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Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealership (Read 285 times)
x1karr0usx
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Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealership
03/15/12 at 15:11:39
 

This is a true story.  It is not unique by any means, we see this sort of stuff happen every spring every year here on the list.  

It is sad.  It can be easily avoided.

Find out WHO IS GOING TO WORK ON YOUR  BIKE  and find out if they have ever worked on a Savage before.   Talk to them first before letting them work on your bike, in other words.

Seriously consider doing the work yourself if you have the tools and a place to work on it -- it is more about  getting some good work done on your bike rather than just saving the hundreds of labor dollars you would waste at a dealership.


Oldfeller


===================================





Before I swamp you with details and pictures, I need to first say that this is not intended to take business away from your local Suzuki dealership. They may in fact have some extremely talented mechanics. However, if your bike needs service, and you've never used the mechanics before, make sure you get some good references from close friends before you drop it off. This is why.

* DISCLAIMER: I realize these pictures are large, but I want everyone to see the details  Embarrassed *

I dropped my 1986 Savage off at Wheels of Williamsport in Muncy, PA in mid-February for what was supposed to be a quick fix. My Savage had the notorious head plug leak, and for $50, they would have it done "in an hour". Well, the mechanic wasn't there when I dropped it off, but we spoke over the phone so I thought we were good-to-go. Got a phone call as soon as I got home and they said they don't have the parts to do it, but would order everything. All of the prices matched what I found online, so I let them order it. After about a week, they finally got the parts and proceeded to start the work. I didn't hear from them after a few days (supposed to take an hour, remember?), so I called them. Turns out that they put it all back together and found another leak at the head gasket. This bike was definitely in "project" condition, so I wasn't surprised. At this point I'm at $300 with the head plug replacement, gasket replacement, and labor. Shocked that we went way over the initial cost, but screw it... Git er dun. A week later, they called to let me know the gasket came in and that it would be done by close of business that day. Tick tock, tick tock.. Called them the next day since I never heard from them to pick it up. Well, upon reassembling the head, they ripped the base gasket where the head meets the crankcase. They said they would eat the cost and take care of everything. Obviously, I'm furious, but I guess sometimes things happen. So they order the new gasket. It took one more week to get the part in, so they never rush shipped any parts to put me at ease for ripping it in the first place. Packages get lost, stuff happens, whatever.. Then I call them a few days later (was raining pretty bad, so I wasn't picking it up), and they said that while placing the motor back in the frame, they broke the end of the clutch/speedometer cable mount off of the right side on the crankcase. WOW... Once again, absolutely furious. So I left work early and stopped by the shop. They showed me their "repair", which consisted of a rigged JB Weld job. As soon as I left, I gave Suzuki North America a call and explained everything and they sent out a technician. A few more days later, I called to pick up my bike. They gave me a bill for over $600. You have got to be kidding me.... I left, and brought my dad with me and he took care of it. I'm a 25 year old Staff Sergeant in the Army and they were treating me like a darn kid. So, it couldn't hurt to get a mean ass Harley guy in the mix. Needless to say, I didn't pay that bill. Three weeks of dealing with these jokers, and I finally got my tushy on some leather and my heels in the wind! We got some really nice weather and I was smiling ear-to-ear (bug in my teeth and all).

I figured it would be worth pulling the bike into my garage just to make sure everything is tight and correct. This is the garbage that I found:


-Tail light works, brake light is now non-functional.. Something must have gotten disconnected.
-Clutch/Speedometer cable mounting bracket broken, fixed (ie, rigged), and it didn't look too great. I had to rig it even more just to feel safe.
-Broken fin on cylinder head. They said nothing about this. It isn't a huge amount of damage, but didn't help their case at all.
-Muffler was not mounted to the bracket. It was just hanging there.
-Drive belt is rubbing on the rear tire. Alignment looks good and the spacers are in the correct order. Hoping the tire just needs some air.
-Head cover is missing the bolt to reattach the chrome covers. I had the chrome covers off at the time, but the bolt runs up through the head cover, not down into it. So if I want to put the chrome covers back on, I have to buy a new bolt, remove the head cover, and reassembly.
-Breather tubes are missing clamps (one to the head, one to the petcock).
-Header was not tight, causing an exhaust leak and some epic backfires.
-Battery box has some deep scratches from sanding their rig-job on the clutch/speedo mounting bracket
-Vacuum to petcock is no longer operating correctly. Sporatically stalls out like it doesn't have gas, but runs great on PRI. I didn't have this issue before, so it is strange that it is happening now.
-Negative bolt to battery is stripped and is barely holding it on the battery. It has stripped a stripped phillips head and is jammed askew on to the bolt underneath.

Scratches on battery box and top view of speedometer mount:


Speedometer mount:


Speedometer mount:


Rear tire worn from drive belt rubbing:


View of the belt VERY close to tire:


Broken cooling fin on head:



Most of this stuff is an easy fix on my part, but this post isn't a "help me fix my bike" thread. This is what *can potentially* happen if you take your bike to a mechanic that you don't know. The Savage is a very easy bike to work on, and I absolutely should have done this work myself. But I learned my lesson the hard way. This forum is an AMAZING resource for our bikes and personally carries a lot more weight than a Clymers manual to me.

The damage to my Savage, and the cost to replace the parts broken, would consider my bike "totaled". A replacement right side crankcase is nearly $600. A replacement cylinder is $500. Rear wheel $150. Another $50 for the battery box, $200 or so for the drive belt. I'm nitpicking, but you get the point. I bought the bike for $650.

If you take your bike to an unknown mechanic, whether or not they appear legit (Wheels of Williamsport has a beautiful building and showroom), you might want to start shopping for a bike to replace the garbage that they basically re-sell to you.

You've been warned!
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« Last Edit: 03/15/12 at 17:32:23 by Oldfeller »  
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Boule’tard
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Re: Pro-DIY: Why to avoid dealership service
Reply #1 - 03/15/12 at 15:50:21
 
Thanks for the heads up.  Truly an atrocious ham-fisted job done by a flat-rate mechanic with zero giveashit.  That has to burn, when you pay a premium to a dealer for 1st rate service, only to have your bike abused. The rule of "you get what you pay for" does not apply to mechanics you do not know, that's for sure.

On a technical note, people should realize that this job is impossible to do (do right, that is, as documented on this site) in one hour. Even if the wrenching took no time at all, it would take longer than that for the plug RTV to cure so you could restart the engine.  I doubt they applied any RTV.

I am not sure if this is a tech article or a vendor review.. maybe we oughtta let it sit here a while, and when it drops off the 1st page, move it to vendor reviews, if that is all right. Tech article it is!  Smiley
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« Last Edit: 03/15/12 at 19:14:58 by Boule’tard »  

That which can be destroyed by the truth should be. - P.C. Hodgell
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Re: Pro-DIY: Why to avoid dealership service
Reply #2 - 03/15/12 at 17:21:22
 
 
Boule,

I suggested he write this tech thread so we can refer to it occasionally from RSD threads.

My point is that Mikey, the young 16 year old kid that does all the single cylinder dirt bikes is the one that your Savage gets given to to be worked on unless you arrange otherwise up front.  

"LET MIKEY DO IT" is what all the senior mechanics say all the time when the Savage work order winds up at the top of the stack.  They don't want to be bothered with a single anything ... not enough labor dollars in it.

bad bad bad news for you, letting mikey work on it

Seriously, every spring MIKEY strikes again causing thousands of dollars of unnecessary or erroneous repairs to be done.

You must be proactive when carrying your bike to a dealership to make sure an experienced senior mechanic works on it.  

Do not assume all the mechanics know more about the bike than you do -- likely they have never worked on one before.  

You need to ask until you find the man who has worked on the Savage before enough to understand it  -- you may find out there isn't a real Savage mechanic at that dealership right now in which case you leave.

Don't believe them when they say it is something they all can do with a blindfold on -- harsh reality here on the list each spring says otherwise.





Now, just imagine if your bike was being taken in for a 600 mile retorque and valve / solenoid adjustment and they TOOK THE ENGINE OUT OF THE FRAME TO DO IT !!!!     Completely assinine, you can take the top cap off the head sitting right there in the frame, all you have to do is take the gas tank off.
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Stock silver 2002 ls650 with small saddle bags. Looks like Granny's old worn out bike, nothing special to it at all.
(all mods except BIG piston and carb change have been done, but do not show)
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Re: Pro-DIY: Why to avoid dealership service
Reply #3 - 03/15/12 at 17:37:40
 
Blarg.  That sucks, man.  I'm kinda surprised that a Suzuki dealer had such little know-how about one of their own bikes, but what do I know...  I think Oldfeller called it, though; I'd wager the Savage/S40 is given to apprentices and/or new hires because it's easy to work on, and therefore beneath the "talents" of the top mechanics.  Still not a professional way to do business, however.

That broken cooling fin would've had me out for blood, though.  Angry  You should go back and raise so much hell that they replace the Cylinder/Head on their dime, and get a proper welder to fix the Speedo/Clutch cable mount.  I'm pissed just thinking about it!  Broken and JB Welded is not professionally fixed, and if you make enough noise and cause a big enough scene, they might get the picture.  Or they might pick a fight, so take that little bit of advice with a grain of salt....

On a side note, I've always taken pictures of my rigs (cars, bike, bass amps, basses, you get the point) before handing them over to a dude I don't know personally, even if they have a stellar rep.  That way, when they try to pass off something as "it was like that when you brought it in", I can say "BS, take a look!"
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Yup, I done some stuff......
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justin_o_guy2
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #4 - 03/15/12 at 18:34:47
 
Look on up & back, under the upper fin,, screwdriver marks, they left a bolt in the head cover! I TOLD Ya! Your head cover is warped,
FWIW, the head gasket most likely didnt need replaced,.,These idiots owe you a bike. Id be talking to the owner tomorrow & if you havent already gone hunting a lawyer, you better get ready to.
Dont sign anything,, until someone on your side reads it, unless it says

I( shop owner) accept full responsibility for the destruction of this mans motorcycle & I am prepared to give him a replacement bike of like kind & quality, registration & tags on it.

Heck,, even then,, why should YOU sign it? Just tell him to get after it..

What did you pay for it? Have you paid them anything? Parts?
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #5 - 03/19/12 at 13:54:56
 
I can't add anything to this post. I couldn't have handled it the way you did --no lives lost. When I first got my thumper I went into the local Suzuki shop and asked to talk to the mechanic (standard procedure for me since the 60's).  The owner told me that wouldn't be happening. If you wanted work done the service guy would write it up and a mechanic would do the work - apparently nobody gets to see the guy that touches your bike. The owner said it was a liability issue. I said it was BS. Nobody in that shop has ever seen my bike let alone work on it.
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x1karr0usx
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #6 - 03/19/12 at 16:33:06
 
well.. i got to see the incompetent SOB that worked on it.. definitely chewed him out, but kept my cool for the most part so it wouldn't screw up anything with Suzuki America.
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #7 - 03/22/12 at 17:43:35
 
Wow... It's a shame to have had such a bad experience. One would think that they'd be doing everything they could to make it right for you. Word of mouth is a pretty powerful thing. Keep spreading the word, they'll get the hint.

For the $600 price tag that they wanted... You could get a motor off EBay including shipping and be in a better spot.
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #8 - 03/30/12 at 07:32:37
 
Wouldn't you be able to press charges against something like this? I don't know what the standard procedure is in your country when something like this happens, but here in sweden if you leave your bike/car/whatever to an authorized dealer/mechanic you're more or less insured from this kind of nuts. They would simply have to replace the damaged pieces. Of course this is unfortunately occuring even here with certain mechanics, and in some cases you would stand word-against-word with them but bottom line is that if you leave your ride to a mechanic you should both agree upon what is going to be fixed on the bike. Everything else that happens is their responsibility.

A good way to get some sort of "insurance" when dropping your bike of would be to get at quote with price on paper. That would mean you at least have something to point at if anything goes wrong.
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Re: Carefully picking your mechanic at a dealershi
Reply #9 - 06/03/12 at 08:04:37
 
 
Yet another example of incompetent dealership mechanics (alias Mikey) who totally screw up a Savage because they have no clue of how to work on it ....   The dealership only sells 1-2 Savages a year and they only see one in the shop every other year  (and their junior mechanic Mikey gets replaced every spring with a brand new Mikey).  

So yours is always Mikey's first Savage.



Routy wrote on 06/03/12 at 07:53:33:
 

I have emails from my best friend that took his '06 S40 w/ 4K miles to a shop in Ca for repair and service,.....$360 worth,.....$75 of that was just to change the oil,... no filter change. Only problem was, no one put any oil back in it.
Anybody care to guess how many miles it went till it seized up ?
Most of the miles were on a freeway at speed.


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« Last Edit: 06/03/12 at 10:51:44 by Oldfeller »  

Stock silver 2002 ls650 with small saddle bags. Looks like Granny's old worn out bike, nothing special to it at all.
(all mods except BIG piston and carb change have been done, but do not show)
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