Doubting Mechanics Work-Auto Transmission

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by pcwerk, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Folks,
    Thought I'd get people's opinion here about a situation. Two weeks ago
    I picked up a 1989 Toyota Camry sedan for next to nothing. (Was running
    hot and changed out thermostat now runs fine). Anyway, I was getting
    ready to bring it home to Houston when the transmission "went out"...just
    stopped moving and wouldn't even go in reverse. I thought the clutch
    went out since it had been grinding going in to third. Had it towed to a
    local mechanic whom I didn't know from Adam. He said later that day he
    didn't think it was the clutch.
    Ok. Next day he said "some gears" went out and he "replaced them" with
    some gears from a like car that his friend had. (Btw, there is a language
    gap here since this was in San Antonio and the shop was a Hispanic one).
    I went and picked the car up and it ran fine. He charged me $500. When
    I picked it up I looked under the car at the transmission, and there was a
    "cleaned up area" where they may have been working. Today I was re-
    packing my wheel bearings and I had the entire front of the car jacked up
    with a floor jack. I gave a thorough inspection of the tranny and I am
    convinced that the car hasn't had the tranny "broken apart" or "opened" in
    years! There is grease and grime all around and the cleaned up area I had
    seen before now looks like it is in an area that you couldn't open if you
    wanted to. I called the guy and said I think he cheated me, but he under-
    stood that and got all upset and swears up and down that he "fixed the
    gears". I asked how he could fix the gears without opening up the tranny
    and he maintains that he did. I am convinced that he fixed some linkage or
    something that didn't take long and charged me $500.
    My question is: Can you fix the gears on a transmission without taking it
    apart? If you took the tranny apart wouldn't you be able to see the work area? It also burns me that I asked him to replace the transmission seals
    since he was going to have it apart, and I can clearly see that the seals are
    old. I may take it to my mechanic here in Houston and have them check it
    out. If they say I got screwed, I may contact Tom Martino or the Better
    Business Bureau. Of course, I payed by cash (his request!) and so have no
    CC charges I can dispute. Thanks for any advice ya'll can give.
    James
     
  2. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Was it worth $500 to have it fixed?

    Did you get a tax break for paying in cash?
     

  3. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Of the mechanics I know (about 4 of them), only one will do transmission work, and that is all he does. The others just send the transmission (or the entire car) to a transmission specialist or simply replace the transmission - they don't go looking for internal transmission failure.

    Clutchs tend to get progressively worse, so I doubt it was a clutch. No forward or reverse - sure sounds like a linkage or the bolts which mount the drive to the flywheel rattled loose (is that possible on a standard?).

    Did your mechanic cheat you? I guess you'll never know - although I'd bet a transmission specialist would know.

    cheers,
     
  4. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think $500. was a bit expensive if all he did was tighten up
    a loose linkage or something minimal. I paid for him to replace
    some gears and put new seals on the transmission. I know
    he didn't do the latter and I have doubts as to the former. Does
    anyone here know if you can replace the gears w/o taking the
    transmission apart or separating it from the engine?
    thanks,
    james
    ps
    no I didn't get a tax break...should of payed by cc...
     
  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    This sounds like the throw out bearing activation arm or the shifting forks was the problem; I know of no manual vehicle transmission that can be repaired internally without removing from the vehicle and opening it. Some very odd machinery transmissions do pull out everything that is attached in a cluster, but it still has to be opened.
     
  6. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you got taken.

    File it with the BBB for others' future reference.If you want to pursue it take good pictures and show it to the judge at small claims court.He might agree with you,for 35 bucks or so if youre really ticked its worth a shot.

    Then let it go after that,dont know anything else you can do.
    Thank goodness it wasnt for more,not that 500 bucks isnt bad,it is.

    BooBoo
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Most crooks wont take cards for the very reason you can contest it.Im thinking I may use that for a consideration picking a mechanic in the future should I lose my current HONEST COMPETENT mechanic,who is worth his weight in gold to me.

    BooBoo
     
  8. 2story

    2story Well-Known Member

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    Is the vehicle fixed? Move on with life..... wiser
    what did you pay for the vehicle?
     
  9. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    How far away is the mechanic? You may have to take them to court to get your money back, which might be more than $500.00 worth of hassle. Of course, that coud very well be what the mechanic is depending on, especially if he knew you were from out of town. When I was in the Navy, I ran into several mechanics who made a killing by ripping off sailors. They would do shoddy work with useless warranties because they knew that their customers would be either roatated to another duty station or deploy out to sea soon.

    IMHO the BBB is a waste of time. They don't have any teeth. Sure, you can look up customer complaints against specific stores, but not everybody does that. Most people who get ripped off by mechanics are stranded away from home. If I were you, I would just chalk this one up as 'Lessons Learned' and avoid the place in the future. If you decide to take the guy to court, it will probably not be his first time and he will know how to make it drag out forever.
     
  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    '89 Camry, you may well not be looking in the right places. As I recall, a whole lot of that transmission can be gotten to at the front nose. Been there done that on some other fwd Japanese transmissions. Input shaft and gear in particular. So it's quite possible he's told you the truth about what he's done.

    But, since you've already decided the work wasn't performed, and called him up to call him a thief, I don't see the point of the post.
     
  11. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................If he actually had to replace a few gears in the tranny , he had to Drain the oil , and he should have added NEW oil when he put it back together , SO I'd pull the plug wheere you add oil and use something to sample the oil and it should be clear and clean . fordy... :dance:
     
  12. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    You can also think of it this way : regardless of what he did (or didn't do), the car was fixed. Maybe he only did a $250 repair and fudged it up to $500, but he did something. Any "something" at a mechanic is going to cost you $250 or more. So you're not out $500.

    Taking someone to court, over something you'll never be able to prove, and putting yourself through all that agrevation... for $250 at most, is a waste of time.

    cheers,
     
  13. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I picked it up for $100 from some people my sister knew who
    wanted it out of their yard. Just put a battery in it and
    drove off ;-) I love Toyotas.
    james
     
  14. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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