Proof the Stealerships want your $$$$


Old 02-02-07, 04:27 PM
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Proof the Stealerships want your $$$$

Let me start of by telling you the problem I was having with my wife's '01 Dodge Stratus.
It is/was having intermittent heat problems. It would be producing heat just fine, then suddenly get ice cold.
I first replaced the thermostat since it was quick, cheap, and simple. That had no effect.
Heater core lines coming from firewall were both hot. - rules out clog
Swapped heater control panel - no effect

Only thing left was the air blend door actuator.

Looking at my AllData manual, it says to remove this actuator, the entire dashboard needs to come out. YIKES! I called Stealership to get a quote on replacement - $795 in labor alone, $50 part

I refuse to pay that amount just to fix my heat, so what do I do, I actually see where this actuator is. I did have to remove the lower dash board which only took me 20 minutes.
With lower dash removed, I had visible access to the actuator. Amazing, it took me 5 minutes to remove the actuator. Enough room to get a 1/4" ratchet and remove.
Verified that the actuator was not working.

Just another sign the stealership will rob you.

Total labor time to remove lower dash and actuator: 20-30 minutes

Dealer labor cost per MINUTE for same job: $26-27

I'm glad I have enough generic mechanical ability with cars I can attempt this stuff myself. To think, they would have robbed someone of $795.
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Old 02-02-07, 04:49 PM
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I agree dealership repairs are best left for those who have more money than me

A yr or 2 ago my wife's merc, just out of warranty needed a fuel pump, took them 2 days to diagnose and fix - $750. If I remember correctly they charged me just under $600 for the pump At the time it was a dealer only item.
Old 02-02-07, 04:54 PM
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I've had all bad luck wiht issues like this at dealers.

Oops, I should have put this post in this section. Sorry Mark.
Old 02-02-07, 11:39 PM
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well I wonder what an independent shop would quote you to change the same part seeing how they are probably both using similiar labor time manuals chances are it probably wouldnt be much cheaper of course that is just a quote and doesnt actually mean you would be charged 8 hours labor when their mechanic could change it in 30 minutes.
Old 02-03-07, 05:23 AM
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I'm a little surprised the Alldata would call for a major dismantling if the part was easily accessible; it's usually pretty reliable.
Old 02-04-07, 12:59 AM
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I had a 90 something Caddy that idled at 30 mph! Bad thing in winter with icy roads.

Took it to the dealer. They had it for over a week, replaced computer parts, rebuilt stuff and the bill was up to about $1,500.00. I took it out for a drive before I paid. It was still doing the same thing.

I asked very nicely if the 22 year old mechanic knew anything about a car that was several years before his time. Of course....he was "factory trained"

They had the car for another week and ran the billl up higher replacing more parts that "still needed to be done even if it didn't fix the problem".

They finally got GM support on the line. Turns out the high idle was "design intent".

Picked up the car from the lot without paying very large bill. Took it to Dino's Auto Repair. He "re-learned" the computer. Paid about 80 bucks and the car was perfect.

Called dealer back and told them Dino had fixed for 80 bucks. They said I still owe them for all their work and the parts they put in. I have never been back and they have never called me. That was about 5 years ago.
Old 02-04-07, 01:48 PM
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Let me clarify what AllData says:

Disconnect negative battery cable.
Remove the floor console.
Remove rear heat ducts.
Remove HVAC housing.
Disconnect the electrical connection.


When you look up the procedures to remove the HVAC assembly,here's what it says:

Remove negative battery cable.
Recover refrigerant from A/C system with R134a refrigerant recovery machine.
Drain the engine cooling system.
Remove heater hoses from heater core. NOTE: Plug core tubes to prevents antifreeze from spilling on vehicle interior during removal.
Remove quick connect clips from A/C lines at the expansion valve.
Remove A/C lines from expansion valve with Quick Connectors Tool Kit 7193.
Remove expansion valve mounting bolts and remove valve. NOTE: Cap the A/C lines and evaporator to prevent moisture from entering the refrigerant system.
Remove floor console.
Remove rear heat ducts.
Remove nuts securing HVAC housing to dash panel under the hood.
Remove the instrument panel and HVAC housing as an assembly. Refer to: Body and Frame, Interior Trim, Dashboard/Instrument Panel, Service and Repair, Instrument Panel Service Procedures, Instrument Panel Assembly Replacement, See: Body and Frame\Interior Trim\Dashboard / Instrument Panel\Service and Repair\Instrument Panel Service Procedures\Instrument Panel Assembly Replacement
Disconnect HVAC wiring connect from left side of the housing.
Remove nuts mounting HVAC housing

^ all of which you don't need to do.

They should have just told me to remove lower dash and wala! Luckily I figured that out myself instead of getting robbed.
Old 02-04-07, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
The problem with dealerships is they are too "Corporate" and have too many guidelines and are inflexible.
Ussualy they have a one or two ACE mechanics and the rest are green or just slobs.
I fear the dealership but only take it to them when I'm up against a wall.
They do have alot of knowlege and support and the latest equipment because they're "Corporate" but they rely too much on "Factory Training" and computers.
An internal combustion engine will always be an internal combustion engine and still needs a thinking mechanic. No computer will ever replace a good thinking mechanic.

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