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      Board Status   07/20/2018

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Ace-Garageguy

Car Repair Ripoffs 1: Dealerships

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2 minutes ago, espo said:

In all fairness to the dealer when the Water Pump went out on the Charger I had them replace it. This is a job I have done countless number of times on just about every make of car, at least US cars since that is all that is in my driveway, My hats off to anyone who can change this Water Pump .  

But all that really is is a further reinforcement of my oft-repeated opinion that serviceability is the LAST thing that occurs to most machine designers now, and repairs have become needlessly difficult.

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2 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

But all that really is is a further reinforcement of my oft-repeated opinion that serviceability is the LAST thing that occurs to most machine designers now, and repairs have become needlessly difficult.

I seriously looked at the Pump and tried to figure out just how I would do it and not remove the front of the body to get to it. I couldn't get my hand in there with it flat let alone turn a ratchet or any other tool.   

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My sister's husband is a mechanic / service writer and tells stories about a Chevy dealer he worked for a very short time.  Towards the end of the month when they were short on their numbers, they'd have a meeting.  The service manager would tell everyone that "no car leaves here for less than $500 this week".  They were supposed to find or fabricate the problems!  On the $1000 weeks they did a lot of timing belts! On cars with half the recommended mileage!

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2 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

But all that really is is a further reinforcement of my oft-repeated opinion that serviceability is the LAST thing that occurs to most machine designers now, and repairs have become needlessly difficult.

Now? I remember reading about what an outrage it was that you had to pull the front wheels off to get at the rear plugs in a big-block Cougar.

Fifty years ago.

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19 minutes ago, ChrisBcritter said:

Now? I remember reading about what an outrage it was that you had to pull the front wheels off to get at the rear plugs in a big-block Cougar.

Fifty years ago.

Yeah, but that was the days before CAD, and the chassis wasn't really intended originally to take the big engine anyway. You just about had to cut some access holes to get to the plugs in the Sumbeam Tiger too, but again, the engine was shoehorned into a car it was never intended for.

I was not impressed when one of the CAD-designed Chryslers of fairly recent manufacture required wheel removal to change the battery.

I recall the first time I worked on one of the early CAD-designed Nissan products, and though it looked like there was no way in hell I could do timing-chain tensioners with the engine in the car, it came apart remarkably easily. There was just enough room to get everything out. I was really impressed.

One of the beauties of CAD is that you can build and disassemble everything in virtual reality, and make damm sure something is easy to service BEFORE the design is finalized and tooling is committed.

Those Nissan designers got it right, but more and more, there's just NO THOUGHT given to access or ease of service...and I'm an engineer myself. I can usually look at something for a few minutes and see how, with just a few simple mods (that could have been EASILY done in VR during the design-phase) a nightmare-to-work-on POS could have been otherwise.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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I am very picky who I let work on my vehicles,  the dealer I will let, as so far, they have yet to try and rip us off, after each service Nissan sends out a survey and if there is even a hint of dissatisfaction Nissan is on top it.   Just don't ask that one to vacuum your car, if they do even bother too, the think just vacuuming the driver's side is good enough.

There is one mechanic that I do trust, but he is a one man show and has about a year back up, so it sucks, he won't screw you over, but he is gonna have your car for a long time, so I no longer use him. 

Edited by martinfan5

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3 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

The cheap oil changes are losing-money propositions for the dealerships, and ONLY act as a way to get potential customers in the door to be up-sold other services.

Frankly, it's kinda tough for an honest dealership to make any money on the mechanical side. There's simply a flaw in the business model that encourages them to cheat.

If they were honest and actually cared about their customers, the word of mouth of positive comments would spread like wildfire and topics like this one on many forums would include stories about the honest dealers. The dealers have so many employees now compared to when I entered the biz 38 years ago and the amount of advertising they do demands they squeeze everyone for as much as they can.

The first (and best) dealership I ever worked for...as an apprentice...sold new Datsuns, Fiats, and Triumphs. The lube rack guys did a 1500-mile oil change on a brand new 240Z, and then took it to lunch.

When the car came back, the rod bearings were knocking and the idiots professed to know nothing about it.

Turned out they'd been playing grab-ass and neither one had put any oil back IN the car after replacing the drain plug. Yep, had that happen at a BMW dealer I worked at in the early 80''s. One of the top techs was in a hurry to go to lunch that he didn't fully tighten the oil filter on a new 750 sedan. Customer got stuck on the wrong side of town (Chicago South Side) on a Friday evening! I had the honor of flatbedding a replacement car through rush hour traffic and towing the damaged car back , something I never did again after that night!

 

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2 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

My sister's husband is a mechanic / service writer and tells stories about a Chevy dealer he worked for a very short time.  Towards the end of the month when they were short on their numbers, they'd have a meeting.  The service manager would tell everyone that "no car leaves here for less than $500 this week".  They were supposed to find or fabricate the problems!  On the $1000 weeks they did a lot of timing belts! On cars with half the recommended mileage!

I don't let the Chevy dealer work on my wife's Pontiac,I let the Dodge dealer where I have bought all my cars but the Pontiac work on it and they are honest people and Family owned....

 

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I retired about  5-6 weeks ago.I was in the auto parts business-both dealer and parts stores for about 46 years.and we could go on forever with stories of good and bad in the auto industry..I've heard way too many crazy things over the years.There are still some really great honest people out there and than there are some people i wouldn't trust for a minute.

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9 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

 

I was not impressed when one of the CAD-designed Chryslers of fairly recent manufacture required wheel removal to change the battery.

 

Aaaah yes, my beloved 98 Dodge Stratus was one of those. I would have kept that car even longer if it hadn't been such a bear to service. The first time I had to change the battery I couldn't believe what I had to go through! My mechanic used to hate seeing that thing roll in too. It was quick, drove nicely and looked good, but the v6 leaked oil like a sieve, it was impossible to get to half the engine, and I eventually washed my hands of it when the A/C died and the repair would have been roughly the value of the car. The cab-forward Chryslers were pretty machines, but cramming all the mechanicals into as small an area as possible led to some pretty serious issues.

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Yes, the cloud cars..  I had two of those. A 98 and 99 Plymouth Breeze, both with the 2.4 engines.  Pretty bullet proof and my family drove both up to 200,000 miles. Replaced the battery twice in either car, had the place I bought it install it.  I was only charged extra once.  

The 98 developed engine problems at 201,000 and my daughter wanted a new car anyway.  The 99 needed an a/c evaporator and that was the value of the car at the time, so I passed it on to my 17 year old nephew who is still driving it two years later.   Of course a year later I was paying to replace that same evaporator in the PT Cruiser I replaced the Breeze with!  Entire dash on the ground!  But I'm told most newer cars are the same.  At least in the PT the battery is in the conventional space.

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15 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

The cheap oil changes are losing-money propositions for the dealerships, and ONLY act as a way to get potential customers in the door to be up-sold other services.

Frankly, it's kinda tough for an honest dealership to make any money on the mechanical side. There's simply a flaw in the business model that encourages them to cheat.

The first (and best) dealership I ever worked for...as an apprentice...sold new Datsuns, Fiats, and Triumphs. The lube rack guys did a 1500-mile oil change on a brand new 240Z, and then took it to lunch.

When the car came back, the rod bearings were knocking and the idiots professed to know nothing about it.

Turned out they'd been playing grab-ass and neither one had put any oil back IN the car after replacing the drain plug. 

Putting oil back in seems like a no brainer until you realize no brain was actually used. Isn't the FIRST thing you do after changing the oil is checking the level?

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2 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

Yes, the cloud cars..  I had two of those. A 98 and 99 Plymouth Breeze, both with the 2.4 engines.  Pretty bullet proof and my family drove both up to 200,000 miles. Replaced the battery twice in either car, had the place I bought it install it.  I was only charged extra once.  

The 98 developed engine problems at 201,000 and my daughter wanted a new car anyway.  The 99 needed an a/c evaporator and that was the value of the car at the time, so I passed it on to my 17 year old nephew who is still driving it two years later.   Of course a year later I was paying to replace that same evaporator in the PT Cruiser I replaced the Breeze with!  Entire dash on the ground!  But I'm told most newer cars are the same.  At least in the PT the battery is in the conventional space.

I went to a PT (2005 Turbo Convertible) after my Stratus too! Solid car with none of the issues of the Stratus. After the Stratus pulling the airbox to get to the battery was a piece of cake! 

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I too worked both sides of these remarks . I am laughing really hard concerning Cloud MoPar batteries . Did anyone change a Lumina battery . Not the APV , but the '"Car" ? Book time is 1.5 Hr Labor . The Dealers whined about customers not needing Service at the Dealerships . The overhead cost supporting these  is remarkable . Designers complied and we suffer with the results . Pssss . don't tell anyone about the GM Motor Mounts of the '60's . The Fix : weld a piece of Logging Chain between the Engine Block and Frame to Fix the Customer Complaint  of "Accelerator Sticking at full throttle , wide open" ! GM figured out by not applying a 'primer' on the metal parts of a Motor Mount before sandwiching a chunk of Rubber in between during the Process would save .25  per each mount . Time passes , the rubber separates , the Engine Twists off the mount locking the linkage wide open . Point is , I spent most of my Carrier directly or indirectly in the Auto Industry .  All have bad people . All have bad Products . Greedy Corps just have more .. Want some more memories  ? Thanx .. 

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On 2/7/2018 at 2:00 PM, Dragline said:

I fixed my share of dealer "repairs" in the past. When I got married in 94 my wife wanted a Jeep. We got her a new Wrangler and part of the deal was oil changes for a year or so. So I took it myself to get the oil changed and it went quickly. They pulled it up to the front door running. I jumped in, got to the bottom of the driveway and the oil pressure gauge went berzerk and I smelled oil. Turns out they put 6 cylinders worth of oil into a 4 cylinder.

 

Six cylinder's worth? That's not how they measure oil needed. Most vehicles use 5 qts. Except for the special vehicles like big pick ups and sports cars, most use only five quarts.

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I have most of my work done at my friend's Custom Car shop. I can't really complain about my dealer too much either, it just costs a boat load of money to use it. I've bought three cars there; two new and one used, The HHR panels were rock solid and dead reliable machines with almost no trouble...just some brake rotors that vibrated which I replaced with some Canadian made parts through NAPA instead of the made in China OEM bits. My GMC Terrain was an oil user and it was determined that the consumption rate was over recommended GM standards for that engine (Ecotech 2.4). The dealer replaced it's pistons, rings, bearings, machined the crank, replaced cam shafts. Can't praise the dealer enough for that work. Truck runs great

 

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9 hours ago, jaymcminn said:

I went to a PT (2005 Turbo Convertible) after my Stratus too! Solid car with none of the issues of the Stratus. After the Stratus pulling the airbox to get to the battery was a piece of cake! 

Yup, I also have a 2005 Turbo Convertible. 

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On 2/7/2018 at 4:14 PM, Ace-Garageguy said:

But all that really is is a further reinforcement of my oft-repeated opinion that serviceability is the LAST thing that occurs to most machine designers now, and repairs have become needlessly difficult.

 

On 2/7/2018 at 7:04 PM, Ace-Garageguy said:

I was not impressed when one of the CAD-designed Chryslers of fairly recent manufacture required wheel removal to change the battery.

I recall the first time I worked on one of the early CAD-designed Nissan products, and though it looked like there was no way in hell I could do timing-chain tensioners with the engine in the car, it came apart remarkably easily. There was just enough room to get everything out. I was really impressed.

One of the beauties of CAD is that you can build and disassemble everything in virtual reality, and make damm sure something is easy to service BEFORE the design is finalized and tooling is committed.

Those Nissan designers got it right, but more and more, there's just NO THOUGHT given to access or ease of service...and I'm an engineer myself. I can usually look at something for a few minutes and see how, with just a few simple mods (that could have been EASILY done in VR during the design-phase) a nightmare-to-work-on POS could have been otherwise.

Speaking of Nissans, my stepson insisted on buying our neighbor's '06 Nissan Altima a couple years ago after he got his license.  It sure wasn't the kind of car I would have wanted when I was 16, but we knew it's history, it was mechanically sound, and it was his money, so his decision at the end of the day.

I've helped him with basic maintenance and taught him oil changes, brakes, etc.  Last summer he asked for help changing one of his headlight bulbs.  Should be a 5 minute procedure max, right?

After popping the hood and taking a look, I wasn't seeing how to get to the back of the headlight buckets. Figured I had to be missing something obvious, so I went online and downloaded the service manual to my tablet.  First step was putting the car on a lift and pulling the front wheels.  This in order to be able to remove the entire front bumper cover/grille assembly, to in turn allow you to remove the whole headlight assembly.  Which then finally allows you access to remove and replace the halogen lamp.

About halfway through the above process, I explained to him how the entire design team for this vehicle needed to be lined up and shot.

Afterwards I popped the hood on my daily driver Sierra (also an '06) and demonstrated how I can literally do the same procedure in a minute and a half on the GMC.  It was a pretty convincing example of excellent vs. awful design.

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11 hours ago, lordairgtar said:

Six cylinder's worth? That's not how they measure oil needed. Most vehicles use 5 qts. Except for the special vehicles like big pick ups and sports cars, most use only five quarts.

Not certain what you mean here. A 4.0 liter Chrysler and a 2.5 liter Chrysler have different oil capacities. My 2.4 Cavalier takes 4 quarts US. 

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15 hours ago, Robberbaron said:

 

Speaking of Nissans, my stepson insisted on buying our neighbor's '06 Nissan Altima a couple years ago after he got his license.  It sure wasn't the kind of car I would have wanted when I was 16, but we knew it's history, it was mechanically sound, and it was his money, so his decision at the end of the day.

I've helped him with basic maintenance and taught him oil changes, brakes, etc.  Last summer he asked for help changing one of his headlight bulbs.  Should be a 5 minute procedure max, right?

After popping the hood and taking a look, I wasn't seeing how to get to the back of the headlight buckets. Figured I had to be missing something obvious, so I went online and downloaded the service manual to my tablet.  First step was putting the car on a lift and pulling the front wheels.  This in order to be able to remove the entire front bumper cover/grille assembly, to in turn allow you to remove the whole headlight assembly.  Which then finally allows you access to remove and replace the halogen lamp.

About halfway through the above process, I explained to him how the entire design team for this vehicle needed to be lined up and shot.

Afterwards I popped the hood on my daily driver Sierra (also an '06) and demonstrated how I can literally do the same procedure in a minute and a half on the GMC.  It was a pretty convincing example of excellent vs. awful design.

Few months ago, my cousin wanted my help on a friend of his car. 

The car is a 2006 Fiat Marea with a five cilinder engine. 

The service was to replace the timing belt. 

Poped the hood, and there were no way a human hand could fit between the engine and the body. 

Thing is: 

Or you have a couple of tools only the Fiat dealers have, or, you have to yank the engine out. Anyway, one has to remove the front right shock and spring tower to get to the place the spacial tools are supposed to go. 

And I was pissed I had to remove one engine mount and suport the engine with a jack to replace timing belt on my mother's MK-I Focus... 

Most new cars have a engine cover, that has no other function than to make the engine bay to look a certain way, and serves no practical purpose on the engine operation. 

Try to raplace a shock on a new Mercedes. You have to have the car hooked to a computer to tell it there is a new shock, or it won't even start. Not to mention it's a 1000 Dollar shock.

What about no dipstick on the engine and transmission? Pop the hood of that 2017 Mercedes, and look for the dipstick. 

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I am personally super stoked I no longer work on cars. Selling parts has its own set of problems but nothing like any of this. If I wanted to return to the garage I'd need to invest a great many thousands just on diagnostic equipment. 

My little Cavalier runs and runs and I just keep fixing it as I go. And the bulbs that came in the car all still function. That makes 13 years I've owned it and probably before. I'll wager some if not all were installed at the time of assembly.

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12 hours ago, Dragline said:

Not certain what you mean here. A 4.0 liter Chrysler and a 2.5 liter Chrysler have different oil capacities. My 2.4 Cavalier takes 4 quarts US. 

True, but it's not determined by number of cylinders. My Terrain 2.4 uses 5 qts, My AMCs (both six and eight cylinder) used 5 qts. My 73 Eldo used 6 qts which was a 500 cid V8. Both my HHRs took 5 qts. It's how much capacity the designers determined it needed, not number of cylinders.

 

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2 hours ago, Lovefordgalaxie said:

What about no dipstick on the engine and transmission? Pop the hood of that 2017 Mercedes, and look for the dipstick. 

Porsche Boxter too, I believe.

 

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Ther'e's a lot of cars that don't have dipsticks-My 2008 town and country has no trans dipstick.

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