Do It Yourself!!!!

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  #1  
Old 07-12-02, 08:18 PM
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Do It Yourself!!!!

No question here, just want to express my frustration with letting someone else do a job, instead of doing it myself.

friday....last week, I took my park avenue to a shop to have the front struts and rear self-leveling struts replaced. A job I could have easily done myself at a leisurely pace in a few hours. I'm just short on time, and it's HOT out there....I didn't want to do it.
The shop said bring it in monday, and youll get it back tuesday.

To make a long story short, I finally got the car back today....friday. I tried to take it home 2 times, but each of those times I noticed something was wrong even before I left their driveway. Back we go, on the rack. Their mechanics were clueless as to where the incessant banging was coming from. I looked over the car while on the rack with the shop owner. I found what I believed to be the problem. The shop owner and mechanic didn't seem to agree with me, but I finally convinced them. I was right. And it was their error. So after 5 days, and countless phone calls and trips to the shop, I finally got my car.

Trouble is, they didn't have an alignment rack. So...when I picked up the car, I took it straight to the alignment shop. Left it there for 4 hours....not bad at all. Sent my wife to pick it up with instructions that if it pulls or the steering wheel isn't straight, to take it back and demand it be done right. She brought it home, said it was fine. Later this evening, I decide to test drive it. If you steer right, it goes right, if you steer straight, it goes right, and if you don't steer far enough to the left, it will go right. AAAARRRRGGGHH! Shoulda done this myself!!! Although I dont have an alignment rack, lol!

If you can....DO IT YOURSELF!!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-12-02, 08:42 PM
knuckles
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The banging noise...was it coming from the rear of the car?

BTW, you can get VERY close to an accurate camber setting w/ a magnetic angle gauge. CHEAP and available from Sears.

I suspect the so-called alignment shop screwed up your caster & camber settings. I hope you know of a GOOD alignment shop in your area.
 
  #3  
Old 07-13-02, 01:28 AM
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Yup- the banging was in the rear. The right rear was the 1st noticeable noise. We picked it up and took the right rear wheel off. I noticed the airbag on the strut was twisted looking. Judging from the sound it made, and the twist in the rubber airbag, I suggested that the cushion on top was mounted a few degrees off, and the mechanic had turned the strut at the lower end to get it to slip into place, and bolted it in. I said this would cause the gas cylinder to pull over a little and hit the inside of the shield. That was the problem.

The next problem wasn't noticeable until I hit some moderate bumps. Then, it banged on both sides. I found out that the mechanic hadn't installed the new strut cushions that came with the new struts. The reason for this was because the new ones had mounting studs that were a little larger than the old ones, and didn't fit the holes in the car. He didn't read the little paper that came with the new struts that said "enlarge the mounting holes to install revised cushions, etc..."

Apparently, the new ones were different. I didn't pay close attention to the differences because I was tired of the ordeal and ready to get my car and leave. If he had just read the slip of paper....the one he said he looked for, but wasn't there. The package I found it in had the new parts in it, and was still sealed. He must not have looked very hard. Anyway, the suspension seems to be fine now, but the alignment is not. I guess I'll be back at the alignment shop monday.

I used to have access to an alignment rack and laser alignment system when I worked at the dodge dealership. That was nice. There is no place near here that I know of that does what I call a proper alignment. (caster, camber, toe, tracking, straight steering wheel, and slight adjustment for crowning of the road). I think they just get the toe and camber close and let 'em go.
 
  #4  
Old 07-13-02, 12:02 PM
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Cheese, just a quick note to tell you I live in NYC and have absolutely no space to work, except on the street and I'm not really that verses on cars or systems but I find I know almost as much to much more than the people I bring my car in for service. So when I have to bring it in and know what's wrong or what I want changed I first learn the procedure and then relay (in baby steps) what I want done, how I want it done and I never leave it. Most shops think I'm I'm a pain in the ass but after being burned more times than I care to admit I just do business this way. There are so few people who know what their doing or care that unfortunately, unless you have history, you have to treat everyone like a dummy.
 
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Old 07-13-02, 03:44 PM
Joe_F
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When my neighbor had the shop, he bought the "Norcar" alignment system with the weights and the plumb line and gauges. It was about 5k at that time.

VERY accurate alignments. We did my Saturn a few times with it, even after doing struts. Came out great.
 
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Old 07-14-02, 09:11 PM
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Easywind...I'm usually like you when I do let someone else work on my vehicle....which is probably less than once every 3 years. I just have so many things to do, that I didn't have time to watch over the mechanic. If I did, I could have done it myself. I think I wasted more time letting them do it then I would have spent doing it on my own.

LOL!
 
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