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I think I'm a dying breed


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#61 charlie8575

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:03 PM

There are a lot of highly skilled, competent and honest  repair shops and mechanics (of all ages) out there!!!

With that said, now-a-days, there are some repair technicians and auto services facilities (particularly some that are affiliated  with large nationally chains)  who`s focus is being a "good earner" for the parent organization. Either, the  national or regional office  have mandated  that each store must hit specific sales quotas or bring in X amount of $$$ monthly if the employee/shop manager wishes to be seen in a favorable light with his superiors. This type of environment breeds up-selling and /or diagnostics involving  the most expensive repair possible.

 

While I hate to say this and my words may seem harshly grotesque to some;however  it is an unfortunate sign  of the times. Buzz words like "friendly", helpful","customer service", "valued customer", honesty" and "integrity" are mere punch lines to get you the customer in the door; sadly "profitability"   are the new marching orders of the day for some (not all) repair facilities/service techs.

I agree with every word you said.

 

A friend's brother worked for one of the major chains for oh....maybe 1-1/2 or 2 years. It amazed me.

 

The mechanics weren't just getting flat hourly pay (and pretty low pay), but they were getting commissions on their repair bills?!

 

The amount of duplicity I had heard coming out of what was being done to customers and employee alike was horrifying. Enough so that I won't patronize this chain any longer. In addition, he was being cut out of the big jobs because he was being honest with the customers. I guess that's a no-no, too?

 

About a year ago, after being canned for actually doing his job right, he ended up at a big regional tire/light repair shop's garage near were he lives. Totally different culture. He's paid pretty well- perhaps a little less than an independent shop, but he's still making good money, gets good benefits, a ham at Christmas, bonuses, and all sorts of stuff. Best job he's ever had.

 

It's not just how you run your business- it's how you treat your customers, and that will be reflected in how you treat your employees.

 

Charlie Larkin



#62 MAGNUM4342

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:54 PM

"...If you want me to (#2) in a box and mark it guaranteed I will, I got spare time." - Tommy Boy ;) 

 

(I hope I cleaned that up in an appropriate way)

I have to agree as well. I have a relative working at a local dealership, so we take all our cars there. We've never asked for or expected a discount because he was there, we took our cars there because he was there. If he's not there though, as soon as we pull in we get attitude. My mom always believes in being nice, because they don't know how to handle that. A yelling, acting out person they see regularly and they know how to just tune out. When you're saccharine sweet to them however, they don't know how to react. She's very good at shaming them. We're looking for a new regular shop but are under no illusions that we'll get good service anywhere past about the first two visits. It's harder to find a good mechanic than it is a doctor.


Edited by MAGNUM4342, 25 October 2013 - 02:02 PM.


#63 Maindrian Pace

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:49 PM

I'm also am frequently entertained by how many aftermarket parts are installed with total disregard for the instructions, and then the installer blames the unit. I guess reading the instructions (and understanding them) isn't deemed to be a necessity.

 

My hat's off to Maindrian Pace (Mike).  All the right moves, in the right order. B)

 

Thanks Bill. Here's the car:

 

P1250031_zps89610be4.jpg

 

Which may be a part of the problem. It's real nice. Non-car guy owner of a 30K+ restored classic comes into shifty shop, and it's a license to steal. There is a good chance that the shop knew it was a bad module, played like it wasn't, planned to do a valve job, the $1,500 estimate would have swelled to $2,500 or more with a few extra profit makers ("we noticed your alternator and water pump are going out") then put it all together with a new Pertronix or points, it would have run well if they set everything OK, and the owner would have felt somewhat ripped but he wouldn't have ever known the extent of it.

 

Or maybe they really were that clueless, which is also possible.

 

-MJS



#64 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 10:04 AM

 

 Here's the car:...Which may be a part of the problem. It's real nice. Non-car guy owner of a 30K+ restored classic comes into shifty shop, and it's a license to steal. There is a good chance that the shop knew it was a bad module, played like it wasn't, planned to do a valve job, the $1,500 estimate would have swelled to $2,500 or more with a few extra profit makers ("we noticed your alternator and water pump are going out") then put it all together with a new Pertronix or points, it would have run well if they set everything OK, and the owner would have felt somewhat ripped but he wouldn't have ever known the extent of it.

 

Or maybe they really were that clueless, which is also possible.

 

-MJS

 

Great looking car...glad it runs as good as it looks now.

 

It's hard to tell a shop's motives and capabilities without working there, but I was in the business for many years, and I've seen it all...including well-known guys who SHOULD have known what they were doing but didn't...and just plain crooks, even in aviation. Unless you're a knowledgeable gearhead, you're kinda at the mercy of the trust monster.

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

I had a fleet client once bring me a Chevy van that was overheating and blowing clouds of white smoke, missing on a least one cylinder, and the auto trans was slipping badly, and wouldn't throttle-downshift. He'd been told he had a cracked head, a blown head gasket, a cracked block, and needed a trans overhaul.

 

Compression test showed less than 10% variation from hole to hole, but a couple of the plugs looked very strange...oil fouling but lean. I found a vacuum leak inside the trans vacuum modulator that had been letting trans fluid pass into the intake manifold (hence the miss, the white smoke and lack of partial-throttle-kickdown).The trans fluid was low...naturally (the cause of the trans slipping). I took the thermostat out and tested it...stuck solid. Did a combustion-gas in-the- coolant test and came up fine. Put in a new thermostat, filled the trans, cleaned and gapped the plugs and tidied up the timing, etc. Ran just like it was supposed to, all problems solved. He was ecstatic.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 26 October 2013 - 10:04 AM.


#65 DonW

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:06 PM

My local mechanic, Carl, had my BMW 328i in to fix the passenger window that was stuck open. He ordered the relevent part, but ended up just cleaning everything and lubricating it, and did the same on the driver's side too. He's sent the part back and charged me half what I was expecting. Support these people!



#66 Nxr

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

i donno, i am 24 and very much appreciate the old cars and technology, i look at it as a bigger variety to my choices, i mean all these kids i consider my peers know nothing better than their leased altimas maximas and accords, or in some cases bmw 5 series but i dont know many rich ppl! Its all about knowing it all and how it was and what from then reflects on the parts now. Also speaking about auto parts business, as long as you stay away from Autozone ( which honestly needs to be destroyed! horrible company!) you should be good. I worked in autozone as a delivery driver september and october, and i had to quit. They treat customers like utter garbage, often sneaking in some sort of grease packets into their purchase without them asking for it! i mean what the! They focus a lot more on you tugging in your shirt or the way your name tag hangs or the color of your socks than the real stuff like helping people with cars, talking about various car parts and things of this matter. The commercial manager who was dispatching my devilries, was a total tool. I mean the guy sat all day in that desk waiting on calls and just buried in his cell phone if no calls were coming. He often made me do awful tasks such as cleaning bathrooms or buying the management lunch or drinks. I used to design and build people outdoor kitchens and grills at home depot, and now this? I still suffered through it and just did my job but then i got into a literal fight with the commercial manager when i called him a lazy sob for sitting at desk all day and telling me i don't make deliveries on time when i met each quota by 15-10 minutes before. Total idiot. He proceeded to threaten me that he will find where i live and his boys are going to wreck my car and spray paint my apt door... that was it for me. I called Autozones regional managers, HR's and even got to speak to bill rhodes. All of them 0 help and totally corporate brain washed. DO NOT BUY FROM AUTOZONE!



#67 Danno

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:35 PM

:o


Edited by Danno, 06 November 2013 - 02:36 PM.


#68 Tom Geiger

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:00 PM

Ok, I've read this one from the beginning and here's a few thoughts.

 

While we all love our old cars with less than 20/20 hindsight,  we must remember that cars of the 1950s-80s were designed and built to last through the warranty period.  The cars we fondly remember  were easy to work on, because we had to do so often.  Rayco built a coast to coast empire of replacing shredded 5 year old car seat covers.  Cars pretty much rusted out before the payments ended.  I came of age in the mid 1970s and spent a lot of time with my buddies cutting out rust and slapping bondo on cars that were less than 10 years old.  And 100,000 miles on a car was a badge of endurance and honor! 

 

Safety? Go look up the video done by the insurance institute of a full size '59 Chevy doing a head on crash with a '99 Malibu. Guess who wins?   Back in the old days we thought heavier was mightier. Today we do computerized simulations to develop smart crunch zones and place the air bags correctly to save lives. I love my '65 Barracuda dearly but would I put my daughter out there in today's traffic in it? Nope, she's really much safer in her smaller Fiat 500.   Today we have cars on the market that literally won't allow you to rear end another car. It won't be long before these systems are standard.

 

Emissions?  No contest.  I learned the difference when we ran an older car in my garage and nearly killed ourselves, versus being able to warm up my Nissan Stanza without ill effects.  And it's truly important if we expect to continue on this planet. We need to make up for 200 years of pollution stupidity.

 

The truth is that today's cars are 30 years ahead of our favorite cars in advancements.  Better everything.  The average car that goes over 200,000 miles isn't a big deal, but we're seeing 300,000 miles out of some rather mundane cars like Dodge Caravans and Toyota Corollas. Today's cars do cost more than the old cars, but they live 2-3 times longer.   Guys will whine that they're harder to service, but the truth is we don't need to service them all that often. My Caravan has 183,000 and we got rid of a Plymouth Breeze with 190,000 on it last year. My remaining Breeze has 140,000 on it and still rides and looks like a 5 year old car.  Nothing wrong with it, no rattles, nothing major ever replaced.  No visible rust, not a tear in the interior or carpet.  And that's what today's cars do.  Reliable transportation for the masses.

 

Oh,  we've had putz mechanics since the beginning of time so no fair plcking on the young 'uns. They still need to pay their dues.

 

It's cool to live in the romance of old cars, own one and build models of them. But nothing we say will change the fact that today's cars are better and safer.  I do own a very cool old 1950s black and white tube TV, but I'm watching a 55" high def flat screen as I watch this. And nobody will argue that the 1950s tube is better.


Edited by Tom Geiger, 06 November 2013 - 04:06 PM.


#69 Nxr

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:09 PM

but the 50s tube might last longer than the flat screen.



#70 Rob Hall

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:14 PM

but the 50s tube might last longer than the flat screen

Boring.    Who wants to live in the 50s with a grainy B&W tv?  Old cars are neat to look at at weekend cars shows and events, but for the daily grind in the real world I'll stick w/ reliable modern cars w/ modern features and conveniences.


Edited by Rob Hall, 06 November 2013 - 04:17 PM.


#71 Nxr

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:50 PM

i know i know, havent said anything about it being cooler but the old tube tv's did last longer than the flats, my samsung 42 inch lcd died literally entirely one day after 2 years, one of the lamps in the back cracked and that was it.



#72 A.R.C.

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:43 PM

A real conversation In a large corporate parts store a few years ago. It was nearby and I figured it would be the easiest place to go to. I was wrong.

 

"Hi. I need a u joint for a 1970 Ford 9 inch rear end"

" What kind of vehicle is it?"

" Its a custom application, I just need a joint for a 9 inch"

" I need to know what type of vehicile it is sir or I cant search for the part"

" Its a 99 Jeep YJ"

" Four wheel drive?"

" Yes"

" What motor?"

Hmmmm, I think to myself. Do I tell him what used to be in it or really mess him up and tell hIm whats in it now?.........

" It`s a 401" , He started it

'Hmmm, I dont have a listing for a Jeep Yj wth a 401"

''I know. It orginally had a 4 cylinder, now its got a 401"

" Ahhh"

"I found the 4 cyl model but it doesn`t list it as having a Ford 9 inch rear"

"I know. Give me a rear U-joint for a 1970 Bronco"

" Hmmm, I dont have a listing for a Bronco that old"

" Thanks"

 

Dial the usual place I go to which is 10 minutes up the road and locally owned.

 

" Hey Wes, you have a u-joint for a nine inch"

"Yup"

" Cool, I`ll be there in 15"

" It`ll be on the counter"



#73 clovis

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 08:04 PM

Thought that chime in on this "new car gripe thread" and share that I am having transmission problems, but I truthfully don't think it is the transmission at all...

 

I think it is an electronic sensor on the engine., and could very well be a camshaft positioning sensor.



#74 David G.

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:01 AM

Here's a fun example of how the world has moved on.

 

Several years ago, I took my 1971 Delta 88 Town Sedan to a local car wash.  The kind of car wash where attendants vacuum the car and drive it up to the washing unit, catch the car as it exits then pull it forward and dry it off. 

 

As the big Olds rolled out of the other side of the washing unit, a young man jumped into it to move it into line for drying.  I heard him turn the key and crank the starter.  It cranked.  It stopped.  The engine didn't start.  It cranked again and still no fire.  After the third attempt, I could see that the young man was getting a little nervous.  Just then, one of his older co-workers begins to walk over toward the big car and caught the younger man's attention.  The older man begins making a flapping motion with his right hand as he's waving to the younger man or attempting to pat him on the head from a distance.

 

The younger man leans back a little in the seat a bit and looks around as he's searching for something on the floor then I hear the familiar click and squeak of the throttle linkage as he pushes the pedal twice.  The starter then made half a crank and the engine rumbled to life. 

 

I imagine he'd never driven a carbureted car.

 

One thing never fails though.  Once they do get the car started, they almost always pop the gas pedal several times as they pull it forward- BlupBlupBlup Vrooom BlupBlupBlup Vroom Vroom BlupBlupBlup  It's nice to know that some people still appreciate that ol' V-8 power sound.

 

 

David G.



#75 Tom Geiger

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:13 AM

 

I imagine he'd never driven a carbureted car.

 

 

I think it's funny how many people today have never driven a clutch!  Most of us just take it for granted that everyone can.

 

But some of the comments in this thread could be from any era regarding progress.  I'm sure there was a group of old guys in the 1960s snickering that the mechanics then couldn't fix a Model T.



#76 Dave Van

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:16 AM

Carb work is the hardest car part to get someone good to work on. I'm fair but my twenty-something son is better than I.

 

We have done 100% of the work on our 66 Mustang rebuild.....

Mustangeng.JPG


Edited by Dave Van, 10 November 2013 - 05:18 AM.


#77 Erik Smith

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:48 AM

 

I think it's funny how many people today have never driven a clutch!  Most of us just take it for granted that everyone can.

 

But some of the comments in this thread could be from any era regarding progress.  I'm sure there was a group of old guys in the 1960s snickering that the mechanics then couldn't fix a Model T.

 

Speaking of clutches...

 

When I bought my new car last year, I wanted a manual.  They had one on the lot.  I bought it.  When I go back now and look around, there are zero manuals on the lot - 60-100 cars and not one is a manual.  I just think it's a lot more fun driving a stick.  People don't want them now becuase it's too hard to drink coffee, text, SHIFT, and drive at the same time...

 

I used to work on cars in my spare time.  Every now and then I think about it again, then I watch a TV show that shows rusted off, broken bolts and I change my mind :)



#78 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 06:18 AM

 

 

 

But some of the comments in this thread could be from any era regarding progress.  I'm sure there was a group of old guys in the 1960s snickering that the mechanics then couldn't fix a Model T.

 

 

Thing is, a competent mechanic who actually UNDERSTANDS his craft can fix anything...if he has access to the specs. I was lucky to have apprenticed under a mechanic who worked on model Ts in his youth, and he was still a wizard in the 1970s. He was responsible for teaching me that they ALL run on the same basic principles, and if you understand those, you can fix 'em all. He was entirely correct.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 10 November 2013 - 06:19 AM.


#79 Tom Geiger

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 06:25 AM

 

Speaking of clutches...

 

When I bought my new car last year, I wanted a manual.  They had one on the lot.  I bought it.  When I go back now and look around, there are zero manuals on the lot - 60-100 cars and not one is a manual.  I just think it's a lot more fun driving a stick.  People don't want them now becuase it's too hard to drink coffee, text, SHIFT, and drive at the same time...

 

 

Even as far back as 1991 when I was out shopping for a Geo Tracker GSI model (the higher level model) I couldn't find one with a clutch. It took me months to find a GSI 4x4 convertible with a clutch, in an acceptable color, that the dealer would actually deal on. 

 

I love tooling around in my Tracker with the clutch. Yup, still have it.

 

The only downside was the 8 years I had to commute to work on the Garden State Parkway.  Think of it as a 2 hour slog of stop and go traffic each way.  I had to stop driving the Tracker to work because my hip was hurting due to all that clutching. 



#80 my80malibu

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:13 AM

Hey Danno,

 

At what point in AZ here do you get to skip the emissions because it is a classic or antique?

At this point Dan could get Antique status on the Malibu, and Himself LOL.That is 25 years from manufactured year, you still need to keep the emissions equipment working, and original though. The only option to Avoid the Emission test Legally in Maricopa county is to get the Insurance company to list the vehicle as Receational use only. This allows you to modify/alter emissions devices to the vehicle, but strictly limits your use, allowing only 4000 miles per year.

Mark,  Vehicles prior to1966 is the cutoff for emissions in the State of Arizona. Vehicles after 1975 are required to have functioning emissions system to be considerd legal for use in the county containment area.