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Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15 Mar 2008, 02:14 pm
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Angry Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

I'm making this post on my sisters behalf, because she doesn't have internet.

My sister bought (financed) a 2005 PT Cruiser from Carmax. The car was sold to her with a 5 year warranty. It had about 30,000 miles on it. She put an additional 4000 miles on it. She hasn't even made the first payment yet. On the 37th day of having the car, she drove it to a restaurant. When she was leaving the restaurant, the car wouldn't start. She ended up having it towed to Carmax. Carmax sent it to the original car lot that it came from when it was new (I guess the original lot is one that has to honor the warranty). So their mechanics can't find anything wrong at first and ask my sister for her permission to go into the motor, and she gives them the OK.

Here comes the BS. And keep in mind this happened to my sister so I'm getting this info second hand. Also I'm no mechanic.

The mechanics from the car lot say they found a bolt in the motor. They basically said the engine needs to be replaced. I believe they said it ruined the pistons, but I'm not sure what else was damaged. They said the bolt, didn't belong in the motor, as in it didn't come loose from anywhere. They said it was a random bolt that doesn't go anywhere in the car. They also said that it DOES NOT fall under the warranty, because they're basically trying to say she did it herself. They said either she did it, or maybe she has some enemy that sabotaged it. Mostly, they're pointing the finger at her. They said it couldn't have been in the car when she drove it off the lot, because the car wouldn't make it 5 miles, let alone 4000 miles.

They said the cost to fix would be $8000, but they would do it for $5000.

Being that I don't know anything about engines, I asked around and most people tell me that it would be hard to get a bolt in the motor like that. One friend of mine said that a person could maybe remove a spark plug to drop it in that way.

OK. She didn't do it, of course, and she has no enemies. Even if she did have enemies, that seems too elaborate of a method to screw up a car. She's never even had the hood up yet.

Either that bolt was already there, or the mechanics are lying about the bolt even being there and are trying to milk some money out of my sister.

I would like some advice on what to do. I would also like some mechanics input on what they think could have happened. My sister has talked to a couple of lawyers, but none seem to want to work with her.

Thanks in advanced for any help, and I'll try to get with her if anyone has any questions.
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 03:30 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

Well, they're right about one thing, if the bolt was there when she bought it she probably wouldn't have gotten very far, definitely not the 4000 miles she put on it. They LIED about everything else. See if there's one of those TV channel advocates that fight for the little guy against major corporations or business crooks. Other than that keep searching for a lawyer.
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 03:52 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
Well, they're right about one thing, if the bolt was there when she bought it she probably wouldn't have gotten very far, definitely not the 4000 miles she put on it. They LIED about everything else. See if there's one of those TV channel advocates that fight for the little guy against major corporations or business crooks. Other than that keep searching for a lawyer.
Well I had the idea that we could tell them that there was no way a person could put a bolt in there without taking the motor halfway apart, but then my friend told me it was possible by taking off one of the spark plugs and dropping it in the hole.

I think they made up the whole "bolt" thing to get some money, but it's a "their word against hers" situation.

Is there anyway a bolt would be in the motor and work it's way to the pistons? Like it wasn't hurting anything till it fell in just the right spot?
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 04:35 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

Think we'll have to wait till one of the mechanics come along and read this thread for a definite answer.

I will say that if you don't have a turbo, getting to the spark plugs would take some doing, probably half hour or more of speedy work to do the deed and put everything back together again so it would run from her place to the restaurant. Even then, dropping the bolt directly into the spark plug hole, she wouldn't have even gotten out of the driveway before it would stop running or cause such a racket she'd stop driving right away.

Now, since it had 30K when she bought it, there's a chance that the previous owner, place that bought it or CARMAX, did a tune-up. To do a tune-up, the upper manifold has to come off which leaves the lower manifold open (4 intake ports) that someone could have dropped a bolt into ....easily done. That bolt could have lodged somewhere for a long time and finally come loose and make it's way down the intake, past the valves and into the piston area.

Anyone else like to chime in on that probability ???
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 04:35 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

depends on the size of the bolt. a small bolt/screw could theoreticall sit lodged in the intake then work its way intot he combustion chamber, but the screw would have to be small enough to get around the valve. Ive seen carb screws fall out of carburator base plates and work their way down and mess up pistons and blocks. any bigger than a carb screw wouldnt pass through the valve, and would have to go through a spark plug hole. but that scenario would have been quite noticeable from day one! plus, to remove plugs, you have to remove the upper intake, making it not a quick sabotage. call the attourney general in your area, especially if no lawyer wants to help.
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 04:52 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

There's no way that repair should be $5000 let alone $8000! The easiest route would be to find a wrecker engine, and drop that in. If I were to guess I would think you could find an engine for $1500. I've seen them on Ebay for under $1000. The labor will be fair chunk. I don't know the book time for changing an engine, but probably 8 hours or more if I'd guess again. The other way to do it would be to repair/replace the head. Have the cylinder bored/honed as necessary, and replace the piston or pistons if it was bored.

Ask to see the damaged parts. There should be damage to the head and to the piston. A bolt in the engine should make a heck of a lot of noise. My old quad dropped an exhaust valve, and it was a VERY loud banging noise. There was no doubt something had screwed up.

Good luck,
Ben
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 09:36 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

Thanks guys for taking the time to give your input. And if anyone else has any ideas, feel free to post them.

Cleverklutz, yea, that's the popular opinion of most the people I've been asking. Being that the car still has a 5 year warranty, the lot should fix for free, but if theres no way to get them to do it, I'll advise her to have someone else fix it. Either way, I think she needs to get that car away from them asap.

Cartman, I'll try the attorney general monday.

One idea another friend of mine had was for her to contact the finance company and tell them (in a non threatening way) that she can't afford to pay for a car that won't drive, and that she might have to file for bankruptcy. If she was to file bankruptcy, it would hurt the finance company, and they may talk the car lot into fixing it. They don't want to lose money, and I'd say they have better ways of persuasion.
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Old 15 Mar 2008, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

OK. I just got off the phone with my sister and shes telling me new info. I was wrong about some of the things I originally said, but I don't think it changes anything too much.

Her car is a 2004 Turbo Touring Edition, not a 2005 like I originally said.

Also, her car did make a loud racket before it stopped running. OK, the way it happened was the restaurant was where she worked at. Her live in boyfriend used the car to drop her off, and the car ran fine. They live 2 miles from the restaurant. He uses it to pick her up, and he said there WAS a loud racket. When he gets to the restaurant, he shuts the car off goes in to get her, they come out and the car won't start.

I'm sorry for not having all the right info before, but she told me that over the phone not long ago. That's what sucks about being the middle man. But still that doesn't change the fact that she didn't to it. Maybe there was a bolt, but I'm starting to think like someone else said earlier, which is that the bolt was accidentally dropped in while someone was doing a tune-up.

Bottom line, the car is still under a warranty, and they are trying to say she sabotaged her car, so they're not gonna pay for it.
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Old 16 Mar 2008, 08:03 am
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

With out seeing the bolt I can't make a well informed opinion but I'll give my 2 cents worth.... It is possible to drop a bolt down in the intake and have it sit a while before it drops in. Carmax is real good about doing maintenance and what ever work that is needed on the cars they sell. And it doesn't take a very big one to destroy a motor. If I where you I would check with Carmax to see if they did a tune up on the car. With a turbo they shouldn't have to take the manifold off to do the tune up though. Like I said with out seeing the bolt it's hard to make a well informed judgement.
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Old 16 Mar 2008, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Need mechanics advice, and maybe a lawyer...

get a lawyer for sure , and tell your sister just to show up and demand to see the bolt and then see if you can post a pic of it
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