Phrustrated in Philly – A good mechanic is worth their weight in gold.

17 September, 2008 (15:48) | Ramblings

So, here’s the story of what I’ve been going through with my truck.  I don’t consider this a closed issue until it’s back in my possession safe and sound.

Friday night my truck was making a weird whistling noise as I headed out to Philly to spend the weekend with Kallie and bring back her large items.  I had thought that I shouldn’t risk driving it with the noise, but plans were already set, so I went for it.  I get to the West Chester / Downington exit a little after midnight, and I had to stop because the noise had grown into the worst grumbling/grinding noise, and I knew something was about to break severely.  I called AAA, and they sent someone out named Josh.  The last time I got AAA the dude’s name was Josh.  within a few seconds of him hooking up the truck, it started to rain and Kallie showed up to pick me up.  So it all went pretty smoothly there, which kept me pretty calm.  Josh had asked me where I wanted it towed to, I had no clue, so he suggested a sunoco dealership down the road, so I said sure.  I had a little cringe at the idea of vulture like mechanics waiting at the Sunoco for they’re latest meal from the turnpike.

So I call the place first thing in the morning.  They don’t normally work Saturdays, contrary to what Josh had said.  They did have a guy in though, and he said he’d take it for a spin to see what was wrong with it.  He said he couldn’t find the keys though.  I told him they might be in the gas tank.  He said he’d check there and get back to me.  By noon I’m wondering if he found the keys or if he had been able to look at it, because I’d like to get it to somewhere else if they couldn’t.  I called them, he said he found the keys in the gas tank and they’d take it for a spin in a bit.  Around 2 they call me, tell me it’s the rear end/differential that needs replaced.  I asked for just a ball park on what he thought it would cost, and he said that he’d have to get back to me Monday because he’ll have someone look at it to see what the options with it were as far as getting a new one, rebuilding the current one, or what else he could find. 

Alright, so I told my boss Saturday I’d be out of the office Monday, but I’d keep him in the loop.  Monday morning comes around, Sunoco says that it’ll be $800 for the part and $400-$500 for the labor, and could take a couple days.  That was a blow.  I said go for it though.  I also called my mechanic back home and asked them what they thought, and they said $800 sounded reasonable.

Also Monday, Kallie’s car needed to get inspection and emission done.  So i took it to this guy down the street from her.  It wouldn’t pass because her left tailout is busted and the check engine light was on.  I authorized him to do a diagnoses on the engine, and he told me that if I drove over to Jersey, I could get a tail light for $60 instead of him having to get it from the dealer for $120.  The check engine light was on because the front catalytic converter is going bad, but he had some sort of tool he could run to find out just how bad it was.  I drove it over night and Tuesday he cleared me there as soon as I could get the tail light from New Jersey.  Wasn’t too much hassle, and I just worked from Kallie’s place.

Tuesday morning though, Sunoco called me to say they ordered the wrong part and the right part was going to be $1200.  I said no way, my mechanic says $800 is good.  He says he called all over the place and that’s all he could find.  I said I wanted to call around and see what I could find on my own.  He started trying to convince me just to go with the $1200.  Josh no likey.  I called Serah’s father in law who lives out there to see if he knew of a good mechanic.  He got me in touch with someone who did some research for me and said that $900-$1200 would be a range they could find a rear for my truck.  I found something online for $950 +$150 shipping.  Then I called Lacey’s back home to see if they could help me find a part and maybe i’ll get someone to drive it out to me.

  By this time, 10:00 am, I had to call off work to deal with this.  Lacey’s calls me back and actually found a place in North Philly that had what I need for $850.  Only snag is that it has to be a garage that buys it.  So i call the Sunoco and the guy is not happy with me, almost like he’s offended I’m telling him how to do his job.  He said I can go buy a part on my own and bring it in, but if it doesn’t work I would have to take it back and get the right part.  He was not willing to talk to the place to make sure it was the right part to avoid that situation.  It was basically $1200 or nothing in his mind.  I call AAA to see if i can get it towed somewhere else for free, and I can if I can produce 2 things:  1) proof that I don’t owe the mechanic money (I don’t think I do…) 2) They can’t fix my truck.  (Hmm….well, they can’t get the part they quoted me and they can’t get the $850 part I need).  So I call the Sunoco back around 4PM to see if they’d agree to helping me out there since this was getting so difficult, and the guy that I had been talking to all day leaves at 2pm.  I asked if there was someone else I could talk to and he said no, and basically hung up on me.  So much for trying to resolve this amicably.

So I go back to Chuck’s, where Kallie’s car was, to get her car squared away, and I ask him if he’d want to work on my truck since he’s basically awesome.  He said yep.  He gave me his buddy’s towing service number.  A quick call there and $110 later, bam, my truck is at Chuck’s place by nightfall.  I have no idea how that is legal, since I never provided proof of identity, pretty sure no one was at Sunoco to sign off, but whatever.  Now my truck is at Chuck’s so Kallie can walk to pick it up instead of having to find a friend to drive her to West Chester.

Talked to Chuck this morning, got him in touch with the place with the part, and I think he’s got it all under control.  I’ll check back in with him later today, but so far so good…Sunoco called…I kinda don’t want to return their call…thoughts?


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