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Old 03-25-2010, 07:16 PM
19,122 posts, read 21,362,274 times
Reputation: 7313


Generous Electric... One day as a Saab 99 mechanic, and i was 'very' into these cars. 2 gents from the jet engine factory at GE showed up and had a saab 99 leaking both oil and coolant out of every where it seemed.. oil and coolant was blowing out the tail pipes, and was blowing out between the alloy cly head and the cast iron block.

At the time, there was a recall for saab heads and at first, I thought this was a worst case pourous head! I had seen a few leaking coolant right thru the alloy, but nothing like this!

I began to tear the engine down, in step by step, orderly way knowing which tool to grab the instant it was called for with no error or checking sizes.

These guys were asking me questions which at first I was answering in the best way I knew how, and hearing about what great engineers these 2 birds were. Then one said they removed the head and milled it to 0.0001" and there was no head gasket any more. 0.0001 is not any typo.

At that point I knew why the saab was leaking this way, and I planned to have it fixed with in a couple of hours, with a good cleaning out and a K-1 flush in the crank case.

I hadn't said the plan at that point, and let these guys talk. I finally asked them to leave me to my buisness and go wait or leave the dealership, but they continued to ask questions. I told them then, that this car would be fixed with a flush and a head gasket and things began to go wrong.

They didn't want my fix, and said so, looking down their long noses at my lowly mechanic skills, and continued to ask more questions.

At that point I had 'it', and demanded they leave my bay. They refused.

I went to my tool box and got a yellow tire crayon, and drew a oval around the car about 3 feet out, and went back to work. They asked more questions. Each time now when they did ask a question, I wiped off my hands and stepped over the line, and answered. When I was done talking I stepped back over the line, and continued to tear the engine down. Pretty soon they took notice of this new habit, and asked me why I would clean my hands and step over the line, before any answer was forth coming.

Once again I wiped my hands, and stepped over the line and I said, On this side of the line pointing to the car side, you are paying me to fix the car with a new gasket and a flush, so as the coolant is cleaned off friction and bearing surfaces, so far as is possible, with out a total tear down, in which I have had success. And then, on this side away from your car, you are paying me to BS around and talk!

That did it, off they went to see the service manager too complain. All three came back, and the service manager asked me what I was doing. Once more I wiped my hands and stepped over the line.

I told the service manager what I knew, and why the car was leaking so baddly, and that I had asked these gents to leave me be numerous times, pointing out it was policy. The service manager looked at these 2 jokers, and asked if they would like the parts in a box, and if he could call a wrecker to take the car to some other shop!

They left, and I fixed that car...
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:30 PM
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,944,907 times
Reputation: 5914
I do a tune up on a VW bug (I'm in the business). He paid me with a check. Next day calls and complains that I did not torgue the spk plugs properly. I replied that I have always hand tightened them with a ratchet equal to about 14 lbs of torque...after all I'm dealing with aluminum heads. He argues with me on the phone bla bla bla so I says "what do you want me to do...use an impact wrench?" I had been working on VW engines for over 20 yrs at the time...stock and high performance...and NHRA Drag raced a Dragster as owner/driver. He still argues and I offered to replace all of his old parts if he returned to the shop. No way..."okay I'll tear up your check I says"...he hangs up.

I posted his check on a small bulletin board for customers to see.

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Old 03-25-2010, 07:44 PM
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 67,942,110 times
Reputation: 10043
An old lady brought her new Olds 88 in to our dealer, complaining of a "whirring" sound from "up front". Our head tech took it for a test drive, came back, couldnt replicate the sound. So we sent the little old lady on her way. About 30 minutes later she comes back complaining about the sound again. The head tech offered to go on a ride with her, so she could point out the sound. They were gone about 10 minutes when I stepped outside for a smoke and saw the tech with the hood popped, pointing into the engine bay and explaining the problem to her. She left and he came walking up. I asked him what the deal was, he said she was unaware that it was the radiator fan kicking on and off. He assured her the noise is normal, and its a good thing she's hearing it because it means that its working properly. LOL
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:24 PM
Location: Tulsa, OK
5,988 posts, read 9,972,402 times
Reputation: 36679
I was Service/Parts mgr at an import car repair facility in the early 80's. A fellow came in with an MG Midget that needed a clutch. I gave him the price and he thought it was high and decided to just buy the parts and do it himself. If you have never had the pleasure of doing this job the engine has to be removed as the transmission is completely enclosed in a tunnel. This rocket scientist cut the trans tunnel out for access to the transmission destroying the integrity of the body, which folded in the middle.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:06 PM
Status: "Hope is a walking dream." (set 10 days ago)
Location: Still in Portland, Oregon, for some reason
864 posts, read 2,980,835 times
Reputation: 691
For a while I worked for a local Audi/Porsche dealer as a shuttle driver and service greeter. One day this woman pulls in with her 2000(ish) A6 Avant. She rolls down the window as I say hello and ask her how she is doing.

She points at the dashboard and says, "This funny light came on." I look at the gauges and see the check engine light and on this particular vehicle, it has the engine icon with a lightning bolt going through it and the word 'CHECK' under that. "That's the check engine light," I replied.
"No...see it's this funny thing with an icon and lightning bolt. See...right there."
"That's the check engine light," I repeated.

"Well, what does it mean?" she asked. I might add her attitude could definitely have used some improvement but being a nice guy, I played it cool. "Well there are many different things that it could mean but if you go see one of the service consultants in there they will be able to plug in the computer and find out what's wrong."

She gives me this disgusted look and says in this 'you-freaking-idiot' tone, "So you don't know what it means?" I bit my lip and said, "Why don't you just go speak with them. They'll be able to help you out better than I can."
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:37 PM
1,634 posts, read 3,331,015 times
Reputation: 537
Not a mechanic story, but:

About 20 years ago we respond to a vehicle fire on a steep road at about 5000 ft. elevation. Fully involved engine compartment. We put it out (total loss) and my Captain asks the guy if he had any idea what caused it. The guy says, "No, the car was running fine, but the oil light came on at the bottom of the hill."

The bottom of the hill was at 2000 ft. elevation and about 9 miles away.
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:25 AM
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,280,133 times
Reputation: 2209
The closest story I have was when I was in a parking lot one day. I was getting ready to leave when this girl runs over to me. "Sir my car won't start, do you have some jumper cables I can use?"

I don't think I did, but after asking a few questions I determined she didn't have a battery issue, especially after she said the starter would turn over fine but the engine would not fire.

As I walked over to her '79 Corolla wagon, I discovered the coil to distributor wire had fallen off. I plugged it in and told her to give it a shot. The car fired right up.

She was happier than a pig in you know what, hugged me and proceeded to tell me how God was going to bless me. (well it has happened)

And all for a simple coil wire that came unplugged from the coil.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:44 AM
Location: Indiana
1,306 posts, read 2,570,828 times
Reputation: 888
Back when I worked on trucks, we would get drivers that would cut a hole in their shifter boot and run a rubber hose with a funnel on top down over the transmission so they could pee while they were driving. Got to the point where guys would refuse to do clutch/tranny service because the urine smell was unbearable.

Had a couple buddies of mine tell me about a Mexican truck they got stuck working on. Apparently a hole was cut in the sleeper floor so the team running it could "do their business" on the move. I wouldn't want to see the bottom of that tractor.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:46 AM
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,944,907 times
Reputation: 5914
Having a Parts house and engine rebuilding business hear many stories.

One young kid (early 20's) tells me about buying a USED mstr cyl from a wrecking yard for his old VW van. He went to a VW shop across town and asked them how much to install the old part. Steve (the owner and Hungarian like me) said $20. "Fine the kid said" and three days later the brake pedal went to the floor and NO brakes. So the kid tells me that he went back to the shop and complained to Steve...knowing Steve...his answer was "if you came here for trouble you came to the right place". The kid turns and walks away.

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Old 03-26-2010, 09:57 AM
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 22,963,452 times
Reputation: 7957
Question for auto mechanics, did any of you ever come across a Frankenstein car, a car with components from other vehicles that didn't belong on the vehicle.
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