What he did to you in that transaction is the exact definition of fraud. As for the 98 being a better engine, that is besides the point, the Jeep is a hacked together vehicle with nothing but a dishonest dealers account of the true nature of the swap. How can you trust anything he says? Me..... I'd want my money back or else another Jeep off his lot that was fully researched and verified.
I agree with whoever stated that he probably bought the truck with a blown engine and made bank off it and the deal he made with you. Look at it this way.... You are already having problems with it.
First, rest assured that I really appreciate how much everybody is involved and trying to help me with this situation.
But I'm trying to be pragmatic and, unfortunately, nobody can show me (prove me) that swapping engine is illegal in Florida. Even when I search "Florida engine swap law" (or something similar) on Google, I can't find anything...
I find plenty of forum where somebody said "I heard it's illegal" or "I read it's illegal" but nothing concrete. I think the only State which have really something in writing about engine swap is CA.
I even contacted the DMV about the issue. My question was:
"I bought a used vehicle from a dealer in Tampa about a month and a half ago.
It's a '02 Jeep Wrangler. I discovered yesterday the engine has been swapped for a 97/98 engine. I was never informed of this before the sale (and neither after).
This car was originally a California model.
First question, is the engine swapping legal? Should have been informed about it before the sale?
Second question, what do I need to do to be in compliance with Florida laws regarding engine swapping if legal?
Thanks in advance for your quick answer, I'd like to contact back the dealer with a course of action ASAP."
"Thank you for your e-mail regarding an engine change in your car.
The department should be informed about an engine change in a motor vehicle only if the motor vehicle was manufactured prior to 1955. There is nothing in Florida law that requires a motor vehicle dealer to disclose the engine change and there is nothing you need to do to be in compliance.
If we can be of any other assistance, please let us know."
So basically, there is nothing illegal in FL to swap an engine and, even worst, there is nothing illegal for the dealer to not disclose it. So legally, what do I have? Nothing!
Prove me he did something illegal based on a real Florida Law and I will go to court...
So I guess that since I cannot attack him on any legal point because, once again, he didn't do anything illegal for the State of Florida, I can just ask him to be nice and change the car? You really think he will do it? I don't think so...
Does this situation sucks? Yes! Does the lack of Florida State Law about engine swap sucks? Yes! But I don't see what I have in my pocket to go to court... The fact he forgot to tell me about the engine swapped? The judge will probably rules me out since there is nothing illegal doing it.
So either I keep the car and hope for the best or I sold it and buy another one, which I cannot afford right now since a will probably loose too much money... So I guess I will keep the car.
Also, since I took a credit to buy this car, if I cancel the deal with him, I will have to pay off the credit, find another car, apply for another credit... A lot of hassles...
We didn't sign any "contract". The only document we signed were the Bill of Sale and the Odometer Disclosure Statement. "Sold As Is" was not check on the Bill of Sale. As of the Odometer Disclosure Statement, neither option 1 or 2 were checked.
Once again, I'd love to force him to take the car back and buy another one but... I do not think I can go legal based on the fact that I assume he was dishonest and unethical. Once again, based on Florida laws, he didn't do anything illegal (see my post above).
Also, he may refund me for the price of the car, but he will probably not refund me for the price on the hitch and the 2" lift he installed for me. And he probably will not refund me for the $2,000 I already put on it to change all fluids, replace rear seals axle, the alternator and some other stuff I have done.
I have until August 1st anyway to make a decision.... And I will ask him to refund me for the car. But I doubt of the result in my favor. I was thinking switching with another car from his car lot, but how can I trust him anymore?
Have you talked to a lawyer yet? I would start there to see what you can do.
paying 12.9k for a "hacked" together jeep and not disclose it to you is just not right IMO. Thats boarderline fraud! It should have nothing to do with the "buyer beware" bs. I would think you have a strong case.
1997 TJ SE, 175,000 5 speed. 8k on new engine. RE 4.5" long arm.1" PA BL, tera 4:1. 35"x12.5"x15" MTZ, fab tech front bumper, warn rear w/carrier. Currie rock sliders, D44 in rear w/ arb. 488 gears. TBT sports cage. currie tie rod.
i am reading this posting and have a hard time believing that something like this can happen in 2010 ..
i still say you got ROBBED if you took out a loan i would also contact the bank so they will know that the DEALER SHIP [stealership] took you for a ride.... this is not right and should be corrected ..
Alos maybe ask him politely to trade for another TJ on his lot that is all verified to be correct, you could alteast try, I have no idea about the legal standing, but maybe just let him know you'll bad mouth the dealership everywhere you go, that might be enough. It is possible (not very likely, but possible) they really didn't notice what they were selling you. Good luck either way.
for what it's worth my 97 TJ has 00,95,04, etc parts on it, not always a bad thing
Florida doesn't do car inspections each year like other states so that is probably why its not illegal to swap engines.
I think the next call would be to the people that actually own the Jeep, your bank. Because until you pay it off it was/is their money that you paid the car dealer to much for that Jeep. I don't know what if anything they could do because I think Wheelin has it right that most used cars arre sold as-is but its worth a call or face to face talk.
But I think you should also give the dealer a chance to make it right. I didn't read anywhere that you took it into a mechanic to look at what might be causing it not to want to get above 4k rpm and the other little problems. It could be something simple, what I have no idea tho lol.
Wish you the best of luck. And please keep us up to date =)
Some of you requested to be updated and kept in the loop, so be it. I'm planning - as my next step - to send the email below to the dealer (probably tomorrow). For now, I do not wish to disclose his name, since I want to give him a chance to make it right.
Can you please let me know if you see anything I may have forgotten, overlooked...
Thanks in advance,
I'd like to thank you for calling me back from you vacation location and try to work with me on my issue.
I'd like to summarize what was said during this call in order to be sure both of us are clear on what the next steps will be.
- You are the one who swapped the original engine for a '99, since the original one has a major oil leak that makes the engine unusable and/or close to total failure.
- You will be able to provide me with a document from your company attesting the information above.
- You also will be able to provide me with a document from the salvage yard you bought this '99 engine from, document attesting the actual mileage of the engine and the VIN.
- You will run the Carfax for the vehicle the engine is coming from and will give it to me.
- Regarding my "4,000 rpm problem", even if you think it is not directly related to the engine you put in the car, but more to something like O2 sensors, fuel line or fuel pump, which are original parts from the car, you will gladly fix the problem for free. As long as I bring you the car after your return from vacations, on August 1st.
- The last point justified by the fact you want me to be happy with this Jeep, give good word of mouth for you and you kind of "owe me one" for some previous issues I had with the Jeep before we went in vacations. And since the timing didn't allow neither me nor you to have it fixed by you.
I do think it is a reasonable solution, but, giving some deep thoughts about it, I don't think I will accept it. Mainly because I'm feeling it will solve the problem at your advantage, not mine.
I'm afraid this car will become a gremlins chase territory. Even if the engine is about 24,000 miles "younger" than the original one, it is also 3/4 years older, which makes it 11 years old.
Even if the 97/99 engine is very close from the 00/07 engine, this 99 engine was not made exactly to fit my '02 car. On top of this, '00 engine are more powerful, have more torque, are distributor less ... Plenty of differences.
I'm concerned that these little differences will bring minor issues, here and there, not only because the engine is different but also because the engine was probably not used the same way the car was, and therefore is not "matching" it.
I already had to replace the alternator (from this 99 engine) and the belt (already replaced less than two months earlier), two-days after my first trail ride because it just died and heat my belt up to a breaking point. Not very surprising for a 11 year old engine.
I guess if the engine has been changed for a 54,000 / 2004 engine for example, the problem would have been different...
Also, each time I will be looking to order parts for this engine and give my VIN number, I will probably receive the wrong one, because of the change. So for each part I will need to order, I will have to determine if it is part of the engine (99 part) or the car (02 part) before I order it. Which just creating more hassles for me to deal with.
The second reason is I'm concern about compliance with Federal and States Laws and Regulations.
If I decide to move to California, even if this vehicle is originally a Californian one, I will not be able to register it in this state because of the Regulations. Unless I find a 02 engine or newer, replace the current one, make it pass the Emissions tests... Which will probably cost me half of the value of the car.
Florida doesn't have any kind of Emission Regulations or Annual Inspections, but a lot of other States do. Which means if I want to move to TN or NC (and it is a project we have for a couple of years), once again, I will not be able to register the Jeep in these States because it will not be compliant with States Regulations. So I will have to sell the car…
The third reason is my bank doesn't seems to like the idea they loaned me money for a car that obviously do not have the same value (since the engine is older) than the value they based their calculations and risk on. I do not know yet what course of action they are willing to take. But they didn't seems very happy with the news…
The fourth reason is the car now has obviously a diminished value (related to point three). If I decide to sell the car, being honest by nature, I'll have to disclose the fact that the engine is an older one. Which will probably makes me the owner of the problem for one, and will probably make the buyer asking for a lower price, making me loose a bunch of money, for two. Which related to point two. If I move, I will have to sell the car and loose money on it.
I understand you didn't do anything illegal. Per Florida DMV, swapping engine is not illegal and the motor vehicle dealer is not even required to disclose this information to the buyer. So you are covered on this end. But I do think it is a big case of misrepresentation, which is covered by Florida Fraud Law. I will be checking with my lawyer this week about it, just in case. But I would prefer to reach an out of court solution first, which will be less painful for both of us.
But you have to understand that I'm not happy with this car (for the reasons described above) and will probably never be. If you want me to be happy with the car you sold me and give good worth of mouth about you, you'll have to do something, and something better. I'm feeling I have been rip off in this case and for me to be happy and talk good about you (and preserve this long relationship, you were talking about the first time we met, with you), you will have to make me feel good, make me feel I will win something in the fixing.
Ideally, this is what I would like you to do:
- You take back the car.
- You refund me for the fully $12,169.10 I paid for it
- You also refund me for the $406.59 for the hitch and the 2" lift you put on the car.
- And you refund me for the $963.63 I put in the car for fixing the ignition coil, the hand break, changing the fluids… (I can email you the invoices). Also, I'll ask you refund me for the price of the alternator I had to change. Price is TBD (My father in law bought the parts, but it should be around $160 including the belt).
And I guess we could said we will be even. But I can understand that it would be a bad deal for you since not only you get the vehicle back but you also have to give the money back.
So I was thinking we may reach an agreement the following way.
- You take back the car but we swap it for another car from your lot (like Stock ID 10056).
- You remove both hitch and 2" lift from my current Jeep and put it on the new one.
- Both of us inspect the new car together, check all VIN number, be sure that everything is stock and you certify that nothing major was changed on this car since you bought it.
- You change whatever need to be reasonably changed on this car as fluids, spark plugs… I already have a new set of tires on the current Jeep that you will transfer on the new one.
- I will have the new car inspected by a third party (I'll pay for it). If nothing major is found, then you get a deal.
It will probably cost you a couple of thousand dollars, that's right, but I will be happy and you will have done everything you can to make me happy. And anyway, this couple of thousand dollars will be what you would have to pay (and maybe even more), if we go to court.
After that, I will say good words about you and even warmly recommend you to anybody who asks.
As you know, today with Internet, information travels at light speed and the Jeep community is very tight. I already posted on different forums asking for help and advices. I already have several people asking the name of the dealer who sold me my car… For now, I haven't disclosed this information because I want to give you a chance to make things right.