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Repair advice?

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 22 Feb 2012, 08:32 pm
JBK JBK is offline
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Default Repair advice?

I have a 2004 PT with 63K miles on her. The car has never given me any problems until very recently. I had a reddish/brown leak under the car. Since I had to go in for a smog check, I asked them to check it, thinking it might be oil. They told me there was an oil leak above the engine and a gasket needed to be replaced at a cost of $250.

Then when I picked up the car, they told me there were two broken motor mounts and water stains that might indicate a water pump issue.

Thinking maybe I was seeing coolant and not oil, I took it to a different mechanic who confirmed the need for new motor mounts and a new water pump/timing belt/thermostat/system flush.

Two days in the shop and an additional $1100 later, I'm seeing the same brown/red liquid in little spots on the floor of my garage. Not huge, smaller than a dime.

My question is, is it normal for perhaps spilled or overflow new coolant to drip for a day or two after a major repair? I'm really hoping that's what it is, since I can't be without a car any longer and I'm not crazy about the idea of them going back in to tell me something else is wrong and charging me more money.

It's like that children's book "When You Give a Mouse a Cookie."

Last edited by JBK; 22 Feb 2012 at 08:35 pm.
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Old 22 Feb 2012, 08:46 pm
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Default Re: Repair advice?

Yea, sorry to say but a lot of work was done that wasn't needed. The timing belt could go till 100,000k but it should be done anyway IF the water pump needed changing (probably not). The reddish/brown liquid was probably not oil, but you might have needed a valve cover gasket for any oil that they saw. $250 was too much for that job.

The motor mounts do go bad, hard to tell if the mechanic made a good catch on that. Did you see the mounts after they were out. Pretty easy to tell if they really did need changing.

Without hearing what you told the mechanics, you might have led them into a point where the most expensive job was told to you. And now you seem like you still have the same leak.

About the only thing you can do now is take it back and ask WHY are you still dripping the same fluid after putting out all that money.
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Old 22 Feb 2012, 08:49 pm
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Default Re: Repair advice?

Sound like you got a lot of things fixed that was't broke. Check thermostat housing for stains or streaks. Its were the cap is.
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Old 22 Feb 2012, 10:07 pm
JBK JBK is offline
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Default Re: Repair advice?

There was a definite coolant smell after driving the car, so I think that there may have been an issue brewing there. The smell is now gone, but regardless of what I told them, if there was not a problem with the water pump, they should have told me that there was not an issue. Why is it so hard to find an ethical mechanic?

After the first shop told me about the motor mounts, I googled it and my car did have a noticeable vibration upon starting, and they showed me the cracks, so I think that part was probably needed, but also probably overcharged.

With 20/20 hindsight, I think I probably should have taken the car into the dealer for an estimate and then taken it to the independent mechanic. As much as the dealers overcharge for labor, I tend to find them slightly more truthful than some of the shops out there. Like most people, I just don't have the time to be running all over town to check with different places.

I'm going to keep an eye on it for a few days. If it continues to be a problem, I'll take it back to the guy who changed the water pump and tell him that I expect the problem fixed without additional charge and see how far that gets me. Hopefully it's just residual fluid from the repair and will stop soon.
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Old 22 Feb 2012, 10:15 pm
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Default Re: Repair advice?

Take Busted's advice and check the filler tube (just under the radiator cap). But also look down this filler tube where there are two nuts. This is where the thermostat resides. The filler tube is actually called the "thermostat housing cover". If you see crusty red stuff just under the radiator cap, then you need a new cap. If you see that crusty red stuff at the base of the filler tube (where the two nuts are located--and just below those two nuts), then you need a new thermostat with a new thermostat gasket.

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Old 22 Feb 2012, 10:46 pm
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Default Re: Repair advice?

should his coolant even be red or rusty colored? Mines clear.
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Old 24 Feb 2012, 04:51 am
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Default Re: Repair advice?

Check the thermostat. I had a similar problem and had to be replaced.
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