar and at the rocker panel.
Mercedes-Benz repair documentation shows that MB OEM procedures are to install rear fender quarter panel which already comes with the tail lamp pocket panel, upper gutter extension panel, and the lower rear quarter extension panel attached from the factory.
Even though the panels are sold separately and can be installed individually, as per multiple Mercedes-Benz OEM documents, there is no documented procedure from Mercedes-Benz that allows the installation of the quarter panel assembly without all three panels attached. Therefore the evidence indicates the quarter panel was installed without the other three panels.
- Wheninspecting the backside of the left lock pillar mating flange revealed multiple areas of bare metal with indications of tool type impact markings. Also noted was little to no circular invitation at the weld areas indicating that not enough pressure was applied during the welding process. The bare metal areas show evidence to indicate no attempts were made to apply corrosion resistant coating or anti-corrosion compounds.
- Examination of the upper mating flange of the left quarter panel to the convertible top lid inner bracket panel showed evidence of missing seam sealer applications and misalignment of the panel.
- The left convertible top lid panel hinge showed evidence of excessive positive flushness (upward adjustment). This misalignment show evidence to indicate misalignment of the quarter panel to the deck lid.
- Examination of the left convertible top lid hinge shows evidence of misalignment. Also noted were multiple areas of surface corrosion to the lower portion of the hinge and to the mounting area on the upper gutter extension panel. This corrosion shows evidence to indicate particles of metal imbedded under the paint material.
- Examination of the left deck lid hinge revealed areas of missing paint to the mounting bolts and to the hinge. Semicircular black paint material was observed around the rear area of the mounting bolts, indicating the left side of the deck lid was adjusted forward. Missing paint was observed to the right-side hinge bolts and hinge, indicating the bolts were loosened and tightened.
- Examination of the backside of the left rear quarter panel revealed multiple areas of bare metal with tool type impact markings to the quarter panel and lower quarter extension panel, similar to the damage observed to the lock pillar mating flange. No attempts to were made to apply corrosion resistant coatings or anti-corrosion compounds. Also noted, the backside of the quarter panel was left in the factory electrodeposition primer (black color).
- Examination of the left rear outer wheelhouse revealed the wheel well was intentionally cut and welded in with no procedure from Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes-Benz repair document from Workshop Information System (WIS) AR63.10-P-0655LR Remove/install outer rear wheel well A205 states that the wheel well must be installed at the factory mating flanges, there is no sectioning options. Also noted, the portion of the wheelhouse that was installed was not painted and left in Electrodeposition Primer (E-Coat). Additionally, to replace the wheel well the waistline reinforcement panel must be replaced.
- Examination of the left rear quarter panel mounting to the inner components revealed multiple areas of black adhesive material applied to the components. The required Mercedes-Benz 2 Part adhesive material (A 012 989 17 71) is blue in color. Additionally, there is no evidence of any applications of the required 1K Zinc dust paint (A 000 986 28 00). Conversely, examination of the lower area of the inner B-Pillar/Rocker Panel revealed blue and black adhesive overlapping each other. Attempts to remove the blue colored adhesive was effortless as the material failed adhesively, this is due to the intermixing of the blue and black adhesive materials.
- Examination of the left rear aluminum alloy wheel revealed an indention to the wheel face, misshapen wheel edge and multiple gouges to the wheel edge. Additional examination of the gouges revealed paint material in the deepest areas of the gouges. Evidence uncovered indicates repair attempts were made to the wheel. Mercedes-Benz repair procedures and position is that wheels repairs are only refinishing applications. no attempts to bend, weld, twist, add or reduce material should be made to Mercedes-Benz aluminum alloy wheels.
- The average paint film Mil thickness taken on the left rear quarter panel was 6.11Mils, indicating the panel was refinished and the average thickness was above the Mercedes-Benz 5.0Mils thickness on a non-damaged vehicle. The Mil thickness on the left front fender panel was 7.6Mils indicating the panel was refinished.
- Examination of the Supplement of Record 2 with Summary written by Mercedes-Benz Manhattan, Inc. employee Katherine Lowry, IA 1324170, on August 3, 2018 on behalf of State Farm Adjuster Prop B T1 CS Team, Tom (855) 341-8184 revealed the following:
- Line 42 Repl LT Outer wheelhouse w/o C63 part number 2056306702 $384.00 and 3.0 hours of bodt labor and 0.8 hrs of refinish time. The three hours listed was for the full installation of the component and the forty-eight minutes listed was to refinish the both sides of the panel. Evidence uncovered indicated the shop technician intentionally installed only a portion of the component, by making up their own personal choice of sectioning area and that no attempts were made to refinish the component.
- Line 70 Repl RECOND LT Rear Wheel, alloy 18″ split 5-spoke, front gray (ALU) part number 2054012827X21 187.50, which states the left rear wheel was replaced with a repaired and reconditioned wheel. MBUSA Position Statement on Wheel Repair and Reconditioning clearly states: MBUSA does not endorse the use of reconditioned wheels or any process that claims to restore damaged wheels or rims on any Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Use of any wheel or tire not recommended by MBUSA may compromise safe motor vehicle operation and may cause loss of control which may result in injury or death. Reconditioning of damaged wheels typically involves a process that may include heating, straightening, welding, material removal, reshaping, or re-plating. This process can cause deficiencies in the strength of the wheel material. Reconditioned wheel and rims do not meet the production specifications for Mercedes-Benz vehicles and are not an acceptable method of repair. MBUSA approves only wheel repairs which are limited to surface sanding and cosmetic refinishing processes that remove and replace only paint coatings. Any wheel near the area of any collision damage should be thoroughly examined to ensure that the wheel meets the original safety specifications.
Review of the estimate shows evidence to indicate multiple required repair operations, protocols and materials were omitted from the estimate. The estimate is deficient.