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Knocking At My Floor (long dealer rant)


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12 replies to this topic

#1 cannonball

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 10:27 AM

I have a 2000 OBWL that has 106,000 miles on it. I have used independant shops historically for basic maintenance. I have only been to the local dealer once before, and that was for the coolant additive recall. I decided that I wanted the dealer to change my timing belt and water pump, because I wasn't too comfortable with my local guy taking this on. Also I got the dealer to service my cooling system so that the additive could be added again. I also had them do the recall for the rear subframe assembly.
They went ahead and replaced the cam seal while they were at it and checked the burring noise that was coming out from my rear end (tire/bearing noise issue). When I picked up my car they told me that they checked the bearings on the lift with a stethoscope and that the bearings sounded fine. They said my tires were cupping and that the alignment was off. Interesting I thought cause my indy guy had done the alignment earlier this year when I bought a new set of tires, and the noise was there with the old tires.
Well when I left the dealer I noticed that the was a hot oil smell coming into the cabin. I thought that it was related to them changing the cam seal, and that some oil had leaked out during the job. After a week the smell didn't go away so I decided to check the oil. To my suprise it was overfull. The oil came up to the curve on the dipstick. This was a little upsetting since the next day I had a 400 mile round trip. I decided to get under there and drain the extra oil. At this point I wasn't too mad because it gave me the oppurtunity to get under the engine and see what this boxer engine looked like from the bottom. Everyone here is right about how easy it is to change the oil and filter. I must have laid there for 30 minutes thinking how cool this engine was.
Anyway I got to looking at the bottom of the heads and noticed a darker spot at the head/case juncture toward the front of the passenger side. I didn't know if this was the head gasket issue because I have never lost any fluid since I got the car at 55,000. So I drain the oil and called it a night. The next day on my long drive it seemed at higher speed (75-90) the car didn't feel quite right. It felt like a slight tire balancing issue althought I had the tire rebalanced at the end of december. I also noticed that the oil smell was not completely gone. The next morning I decided to crank the car up and let the heat run full blast (I hadn't run it yet). My thinking was that this would dissipate the smell. Not only did it smell like oil, it smelled strongly of gas fumes. I started getting pissed and really got to inspecting engine. I knew there had to be something loose for this to happen. Low and behold I found two hoses that were disconnected. I don't know the names, but one went to the left lower side of the air box and the other one went to the top left of the case. That latter hose had a small drip hanging of of it. I reconnected the hoses and the smell went away. Problem solved.
Still there was another issue. I had also noticed that the coolant wasn't to the top of the resevoir tank. I attributed this to a little air being in the system after the coolant work. At his point I'm thinking how I'm going to write a long rant here, and how I'm going to deal with the service manager.
So to get back to the thread header, after all this I've noticed now that when I take off fast in first gear there is a knocking noise coming from the front end about halfway through realeasing the clutch. Just one knock and that's it. It doesn't do it in any other gear just first, and if I take off quickly. It kinda sounds like it's coming from the drivers side in front of the floor. My thinking is that the tech left something (a tool) in the engine compartment that knocks on hard acceleration.
The car seems to run fine now, but the thoughts of what the service tech did to my car is not... well let's just say I'm probably not going to take it back to them. I can't neccesarily say that all of this is related to the dealer, but it sure is fishy. Sorry for the long rant. Thanx for reading.

#2 blitz

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 11:36 AM

cannonball, I feel for you. High quality indie shops will specify "Experienced only W/ tools", when seeking mechanics. Care to guess where most fledgling mechanics get that experience, or worse yet, "wash-out"?

That's not to say that you can't get a satisfactory service experience from a dealer, or that you can't get screwed by by an indie, but I think that there are issues regarding thoroughness and touch, that are lost on "green wrenches". A good mechanic will take your vehicle for a short drive before doing any work to familiarize himself with your vehicle's sounds and smells. Likewise that same good mechanic will NEVER give the car back to with added noises and smells. These are things that customers and good mechanics are aware of. I hate to say it, but often the dealer service experience can be the equivalent of fast food.

It's this fear that drives me to buy the overpriced service manuals and study them with nerd-like religiousness (I'm a nerd anyway, but I digress), to buy a high-quality hydraulic jack, ramps, etc. It's also this fear that keeps me here soaking up every bit of technical data.

The only time I surrender the job to someone else is if it involves a hoist, cutting torches, impact chisel, etc.

#3 cannonball

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 12:24 PM

Thanx for the your kind words. I used to do all the work on my S-10 cause I wasn't worried about screwing up. Now with a wife and kid I don't have as much time as I'd like, but it looks like it's time for me to reconsider. I like the indy guy I go to now, but I know in this neck of the woods he doesn't see a lot of Subies. I think I need to put a little more faith in him for majors cause I think he would probably take time and care to learn what he doesn't know.

#4 unverviking

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 01:56 PM

I've been hot and cold on the dealer issue myself. We have 3 in the area, the first 1 was nasty from the get go, 2nd ok for awhile, until the writer started asking me specifics that my wife had already told him, 3rd is owned by a woman, since my wife drives the car primarily, she felt most comfortable there. Now since they are a 30-40 minute drive, I'm starting to reconsider.

My local Inde shop guy is great, the most honest guy I've seen turning wrenches. He's done several inspections on all our cars, LOF's, etc. I just took the 01 OBW to him on Monday for a State Inspection and asked him to check the Valve Cover Gaskets... (The dealer had said awhile ago that they were leaking) He did, and found only the pass side was leaking, not the driver's. He doesn't feel comfortable doing it because he didn't have the torque specs, etc, and since he doesn't have a high Sube cust base (only us) he didn't want to invest the time to "figure it out". I thought that was very honest of him.

He did call the #2 dealer and found out for us that it would cost $150.00 to have them do 1 side. I still have yet to make the call, because I'm still stuck on maybe having some "green" wrench put on my simple VCG and screw it up worse than it was before it came in. I guess since I don't have a garage to park in anymore (new 4 car on the way in the spring) I can't do it myself, so I'll have to rely on the dealer to do it, we'll see if they can do it right the first time or not...

As far as the knock on the floor... maybe the "green" tech that serviced your car is still under there and is trying to get out... Keep us posted...

#5 cannonball

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 02:01 PM

As far as the knock on the floor... maybe the "green" tech that serviced your car is still under there and is trying to get out... Keep us posted...

LOL. I'll kick his tail when I get him out of there.

#6 Setright

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 02:31 PM

Just a technical note: Sounds like those were PCV hoses that were left disconnected. They scavange blowby gas from the crankcase, mainly for emissions purposes and explain why you had the oil and gas smell.

I would also like to share my sympathy, as I know exactly how it feels to have laid down your hard-earned and gotten screwed by an authorised dealer.

#7 cannonball

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 03:20 PM

Just a technical note: Sounds like those were PCV hoses that were left disconnected. They scavange blowby gas from the crankcase, mainly for emissions purposes and explain why you had the oil and gas smell.

I would also like to share my sympathy, as I know exactly how it feels to have laid down your hard-earned and gotten screwed by an authorised dealer.


Yea I was thinking that's what they might be. It just boggles my brain as to why he had to disconnect those for the work he did.

#8 Setright

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 12:53 AM

Me too!

#9 Gnuman

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 01:37 AM

Simple: He was too stupid not to! cannonball, I recomend that you do your own work as much as you can. The Boxer engine is bone simple to work on, compared to a lot of other engines I have seen (well, every other engine I have seen is more complicated/dificult. . . ) :)

The only time I ever heard that sound was from a transmission mount that was not torqued down (or even tightened, to be honest. I corrected that one quickly!)

#10 jamal

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 04:22 AM

Yeah, I haven't ever really had a good dealer experience. I found a really great independant Subaru shop back home, though. I just wanted to add that the coolant shouldn't be to the top of the reservoir, it should be at the "full" line.

#11 cannonball

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 08:40 AM

Yeah, I haven't ever really had a good dealer experience. I found a really great independant Subaru shop back home, though. I just wanted to add that the coolant shouldn't be to the top of the reservoir, it should be at the "full" line.


Oops, that's what I meant. The line not the top. The last few days it seems to be holding steady.

Motor mount. That might be the culprit. If I get under there and discover that's what it is, I may go ballistic. I just don't get it. I guess I had bad kharma that day.:banghead: At least that's an easy fix.

#12 mudrat79

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 03:04 PM

On your Knock....

Look at the rear Lower control arm mounting point.....It will be the back bolt on the lower arm attached to the body with 2 bolts in a Mount......Seems very random, but you never know.....It sucks to get taken anywhere...

Locally it is the other way around Most of the time.....

The Indie Shops are flakes and Try to cut corners, where as the dealer is pretty good.......

Hope you get to the bottom of it all,

John

#13 cannonball

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Posted 21 January 2005 - 08:59 AM

On your Knock....

Look at the rear Lower control arm mounting point.....It will be the back bolt on the lower arm attached to the body with 2 bolts in a Mount......Seems very random, but you never know.....It sucks to get taken anywhere...

Locally it is the other way around Most of the time.....

The Indie Shops are flakes and Try to cut corners, where as the dealer is pretty good.......

Hope you get to the bottom of it all,

John


Thanx, I'll take a look at that this weekend.




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