Mecahnic messed to rectify?

neetsiepieAugust 4, 2012

DH ordered a new engine for my truck and he had a shop install the engine so that the warranty would be valid. He picked this shop based on a recommendation of someone, and it was $300 less than most of the competitors. I wasn't happy about that as I wanted to go to our regular mechanic (who was higher than most, but trusted).

We had trouble with them getting the work done...excuse after excuse, but I kept my mouth shut as DH admitted he was wrong choosing that shop just to save a few bucks. But we finally got the call it was done. We went to pick it up just before they closed, the owner was not in, but one of his mechanics was there. I asked for the paperwork but he couldn't find it....I tell you, I was just getting madder and madder, but I was relieved to have my truck done. It purred like a kitten.

Well, I left and I had to go over a traintrack, so I thought the jerking I felt was that. Ummm, was the transmission. It would jerk hard as it went from 1st to 2nd (automatic trans). I also noticed it jerked from park to reverse and reverse to drive. I mentioned it to DH who said it was probably a linkage adjustment, easy fix...but I still wanted it checked out anyway. DH called that shop and told them and got a run around.

Meanwhile, i took it to a trusted transmission shop and we discovered that I may now have to have the entire transmission redone! I am LIVID. I had it rebuilt 3 years's in great shape and had no problems before we took it in to get the motor done. The trusted shop explained that a drum was broken-most likely due to the incompetant work done by the first shop. If they forced the engine to line up, and used the wrong bolts, it would crack that drum. They would have known there was a problem had they test drove the truck.

Anyway, LONG story...I have my truck at the trusted shop being checked out and this will probably cost another $2-$2.500 to get resolved. I am no longer mad at DH, as he knows he's already in the dog house from picking them in the first place (and he paid for everything). BUT I am mad because he used his debit card to pay the mechanic instead of his Visa. So now we have a dispute at the bank on the charge.

I am pretty sure we'll have to go to small claims, so we're documenting everything. DH just went to the shop since they're not returning our calls-no one there, naturally. I think they should pay for the transmission repairs since THEY are responsible for breaking the part. Even if we wanted to bring it back to them for fixing it (which we wouldn't!) they won't answer our calls.

Do you think we are right for asking them to pay the transmission shop? We're trying to stop the payment for the engine installation until this gets squared away. We're willing to pay for the installation...just not the transmission. What do you think would be fair?

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Not much you can do unless you take it to small claims and get the "good" mechanic to testify that the bad mechanic messed up your transmission.

I know a lot of people don't like dealers, but that's where I always take my car, no matter how old it is. It's nice because they keep records on all work done.

Time for a new truck? :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 4:55PM
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My husband thinks you should talk to a lawyer. If the mechanic shop is guilty of Breach of Contract and Negligence, you have the burden to prove it was their fault. You'd have to have an expert mechanic willing to testify that the cause was due to an error on the first mechanic's part. You could also get sued for stopping payment on that check, and that's why he thinks you should talk to a lawyer.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Pesky; you should start the process asap. I agree; consulting an attorney isn't a bad idea. Once someone touches it; its hard to prove.

We're having a hard time getting a shop to pay for similar repairs to hubs big rig. I would not have any work started until you start the process

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:10PM
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Our transmission mechanic will confirm if the damage was done by the engine mechanic. He said that there are very few ways to have that drum broken, and it's almost always done when someone is trying to install an engine and uses the wrong bolts. He's really angry that it happened.

We're more confident that they're the ones who screw it up because they WILL NOT return our calls. DH had his mom call their shop from her phone and they answered, but when we call they won't answer (caller ID). We haven't stopped payment, but have disputed the charge, the money has already been deducted from DH's bank account.

Oak, we considered a new truck before we got the engine, but the cost/benefit didn't play out. Even with $5,000 in on the engine & tranny, it's STILL a much better deal than buying new or even used. I can't buy a truck for $5,000 with no miles on it! I don't feel up to spending $40K for a new one.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I know it's too late, but you shouldn't have left the shop without your paperwork. I wonder if they use a computer to document the work or if it's hand written? When you do get the paperwork, I hope they didn't fudge anything in their favor.

Honestly, I think you're SOL unless you take it to small claims WITH the other mechanic going with you.

Usually you don't need an attorney for small claims court but you need to find out the process of how to do it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:08AM
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I don't think paperwork is that important here; you have proof you paid them a large amount. Has anyone stopped by?

Did anyone actually see the engine out? Are there any numbers on the block that show if it's just your original motor but rebuilt?

FWIW; $300 savings would not be enough for me to use someone I didn't know. It's why I had Mazda do my motor. What brand motor did they use?

I spent almost $8,000 to replace my 2002 Mazda motor. My SUV is the better; heavier models. I could not buy the same model used for under $10k & I did not want a newer used one for $15k. I've had my SUV since new; buying used would be like buying someone else's problems. The motor could have blown on that.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Pesky -

If the small shop has what is known as a "garage" insurance policy, they may have some coverage for this. The coverage is a little tricky. It doesn't cover "quality" of work to the item they worked on (the engine), but it does cover damage to something else (the transmission). Another example would be that it doesn't cover a body shop for poor welding, but it would cover upholstery that gets burned up as a result of poor welding.

So, unless this guy is a true shade-tree, he might have this coverage. You or your attorney need to ask him in writing to place his carrier on notice. Also, if he does have coverage, the adjuster will need to investigate. So if your vehicle is torn down at the other shop, let it sit briefly until the adjuster can get a look at it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Oh, thank you Jakabedy! That is an excellent idea. Yes, they're a bonafide shop...I just think they're incompetent. We did get the paperwork for the engine, and we did see the old engine. It's quite obvious they put in the new one.

We just got such a run around from them and I suspect that they knew we were coming to get my truck so they rushed and threw it in after it had sat there for a while. The rush is what messed it up. DH and I had 'words' over his cheapness and he admitted he screwed up. I don't usually gloat over the I told you so, but this time I did and he let me. We had a bit of a spat over using the trusted mechanic for the transmission, as he said that guy was one of the more expensive around...but we've used him in the past and he's EXTREMELY honest. I told DH I don't care what I have to pay him, I WILL NOT go thru this headache again of using a cut-rate contractor. Besides, DH told me that from now on, we go with my preference as he tends to be a cheapskate and it always costs us more in the long run. I mean, I am the queen of bargain hunters, but if it's something I can't DIY, I will hire the most knoweledgable, even if it costs a bit more. DH tends to go with the underdog every time, and every single time it ends up costing double.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I hope there is coverage there. Since it broke down after you took possession of it, it should be a "completed operations" claim under the liability part of their garage keepers policy.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:39PM
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DH went by the shop today and the mechanic didn't realize who he was at first. Then DH told him who he was and the guy started a song and dance again...claimed they'd fix it and that yes, they should have test driven it. Then he went on to blabber about other things. DH told him that we don't have time to wait another 3 weeks and that he'd left dozens of messages with him but he'd never gotten back to us. The mechanic just stammered as DH left.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:13PM
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