Dishonest brake job - WWYD? -

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post #1 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: minnesota
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Dishonest brake job - WWYD?

Hi, I have a '99 XJ sport. One day the right wheel started smoking and I had to limp to the nearest fix-it shop I could find on my phone and drop it off. A few days later I spoke with very friendly woman at the desk about the repairs. She said the mechanic said I needed both front calipers replaced and that the caliper mounts were broken. New steering knuckles would cost $300 ea, but "Jeff" was good at welding them and would do it for $100. Halleluja. She quoted me a price and I gave her a go-ahead to complete the work.
Which included:

New front calipers and baskets
Rotors turned
New pads
AC recharge and leak test (I asked for this)
New rear brake cable
Weld caliper mounts

I try to avoid repair shops, but I have 3 cars, a boat and a new fixer-upper house and a good job so I HAVE to trust someone sometimes. This whole thing sounded a little weird so I did some reservations.

It's a mom 'n pop garage in business for 30 years, owned and operated by married couple. Good on-line reviews, A+ BBB rating, mega-church pamphlets on the counter (clue #1). They were all clean-cut and friendly, neat and squeaky clean. The owner, Jeff was a drag racer. They had some good sounding, if not vague replies to all my probing questions. Hey, no-one can get anything by an engineer right? (my 1st mistake)

After the work was completed I picked up the car, paid a small fortune and the next Saturday morning dis-assembled the front wheels/brake to inspect the welds. Lo and Behold! The caliper mounts were in good original condition - NO WELDS!

From what i can tell, they lied about the broken mounts and did their little song dance to get me to fork over another $100 for a problem that never existed figuring I would never know.

I am pretty pissed

To top it off with a steaming pie of %^&* I get an e-mail from - How did we do?

I don't see how this could be a misundersanding. It looks like they intentionally swindled me out of at least $100 and who knows if some of the other repairs were real too. (No, I didn't ask for the bad parts back).:

So, I am trying to weigh my options at what to do about it at this point.

Anyone been it this situation and had a positive outcome? What would you do?

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 05:32 PM
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Hatboro PA
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Are you sure about the welds? A common problem is the pads peen a space in the mounting bracket were the pads sit and can cause some issues, I have welded these myself and when you grind down the spots its a tough repair to spot,so I would pull the pads and look at where they ride for some grind marks and make sure before you go any further.

ah,beer the cause of and cure to all of lifes problems ...Homer J Simpson... I am the guy in the red jeep!
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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The invoice says:

Inspect brakes: Needs front brakes with calipers, caliper mounts are shot, need to weld both. (steering knuckle)

Labor: Weld Caliper mounts. $98.

Parts: Hydraulic Caliper (2x$80), brake pad $105.

The brake caliper brackets that hold the pads look new.

There are two "tabs" on the steering knuckle casting where the caliper assembly in mounted to with two bolts. Isn't that what he is referring to? I sounds to me that he is welding these instead of replacing the casting.

Are you talking about the anchor plates on the steering knuckle that hold the pads at either ends?

These don't sound like a "Caliper mounts" to me.

I uploaded a picture showing the one of the steering knuckles. It shows bright shiny anchor plates which I think is what you are describing. I can see that perhaps he welded these and not the mounting tabs. So maybe I am confused because of the terminology used.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 10:14 PM
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
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It looks like someone did some work on the top and possibly the bottom perch where the pads ride. I agree that the 2 threaded holes that fasten the caliper would lead you there, but mechanics may use terminology that differs from person to person.

Example - trackbar - panhard or draglink - center rod/arm

The caliper and pad price is a bit high, but most shops will add 10-20% on top of their cost and they probably spent at least an hour prepping, welding, and dressing the areas to weld. (ideally with a high nickel content filler and pre and post heated for cast but unlikely)

I'd say you got a typical brake service job and cost. It would be interesting to see how the 'caliper mounts' looked before they fixed them up for you to see the before.

You may just have a very cautious mechanic that sets a very high standard. Sometimes that is a good thing. Sometimes they are looking to pad the bill.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: minnesota
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I think you guys are right about the repair. When I spoke to the clerk, she said the caliper mounts were "BROKEN" and they could WELD them and she was relaying to me what she heard the mechanic say. The invoice says "caliper mounts are shot, need to be welded"

Turns out that neither of them described the problem accurately.

What they really meant was that the BRAKE PAD MOUNTS or ANCHOR PLATES were WORN and need to be SURFACED or SURFACE WELDED.

I was looking for a join weld and missed the surfacing they did.

I expected them to be more technical because in my profession that matters a lot when describing a problem to a colleague. So I was convinced they were lying to me.

This never happens when I screw up my own work - I have only myself to get mad at and I see no point in that.

I got Brakes and AC now and don't have to be frustrated anymore. Having anyone do work for you is always too expensive.

Thanks for your input.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 11:10 PM
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Bring t back and have them walk you through the invoice and explain where and how the work was done. Any manager will agree to that.

Luck Favours The Prepared
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-14-2013, 11:17 PM
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Looks like some boogered welds in the circled areas to me, definitely not a new knuckle. Regardless iirc the knuckles are cast iron which needs to be brazed not welded which explains all the splatter. I wouldn't expect those to hold up long term. Plus it looks like you have fractures on the tabs between there as well.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 12:50 PM
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: Hatboro PA
Posts: 1,275
There the spots I was talking about,I have welded the same spots on my xj 6 years go and have not had a problem since.

ah,beer the cause of and cure to all of lifes problems ...Homer J Simpson... I am the guy in the red jeep!
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