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Nightmare Mechanic/EA82 Carb Issues.
Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:19 PM
I have already checked the archives and found some good info that I think I will print out and give to the bonehead mechanic who has kidnapped my car.
I will try to keep this short, but it is a long story no matter how thin you slice it. If you don’t care about the whole story I have bold faced the Carb related performance problem below.
When I got the car I had big plans: A set of pugs (which I still haven’t been able to get ahold of), a lift, a little tuning and trimming and some fun. But then….
Sept. 2nd- I purchase the above vehicle for $800. 130k, 2nd owner, regularly maintained locally, clean, straight, everything works, runs great, leaks oil 5-10 drops at a time, needs front brakes, needs to be smogged (CA).
Sept. 12th- Goes into one of the supposedly reputable local smog shops. They are instructed to make a recommendation on the oil leaks, tune it up as needed to pass smog.
Oct. 2nd- That’s right three weeks later, despite my prodding, they inform me that upon “tearing into the front of my motor to get at the oil leak” they have discovered that my timing belt is saturated with oil and that several pulleys and other parts need to be replace along with the belt. They go on to state that I must have this done right away because the timing belt is in such bad condition that it could break any time and that would trash my motor. This all will cost me $1100 (and we haven’t even gotten to the smog issue yet). Well I want a second opinion and for that much money or a bit more I could practically have the whole damn thing rebuilt or replaced, so I tell them that they should not do that, rather they should put it back together and get it to smog so at least I can get it registered in my name.
Oct. 12th- They tell me they can’t quite get it to smog on the high end, and that they will need to adjust and maybe “overhaul” the carb, with an "overhaul kit". But to do so they will have to take off the carb and drill out such and such and do such and such. So I tell them to go ahead and do so. Oh and they told me that my distributor was installed “backwards”, so they turned it around.
Oct. 18th- By the way they never call me to inform me about any progress they are making. I call them and find out that once they got the carb overhauled and put back on the car that it is not running well and that if it is some fault of theirs that I won’t be charged to fix it, and that maybe sometimes some crud can get dislodged and relodged when they were messing with a carb. I call them every couple days to find out what is going on, and to make sure they are working on it.
Oct. 24th- They tell me they got it run and smog and that I can come pick it up. I pay $700 (which hurts) for a carb overhaul, a smog certificate, new plugs, and new air filter, (even though I know the air filter was practically brand new), you’ll notice that they didn’t fix the oil leaks. But I am just happy to be done with it, and figure $1500 for this car is still not a bad price locally.
I attempt to drive away and discover that the vehicle idles rough and stalls when cold and totally and utterly lacks power. Of course it has been 6 weeks since I have driven it and even then I only had it for a few days, but something is obviously wrong.
I drive it directly to my usual mechanic and tell them what is going on. He says he will look at it and make a recommendation on the oil leaks based on how much is leaking where and what will cost what, and that sometimes to get a car to smog you need to run the engine lean and retard the timing which could account for the performance issues, no big deal he will take care of it.
Oct. 26th- I pick up the car from my mechanic who determined (as I suspected) that 95% of the oil leakage was coming form the valve covers (easy fix). He also sais that there is nothing wrong with my timing belt and such, and that if the first mechanic was into my carburetor I should take it back to them to fix it which they should do at no cost. He gives me a description of what he sees as the problems to take back to the first mechanic (no fast idle cold, choke circuit needs adjustment, carb idle speed and mixture need adjustment.) Coincidentally I meet the previous owner of the vehicle on the street that same day and tell him what is going on and he is truly dumbfounded that I am having trouble with this car because it was always a great car for him, and that the timing belt was replaced at around 100k, and I trust him.
Oct. 28th- I take the car back to the first mechanic and politely in a full waiting room tell him that I don’t appreciate him ****ing with me and that I would like it if he would fix my god damned car correctly and right now, or else, please. (see I am a little bit irritated by now)
No calls, no word. I have to call them every couple days to see what the hell is going on, but I am trying to keep my cool, I don’t like having to treat people rudely, but these guys don’t seem to respond without my request being accompanied by some form of verbal abuse.
They say they are working on it all the time and can’t figure out what the problem is.
Sometime in November- I call and find out that they have my car ready. I go to pick it up, but test drive it first. Starts hard, idles rough, stalls, utterly lacks power until about 3800-4200 rpm’s depending on the rate of acceleration and then, without any action on my part, the thing suddenly opens up with a surprising burst of power, and stutters and pops as it revs down like a suped up muscle car. It does this consistently all around town when cold and after warming up from a mile or two on the highway. I take it back to them and tell them what is wrong, and they promise and apologize and lick my boots and I just tell them to fix it and I leave wondering whether I am being had or am I being cool.
Round and round and round….
Dec. 2nd- I call them and literally swear and yell and abuse them on the phone for ten minutes while apologizing that I need to do this, but making it clear to him that he obviously needs it and that he knows I am right, he agrees.
December 10th- He calls me and sais they have worked on it and worked on it and can’t fix it. He sais they want to replace the whole carb, but that most locally available rebuilds are crap. He wants to get a carb from someplace called Recarbco in CA and that out of the goodness of his heart he will split with me his dealer cost and replace the carb for $200. He also tries to say that it really isn’t his fault because he was just making it smog and it is against the law for him to adjust the carb back again so that the car actually runs, but may or may not smog. I tell him that this is bull****, that he has totaled my vehicle with his incompetence and that he shouldn’t do anything until I get back to him, thinking that I might run this by you all or that maybe a Roo Builders Carb is cheaper (CA smog?), as some people seem to recommend them (and others say that a Weber is to finicky) and/or that I should do something that I would never normally consider, and which I know nothing about which is go after him in small claims court. After all he has had my car for over two months, during which time this family of 4 has had to cram into a Toyota pickup, which gets much worse gas mileage than the Subaru would, he has already charged my $700 for which I got nothing, not to mention the fact that their meddling has rendered my vehicle inoperable. Oh yeah and they lied to me straight faced about the timing belt thing, and replaced a new air filter. Just to mention a few abuses that he was rendered on my family.
If anyone has made it this far: Do you have any recommendations on the specific performance issues that I am having (see bold print above), or ideas of how I should resolve this issue i.e. take it to another mechanic and send the original ******* the bill, take them to court, try fix it myself and forget about it, Weber, Roo builders, Recarbco, local rebuild? Distributor? Insurance fraudJ? Can anyone help me?
Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:48 PM
i'd recommend the better business bureau - register a complaint and ask for suggestions. you could call a lawyer and ask for a little advice over the phone; that will probably lead to small claims court. and if you are going to replace your carburetor again, you might try to end up with a weber. i hope it goes well for you. if nothing else someone here can probably hook you up with a tolerable used carb for the time being.
Posted 12 December 2004 - 11:38 PM
Well, sorry for your problem, you should take them to court and refund you $700 and the next bill to cover the cost of fixing it. Too bad you're not farther north in Oregon, tons of people are here, more than willing to help you.
A weber, I don';t think would help you pass smog.
well, sorry for your troubles.
Posted 13 December 2004 - 02:27 AM
it sounds like this jerkoff has no clue. the only thing i would take back to him are court papers.
rough go man. hope it all works out for you
Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:34 AM
Posted 13 December 2004 - 04:03 AM
First of all, dealing with the shop...I don't know what the laws are in CA, but I would check with your attorney general's office first. With the strict E laws, I'm sure fraud is very common, and your case is not unique. The AG can bring a lot more clout to a small claims hearing than any lawyer you can ever hire. And with the kind of documentation you have, you could take these clowns to the woodshed.
Now to get your car straightened out...Without rehashing what's already happened, you need to (IMO) return your car's emissions back to OEM, which may or may not meet CA emissions standards. If your car was originally sold in, CA - no problem. If not, you can deal with that piece later. The carb is the first and foremost issue, and I would normally reccomend that you rebuild your original core. This may still be a possibility, but it wouldn't be my first choice, given the circumstances. Your best bet is to find a professional carb rebuilder, and have one (either your core, or another) built to OEM CA specs. Roo Builders specializes in Subaru's, and has a good reputation.
Once you have a carb you can work with, you need to make sure all your hoses are routed correctly, and your emmisions are working properly. Your regular mechanic may be able to handle this part. If you continue to fail smog tests, you'll have to find a reputable shop that deals with emmissions and knows Subarus. This Board will be a good place to begin your research. You may have to travel a ways to find the right shop, but Subarus are much more common on the west coast, and someone out there should be able to help you out. I think you'll find that Subaru derelicts are generally good people...
Good luck, John
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