Warning re: Kollmar Sprinter techs ~SEATAC area

erutan

2007 144" High Roof 2500
tl;dr, over $400 for a drain pan dump transmission fluid/filter change that left me with half cooked fluid, will have intermittent issues until next (not 60k miles in the future) change.

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I was up in WA and Vancouver BC and ended up taking a few side trips, ended up a few hundred miles over my 120k and decided not to drive all the way down to the Bay Area before getting my transmission fluid/filter change.

Ended up paying a little over $400 at https://www.yelp.com/biz/kollmar-sprinter-and-fleet-solutions-kent as I figured Transmission wasn't something I wanted done at a generic shop and the dealerships were overbooked and I'm a bit hesitant of them anyways. It felt like a bit much ($30 for a harness part added on??) but whatever, it's something I'd rather have done right.

Around a thousand miles and a week and a half later the van jolted when I started it and put into drive, check engine light was on and it wouldn't shift up past first gear - luckily I was in a town, albeit a small one on a Sunday, and got the right guy at the local garage attached to a Chevron. I had done a bit of googling before this, scan codes showed the 1-2/4-5 Solenoid not responding, I mentioned it kicked a little less mid-day and figured maybe fluid levels were the issue. He popped it open and it was full to the pipe, but it smelled cooked to him. I had recalled seeing 4 quarts of fluid on the receipt - turns out I had just payed for a dump and had half of my old transmission fluid in. His guess was that the poking around he did dislodged crud in the solenoid, reset the code and it's working fine (for now).

Sounds just like https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showpost.php?p=432072&postcount=2

I feel for what I paid I shouldn't be worrying about intermittent mechanical failure (tap the pan if it occurs again) or shelling out for a proper fluid change soon. :/ Not to mention paying for the time to diagnose and worrying about driving > 130 miles at 25MPH to get my transmission repaired/fixed at a proper sprinter shop.
 
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revmike4242

New member
My personal experience with Kollmar was much different. I found them to be very thorough and professional.

While traveling through the Seattle area in early August of 2016, I experienced difficulty with my 2008 Sprinter 2500 transmission not shifting properly.

I did my usual internet research and found Kollmar to be the only shop in the area that seem to have experience with Sprinters. I was a bit leary based upon the review posted here by erutan, but there were many other good reviews on Yelp and Google so I limped the van over to Kollmar.

We arrived before they were open where we found the shop and parking lot was full of sprinters, which gave me a bit more confidence.

When I spoke with the techs they were very knowledgeable and everything they said agreed with the information I had found on the internet and my own knowledge.

They not only fixed the problem quickly, and reasonably, but were able to correct another issue that the last 3 mechanics I visited were unable to properly diagnose.

Based upon my visit, I would say Kollmar is an excellent sprinter repair facility.
 

erutan

2007 144" High Roof 2500
Sorry for the late response, I was afk for most of the summer and assumed I'd get some notification for a reply.

I talked to the owner on the phone, who said that they don't do full transmission flushes for customers they don't know because the alkalinity difference might cause the transmission to lockup once it's moved from neutral to park. Alkalinity changes are a real thing, but you think they would at least communicate this before charging over $400 and since my vehicle was fleet maintained they could have checked the service records before this (his excuse after the fact felt a bit lame, it's bad so we don't do it, well we do it for regulars, we don't know your vehicle so we didn't do it for you). The harness part add-on was legitimate, something with o-rings that occasionally go bad.

I was offered one hour of tech time to have them take a look at it - I haven't been back in the area (will be there in ~2 months) and the transmission hasn't locked up since so it hasn't been a priority, but it's frustrating.

Most people seem happy with them, but I feel they don't really pay attention to people passing through as much as their regulars perhaps.
 

erutan

2007 144" High Roof 2500
Again necroing this, but I went in again a while back because it was time for 10k and I was in the area and thought I'd give them another chance.

The head mechanic, Mr. Kollmar, really knows his stuff. He noticed some soot scent coming from the heater (that I'd noticed recently), and regenned the DPF for free. He also ran a lot of diagnostics I didn't ask for, on a non-critical issue I knew about and ended up charging me ~$100 something for that, and dropped the extra $200 or so for normally running codes. He ended up fixing some bolts missing along the transmission from the last time I was there on the house.

I had an appointment for 1pm, he showed up around 1:30pm - his junior mechanic was there and didn't really know what was going on (he didn't know the PSI for NCV3 tires, a few other things) and was given basic tasks, but he wasn't able to correctly do them. He left the clamp large air intake into the exchange above the engine completely untightened, which caused some panic when I had low power when that popped off at some point. I was actually leaving when I came back in with another question and he noticed he left two screwdrivers on my hood below the wipers, the owner asked him if that was where all his screwdrivers were going. Kollmar was overworked (shop closes at 5pm, he was staying until 10-11), but in good spirits and offered people in campervans 120 and water (at least some of his regulars).

So... it's a weird mixed bag. If you could only get him it'd be fine, but it's not as consistent as the freightliner shop in PDX or warner vans outside SLC in my experience.
 
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Onefin

Well-known member
Hmm....I took a recently purchased Porsche 911 into an established independent Porsche shop with great reviews and reputation.
I’d never been in there before as it was a PPI on a vehicle in a town I don’t live in.
Made my appointment two weeks in advance.
I arrived 5 minutes late because I had to flatbed it in (dead battery) took a bit of healthy and fun ribbing from the guys that I killed the car before I even bought it.
They did exactly what they said they do, for the exact amount of money, in the described amount of time....and some extra stuff no charge. Comped me a couple broken plastic bits, put the tool roll back in exact order...took all the time to,discuss issues and had preemptively made quotes on anything that needed addressing, if I chose to have the work done.
Treated me like a customer that’s been going there for years.
All this for a customer that they knew was likely reselling the car and probably wasn’t going to give them more business.....

I’d say that the Kollmar sprinter shop above sucks.....I’d never be happy with that kind of bipolar and mediocre service......expecting decent and fair service from an established shop should be the rule, not the exception for only established customers.

My Mercedes Dealer service advisor treats me like I’ve been going there for years...and I have been...and I continue to do so exclusively even though I live 900 miles away....I just plan services around trips to visit relatives.
 

erutan

2007 144" High Roof 2500
The most charitable reason is that the owner lost all his junior techs (a warning sign in and of itself?), and is overworked.

That said, he should stop accepting new clients and try and get more reliable junior techs if I'm going to be paying a shop rate for his reputation. He treated me well despite not being a regular, but the overall experience... a warning for sure. Hence me taking the time to post here. :)
 

PNWVanLife

New member
FYI, Kollmar is out of business and judging by the reviews on Google a bunch of folks got seriously cheated at the end. :(
 

erutan

2007 144" High Roof 2500
Noticed they were out of business - didn't read the reviews, that's a shame.

I got quoted ~$1200 and a day and a half labor to fix a leak on the front main gasket.... had it done for under $500 with an afternoon's labor at Werner Vans ~SLC, UT.

Freightliner Sprinter down in PDX is solid, and there's a good indie T1N tech apparently for people in the very rough area.
 

elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
FYI, Kollmar is out of business and judging by the reviews on Google a bunch of folks got seriously cheated at the end. :(
Sometimes a small business is juggling a lot of balls, and if they manage to keep the pattern going they can come out ok. Other times the pattern gets broken and all the balls go flying, and its all over.
 

ascensionist

New member
Just seeing this thread.

I now take my van exclusively to Mercedes in Lynnwood.The service I’ve received there has been superb. Their facility is immaculate (they have an entire facility dedicated to servicing Mercedes vans); their technicians are excellent, and staff very nice and accommodating. Ask for Scott Sauer—he will take good care of you!

Regarding Kollmar’s, I’m one of Ted Kollmar’s customers who got screwed. It’s a LONG story, but the gist is this: Kollmar had my van for two weeks (was told it would only take three days to service.). By the end of the first week Kollmar had only replaced the airflow sensor (a part for which the owner suspiciously insisted I pay $300 cash—wouldn’t let me pay by credit card). After replacing the sensor, went to test drive the van but it was now inoperable! Ted was flummoxed. Over the next week, Ted dodged my phone calls; I finally just showed up at his shop to learned that he’d done nothing for the past week to fix my van! Waited at his shop for about nine hours while he attempted to fix his screwup; at about 11PM he finally gave up—told me to leave the van with him “one more night.” I said “No thanks,” asked for my key back (but Ted had “misplaced” it, so he didn’t give it to me), and had it towed to Mercedes in Lynnwood. Mercedes diagnosed and fixed my van by the next day (they said that Kollmar had installed a faulty airflow sensor!). So, in sum, I paid Ted $300 for a sensor that was bad, paid to have my van towed about 60 miles to Mercedes ($300), and had to pay $500 for a new key! Asked Ted to refund my $300, and buy me a new key—no response!

Found out later that the day after I had my van towed to Mercedes, all the Sprinters at Kollmar’s lot were impounded as Ted was apparently delinquent on his rent—the owners of the building he was operating out of evicted him (and then, as I learned from a Kent police officer who was onsite during the eviction, sued him.). So, if I’d left my van with Kollmar “for one more night” as he’d requested, I’d have had to paid to get my van out of impound!
 

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