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Old 04-02-2007, 07:20 PM   #1
jmaimone
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Mad Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

My wife has had her 04 VUE dealer serviced since it was new.
The most recent oil change took an hour and a half because - according to the service manager - the oil plug threads "wore out" and needed to be fixed.

He went on and drew a picture of a bolt for my wife and explained how this happens all the time. To throw salt on the wound, this guy had the balls to charge her $8.50 for a new drain plug and told her she was lucky the threads on the pan didn't "wear out" because she'd be in it for $350 if they did. My wife is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Raytheon. She's assembled missile launchers in Japan. She knows what a bolt is and how they break.

The mechanic made a half-assed attempt at fixing it, and settled for two gaskets and a some permanent marker (yes, graffiti!) You have to see the attached picture to believe this. Two gaskets makes the problem worse. It adds another place to leak (between the gaskets) and it reduces thread engagement. It's actually the threads that are meant to seal, not the gasket. The addition of the extra gasket and the fact that my pan is now soaked in oil confirms what we suspect about the mechanical knowledge of the technician.

Of course we all know these threads didn't wear out, they were stripped out by either over torquing this bolt or cross threading it. Either way, it happened at this dealership because this is the only place the car is serviced.

The problem is, the pan leaks because it's threads are damaged.

The dealership now wants to fix my pan by installing a heli-coil. This process would involve tapping a new hole in my oil pan, making metal chips that will get inside my crank case. Heli-coils are also not ideal for sealing, since they add an additional place for a leak to occur. Aside from the metal chips, it is a band-aid fix that is doomed for failure. I would expect this from a quick-lube, not a dealership. I'm paying too much as is!!

I'm about to continue up the Saturn customer satisfaction latter expecting to eventually get a new oil pan. Anyone want to take odds?

I expect my Saturn to squeak, creak, bump and rattle. I expect to replace my Saturn wheel bearing every 40-50k. I'm not surprised my Saturn heated seat doesn't work. I didn't expect my Saturn's HONDA engine to leak because my Saturn tech cross threaded the bolt and fixed it with bubble gum and duct tape!!

ok, I've vented.
Does anyone have any advice or history related to pursuing satisfaction from Saturn? Will they put their money where their mouth is? I'll keep you posted.

I'm going to pop some more valium.

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Old 04-02-2007, 09:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

You know, it is things like this that makes me do all the maintenance I can do myself. I don't want to stereotype a group of people but if you look at a lot of dealership service departments, they have routine light maintenance items like oil changes and lubrication done by a person who is not one of the regular techs.

I had the first service on my 95 SL-2 after we bought it new done at the dealer because I wanted to be sure it was documented if ever there was a question involving warranty. I watched through the glass while the guy spilled new oil all over the engine while refilling it and getting old oil from the oil filter all over the CV joint boots, (which the owners manual is very clear about NOT doing). The never changed my oil again.

You caught them. I would take those pictures and have a good sit down with the dealership manager, not the service manager. I would explain what you did here about the knowlege and experience your wife has and why you know what they are saying is pure bull. If that does not get any satisfaction, I would just skip all the intermediate steps and just send a letter with pictures straight to the top, Jill Lazjak, (I never can remember how to spell her last name.) I wouldn't settle for anything less than a NEW oil pan.

Oil drain plugs don't wear out. I have been a professional mechanic for close to 35 years and I have never heard that one before.

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Old 04-02-2007, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

This is the reason that a car dealer ONLY sees my car for a warranty repair.

Fortunately, I am lucky to be able to do 90% of my own work. Call me a perfectionist, call me anal, call me whatever you want. But I have seen too many cases of cars butchered during what should be routine maintenance visits....so I just choose to do it myself.

At least if *I* break it, I have nobody to blame but myself.

Cheers,

Last edited by Ritz; 04-02-2007 at 09:22 PM..

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Old 04-02-2007, 10:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

So.. Who is Jill and why would I send her a letter? How do I do it? What should I expect?

I'll calm down enough to write a decent letter in a week or two. Aside from the oil pan, someone has to know about the lack of respect and ethics at this service center.

I also usually do my own work, but I let my wife do what she wants with her car despite what I think of dealerships. I'm currently reevaluating this wise decision.

Last edited by jmaimone; 04-02-2007 at 10:08 PM.. Reason: :-)

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Old 04-02-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmaimone View Post
My wife is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Raytheon. She's assembled missile launchers in Japan.

Cool!

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Old 04-02-2007, 11:19 PM   #6
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Dizzy Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

Wallyworld did same thing to wifes 97 t-bird,so now I'm back changing oil in my truck and my wifes new Vue. I'm a 20 year atv/motorcycle mechanic and have never strippped out a drain plug and most of mine are aluminum!!
Stupidity is the only reason! Complain like HELL,and maybe they will do the RIGHT thing and change your pan. Worst case,have them install a timesert which if done properly will less likely to leak than a helicoil.
Wish you the best and keep us posted!!

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Old 04-03-2007, 01:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

In a word, inexcuseable.

IMHO, they owe you a new oil pan.

In reality, good luck.

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

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Old 04-03-2007, 02:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

This is not an infrequent happening.A dumbo at my Saturn dealer over-torqued the drain plug by a factor of 4 on my L300 a few years ago. The steel plug threads virtually chewed the threads in the aluminum oil pan out of existence.

Service mgr assumed full responsibility.As no pan was in stock and I was leaving town on a trip,I asked if heli coil fix would work but was told in no uncertain terms that Saturn would not warranty it.Dealer had new pan shipped overnight and we got away on trip with minimal delay next day.

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Old 04-03-2007, 08:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmaimone View Post
My wife is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Raytheon. She's assembled missile launchers in Japan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTHokie00SL2 View Post
Cool!
Hey, I'm a process engineer who assembles missiles themselves. Raytheon is one of our customers.

Back on topic, I would ask the service dept if they use torque wrenches on the oil drain plugs. As with probably every bolt in the car, there is a torque specification in the service manual. As far as getting it repaired, I assume you want a new oil pan. I would talk to the manager first, kindly state your case and request a new pan. If that doesn't work, call the Saturn customer assistance center. They'll forward your case to some higher-ups.

...
Past Saturns: 97 SL2, 01 SC2, 04 VUE, 08 Astra, 02 L200.

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Old 04-03-2007, 10:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerb View Post
Hey, I'm a process engineer who assembles missiles themselves. Raytheon is one of our customers.

Back on topic, I would ask the service dept if they use torque wrenches on the oil drain plugs. As with probably every bolt in the car, there is a torque specification in the service manual. As far as getting it repaired, I assume you want a new oil pan. I would talk to the manager first, kindly state your case and request a new pan. If that doesn't work, call the Saturn customer assistance center. They'll forward your case to some higher-ups.
WOW and I'm an "Operations Engineer" who shoots missiles. Seems we have all facets of missile "processes" represented.

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Old 04-03-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmaimone View Post
So.. Who is Jill and why would I send her a letter? How do I do it? What should I expect?
.
Jill Lajdziak is the General Manager for Saturn. She is at the top of the heap so to speak. She has been with Saturn since the early days and as she HAS particiipated in chats on this board makes me feel she would be very concerned about how a dealer is representing the company.

I usually give local management an opportunity to rectify problems but I grow frustrated quickly when the first couple of attempts do not fix the issue. Regardless of what the circumstance, cars, phones, what ever, after that I usually go straight to the top and let the crap roll down hill. Presidents, CEO's and General Managers are not supposed to have to get involved in such issues. That is what people at the customer contact level are paid to do. Taking the issue to the top, tells them that those people are not doing their job. Having the issue brought back down to them from the top, tells those people who were supposed to fix it in the first place, that the people at the top KNOW they aren't doing their job.

...
1999 SC-2 280,000 miles -mine now also dead, RIP
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

OMG that is awful Not only could the techs not even install an oil drain plug properly, but it appears that on the side they could not spell PLUG on the first attempt either.

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Old 04-03-2007, 01:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

I'd start w/the service mgr, if nothing, then onto the dealership mgr, and so on and up until you get a new oil pan.
I agree that cr@p flows quickly downhill, but sometimes it's more difficult to fling it up there.

I don't have any experience with missles, but my son and I have fun shooting his model rocket

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Old 04-03-2007, 03:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Taking it up the tailpipe! (Dealership Service)

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I'd start w/the service mgr, if nothing, then onto the dealership mgr, and so on and up until you get a new oil pan.
I agree that cr@p flows quickly downhill, but sometimes it's more difficult to fling it up there.

I don't have any experience with missles, but my son and I have fun shooting his model rocket
I would agree with your approach if it worked at the levels of managment it is supposed to work. A problem should never have to be elevated beyond the local dealership. People are paid to do a job and if they can't, they should be fired. Think of yourself and your job. How long would you last if you didn't do your job or were incompetent at it? People make mistakes, sometimes they are just blatant screw ups (as in this case). But I am willing to accept a sincere attempt to rectify a screw up. If I can't get that done at the local level, I loose all patience and I just go straight to the top. I get tired REAL fast of having to explain a situation to "middle men" over and over again only to get nowhere.

...
1999 SC-2 280,000 miles -mine now also dead, RIP
1995 SL-2 296,000 miles - my wifes totaled, RIP
1993 Chevrolet S-10 Pick-up - mine
2003 Harley Davidson Low Rider - mine

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