While driving the car suddenly developed a clunk in the rear and the handling became very erratic and required steering right to continue going straight. Got it home and put car up on jack stands and removed wheels to discover that the rear subframe had rusted and failed at the weld where the bracket for the passenger side thrust arm was supposed to be. Instead the arm was lying useless against the underbody shield. If it weren’t for the other four links holding the wheel hub on, the car could have steered me into oncoming traffic before I could react. So far I have not been able to get any acknowledgement from MBUSA or NHTSA that this is an issue. According to NHTSA this is a serious issue when it occurs in other makes so I don’t know what makes MBUSA so special to avoid a recall here in the US.
A 13 year old car with rust, in a city the uses road salt, imagine that!
I agree. After 13 years in a hostile environment things like this can and do happen. I doubt you can blame Mercedes. You can try, of course, but in my experience (limited but it worked for me) there are welders who make a decent living fixing rusted out vehicles in places like St. Paul. Start asking at local repair shops, especially places that work on older trucks. People put a lot more effort into saving old trucks.
If the sub-frame rust is extensive, and not just that one spot, your best bet is to retire the vehicle.
As far as your theory that MB is legally responsible to repair this for you gratis, I don’t think so. It’s an older car after all. Older cars rust. Some more than others. No harm asking of course. You might do some research on rusted frames on older Toyota trucks, and how or if that was ever resolved. That’s been a discussion here before.
I think you should get it repaired now. While you wait for the repair, contact MBUSA if you like, but don’t count on them seeing things your way.
save your receipts. if there is a recall in the future you can be reimbursed.
I would be amazed if MB covers any of the cost. Have you done a search on this problem?
Before I spent a dollar on any repairs I’d get it inspected by a good mechanic. There could be extensive rust making repairs uneconomic.
I had the following cars successfully repaired by professional welders. 69 Dodge Dart right front unibody behind the wheel. The shop said they saw a lot of those, removed the wheel and suspension parts and fixed it up. 79 Pontiac Lemans frame in both rear wheel wells, the shop said they saw a lot of those, they asked that I bring the car in with as little gas as possible to make it easy for them to take the tank off to weld in the area. Again a nice job. Sons 98 Jeep Wrangler, lots of rot all over, this was expensive as most of the frame required work, but a pro was able to do it.
Unless you are very lucky you are on the hook to repair this 13 year old car. A professional welder can look at it and determine if they can fix it or not. My guess is that as long as there are other solid structural parts you can get this fixed. But if you live in the rust belt and everything is rotted through you may be looking at retiring this car