O/T - How shops get a bad reputation
A friend took his Lexus View to a local repair shop. The complaint was his wife was driving it when it started a "squeeling" noise. She turned off the air conditioner and it stopped.
When she got home he turned the AC back on, no noise, blew cold air fine.
(What do you think was the cause?)
He told the shop's manager, manager drove it around back but wouldn't let Ron go with it. A few minutes later the manager drove it back out front, He told Ron the AC had "internally exploded." The entire system had to be replaced!
He wanted $800 deposit and said the entire thing would run $1800 or more!
Ron gave him the $800, then drove it home. It would take a few days for all the parts to arrive. On the way home it worked just like normal, cold air, no squeel.
I looked at it - the idler pulley was wobbling slightly. 110,000 miles on it.
Exploded Internally? Everthing had to be replaced?
Buy that manager a cup of coffee, with two lumps of ex-lax, let him know what exploding internally really means :)
BTW: Just kidding, you could be looking at some jail time if you really did..
Sadly with the closing of auto shops in HS all over the place, the sheeple will be at the mercy of the wolves.
A "deposit" for shop work? Warning warning! Red flag all over the place..
But they are certainly 'ASE' mechanics...
ASE guys are 'Parts Changers' by definition, they are NOT required to learn how the engine and it's sub/support systems actually work,
They are required to know some minimal diagnostic information, but very little of that.
'ASE' or 'Automotive Service Excellence' rated (ASE doesn't 'Train' Techs, they 'Test' them and give them ratings based on written tests.
No actual 'Hands On' experience necessary.
Anyway, since they are 'Parts Changers', what they do is throw parts at a problem until the 'Problem' goes away...
If there is something 'Wrong' with the 'A/C System', then you change parts in that A/C system until the 'Issue' goes away...
And since they aren't likely to be correct much of the time,
They overcharge DRAMATICALLY to compensate for the eventual, and actually inevitable, comebacks that WILL happen.
This is where an OBSERVANT 'Mechanic' that understands the systems will excell.
Now, to answer the question,
In regard to 'Idler' or 'Tensioner' pulleys,
When the A/C Compressor is turned on, it's about a 6 to 15 Horsepower draw on the engine,
All of which loads the 'Idler' & 'Tensioner' pulleys.
Idler & Tensioner pulleys have VERY SMALL, sealed bearings for the amount of load they have to deal with, and often give up...
When someone says they hear a 'Squealing' or 'Grinding' from under the hood,
The FIRST thing I check for is Flat belts or 'V' belts,
And if it's flat belts, And about all are these days,
I check the Idler & Tensioner pulley bearings.
Since a locked up power steering pump, emissions pump, water pump or alternator wouldn't have 'STOPPED' when you turned off the A/C, that rules them out immediately.
The fact that the problem was 'Intermittent' pretty much rules out the A/C Compressor...
From personal experience, I can tell you that when an A/C Compressor locks up, it's almost ALWAYS locked up FOR GOOD!
Locked compressors RARELY start turning again once they lock up the first time!
And the only other ROTATING parts that come into contact with the belts are the Tensioner and/or Idler pulleys.
(Which are about $35 when you have to replace them.)
THIS IS A VERY GOOD CASE OF HEARING 'HOOF BEATS', and thinking "ZEBRAS!",
Instead of the more obvious, 'The neighbors horses'...
$1,800 would have been high for a locked compressor, even on a Lexus...
Locked compressor means a real threat of particles in the system,
1. Replacment Compressor w/Clutch.
(only an IDIOT changes the compressor and puts a used clutch back on, ESPECIALLY if the compressor locked up!)
I get high quality, UPDATED Remans with clutches for about $180
Or I can usually get a factory replacment for about that also...
I prefer the updated compressors with all the 'Good Stuff' inside...
Something you should change anytime the system is opened anyway.
3. Replace Orifice.
Any debris in the Orifice will make for a Comeback/Return/Warranty repair.
Since the system is open, it's no big deal anyway...
4. Flush Condenser, lines, heat exchanger.
Can't take the chance of leaving something in there that will block the new orifice or make it's way into the new compressor!
5. Flush with inert gas, Vacuum down, and Refill with coolant/lubricant.
This job may reach $800 by the time you are done, but it's by no means an $1,800 job!
These things crack me up. One of the things I try and teach to my high school students is trouble shooting. They are definetly part of the instant gratification/ character died game over restart generation. I'm sure shops are seeing some of these fine young people showing up at their doors. If it's work and they don't get paid/ it isn't easy they want no part of it. They don't like to "learn" how something works in the class room but would love to spend hours in the shop goofing around attempting to "fix it" with sub par workman ship.
There are some kids out there that will be a credit to the trades and I do my best to instill some work ethic and problem sloving skills in all students.
It's the "problem sloving" skills I am worried about :D
I don't see any...
No problem solving skills, no common sense, no respect for themselves or others, no manners...
And I have to agree with the MENSA studies, 'Average IQ' in America is going down at an ALARMING RATE!
Those guys in that shop have been "wrenching" all their lives. They know better.
They knew Ron doesn't know anything about vehicles. He and his wife have been going to them for years, they've probably done a good job of proving they are "pigeons."
It's clearly a case of attempted screwing, not misdiagnosis.
Problem solving was done, with logic too -- the bank account needed another $1800.
no where near as bad a raping, I was getting ready to leave on a road trip, and heard a squeeling from my ZJ. No real time or tools with me (starting from a point other than home) I ran into the local Goodyear service center that my Aunt recommended.
I figured it was either Compressor bearings (AC hadn't worked in months anyway) or Idler.
They diagnosed it as Idler, fair enough. and recomended a new belt as well. RToad trip , just me and my 4 y/o girl, ya, go ahead and replace the belt, and do both pulleys while you're at it. and throw the old belt in the back seat for me.
Got the quote while I was waiting... HOLD ON!!! I know for a fact the Idlers are $25 a pop. I've bought and replaced them on other Jeeps before. They were charging $50 each. I told the manager, " I don't mind you guys marking up the parts price a little, but 100% mark up? c'mon!! He just said, ok, and gave them to me at his cost.
Lesson: Pay attention folks!
I will only add this - just because it seems the price is higher than what you paid to buy the part and do it yourself previously, doesn't necessarily mean a raping is underway.
If you've ever been on the other side of the counter, you'd understand.
We're currently undertaking our first experience with retail automotive business, and believe me, it can take 100% mark-up just to cover the overhead. If you don't have a tech immed meet the customer, then your customer service sucks. So you are often paying guys to stand around waiting for the next car to drive up. Want new equipment so you can perform a wider variety of quality work faster? Bucks. Want to have enough inventory of parts on hand to immed deal with the most common jobs? Bucks. Want to make your customers comfortable in the lobby? Bucks. Want to make your employees comfortable, clean and presentable? Bucks. Never mind actually taking a paycheck home yourself! (Haven't seen the luxury of that yet...)
So price isn't necessarily my first indicator for shady dealings anymore - no way a full-service shop can compare to Schucks, PartsZone, Walmart or Costco. But I think RRich's example of $800 vs $1,800, diagnosed while hidden behind the shop, is shady.
We have definitely heard some horror stories though from mechanics that pass through our shop, about other places they've worked. How do some people sleep at night?
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