Well some of you might be wondering why i need to get access to what i call a brazing setup and am thinking of something like this that comes with bottles and torch just right for my job.
So before winter i get a tie rod replaced on my wifes vehicle a dodge caravan. Of course wheel balancing and wheel alignment come as neccessary too. Ok i get asked about quality and i say fit premium part i aint gonna skimp on the car.
Now since i do not have a wheel alignment kit and dont intend buying one i had to pick a place. So there is this new crowd in the local "village" that i decided i would give a try to. Seemed like a bunch of young guns that have bought out the previous owner and hired themselves an experienced manager. Cool i thought at the time i will support this new venture and see how it goes.
Well two days ago i ask my wife to leave her car at home and late in the day i decide to get to change her wheels over from winter to summer ones. Doing the last wheel happened to be the side where the tie rod was replaced i notice the head to the "special cam bolts" holding the Mcphearson strut to the steering knuckle are sheared right off. Strange enough the bolts are not loose in the holes. I tried loosening the nut and wacking the bolt out in reverse figuring ok i will just get two new ones and replace but no dice. Well what followed was the collection of sprays and gizmos assembled after previous encounters with seized items of this kind and no luck. At that time of the day i was done and decided heck with it i will first do some homework and then go at it again.
So i spoke with my mechanic buddy that is my senior in age and he said best route to take is path of least resistance. Get a second hand knuckle and a new strut and replace the two of them and avoid the agro of trying to drill out hardened special bolts held in basically a pot metal cast steering knuckle.
Well you wanna hear what the dealer wanted for the bolts. I had to do everything i could to avoid laughing hysterically at the guy in the parts dept over the phone. So for one cam bolt $71 plus our 13% sales tax = $80.23
Now J.C. Whitney has a moog equivalent after market part for $20.88 and the local after market part store here wants $31.64 incl tax.
Then i check on struts at this stage i dont even want to find out about the dealer oem price for the strut so my buddy told me a certain chain who aint getting any publicity from me, is having a buy one get the second at half price. (yeah right tell that to this marketing guy and expect him to believe it ) Ok struts on the basis of taking two i can get em for $371.15 for the pair no special brand either. Well it pays to do some research i find a crowd in Ottawa with free shipping and two struts are on their way to me UPS for $187.90 incl tax for the pair. These are fully assembled struts with spring and all ready just to be mounted. Go figure on the difference. Oh same store if i lived in US the same struts would be way cheaper regardless of our taxes. When i called and asked why i was told ......market price, we can get more for em in Canada.
So whats my point of posting, i aint ranting, not worth the energy.
Just a lesson to all to do the research and consider doing your own car work and if not stand and watch the idiots working on your car because they got your life in their hands.
So why do i blame the mechanics. Well in my maintenance manual it tells you the nuts should face the front of the vehicle. This was the tell tale sign they had taken them out and put them in the wrong way then i guess judging from the way they torqued the wheels when they put them on had over torqued the bolts in situation while doing the alignment and the first bit of force and boom the heads had snapped clean off. The other side was still the way they had come from the manufacturer. Then i check the alignement paper and sure enough at the time they had told me the camber on the passenger side where the issue is was not able to be improved by more than what they had already.
Is it worth going back and after them.......not a chance ......just like the NN ....learn and move on. They will get their just deserves at some point. Oh dont worry i will go by and let them know i know what happened and that i will be letting my friends and community know of my experience. But they aint touching my cars again.
Fortunately i was planning this summer to put new struts on anyhow so its kinda a helping hand to get er done. Just came at the time i did not need to be doing it now.
I figured i would look into getting the brazing set anyhow since its no use not having it when one needs it. Would you know my buddy has the whole kit but had no gas and his bottles are the huge ones cost close to two hundred to fill so rather get a small set myself.
Can you believe it.
So total material this far to do the one side = knuckle $75 second hand + strut 93.95 + bolt $31.64 + other bolt dont have price yet = $200 I shudder to think what this would have cost if i had driven it into the dealer and said fix, never mind the fact that the last time i took my Jeep there it ended up being reversed into the wall by a mechanic trying out the hopping hemi but going in the wrong direction and going to the body shop for repairs.
Oy Vey .....Life sure can test you at times..... just gotta keep on and make sure to use the liquor store gift card