Last post on Dec 02, 2013 at 3:15 PM
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Auto Repair, Hatchback, Truck, Sedan
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#487 of 4850 isellhondas
Nov 06, 2012 (4:29 pm)
It has been years since I was at Dad's shop (it closed in 1986)...the big lathe we had (6 foot bed) was a South Bend...the drum/disc lathes, I have no idea of the brand, but they stood about 4 feet tall, much larger than the units in service stations...
We had a milling machine for warped cylinder heads, and we had a valve grinding machine to grind out the grooves in valves, and, boy, did they look beautiful and polished when we were done...
We used the big lathe to grind down grooves on flywheels, beautiful smooth surface when we were done with them...also cut the copper on armatures so new brushes had full contact when starting...
Life was different back then...
#488 of 4850 So imagine your day starting off like this.
Nov 07, 2012 (5:08 am)
About 8:30 I expect to hear from someone who called me last night right before the training class I was presenting started. Her car broke down last friday in the parking lot where she works. Then over the weekend she lost her keys. Its a 2003 Taurus and by her description she has had a lot of problems with this car in the two years that she has owned it. First a freind borrowed it, wrecked it that took a few months to be repaired. Then it wouldn't start a few months back so they replaced the battery, then when it didn't start again it got an alternator, and then someone else replaced the starter and now it's broke down again.
She wanted it towed to the dealer, but everyone she called has said that with where it is sitting, they can't get to it. She has been told it has to go to the dealer because while they can make replacement keys, they have to program the PATS system to make them work.
But, the car wouldn't start before she lost her keys. So this is now a minimum of two unique operations. She has already had what sounds like a half of a dozen attempts at fixing a fundemental issue without success, and she has managed to add an entire layer on top of that. I have up until 10am to solve every facet of this vehicle issue and then I have to hit the road for where I am teaching tonight.
Does this sound like fun to you? Someone has to completely solve this and get the car to be reliable so that she can simply use it for a few years. Sometimes it's really dissapointing how we would have found and dealt with the primary problem months ago and yet we never got the chance. We can handle her theft deterrent retrain right in the parking lot where the car is at. I will have to open up the locked car, and if necessary I have tools that I can use to lift the car and roll it out of where it is at so that I can put it onto my flat bed.
BTW, reflect for a moment the $$$$$ investment that we have in place, just to be "service ready" and solve this problem for her in an efficient manor.
#489 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [thecardoc3]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Nov 07, 2012 (8:58 am)
This sounds more like the lyrics to a country western song. I might have hung up.
#490 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 07, 2012 (9:41 am)
I'm really curious as to what the problem is with the Taurus. After I sold my Escort, which was quite reliable for me, the lady that bought it said the alternator failed and then later that it "wouldn't start." I had replaced two failed alternators in the time I owned it (exactly one year apart from one another) and had recently replaced a failed starter. Aside from those, though, I had no issues with the car starting and had no reason to suspect it might act up at any time in the near future.
Well, she ended up moving out of state and sold the car. Oddly, I happened to spot the car (with new owner) at a gas station about "five minutes" after he purchased it. I gave him some extra keys and a repair manual that had been toting around in my car for two months waiting for the other lady to pick up, and we chatted for a little while about the car's history. I noticed that the car did, indeed, have a new alternator, along with a new battery, but didn't see anything else that looked different from two months prior.
I'm curious what the problem on this Taurus ends up being, as it sounds like maybe that could be the root cause of the Escort's issues, too. I could chalk one failed replacement alternator up to a poor rebuild, but two within only 2.5 years? It might be something more....
#491 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [xwesx]
Nov 08, 2012 (9:06 am)
I'm curious what the problem on this Taurus ends up being, as it sounds like maybe that could be the root cause of the Escort's issues, too. I could chalk one failed replacement alternator up to a poor rebuild, but two within only 2.5 years? It might be something more
You cannot associate the problems that one car has to generate the repair answer for another. Your Escort may only have been suffering from substandard repair components, or a lack of proper testing and maybe there was never anything wrong with any of the alternators.
As far as the Taurus goes, she was a no-show. On our way out of town I drove past it and saw where it is sitting. I can get it out of there, but only after hours when there are no-other cars in that driveway that serves as the parking lot that goes all the way around the building. My flatbed probably cannot make the turns at the corners without needing some of the yard, it's that tight. Add the other cars parked there and it won't fit, period.
I asked if anyone wanted to guess what kind of investment it takes to be ready to do the whole job for her. The truck represents over $70,000 all by itself. The scan tool, and software licenses, oscilloscope etc. easily push the total over $100K.
I am the only tech/shop that could handle her situation completely, with no outside assistance. The pressure to be too cheap has left everyone else short of everything that would be required, and this is a ten year old car. Think about that for a bit.
#492 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [thecardoc3]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Nov 08, 2012 (9:41 am)
I'm surprised all your alarm bells didn't go off prior to even considering working on this car....
#493 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [thecardoc3]
Nov 08, 2012 (11:23 am)
Since you're talking about cost of the equipment to properly do a job let me ask you this. Do you ask for a down payment on any type of job or estimated cost of a job?
For example say someone has '99 RX300 towed in to your shop and you estimate $13K to R/R a sludge motor. Guy tells you yeah go ahead and do it. Do you ask for a down payment? For what amount?
#494 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [obyone]
Nov 08, 2012 (1:40 pm)
On a repair of that magnatude, absolutely a deposit is required. They must pay the parts up front. There simply isn't a choice in ther matter because we don't have the kind of money that would allow me to buy an engine and sit on it for any length of time.
The greatest fears with repairs like that is a customer who says do the work, and then never picks the car up. Worse yet since Pa doesn't have a mechanics lien law they could report the car as stolen, and when the police find it they take it away form us and return it to the customer without the repair being paid for. We are essentially left to sue for the repairs but the odds are we win the case but still never see a dime.
I have had cars that the owner stopped making the payment on and get repo'ed that we had a repair waiting to be paid for. We have been ripped off for quite a sizeable amount of money that way through the years.
#495 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 08, 2012 (1:44 pm)
I'm surprised all your alarm bells didn't go off prior to even considering working on this car
Oh they were going off allright. The problem is we are so much about trying to help people that we often forge ahead no matter how rough the seas or dark the clouds are.
#496 of 4850 Re: So imagine your day starting off like this. [thecardoc3]
Nov 08, 2012 (1:58 pm)
It's nice that you try so hard to help people but sometimes a shop just has to decline a job.
" I appreciate the fact you called on us to do this job but I just don't feel comfortable doing this job when the cost of repairs will be more than the value of the car"