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dculberson UltimaDork
12/17/18 11:23 a.m.

Well, I went and did a thing:

I spaced out on bidding on this - I meant to pre-bid around $2000 but forgot. Then, the day of the auction, I had the auction open on my laptop and kept checking on it but had two kids to take care of and feed. I checked prior to lunch, they were on item 107. Car was item 3200 or something. Check in the middle of lunch, they're on item 3205. DANGIT! It went for $1300. Well, crap.

Two days later, I get an email. "Status has changed on this item." Interesting.

Next day, "IAA Buy Now on watched vehicle(s)." I click on it and $1800 is the price. SOOOOLD. We'll get into details and motivations later, but for now, I have a badly wrecked modern Mercedes bought and paid for and need to figure out how to get it to my house without spending too too much of my time and money getting it there.

cdowd Dork
12/17/18 3:27 p.m.

I think that will buff out.  seriously i think you did well on that.

wae SuperDork
12/17/18 3:31 p.m.

Following this with great interest!

dculberson UltimaDork
12/17/18 3:46 p.m.

Tow is scheduled; $62 and the towing company takes care of the authorization at the IAA offices and then goes to the offsite storage lot and picks it up then tows it to my house 12 miles away. Seems like almost as good of a deal as the purchase of the car itself. The car should be at my house Wednesday, then the fun can begin!

Also, the windshield says "NO KEY" but the pictures show a key and the text says the key and fob are present. I'm not out of luck if there's no key, but I'll certainly do a lot better if there is one.

underpowered Reader
12/17/18 9:36 p.m.

Fixing or parting out (like the thread title)?  Rwd or Awd?  How much do you know about these?

Jay_W Dork
12/18/18 1:12 a.m.

My bride's 2011 c300 4matic that she got CPO at 28k miles has been hands down the most atomic bomb proof dead nuts reliable car I have ever been around. Or heard of. It has needed tires and oilchanges in 5 years and the only crap it has evere offered up is a back window sunshade that sometimes rattles a bit when retracted. Although I hain't heard even that issue in ages. I hope you bring it back and do well with it..

dculberson UltimaDork
12/18/18 1:57 a.m.

In reply to underpowered :

Parting out, and I know nothing about them other than they’re cars and what parts sell and for how much on eBay. I really am looking forward to learning more!! Oh and I believe it’s awd.

@Jay_W: awesome! This one is really hurt, so I don’t think it’s worth fixing. However, I have given serious thought to buying another to drive. I even found a 6-speed manual sedan but I hemmed and hawed too long and it sold. I really need a wagon given how many boxes I haul so it might end up needing to be an e class. (Didn’t they stop making the c class wagon?)

dculberson UltimaDork
12/19/18 8:06 p.m.

E36 M3 just got a whole lot more real:

It's a really heavy hit, but I knew that. I need to shop-vac the interior to get rid of broken glass. Despite the damage, the doors still open and close easily and solidly. Mercedes!! The tow truck driver got it about 80% into the garage bay which was super nice of him. It offset the huge skid mark he left alongside the driveway - he dropped the front left wheel into the grass on the steep part of my driveway which made it lock up and drag about 80' of grass right off the top so now I have a nice long flat muddy spot in my yard. No big deal, it was kind of funny.

I'll get some more pics and details soon. Can't sit down long enough to gather my thoughts here.

OHSCrifle SuperDork
12/19/18 9:00 p.m.

Did it end up having a key or no key?

dculberson UltimaDork
12/19/18 9:32 p.m.

In reply to OHSCrifle :

Oh man, believe it or not I forgot to check. I'll check in the morning.

dculberson UltimaDork
12/20/18 8:52 a.m.

It has a key! Well, as much of a key as these weird computers with wheels have. It's a plastic box with buttons that connects to the dash.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
12/20/18 8:56 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

So crayon message on windshield should have said "No key, but comes with a plastic box with buttons that connects to the dash?"

2002maniac Dork
12/20/18 4:16 p.m.

Very nice!  I'm interested to see what the low hanging fruit is.  

What do you suppose you'll list for sale first?

dculberson UltimaDork
4/2/19 11:53 a.m.

Sorry I've been terrible about updating this. Between kids, house, cars, winter colds, etc, I've been feeling a bit beyond overloaded. Spring is here and brings with it excessive optimism. This part-out was planned to be a fast, high dollar deal with the car stripped and gone inside of a month or two and all the parts listed on eBay as I went. Nearing four months later and much of the car is still in one piece. Motivation is way harder to come by (a) when it's cold, and (b) when you're doing something for money instead of just fun.

My plan was / still is to try parting out a few cars for money and use the money to fund home improvements. The idea being, I can part out cars in the evening when it's not practical to be doing noisy construction projects on the house, and I might be able to make more money parting cars than the comparable amount of work on the house would cost me. Well, so far I've been terrible about making time to work on tearing the car apart, but then again I've been not great about working on the house either, so maybe it's working out as expected just more slowly.

One thing I've discovered is that even tearing apart a modern Mercedes is not easy. Fasteners are buried, they use so many different types and sizes of fasteners it's ridiculous, and they have special tools for a lot of things. So far in my work, I've used more sizes of sockets than I've ever used just tearing apart a car, I've used e-torx, torx, metric hex, 12-point, passthrough sockets, and even bought a special Mercedes "instrument panel removal" tool. It's trying, and I may not continue with the Mercedes idea unless things get a bit smoother.

I had a quick brush with selling the whole car, and was ready to accept the guy's offer, but he realized that many of the parts he needed would not fit his car. Instead he bought all four doors. I gave him a big discount in order to gain some momentum, but it was still $500 which is great. All four doors had at least some cosmetic damage, and one window was broken. Most of the value for me was in the components of the doors. I may have been able to get about $1200 out of them separately, but he picked these up and got them out of here without shipping which is worth something to me.

On top of the doors, I've sold the radio amplifier, the one mostly good headlight (had one broken tab), washer bottle, the one good hood hinge, the hood struts, trunk floor / carpet, the trunk mounted fuse panel, spare tire, driver's front hub, suspension, lower control arms, axle, and the accessory belt tensioner. Total take so far is $1,555. Still under what I paid but it's getting close and I have lots left to sell. I have $1500 or so worth of parts already pulled and on eBay.

Workflow wise, after the kids are in bed and the house is cleaned up, I spend an hour or two pulling parts. As I pull them, I take photos of them and put them on my dedicated Mercedes parts shelves. Set up just for this part-out:

Then in the next day or two I instead spend my evening posting the parts for sale on eBay. If there are orders, I spend my evening packing and shipping the items and then get to pulling a few parts. I've not spent much time at it yet, as discussed the motivation is sorely lacking. But this is what's left of the car at this stage:

I need to step up my game. With the warmer weather, I really am feeling more hopeful that things will move faster. Plus as momentum builds from more and more sales I've been feeling a bit more encouraged. I need to get more high dollar parts up - set some goals. I want to get the exhaust and rear end pulled - those are a couple big dollar things - but the access to the catalytic converter bolts is pretty bad. I need to get rougher with the thing - the shell is going away at the end anyway so why not bash it out of the way? Old habits die hard, though, and I find myself being gentle on things I don't need to protect.

Purchase price with fees: $2,428 (ouch, those fees)
Towing: $62
eBay fees: $90.50
Total cost so far: $2,580.50

Parts sales: $1,555.00

Net so far: $-1,025.50

So although it's negative, I feel like positive territory is coming fast. I think every project has a "dark days" episode, and I'm hopeful that it's in the past for this one. We shall see!

STM317 UltraDork
4/2/19 12:19 p.m.

I missed this thread last fall. Glad to see you're back at it!

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
4/2/19 1:14 p.m.

Stay positive!  Good luck!

volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
4/2/19 1:39 p.m.

I've done this with a few older cars, never anything this new.  Figuring out the sweet spot for type of car/ buy-in price/ what can be sold lucratively seems like a constantly changing puzzle.  Plus computers scare me.  

dculberson UltimaDork
4/2/19 3:42 p.m.

Some important lessons learned so far:

1) Pull the doors BEFORE putting it up on the lift. It is so, so much easier with enough room to open the doors all the way. Plus then the doors are out of your way when getting in and out and pulling parts.

2) Pull the power seats BEFORE disabling the car. You have to move them around to get to the bolts, and it's much easier when moving them just involves turning the key.

3) Have two people on hand when pulling big body panels like the hood and trunk. They're aluminum on these new fangled cars, and aluminum body panels are very delicate.

wae SuperDork
4/2/19 5:14 p.m.

I was actually trying to find this thread the other day to see how you're getting along.  I'm getting ready to start on my Mercedes, so I'm going to be blatantly stealing your lessons!

Have you had to deal with any eBay returns yet?

wheelsmithy SuperDork
4/2/19 6:23 p.m.

This, I like


dculberson UltimaDork
4/2/19 8:53 p.m.
wae said:

Have you had to deal with any eBay returns yet?

Definitely use my lessons, I hope to be a good and bad example for people.

I have had to deal with some returns. One just about gave me a heart attack - the buyer said the item didn't fit and I accepted the return and they shipped a junkyard part back to me! It was a $90 part, the SAM module / fuse panel from the trunk, and I was pissed and assumed I was getting scammed. I sent a clear message to the buyer with a bunch of pictures of the return and said it didn't match what I sent and you could clearly see that from the listing photos. Well, it turned out the buyer just chose the wrong listing to return - my part did fit and this should've gone to someone else. What a relief when everything worked out. I even shipped him back the part and he paypaled me money for the shipping. Phew!!!

I've had one other item get damaged in shipping, a non-car part shipped using the international shipping program, and eBay refunded the buyer's money but let me keep mine. That was another sweaty few days when I worried they were going to take my money when I definitely packed the thing well.

The only actual return that got returned in the last year or so was an MR2 part. The buyer bought the engine lid latch and ended up not having the cable in place so decided to go with hood pins. Not my problem, but I accepted the return and reposted it and resold it to someone else. I actually got more money for it because I threw in the cable and release lever. (Offered cable to original buyer for free but they passed.)

Oh yeah, I had a cheap ($25?) part disappear off someone's porch. It was shown as delivered but they never got it. I refunded them. FedEx wouldn't pay the claim, since they showed it as delivered. Oh well, thankfully it was a cheap item.

I had another non-car item not work when the buyer got it, and I just refunded their money and had them keep it. That was $55 gone, but I also couldn't get it to work and assumed it was my compatibility problem - turns out the access cards just sucked. The buyer was very gracious about it.

Less than $100 in actual refunded money last year, and ~$11k in sales? No problem.

pheller UltimaDork
4/2/19 11:47 p.m.
dculberson said:
actual refunded money last year, and ~$11k in sales? No problem.

Wait you've made $9,000 on this Mercedes? 

wae SuperDork
4/3/19 7:47 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

That doesn't seem bad at all.  I have a guy right now who is in the return process... His claim is that it's defective or broken but it's just that I took the shifter handle off to protect it in shipping. It's a simple matter of sliding it back on and reinstalling the set screw (which I included).  I think we're okay but what I found strange is that eBay automatically accepted the return on my behalf.  Did I miss something when I was setting up the listing to prevent that? Or is that just part of the game?

Appleseed MegaDork
4/3/19 11:57 a.m.
pheller said:
dculberson said:
actual refunded money last year, and ~$11k in sales? No problem.

Wait you've made $9,000 on this Mercedes? 

I think he means the grand total of selling stuff. MR2, Mercedes, non-car junk, etc...

dculberson UltimaDork
4/3/19 12:51 p.m.

Appleseed has it right. $11k in total eBay sales in the last 12 months - of all kinds not just Mercedes sales. I wish!!

@wae: do you have your listings as accepting returns? If so then if the buyer chooses the correct option it will automatically accept it for you since you’ve said in advance that you’re ok with returns. I have mine set to no returns. In any case if the buyer claims the item is “not as described” then eBay will open a return case but I think usually give you a heads up and a chance to discuss it before accepting the return. But if the buyer is a jerk they’re gonna get that return approved no matter what. Fortunately the ratio of bad to good is still reasonable as long as you can get over the occasional jerk. 

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