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View Full Version : Just feel like complaining



Jason Solodow
06-24-2005, 7:54 PM
Alright, I had a rough day yesterday and I just feel like venting so I hope everyone will be patient with me. I was out in Akron for training for this new job I took, I'm not totally thrilled about the job itself, but it pays really really good, so I'm hoping to get some debts cleared so I can get a house with a large dedicated shop. But anyway, just after I got back from Akron, I got home unpacked, then went to do some errands and the low voltage light came on. Did my errands and then dropped it off at the mechanics place to find out what is wrong with it. Well, the alternator bit the bullet and ate my battery in the process. The problem is, the warranty on my car expired two weeks ago, the warranty on the batter expired last month. It is a 60 month batter that had a free replacement warranty on it for the first 18 months, and it is now month 19. So, between a new battery and alternator I'm looking at about a $400-450 repair bill. So much for getting my dust collector hooked up. Ideally I would vent by spending some time at my lathe, but I have to work until 10pm today, all night tomorrow night, and then a family thing on Sunday, and I leave town Monday morning for the week. No hope for getting at the lathe until next Sunday. :(

Anyway, I know it's a long post, and may sound kind of whiny, but I needed to vent.
Jason

Martin Shupe
06-24-2005, 8:21 PM
Jason,

Sorry about your car troubles...

Make sure you make them pro-rate your battery. What I mean is, if it is a "60 month" battery, that fails in month 19, you should get a "41 month discount" on the new one.

I drive an old truck, and am hoping I can nurse it along for a couple more years.

Jim O'Dell
06-24-2005, 9:48 PM
You don't mention what brand of vehicle it is. Most brands have some type of after warranty adjustment period that is up to the dealership personnel to administrate. I work as a Service Advisor at a Lincoln/Mercury service center, and we use this as a tool to help customers that do their service work with us, but have an unusual repair just after warranty. If you don't do your routine maintenance work at the dealership, you might not have much luck. A call to the manufacturer's customer service center might help. Service Managers want to keep the Service Rep from the manufacturer on their good side by helping customers that have a problem. If you are talking about just out of an extended warranty, forget this post...it won't help you. PM me if you have any questions I can help with. Jim.

John Hart
06-24-2005, 11:16 PM
If you can't whine here...where can you whine? Akron? Yuk...That's worse than car troubles...I can see why you're crabby! Sheesh..I gotta get out of this state.

Jerry Clark
06-25-2005, 12:21 AM
I doubt the battery is bad! It is weak because of the alternator was not charging it. Ask them to charge and re-test it. The alternator will not "eat" the battery. The shop wants to sell you a battery! Been in the automotive field for 40+ years.:eek:

Rich Konopka
06-25-2005, 9:19 AM
I recently took my car in for routine maintenance and asked them to take look at the check engine light and the power seats. My car has 55k and is 4 1/2 years old. The service guys told me that my car was out of warranty because it was a 4 year - 60k warranty. I was under by mileage and over by time:mad::mad:. They wanted $100 bucks to just diagnose the check engine light which I found out to be caused by a loose gas cap. MOST and I said Most of these dealers are Ripoff artists. The more complicated cars get with computers the more they can rip you off.

Jason, I feel for you man. Just being out of warranty and getting stung like that. Ouch !! It does feel good to rant once in a while.

Jason Roehl
06-25-2005, 11:24 AM
FYI--Any light-duty vehicle (3/4 ton trucks and heavier are out), '96 or newer is OBD II compliant by law (On Board Diagnostics). Newer heavy-duty models may even be. If your check engine light comes on, don't pay $100 to have it checked out, unless it's flashing (could be serious, then). Go to an auto parts store. Many of them have code readers, and will tell you what your CEL is saying for free. Autozone, for one, does this. Also, some makes of vehicles have an alternate way of reading the codes by flashing them out after doing some sort of rain dance in the vehicle. For example, my '96 Dodge Grand Caravan will flash the codes after I turn the ignition on and off 3 times. On my older ('90 and '93) Ford trucks (non-OBD II), I just have to ground a terminal from a certain wiring harness, then turn the ignition on, then the CEL will flash out the codes. They also have a similar test done with the engine running.

Charles McKinley
06-25-2005, 12:19 PM
Hi Jason,

It sounds like time is a little tight but swapping out an alternator isn't that hard on most cars. Shop around for the alternator too. If it is a dealer giving you that price you can probably cut the parts cost in half. I also would not replace the battery until it had been charged and tested.

Jim O'Dell
06-25-2005, 4:34 PM
FYI--Any light-duty vehicle (3/4 ton trucks and heavier are out), '96 or newer is OBD II compliant by law (On Board Diagnostics). Newer heavy-duty models may even be. If your check engine light comes on, don't pay $100 to have it checked out, unless it's flashing (could be serious, then). Go to an auto parts store. Many of them have code readers, and will tell you what your CEL is saying for free. Autozone, for one, does this. Also, some makes of vehicles have an alternate way of reading the codes by flashing them out after doing some sort of rain dance in the vehicle. For example, my '96 Dodge Grand Caravan will flash the codes after I turn the ignition on and off 3 times. On my older ('90 and '93) Ford trucks (non-OBD II), I just have to ground a terminal from a certain wiring harness, then turn the ignition on, then the CEL will flash out the codes. They also have a similar test done with the engine running.

Jason, you are partly correct. At my dealership, we will even read out the base code for you. Heck, even the state inspection machines used in the emission counties in Texas will spit out the base code on an OBDII system. Problem is, this is, in most cases, only the starting point. I've seen many times where a customer comes on to the service drive, had been to Auto Zone, they read the code and sold them a part. Didn't take care of the problem. Most of these have to do with the EGR system or O2 sensors. In the case of the EGR problems, rarely is it the EGR valve. PFE sensors and sludged EGR ports yes. In the case of the O2 sensors, many times, not always, it is a Mass Air Flow Sensor sending incorrect readings the the PCM, causing a rich or lean fuel situation. The O2 sensors catch that something isn't right when reading in front and behind the Cat convertor, send a signal to the PCM, light goes on. Code is for the O2 sensor, but the problem is the MAF sensor.
And yes, engine management systems get more complicate every year. Dealerships are more expensive, because of the training we receive, and the tools we are required to purchase (specialty Ford tools). I know that there are some that rip people off, same as the 99.00 lifetime brake special at the brake specialty stores. Try to come out of there without spending 600.00. It's tough to do.
The best thing is to have a friend in the business that can advise you. Outside of that, build a good relationship with your mechanic. Perform your maintenance religiously, per the maintenance guide that comes with your car, and keep receipts. Try to use a factory trained mechanic in the brand of car you drive, even if you find him at an independant shop. They have friends in the business and can borrow test equipment when the need arises.
Oh, and the flashing ck engine light is almost always a hard misfire. Even without the light, you'll know something is wrong!! Jim.

Jason Roehl
06-25-2005, 10:46 PM
Jim, yeah, I know about all the potential codes, but the AutoZone read is at least a start, and may at least point to the loose gas cap that was mentioned, and save the $100 diagnosis fee. As for the flashing CEL, I don't think it happens on Fords, but I think GM does it for major engine malfunctions that will get very expensive if you don't pull over RIGHT NOW.

Too bad that leaky, rusty bulge in my oil pan didn't set off a check engine light--at least I saw it in time, now I just have to replace that oil pan before it lets go. And, I've had plenty of practice turning wrenches on my Fords. :cool:

Jason Solodow
06-26-2005, 1:19 AM
Hey Everyone-

Just wanted to give an update on the status of my whine the other day, but first a big thanks to everyone for the suggestions and the sympathy. After being ticked off about the cost, the LOML made a comment along the lines 'look you did the brakes and the serpentine belt on your car, how hard could it be?'. She had a good point, so I called around to all the parts stores in the area, and got a price of 108.46 for a remanufactured alternator with a lifetime guarntee. Figured okay, talked to my neighbor who has done all the work on their cars and asked how hard is it really. He said not hard at all, and if I needed his help he'd be happy to, but he said that since I'm a smart guy (no idea where he got that idea since the LOML says I'm an idiot ;) ) and I should be able to manage it okay. So I figured, what have I got to lose? Tried it, and 20 minutes after popping the hood I had it done and my car is working again. On the plus side, as I'm on the way to the parts store I pass a house where the guy is cutting down some trees and was going to cut them into firewood, naturally I stopped and asked if I could have any of them. He told me I could take all I wanted, so I came away with a couple pieces of Osage Orange, Cherry, some Walnut and a few pieces of Maple all about 14" long, and 10" to 18" in diameter. Now, I've got a nice pile of logs sitting in my driveway to cut down and rough into bowls. So, does anyone know where I can buy about another 5 or 6 hours a day to get them done??

Thanks!
Jason

Michael Cody
06-26-2005, 1:49 AM
The good lord helps those that help themselves!!