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independant mechanic


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10 replies to this topic

#1 bart2546

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 10:25 AM

Hello all, I thought I'd just write a little note here to let you know a horror story, or at least what I consider to be one, about my own local mechanic. I'm sure a lot of you remember reading my couple of posts about my CV joints clunking and so forth, Ok well I figure lets take this sucker in for preventative maintenence and get the whole half shaft changed. I take it to my local mechanic, who states "oh yea that's about an hour per half shaft job, plus parts, about 200 to 250 to do this." I figure ok sounds good, I can deal. He said he'd have it done in a day. End of the day he calls me and leaves me a message saying he'll need it one more day because he's having problems getting the drivers side out of the spindle. I figure ok, this kinda stuff happens. I got to pick it up after work the next day, and here's his story: " well we couldn't get the half shaft out of the spindle so I took it off the car and put it on the press, the press wouldn't pop it out so I had to take a torch and heat the spindle to cherry red and it popped it ou, however that fried the wheel bearings so I had to replace those and that's the only way the half shaft would come out so thats about it" total bill after adding two more hours of labor : 416 dollars. Needless to say I was a little upset but hey, the noise stopped so I figured whatever. Picked her up at around 5 pm, at around 10 PM I went to go to the next local town to pick up a late night snack at Wendy's and as I'm turning off the highway, I hear a large clunk, a high pitched grinding sound and oh yay my car refuses to move. It just revs into oblivion just as if you were giving it gas in neutral. No movement when in any gear, including reverse, no nothing. Now, I am at this point speechless but PO'd beyond all belief. Luckily I have AAA plus and had it towed to his garage, but this looser doens't work weekends so I have to wait until monday for a report. Of course when I talk to him I will expect NOT to have to pay for anything or this will by all means end up involving a lawyer because he screwed it up. My car run completely fine when I went into the shop and now it won't work after he doubled my bill and had it for 2 days in his garage. I'll keep you all updated as the story progresses and if any of you have any opinions of what might have happened, feel free to reply. ..... P.S. this is the mechanic who stated to me about this car when I picked it up: "oh you know this isn't a 95, if you look at the sticker on the door it says manufactored in Sept. 94." Now the last time I checked car manufactorers make their cars in the fall of the prev. year and market them as a next year car. E.G. it was made in 94 but it is a 95 model. He stated that he had ordered the 95 but they weren't "correct" so he called "some people" and he was told a 94 is different and he got 94 half shafts sent to him instead and I feel that these had to have been the wrong ones. If i'm wrong please someone let me know if he or I am right. Sorry about the long post but I feel I had to vent.

Regards,
Brandon Bartolomucci

#2 Olnick

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 01:45 PM

Yikes Brandon, you have every right to vent. I'd be plenty PO'd too. Sounds like this guy doesn't know what he's doing.

My suggestion: Write up a "log" of everything that happened--dates, times, his statements, prices quoted--make it a "timeline" of what happened, including your being stranded late at night and having to be rescued by AAA.

Keep it totally unemotional. Just state the facts as they happened. You can do it--you're good with words.

Then take that and proof the car is a '95 (owner's manual or VIN # should suffice) and sit down with him and go over it. Try to get him to sign it (he probably won't!)

Demand satisfaction--car fixed properly at original quoted price--or you'll take it to your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) AND file report with your state Consumer Protector AND, if necessary, contact a lawyer.

I hate to dump on a little guy indy shop owner but this is a dollars-and-cents issue . . . YOUR dollars-and-cents. Your safety too.

Good luck and keep us up on your progress.

#3 Chef

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 04:50 PM

Besides the fact that in 95 the body was changed substantially in appearance. i don't know if the half-shafts changed, but I suspect they did since they had a wider wheel-base than the 1990-1994 models.

I recommend when you speak with him you do not lose your cool, but make it clear you have the upper hand and that you are certain he will want to remedy his mistake without outside involvement (hint hint).

Good luck.


Yikes Brandon, you have every right to vent. I'd be plenty PO'd too. Sounds like this guy doesn't know what he's doing.

My suggestion: Write up a "log" of everything that happened--dates, times, his statements, prices quoted--make it a "timeline" of what happened, including your being stranded late at night and having to be rescued by AAA.

Keep it totally unemotional. Just state the facts as they happened. You can do it--you're good with words.

Then take that and proof the car is a '95 (owner's manual or VIN # should suffice) and sit down with him and go over it. Try to get him to sign it (he probably won't!)

Demand satisfaction--car fixed properly at original quoted price--or you'll take it to your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) AND file report with your state Consumer Protector AND, if necessary, contact a lawyer.

I hate to dump on a little guy indy shop owner but this is a dollars-and-cents issue . . . YOUR dollars-and-cents. Your safety too.

Good luck and keep us up on your progress.



#4 brus brother

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 07:59 PM

Do you have a written estimate? Does the final bill specify by part number or otherwise which parts were ordered/installed i.e. 94 vs 95? Ask for a copy of the invoice for the parts installed. I think you were entitled to the old parts if you asked at the time. You should quietly get this on the record in the event that you need to go to small claims couirt. Around here (CT) I think the limit is $2K, no lawyer needed. Another consideration is that the mechanic need not know what kind of towing you have or don't have. The fact that you didn't "pay" for the tow that night is irrelevant since in fact you do pay for the service as a part of your insurance with AAA.
It still may be that the occurence was only related to his work by time and not cause, but I too would be suspect.
Good luck. Be calm but if you are not satisfied or are uncomfortable with his response, have the car removed before he does any further work and inspected by another mechanic who might have to testify on your behalf.

#5 bart2546

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 09:46 PM

I do have a copy of the invoice, but that's the weird part, none of the parts themselves have the year for the part but they do have the serial number for the part used, the top of the invoice does state "1995 Subaru" however when he made his statement about it being a 1994, it was all in words. I haven't found out whats going on yet as I had mentioned before because this all just happened Friday/Friday evening and he won't be back in until tomorrow (Monday) so I need to call him. One other thing that I have on my side is the fact that before you're supposed to allow any work done you're of course supposed to sign a release waiver, he never has had me do that on any car, including this contract and I have a copy that was unsigned and of course so does he, I also paid with credit card so if worst comes to worst, i can call my credit company and have them withdraw the payment until this is settled. Thanks for all the info guys and I will keep you updated.


Regards
Brandon Bartolomucci

#6 dmanaenk

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 10:20 PM

I wouldn't let this guy anywhere near my car after such a screw up.
95 year is the major body style change, so its easy to distinguish one from another, however 94 axles might fit 95 subaru. I personally think that he damaged something trying to force the old one out.

#7 clutchcargo

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 11:20 PM

It sounds like the halfshaft popped out of the transaxle. All it takes is one side and the car goes nowhere.

Was this your mechanics first halfshaft? The explanaition that he gave you sounds like he didn't quite know how the parts come apart/go together.

Good Luck rectifying this.

#8 bart2546

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:49 AM

That's the strange part, this guy has been in business for quite a few years now, has quite the following, and I've always taken my previous vehicles to him before, yea sometimes his prices go up like that but the workmanship has never failed, ever. I had them do a tranny and clutch in my old escort, I even had him work on an 85 Jaguar XJ6. My parents always took their vehicles to him, never had a problem. I don't know if this was an honest mistake or what, but that will be determined when I talk to him later this morning about it, if he backs up his work, then I will feel it's a genuwine msitake, which can happen to anyone, but if he tries to blame it on me or another part of the car, I know he's just a ripoff. I appreciate all the replies and opinions, helps me to think about it a little more. P.S... if all the parts are put back together, how in the world CAN the half shaft pop out of place? I just didn't think there was that much room for it to go, but it sounds like a deffinite answer to what may have happened.


Regards,
Brandon Bartolomucci

#9 clutchcargo

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 07:59 AM

P.S... if all the parts are put back together, how in the world CAN the half shaft pop out of place? I just didn't think there was that much room for it to go, but it sounds like a deffinite answer to what may have happened.


Well if he indeed put a '94 shaft in a '95 the splines may have lined up, but the shaft might be too short and it didn't lock together. You would think that he compared parts before installed the new one though.
There is a little slop built into the shaft even if it is the correct part.

#10 ctoth

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 12:09 PM

In my '95 there was a roll pin to hold the shaft/CV assembly to the trans axle shaft. So he should've noticed when trying to thread the axle nut on if the length was wrong. Unless he didn't put the roll pin in. The spindle should come off just by backing the nut off the ball joint. Then you can separate the a-arm and the spindle.

Sounds like he really effed up.

#11 bart2546

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:10 PM

Just an update for you all, got the car fixed for free so I now have no beef with the mechanic. I contacted him on my first break at work and what had happened was, or so he says, there was a faulty CV joint on one of the shafts that he installed. It was faulty from the parts store. He had it replaced for free from them and didn't charge me anything, so I guess there is some good left in some mechanics, but by no means am I still not leary about the mechanic...just because...SO I guess aside from a few days out of a car and some frustration and worrying about the worst situation, it all turned out allright. Thanks for all your input guys, and I'll talk to you soon.

Regards,
Brandon Bartolomucci




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