I Rolled the Dice….

Autozone had diagnosed my Check Engine Light (for free!)  as a faulty exhaust temperature sensor – an emissions thing.   Many said “Emissions?  I would just keep driving it.  Just ignore it.”  But how would I know if there weren’t other codes popping up if the light never went out?

Others said “It’s an easy fix!  Order the part online, and fix it yourself.”  Seriously?  I can barely change a fuse, let alone a temperature sensor.

And then there was the caution, “Don’t go to a dealer!  They will rob you blind!”  But really, what was I to do?  Shop around for a local trustworthy mechanic on my lunch hour in a town where I knew no one?

Finally, there was the consensus on which I decided to hedge my bet.   “It is covered under warranty.”   There was more than one View/Navion owner of my same model year who had this work covered by warranty.  It sounded like a gamble I was willing to take.

From the minute the Mercedes Henderson (suburb of Las Vegas) Service Rep approached me on the sales lot where I had to park to unhitch my dusty 1994 badly behaved, oil-peeing Tracker, I felt like someone who slinked up to the blackjack table wearing a holey tee-shirt, sitting across from a dealer with slicked black hair, a starched monogram shirt, and a crooked smirk that read “You can’t afford to play at my table.”

They would charge me $175 to run the diagnostic that Autozone had run for free.  But this would be applied toward the repair cost of $450, should I choose to double down.  And if my hunch was right, it would all be covered under warranty.

The "S-Class Cafe" waiting area.

The “S-Class Cafe” waiting area.

After a few hours wait and a free donut in the “S-Class Lounge,” my blackjack dealer came  out to deliver the news.  I would have been covered under warranty for the miles, were it not for the year make.  They were basing this decision on the year of the chassis, not the year the RV was put into service.

My choices were to fold at $175 or hold and appeal with Mercedes Customer Service.  This would take 24 hours.   So I paid my $175 fee and drove back out to Government Wash to await the answer.    Six hours later, I got the call.  My appeal had been denied.  Not because of the year model.  Not because of the cost.  The answer was what no Winnie View/Navion/Sprinter owner wants to hear…..”Take it up with Dodge.”

Daddy Dodge and Mama Mercedes divorced back in 2010.   Those of us who have Dodge-branded, Mercedes-manufactured Sprinters can often feel like the unwanted children of the divorce.  This is “Complaint Nbr 1” on the View/Sprinter forums, and I was now getting a dose of why…

I won’t belabor the details of my Mercedes Henderson experience beyond saying it was disappointing and frustrating — among the worst when I anticipated the best.  It started with everyone I encountered in the Service Center bad-mouthing Dodge.  I have been in customer service all my life for one of the world’s most respected service brands, and one thing we are taught is to never bad-mouth the competition.    It ended with them dragging and mangling my tow light cord the entire test drive, and turning over the all the dishes in my cabinet that have ridden undisturbed for over 10,000 miles.

I rolled the dice …and I lost. But at least I got rid of that pesky light!


I did find something to love in Henderson — diesel cheaper than gas!

I found a nice place to lick my wounds and mourn my losses, however.   I am not much of one for fancy RV Parks, but at times I have no choice due to needing hookups for work.  In Pahrump, Nevada, the cheapest place happened to be the fanciest place!  Lakeside Casino and RV Park was like living on a golf course!   My favorite clause in the rules was “Not responsible for water spots left on rigs from our sprinkler system.”  HAHA!!

To give some size perspective on this entrance sign, the lights beneath it are the Exxon Station.  ;-)

To give some size perspective on this entrance sign, the lights beneath it are the Exxon Station. 😉

IMG_2359The entire RV park is built around a lake with fountains in the middle.  There are kayaks, paddle boats, a pool, a hot tub, 3 laundry rooms, and the best part?   Full hook-ups for the PA price of $15 per night for all three nights!IMG_2358

The little Winnie was surrounded by big shiny rigs driven by white haired characters wearing white sox and golf attire, walking their mini-dogs on lush, thick grass that would make the boys from Augusta green with envy.IMG_2363

IMG_2356I have never been much of a fan of gambling destinations, though.  It feels like a desperate, unhappy place to me.  Not meaning to judge, as I know a lot of people really enjoy this sport.  But the gaunt faces and crumpled body language while sitting slumped on a stool, with one hand repeatedly pressing the “Play” button, while the other hand holds a watered-down drink and a cigarette just does not convey joy to me.  Maybe it was because my ex-husband loved the red eye to Vegas…

Regardless, the Lakeside Casino and RV Park was the perfect location to place my next wager…Would I have the guts to gamble on Death Valley this late in the season?

8 thoughts on “I Rolled the Dice….

  1. What a bummer of an experience! Thank goodness the rig is driveable …I hope your light cord is an easy fix.

    If you hadn’t posted the photo I don’t know if I would have believed a claim of diesel less than gas! We’re heading for NV in a few days, with any luck that will be the case all over the state!!! (Wishful thinking, I know!)

  2. Wow, that’s got to be the nicest $15/night PA campground I’ve EVER seen!!! I’m going to make it a point to stay there when I come out west! My friend Terry has raved about it for years, but she never posted pics of the gorgeous Hot Tub/Pool and GREEN grass! You sure did need that oasis after your experience in Henderson. Such a shame your first Mercedes service experience had to be such a trauma. The 2 MB dealers I’ve been to so far have been superb and much better than Dodge, so hopefully you’ll give MB another chance somewhere else (of course, that day will be way ahead in the future as your Winnie will run flawlessly for the foreseeable future!)

  3. Well I’m glad you named the jerk dealership. What a bummer. I think our code reader erases the light for us. It wasn’t that expensive and might save you another $175. No way you can call the warranty company and SERIOUSLY complain as high up as you can get about this divorce crap? Glad it ended well though. What a great spot to rest your weary bones. Sure you don’t want to risk getting your money back????

  4. Well you might not be able to change a fuse but you certainly can write a great blog! I’m having a glass of vino blanco on your behalf to ease your sorrows. That way you don’t have to pay for any wine.

  5. I’m not sure – did the problem get FIXED for your $175? And it’s not your problem Mercedes and Dodge split up – if it’s still under warranty someone should pay for it. Write one REALLY GOOD LETTER and cc everyone you can think of.

    (Although I think if it’s a year/mileage warranty, whichever comes first is what they use. Of course. So it may really not be under warranty?)

    When I bought The Palms on 4/1/11, it had around 8,555 miles, but it’s an ’06 so it was already five years old. I knew there were no warranties that would carry over to me after five years. 🙁

  6. We had a Merc car once and I can sympathise with the warning lights, ours used to flash and bleep, which is disconcerting at motorway speeds. Every time this happened you had to refer to the handbook. Yes Merc main dealers are very expensive, but on the road what can you do? A piece of black tape over the flashing light??

  7. Lisa — I saw it again yesterday! Six cents cheaper than gas! YEAH, our time has come! 😉

    BC Mark — now THAT was a missed opportunity for a blog post title if I ever saw one. Darn!!

    Lynne — From your lips to God’s ears!

    Sherry — I asked Autozone about making the light go out, but they said they can’t do that when it is emissions. “It’s the law.” 😉 But at least they were able to give me the peace of mind that it was okay to keep driving. But I am ordering me one of those gauges!

    Contessa — Igualmente, mi amiga! You made me laugh out loud on that one. I think I need to chill me a bottle of vino blanco and join you!

    Barb — the $175 was just to read the code. My total “fix it” bill was $450. I am not sore about the money, I am sore about the service, and how they kept pointing a finger at Dodge for everything. I have always used Dodge for my service back in TX, and they never bad mouth Mercedes. In fact, my Dodge service center in Corsicana, TX even gives me a free rig wash every time I go in! 😉

    Dave — I did consider the old “duct tape fixes everything” rule, but I was afraid something worse might pop up later if I didn’t clear the code…It’s gone now, hopefully not to return! Thanks for following from across the pond!

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