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Unread 07-04-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
fcarstens
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My mechanic tries to rip me off! Help appreciated!

... just bought my first Jeep (2002 4.0L Sahara around 160Tkm) few weeks ago and had car vibration (not the steering wheel) over 50mph right from the start!

Replaced tires / balanced wheels -> still vibrations!

Went to a Jeep dealer, told him I might have a "death wobble" --> the GM (= "greedy mechanic") changed the steering damper for a Rancho one "kaching" --> same problem persists!

Came back few days later, told him the "death wobble" is still there ... GM made a test drive with me ... hard vibrations after 50mph!

GM told me during the test drive this is NO death wobble, but as I told him the first time I met him my Jeep has a "death wobble", he instantly put the new steering damper to cure it

I thought "wtf" and told him, I am a novice, he is the expert (at least I hoped so) and if I tell him "it has the death wobble" he should at least check and confirm it BEFORE doing costly repairs

Now he did wheel balancing and "kaching" --> no cure, but more money for the GM!

Lastly GM replaced the front drive shaft ... and called me to tell me the great news: "no more vibrations any more"

BUT (by now we all know our GM very well), there is a "slight" string attached --> roughly 900 freakin' bucks for the drive shaft

I "booted" the WWW and did a research:
1. whole driveshaft can be bought for 350 bucks
2. installation is maybe 1-2h
3. maybe even replacing the u-joint would do the trick!?

How should I go on?

Quick help much appreciated,

thx.

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Unread 07-04-2012, 02:49 PM   #2
2003RubiBlue
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Vibrations and death wobble are two completely different things. Vibrations are what it sounds like you have, death wobble is a religious experience, that does not end until you have stopped the vehicle i.e. you think you are about to die. Vibrations can be cause by many, many things, front driveshaft included. If your mechanic is telling you that your front driveshaft is causing the vibrations have it fixed. With that being said I would never pay $900 for a front driveshaft. I think the problem is this is a dealer, and they will not replace the individual u-joints only the driveshaft assembly which is $900. I would buy a new driveshaft online and install it yourself. It is only six bolts to remove the old one and install the new one. It should only take half an hour if you don't have any problems.

Brian
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Unread 07-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #3
jbarrett
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I've never had death wobble...but from my understanding, it can be caused by some many different things, loose or too tight bolts, etc. etc. seems like everyone who has had death wobble has to try a bunch of different fixes until they get all the geometry perfect and everything working correctly in sync and aligned. You took it to a dealership in a recession. Of course they are going to just throw parts at it and charge you out the you know what. If I were you, I would find a reputable jeep or 4x4 shop - especially ones who do lift installs. Have them look over your jeep and give you advice. They will actually care about solving your problem vs. a stealership who is just going to throw parts at you.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 03:29 PM   #4
LRod
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Lesson # 1. Only go to the Dealer for warranty work (1a.) Get refferals when picking a mechanic.

Lesson # 2. Get on this board and ask a lot of questions, the knowlege and experience here and other forums has taken apart every jeep built and modified most.

You'll find from reading here that vibrations and "Wobble" can be associated to many different causes, Start Reading.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
fcarstens
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First of all, thx for the quick and informative replies

Quote:
I would buy a new driveshaft online and install it yourself. It is only six bolts to remove the old one and install the new one. It should only take half an hour if you don't have any problems.

Brian
Yes, thought about it, may go this route if the dealer (or another workshop) does not replace the u-joint etc.

Quote:
You took it to a dealership in a recession. Of course they are going to just throw parts at it and charge you out the you know what.
... to true

Quote:
You'll find from reading here that vibrations and "Wobble" can be associated to many different causes, Start Reading.
yes, already did so for many hours before I posted my new thread, actually needed some advice on how I should approach the greedy mechanic tomorrow, when I pick up my Jeep...

Florian.

P.S.: Should mention I am living in Dubai (UAE), parts have to be ordered from US ...
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Unread 07-04-2012, 04:37 PM   #6
dcope17
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Don't know if anyone has mentioned this or not... but get your defective old driveshaft back and rebuild it... if you wheel at all, you now have a trail spare.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
fsSnowboard
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Maybe just have him leave the old driveshaft removed (but keep it for a spare), pay him for the diagnosis and then proceed to find yourself a new driveshaft, or rebuild it. The Jeep will drive fine with it removed.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
1999TJRED85000
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Here's the real lesson:

When going to a mechanic, be very, very specific on what you want him to do. Don't diagnose a problem, if you need a mechanic to do so. I've had to do it many times when the cost of specialized tools exceeds the cost of the repair, or when the job is too big for the limited facilities that I have.

For example, you went to him with a diagnosis of "Death wobble", which it was not. Yes, he had a wierd cure for DW, but he still will claim it was your fault that he didn't get it. If you had gone and showed him the symptom, and asked him to fix it, the problem would be his poor diagnosis and he might have a hard time charging you labor to do something you didn't need. So, IF you go to a mechanic, be very specific as to what you want him to do, and how far you are willing to go before he needs to contact you for permission to continue.

As for what you can do now ... pay up. He's got you this time. Don't go back. Find a guy you can trust.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
Vinman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999TJRED85000 View Post
Here's the real lesson:

When going to a mechanic, be very, very specific on what you want him to do. Don't diagnose a problem, if you need a mechanic to do so. I've had to do it many times when the cost of specialized tools exceeds the cost of the repair, or when the job is too big for the limited facilities that I have.

For example, you went to him with a diagnosis of "Death wobble", which it was not. Yes, he had a wierd cure for DW, but he still will claim it was your fault that he didn't get it. If you had gone and showed him the symptom, and asked him to fix it, the problem would be his poor diagnosis and he might have a hard time charging you labor to do something you didn't need. So, IF you go to a mechanic, be very specific as to what you want him to do, and how far you are willing to go before he needs to contact you for permission to continue.

As for what you can do now ... pay up. He's got you this time. Don't go back. Find a guy you can trust.
Very,very good advice.
I learned a long time ago about diagnosing problems and then have a shop do the repairs.
I always tell them what i think it is but for THEM to confirm the problem before repairing.

Vince
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Unread 07-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
DanZ51
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Here in the States, a garage will give an estimate of the cost of repairs after a diagnosis is made. And the estimate can only be exceeded by 15% (IIRC) with out getting the customer's permission to continue.

If a mechanic just went and installed a $900 part on MY car/truck/jeep without consulting me before hand he'd be removing said $900 part on his time.

As far as the "death wobble" diagnosis, I always taught my mechanics "verify the fault" before starting any repairs.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 11:40 PM   #11
ratmonkey
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You're in Dubai.
Parts cost a whole heck of a lot more than anywhere you'll find on the . 900$ parts and labor sounds right for that job on that country.

Never, ever tell a mechanic the diagnosis if you don't know yourself. They will simply do the common repair (steering stab is a common "fix" for death wobble) and send you on your way.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 05:18 PM   #12
fcarstens
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Hi everybody thx for your great advice

Actually, today there happened something like a miracle ...

Went to the Jeep service center, mechanic seemed to be waiting for me already

Did a testdrive together with the new drive shaft --> NO VIBRATION any more

- so far so good -

Still having the 900 bucks in mind, I asked for the costs ... after some long calculations I was presented with a new number: 810 bucks!!!

I showed him a picture of a DS for $349 (Tom Woods made) and told him to pay $680 max (having the original price for a OEM DS = $700 in mind!).

He accepted and WHILE I was standing a the cashier to pay the $680, he called me to his desk and reduced the price down to 517 bucks

Still lots of money, but from my standpoint the fastest and (for Dubai) quite reasonable option (otherwise I would have ordered the new DS in US for $349 + shipping + tax + installation (would not do it by myself yet)).

Now the 2002 Jeep goes without any vibration or side steering up to 120kph (yes, we have these nasty speed limits here as well), still can not believe it!

Was a good day for me
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Unread 07-05-2012, 07:10 PM   #13
Imped
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Drive shafts have nothing (repeat: NOTHING) to do with front end wobbles. I'm glad you got it fixed, but that drive shaft wasn't the fix.

PS, that dealer apparently knows as much about wobbles as you do. Next time, learn some stuff and diagnose it yourself. You may be a novice but you've clearly got a brain between your shoulders. You, just like anyone else with an operational brain, can learn. This stuff really is simple. Don't be scared.
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