Daimler (incl. Mercedes Benz, Chrysler) based campers


Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from mechanics post since not VW related.

Westfalia (non VW facility) in Spain

devayana Junior Member # 1226 posted 06-19-2001 12:39 AM

Please, I live in Spain and have a Vito Mercedes Benz that I want to convert into a camping car. Can somebody tell me wher I can find a Westfalia representative here in Spain. Thanks

devayana@hotmail.com
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I can't help devayana in her search for a MBenz conversion shop, but it does provide a thread to bring back a post in the old Archives about MBenz based campers.

This is a personal experience and may or may not represent others with MBenz experiences.

My caution is NOT to consider a MBenz conversion, especially if there is any warranty involved. First, MBenz does not bring their vans into the US market, so anything would be a gray-market conversion and therefore subject to lack of parts and service.

Second, my experience with Daimler-Benz concludes their warranty isn't worth the gunpowder to blow to Hades. We custom ordered a new MBenz from an authorized dealer (the Admiral's '89 oil-burner). It was delivered damaged. From there, things went downhill. Although they repainted the vehcile, they did so poorly and to substandard specs. They were condescending and arrogant, accussing my wife of "not knowing how to take care of a car." (This is the lady that helps me with Sr. Grand National show winners!)

Subsequent events led to a lawsuit under Breach of Warranty and Violation of Lemon Law statutes. Daimler-Benz appealed to District Court, but still lost hands-down. In between they tried every sleazy trick in the ambulance-chasers handbook. Among the judges rulings were a couple of important precedents. MBenz was using substandard "repair" specs for new cars and violated the Lemon Law by trying to dictate which statute remedy applied even though the law specifically stated 'at owners option.' They were also found to have violated the time frame clauses of the statute and portions of the Federal US Code.

For these reasons I urge caution in any Daimler purchase, but particularly Euro or gray market conversions.

August 2001: It appears Daimler has not changed its stripes. As soon as they took over Chrysler, warranty and the extended warranty contract on my Dodge truck were no longer honored, and a new lawsuit against Daimler-Chrysler was filed August 28th. In this case they flat out told me, from Corporate Headquarters, that they would not honor the 7/100,000 mile CHRYSLER (not some off-brand dealer aftermarket plan) extended warranty and to go ahead and sue. We did; they lost hands down, scathing remarks from the judge's ruling and 100% refund.

Among the repairs refused are a sticking wide-open throttle (try that in the middle of rush-hour traffic) that has subsequently been ordered by NHTSA Federal Recall. And a cruise control that accelerates wildly -- as much as 20 mph.

So I guess I have to expand my cautions to any Daimler or Daimler-partner product: Chrylser, Plymouth, Dodge, Mitsubishi Hyundai or other marquees if a Daimler warranty is involved. Daimler-Chrysler is currently under a class-action suit in NC for selling flood-damaged vehicles without disclosure. It is indeed unfortunate that some automakers seem to have forgotten customer service in favor of rebates, deals, screaming ads and shyster tactics. "Winning" seems more important than "Right."

Makes restoring that old Westy even more appealing, huh?
 
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G

Guest

Guest
Hi all,

for those wishing to take a closer look at the MB Sprinter which is MB's answer to the VW LT series, go to www.sprintersavvy.com where it is being offered under the Freightliner badge.

cheers,

Peter

[4/5/07: Link inopeative.]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Here's an update on the Daimler-Chrysler lawsuit.

Box Score:
Soehnlein -- 2
Daimler/Chrysler/Benz -- 0

I think I've mentioned elsewhere on the site, probably in some past chat topics, about Round 2 of warranty battles with the Daimler conglomerate. When Daimler took over Chrysler, warranty and service contracts went out the window.

I had the "Bumper to Bumper, 7 year/ 100,000 mile" extended warranty on my Dodge truck. Some serious problems like stuck wide open throttle and a cruise control that would accelerate the vehicle 20 mph in cold weather. And a host of lesser problems. Things were OK when it was Chrylser, but when Daimler bought them out and it became Daimler-Chrysler, forget it.

The started not fixing things, refusing to write them up, and not even performing the bare minimum diagnostics per shop manual or even test drives. I finally wrote the President of Daimler-Chrysler. He had one of his hench-men (actually woman) call me and tell me they didn't honor those extended warranties -- that was a 'private dispute' between me and the dealer. Then she told me to go ahead and sue! Lady, wish granted.

After two rounds of legal manuevering, the 3rd trial date was the full thing. They didn't even bring a witness -- their lawyer spent most of his time trying to nit-pick the contract terms. Result, we won! I got a full refund of the entire service contract, $1850! The judge's comments were also a little scathing. He ruled the customer had bought a full contract, not just parts of it; that unsuccessful attempts to repair did not count; that it was obvious Chrysler refused to repair items that were known defective until ordered to do so by the Feds (mandatory recall on the stuck throttle) and that when they refused to fix an item, they couldn't then use my taking it to an independent as an excuse for further non-repair.

In a way, it was a circus. They produced no witnesses or evidence. They did try one suprise affidavit from a service manager at a dealership that never looked at the car, but that had already been covered during testimony. Their whole contention was that if they tried -- no matter how pitiful the attempt -- that was all they had to do. And if they hadn't fixed something by the time the original warranty ran out, then it was exempt under the extended warranty.

They spent way more on the lawyer than fixing the car would have cost. Then lost the entire Service Contract fee & court costs. Go figure.

This isn't my first round with Daimler. I had to sue them on my wife's then-new '89 Mercedes Benz (paint defect) and won that one hands-down on breach of warranty and violation of the NC Lemon Law. Spent thousands defending an $800 law-suit. Appealed it to district court, pulled every shyster legal trick in the handbook, and still lost. For a repair that finally cost $150. (A factory repaint had been put on too thick so scratched & hazed. Only needed curing time and buffing out.)

I can't figure it out. Honoring the warranty would have cost a few hundred dollars. The spend thousands, lost even more and now I won't every buy a Daimler product again and do tell all my friends. I know I've cost them several sales already.

Look, I love the Cummins turbo-deisel in my Dodge pickemup, but the Dodge side is a piece of crap. If something ever happens to my tow truck, my next will be a Ford with the Power Stroke Diesel V8. Don't like the engine as well but damned if I'll do business with a company whose warranty and contracts are no good.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Airstream Sprinter Westfalia (Dodge)

Benton Junior Member posted August 22, 2004 06:07 PM

Question from a want-to-be Westy owner. Been doing a lot of research on the web. Came across the Sprinter Westfalia that Airstream is making. It's obviously not the classic I had in mind, but it sure looks nice. Any thoughts?

tarmadilo Member posted August 22, 2004 06:42 PM

MSRP $82,674

Cough, cough!

Cheers, Tim

Benton Junior Member posted August 23, 2004 09:02 AM

Yup. Saw that. What do you think about the design?
 

apples

New member
hi all,
i'm new to all this so be patient. we have just bought a new westfalia mercedes marco polo and have with the documentation an english language handbook for the viano van but have only a german handbook for the westfalia converstion and as i said being new to it all find it daunting not being able to refer to the handbook for all those little queries new comer have. has anybody translated the westfalia book and does anybody knows if we can buy a translated version of it? we've tried a translation program on the pc but a straight translation makes no sense at all HELP
apples
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
MBenz has bought a controlling interest in Westfalia. Thus why any new VW campers will NOT be Westfalia. They had already gone to Winnebago for the 1993-2003 N. American conversions. It is unfortunate that Daimler-Chrysler is trying to capitalize on the Westfalia reputation. The Sprinter is a Dodge, with all the quality and warranty problems associated with that marque; some versions have a MBenz license engine. The conversion, though it may be a Westfalia design, is done by a 3rd party vendor. Unfortunately, this site does not have the resources to support non-VW products. The name of this site was registered & copyrighted over 10 years years ago when Westfalia was directly tied and associated to the Westfalia conversion of the VW van, their first design and primary production. Recognizing this, the site name has been changed to reflect we are "The VW Camping Van Site".

We welcome your comments and experiences with Daimler-Chrysler campers, but please, NO tech questions.
 

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