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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Collierville, TN
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Smoking 944

On July 4th, I purchased my first Porsche. It is a 1984 944 with 74k miles. Many of you have read my previous post about the car overheating. In short, I took my car in for a couple of issues which were repaired. The shop did not put any coolant back in my car when they finished. I never let the car get above the redline on the temp guage, but I did push it to get home.

Well, I think I have a more major problem now. I replaced the heater hose now and cranked up the car. The car held all the coolant where it is supposed to be. I walked around to the rear of the vehicle and noticed a light smoke coming out of the tailpipe. I never noticed the smoke before tonight. In fact, I specifically noticed that it did not smoke when I bought it. Could the smoke be related to the fact that the shop did not put coolant in my car? I called them Monday morning to tell them that they did not put coolant back in the car. They were apologetic. Any suggestions on how I should procede?

Thanks, George
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:05 PM
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I assume it is still summer in TN. If the car is warmed up and the smoke is white you likely have coolant getting into the cylinders.

I fear you may be right about bigger problems and warped the head with the run home. Especially if you drove it without coolant and the temperature sensor still sent the gauge into the red zone. The head must have been hotter than a pistol. Without coolant most of the heat to the sensor was being transmitted through the metal of the head not the liquid coolant. Who knows how hot that baby got. And without coolant you can get localized hot spots that improve your chances to warp things.

It is time to talk to the shop and ask them what they propose to do to make you whole.
Old 07-13-2004, 06:57 PM
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I'm with IceShark on this one.
If they didn't put in oil - they would be buying a new engine, same thing. They were the cause of the failure. They expect to charge for repairs as if you were a know nothing yuppie, well they better fix their mistakes. Don't even go into detail with them. It was their fault, they need to act..
If that makes sense ??
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Don 944 LA
I'm with IceShark on this one.
If they didn't put in oil - they would be buying a new engine, same thing. They were the cause of the failure. They expect to charge for repairs as if you were a know nothing yuppie, well they better fix their mistakes. Don't even go into detail with them. It was their fault, they need to act..
If that makes sense ??
It does make sense. But I am afraid that they will try to fight me. I just helped my step-daughter get through Georgetown Law School. Time for some payback.

Has anyone had a similar experience where a mechanic did something to break your engine? How did they react? Did you have to sue them?
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:33 PM
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$@%&#@&#%^*#%^*#$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called the mechanic this morning. They now claim that this was a pre-existing condition. They say they had nothing to do with it. They also told me to take it somewhere else and contact an attorney. I spoke to the previous owner last night and he said that it never blew smoke. I know it didn't blow smoke when I bought it.
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Old 07-14-2004, 05:26 AM
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If the shop failed to put any coolant in the engine during repairs, then when it was tested the cooling fans would not cycle on and off. Therefore it was NOT tested. Now, everyone makes mistakes but this appears to be entirely their responsibility. If you drove the 944 any distance without coolant the engine will need complete replacement.
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Old 07-14-2004, 05:32 AM
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I got a ballpark quote from a Porsche mechanic in town. He said that if there is minimal damage, to fix the head gasket and do some head work would cost around $1200. If he had to fix the heads, then it could run around $1700. He also recommended replacing the timing belt at the same time. That would be $300-$400 depending on what else is replaced at the same time. Is this about right?

Also, what (if any) upgrades would y'all recommend while the engine is apart? I figure when I sue the mechanic that screwed things up, I can either add in any upgrades or at least have my new mechanic state what the stock replacement would have been. I can pay the difference.
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Old 07-14-2004, 07:09 AM
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Yeah, it is probably about right but the timing belt seems high as everything is going to be apart anyway. It is too bad you had an engine with only 74k miles on it. But the labor and cost of droping in a new/rebuilt engine would be quite a bit.

I hope you have as much documentation as possible on the shop not filling the coolant, a tape recording of your first conversations would be nice. So better go and make notes of your conversations and when they occured. They are going to eventually take the position that they did fill it up or that you were an idiot to trust them and drive the car home. Then they get to the pre-existing condition.

If the business isn't very upstanding it can be a real headache. There was a Rennlister that had a problem with a service station. You know the big covers that are placed over the underground gas tanks? Well someone put one of them in upside down and he drove over it and tore a hole in his oil pan, among other things. He took pictures of the scene, scrape on the cover, oil trail leading off, had a witness, you name it. From the pictures you could see that it was very hard to tell the clearance was going to be a problem - sort of an optical illusion.

It took him forever to get to someone in the company that would authorize his repairs.
Old 07-14-2004, 08:54 AM
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Garage
i used to own an '85 nissan sentra as my beater car. one day i saw a $9.99 oil change special being run by sears so of course i had to get the oil changed.

soon after as i was driving down the freeway, the 'check engine' light came on. i pulled over, checked under the hood, and noticed nothing unusual so i drove home.

the next morning the car wouldn't turn over. then i realized i should check the oil and found it to be empty. when i poured more oil in, it just leaked out underneath so i found out that the shop either forgot to re-install the drain plug, or installed it loosely so it fell out.

long story short, the engine was warped from the heat and to fix it would have cost more than the car was worth so i ended up junking it.

i never did collect anything from sears even though they initially admitted fault. later they changed their story and said they were 100% certain they had installed the plug.

since then i always double-check any work done on any of my cars, even if i had done the work myself.

i hope you have better luck collecting.
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:04 AM
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they did admit to not having refilled the coolant. press them on that issue. taking them to small claims court might be just enough of a hassle for them to make it worth their while to deal with you amicably instead
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ronin
they did admit to not having refilled the coolant. press them on that issue. taking them to small claims court might be just enough of a hassle for them to make it worth their while to deal with you amicably instead
Even though they never said "we did not fill it with coolant", they did apologize "if" they didn't fill it. Small claims court is where I am headed with this. Maybe when they get served with the papers, they will reconcider. I am also preparing a complaint for the BBB. This shop is a member in good standing with the BBB. I am sure they want to keep this from impacting their reputation. Also, I may contact a couple of the local news stations who do "vigilante journalism."
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:19 AM
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cool! just don't back down. many businesses rely on making it hard on people until they give up. their standing with the BBB may actually be in their favor if it ends up in court, as it may project an image of reliaibility and trustworthiness. nevertheless, make sure your story is straight, and take 'em to court!
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:50 AM
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I just found out that I don't have to go all the way downtown to fill out the paperwork and pay the fees to file suit against the mechanic. I should have a total from my new mechanic on Monday for the damages cause by the first yahoo, so I will file then.

BTW- If anyone is looking for a mechanic in the Memphis area, I can tell you where not to go.
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:35 AM
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I got a ballpark quote from a Porsche mechanic in town. He said that if there is minimal damage, to fix the head gasket and do some head work would cost around $1200. If he had to fix the heads, then it could run around $1700. He also recommended replacing the timing belt at the same time. That would be $300-$400 depending on what else is replaced at the same time. Is this about right?

Also, what (if any) upgrades would y'all recommend while the engine is apart? I figure when I sue the mechanic that screwed things up, I can either add in any upgrades or at least have my new mechanic state what the stock replacement would have been. I can pay the difference.
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:36 AM
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I don't know why the last message posted again. I was just trying to go back to the main board and it posted a message from yesterday a second time. Sorry about that. Anyway, it did remind me: I didn't hear of any upgrades that I should do while the motor is broken down. Any recommendations today?
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:40 AM
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Update:

The wrecker came to pick up my 944 this morning. My wife was the only one at home. The drive of the truck asked to move the car out of the driveway (where I had rolled it to from the garage) out into the street. He tried to crank it and it would not turn over. He said that the engine had seized up. This car is about to get more expensive than I bargained for.
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Old 07-16-2004, 07:30 AM
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May not be the absolute end of the world but your new mechanic can tell you pretty quick. One thing I'm thinking may have happened is that you have in fact warped the head. You added coolant and ran the motor again and got it warm/hot. Then you shut it down. Now you have pressure built up in the cooling system since it is hot. That pressure forces water to leak into one or more cylinders and the engine is now hydrolocked since water won't compress. Well, at least not much under planet Earth conditions.
Old 07-16-2004, 07:55 AM
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Call the BBB. They ususallu get results. If all else fails, you can take them to small claims court or even call the local news.

Get a second opinion, or better yet....hows your paint? If its not good, spray paint the side of the car how bad a job shop did, then park it in front of the shop for a day!!! Bet you ass youll get results.
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Old 07-16-2004, 08:07 AM
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I saw some paint at AutoZone this past weekend that washes off. It might do the trick ;-)

Actually, I have almost finished my letter to the BBB. I've had to contact them before with a couple of non-car issues. I did get quick results. If I don't get satisfaction, I will be filing suit against them.
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Old 07-16-2004, 08:13 AM
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