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Old 03-26-2010, 09:01 PM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
Reputation: 14009

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Mac, that's almost as good as one customer I had with a 123 chassis 240D ... a safety "engineer" with an insurance company in the area.

He'd driven the car into a concrete parking lot wheel stop in a parking garage, and heard the crunch and knew he'd hit it pretty hard. In a hurry to get to his appointment, he didn't look underneath the car at that time. When he came back, he saw the oil pool under the car and checked to see that it was his car's oil pan that was seeping. He "figured" that it still had plenty of oil in the sump and he was again late for an appointment, so he started it up and headed out of the garage. By the time he made it to the street and tried to enter traffic, the motor seized up solid. He had the car towed to my shop, and phoned me to advise that the car was on it's way and that he'd damaged the oil pan and seen the oil underneath the car.

Per Colorado shop regs, I advised him that it was most likely a seriously damaged motor and that I'd need to pull it and tear it down to ascertain the damage and needed repairs. He gave his go-ahead to do what was needed to determine the damage and give him an estimate of the repairs. So I pulled the locked-up motor, tore it down and found that the #3 main bearing had seized as well as a couple of rod bearings were damaged. Cylinder walls looked OK, but the crank was very questionable ... I've seen these clean up by grinding but have throws out of time from this type of damage. Anyway, it was a toss-up between going through his 150,000 mile motor vs a MB factory long block complete pan-to-cover motor.

When he heard the estimate choices, he threw a fit. All of a sudden, it was my fault the motor had seized up. Not only that, but he then accused me of switching his motor with a junker that I must have had on hand. His insurance company had been willing to replace the lower pan and the damaged oil pump under his comprehensive coverage, but they weren't going to replace his ruined motor from driving it after seeing the oil leaking out of it.

He got a lawyer and was going to sue me for the motor, because his motor had been a runner before those last few yards. What neither he nor his attorney knew was that MB has the "build card" in the owner's book (as well as in dealer records), and that I had that card with the chassis and motor serial numbers on it. I could readily show that the blown up motor was the original motor in that car. Confronted with that evidence, his attorney backed off when I discussed "frivolous" lawsuit and damages to my professional reputation along with the fact I'd conducted my business with this customer's car in accordance with Colorado auto shop estimate laws and notification on a towed in car. It took a bit of work and photographs to convince the attorney of the situation, and he was less than a pleasure to deal with ... he'd been going to one of my wonderful competitors and was acclimated to being screwed by MB techs in the area.

But the 240D owner was not to be placated, and persisted in making all kinds of wild accusations against me and my shop. At that phone conversation, I advised the fellow that his motor and all parts would be placed in the trunk of the car and that it would be parked "on the street" outside my shop within the next 10 minutes with the keys over the driver's visor and the car locked up. He could do with it as he pleased, but I wasn't going to touch it again. It only took 5 minutes to have the car outside the shop ... sorry, but that didn't give me time to clean up the parts which got tossed into the trunk. Anyway, the car was towed away shortly afterwards to one of my favorite competitor's shops ... where I knew the going rate was about $1,500 more to install a long block motor than my price. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy ....

Two weeks later I got a call from the parts manager at the 'benz dealership asking if I knew where "the plug was for the head" from that car. Seems like the other shop didn't know that MB factory complete motors were shipped assuming that a car was air conditioned and that the A/C compressor mounting bracket fasteners sealed a couple of holes in the side of the head. The car owner had the car in to MB for a warranty claim on the leaking factory exchange motor ... and the dealer techs didn't know that was the standard way the motors were shipped. Of course, the "core" motor had long been assembled, crated, and shipped back ... so they didn't have that for comparison. The "fix", of course, was simple if you knew the motors .... but being the "diesel" tech in an MB dealership was the lowest rung on the ladder and most dealer techs hated that position; everybody wanted to be the "top tech" working on the high end gasser models with the prestige and higher pay ....

As you'd say ... "oh well" ... I lost my tear-down time and some office time dealing with the idiots. But at least I retained my integrity and got to know another less than professional "bulldog" attorney and his firm that weren't going to ever see the inside of my shop with their cars.

Last edited by sunsprit; 03-26-2010 at 09:11 PM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,518,783 times
Reputation: 3745
It's 1966, and I'm 15 years old. I get my first job at a Texaco service station. This is way before Self-Serv, and the boss insisted that we check under the hood and wash the windshield and back glass for every customer.

So, one day, I check this lady's oil...and she's two quarts low.

Me: Ma'am, you're two quarts low on oil...

Lady: Ummm, how much does it hold?

Me: five, maybe six quarts...

Lady: Oh, then I have plenty...

And she drove off, leaving me scratching my head. LOL
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:26 AM
 
19,122 posts, read 21,362,274 times
Reputation: 7313
Sunsprit, Seems we think alike pretty much. That is wanting to do well for the customer, and our own rep. I think Co laws are harder since you refer to them more. Lots of folks sure have no idea what's under all those covers either.

I still have crows feet for adjusting the locking ball valve adjusters, but haven't used them in a long while. I recall a tech wanting a head off, and not finding the head bolt in the oil return gallery since it was under a bit of oil.

I worked as the newbie tech a while before running the shop I talk of most in the this thread, but of all I was the oldest with the most experience. New dealer hired out techs that were not techs from any place before. So all they knew was what was current, and what they sold.

A day came where a 914 came in on the hook, and the owner said the car dumped oil as fast as you could put in, AND that this engine was a fresh rebuild from some place in Boston.

The service manager gave the job to another guy first. I watched and the tech went to pull the tranny filler plug, for reasons unknown, but didn't have the tool. 17mm allen. I didn't bother to tell him that if he needed the tool it was easy to make one from 2 nuts and a bolt, since i didn't know why he was looking into the tranny anyway. I have that tool. You do too.

About then I got the job, and it was getting later on Friday afternoon.

The owner was having fits since he was from away, and this towns ideas on taxi didn't exist.

Once I had the car in my bay I asked the owner myself about how much oil, and he said all of it instantly. That was hard to believe, so I sent the car up the lift and it was covered underneath with oil, new engine oil, and it did look like all of it. I mopped up so I didn't need a rain coat, it was that bad.

Pretty quick I had that engine out and on a dolley, where i could get at the flywheel, and sure enough a camshaft gallery plug was missing..
(Do you know 914 split case engines?) I assume so, and the alloy oil gallery plugs that never come out, one per side. One of them was missing! These are press fit in Germany and never before and never since have I ever seen one missing.

The remaining one had BLUE RTV sealer all around it!! I was not a happy camper. I showed the service manager who was less than useless, and he went with me to parts, thinking parts would have a box of 500! Grrr %^&*&^%$**&.

Well parts couldn't even find a part number, which was about my idea of how that would go.

The machined drilling in the case had a land to hold the plug, and past that a 90 degree turn and drilling for no more than OIL to pass, so care had to be taken to not cut the oil supply from the cam main bearing, which IS the case it self!

The Brains of this operation of course was the Service manager... a fool, and he sets another tech on this to 'speed things up'. That guy starts talking about threading the hole! I tell him NO, but to go ahead and make something, since he hasn't got a thing to screw in there anyway. That got rid of him.

I dumped several magic boxes, old ammo boxes with bricabrack I had under my bench, and came up with a small freeze plug as a temp fix, cleaned the hole, cleaned the freeze plug, and drove it home dry.

Installed that engine, filled it with oil and ran the bugger..The first few moments looked good, but then no,, 1 drop of oil 30 seconds later another drop of oil, etc etc. The customer was ecstatic! I told him No!

It was after quitting time by now, and I was satisfied that the car was good for the night, so the guy could use the car, but I told him Saturday was my day off, and I had planned to go hunting with my 50 cal black powder rifle, but that instead i would come back in, and he had to be there. Meanwhile the other guy is still making something..

The service manager was going nuts that I refused to just release the car, and let it be someone else's headache.

Next day I showed up, the car and customer showed up, the service manager was in such a fit he wouldn't talk to me, which I didn't mind one bit, the other tech was still working on something, and I was thinking of hunting anyway, as that engine came out.

I stabbed that freeze plug and hooked it out, sat there looking at the damnned hole. Suddenly I got an idea and told the customer to hang around and get coffee, I would be right back. I blew out, not telling any one anything other than the tech making something to not thread that case! That if he did my hands were washed clean, and I was off to go hunting. He had a mess of brass bits and filings and shavings, far away from the engine, and i didn't see much of anything that looked good.

I went to a gun dealer buddy and walked right in, said, Fred I need every musket ball in every size you can muster. Fred thought I was over the deep end, big time! He did asI asked, and gathered about every loose round ball he had. I winked and said I won't be using more than 2, and will return all the rest.

I went back to the shop, and cleaned the hole again, selected ball to find one just a bit too big, which didn't take long. I cleaned that, and drove it home to the land, cutting off a perfect ring of lead, then I wound in a short pan head sheet metal screw, with a drop of epoxie on the theads. The screw not passing thru the ball.

With a center punch I raise 8 divots around the hole edge, and capped that off with more expoxie, not covering the ball, but just the edges.

Plugged in that engine, checked and topped off the oil, and ran it. 0 leaks.

I raised and epoxied that other plug too, not taking any chances..

I was satisified, showed this all to the customer and he was happy, Sent him with highly altered time to service and checked him out. Told him I was headed to hunt, but before I could get my tools away and cleaned up the customer was back, and with a case of Beck's Dark! He just walked in and set that on my bench, said thanks, and left..

My service manger wanted it all! Not happinin', I gave him a bottle, and I gave the other tech one, and put the rest in my car and left.
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:35 AM
 
1,739 posts, read 4,820,576 times
Reputation: 705
Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
It's 1966, and I'm 15 years old. I get my first job at a Texaco service station. This is way before Self-Serv, and the boss insisted that we check under the hood and wash the windshield and back glass for every customer.

So, one day, I check this lady's oil...and she's two quarts low.

Me: Ma'am, you're two quarts low on oil...

Lady: Ummm, how much does it hold?

Me: five, maybe six quarts...

Lady: Oh, then I have plenty...

And she drove off, leaving me scratching my head. LOL
1966? They let women drive back then?
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:42 AM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,944,907 times
Reputation: 5919
A woman brings her car in do to lack of power (running on three cyls). I do the usual comp and leak down test and tell her the valves were bad on # 3 and # 4 cyl. The head needed to be replaced. Gave her the alternatives and costs for parts and labor.

She authorizes the replacement of the one head only which I replace and the car runs fine.

Six months later a friend who is also in the VW repair business calls me to say that the woman was at his place and complaining that I had done a lousey job and the car was not running right again. Now Larry the shop owner new my quality of work etc. Turns out the other head had developed the similiar problem as before. Common with VW if the valves are not checked or the engine runs HOT etc...matter of timing/tuneup etc.

Now she is bad mouthing me for something that is not my responsibility. After rebuilding engines into the 4 didgets I know my product and reputation.

If a customer is Happy...they will tell 2-3 people...if Unhappy they will tell 10 people.

Steve
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:52 AM
 
19,122 posts, read 21,362,274 times
Reputation: 7313
Steve I would never had left it at one head. Cutting her cost was a good idea, but cutting that corner wasn't.. I always did one head to match the other on air cooled.. I made sure the oil cooler tower was clean as well as the housing... And did a 1,000 service.. No service no warrenty period.

Not saying you didn't as I bet your just typin' short.

I did my own valves and seat cutting too. Tested with gasoline. It is a hairy feeling when you test valves this way, and it is a Hells Angel looking over your shoulder..
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,944,907 times
Reputation: 5919
Nice story on the camshaft plug... I posted before I read yours.

Actually a cam shaft plug itself will fit in two ways with only one way will be the correct way. Factory manuels never tell you these things. The plug is off set and if installed backwards there is the possibility of the flywheel rubbing and causing a pin hole and oil leak. Have seen this happen in the past.

The engine cases being mag/alum had their problems. The studs on #3 cyl would cause the case to crack behind the flywheel and dump oil and therefore needed to be replaced. Poor factory design of which they rectified many yrs later by re-enforcing the area.

Had a customer come in for a rebuilt engine and when checking his core found that there had been a crack and some apoxy covering it. I could not accept it as a core exchange. He said that he worked on the Navy base and they used this apoxy on ship repairs...so he borrowed a little and it sealed his cracked case. I rebuilt it and NEVER heard a complaint...stuff really works. This apoxy is apparently controlled by the GOVMT and could do wonders in the civilian mkt. The GOVMT gets first dibs on a product before a patent is issued.

Steve
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:50 PM
 
19,122 posts, read 21,362,274 times
Reputation: 7313
Steve it wouldn't really surprise me to see sleeved epoxie engine cases one day..
I got more tall tales all true, but I don't want to string them all in a bunch.
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:59 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,944,907 times
Reputation: 5919
Mac...as things come to me I have been writing them down to post. As OP do not wish to monopolize the thread. Do have over a dozen things so far. Have to recollect back in my mind different things that happened. There are bound to be some good stories out there with NO reflection on the individuals involved. People have a different mindset as above posts have shown. All meant to be fun from a human perspective.

Steve
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:32 PM
 
4 posts, read 7,929 times
Reputation: 16
Default Writ of common wisdom...

We had just done a huge amount of fuel injection work to a 911, which belonged to an attorney. Surprisingly, he paid the bill when he picked up the car, although of course he complained that it was high. A couple of days later, he called us up, furious that it had "just cut out on me", said he was having it towed back to us, and threatened that he'd drag us into court, and take away everything we had, unless we all dropped whatever we were doing, and fixed his car immediately for free. While the tech who did the work retraced all of his steps throughout the fuel system, someone asked half jokingly if it had any fuel in it. It didn't. In a follow-up call, the customer recounted how he was driving along, minding his own business, when he noticed the fuel gauge read empty. He continued on his merry way, and the low fuel light came on. A little while later, it "just cut out" on him, so he called us to complain about the quality of our work. Clearly the guy you want in your corner if you should find yourself having to appear in court.
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