2003 W209 rusty wheel arches!

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by jamesbroadley, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Car:
    CLK 320 Cab
    A few months ago I was giving the car a good clean and noticed a little bubbleing up inside the wheel arches, my initial thought was oh well this is why I've kept it within the MB dealer network (to preserve the 30yr corrosion warranty).

    Oh how wrong I was....

    Letter to MB after numerous phone calls discussions with independant bodyshops etc...

    I purchased the above vehicle four years ago from Vikings Canterbury; it has almost always been covered or garaged when parked and always repaired by Mercedes-Benz approved workshops during my ownership. Generally I have been very happy with the vehicle but was alarmed to find rust in one of the wheel arches whilst cleaning it recently. Unfortunately the response I have received from Mercedes-Benz in relation to this issue has been inadequate and I write to claim for the repair under the MobiloLife warranty.

    Soon after discovering the rust I took the vehicle to my local Mercedes-Benz workshop (Vikings Canterbury) in order to make a claim under MobiloLife for the repair of the wheel arch. They advised me that in fact all the arches are beginning to rust to a certain degree.

    Vikings then proceeded to measure the paint depth on the vehicle and found that the outer face of the passenger side rear wing had been previously repaired. This must have been prior to my ownership and was not obvious at the point of purchase. Vikings advised me to contact Mercedes directly to proceed with a claim.

    Therefore earlier this month I telephoned your customer services department. A member of staff dealt with my call and made reference to a “goodwill” programme. He informed me (quite rudely I might add) that under no circumstances would Mercedes-Benz repair corrosion on a vehicle that had had any body work repair. At no point did he make mention of the 30-year warranty that came with the vehicle and covers corrosion.

    This response is incorrect and fails to take account of the MobiloLife warranty on the vehicle. As to the “goodwill repair”, this is irrelevant as the vehicle is covered by MobiloLife, and has the pre-requisite full Mercedes-Benz service history. The warranty states (at p8 of the MobiloLife service booklet):
    We provide a warranty against bodywork corrosion. In the unlikely event that the vehicle rusts through from the inside anywhere on the bodywork or the underbody, it will be repaired by your Merecedes-Benz Service point…the warranty is valid for 30 years”.
    The only condition is that maintenance services be carried out regularly and by Mercedes-Benz. This is the case for this vehicle.

    As to the previous repair to one wing, this is irrelevant as no paint would have been applied to the inside of the arch during the repair, as confirmed by an independent body shop. In any event the repair was to the face of the wing and the corrosion is not in the repaired area. In addition to this the corrosion on the other 3 wings would indicate that this previous repair is not the cause of the rust, as it is reasonable to assume that the corrosion on all four wings is caused by the same factor, namely insufficient rust proofing (including but not exclusively paint thickness) at the point of manufacture.

    It should also be noted that neither Vikings nor the customer services department have been able to confirm that the previous repair was not undertaken by “DaimlerChrysler AG for repairs, bodywork and paintwork” as required at page 13 of the warranty.

    In any event, no bodywork has been undertaken to the other 3 arches. The warranty states that “MobiloLife cannot assist you if the damage was caused by…improper repairs” (p13, emphasis added). It cannot be argued (and has not been suggested) that the rust to the other 3 wings has in any way been caused by the repair to the fourth wing. To fail to repair the other 3 wings is a breach of the warranty.

    For the avoidance of doubt, it cannot be argued that any of the other exceptions at page 13 apply as there has been no “deliberate or gross negligence”, no modifications to the vehicle, no participation in exempted activities and no delay in reporting the fault. The rust was noticed on a Sunday and the vehicle booked into Vikings within a week.

    Further the rust cannot be put down to lack of maintenance or environmental influences. The rear wings are corroding where water has penetrated the spot welded inner and outer panels, the corrosion being visible by blistering paint along the length of the join between the two panels. The front wings are also rusting from the inside of the arch outwards as a result of inadequate rust proofing within the arch, the corrosion being visible in the same manner. The above symptoms clearly suggest the rust coming from the inside out, and this has also been confirmed by an independent body shop.

    Even if this weren’t the case, the vehicle should not be corroding at all after less than 8 years in use, particularly an expensive, luxury vehicle as it is, as this would constitute the vehicle not being of “satisfactory quality” under section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

    In light of the above I expect the 4 wings to be repaired under the MobiloLife warranty. I look forward to a prompt and helpful response to this issue as I have thus far been disheartened by the way I have been dealt with by Mercedes-Benz customer services. This follows four years of very high levels of service from Vikings, and am rapidly losing my faith in what I thought was the best brand as far as vehicles were concerned.

    I therefore expect a response to this letter within 14 days after which time I will have no option but to take the matter further.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

    Messages:
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    Oct 14, 2011
    Car:
    CLK 320 Cab
    And their response...

    A phone call saying that basically they will not honour a claim as it has had some bodywork at some point in its 7yr life (what a surprise!!) promising a written response, which never came.

    I then sought legal advice (from my partner who is a barrister and has incidently has had professional dealings against MB before!), her response was that you will have to file against MB who will then defend themselves very agressively, if you loose you could be liable for their legal costs (which will likely run in to the thousands) and still have to repair the car.

    It was time to give up. In short the Mobilo-Life warranty is not worth the paper its written on!

    ALAS I've had a local (non-MB bodyshop, they wanted big money to sort the problem) look at it, he said the rust was easy to fix and that he has done lots of Cs Es and CLKs.

    His solution is to:

    1. Remove the wheels and arch liners
    2. Grind off loose paint and rust
    3. Paint as normal
    4. Waxoil up to the face of the wing
    5. Trim the arch liners to prevent them rubbing holes in the paint on the wings before refitting.

    It's going in on Monday for this which he reckons will stop it coming back. And the cost £300 as it han't crept round to the face of the wings yet, meaning costly panel painting isn't required.

    Let's see how it turns out...


    (rant over)
     
  3. ///ajd

    ///ajd Member

    Messages:
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    Mar 28, 2007
    Hi James

    Sorry to hear this - what build date (in 2003) is your W209?

    Good luck, let us know how good the fix is.

    James
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  4. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The 30 year Mobilo Life corrosion warranty covers rusting from the inside of the panel only. What you have is surface rust on the outside of the panels, a different case entirely which can be covered under goodwill, but never a certainty.

    If you want to find more rust, remove the plastic panel that sits behind the rear number plate & you will probably find the paint beneath on the boot lid itself is bubbling away nicely.

    Russ
     
  5. OP
    OP
    jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

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    From memory the build date was early September 03, was there a time the rust proofing improved?


    Where the rust is coming from is up for debate until the paint is off, one bodyshop said exactly what you have, another said the rear wings atleast were caused by moisture between the panels, we shall soon find out...

    In any case a well cared for 7-8 yr old £50k motor shouldn't be rusting!

    I thought my boot lid was plastic??? (those magnetic GB things don't stick)
     
  6. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mine is almost 3 years younger than yours and rusting in all the same places.

    The plastic part of the bootlid comes off & there is a normal metal boot lid beneath. Mine is rusting there too.

    Russ
     
  7. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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  8. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Ours is september 03 build and so far no sign of corrosion - having read this thread I have just had a look under the wings. If yours is september build it should be galvanised.
     
  9. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mercedes are known to 'wriggle' on the 30 year warranty wherever and whenever possible.

    i believe not many have managed a successful claim. Makes you wonder what the point of keeping MBSH after the 3 yr warranty is...
     
  10. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Nothing of what you say is a surprise to any of us.....you will not get anywhere without litigating and that is time consuming and without a guarantee of the result you are seeking. MB have been stone walling this for years. There have been a hand full of ''without prejudice'' settlements at the court room doors.....it is very frustrating and although you have to go through the niceties of trying to get some sense out of Customer Services you will get nowhere.
    Given that you have not owned the car from new and it is 8yrs. old you are unable to offer first hand evidence of the car's collision/damage/repair history.....you would, I think, have an uphill battle even through litigation.
    My advice is to take the pragmatic view, put your energies in to battles that are likely to be won, and pay a reputable body-shop to deal with the rust.
    Unacceptable I know but......

    Mic
     
  11. ///ajd

    ///ajd Member

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  12. OP
    OP
    jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

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    Car:
    CLK 320 Cab
    Fingers crossed it'll come back all cured then and not happen anywhere else!

    I know of several other Mercs with these problems now after speaking with friends family and colleagues, covering s, c, CL, clk and e classes.

    The s & e were owned from new and they had no luck either! The e story was quite funny though, after a refusal of a rust claim around a rear number plate on a '55 plate car in 2007 it was lightly rear-ended and needed a new bootlid - talk about luck!!

    Thanks for the advice. I will indeed be pragmatic, it's such a shame they all suffer in this way. I just want people thinking of buying a new or used Merc to go in with their eyes open.
     
  13. MicB

    MicB Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Informed opinion has it that the later part of the last decade onwards is better as regards rust prevention from the factories.

    Mic
     
  14. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    There is a misconception here. It is nothing to do with galvanising which is only done on the inside of the wings. The corrosion is on the outside and is due to insufficient thickness of paint from the factory. Hence, not covered by the 30 year warranty as the panels are not rusting from the inside out.

    Russ
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. CKLclive

    CKLclive Banned

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    Sorry to say that it wont work and thats all MB bodyshops do and thats why it comes back in a few months :(
     
  16. OP
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    jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

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    O oh! Surely if it's done properly and ground back to rust free metal it should be fine??

    They do it on wheeler dealers all the time!!
     
  17. CKLclive

    CKLclive Banned

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    Its no good just grinding paint and rust then priming
    and do not cut the splash panels back it wont gain a thing
    look at my threads on corrosion and treatment,

    How long would there warranty be ?
     
  18. OP
    OP
    jamesbroadley

    jamesbroadley New Member

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    CLK 320 Cab
    Any threads in particular? I've had a look at a few - it's just winding me up!! All these people with rust! MB need to sort it out!

    I'm not sure how long their warranty will be, they've a good reputation locally so I'd assume they'll be reasonable if it comes up again within a couple of years.

    Failing that, if it all goes wrong I might have to bring it up your way!
     
  19. CKLclive

    CKLclive Banned

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    Bodywork section .
    Project 1999 CLK
    DCP 5 year warranty
     
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  20. ///ajd

    ///ajd Member

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    Did I read right that someone with a CLK 3 years newer than 03 - i.e. a 2006 model - has got the same rust? From the small picture from poster RF06 the silver car looks pre-facelift, hence MY04 - is this right, and hence registered late, or is this another car?

    Didn't the galvanising help at all then?

    I am looking at 04/54 CLKs and assuming they are safe from rust and leaky radiators that trash the transmission......do I need to do more homework?
     

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