£90 to adjust camber .... per bolt!!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by lfckeeper, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. lfckeeper

    lfckeeper Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Just been on the phone to MB Sunderland. Their standard alignment is £99 (toe only). I ask how much it would be if any of the camber or castor bolts needed replacing with adjustable ones. £90 each !!! So thats £459 if all needed doing. £459 for a wheel alignment!!!

    I've only just stopped laughing!!
     
  2. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    A dealer only wants to adjust toe? Do they only service unimogs?
     
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  3. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    Wow, that's quite a price.
     
  4. David404

    David404 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had all 4 wheels checked by Jeff Fowkes in Ibstock (bit far for the OP) rear was in spec. Front required 1x camber bolt and tow adjusting to bring car into spec. £135 all in. For info the camber bolt (they got that from MB) was £12.

    Your dealer is having a laugh, shop around there are wheel alignment specialists that do know what they are doing. FWIW the difference in handling was mimimal and it may be placebo but car does seem to feel a little more poised.
     
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  5. David404

    David404 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    "dealer only wants to adjust toe? Do they only service unimogs? "

    Unimog, just the thing for a little gentle off-roading :)
     
  6. OP
    OP
    lfckeeper

    lfckeeper Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Definitely shopping around.. its only 1 camber adjustment I need but even so £190 for a wheel alignment is just stupid.

    Ive never known anything as difficult as trying to get a MB alignment done properly.

    I got it hunter aligned but they chaps that did it 'won't touch the camber adjustment'. The readings say both front and rear ns camber are out if spec.
    My last CLS ended up with a hole in the subframe because the camber bolt wasn't fitted correctly.

    The car drives ok but isn't as planted as Id like.

    Needless to say not being able to get it done simply and quickly its getting right on my nerves.
     
  7. MancMike

    MancMike New Member

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    People who go to the the MB dealer aren't interested in the price.

    If you are, wtf are you doing?
     
  8. Tuercas viejas

    Tuercas viejas Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    What the hell are they doing? But then in reflection!
    My charge for std four (4) wheel alignment is $125 ! Yes Dollars American "green money" & that includes camber (and sometimes castor adjustment) cam bolts as required which I get from a reliable aftermarket supplier like NAPA at $12,50 a pop! Add $131.25 for active suspension and scan tool suspension neutral locking etc.
    It's not a big money spinner is alignment work (profit driver for a shop) rather a complement to bigger "fish" repairs & profit when you are doing suspension and subframe overhauls!
    Obviously then the profit margin lies in the suspension work not the alignment part.
    I suspect being a potential drop in customer with little perceived opportunity to "sell" you some suspension work they (service writer) priced the quote to get you for a one time profit opportunity.
    I tend not to approach this with the same posture! Rather to give a service and maybe at the time snag your steering/ suspension for a genuine overlooked fault or leave you in good stead having got a 25 point inspection free on the car and hopefully if you are happy with the work come back again when something is really needed which drives my shop profit margins and bottom line.
    I have employed service writers from dealers who tend do the same thing since they are on commission, but have had to direct the job selling to a more passive roll than looking at the customer as a cash cow .
    Tuercas viejas
     
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  9. daveenty

    daveenty Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Just had mine done a couple of weeks ago at a place in Bolton (Nigel Lang's Garage for those interested).

    OK, it was on the 190E so has the eccentric washers for camber adjustment, though the guy who did it showed be a box full of the adjustable bolts which they keep in stock for several makes of car, including Mercedes, so if they're needed on a job then they're already there and to hand. He spent quite a while on mine, nearly 2 hours, and everything was in tolerance when it was completed at a cost of £86.40 including VAT. It now drives so much better with the steering wheel straight and no more pulling to the kerb all the time.

    The critical thing is to make sure the guy operating the machine knows what he's doing. So many of the quick-fit type places have a decent alignment machine but poorly or non-trained operators which kind of defeats the point really. The one I went to have a Hunter machine, one of the best from the research I've done over the years, and the operator was brilliant with it, even taking the time to explain to me what every adjustment was doing and what overall effect it had on the car.

    TL;DR: Find a good, ideally recommended, independent with a decent Hunter machine and take it there instead of a dealer.
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    lfckeeper

    lfckeeper Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    This is the part thats proving difficult. My indie for repairs, sends it to someone else as they dont have the alignment machine, I trust my indie but don't know if I can trust the alignment people. (As I trust the Indie this is now looking like my only option going forward)

    Companies I've had recommend that are near(ish) to me won't touch the camber bolts. Sort of left me no choice but to, reluctantly, contact the dealer.
     
  11. C43AMG

    C43AMG MB Club Veteran

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    Always take mine to Wheels in Motion, a bit of a slap for me but as Dave has said find a place where the operator knows what he is doing.
     
  12. Tuercas viejas

    Tuercas viejas Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    This is because there is a fine difference in the business when it comes to tyre/wheel sales and install, versus actual wheel alignment. Again wheel alignment is a secondary activity to selling "rubber"~!
    The profit is in the tyre sales not aligning vehicles which plays second fiddle.
    By its very nature tyre replacement is a lower skilled activity to that of say a good suspension brake mechanic, so to be competitive in the tyre business you employ lower paid staff and de-skill it!.
    When it comes to the alignment machines (and I see Hunter mentioned, I use Bosch ) some of the latest stuff gives the operator by Vin input to the software a read out and figures in "red' when the results are out of whack!
    The selling point to a shop owner like me is being able to provide the service cheaper by de-skilling the equipment use and the labour activity!

    When shops won't touch the camber it tells me they are not trained well enough in vehicle geometry since camber and toe in particular are both related !
    You can do this visually yourself on the kitchen table.
    Take a credit card and place it with your fingers vertically on the flat surface. Hold it in a toe in position !
    Since a steered wheel is fixed at top and bottom by the control arms and on one side by the steering mechanism you can change the toe in of the credit card by merely shifting the camber or it inclination . Try it and instantly you will see why being able to alter the camber you can also set toe and/or vickey verky !
    Boiled down it a matter of pounds shillings and pence (showing me age here!) . An alignment machine is an expensive shop investment and it must be in constant use to make profits with it. If there isn't the business to drive the use, it became a dust gatherer in the corner of the shop!
    Tuercas viejas
     
  13. Alps

    Alps MB Club Veteran

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    just had mine taken to local place with brand new hunter machine, cost me £30 for toe adjustments, everything else was in tolerance even after lowering it!
     
  14. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    +1

    Quite a drive for me although I used to live there so it is nice to see familiar surroundings alongside knowing the job will be done properly.
     
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