FJ Cruisers of Northern California
Here is my little nightmare that just happened tonight... would love some input and suggestions.
So I got the major 60k maintenance done on my FJ about 2.5 week ago. I took it to Toyota because I didn't have time to find someone cheaper or to do it myself. I got all the fluids changed out and the normal package they do. I also asked them to check my front CV's to see if they need replacing because the boots are pretty messed up and the new lift is too tall so the angles are pretty bad. I also asked them to not touch the UCA's as they are the Camburg's and I know they wouldn't put them back on correctly. The guy says no problem and even gave me a rental car for the day for free.
Flash forward to today (after wheeling for a day in Hollister and then today and yesterday in Tahoe) -- Before going wheeling, I was airing down and noticed the long bolts on the UCAs were loose. OI know for a fact I torqued those correctly when I installed them and they were fine before I brought the FJ in. Also, I'm driving down the freeway on the way home and a lady pulls up and says I have fluid flying everywhere. I thought maybe it was the AC and she just didn't know much about cars. So I drove down about 10 miles to get gas and check it out. I look underneath and there is fluid everywhere. I look at my rear diff and the top plug is missing... the dicks at Toyota didn't screw it back on correctly and it finally flew off on the way home.
Then I call AAA to get a tow and they said they won't cover the tow since my vehicle is modified. But the tow truck driver was really nice and drove me from Livermore to the dealership in Stevens Creek where I had the service done. He even marked up the bolts on the axles so I can check if they actually worked on them or not (they didn't check my CV's las time like I asked, so I don't trust these guys). He also gave me an extra copy of the receipt and said I could probably get Toyota to cover the cost of the tow since this is technically their fault.
So now I need these slapdicks to check the gears in the axle (and replace them if they are broken), replace the diff fluid, give me a new cap and put it on correctly, and also check the front CV's.
Sorry for the long post, just thought you guys would love to hear this story since I know you all hate the Stealership as well. Any suggestions or thoughts? I am going in right at 7am tomorrow morning to talk to them and hopefully get them to fix this all at their expense since it's their fault. I'm also not going to mention I went off-roading (and it's not like they can prove I did anyways). And I am also going to be doing all the work on the FJ myself from now on rather than being lazy about it.
Huge bummer but the worst would be they have to replace the rear diff. It doesn't sound like they will but be sure to get some documentation of the issue because when/if the rear does go south it's probably because it ran dry for a time.
The best (and only, in my opinion) solution is in your last sentence.
It is tough to find a good mechanic that is why I do most of my own work.
Lucky that lady warned you about the fluid you were losing....
I feel your pain, when I had the dealership perform the 35k maintenance on mine they didn't put the front diff fill plug back in. I ended up driving for 2 months and then went wheeling and the front diff exploded.
The dealership ended up fixing mine for no cost, even removing and putting back on the skids at no cost since I had al the paper work showing that they were the ones that last touched my rig.
The assistant manager had the lead mechanic work on my FJ. He took apart the diff and inspected it (as well as the locker). They said there was no visible damage and actually that I had JUST enough fluid in there that allowed me to travel the distance I did without any damage (there was 1 out the 3 quarts in there). So I dodged a bullet. They are also going to cover the cost of the tow.
I told them I'm worried about possible non-visible damage to things like the bearings. I asked what would be the process if something like the bearings exploded within the next like 10k miles. They said (and I understand their reasoning), that it's pretty much a crapshoot since there really is no way of knowing. But they have it all documented and all file so we can figure things out should that happen at all.
I do like Toyota for their customer service... it's just their damned mechanics that need a kick in the ass. All the service guys were kinda irritated that a mechanic was so lazy, especially with my rig since I take it 4-wheeling and that poses twice as much of a danger when I'm out on the trail and in the middle of no where.
But in the end, just a minor inconvenience. And one I didn't have to pay a cent for... so with that, I just bought myself some new ICON coil-overs :)
Which dealership was this? I just brought my FJ for its 25K mile check up at Stevens Creek last Saturday. I saw a nice black FJ in the back with an ARB front bumper, hi-lift jack, and a bunch of other stuff. I could only see it in the distance. I wondered if it belong to some one on this forum. It was sitting there for a while.
I got the seat belt recall done as well. I gotta check my rig for any screw ups later today. Good grief. I agree, the service people are nice and stuff, but the mechanics suck. They dropped a hex socket and T30 bit in my truck while working on it. Well, mine now.
By the way, it took them 4 hours to do the 25K mile check up and perform the seat belt recall. I asked them if there were a bunch of FJ's coming in for the recall (to see if they knew what they were doing) and the service guy said, "Yeah, we had a bunch." I figured it would be fast so I waited, big mistake.
It was at the Stevens Creek one as well.
That wasn't my FJ... I've seen a modded one before but it was white. I had the seatbelt recall done during my 60k maintenance so it took awhile anyways.
I am definitely going to double check everything once I pick it back up today. I made a mark on one of the bolts holding the diff cover on and took a pic of it to see if it's been moved at all. I really don't trust these mechanics anymore.
Got the FJ back. The general manager personally spoke with me and said he watched the lead mechanic do the inspection and maintenance. He was extremely accommodating and helpful.
However, I went to check the marks I made on the bolts of the axle housing and it was still perfectly matched up. So I asked him about that and he said they inspected it with a stethoscope for noises and didn't pull any metal shavings when they drained it, and also tested it on the road. I told him that you can't exactly give a 100% assurance that nothing was damaged without a full visual inspection. So then he went on about how much labor is involved to take the axle apart. To which I replied it's gonna be a hell of a lot more labor (and free) if the axle blows soon simply because they said it "sounded" like it was ok to drive.
But he reassured me that they heavily documented everything and have me on file for the possible event that it does have more problems later on. But that isn't very reassuring for me when I am miles from the nearest road and I am four-wheeling and then it gives out. So we'll see what I can do about that.
that sucks bro, ya should've called me I would have done it right
I have a local mechanic I use when necessary but it goes to show the following is true: The only two reasons to take your vehicle back to the dealer is A) Warranty repair and B) Factory Recalls.
Its sad to hear these negative comments about dealers, but they seem to be very common. When I had a local dealer do my seatbelt recall work, they put a ding the drivers side suicide door. I had to re-schedule to take the FJ back in and they sent it out to a body shop that fixed it perfectly, cant even tell it was dinged; two things, A) on a recall they screwed up and B) an outside shop did the repair for them, no charge to me of course, but I had to return the vehicle and leave it a day for the repair.
ok where to begin first, drop your insurance as being modified is not an excuse for no tow, thats plan bull simple as that, when i broke my rear at a 4x4 park insurance sent out a tow asap, triple A is blowing that out the arse right there. go with progressive i have had them forever and they have yet to let me down. next dont go back to stevens creek yota they are worse then dublin toyota and thats saying a lot, Tracy Toyota is a much better dealer to go to.