Trust me when I tell you DO NOT EVER STEP FOOT ON THAT PROPERTY at Tri County Gear. I had a nightmare of an experience and since I started telling my story, other Jeepers have come forward to tell me about nightmares that a-hole put them through as well. I have made so many more Jeep friends because we all hate TCG. TCG plays favorites too. They put a priority on their friends' Jeeps and customers spending big dollars - even if your vehicle has been there much earlier. So your Jeep will sit - like mine did.
Long story short, he never gave me a written estimate after I had asked countless times. Kept giving me excuses. Then gave me a bill for five times the original discussed amount. I showed the bill to five mechanics including two service managers at Jeep dealerships - all of whom laughed at the price gouging, the part prices and made-up labor costs. Should I be charged two hours of labor to "clean motor mounts" when they were BRAND NEW? I refused to pay that heinous amount and brought in the Bureau of Automotive Repairs - the BAR guy cited him for breach of the California Estimate Law and other things. TCG lowered the price but it was still too high. He locked up my Jeep in a metal shipping container for 8 MONTHS in that Summer heat and all my BRAND NEW rubber is now cracked - some things actually melted. I had the police department order him to release my Jeep because a mechanic may NOT hold a vehicle hostage for more than 100 days. He also went around my Jeep and randomly cut electrical wires and sabotaged the fuel injection system. I have the pics of ALL of it.
Many guys will defend that egomaniac at TCG - I used to. I kept hearing so many horror stories and I kept defending their rep. But after he did what he did to me and my Jeep and then hearing about so many others they have screwed over, I hope that a-hole goes out of business.
Pomona Gear is okay and Brothers 4x4 (909) 930-9955 is even better. Another great shop in the area is Monroe Automotive (909) 946-3900. Lanny's son runs the place now, but they're a great shop too.
PLEASE AVOID Tri County Gear... PLEASE They are a nightmare shop located in a gang infested area.
Thank you for your reply! I'm quite sure I came upon a blog of yours that had a detail of the experience you stated here. If it is the same, you even stated that you had retained an attorney to assist with the recovery of your rig.
Up to now, I have bought a few ARB related parts there, out of convenience, but no service as I do most all of my own wrenching. The only thing I don't do is gears, tire mount and balance and exhaust fab. At first impression, this shop is located in what I would term is a "questionable" neighborhood and I was apprehensive of leaving my rig there overnight, let alone park it on the street while I was in the office. One of my neighbors, who is involved in racing, knows the owner and told me that the shop is good. I wonder how hands-on the owner is?
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Here's my recent experience and the impetus for this thread...
I called early last week to request an appointment for my ARB's to be serviced, the pump was cycling and I had no lockup at either end. The result of that call was an appointment for Friday, of the same week, at 1PM.
I took a half day off work, on the scheduled Friday, and arrived at TCG at exactly 1PM. I was greeted by a guy in the yard that, at best, I'd describe as aloof to downright rude - I'll refer to him as "rude guy". He told me that the guy I made the appointment with (appt guy) left for lunch "about 10 minutes ago" and would not be back for at least an hour. I explained that I had an appointment for 1PM and "rude guy" laughed and said, "well, the mechanics are out to lunch too and won't be back until 1:30", and proceeded to walk away. Then, he turned and said "I don't know why they had you come in today... we're trying to get "customer" rigs ready for a run this weekend anyway," and turned his back again. I decided to ask, what he would recommend and was told "why don't you try back after 2PM".
So, I went for a coke and came back at 2PM as I had the afternoon off. I was greeted by "rude guy" who told me that there were not going to be any lifts available and that "appt guy" I had scheduled the appointment with was still not back from lunch. Feeling like a real idiot by now, I stood in the work area until about 2:15 to 2:20 waiting for "appt guy" to return from lunch. I was again treated to a nice oration of how they had to get "customer" rigs ready for the trip and how this rig or that rig "had to go" and that there will be no resources available for my job.
Well, about 2:20, "appt guy" returns from lunch. At first, he doesn't seem to remember me!!! OK, I refresh his memory and he tells me to pull my rig right in. I tell him about my disscussions with "rude guy" and he makes a face and has me pull in anyway. I pull my rig in and "appt guy" gets a group of about three to four guys to jack it up and run the air lockers to check for problems. I thought, OK, here we go, service!
I was told they found a problem with my rear axle. The fill hole on my RockCrusher diff cover was too high and will cause an ARB problem. They wanted to redrill and tap a lower fill plug location (or replace the cover)! I declined and told them I manage that issue by closely monitoring how much diff lube I put in. I was asked how I would know how much would be put in if I had to make a trail repair? Hmmm?
They made fun of the amount of "service loop" I had on my airlines. They thought my air horn was funny too and asked what it was for? I explained that we use it to get the attention of quad and MC guys on the dry lake beds to avoid collisions. I got the feeling they thought I didn't know anything about Jeeps from the way I was being spoken to. They pulled the airline(s) off my ARB compressor and told me it had "low output". I was told, after they bantered this around and came to an agreement, that it takes 20PSI(!!! - it's more like 85 to 105PSI!!!) to engage an ARB air locker and that my ARB pump wasn't putting out enough pressure. They determined this by putting a finger on the solenoid output?
Well, they then decided that to go further, they would have to open the diff covers and do a complete check out. But, you guessed it, they couldn't do it now because... THEY HAD TO GET CUSTOMER RIGS READY FOR A RUN THAT WEEKEND.
They suggested I leave my rig and they would look at it Monday or Tuesday. I thanked them and told them I had promised my son to take the Jeep out over the weekend (true). But, I also didn't want to leave my rig in that neighborhood, especially after the treatment by "rude guy". I did get a very gracious offer from one of the other customers I met while I was there for a ride home. I set another appointment for Tuesday (today) at 8AM to return for more diagnosis.
Angered by my experience, I was able to fix the issue myself over the weekend using up time I had promised to my son. It seems the original installer had not supported the inner copper tubes very well when attaching them at the bulkhead fittings and pinched the o-rings when they (over) tightened them ON BOTH ENDS. Two hours of my labor, $20 of gear lube, and $1 worth of o-rings and we were OK again, back in the locker business.
When I called yesterday (Monday) to cancel my appointment, I decided to mention to "appt guy" that had booked me how rude and aloof "rude guy" was. Not knowing who the owner was, I wanted to know who "rude guy" was and discovered he is not the owner but just another employee. I found "appt guy" was in total agreement with me about "rude guy" and that he treated others the same way, including him. Well, I feel better that it wasn't personal, "rude guy" is just a jerk.
My wife thinks I have a gift for getting messed around with when it comes to service, that I'm too picky. I thought I'd post here to see if it's me or if others had experienced the same treatment, or worse.
I'll bet, for the "insiders" with money, this is a great shop. Some of the rigs they were prepping for the "customer" run were very nice. If you're not a member of the club, in my opinion and experience, you're just a schmoe. Too bad, I'm planning to purchase a more beefy front axle and this shop is real convenient.