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My Dealer and Mechanic are crook$!

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First let me say thank you to everyone that has posted a thread here regarding one thing or another. This week I could have spent easily $3k on repairs, but decided to fix my porsche myself. I know my way around a garage and am no fool. Just yesterday I replaced a blown 1.6L Sentra engine in 8hrs. I am worthy! But for some reason or another i always have worried about working on MY OWN cars. So i trusted the people at my dealership to do me right. When i became tired of their super high prices i went to a Repair shop that specialises in Porsches. Well to my aggrevationa and disappointment I have decided to work on this car myself.

What I fixed this week:

1.Porsche Repair shop told me my ac was broken and that i would need a new one--cost >$800 for the repair

--well i fixed this after i pulled the blower out only to find foam inside of it. This costed me 10mins of my time and research. Thanks fellas for your help

2.Porsche Dealer told me my coolant reservoir tank was broken, cost for repair ~$750.00

--after some research and the help of Loren, turns out my coolant reservoir cap was an old one with the final two item numbers being 00. I fixed this by driving to the dealer and picking up an 01 Cap for $17.00

3.Instrument cluster light for the Odometer went blank. I took this to my Porsche Mechanic and he claimed to have pulled the cluster. He told me that i would need a new cluster, reprogramming, and yada yada yada Cost super exspensive.

--I pulled two screws out removed the cluster and replaced one (1) bulb for $6.00 now my cluster works again no problem I wasted a little time making sure i didn't scratch anything.

I'm seriously pissed in retrospec. I drive a Boxster not a bank. I can't believe that without a forum like this i might have paid to have these things fixed, and at top dollar. I feel like all these years i've been taken advantage of. These people are crooks and have lost my business as a result. To think i brought all the guys at the Dealership coffee and donuts because i felt they were doing a great job. I may still go to a dealer for computer stuff but now that i have many of the answers here i'll be that much more informed and capable of doing this myself. At least i'll know for sure that every screw gets put back the way i like them.


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congrats! feels good, doesn't it?

i have stories very similar to yours. one of the funniest (saddest) is the time i went for my 30K service. it was $950 for the 30K, and keep in mind it's referred to as a 'glorified oil change'. there's really not much more to it than an oil change and 'visual' inspections.

when i brought the car in, i asked them specifically to top up my coolant, as the red temp light was flashing. 'sure, no problem.' i also asked them while they have it, if they could take a look at the passenger side rear fog light, which did not work. 'sure, no problem'.

i go to pick up my car later in the day and the bill is $1100. the other $150 came from the time they spent checking out the passenger rear fog light. they decided it wasn't working. (boy, these guys are geniuses!) their recommendation? to replace the entire passenger side light assembly at $300! WHAAAAA???!!!

first - the passenger side 'fog light' is NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK!!! shouldn't they KNOW this before they charge me $150 to tell me what i already told them?

second - their 'solution' would not solve the problem, because the light is NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK!!!

third - why would they suggest replacing the ENTIRE assembly? the plastic lens was perfect. it was the bulb holder circuit board if it was anything!

fourth - the price for the replacement light assembly was MORE than the price of a PAIR of assemblies.

fifth - they never even topped up the coolant. think about it. the coolant cap is right next to the oil cap. assuming that they changed the oil (i honestly don't KNOW if they did), how much trouble would it be to put a few ounces of water in the coolant?

and i have other similar stories. the last time i went to the dealership, i needed to have my codes read as my CEL was flashing. the service manager (who told me that he just came over from a Pontiac dealership and referred to the PST2 as a 'PS2' - LOL) told me that i needed a new Variocam, it would be $1200 and he could get me in next Monday. i told him i'd look into it and get back to him. he handed me the bill. $120. $100 for an 'hour' of shop time (15 minutes) and $20 for 'Misc.' i asked what 'Misc.' meant. he said it was for 'gloves and other things that the techs use'. since when do you need GLOVES to use a PST2??!!! are the gloves made of faberge eggs and bald eagle heads?!! i'm sure they are the standard latex gloves that you can buy 100 pair for $2.99. i looked at him, told him OK, and that's the last time i ever stepped foot in a stealership. these guys have EARNED their reputation. by the way, i did NOT need a new Variocam.

my new favorite line is 'i drive a Boxster, not a bank!' :clapping:

keep at it, it just gets easier and easier the more work you do. and you can buy something for your Boxster with all the money you save!

congrats again!

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this is how dealer guys get fed. ur fix were easy and u were quoted worst case replacement bc dealer won't know until they take stuff apart. Most of time, they'll replace whole thing instead of small parts to make money and simplify repair.

I'm not sure how replacing and entire instrument cluster is easier than just replacing a bulb. But i do see how replacing and entire instrument cluster to and unsuspecting client could yeild them a lot of money;: "Uhmm Sir, you need new gauges. That'll cost you $2200.96 for the repair. We can't replace the bulb because it's part of the entire cluster." That's what was said to me before my $6.95 fix.

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replacing parts require proper diagnostic which isn't always billable. diagnostic requires experience too. this is what boards offer.

most owners do not want to pay .5-1 hr of labor for diagnostic. however, if they are told the whole assembly needed replacement, they won't argue.

this applies to warranty repair too. 99% of people love cars under warranty bc they think they saved thousands in repair costs. in fact, their repair cost should be much lower had the dealer fix the part broken instead of replacing them. i am sure most of engine and tranny replacement are unnecessary. dealer just don't want or know how to fix them.

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replacing parts require proper diagnostic which isn't always billable. diagnostic requires experience too. this is what boards offer.

most owners do not want to pay .5-1 hr of labor for diagnostic. however, if they are told the whole assembly needed replacement, they won't argue.

this applies to warranty repair too. 99% of people love cars under warranty bc they think they saved thousands in repair costs. in fact, their repair cost should be much lower had the dealer fix the part broken instead of replacing them. i am sure most of engine and tranny replacement are unnecessary. dealer just don't want or know how to fix them.

The engine is generally the only part they do replace whole and have no choise about. Generally the manufacturer wants the whole motor back to see what the problem was and how to fix it so they don't want the dealership fixing it even if they could.

In many cases with the engine the mechanics are only tech's remember they are not the same. They know how to re-re the engine but not acctually build an engine, thats an engine builder. Setting ring gaps, assembling a motor, checking piston to valve clearance, micing bearings etc is not taught in a general technicians course at school. This is generally why they can't fix problems, no solve it with new parts.

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It really is a shame that this is allowed to go on and it truly is a testament to this board and the enlightenment posted within that can keep things like this from happening.

As just one more example of a crooked "Authorized Porsche" shop when i first bought my 996 i was told in a pre-purchase inspection that my brake pads were at about 30% and needed changing soon. I figured hey why not and had it done. After being charged for 2 hours labor and a ton for the pads (that come to find out probably only needed the fronts changed and not the rear) all was well for a few days. After that time period the rear right was squealing like a stuck pig. I brought it back to them (45min drive each way) twice and each time they told me they rectified the issue. Come to find out by dousing the pads with anti squeal lubricant which would work for a few days then of course the issue returned. After consulting this board and reading numerous posts about how easy a pad change is in these cars i got my hands dirty. Low and behold after the 15 minutes it took me to get the pads out of the caliper there was no anti-resonance pads in that caliper. I called the shop and he told me that he specifically remembered replacing them and they must have fallen out (can you believe that FALLEN OUT) and that he reused my old ones to save me some money. He refused to pay the $100 for the new ones (all the way around) that i had to pick up at my local dealer after reading that it is recommended to replace them with fresh with new pads.

My point in sharing is that if there is anyone out there like me that has some, but not a ton, of mechanical experience and you are hesitant about messing up something do yourself the favor and get your hands dirty. There is nothing more rewarding than fixing your "baby" yourself and you will have the peace of mind that you were not taken to the cleaners for your repair.

A big thanks to Loren, Tool Pants, and the rest of you who post and share your knowledge and help out the "less skilled" like myself. Three Cheers for you guys!!!

Edited by 1999C4CO
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I'm curious to read what was wrong with your AC?

I have huge amounts foam coming from my vents (even after removing it all from the filter area) and I also have little to no heat. I have what appears to be a good thermostat and no errors showing on the AC control nor Durametric software. Loren and others say I need to get it on a PST2 to meaure air mix control readings.

Anyways my intial idea was that the foam could be blocking the flap door or clogging the heater core enough to restrict heat considerable. I'm warm but just not hot.

How did your symptoms affect your system?

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The service advisor works on commission. The more he recommends the more he makes..

If your car does not need warranty work, do not step into a dealership, period.

i totally agree with you! I took mine for a 45K service, change fuel filter, drain my coolant and put a new one, change my brake fluids..

warranty work:

-change camshaft cover

-fix my seatbelt

-clear the air bag light

-change the 2 clear side marker

total cost: $2525 (labor:1925 parts:600)

warranty covered: $1500

out of pocket: $1025

the first and last time i'm bringing my car to the dealer....at first i thought the service advisor is throwing in the clear side marker, but no...got charge for it. last week, i bought clear tail light and asked them how much would they charge if I have them install it (just to see if they re going to give me a break), they said it will cost me around $185 (it will take them over an hour to install it and they charge $150 per hr.) i said, that s cool...went home lurk around in the forums, check out threads in regard of tail light...and them..BAMMMM, install it my self and took me 45mins.....

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