updates and rants: Impala 3.8 coolant leak

OK, for everyone's benefit, I'll start at the beginning: My 01 Impala with 3.8V6, 40K miles, started leaking DeathCool coolant on Dec 4th. It looked like it was leaking at the throttle body. I took the car to my
local, un-trustworthy, un-reliable Chevy dealer on Dec 5th. They diagnosed that a 'campaign' was required, performed the campaign (throttle body bolts and pellets in the radiator), and sent me on my way on Dec 8th. Car stared leaking DeathCool coolant on Dec 13th (one week later). Called my local, un-trustworthy, un-reliable Chevy dealer, and seceduled an appointment for Dec 15th. Took car in at 6:30AM on Dec 15th. Nothing happened. I called at 4PM that day, and was told they would look at it 'late morning the next day'. I called the next day at 12noon. Still had not looked at the car. I called at 3PM, still had not looked at the car. After discussions with my wife, I decided to call my very trustworthy, extermely reliable independant meachanic. He climed it was probably the throttle body gasket, a '15 minute' repair, but suggested that I call GM customer service first before I bring the car to him. I called the 1-800 number for Chevy customer assistance, and explained just what I described in the paragraphs above. Man, that lady was very nice and helpful. She put me on hold, called the dealer's service manager, then came back on the line 15 minutes later saying my car would be ready tomorrow morning, at NO CHARGE. After I hung up, the dealer called, apologized, and said my gasket kit would be replaced under a 'satisfaction' program. This was our very first GM car purchase, and for the most part, I really like our Impala. Unfortunately, I live in a town with only one Chevy dealer that is 'local', so there is no competition, and I think the service is just lacking. This is unfortunate, becuase of this, I will not consider a Chevy again, but I may consider another GM brand since their customer assistance seems to get results! I'll let you know what happens tomorrow! Bill 88 Lancer Shelby 91 LeBaron Convertible 01 Chevy Impala LS
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sorry to hear you had so much trouble with your local dealer, but I will say that you have offended me with the statements you made about chevy dealers... they appeared to be made in general context.. I am a dealer tech. I think your statements were very harsh.. if you want to bitch like that go find or create another newsgroup... as to your local trustworthy indy meachanic.(your spelling). he may be, or he may be real good at blowing smoke up your ass like all the ones in my area...I have yet to bitch about indys in general like you have about gm dealers....I do not know why they blew you off like that, and I don't know why they told you the campaign would fix it in the first place... I would have mentioned the campaign, what was involved in the campaign, and seen if you wanted to try it... any further leaks would have to be dealt with in a seperate manner.... with the low mileage I bet you would have been taken care of anyways.. I understand your dealer may have problems where you are, but that's no excuse for your staments...Bobo

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Well, my apologies for offending you, but in my defense, I did mention that I live in an area that my 'local' Chevy dealer has 'no competition'. I am implying that in this case, my dealer does not have to provide good customer service, because he has no other 'local' competition. I am not stereotyping any and all Chevy dealers. Also, never once did I mention that the mechanic(s) at this Chevy dealer was incompetent. I was complaining that the car sat for almost 48 hours before anyone even looked at the problem. Also, as you point out, I was not told about the campaign vs other fixes. If they calimed that the campaign had a X% chance of being the fix, I would have said do the campaign, and if it leaks again, I will see my Independant MECHANIC. I have a receipt form the dealer stating 'diagnoised coolant leak; performed campaign'. Merry Christmas to you!

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Don't apologize to anybody, Bill, if your service sucked, and it certainly sounds like it to me, I would tell everybody too. This guy claiming to have been offended is obviously WAY too sensitive to be a dealership mechanic.

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"Scott" wrote

Bobo is probably just not accustomed to all the dealer bashing on these newsgroups. I think it would probably be easier to determine whether Bobo is a dealership tech by checking out his posts. He is far more knowledgeable about GM vehicles then most people on here and has knowledge and technical resources that only the dealer usually has. He has great advice and is willing to help. What more can you ask for?
I've gotten used to the dealership bashing. I actually don't mind it when it comes from a person who is a customer that has had a bad experience. There are tons of hacks in the auto repair business whether in the dealerships or the independent sector. I don't particularly like it if it comes from a technician as they should know better. We have vehicles all the time in our dealership that have been hacked by independent techs, and by our own techs It's a fact of life...and it's the smart person who takes the time to be more knowledgeable about their vehicle and repairing it so that they don't get screwed by either the dealer or an independent garage.
This is one of the reasons that I like to participate here. Hopefully, things that I learn and see during the day working on GM vehicles can help, either another tech...or a customer that is wondering what the hell is going on with their vehicle or service department.
Ian
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Ian,
I agree with you 100%.
GMdude

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First of all, Ian, I do appreciate your posts, and second, I had no intention of bashing the mechanic. My complaint was that the car sat for 48 hours with no one looking at it.
I picked up the car tonight, and the service receipt says 'tech xxx 53.00, tech yyy -53.00'. I hope some tech did not get 'docked' 53.00 for this repair. Then GM calls me, and says that I should have paid for the repair, but due to the 'circumstances', the repair is free. Hey, the gasket was $2.10, and the labor was $53.00, I would have been happy to pay this, no problem. If they had called me Monday night, said they look at the car tomorrow, then estimated a $56 repair, I would not have called GM, nor be here writing a complaint. I do not expect something for nothing, nor do I consider a three year old car with 40K miles needing a $56 repair a big issue, I just wanted my car looked at, and some information about the recall/leak/reapir. If I had been told that the recall/campaign would NOT fix the leak, I would have driven to my independant machanic, paid him the $56, and been on my way. I would not have been without my car for TWO WEEKENDS, and FIVE BUSINESS DAYS, and no one would have had to warranty any repairs, etc.
Now, I am happy, and I hope to leave this issue behind me now. Thank you for all of your replies, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas!

88 Lancer Shelby 91 LeBaron Convertible 01 Chevy Impala LS
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"Billccm" wrote

Hey, I'd be ticked off too. Typical dealership crap that you went through. The main reason is that unfortunately, often nobody really cares because there are so many people between you and the technician. Often the story that the tech would have seen originally would have been: "perform **** campaign".....that's it, that's all.
The campaign gives the illusion that "if" there are some small leaks, the seal tabs will take care of them. This is a really lousy campaign, and it's indicative of GM just generally trying to cheap out on very bad design flaws on this engine.

Hopefully it stays fixed. Glad it got resolved for you.
Ian
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I got a question as to what is actually failing on these newer 3800's (2000 and up). I know the egr problem was taken care of on these later models but what is it now? Are the plastic lips that pass coolant through the throttle body cracking like i've seen on the 95-99 3800's? Like the 2 center ones pictured here?
http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/3800/images/b1.jpg
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"Bonneville" wrote

Usually it's as simple as the plastic plenum warps. GM is now saying that you only have to replace the upper plenum gaskets if you encounter any leaks. Under warranty, this is what we will be doing as they are paying the bill.
Ian
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Bobo,
You fly off the handle too quickly. Why would you want to repel a customer with nasty comments. Yes, this customer had a bad experience, and is upset. Why should he sugar-coat his experience. He's just blowing off steam.
I don't know you. You might be a fantastic mechanic, but why would you want to alienate a GM customer? There will be many people in this newsgroup that will have bad things to say about GM. Will you argue with all of them, and use hostility toward all of them, if it's not what you want to hear? Hey, it's your job, and this guy is your paycheck.
I no longer work for GM, but I like the product, and continue to purchase/drive GM vehicles. I find them far better than Dodge and Ford. Easier to maintain too.
Instead of bashing a customer for bashing GM mechanics, try to give them some constructive advise. It's up to you. It's no skin off my back if GM goes bankrupt. I could care less, but you should, you work for them.
GMdude
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Good points, GMdude. Again, no where do I 'bash' the guy in the trenches. I am simply saying my dealer has very poor customer service. The entire point I was making was that GM Customer Service really came through, and I will consider another GM product except Chevy. My town has three Pontiac, two Cadiallic, three Olds, two Saturn, and Five GMC dealerships, so there is some competition. Only one Buick, and one Chevy dealer, so that rules those two cars out. Merry Christmas to all.

Bill 88 Lancer Shelby 91 LeBaron Convertible 01 Chevy Impala LS
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Bill,
Don't worry. I took no offense to any of your statements, as I have stated before. You have a legitimate reason to be upset. Yes, perhaps another model may give you better satisfaction? It's really not the model of the vehicle, as it is the service you receive, at the service counter.
By the way, if your vehicle is out of warranty, there is no reason why you should get that car repaired at Chevy. You can go to any GM dealer. They can get the parts, and if the service is better, stick with that dealer. You can get a Chevy repaired at a Buick dealership. Any GM dealer has access to parts and repair information for any GM model.
Gmdude
P.S. I no longer work for GM, but I do like the product. 1999 GMC Jimmy SLT 1994 Pontiac Grand Am (wifes car)
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Billcom,
It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience at that dealership. I used to be a GM tech. I work for a municipality now.
It was a good thing that you called GM, and have had some action. Usually they will do their best to satisfy a customer.
One tip I can give you, as a former GM tech. is, ask that a different mechanic repairs your vehicle, if it was not repaired right the first time.
You see,... if the job was not done correctly, it goes back to the same mechanic. A come-back. And this guy will work on your car again. There might be better techs at that dealership. You just didn't get one of them.
GMdude
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I'm glad to hear that the corporate customer service was able to get results. Too bad you had to go through what you did though. :-( Good luck with the recent repair...
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