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"F'd in the A" by Merced VW . . . x-post on Clubb5

So here’s the long story of the ordeal the local VW dealer has been putting me through for the past month. On Tuesday 27th at 8am, I bring my vehicle in for a simple wheel bearing replacement. The service manager, Cely D. told me it would be a simple two hour job and I’d be able to have the vehicle back by noon. Come around noon-time, I call and the vehicle had just been started. I swing by the dealership with my friend around 330PM and I find my car on the lift and the tech in the process of removing the steering knuckle. We were told it’d take another 45 minutes to finish up so we proceed to the showroom to check out an R32 and a few Touraegs.
We come back at 4pm and the technician is still at the hydraulic press trying to jam my wheel bearing in. We assume the technician had been fumbling at this procedure for at least 20 or so minutes to no avail. We stayed in the service bay and watched and made conversation . . . 15 minutes later he’s still trying to get it in. Finally, after many dirty looks from me, he calls over an experienced tech and he presses the bearing in.
At around 430PM, he’s reinstalling everything and I walk over to my vehicle to make sure that the tech bleeds the brake caliper because I thought I saw the caliper dangling with the hose off . . . guess what I see? The technician left the car up on the lift with a 12lb brake caliper DANGLING BY THE BRAKE HOSE FOR FOUR HOURS!!!!!
Whatever, he’s a moron, etc. etc. . . . At around 445pm he’s finished reinstalling everything and I watch him put in all the bolts without tourquing or checking torque on anything.
Again . . . whatever . . . he puts my car on the lift and starts it up . . . guess what??? A giant STOP sign is flashing on my vehicle and multiple lights are flashing. He vag’s the car and it says that the right front wheel speed sensor is not functioning. Apparently he never disconnected the vehicle speed sensor before removing the driveaxle and it completely destroyed the sensor. He then went on to blame me for the damage and claimed that I had hit something in the road. During the whole time he was blaming me . . . he kept on pointing to the brake sensor wire that I had cut and spliced. I can’t believe the guy didn’t even know which sensor was which.
Finally the service manager makes the decision that they need to look at it tomorrow and determine whether or not the damaged was caused by their lousy tech or by me “running something over.” For those of you that don’t know . . . the wheel speed sensor is located inside a VERY THICK metal steering knuckle, there was no way I could have destroyed the sensor by running over something. She sends me home for the day WITHOUT a loaner but assures me any parts that my car needs will be promptly overnighted.
I call the next morning on Wednesday the 28th and she says they are still looking at the vehicle and will pay for any damages the tech has caused. I ask when can I pick up my car and she says that they can’t overnight a part that I need so not until Friday. I call an hour later and demand a loaner . . . I figure if I am going to be without a car due to their tech’s mistake, they need to provide one for me. She says they don’t have a loaner they can give me but they can have my car back by Thursday the 29th.
I call at 9am the next morning Thursday the 29th and she says my car will be ready at 1030am. I go there and pick up my vehicle. I pay $160 for the labor and she informs me that they replaced the vehicle speed sensor, CV Axle, at that the technician is going to be let go at the end of the week. She also informs me that the experienced tech performed several tests on the brake line and that it is not damaged. They also “checked” the wheel bearing and that everything is in good order. I signed a release paper for picking up my vehicle but they did not provide me with a receipt. She said that she was going to leave the work order open for the next few days in case anything else comes up that needs to be repaired.
I drive my car off the lot and I notice that it drives different . . . there’s a grinding noise coming from the right front and the transmission shifts a lot rougher now. I drive the car back and notice a huge gouge on the right front rotor. Cely rides with me on a test drive and she hears the same grinding noise that I am complaining about, however when she had the tech look at it, he could not duplicate the same results, therefore they couldn’t do anything about it.
Now here’s where it doesn’t make sense . . . . if the service manager can duplicate it, why does a technician need to duplicate it? There is obviously something wrong.
Either way, I had to run to work so I drove the car off the lot again that way. The next day the noise was still off and on so I decide to make an appointment for next Monday.
I bring it in on Monday the 3rd and the noise is gone so the tech “checks it” and assumes that it was just a rock or something that was caught in the rotor/pad so I decide to let them slide for that. The service manager says that they will most likely replace the rotors for me since they did cause the damage but she will have to ask Paul Isenberg (co-owner) to authorize the replacement.
I order new OEM rotors by myself because I honestly don’t trust them to do anything to my car and install them that next Thursday, the 6th of May. Everything goes fine during my install, and I torque everything properly and reassemble the car. I back my car up 5 ft and I hear horrible grinding noises again. I walk around to the right front and guess what I see? BIG GOUGE on the rotor. I then inspect what is causing the gouge and it turns out that the caliper carrier is rubbing right up against the rotor.
How was this damaged caused ??? The wheel hub mounts onto the wheel bearing and the brake rotor mounts onto the wheel hub. The caliper carrier however, mounts onto the steering knuckle and is in a fixed position. They had never “fixed” the bad wheel bearing install that the stupid tech performed! ! ! The caliper carrier had 0mm of clearance on one side and almost 6mm on the other.
I quickly call up Cely and I mount an old rotor on the car to make the drive down there . . . she asks me to leave the car again for the day and refuses to give me a loaner.
I pick up my car on the 7th of May and they re-pressed the bearing and found it to be out of spec by a few millimeters. Again . . . no receipt was provided. . . same reason “open work order that has to be approved by Paul” thus they can’t provide me with a receipt. I ask when Paul will be in so I can talk to him about getting receipts and a new brake rotor and they say he won’t be back from vacation until the 12th of May. I ask her if I need to keep the brake rotor and she says it shouldn’t be necessary since I had taken high-resolution digital pics of the rotor and also since she and another tech had seen and inspected it.
So the 12th of May rolls around and I go into the VW dealership to talk to Paul. Paul promptly blows me off and claims that Cely never told him anything about the brake rotor and that I need to talk to her about it. I walk outside and talk to Cely and she tells me she’s talked to him several times about it and that she will get to the bottom of this and call me later today.
May 13th: I call Cely and ask her what’s up, she says Paul is very busy and hasn’t gotten around to my paperwork and she says she’ll call me back when she finds something out.
Monday May 17th: I am officially pissed off at them and call Cely up again, she says to bring the old brake rotor in and bring any pictures I have of all of the problems. Well guess what? I don’t have the rotor anymore because I was told that my pictures would be fine. I bring in all my other documentation and leave them with her. I ask to speak with Paul but she says he isn’t available. She says she will call me back tomorrow the 18th of May to let me know what Paul has decided.
May 18th . . . no call
May 19th: I call her first thing in the morning and she basically blows me off and says I need to bring in the original rotor. Mind you the rotor I currently have on right now is gouged yet they still want to see the original one. WHY??? I eventually get her to admit that Paul is blowing me off and has no intention of replacing my damaged rotor. I then ask for receipts and she tells me the same thing that they can’t give me any receipts because the work order is still open and that Paul needs to close the work order before they can provide me with any documentation.
Now the lame part . . . my mother has been witnessing all that has been going on and has been trying to convince me not to file complaints with the BBB and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (who oversees all auto repair facilities and issues licenses to them) . . . well anyways, she calls Cely and asks her what is going on. Cely tells her “We have already performed $900 worth of parts and labor on your son’s vehicle and we feel as if that is enough”
Well, now that I see Merced VW is not willing to work with me in any way, I am posting my experience with them online and filing complaints with the BBB and the BAR.
I am most concerned with:
1) Any hidden damage to the transmission due to improper installation of the driveaxle (I had reported jerky shifting which was deemed “not-reproducable” by them)
2) My damaged brake rotor which was caused by their incorrect installation of the wheel bearing.
3) Lack of documentation of any and all repairs performed on my vehicle. (which makes it very easy for them to lie and say that the wheel bearing was seated properly and that they didn’t cause the rotor gouge even though the tech told me that it was out of spec by several millimeters)
4) Possible damage to the brake line caused by the caliper hanging from it.

I feel as if Paul Isenberg has left me no choice but to take public action against him. I have been more than lenient by giving him three and a half weeks to resolve this issue. Since he obviously does not care to, he will be hearing from the BAR and the BBB. VWoA has already made a call to him on my behalf which he promptly blew off.
Either way, Merced VW gets a big fat thumbs down from me. They had treated me well in the past but I guess their true character is shown when sh!t hits the fan.
So anyways, if anyone can give me any advice on what else I should do or any legal rights I have in this matter I will greatly appreciate it. I paid with a credit card but the CC company told me they couldn’t chargeback the amount because it needs to be verified by a separate independent shop before they will take any action.
I feel as if their refusal to produce receipts may be in violation of some law and that they could get in serious trouble for it so if anyone knows anything about it, let me know.
If anyone is wondering, the shop that screwed me over is:
Merced VW
1555 West Sixteenth Street
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 384-2000
attn: Paul Isenberg (head of service dept)
Dave
I have some very high-res pics of the gouged rotor and the zero-clearance between the calipercarrier and the rotor but they are about 800kb each so i'm just going to link them here.

http://b5.elitedubs.com/crew/m...1.JPG
http://b5.elitedubs.com/crew/m...2.JPG
http://b5.elitedubs.com/crew/m...1.JPG
http://b5.elitedubs.com/crew/m...2.JPG
http://b5.elitedubs.com/crew/m...t.JPG


Modified by crew217 at 5:20 PM 5-19-2004
 

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Re: Terrible VW experience!!! Need advice . . . x-post on Clubb5 (crew217)

This is the reason I do all my own work, and dont expect anything out
of the warentee.
I actualy would not want anyone working on any of my cars,
as its not much better at any other shops.
Almost every place you go hangs the calipers from the hoses.
You can picture someone who does not know about cars having
the same problems as you, but not going back to have things fixed
correctly, then getting billed later for repairs, and blaming the crappy
VW cars.
My car has not been back to the dealers since I got it, and
I dont have any problems, like warped brake disks, or rattles.
I dont have any leaks, bulbs out, electrical, or any problems at all.
Most people pay loads of money for service like you got...
Brett
2003 GLX
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Terrible VW experience!!! Need advice . . . x-post on Clubb5 (Brett1)

Yea I know what you mean . . . . I do about 90% of all my services. Its just that the wheel bearing requires a very powerful hydraulic press in order to press the bearing in and out . . . don't have one of those in my garage . . . .
Dave
 

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Re: Terrible VW experience!!! Need advice . . . x-post on Clubb5 (crew217)

You've really covered all of your bases here, it seems. I agree with Brett1. With the time you've lost and with the brain damage, you could have bought a Bentley manual (about $75) and the VAG-COM from Ross-Tech ($200) and you're better equiped than the dealer to to any and all of the work yourself.
I've had NOTHING but less than good experiences with dealers. I've been to 4 different dealers for various little things and EVERY single time from EVERY single dealer, my car has either come back to me with damage or with parts missing. VWoA is the worst organization and has more complaints against it than any other major corporation. I love VWs and am not inclined to drive anything other than a VW or an Audi, but, their dealers and their customer care is the VERY WORST in the industry. I'd rather deal with a Pontiac dealer.
I only take mine to an independant mechanic that I've known and trusted for over a decade. They work on Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Porsche, Lotus, etc., so, they're VERY fastideous. Plus, I do as much myself as I can, anyway. They only get the really hard stuff, or anything that requires either very expensive, or highly specialized tools.
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Re: Terrible VW experience!!! Need advice . . . x-post on Clubb5 (siegrisd)

I used to live in the bay area and i'm not quite sure where Merced is, But when i had problems with my 89 GLI 16V the only people I would trust with my car was New Dimensions in Santa Clara I did most of my own work But these guys were good and honest and knew thier ****. As for dealers, after the sale remember they want you to come back for service.... so they can screw you again
 
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