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Author Topic:   Your Car VS. "Mechanics" (Long)
Boss Hoss

Posts: 85
From: Georgia
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 09-28-2001 11:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boss Hoss   Click Here to Email Boss Hoss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On my cars, I try to do all the work myself, but occasionally I have to go to "the outside world" for some help when I do not have the proper equipment for a certain job.

Before I continue, I want to say I firmly believe in the results of a recent nationwide study, which found that the majority of "mechanics" are not so much DISHONEST as they are INCOMPETENT, and are basically clueless about how to repair any given car problem at any given time. This often results in your car leaving the shop without the problem being fixed, and in even more disturbing cases, the car is actually in WORSE condition than when you arrived.

Don't get me wrong--I know that there are many, many hard-working, competent mechanics who know intimately how all parts of a car work and how to fix them, and I admire those people very much and wish I had their knowledge. The "mechanics" I am talking about here are usually (but not always) found in big "chain" shops that usually hire (and fire) "mechanics" at a fairly high rate...usually, this means that the shop manager is not so much interested in getting an actual "good mechanic" as he is in simply "filling a position", and basically the job is open to anyone with the slightest bit of brainwave activity (brain optional).

The purpose of this post is: 1) to detail the experience I had when a "mechanic" (and I use this term VERY loosely here) screwed up what was a totally elementary maintenance procedure resulting in damage to my car, and 2) to see if anyone else's classic Mustang has ever had the misfortune of being "fixed" by a "mechanic" who had no business working on anything more complicated than a toothpick, let alone an automobile.

In this case, I needed someone who had a strong, air-powered grease gun. My new upper control arm bushings on my '65 were squeaking, and my manual gun was just not strong enough to work the grease into the upper control arm shafts' end caps and around the O-rings to stop the squeak.

I took my car to Savannah Tire & Brake here in Savannah, Georgia, and I explained that I wanted them to lube ONLY the upper control arm bushings, since I was able to lube everything else myself. TELL-TALE SIGN #1 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: The guy at the counter had some problems understanding exactly what I was requesting, and showed his ignorance by asking, "Are you sure it's not a bad ball joint?" Now, I have never heard of a bad ball joint actually SQUEAKING, so this sounded pretty dumb to me. If anyone HAS heard a ball joint squeak, I will gladly stand corrected.

Okay, so my car gets pulled into the first bay for "service" (again, I use this term VERY loosely). TELL-TALE SIGN #2 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: I tell the scruffy, toothless young "mechanic" that I just want him to squeeze some grease into the upper control arm shafts to stop the squeaks. He proceeds to lift my car VERY high up into the air and gets DIRECTLY UNDER the car to look for them. I tell a second "mechanic" that the first "mechanic" needs to lower the car so that the wheels are about chest-high, because with the car up at the ceiling and him directly underneath the engine, he will NEVER be able to even FIND the upper control arms, let alone lube them. TELL-TALE SIGN #3 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: The car is lowered, and as I literally have to put my had ON the upper control arm shaft end caps to show them where the #$%@ I want the grease to go, the second "mechanic" says to the first "mechanic", "Oh, now I see what he's talking about!"

The first "mechanic" then takes the grease gun and attaches its hose onto the first grease fitting on the first shaft end cap. He pumps it a few times, and then tries to pull the hose off of the grease fitting. He cannot remove the hose from my grease fitting, no matter how hard he pulls. A third "mechanic" comes over, and my "mechanic" says he cannot remove the hose from my grease fitting. TELL-TALE SIGN #4 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: The third "mechanic" asks my "mechanic" if he bled the pressure out of the grease gun before trying to remove the hose. MY MECHANIC POINTS TO THE BLEED BUTTON AND SAYS, "This IS the bleed button...isn't it?"

(At this point I should mention that I installed 90-degree grease fittings pointing outward on the ends of my upper control arm shaft end caps, and even though it is a small space, there is PLENTY of room not only for the grease gun hose, but for someone's hand to pull the hose off. I should also mention that my spring guards were NOT on the car, for maximum access to the shaft fittings.)

The third mechanic then takes the grease gun and bleeds it, THEN removes the hose from the gun entirely. The hose then comes off of my grease fitting with barely a tug. My "mechanic" takes the grease gun again and lubes the second grease fitting, and he STILL has trouble removing the hose from the fitting! TELL-TALE SIGN #5 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: I offer to try to pull the grease gun hose off myself, and he readily accepts! If he was so @#$% competent, why accept help so readily from a CUSTOMER? I am able to pull the hose off with a firm tug. He then moves to the other wheel (there are two upper control arm grease fittings per wheel), and lubes the third grease fitting. He has even MORE trouble removing the grease gun hose from the fitting. This time, I don't help him, and he gets the hose off.

Now to the fourth and final grease fitting. At this point, I have already made up my mind that coming to Savannah Tire & Brake was a HUGE mistake, but after all, how hard can doing a lube job be, right? How could anyone screw such a simple job up? EASY. Just be a COMPLETE IDIOT.

TELL-TALE SIGN #6 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: He lubes the fourth and final grease fitting, and much to my horror, he begins TWISTING AND WRENCHING THE HOSE ALL AROUND as he tries to remove it from my grease fitting. Any FOOL knows that when removing a hose from a grease fitting, you pull it STRAIGHT OFF of the's the easiest way AND the least likely to cause damage. Before I can say anything, this BRAIN-DEAD IDIOT has actually SNAPPED MY CAR'S GREASE FITTING IN TWO, leaving nothing but a tiny stump on the end of my upper control arm shaft. He says, "Aw man, look." NO apology. NO offer to fix it. NO shame. NO BRAIN.

Now here is the cherry on top of the sundae. TELL-TALE SIGN #7 THAT I'M DEALING WITH IDIOTS WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WORKING ON CARS: Remember the third "mechanic"? He walks over and sees what has happened. He walks away and returns, holding a big wrench. Now, I immediately realize what he was going to try to do, but I just can't believe it, and so I say nothing and watch, just to see if he really will try to do what I think he's going to do. Sure enough, he does it--HE TRIES TO UNSCREW THE UPPER CONTROL ARM SHAFT END CAP, in an attempt to "fix" the problem. For those of you who aren't familiar with the front suspension of a 1965 Mustang, the upper control arm is constantly being pressed on from above by a BIG, STRONG suspension spring. This spring is under a LOT of pressure. There is a shock absorber in the middle of this spring, but that shock is more than likely not strong enough to hold the spring in place if that spring should ever try to jump out of place. The ONLY thing that attaches the upper control arm (on which the BIG, STRONG spring is resting) is the upper control arm shaft. The upper control arm is basically held onto the upper control arm shaft by these strong steel end caps. If this other BRAIN-DEAD IDIOT had succeeded in removing the shaft end cap from the upper control arm, it would have been possible for the upper control arm to be free enough to shift suddenly off the end of the shaft and just far enough AWAY from the car, which would have freed the spring from its seat, resulting in the spring exploding outward, possibly unseating the shock absorber in the process, and not only causing great damage to the car, but also serious injury to anyone standing nearby.

I grabbed the wrench that the IDIOT "mechanic" was trying to use on my upper control arm shaft, and I said loudly, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT! That shaft is the only thing holding the control arm onto the car!" He actually pretended to know that all along, nodded and mumbled something in agreement with a "Yeah, I knew that" attitude, and shuffled away.

Now for the final laugh in this comedy of errors: The manager, after first denying any liability for his "mechanic" damaging my car, finally realizes he owes me something and asks me IF I WANT THEM TO FIX THE DAMAGE. Since there will be snowball fights in HELL before I let any of those retarded monkeys touch ANY of my vehicles again, I tell him to simply reimburse me for a new upper control arm shaft kit. He agrees, and says he will mail the check to me. That was 2 weeks ago. I'm still waiting.

Because of a "mechanic" whose stupidity is greater than words can say, I am going to have to partially disassemble my entire suspension on the driver's side of my car if I ever want to have a grease fitting on that shaft again. The moral of this story is simple: DON'T EVER TAKE YOUR CAR TO SAVANNAH TIRE & BRAKE IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA HOW TO WORK ON CARS. 'Nuff said.

*andy* ([email protected])

also known as...***Boss Hoss***

*1965 Mustang 289 coupe* (now damaged slightly)
*1996 Mustang GT coupe*

[This message has been edited by Boss Hoss (edited 09-28-2001).]

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richard bohm

Posts: 230
Registered: May 2001

posted 09-29-2001 12:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for richard bohm   Click Here to Email richard bohm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
most mechanics these days only know about the new cars(and even then i doubt their ability). i rab across an older mechanic who supposedly knew how to work on any thing that had wheels. i watched as he decided to remove the intake manifold from an olds diesel because he thought the rough running was due to a vacuum leak and not as i pointed out a leaking injector pump(the leak was quite obvious). any one who knows about diesels knows they run unthrottled, thus no vacuum to leak. i can tell you other stories but suffice it to say you are right, there are too many mechanics who are just R&R men and dont really know much.

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67 Fastback

Posts: 570
From: Beaverton, Oregon
Registered: Aug 99

posted 09-29-2001 03:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 67 Fastback   Click Here to Email 67 Fastback     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andy, I feel your pain. Good thing you were there to watch and teach (?) the bozo's who were most likely younger than the car itself.
My only suggestion would be to have asked for not only cost of the part to replace but also the labor involved (Gotta figure Your Time is worth at least 10x theirs? If not, an offer of various phone calls to BBB and similar arena's might turn the trick.)

Most shops cut checks every two weeks (so they say). If it were me, I'd talk to the Owner, not manager.

Just my 2 cents...

"The danger in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished."
G.B. Shaw

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Posts: 47
From: VA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-29-2001 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for franklin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's why I like to at least stand in the doorway of the shop when they are working on my vehicles, I don't care if they like it or not. I have had too many crazy experiences myself. The important thing to do, is find somebody that is good, and stick with them. When you are bench racing with people about cars, you know, chit chatting with local motorheads, ask them who is locally known to be good with cars. You will find the guy across town is good for alignments, the guy over there is good with exhaust, etc. This is your most valuable resource for places that do good work, and you will find the chain stores and franchises are rarely included in the lineup. By the way, an easy-out will get that broken grease fitting out, after you take the suspension apart, so you can reuse the bushing. I hope your aligment won't be affected too much.

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Boss Hoss

Posts: 85
From: Georgia
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 09-29-2001 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boss Hoss   Click Here to Email Boss Hoss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, my alignment shouldn't suffer, since I will be putting the shims back in the same order as I re-assemble things. I have already bought a new shaft kit, so I will just go ahead and toss the end cap with the broken grease fitting.

Oh, here's an update. The check reimbursing me for buying the new shaft kit FINALLY arrived in today's mail....

...and my upper control arm bushings still squeak. Beautiful, eh?

*andy* ([email protected])

also known as...***Boss Hoss***

*1965 Mustang 289 coupe*
*1996 Mustang GT coupe*

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Posts: 16389
From: Saco, Maine MCA # 47773
Registered: May 99

posted 09-29-2001 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SteveLaRiviere   Click Here to Email SteveLaRiviere     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a sad tale, for sure.

But I wanted to mention that I've never needed a pneumatic grease gun to lube upper control arm bushings. My hand crank model works fine.

A tip: grease the bushings, then bounce the car up and down as hard as you can, then grease them again. That helps work the grease around the bushings.

'70 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351C 4V/FMX/3.25 open
'72 Mustang Sprint Coupe 351C 4V/FMX/4.30 Trac Lok
'94 F-150 XL 5.8L/E4OD/3.55 Limited Slip
'97 Probe GTS 2.5L DOHC

The terrorist may have killed 6,398 Americans,
but there are 281,000,000 of us left, and WE'RE PISSED!!!

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Posts: 185
From: Reno Nv
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 09-29-2001 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry this happen to you.But it was one funny story.I try to never let any one work on my mustang.The local glass shop took 4 trys to get my winshield right and it still leaks.One time on my wife Honda I had alocal honda do a tune up.I allways ask to see the old parts.So I go and get the the car and ask to see the old parts.The man says its all done and done right.He then holds up a bag of used sparks plugs 4 of them.And tells me see you had nothing to worry about.I reliezed I made a big mistake.And try not to get mad as I tell him that my wifes Honda is a 6cyl car.Needless to say I dont got there any more.My brother inlaw as been a mechanic
for 15+years.He works for abig chevy dearlership.The stuff he tells me would scare any one off.They cant find any good help so they hire any one that knows what a car looks like.

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Posts: 167
From: Concord,CA
Registered: May 2000

posted 09-30-2001 01:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Billgear   Click Here to Email Billgear     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some people become mechanics because they love cars or mechanical things, or there father was a mechanic ect...Some become mechanics (term used loosely) because it's the only option.


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Posts: 57
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 09-30-2001 08:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Toronado3800     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You all think the amount shops pay their mechanics works in accordance with the quality of mechanic they have?

I know the tow-truck company I used to work for got some inconsistant help in the customer shop. Our good ones all moved to bigger and better eventually except for the "head" mechanic, who made decent money.

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Posts: 11893
From: Southeast Virginia,USA 1968 Fastback & 1995 Vert MCA#39406 M&M #12
Registered: May 99

posted 10-01-2001 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mustangs68   Click Here to Email mustangs68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have an excellent (auto) mechanic sitting behind me who worked for a large National chain but left because he could double his pay by becoming an Indrustrial Mechanic (injection mold mechanic).

Seems the biggest problem with the Chain store is lack of pay thus the quality of work is poor.


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Posts: 1929
From: Biddeford,Me.USA
Registered: May 99

posted 10-01-2001 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MLariviere   Click Here to Email MLariviere     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have several local mechanics that I trust for certain services,like alignments or radiators. Most everything else I do myself,unless I need some real tech support. Even then I'll try to wade through the problem with some outside advice.

Forget about the tune&lube places. I went once,and almost lost my engine for it.

Even tires can be a challenge. I had a set put on in February on my truck. They were 31/10.50/15LT,with a max pressure of 45 psi. When I got in the truck, the tires just didn't look right. The ride was off,too. it felt like a buckboard. When I got home,I checked the pressure,and all 4 tires were set at 70 psi! That champion is lucky he didn't blow his head off.

After I let the air down to 38 psi,as recommended by Ford,the truck was about 2" lower!

[This message has been edited by MLariviere (edited 10-01-2001).]

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Randy Wilson

Posts: 10
From: Portland, Or USA
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 10-02-2001 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy Wilson   Click Here to Email Randy Wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know I am getting on this thread a little late in the game, but I came across this advice "after" I rebuilt my control arms. I wish I had known this before, because it really makes sense. At any rate here is some interesting reading. Almost at the bottom is a section on rebuilding control arms that tells how to get grease in there now AND in the future. Randy.

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