Help me stop the bleeding: one repair leading to another

That's as dramatic a subject line as I could think of.
The whys and wherefores of how this came about are not so much the point
as what, if any recourse I have at bill-paying time.
The repairs seem logical enough:
Hoses to the transmission gave out on my 95 Cirrus.
After calling my dealership... which is about 11 miles away, I found out they don't have any tow truck service so I called an in-town transsmission specialty place which had been recommended.
They picked up the car and fixed the lines for a total of about $550... that included diagnostics and the parts and and labor. I can tr5anscribe the parts in a follow if that will help.
The car was just ready to be picked up when a test drive indicated that the loss of fluid did damage to 3rd gear.
This was the major expense and the time I should have bailed. However I had that $500 already in soI ok'ed the transmission replacement with the advice of the owner there that I should run out the vehicle to the end of it's usefull life which he estimated at 180,000. The car has 102k on it and body and interior are in good shape.
The trans job added $1950. I knew trans jobs weren't cheap but my financial condition does not allow me to spend upwards of $5000 or more on a used vehicle with a dead trade.
I got the car back with a one year warranty on the trans job. But the car was exibiting the same problem as before the fluid blowout which was hanging in 2nd gear. I learned that is called "Limp Mode." This has something to do with vehicle codes.
Some battery problems followed and the car went back. The y said the battery was dead which I don't doubt: it was the original battery in the car. and I had needed a jump a couple days before after the vehicle sat only a short time. here in Wisconsin, weather is also a factor in vehivle problems and a cold snap was going on.
Some codes are still appearing after they installed a new battery (at some price they did not specify... I did not ask because what can I do at this point.)
So what may happen is the car computer... owner mentioned getting a used one ... may be needed to get rid of the Limp Mode problem.
I'm thinking that battery with installation will add another $150, but I'm guessing.
Payment has been made for the lines and trans on Mastercard. With the raw figures provided, are these justifiable expenses or should I contest them?
At the very least it's my feeling that I got some bad advice. I am not an experienced mechanic and these expenses which are falling like dominoes seem endless. To get my cost out, I'll have to drive it for three years and then buy a new car with a pretty worthless trade.
I offer this post for your opinions as Chrysler owners.
I didn't take it to the dealer because the cost of a tow alone might be $150 with the $50 per zone of five miles rate that the local places get. The transmission specialty garage is a well-respected local business. So did I get advice as bad as has been going through my head and should I challenge the bill either with MC or in small claims court based on average charges for the same service?
Whew. Well that's all I have. This deal has been giving me fits. I did not want to build a new car.
snipped-for-privacy@athenet.net
I lost fluid and damaged the transmission
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Lon Ponschock wrote:

WOW!! That's absurd.

Limp mode = car stays in 2nd gear = classic symptom of a bad speed sensor = a $20 part that takes about 15 minutes or less even for the DIY'er to replace with zero diagnostic time, ramps, and 3/8" ratchet and 1" socket.
Yes - it sounds like you are hemorrhaging badly and the shop smelled blood.
Advice: Take a deep breath, and do not take any more action on this car until you understand where you are. Either find a good honest shop, or post specfics here for advice on determining what's really wrong, if anything, beyond what's already been done. Not sure you can recover what's already been wasted, but you did say the tranny has a 1-year warranty - at least you can cut your losses and should be able to make them make good on that without incurring any more expenses.
And yes - what parts were replaced on the first go-round? Hard to believe $550 just to replace fluid lines.
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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wrote:

They just replaced the tranny which was shifting fine until you lost the fluid - and now it is in limp mode, and they don't think something is wrong??? Dollars to donuts they either damaged or forgot to connect the speed sensor. Or, you say the trans had that problem before the line blew? Was this the problem they attempted to repair by rebuilding the trans?
If so, you've got a good chance at small claims. Regardless, I can't see how they have a "good reputation" in the area. - $550 to pick up the car in town and replace a couple of cooler lines??? Did they have a gun?

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I agree with what's been said; 1. They charge way too much. 2. For what you've paid, they should fix it.
Tell them you expect them to get your transmission to work and you are not going to pay them any more money. There was nothing wrong with your transmission, or the computer, before this happened. I don't have any experience backcharging, but since your rebuilt transmission doesn't work, that might work.
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I am answering this one after reading everything to straighten any errors I can about the sequence of events and what happened. Then, I'm going to post all the information I have on the billing for the fluid lines which was the first thing to be done.
There was one repair done on the cooler lines by my regualr service point which is a Chrysler dealership. They said the repair was considered temporary until I had the dough for the job ready. So I knew that I was on borrowed time. I was not really aware that a fluid leak of this type could take my car down to scraping gears or I would not have driven it and had the repair done immediately, even though it might pinch me. Since my ignorance of handling these matters is evident (not getting estimates and so on) I feel my only oprion is to contest overcharges on the final billings. I have not sought legal advice on the matter. I'm unemployed and have no enemployment comp or income sources pending a case for disability at Social Security Admin. These big car repair payments have come out of what's left of my savings.
The trans. gear damage was a result of this temp job rupturing at night, after dealerhsip hours and in a snow storm. I had the car towed to my apartment lot so I'd have time to think. A cop helped me push it out of the artery traffic and I figured that when I called in to the police that the car would be on the road, police department advised of fines for leaving the car sit. So I got the truclk for the first tow..
Next day I called the dealership and asked if they had a tow truck and they said no. So I called the trans garage on a recommendation from one of their clients, a friend of mine whose judgemnt I trust.. The garage brought their tow truck to take the vehicle to their lot.
They did a permanent job on the lines replacing all with new.
I do not have the billing in front of me because I had to make copies and all that stuff is in the car. I am driving a loaner. The warranty info for the trans job must stay with the car and my copies are in there.
==> Please stay with me on this, I am expecting to get the car back again early next week (01-18-04.).
I paid one check as a downpayment of $500 on the first job and as surety money for the trans. job. The balance I put on Mastercard and if I have to contest payment I will begin the process through MC. My billing from MC has not come in yet but will by the 26th of the month. Then there is about 10 days to pay. I have never carried a balance on MC. I believe the procedure is pay in full and have them stop payment. If I'm in error on this let me know.
So I'll post the billing details when I have them in hand.
I may be able to build a case once I know I have some ground to stand on from independent sources. The trans. garage billing can be taken to a local Chrysler place as well. I've used the dealership I have because the closer dealership is one of those mass marketing dealerships with fast talking salesman and locations in many cities. I've just avoided it and that' s how I got into this jam.

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i would stop payment on all the work because they failed to fix it and trans lines at a dealer would have been cheaper to repair including towing to the dealer limp in mode means that the trans is shutting down part of it's operation due to some sort of failure,you failed to tell us the codes that were recorded! trans failures in these cars are not all that common but speed sensor failures are and that's a 60.00 part so i would bet the trans shop does not not employ a good electrical tech which would be a big help a quality trans shop would have wrote down the fault codes on your copy of the repair order did they???
Lon Ponschock wrote:

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point
I found out

about $550... that

parts in

indicated
However
and
But the car

OK, stop right here. What does the shop say with regard to the money end?
In a chargeback situation MC is going to give the shop a chance to fix it. So your going to be stuck going back there. If you refuse to go back there then the shop wins the dispute and you lose the $2000.

the
car.
problems
(at some price

point.)
a used

Maybe, but you know, so what. At this point the shop is absorbing all costs because under the UCC, they told you they were selling you a fixing the transmission and they didn't put a fixed trans in there. The description "rebuilt trans" implies a trans that's working 100%.
This ISN'T a warranty claim, by the way. A warranty claim is when the trans comes back from the shop and works fine, then a month later blows chunks. This is a Fraud issue. The shop is guilty of Fraud if they told you a rebuilt trans would fix the problem, you paid for a rebuilt trans, and the rebuilt trans they put in there was not functioning properly from the get-go, and they subsequently refuse to fix it without charge.

but I'm

the raw figures

I think your panicing. Have you talked to the shop at all? Before pulling the trigger on a credit card chargeback you need to go meet with the trans shop owner. You need to bring all paperwork, tell him that the rebuilt trans they put in has never worked, and ask him point blank if he intends to fix it. If he says he will fix it you need to ask him point blank if he intends to charge anything more with regards to the trans. My guess is that if he has run a successful trans shop that he is not unaware of the law and he will probably tell you that they intend on making good on this.
Naturally, if something else (such as a dead battery) is present, then the shop has the right to charge you for it.
Under Federal Law covering credit card chargebacks, you have 60 days from the date you receive the credit card statement with the disputed charge on it to file a chargeback. Yo must file the dispute in writing.

not an
Maybe so, but that's water under the bridge. The fact is that you authorized a rebuilt trans. Under the law the trans shop is required to supply you with a functioning rebuilt trans. The law basically says that as long as they are willing to work for free on your car's transmission, that you have to allow them to do so. Just because your having second thoughts now don't think that you can go back and argue that you never needed the trans to begin with. While that may be so, you signed the agreement to purchase a rebuilt trans and your stuck with it.
Your only way out of the $2000 trans expense is if the trans shop is foolish enough to start arguing with you and telling you that it's a warranty claim and you have to pay a deductible, or that it isn't broken, or some such. Then you can dispute on the chargeback and get your money back and you don't have to do anything.
Also, finally, keep in mind that you do need to file the chargeback by the deadline EVEN IF the shop is working with you, if they have not got the car fixed by the deadline. Otherwise you lose your rights to chargeback. If the shop is still working on the trans by then, explain this when your filing the chargeback and see what your bank wants to do about it.
Ted
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Complete text included... see reply below
wrote:

From the beginning they have had me in a bad possition. The panic sets in bewcause these jobs seem endless. My priority is to simply get a working vehicle out of the place. As we speak and under these conditions, it's like my vehicle is being held for ransom All this seems unreasonable for a well- respected shop facility. My own anxiety in the matter is described in other messages in this thread regarding the expnse.
Before pulling

Yes, certain noises in the operation of the short time I've had the vehicle in between garage visits are being worked on now.

I had approval on the transmission line job from estimate as well as the main transaxale repair in writing. The battery expense is unknown at this time. Getting estimates and such and starting a row about that seems futile to me and quite frankly, arguing about it was not a consideration for me. I'm over a barrel on a number of these issues and that sort of helpless feeling contributes to what's been going on here.

I've done this with minor purchases before.

I am not arguing the need of the trans. I knew the estimate. I expect to get a working car back sometime.

during the brief time I had the car to operate between the trans. job and the 2 week test drive by the shop ( I never made it that far and the due date for the test drive may be put up pending these other activities: baterry etc.) I noticed the problem of the car not coming out of second gear. I immediately pulled over and slowed down and creeped the car onto my lot in fear of doing another damage job to the trans.
I left the car sit for 2 days over a weekend until I knew it was safe to drive without damage. On returning to the shop and taking a test drive with the owner, I was told this was "lImp Mode." I di dnot know the term limp mode before this meeting.
I had expressed the problem verbally about a month before all this happened when i was invwestigating getting the problem fixed. That was before the lines blew and the gears got scratched. I was at this same place and from my verbal description they could not say it's this or that.
iIt's all this _vaguenss- that they go through which is simply confusing to me as the client. My head gets to spinning and I don't know waht if anything to ask about next.
See other message for the first invoice/repair transcript.

I expect to have the car back shortly, that the trans will work, that it will make no chunking noises which and that the speed censor will finally at long last be replaced and the limp mode problem will be solved.
The combination of these two events: blown lines, car goes down, bad speed censor, car revs but does not accelerate are similar and so seem related to me which they may not be. I'm confused just writing about it.
Alternative is taking the bus. :-/
thanks for your reply

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I transcribed the initial billing and am going to try to cut and paste it in here:
Well it was impossible to format right. Highlights are :
Total labor $391.25 with four mechanics on the job Parts $119 plus tax
Sorry about the formatting... I couldn't get this from Wordpad to the newsgroup in a decent way, but I want to keep the discussion going.
Details are below
Here is a list of parts and service on the original transmission cooler line job:
Parts Desc/ Number Qnty List Extended
ATF+3, Type 7176 Automatic Transmission fluid ATF+3 7.0 $ 3.96 $ 27.72
Trans Filter Kit FFK 72776 1.0 13.28 13.28
Transmission Cooler line 4546693 1.0 30.52 30.52
Transmission cooler line 1.0 12.48 12.48 ATF+3 Type 7176 Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF+3 8.0 3.96 31.68
Shop supplies 3.47 3.47 3.47
(Original Tow charge) 50.00 50.00
Diagnose transaxle problem see dave 81.25 Scan test for codes and data found 24 52 35 31 36 53 21 codes Found hose blown off one of cooler lines Reclamp and refill unit with 7 Qts of fluid and go on roadtest.
Install hoses 260.00 Change trans fluid and filter
other notes:
After 3 road tests transaxle quit working and reset codes Diagnosis determined that internal damage was caused by by running fluid low Discuss options about internal transaction repairs
** Recommendations ** ABS light is on
four technicians names listed
labor $ 391.25 Parts 119.15 Sub 510.40 Tax 25.52 Total 535.92
Payment Check 500.00
Bal 35.92

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Whew.
Well Lon, I know what your wanting. You want someone here to give you enough opinions that you can use to manage to browbeat MC into allowing a disputed chargeback to stand. In short, what I think is I think you have cold feet and now that you got the final bill you would rather not pay it at all.
Sigh. Anyway, in seeing the description of work performed I think I can see what happened and where the mistake was. What was wrong is that the shop agreed in the first place to do just the cooler line repair, instead of just telling you point blank that based on the explanation of how it happened, that you needed a new trans.
I think the reason they agreed to do the cooler line fix is that they were hoping that there was no internal trans damage, and that they could save you a lot of money.
Whether you can make a chargeback stand, therefore, hinges on whether the shop made any kind of written statement BEFORE doing the initial cooler line repair that the only thing broken on the trans was the cooler lines.
But I think if you check that no such statement exists.
Ted
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[snip]
You'd be taking public transportation....
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wrote:

target
Hmm .. Stoopid Meckanik or No-man-nabisco or whatever he wants to call himself obviously doesen't know shit from shinola about how the Internet operates but still he's let loose with a usenet Newsreader.
Maybe there's some merit in his idea of making people become proficient in about how things work before they are allowed to operate those things...
Ted
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help Stop the bleeding: Followup
which is below
snipped-for-privacy@athenet.net
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