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pearly8
12-20-2009, 02:46 PM
I recently had to take my '94 Lincoln Mark VIII (105,000 mi) in to a shop because it was barely running.

The diagnosis was electrical; shot plugs primarily, corrected with a tuneup with wires, plugs, fuel filter, etc.

The shop showed me the motorcraft plugs, which they said looked to be the originals. That was a shock because I paid another shop at around 60,000 mi to install new autolite double platinum plugs, transmission fluid, etc.

That was 6 years ago, but that shop is still in business.

Needless to say, I'm upset.

What recourse, if any, might I have with the shop who charged me but didn't install the plugs?

Eric
12-20-2009, 04:44 PM
I recently had to take my '94 Lincoln Mark VIII (105,000 mi) in to a shop because it was barely running.

The diagnosis was electrical; shot plugs primarily, corrected with a tuneup with wires, plugs, fuel filter, etc.

The shop showed me the motorcraft plugs, which they said looked to be the originals. That was a shock because I paid another shop at around 60,000 mi to install new autolite double platinum plugs, transmission fluid, etc.

That was 6 years ago, but that shop is still in business.

Needless to say, I'm upset.

What recourse, if any, might I have with the shop who charged me but didn't install the plugs?

Number one, don't ever go back there;

Number two, be sure to tell everyone you know what the shop did; warn them about doing business with these clowns, etc.

Number three, file a complaint with your local consumer regulatory watchdog/Better Business Bureau.

I know it's not much, but after six years, proving they didn't do the work will be extremely difficult, if not impossible and even if you could, it would likely be a small potatoes case which would not recover the cost/hassle of going after them.

Look at it this way, though: You know the shop is either incompetent or crooked or both and you'll never be victimized by them again. A botched tune-up is bad, but it could have been much worse. Imagine if, for example, they'd sold you a $2,000 transmission rebuild you didn't actually need...

dom
12-20-2009, 05:37 PM
You are sure you have autolite double platinum plugs installed at 60k?

Sometimes I can swear I did, or had one thing and come to find out I was imagining it.

Also, the term "looked to be the originals" does not necessarily mean "are originals."

Running a vehicle with a tired ignition system, namely plug wires, and a tired fuel filter & air filter can take its toll on the plugs. Meaning, I think having worn gear and new plugs will make the plugs age a lot faster than if all the stuff were replaced at the same time.

Not saying the first shop didn't rip you off, but giving a shop a bad name on something you are not 100% sure of is bad.

My $0.02

DonTom
12-21-2009, 08:04 AM
Not saying the first shop didn't rip you off, but giving a shop a bad name on something you are not 100% sure of is bad.My $0.02

That was exactly what I was going to say but you beat me to it!

However, I was ripped off at a Chevy dealer with my old RV. They replaced the engine and stole my distributor and put a junk one in. And it was no mistake, it was deliberate! That could be proved by the fact that the distributor they put in had a stuck centrifugal advance. But that wasn't the proof. The proof was the fact that all the wires on the distributor were off by two positions because of it. The distributor could only be turned a little in that vehicle and with the advance stuck at max advance, it would not be possible to set the timing anything near close (at idle) without putting the wires in the obvious wrong places on the distributor. I did wonder why the new engine had no guts until I did my own tune up a couple of years later. When I put in the new distributor, it sure made a big noticeable difference when climbing up hills.

The Chevy dealer is still in business, but I never even bothered to tell them. I know they will never admit to any wrong-doing, so why bother?

Besides, I figure it was the mechanic, not the dealer, who stole my distributor. And I have no idea if he still works there or not.


-Don- SF, CA

dom
12-21-2009, 10:06 AM
I will let you guys in one of my secrets, something you may already know.

note: First off, my cars are rarely touched by mechanics at shops. I do most of my own maintenance, but sometimes they still end up there. I don't trust these mother$uckers.

Anyhow, when my car does end up there I notch/mark/take note of anything planning on being touched on my vehicle before it goes in. Meaning, I put my mark on stuff and then inspect it when the car comes back to me, taking care to look at both things they worked on and things around that area they may have molested. I also request all my old parts back!

Keep in mind guys that in most cases you have a "D Guy" or "Tire Tech" doing the wrenching on your unit. Between smoke breaks, text messages, and hangovers on the brain, girlfriends visiting, ex-girlfriends visiting, and scheme plots these guys perform your car's services.

This all reiterates another message I have. Know your shop and the people who work there! Go there for oil changes, tire rotations, shop talk etc.. Get to know the shop before you let them borrow your unit!

I used to work in the industry and was a pretty decent mechanic, still am.
In the past almost 15 years I can only put my endorsement on one car shop and a handful of individuals at other shops. The automotive service industry and, sad to say, a lot of the employees have gone to shet. Seems the skilled mechanics have been replaced my Jiffy Lube/Merchant Tire techs/Parts swapping teeny bopping azznecks.

Rant complete..

DonTom
12-21-2009, 11:25 AM
Anyhow, when my car does end up there I notch/mark/take note of anything planning on being touched on my vehicle before it goes in

I only let them do things that I cannot do myself, for whatever reason. Like the RV that broke a rod 150 miles from home.

But it's a hassle to take off the dog house to check things in a van/RV. But that time, I wish I did. But even if I did, I somehow doubt I would notice the ignition wires on the incorrect posts. Who would notice that? Who would even think about it?

When I first went to do a tune up in that old RV (a couple of years after) is when I first noticed it. And I only wondered why - -until I took the distributor cap off and then the reason was obvious. I was ripped off by the Chevy dealer employee.

BTW, I would let somebody else change the timing belt and water pump in my Sebring if it could be proved the work was really done without me tearing the car apart to check. I could have it all done for $650.00. But if I have to check, I might as well replace the stuff myself.

My basic rule on this stuff is if I can do the work myself, I will. But if a breakdown during a trip or something like that, then it might depend on other factors.


-Don- SSF, CA

pearly8
12-21-2009, 01:32 PM
I have the receipt for the plugs and the labor charge for the work.

It is likely a bad employee, but if I owned the shop, I'd want to know, and have a chance to make it right.

Eric
12-21-2009, 04:39 PM
Same here. I only give in/take it to the shop when it's something beyond my abilities (electronics/anything involving welding).

Eric
12-21-2009, 04:43 PM
I will let you guys in one of my secrets, something you may already know.

note: First off, my cars are rarely touched by mechanics at shops. I do most of my own maintenance, but sometimes they still end up there. I don't trust these mother$uckers.

Anyhow, when my car does end up there I notch/mark/take note of anything planning on being touched on my vehicle before it goes in. Meaning, I put my mark on stuff and then inspect it when the car comes back to me, taking care to look at both things they worked on and things around that area they may have molested. I also request all my old parts back!

Keep in mind guys that in most cases you have a "D Guy" or "Tire Tech" doing the wrenching on your unit. Between smoke breaks, text messages, and hangovers on the brain, girlfriends visiting, ex-girlfriends visiting, and scheme plots these guys perform your car's services.

This all reiterates another message I have. Know your shop and the people who work there! Go there for oil changes, tire rotations, shop talk etc.. Get to know the shop before you let them borrow your unit!

I used to work in the industry and was a pretty decent mechanic, still am.
In the past almost 15 years I can only put my endorsement on one car shop and a handful of individuals at other shops. The automotive service industry and, sad to say, a lot of the employees have gone to shet. Seems the skilled mechanics have been replaced my Jiffy Lube/Merchant Tire techs/Parts swapping teeny bopping azznecks.

Rant complete..

Amen.

I hate to say I agree, but that's been my experience also. It can be a dealer or an independent; no guarantee either is competent (and could be an outright rip-off outfit).

I have a shop I trust because I live in a small town and the owner is a friend of mine. Eve if he weren't personal known to me, the thing about small towns is, word gets around. If a shop/individual fucks someone, before too long the whole town knows about it - and it's game over for that dude. He will be out of business before he has time to regret what he did.

grouch
12-21-2009, 05:24 PM
On the RV, I think that what happened is they put a used engine in and used the distributor that was on it. I've seen a lot of people do that over the years. I won't, I replace anything that is a regular serice item as well as anything that is a stinker to replace in the vehicle. When the engine is on the stand is when it's easiest to replace the expansion plugs, timing chain, oil pump and so on. I dropped a used engine with 90K on it in my old black truck at 335,000 miles. (You'd think the original engine would last longer than that!) I now have 357,000+ and it's running strong.


On local shops, I have one shop, and only one, that I reccommend. They will save the old parts whenever possible, give free advice (something I always did, it pays BIG dividends) and you aren't paying for fancy furniture in the waiting room. The tools and equipment are fairly new and kept clean but the lunch room for the workers is a dump.


Now, I do have a list of "NOT reccomended" places locally. It takes a bit to get on there but once on, it's nearly impossible to get off. I mean, why lie for no reason. I went into one to look at an older Thunderbird they had on the lot. The first time, they had just gotten it in and knew nothing about it. Okay, I can come back later. A few days later, I went back in and asked about it. The salesman went in back and a little while later came out and said they had a paper problem and couldn't sell it. I left and went down the road and guess what, at the Furd dealer, there it was on the front row. All the unique scratches and wear on the tires as well as old decals thatn weren't cleaned off yet. If the guy had said they already sold it, no big deal. Why lie and say you still have it when you don't though?

Mase
12-21-2009, 07:07 PM
All my warranty work is done by the dealer, and quite a bit of non-warranty work, too. I like and trust this dealer, get to know the service advisor, and build a relationship. This pays off in various ways. For example, it once took longer than expected to do some work on my '89 Caddy. They gave me a free rental (new DTS!) for a week.

For other work and work on my old Jag, I use a shop that is highly advertised and owned by a guy who has a "car-clinic" weekly radio show. (MOTORMAN SHOW (http://www.lancerautomotive.com/)). He has too much at stake to do shoddy or fraudulent stuff. They aren't cheap, but they can get parts for almost anything and they do excellent work, completely trustworthy. One unique thing is they do NOT make reservations or appointments. First-come, first served.

I used to do a lot of my own work, especially normally easy stuff like tune-ups, oil changes, alternators, starters....but I don't have shop space any more and frankly am just too old to enjoy it any more.

DonTom
12-21-2009, 07:47 PM
On the RV, I think that what happened is they put a used engine in and used the distributor that was on it. I've seen a lot of people do that over the years.

Interesting. I never even thought of that possibility. But IYO, how did the damaged distributor get on there? And IYO, could the dealer install the engine without noticing the advance isn't working correctly when they go to adjust it? Or do they assume it's already set right if a complete engine? If it's a screw-up and not a rip-off, who screwed up when?


-Don- SSF, CA

grouch
12-22-2009, 12:13 AM
Interesting. I never even thought of that possibility. But IYO, how did the damaged distributor get on there? And IYO, could the dealer install the engine without noticing the advance isn't working correctly when they go to adjust it? Or do they assume it's already set right if a complete engine? If it's a screw-up and not a rip-off, who screwed up when?


-Don- SSF, CA



Often, when I sold a used engine when I ran a salvage yard, the engine was fine but the distributor often gave trouble. The block is full of oil and closed to the atmosphere. Valve covers and such do a pretty good job. Keep the intake plugged and the engine under some sort of cover and it can sit for years. I pulled one of my own engines out of a storage shed after about 4 or 5 years, cleaned it and did my usual thing and it worked just fine. Now, the distributor is on top and often peeks out under cover since it pokes up. It's also not full of oil and coolant (which has anti-corrosion additives) and works by atmospheric vacuum.

To me, it's inexcusable to not take the cap off the distributor and move the advance mechanism by hand. It only takes a couple of minutes and makes sure of proper functioning. I know you no longer have the RV but if you did, I'd be sure to check the timing chain for slop. Just because a used engine runs without much blow by and pulls good vacuum doesn't mean you just drop one in. I go through any motor just to be sure. Yes, it does cost some major pennies but I would rather do it once. The engine that went into my truck cost me $250. I spent another $400 making sure it would be reliable. It's been in there for years now with no trouble and often sits for weeks at a time without being started. Crank it enough to pump fuel up and it fires off every time. Now that I've said that, it'll probably just grunt the next time I try to start it. :rolleyes:

DonTom
12-22-2009, 07:06 AM
Often, when I sold a used engine when I ran a salvage yard, the engine was fine but the distributor often gave trouble.


But my 400CID was a rebuilt, not from a junk yard. I had to buy a new water pump and other such stuff that does not come with rebuilds. So how can a bad distributor get on a rebuilt?


-Don-

Eric
12-22-2009, 07:59 AM
But my 400CID was a rebuilt, not from a junk yard. I had to buy a new water pump and other such stuff that does not come with rebuilds. So how can a bad distributor get on a rebuilt?


-Don-


I suspect they had an old distributor lying around and just installed it - though why they wouldn't just add the cost of the new distributor to your bill rather than do that makes not much sense. Unless, of course, they did charge you for the new distributor - in which case they "earned" a couple hundred bucks by dropping in the POS used part they had laying around....

DonTom
12-22-2009, 08:30 AM
I suspect they had an old distributor lying around and just installed it - though why they wouldn't just add the cost of the new distributor to your bill rather than do that makes not much sense. Unless, of course, they did charge you for the new distributor - in which case they "earned" a couple hundred bucks by dropping in the POS used part they had laying around....

There was nothing wrong with my old distributor. There was no reason to not use it in the new rebuilt engine.


-Don- SF, CA

Eric
12-22-2009, 08:57 AM
There was nothing wrong with my old distributor. There was no reason to not use it in the new rebuilt engine.


-Don- SF, CA


Just one: They got to keep your good distributor - which they then likely used to fix someone else's car - and charged them for it....

DonTom
12-22-2009, 05:10 PM
Just one: They got to keep your good distributor - which they then likely used to fix someone else's car - and charged them for it....


Yep. Which means it was a deliberate rip-off, not a mistake.


-Don- SSF, CA

DonTom
12-23-2009, 02:40 AM
I just remembered something. I can PROVE, without doubt, that it was a deliberate rip-off.

Since it's a rebuilt engine (not one from a junk yard), I had to pay for the spark plugs & wires and even the new distributor cap as all this stuff is normally replaced when buying a rebuilt engine that's being installed by others. The mechanic had to install the wires, distributor cap and plugs. To put the wires on the cap off by two posts so the timing could be set proves he knew something was wrong.

And how could he replace the cap without seeing the obvious damage?

He is guilty as charged, next case!


-Don-

grouch
12-23-2009, 06:16 PM
I just remembered something. I can PROVE, without doubt, that it was a deliberate rip-off.

Since it's a rebuilt engine (not one from a junk yard), I had to pay for the spark plugs & wires and even the new distributor cap as all this stuff is normally replaced when buying a rebuilt engine that's being installed by others. The mechanic had to install the wires, distributor cap and plugs. To put the wires on the cap off by two posts so the timing could be set proves he knew something was wrong.

And how could he replace the cap without seeing the obvious damage?

He is guilty as charged, next case!


-Don-



I'll bet he didn't really check it. Just slap it together and get it out the door. To be fair, stuck advance weights can look good. They sure won't feel right though. That shop is a text book example of a "jack leg mechanic".

DonTom
12-24-2009, 04:53 AM
I'll bet he didn't really check it. Just slap it together and get it out the door. To be fair, stuck advance weights can look good. They sure won't feel right though. That shop is a text book example of a "jack leg mechanic".

These advance weights had very obvious damage. One glance and the damaged advance is noticed, just as I noticed it as soon as I took the rotor off. And before that, I noticed the wires were on the wrong posts and was wondering why - - until I removed the rotor!

I would think that if he put the wire from cylinder number three coming from the engine to post number one on the distributor he would know something is wrong. That was the only way possible to set the timing with the bad centrifugal advance, because the distributor only allows a few degrees of rotation before the vacuum advances runs into things (400 CID small block).

If he put number one on number one with the stuck advance, the engine probably would not even start even when the distributor is rotated to the best possible position. There is no way he could not have known something was wrong.

The other obvious question is why did he not use the good distributor from my broken rod engine.

IMAO, his obvious guilt is way beyond reasonable doubt.


-Don- SF, CA

pearly8
01-04-2010, 04:13 PM
I showed the shop the motorcraft plug, awsf 32c, and he said that number indicated an aftermarket plug; that he probably subsituted motorcraft plugs for the ones I supplied.

What number would indicate an original plug? Does the a really mean aftermarket?

Eric
01-04-2010, 04:29 PM
I showed the shop the motorcraft plug, awsf 32c, and he said that number indicated an aftermarket plug; that he probably subsituted motorcraft plugs for the ones I supplied.

What number would indicate an original plug? Does the a really mean aftermarket?

Motocraft is Ford OEM (like AC -Delco is for GM). The number of the plug is just the type/heat range. I doubt there is any way to tell a Motocraft plug that was installed at the factory from one that was installed later on just by the numbers as two such plugs would be identical and come from the same source. The only difference would be wear, etc.

Your owner's manual or the service manual should list the original plug's number and type. As you probably know, there are aftermarket plugs that can be used and these will have their own names/numbers corresponding to type and heat range, etc.

pearly8
01-04-2010, 11:58 PM
Thanks.

The ford parts guy said pretty much the same thing; there is no "after market" designation.

Eric
01-05-2010, 05:47 AM
Thanks.

The ford parts guy said pretty much the same thing; there is no "after market" designation.

No problem!

I think the consensus here is to do one of two things to avoid being scammed:

* Do the service yourself (such as spark plug changeouts).

Or -

* Deal only with a shop/technician you have come to trust.

Both have their downsides, of course. Not everyone is able to do their own service, especially on a late model car. And it's often no easy thing to find a shop that is competent and honest.

pearly8
01-14-2010, 01:50 AM
I went by the old shop.

He pulled his records, and saw that I had supplied my own plugs.

When he couldn't find an order for other plugs or a note returning mine, he wrote me a check for the cost of plugs and installation.

Not a bad outcome after all.

Eric
01-14-2010, 06:04 AM
I went by the old shop.

He pulled his records, and saw that I had supplied my own plugs.

When he couldn't find an order for other plugs or a note returning mine, he wrote me a check for the cost of plugs and installation.

Not a bad outcome after all.


That's pretty "stand up" - glad he did right by you!