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Garage Recommendations / Warnings
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neil
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:28 pm    Post subject: Garage Recommendations / Warnings Reply with quote

Ok this subject has come and gone on the forum for quite sometime so I thought we'd have a specific place to recommend or warn people where they should take their precious ALPINAs.

Please make it constructive so

Arrow ALPINA knowledge - did they know what one was, know about the model, know about the ethos etc.
Arrow Welcome given - how you as the owner was treated
Arrow Problem solving - if you took your car with a problem did they: know the issue immediately, diagnosed it efficiently, didn't have a clue, you had to take it back numerous times
Arrow Costs - how much, did you feel ripped off, felt fine etc.
Arrow Bonuses - valeted the car, free stuff, courtesy car etc.
Arrow Where ? People often ask for garages in certain areas of the country

if I've left something out - please add it anyway
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Charles
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

North Oxford BMW
01865 319000
Grahem Livesey - Service Manager
Colin, Gavin, Steve, Sandra & Scott - Service Team


Alpina Knowledge - they fully understand about what make Alpina's special and at least one of their service technicians is Alpina trained.

Follow up on 24/3/06 - I was wrong about the training, but had a long conversation with Grahem this morning and he is planning to arrange for a couple of their technicians to go to Buchloe and get properly trained up. He is very keen to offer a specialist Alpina service team (but at normal prices)

Welcome Given - Always friendly and caring (but mention my name if in doubt)

Problem Solving - Got it right first time most occasions, the only times it has taken longer is when the problem is occasional (to be expected)

Costs - I have always paid very keen prices and have NEVER been charged an "M" car premium for work done

Bonuses - the car gets washed and vacuumed, they have loan cars at 20 for the day and the resident coffee god is called Zu and he makes the most brilliant Latte

Where - Oxford, just off the A34 at the Peartree roundabout

Final comments - I have used them for 3 years with my B3S and 7 years prior to that with my 3 series. I have never had a problem with them and would recommend them unconditionally

Rating (out of 5) - 6 stars
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sward
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rydale Central in Birmingham. I recommend them highly for BMW and Alpina servicing. I have used them for years having owned various BMWs, and always found them good. I've only had an Alpina for the last 2 years but their standards remain high, and there are no problems apart from the fact that their computer can't find Alpinas when you book the car in, so they have to create the entry manually.
To answer using Neil's headings:
ALPINA knowledge -
The service staff I have dealt with have always been interested that I have an Alpina, and knowledgeable about the 3.3 engine and its particular needs. They make me feel as though they are keen to service such a car, rather than that it is just another car. Rydale are not an "Alpina dealer" as such, but they know what they are doing, and take care of my car.
Welcome given -
Always cheerful and polite.
Problem solving -
They make problems seem as though they aren't problems. To be fair, I haven't had many, unlike Charles, but whenever I have had a fault on any of my cars they have found it and fixed it straight away.
Costs -
Always fair. See my breakdown of costs under the Alpina Costs section of the forum. They give a discount for 4+ and 6+ on parts and labour, to encourage you to stay in the dealer network. Works for me!
Bonuses -
This time, they cleaned the car and vacuumed the front, though not the back! Still it was nice to get the car back cleaner than when it went in. Sometimes, like if you just have an oil service and the car is pretty clean, they ask if I would like them to clean it, but today they just did it.
Where ?
Birmingham city centre. 20 Parade, Summerhill, Birmingham B1 3QJ. Tel 0121 234 6000

By way of comparison, I have a Smart car, which is (was!) serviced by Mercedes Benz Birmingham.
They may treat "proper" Mercedes customers with some respect, and service their cars with some skill, perhaps, but neither of those descriptions could apply to the time I took my Smart there for a service. But that's another story, and it's on another website!

Regards
Simon
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JEP700



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Location: Berkshire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:18 pm    Post subject: Sytner in Chigwell (or not so well) Reply with quote

Well, all I can say is I am very dissapointed.


ALPINA knowledge - did they know what one was, know about the model, know about the ethos etc.
They did not really know what was different and treated my B3S like a normal 330ci! After speaking to them about the oil and tyre pressures, it struck me as they did not have a clue !

Welcome given - how you as the owner was treated
Very well - very polite and professional. My Wifes friend works at the Mini Franchise next door, so this is how I got to know where they were. It was very convenient next to Debden Station on the Central Line - easy to get into the city for work. I specifically took my car from Berkshire across London to be serviced at Sytner thinking that their knowledge of Aplinas would be better - which I now know was a big mistake.

Problem solving - if you took your car with a problem did they: know the issue immediately, diagnosed it efficiently, didn't have a clue, you had to take it back numerous times
No problems mechanically when it went in. Because of their ignorance about the type of Oil to use, I have found myself with some Mobil-1 0W 40 crap in my engine rather than the Castrol Edge 0W - 30. I have ordered some from Opie Oils which should be delivered Friday and I will get the car up on my friends ramp and change it myself on Saturday (They did offer to do this, but I cannot be bothered to let them loose on my car again)

I did have a quote for some body work to be done, but in light of this dealerships inability to get the basics such as oil right, I will not let them anywhere near my car in future.

Costs - how much, did you feel ripped off, felt fine etc.
MOT
Front Brake Pads
Replacement Front Windscreen
Oil Service
Approx 880

Was extreemly pissed with the attitude of the supposed Head Technician who said the oil they used was fine and the correct viscosity, despite the Castrol Sticker on the front of the engine bay with the details of what I had said.

Got no discount despite of my dissatifaction, so felt ripped off with just getting the normal BMW service and Oil.

Bonuses - valeted the car, free stuff, courtesy car etc.
The car did come back nice and clean. They did a good job with this.


Where ? People often ask for garages in certain areas of the country

Sytner chigwell
Langsten Road
Loughton
Essex
IG10 3UE

I would include a link to a map, but quite frankly I would rather people avoid this one until the 'Head Technician' learns about the correct oils for an Aplina or at least how to read stickers in the engine compartment and communicate with their customers about any deviation in the service they perform.

I bought the car in Sytner in Harold Wood. I might give them a go next time, unless someone else can recommend a good garage nearby.
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hythe
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sytner Chigwell were the people that Sytner Nottingham recommended to service my car the next time it's needed, now that they no longer have a presence in Central London. The whole Sytner setup is a total joke, if you ask me.
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Charles
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a run up to Oxford, enjoy a wonderful coffee with me and then I'll chat up the sales team and find some fun things to play with whilst you are waiting for your car Very Happy

Hell of a deal in my book Very Happy
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JEP700



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:22 pm    Post subject: Oil Change DIY style Reply with quote

I think I may well take you up on that offer Charles!
Oxford would just be a 45 min drive up the A34 from me... is there a mainline station nearby to get into London ?

Does anyone know of a good valeters ? My Leather needs a good clean and the overmats have some marks I would like cleaning out...

Just to summerise what I did this Saturday -
We did the Oil change this Saturday, and my Cousin who is a Mercedes Mechanic who I took it too told me something a little worrying, and while changing the oil I saw what he meant.

Most main dealers use a device to extract the oil via the dip stick tube, sucking the oil out. This saves time, but after speaking with the Mecedes mechanics, they explained that the device only goes in so far, and leaves an amount of the oil in the sump.

When we changed the oil filter (replaced the paper BMW one with the same brand who supply BMW - purchased from Eurocarparts www.eurocarparts.com for 4.05 instead of the 6+ quoted from the main dealer) the filter was starting to blacken already - it looked like it had not been changed to me, but I was assured it was but it was just all the crap in the sump from the old oil which was left from the main dealer oil change....

We loosened the sump bolt (which I was told looked like it had never been undone since the car was new) and the first 1/2 litre of oil that came out was thick black and then was clearly followed by the 6 litres of a lighter Mobil-1 Oil which had done approx 300 miles.

We then replaced the filter with a good/better quality (and cheaper) one, filled with approx 6.5 litres of Castrol Edge 0W-30 and the old girl is back to her old self.... The engine sounds like it wants to go for it, and when you blip the accelarator you get that near instant crisp response again.

I followed the instructions (did not need to really as my cousin knew exactly what to do) on http://www.my330i.com/lof.php It even tells you how to reset the service indicators at the bottom of the article - this may be useful for others who want to do an oil change the old fashioned way... ie Properly ! Rolling Eyes

So, me and my Alpina are are happy once again Very Happy

So the moral of this little story is - you don't always get what you pay for!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for going OT but I feel this is a really important point which many people won't appreciate.

I was chatting to my old school BM mechanic last week who explained the dipstick sucker method of oil changes being used by the main dealers now. We both agreed that this was not an acceptable way of doing things because any crap / metal filings etc will be left in the sump.

It's bad enough paying dealer servicing rates without them taking basic shortcuts like this. Mad
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alpina46
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree thats a p155 poor way to change the oil Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more reason to go to an independent for servicing.

Having just gone to the trouble of getting a missing stamp put in my service book, I have to wonder whether I needed to bother when I don't really want BMW to touch it again. I guess I'm just keeping my options open until I have to decide how much the up side of further Sytner stamps (or other BMW stamps) in the book will be worth against the down side of poor servicing at higher cost.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Garage Recommendations / Warnings Reply with quote

Thought I'd add my tuppence for Munich Legends. They seem to be a bit of marmite type - I've read those who swear blind by them, and those who wouldn't trust them with anything with more mechanical parts than a Raleigh Grifter. Myself, I sit firmly in the former camp.

ALPINA knowledge

Faultless - not quite as anorak-prone as they are on E30 M3s and older pre-90s BMWs. But they certainly know the E46 B3 well enough, and that's good enough for me.

Welcome given - how you as the owner was treated

Again, faultless - always pleased to see you, always got decent coffee on the boil, and always happy to gas on for hours about BMWs, Alpinas, ///M cars, motorsport, Nurburgring

Problem solving

An odd one this - the 328i they looked after for 70K miles without hitch, but then it didn't develop any odd problems, and just needed servicing.

However, the B3 has proved to be a little more troublesome since I bought it, and so far they've found and fixed everything I've described when taking the car in and saying 'yeah, it's making a sort of whirring noise when I etc etc'

To their credit, I'm extremely technical and much of the time I play the deliberate technical-dunce to see if I can catch them out - so far so good


Costs - how much, did you feel ripped off, felt fine etc.

Recent B3 cost;

Insp 1 + pollen filter & plugs
Diff Oil Change
Brake Fluid Change
Coolant Change
Replace Thermostat
Replace aux drive belt
Investigate and fix faulty exhaust noise flap

Total 8hrs work + parts & inc VAT

635

So, they're not the cheapest Indy on the planet, but the work is always completed to a good standard, and I can trust the car with them - which is more to be said for most main dealers.

Word of caution, they have an aircraft maintenance type philosphy - i.e. if it looks even slightly worn then it needs changing. I managed to get 50K miles out of the 328's brakes despite Munichs condemming them as knackered. I don't think this is malicious, I think Barney simply applies his perfectionist streak to everything, and also takes the view that we all drive like he does (i.e. like a madman)

Bonuses - valeted the car, free stuff, courtesy car etc.

I won't let them valet the car, and they're always accomodating of some of the more picky points I raise (don't touch the screenwash, don't touch the tyre pressures etc)

The free courtesy cars are either appalling, or a right hoot depending on your natural outlook on life. Don't expect a shiney new 1er to blat around in though.

Free stuff - if Mark is bored and you're a regular, you can normally blag a test drive in one of the many stunning machines knocking about. There's always plenty to look at from 70s CSLs to ex-works Italian TCC Ravaglia M3s and everything in between.

Where ? People often ask for garages in certain areas of the country

Chelwood Gate, East Sussex - about 8 miles from Gatwick, tucked away in Ashdown Forest behind East Grinstead.

Conclusion

Well worth the trip and extra wedge when compared to other Indys. Lots to look at and the stamps tend to be viewed well amongst the BMW community.

4.5 stars out of 5 - loses 1/2 star for the courtesy vehicles (but I find the cars brilliant)
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Charles
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just (briefly) picking up on the "oil suck" method - I was at my dealer this morning and spoke to them about it.

Apparently recent engines (broadly speaking E46, E60, E90 etc) have been designed with the oil filler tube reaching all the way to the bottom of the sump (bar less than a centimetre). The sucking tube (for want of a better description) fits all the way down and sucks right from the bottom of the sump - assuming it has been properly inserted.

When North Oxford first came across this they were sceptical and so "sucked" a car and then removed the sump plug. They had barely two or three drops left.

Apparently, the benefit of this approach is that it reduces service times (and hence labour costs). Also, their view was that modern synthetic oils shouldn't generate sludge anyway.

I guess the moral of this story is that it depends on how "fully inserted" the "sucking tube" is into the receiving orifice before the mechanic starts the "sucking process" - I'm trying to keep a straight face here - as well as the selection of the right size of tube used for insertion in the first place.
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Charles
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil Change DIY style Reply with quote

JEP700 wrote:
I think I may well take you up on that offer Charles!
Oxford would just be a 45 min drive up the A34 from me... is there a mainline station nearby to get into London ?


Oxford Station has regular trains to London every 15 minutes or so taking about an hour.

The station is a short cab ride from the dealership - or they may even run you down there.

Quote:
Does anyone know of a good valeters ? My Leather needs a good clean and the overmats have some marks I would like cleaning out...


They also have a wizard at repairs and valeting who uses some magic juice that even cleans yellowing suncream marks from beige leather...

Talk to them about it
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Robertb
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I won't dare ask how you got suncream on your leather...
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Charles
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robertb wrote:
I won't dare ask how you got suncream on your leather...


Several small children in shorts in the summer going to school having just bathed in suncream because the PC police at the school insist that they won't accept the child unless so doused.
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