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  #1  
Old July 9th, 2009, 12:51 AM
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Unhappy Question for Shop Owners (and others)

Some background:

So I recently had my transfer case in my DII replaced by a local shop. Basically it was making a lot of whining noises and turned out to be bad with lots of metal shavings. The shop wanted to charge $1200 for a used tcase so I called around and got one much cheaper from another local area shop that is very reputable. The mechanic agreed to put it in but said he couldn't warranty the tcase if something went wrong...makes sense. Anyway, got the truck back and everything is working great. Recently I noticed that there was a small oil spot under the truck so I took the truck back to the shop to have them look at it.

Their diagnosis is that the seal from the output shaft on the transmission is leaking now. He said that he didn't replace that seal when he was replacing the tcase because it wasn't leaking, it's also hard to get to and it's not something he ever replaces unless the truck is older and over 100K miles.

Anyway, now he wants to charge me $1K in labor to fix it because he said he didn't make a profit on the tcase I brought to him and since it wasn't his tcase he won't absorb the cost to fix the leak. I told him that doesn't make any sense because it has nothing to do with the tcase and as he said before, there was no leak until after he worked on it. He is also trying to claim that my old tcase could have caused this problem.

I just can't believe this guy won't stand behind his work when it has nothing to do with the questionable part, especially since I've been a paying customer and would be a future customer as long as I own rovers. Terrible customer service.


Question:

Ok, so on to the question...When you're doing this type of work would you replace all the related seals in the area, leaks or not, just as a matter of principle?

It seems like the smart thing to do especially if you're charging your customer a lot of money for the work.

I spoke to the shop I bought the tcase from and they said they do all the seals (now I wished I had had them do the work). I'm trying to figure out a way to convince this guy to back up his work.

thanks for any input.
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  #2  
Old July 9th, 2009, 02:43 AM
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I suspect he feels that you supplied "a complete transfer box" so he'd just bolt it on as is, figuring you were willing to accept it in the condition you supplied it in.

however, those seals are very easy to damage when you fit the transfer box, especially if you're clumsy, as the shaft will rip the seal.

he's probably charging that amount of labour, as he has to totally remove the t/box again to change the seal.

if it's only a "small drop" of oil, then think yourself lucky!!
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Old July 9th, 2009, 06:43 AM
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I don't have a shop, but I don't know anyone who replaces all seals on a t-case "just because." A seal costs less than 10 bucks, but if it isn't leaking and doesn't look damaged, then it makes more sense to leave it be. He wants a thousand to do the job because he's pissed at you!
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  #4  
Old July 9th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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He is definitely pissed off... When I had a TC taken out, resealed and reinstalled, it was around $700, so he is not that far off.

I would recommend, getting a buddy or two and doing it yourself. It will take a while, but it will be good experience.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Don't let someone mad at you work on one of your vehicle, ever.

This is a basic rule.

It's like in a restaurant, don't piss off the service people until
you're done eating.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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I always replace the transmission output seal and transfer case input seal when I remove the transfer case, they are cheap, easy and take about 10 min each and prone to leaking.

I do not understand why anyone would remove the transfer case and not replace the input / output seal unless they were told do not do anything other than bolt on the new transfer case (even then they should have urged you to do it)

Like others have said I would suspect that he is trying to stick it to you since he feels cheated by the loss of not selling you the transfer case.

You should replace it yourself or take it to another place. Any transmission shop should be able to replace the seal, it is an easy job that is no diffrent than any other american 4wd (remove a few bolts replace seal replace bolts)

Edit

When I worked in a transmission shop for several years we would always replace the input and output seals as well. Better to replace them than have a customer come back a week / month later unhappy and have to pull it again (hours of labor) just to replace a cheap seal.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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If this was a $150,000,000 project it would be quite simple really. Here is the drill.

Project owner gets turn key price from shop.

Project owner wants to use another technology provider (used part)

Shop becomes a sub contractor to customer (project owner) and liability for functioning of technology provided by project owner is assumed by project owner acting as his own general contractor.

Unless specific liabilty terms are discussed with the subcontractor and the project owner then it is the GCs problem (project owner).

By making the shop the sub, the umbrella liability policy would have to be held by the acting GC.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Here's the thing, he never has a problem using customer's parts and he never expressed any problem with using my tcase as it was coming from another shop in the area that he knows well.

We did both agree that if something went wrong with the tcase then I'd be liable. But if he were to damage something in the process of installing it, I'd think he'd take responsibility for it.

Isn't this like doing a headgasket job and not replacing the valley gasket because it "looks" ok? He even said that the old tcase could have damaged the seal so I would assume he would have accounted for that when doing the work and would have strongly suggested I replace the seals in the surrounding area.

I don't want to argue with him over this as I would like for him to remedy this. I just want to reason with him and convince him that I shouldn't have to foot the bill for this one. And yes, the leak is very minimal but it was never there before so...
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  #9  
Old July 9th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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You are in the wrong. You assumed responsibility for the job when you provided the part. I can't make it any clearer to you. You made him a part changer, not a mechanic, you made him a sub contractor and he is not responsible for the seal, you are. You will not be able to reason with him and fix the basic problem, which is not his responsibility as you both clearly discussed.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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I don't think there is a smoking gun here. Even if we could establish that "standard industry practice" was to replace output seals before installing a t-case, I can't see how the mechanic could be on the hook. There's just too many ways out for him - perhaps he expected you to follow his recommendation and replace the seals on the t-case before you provided it to him, or perhaps since you didn't provide the seals, he didn't understand that you wanted him to source them and install them. Its just too easy to chalk this all up to mis-communication, which doesn't specifically mean its the mechanic's fault. I think its you mistake as much as his, and asking him to eat the job isn't really reasonable. I'd say he's a good guy if he splits it with you. Of course splitting his high bid leaves him still pretty well-off.

I still recommend doing it yourself, and not to sound harsh, but I just don't think the case exists to force the mechanic to fix it gratis from reading the story here.
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  #11  
Old July 9th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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bottom line an out put flange seal is a couple hundred dollar job @ most
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Old July 9th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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I agree, no way to force him to fix the transmission output seal and he should not be forced to as he did what he was paid to do replace the transfer case. If he charged you for the seal and said he would replace it that is a diffrent matter but it was never stated that he would do that.

A good mechanic would have recomended it since you are already in there and it is cheap and really really easy (pry old one out put new one in) and is hard to do later as you have to remove the transfer case to get at it.

Even if he were willing to split the cost I would not have him do the work, $1000 to replace the trans output seal is crazy and with that quote he is telling you to go away as he does not want your business.

What did he charge you to install the transfer case?
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Old July 9th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
since you didn't provide the seals, he didn't understand that you wanted him to source them and install them.
I think this is the key of this thing.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland 110
bottom line an out put flange seal is a couple hundred dollar job @ most
It's a trans output seal, between T case and transmission.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landrovered
You are in the wrong. You assumed responsibility for the job when you provided the part. I can't make it any clearer to you. You made him a part changer, not a mechanic, you made him a sub contractor and he is not responsible for the seal, you are. You will not be able to reason with him and fix the basic problem, which is not his responsibility as you both clearly discussed.
The owner assumed responsibility for the soundness of the part supplied, and the consequences of any direct failure of that part, nothing else. Assuming that the mechanic damaged the seal during installation (assumption since there was no leak prior to the job), I don't agree with you that it is the owner's responsibility. He paid the mechanic to replace a part, if the mechanic damaged another part of the vehicle in the process, then this is negligence, and it is the mechanic's responsibility to rectify.

That being said, good luck with the fight, it's a losing battle. If the shop decides to deny responsibility, instead of doing the upstanding thing your pretty much screwed, since you can never prove they damaged the part (even though it seems highly likely in this case).

I've been there twice before. Once when a shop damaged the rear main seal on an engine when replacing a clutch, and another time when a mechanic would not take responsibility for a damaged t-case output seal that lead to oil loss, and internal damage to the t-case.

BTW -- Just like the shops I had issue with, you'd likely be best server by having it repaired by someone else, and not going back...
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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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How can you establish that the seal was in good knick before the T-case was installed? I don't think you can.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landrovered
How can you establish that the seal was in good knick before the T-case was installed? I don't think you can.
You are right, you can't, see excerpt below from my original post..

Quote:
Originally Posted by LRNAD90
That being said, good luck with the fight, it's a losing battle. If the shop decides to deny responsibility, instead of doing the upstanding thing your pretty much screwed, since you can never prove they damaged the part (even though it seems highly likely in this case).
However, we know that the seal wasn't leaking prior to the transfer case replacement, we know the seal is easy to damage during the transfer case installation (if one is not careful), and that after the transfer case installation it does leak. It is all circumstantial, but...

But in the end, it doesn't really matter, as stated above
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  #18  
Old July 9th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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Bottom line if the trans is leaking it was either leaking before he pulled it or, more likely, he fucked it up when he installed the t-case so I would eat the cost of the redo and don't go back to his shop.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I guess when I ordered the part and asked him to do the work I assumed he'd do the work as he normally does with any other truck. And I would guess that if he accidentally ruined another part while working on my truck he'd take responsibility as a good biz owner. I guess I shouldn't have assumed anything. But I would expect as a reputable mechanic in the area he would have made the proper suggestions to me since the labor on such a job is not small.

Yes, there is no way to prove the gasket was good before the work but he's not the type of mechanic to miss this kind of leak while working on a truck so I know he would have warned me about it like he warned me about other parts I had fixed at the same time. I most likely will never go to him again but I guess I have nothing to lose by having one more conversation with him to see if we can come to a certain agreement. I do have reservations of having him work on the truck now though as he'll never back up the work. I have bad thoughts that something will go wrong with the tcase the second time around and then I'm for sure screwed.

On a side note, one of his employees said he and the other mechanic there do work on the side so I can bypass the shop owner and go with them since they are the ones who ultimately work on my truck anyway.
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  #20  
Old July 9th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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One big piece of information that is missing from this conversation. You say it is the output seal of the transmission? Since you are talking about a D2, then the transmission would be leaking ATF. So, first of all, is the oil that is coming out ATF or 90 weight? You need to get under the truck and tell us where you see the leak coming from because so far all the conversation about this is assuming the leak is from the t-box.

They should not have had to do anything to the output seal of the transmission. But it is possible that they damaged it somehow. But ffirst tell us where the leak is actually coming from so that we can all weigh in on your problem in a more informed and constructive manner. Whatver it turns out to be, if they won't fix it for you, it is pretty easy to do yourself.

And another thing. It would be very helpful for you to learn some basic auto mechanics and have a better understanding of your vehicles' systems. Especially if you are going to have these kinds of conversations with your friendly nieghborhood wrench jockey.
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