A dealership story...
03-23-2007, 07:32 AM
Post: #1
A dealership story...
Don't really know why i decided to post this, maybe i just like whining, maybe there actually is a point to it:

Two days ago i realised the Autocross season here opens up this weekend and my car is still not running properly [i have a whimper thread in the Tech forum, don't read it unless you agree to leave a supportive and sympathetic comment, i need the motivation kthx] and because of work have next to no time to work on it and get it fixed, so the obvious decision was - drop it at a dealer to fix the wiring. Even though engine is not stock, they should be able to fix body wiring, how bloody hard can it be, right? So yeah, there I am, dropping my car off at a dealer called Lou Fusz's or something of the like. I demand to have a word with the tech that's gonna work on the car, so i can explain what needs to be done and what not to touch on it. Guy comes up - slightly redneckish, but cool nevertheless. I show him the two connectors that he needs to start following wires from until he finds where the shorting with the ground is and if not fix them, then at least tell me where it shorts so i can do it myself. 35 mins into the explanation his manager shows up and starts telling him how he should ignore everything i say and do jack and then charge me per hour even if the car doesn't get fixed... quite the obnoxious bastard, truely. I ask them if they have the wiring diagram for the car, so they can fix what i initially brought the car in for. Turns out - they don't. Not only that, they start explaining to me how the manual cannot be obtained and blah-blah-blah random excuses and stuff. I ended up actually e-mailing it to them, so they can not use that as an excuse. Later same day i receive a call, the manager dude in his divine electrical-engineering-degree-posesion explains to me how the reason for my engine not revving properly [or as he worded it: 'falling on its face'] is not at all the fact that i have 12V running through the body of the car to which everything including the ECU grounds, but infact one of the wires of the TPS seems to not send/receive voltage. That conclusion he reached after having some wiring-guru-dude spend 3-4 hours on the car, working on the 20V with the stock 16V wiring diagrams in hand. Pure genii, those people, i tell you. Anyway, i tell him he is an utter fool [in a more politically correct manner, ofc.] and that with the battery minus terminal disconnected and the car running on alternator it revs just about as fine as i want it to, the TPS does not all of a sudden fix its own wiring miraculously - when the f**king grounding circuit goes open it just doesn't lean itself out. The guy tells me to 'chill' and preceeds to disrespectfully insult my amateur knowledge, or lack thereof, about how cars work and the whole 9 yards. At that point i'm considering spending an year or two in jail for killing the dude with a toothpick i happened to have in my pocket. He wants me to pay 120 USD per hour [my paycheque is low 500s for two weeks working, he wants about 480 paid] for doing everything i told them not to and not doing anything i told them to. I told him i'm not paying unless they spent their time working on what i want. He says they don't intend to listen to me and my uneducated demands and so on. By the time i'm considering a lifetime in jail without parole for burning the building down. After my second refusal to pay for their refusal to obay simple instructions, he calls my car an 'electrical nightmare' and starts sweating and turning sadly red from the neck up. About five minutes later i drove my car off the lot without paying a penny.
So, yeah, if there is any moral to this it would be 'if you want it done right - do it yourself'. With that said - wish me luck i have 2 days to make the car not 'fall on its face'.

Cheers and sorry for the time wasted.
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03-23-2007, 09:35 AM
Post: #2
A dealership story...
120 USD per hour? Huh
And after you instructed him not to diagnose anything other than finding source, not the result. Angry

I agree with you that these kind of problems are probably only solvable by doing it yourself, or ofcourse by an expert mechanic who is not a moron. Wink

1982 - TA60 Carina 4dr sedan - fun cruiser
1983 - AE86 Sprinter Trueno - import project
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03-23-2007, 10:01 AM
Post: #3
A dealership story...
Expert mechanics? At a dealer? Hahahahahahahahahahaha

A wheel to steer the front of the car
A pedal to steer the rear
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03-23-2007, 11:43 AM
Post: #4
A dealership story...
Well, for 120 an hour not only did i expect competence, but maybe even a little respect...
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03-23-2007, 12:52 PM
Post: #5
A dealership story...
99% of their customers don't have a choice I guess, so they can afford a little arrogance....

Its why I do as little businesses with garages/dealerships as I can...

That said, the local Toyota dealer here in Hoofddorp has treated me very kindly and respectfully everytime I did have a reason to visit them and I would recommend them to anyone requiring the kind of services only dealers can offer.


Bastiaan "mux213" Olij

Moved down under, no more hachi Sad
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03-23-2007, 07:43 PM
Post: #6
A dealership story...
You should have walked away much earlier judging from the experiences you've had with them BEFORE you dropped the car off.
If they're disrespectfull or un-interested, what kind of job can you expect them to do?

Real dealerships over here often do have qualified expert mechanics, I should know, volvo lets me work on my trackcar at the dealership and I often need to ask their mechanics for advice. But fixing up modified old vehicles is not always their cup of tea, I'd expect a specialised company to do a better job for less.

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03-23-2007, 10:18 PM
Post: #7
A dealership story...
I've heard worse horror stories... one in particular was a mechanics fault and they charged the customer $2400 to fix it! (dropped a nut down the intake plenum and it got sucked into the engine)

it is always BEST to learn about the shop and the people who work there.

Dan -

You can |Sad .... OR you can ask for help!!!

OST Porting service - http://hachiroku.net/forums/showthread.php?t=19991
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03-23-2007, 10:45 PM
Post: #8
A dealership story...
When I got a problem with my car I have been 2 time to professional garage. 1 is local Toyota dealer and he suggest me to go back to the previous owner or I would pay fortune if I leave my car to them (Toyota dealer) So I leave to home and the next day I visit to local garage and ask if they can solve my car problem, and they said they dont dare to touch my car and let me find other garage.

So after few weeks I go visit previous owner and there was a guy from Toyota garage wait me to help. And he fixed the car after 1 hour and I dont pay any money for that Thumbs up!

So I am quite happy with the result I got from 2 garages because they seem not to be a smart ass to solve my car problem Tongue

1985 AE86 (ハチロク) Levin - Summer time daily driver
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03-24-2007, 04:06 AM
Post: #9
A dealership story...
I've dealt with Lou Fusz Toyota for over 15 years, dating back to before there was an internet and damn few dealers would mail order parts at a discount. They were among the first and whenever I had any question, they'd answer it even if that meant putting one of the service guys on the phone--free.

Your experience is totally unlike the respect and professionalism they've always shown me. The shipped a wrong part once, and when I pointed out it was more expensive than the one I had ordered, they said simply keep it, we'll credit you the difference too.

So, maybe things have changed.

But then again when you say "and that with the battery minus terminal disconnected and the car running on alternator it revs just about as fine as i want it to" that frankly scares me. There is never, ever, a reason to disconnect the master ground from the battery. NEVER.

And that also means you have free-floated the alternator, which can cause all sorts of odd effects including burning out the alternator--and god knows what else to the electrics. They are ALL designed in the fixed concept that the master ground is ALWAYS connected when the car is running.

So, pardon me but I have to look askance at your protest and wonder what the other guys would have said. Electrical work is the hardest diagnostic work--even in these primitive cars. And if I were running a shop and a customer told me "but it runs fine without the battery" I would HAVE TO run all my diagnostics from scratch, knowing the customer didn't really know the systems. Add to that a custom car (20V engine in a 16V model, with what, a custom harness or custom electrical works?) and I doubly can't just make assumptions that anything is stock.

$120 an hour is steep, sure. But that's shop rate in dealerships in many, if not most, major US cities. The only question is, whether they can do the job in reasonable time. And with electronics? Sad to say, I've met few dealers who really can.

Did you sign a shop order authorizing work when you dropped the car off? Well, I guess if they don't come after you for not paying them, you'll know there are still professionals working there.

Original owner, 1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S in the US of A. Will trade for a Cadillac-Gage V150 or a Ford GT44.
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03-24-2007, 04:59 AM
Post: #10
A dealership story...
Red, I'm quite happy you pointed that out - it wasn't me who disconnected the ground, it was the mechanic. When he drove the car in and signaled for me to go inside - by the time i reached them there were already 4 other mechs looking at the car. And one of them was playing with the throttle. The car was revving properly and i thought 'damn, those guy fixed the car in less than 10 secs?!?!?!'. I started looking around to see what was different and just as the guy said 'it seems fine now...' i noticed the disconnected ground and reconnected it. The engine immediately bogged and almost died, before finally settling down to an uneven idle. I know better than to disconnect the battery while the car is running, to say the least - i may not know what might go wrong, but the knowledge that something can will always stop me from doing so. I have since then run all the possible checks i could think of and all electronics seemed to operate same as before, but for that 30 secs or so the car ran without connected master ground it proved that if the grounding issue i have now is solved, the problem would be gone.

Again, thanks for pointing it out, i was close enough to actually opening a whole topic about 'what happens if i disconnect the battery', but you spared me the trouble Smile

Having said that - what Lou Fusz dealership have you dealt with, i'd be pretty shocked if it was the same one...
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