YOU BE THE JUDGE
June 4, 2013, get estimate for Engine Rebuild of 1993 Ford, E-150 conversion van, with a 5.8L engine from “CHARLIE CORRAL” of DESERT CRANK AND ENGINE. Quotes a price of $1,995.00 for engine work, $900.00 for labor to remove and replace engine, for a total price of $2,895.00. He will obtain replacement engine block for additional $50.00, which will be used instead of my damaged block. All fluids are included in price. Towing is also included if they do the work. There may be additional charges if related items (engine mounts, water pump, etc.) are found to be in need of replacement. Inform him that I use van as my motor home. He offers to pull vehicle outside his fenced area and provide electrical hook-up while engine is being worked on. He asks how I intend to pay, questioning me about credit/debit cards. When I tell him I planned to pay with a debit card, he insists that I pay CASH.
June 12, 2013 Wednesday, Engine Deposit ($1,500.00) given to “Rod” of DESERT CRANK AND ENGINE. Informed Rod that air conditioning unit has R12 refrigerant, rather than the newer R134 refrigerant.
June 21, 2013, Friday, 9:45am called and asked for Charlie, NOT IN. Call back in half an hour. 10:20am called and spoke with Charlie. One engine block he obtained turned out to be cracked and he will try to obtain another engine block. Said he may have to use the heads from my engine. Hopes to have something ready by Wednesday-Friday of next week, the following Monday (July 1, 2013) at the latest.
June 27, 2013, Thursday, approximately 1:30pm. Spoke (telephone) with Charlie. Replacement block had been obtained and work on it completed. Said He could tow vehicle in tomorrow but it probably would not be worked on until the following Monday. All work should be completed by Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Reminded him that air conditioning system has R12 refrigerant, and not the R134 type refrigerant. He stated that while he did not have the equipment to recycle the R12, he would tow vehicle to another shop that had the equipment. Told to call first thing Monday Morning (July 1, 2013) to have vehicle towed to his shop.
July 1, 2013, Monday, 8:00am Per Charlie’s instructions called Desert Crank too pick up van. No answer. Call again at 8:20am and still no Charlie or Rod. Leave message about van. Communication problem with my mobile phone because sound was accidentally turned off and I did not have audible ringing for incoming calls. Finally, van is picked up at approximately 10:30am and it is towed to shop.
Based on time-frame Charlie gave me for completion of work, I stayed in a local motel Monday and Tuesday nights, anticipating my vehicle would be ready sometime Wednesday (July 3, 2013).
July 3, 2013, Wednesday Having returned to shop that morning, and to my dismay, find that they have not started work on my engine. Vehicle has not been touched since being towed to the shop on Monday. They do not start pulling engine from vehicle until sometime after I arrived at the shop. Spoke with Charlie about this. Informed him that I stayed at a nearby motel for two nights, basing my decision on his statement that work would be completed by today (Wednesday, July 3, 2013). He asks how much I paid for motel, and after finding out the amount, states he will pay for motel room for another night out of his own pocket; leaving me with the impression that vehicle will be completed tomorrow. Discuss holiday (4th of July) and that shop will be open during the fourth.
An electrical extension cord from shop area to where they have pushed my vehicle (engine removed) outside shop-fenced area. No further mention is made of motel. Since electrical extension cord has been extended to my vehicle, I assume Charlie changed his mind about paying for motel.
July 4, 2013, 4:00pm, Thursday. Rod informs me that vehicle will not be finished today. No further mention is made by Charlie, Rod, or me of motel room or it’s expense. Desert Crank and Engine is located near several fuel distribution centers and the traffic (18 wheelers) is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and loud.
July 5, 2013, 4:00pm, Friday. Another day has gone by and I cannot tell if my vehicle-engine was worked on or not. Do know that vehicle was not finished today. Shop had quite a few walk in customers.
July 6, 2013, 11:30am, Saturday. Rod informs me that the shop is open only a half day and closes at noon. States work on my vehicle will not be finished today.
July 8, 2013, 4:30pm, Monday (Shop closes at 5:00 pm.). Charlie asks if I’m ready to take a test drive. Walk behind van and note that bicycle carrier is missing. Point this out and they install bicycle carrier. As I’m pulling away from shop and reaching to turn on the Air conditioning, Charlie informs me that they lost my refrigerant when their machine failed. Tries to convince me to install R134, rather than the R12, that I had in the system. “NO, I want R12 refrigerant, since the system was designed for it and I had it prior to your losing it” (cost difference of approximately 4 to 6 times more for R12). Noises coming from engine compartment and large amount of gray smoke from exhaust system. Tells me to ignore engine noises, that it is nothing to worry about.
Return to shop where I am expected to pay, even though work is not completed. Escorted to office and sit down with Charlie and Rod to go over bill. Tells me it is $3,000.00 plus engine block, asking Rod how much they paid for block, while stating he believed $150.00. I remind him that he quoted me a price of $50.00. He agrees to that amount and charges me for new spark plugs. He subtracts the deposit of $1,500.00 and I pay the Balance due.
While driving away the engine continues to make loud screeching sounds. Drive approximately three miles, and noises continue. Rather than drive home, decide it would be safer to return to the shop and wait for them to open the following morning,
July 9, 2013, Tuesday
Leave vehicle to have noises fixed and refrigerant added to air conditioning system. After mechanic fixes noise problem, he informs me that a stud bolt was installed in the wrong location, rubbing on serpentine belt and causing noise.
Leave shop and while driving home, note that air conditioning is not cooling as well as it had previously. Had a temperature gauge situated in ac vent, and before engine replacement, it would cool to 30 degrees below ambient temperature. Now it is varying between 20-25 degrees below ambient temperature.
July 10, 2013, Wednesday morning. Notice “CHECK ENGINE” light is on. Have it checked at auto parts store and am told a code 32 is the culprit. Not enough air flow thru EGR valve.
July 13, 2013, Saturday. Going to DESERT CRANK AND ENGINE to have “CHECK ENGINE” light checked and fixed. Start vehicle and notice battery is not charging and AC not working. Look under hood and see serpentine belt tensioner dangling. Vehicle cannot be driven in this condition.
July 15, 2013, Monday, 7:00am Ride bicycle some 15 miles to DESERT CRANK AND ENGINE to have them tow vehicle to their shop and fix problems. Rod shows up at 7:30am, and I wait until almost 8:00 am before he will talk to me. Explain problem of broken serpentine belt tensioner and how I believe it should be repaired by them. He states that they are not responsible and refuses to fix problem. During this discussion, mention the problem with the wrongly installed stud bolt rubbing on serpentine belt as being the cause of the tensioner failure. During this, he states that the serpentine belt became frayed and that they replaced it with a new one. I had not been made aware of this until just now. I then bring up the problem with AC not cooling properly and he replies, “we paid $300.00 to have ac refrigerant added” and he would not discuss it further with me. Questioned him about how much they would charge to fix belt tensioner, and he reluctantly quotes a price of $250.00.
I then ask to speak with Charlie who had previously asked me to discuss with him any problems I had “before doing anything”. Informed that he is not available but Rod will have him call me, after that it’s the cold shoulder and am given what I interpret as the bum’s rush.
Have not heard from Charlie, and In addition, never had the opportunity to discuss the “CHECK ENGINE” light problem.
Have just had my engine rebuilt, paid over $3,000.00 and they will not take care of warranty. In addition, I was overcharged $105.00, which is the difference between price quoted and what was said when it was time to settle bill. Since then:
(1). Remove broken belt tensioner bolt, Replace Broken Serpentine belt Tensioner.
have mechanic fix “CHECK ENGINE” light prroblem, which turned out to be vacuum hoses were resting against EGR valve and had melted. Paid mechanic $75.00
Had Air Conditioning system checked by Arizona Auto Refrigeration. They found refrigerant was not filled to proper level. They added refrigerant R12 to system. No leaks were found. They noted Engine has a miss. Paid $103.28
Still have to Troubleshoot engine miss