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 fitting...it'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).]