Incompetent Mechanics
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    Fellow Frogger! b707's Avatar
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    Default Incompetent Mechanics

    Just spent yesterday arvo helping the neighbor fix a misfire on his 2003 X-Trail. Found that No two cylinder wasn't firing and quickly eliminated the coil (individual coil on plug). Pulled out the spark plug expecting to see a worn out plug with a huge gap. The car is the extended family truckster that gets used and abused by all and its obvious that routine maintenance isn't a priority. To my horror the condition of the plug wasn't too bad but the gap was completely closed. On closer inspection it had marks on it that suggested it had been tapped closed. I asked if anyone had touched the engine recently. All he could remember was that he had taken it to a mechanic about 2 months ago, he replaced that plug due to a misfire. It had run fine since then.


    I pulled out No 1 plug to compare with the dodgy No 2 plug. It was fine but the part No was different. On closer inspection we could see that the dodgy plug was about 1mm longer and the wrong type for the engine. All I can ascertain is that the piston just managed to tap the plug and close the gap. But barely 1mm clearance between the piston top and spark plug seems extreme. I cant see how the engine ran fine for 2 months and over time the plug gap closed unless the piston touched the spark plug. Could the piston have traveled ever so slightly higher up the bore under extremely high engine speed?

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    Last edited by b707; 5th January 2014 at 11:27 AM.

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b707 View Post
    I cant see how the engine ran fine for 2 months and over time the plug gap closed unless the piston touched the spark plug. Could the piston have traveled ever so slightly higher up the bore under extremely high engine speed?
    My old 'daily driver' yamaha outboard would run fine for a few weeks before suddenly dropping a cyl with no prior warning.
    It didn't take long to work out what was going on.....exactly the situation you describe where the piston crown was closing the plug gap.

    I dont know what or why, but have experienced it.


    Jo

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    COL
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    Talking of dodgy mechanics or people and spark plugs.

    I bought an R12 which some clown had fitted long reach plugs (R16) to instead of short reach plugs. It made for an interesting 1/2 hour trying to get them out without stripping the threads (the extra plug thread was all carboned up)
    Regards Col

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I've got a car where some "mechanic" in the Gympie area has clearly ditched the thermostat.

    Why? The car was overheating.

    Why was it overheating? The radiator was clagged with oil, and the catalytic converter blocked.

    Did he fix the cat? No. Did he flush the coolant? No.

    You wonder about some of these roosters.

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    It seems that IF you want something done right,you gotta do it you gotta do it yourself. And do your Homework before you buy. Of course,it helps that the Person your dealing with is on the up-and-up too. Aaaand knows how to actually FIX something BEFORE they sell it....Aaaaaaaa are HONEST about it. But the honest seller is a rare Bird these days...,and so is the compentent "Mechanic". ~Stephine.

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    addo, are you going to Like that post or do i have to do it?

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I was going to "like" my own post but then remembered it's not Crackbook, and you can't do that here.

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    ok, i have taken a conservative approach with the above statement.

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    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b707 View Post
    Could the piston have traveled ever so slightly higher up the bore under extremely high engine speed?
    What we use to see often on old R12's, 16's and 504's was broken top rings.
    Always the same story of a well cared for "old lady's car" low miles and never been over 3,000rpm and the car gets handed down to the 18 year old grandson who blows it up within a month. Always the same thing, broken top ring.

    The theory is that the bores all had lips on them because grandma never reved it and although grandson doesn't over rev it he does take it up higher then it ever went before and the top ring would hit the lip and break.

    So, yes it can travel higher up the bore at high revs.
    David Cavanagh

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Timing belt installed one tooth off here. Mechanic rectified free of charge when told, but still not impressed with franchise in question. Could have cost us an engine.
    ACHTUNG ALLES LOOKENPEEPERS

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    COL
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post
    Timing belt installed one tooth off here. Mechanic rectified free of charge when told, but still not impressed with franchise in question. Could have cost us an engine.
    He must of been deaf as well as incompetent, not to notice something was wrong.
    Regards Col

    1973 Renault R12 Station Wagon
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    A friend of mine picked up a low mileage Virage Wagon at a derelict vehicle some years ago for the princely sum of $90 dollars.
    The owner thought he would save some dollars by doing a tune up himself. After said tuneup the car wouldn't run properly
    so he just gave up and dumped the car.
    My friend had the car towed to my place so i could check it out. As soon as i started the car you could tell that the timing was so far out that it had non chance of running properly.
    In the end i decided to set the timing from scratch (static timing).
    Apon doing this it became obvious what he had done, he had taken the plug leads off and put them back the wrong way, not realising that number 1 cylinder is at the fly wheel end.


    My friend did well over 100.000 k's in this car that wouldn't run properly.
    If you've got too much traction, you haven't got enough horse power ...




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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    I've got a car where some "mechanic" in the Gympie area has clearly ditched the thermostat.

    Why? The car was overheating.

    Why was it overheating? The radiator was clagged with oil, and the catalytic converter blocked.

    Did he fix the cat? No. Did he flush the coolant? No.

    You wonder about some of these roosters.
    You have asked some good questions, but not enough.
    These need to be asked before slagging of the mech..

    Was the mech aware of the real issues and the customer made aware of these issues??
    Did the customer refuse the $2000 fix and opt for the $20 solution??


    I had a mate come up to my place and slag off a mechanic who I hold in the highest regard ( I recommend him to people).
    The wife's car cooked its motor shortly after a minor service.

    Now knowing my mate to be a bit cheap and dodgy at times, I asked him what type of service he asked for, a full service or just an oil change??
    Couldn't get a clear answer on that one as I suspect he moved the goal posts to suit the discussion and in reality he possibly asked for just an oil change.

    Turns out the mech advised the car to immediately get down to a sparky, so I asked the mate for what reason it needed electrical work.

    Couldn't get a clear answer about that one either, because it was the 'blonde' wife who picked the car up and got the news from the mech, and probably had her usual 'whatever' attitude so of course the car never made it to the sparky, and headed straight for an interstate trip whereby it blew up.

    So what the owner perceived as being a dodgy mechanic, was from my perspective a dodgy client.
    I didn't hear anything that made me change my veiw of the mechanic.

    I'm not saying there are not dodgy mechanics around, but if the client is being a tight ass, its a bit hard to lay the blame solely on the mechanic without knowing the full story.

    Jo

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    JBN
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    Whenever I work on my cars, if they go better after I have worked on them, I applaud the mechanic.

    If they go worse, I slag Citroen.

    John

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    He must of been deaf as well as incompetent, not to notice something was wrong.

    Not sure. The funny thing is I was in the field and sent my wife with the car knowing that the belt had to be changed before I was due back. I rang on the sat phone to hear how things went and when informed the car didn't have any power I told her to take it straight back and tell the mechanic the timing belt he had just done was one tooth off in these exact words and a confident voice (she's quite shy by nature, so it must have been quite an effort). A day later my wife told me the mechanic fell silent when she recited the line and fixed it without comment. I guess his ego is still recovering from being set straight by a woman.

    Jo, now let me tell you the exact opposite story.

    I took my R12 wagon to have the rear brake lines changed (external corrosion found by an inspection at registration time). I had all the bits I needed at home off a donor car, but didn't have the time. So I take it to this other franchise (closest to work), explain what the problem is, show the mechanic what they have to do and agree to pay 70$. I tell them if they have any problem to ring my mobile as I am across the road and can assist.

    At the end of the day I come by to pick up the car as told by the mechanic to find the car is not ready. Turned out the problem was they had farmed out the work to do the pipes to another business. Okay, don't underatand why he changed the arrangement (my s/h parts were in very good nick) but I accept, and it will be ready tomorrow with stainless steel pipes, I say okay, I'll bite the bullet and keep the hardware I had as spares for another car.

    Next day I show up again, the car is ready but and am told the price is 400$. What for? Well, you see the flexible hose was cracked and it burst so they had to replace it and the fittings weren't standard. I had checked the hose myself before going over the pits and didn't see any cracks, and I remember the inspector didn't make any comment about the hose, so I ask to see the old hose, not possible they threw it away. I ask how it burst and they explain they were bleeding the brake. How did you do it? they pumped the brake with the car on the hoist wheels dangling in the air. I explain the car has a pressure limiter that does not work with the wheels dangling like that and they put too much pressure in the hose and that is why they burst it. I also explain the fittings are metric and there was no need to get a "specialist" hose place (again third party) involved to custom make it, the more so since I had a brand new original Renault at home which cost me 30$. They can not explain why they did not call me as agreed earlier either. The boss just looks past me and and goes on like a broken record that I can not take the car until I pay in full and doesn't hear a word I say. I felt I was losing balance and was going to have a stroke so decide to pay for my sanity and left without saying goodbye. Never again. Forgot to mention the previous day I had to take a taxi home and it cost me 70$.

    Still regret I didn't sue the bastard.

    Another time, I took son's Civic lower front arms into a shop around the corner (RAC endorsed) to press out the bushings. I tell the mechanic I have the correct fitting tools if they need to borrow, they assure me there's no need, they have all the tools they need, quote 70$ to replace with bushings I had from Honda. Come back, they want 400$. Why? turned out they didn't have any tools, and the bushings were a right bastard to press out (which I told them they would be) so they just burnt the bushings with an oxy torch. Why did you do that? I told you I had the right tools!? Now the arms are scorched and most likely have lost their strength (cast steel) after being heated like that! I went straight for their guts and threatened fire and brimstone. Left in a huff after paying the 70$ agreed and still hate their guts to this day.

    This is the kind of dishonesty I just don't understand (let alone incompetence).

    Now you know why I don't like mechanics and none has ever touched any of my cars since. That's also why none has ever had any problems.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 8th January 2014 at 03:47 AM.
    ACHTUNG ALLES LOOKENPEEPERS

    Das computermachine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitssparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken bei das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets-relaxen und watch das blinkenlights.

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