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Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

 
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:21 AM
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Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Hi. I took my car in to get checked for why one of my cylinders was dead a couple of months ago. Some of you may remember my previous post about it I decided it was to big of job for me to do myself with my current level of experience.

A week after dropping my car off at the shop back in August I got a call letting me know that the car was ready and that the total would be $1300 for the head gasket set and the labor/machine shop cost. Wasn't really happy they fixed it with out calling me to let me know what was wrong but w/e I was expecting to pay around that anyways. I picked it up and it seemed good, felt like I had more power than when I brought it in so I figured it was all fixed, one thing i did notice was they did not hook up my temp sensor right after about 3 weeks I parked one day jumped out for about an hour and then went to start my car up. It would not start at all and when I checked the coolant it was almost completely empty even though the day before it was full. I filled it up and got the car to start and huge cloud of white smoke out the back so I immediately the next day took it back to the shop and told them to check it and find out why the gasket blew again and call me.

1 week later: I get a call again, they tell me my engine is back together their gasket looked fine so I must have overheated the engine and they would not honor their warranty and wanted to charge me $650 for the work they did. I was angry, I never authorized them to do this second set of work but I live in texas so they dont have to get writing in order to do repairs (really stupid not to have that rule here) I told them to prove my car overheated before the gasket blew the second time and he said he couldn't with out checking my temp guage to see if its reading right. So he does that and I call the next day and they tell me the gauge is fine and my car is not overheating so I haggled with them a little and got them down to $300, which i was not happy about but I know you have to pay or they can keep the car even if i did not authorize the work they did. Still I figured now around $1600 thats still less than a few shops in my area wanted to charge with worse reviews than this shop.

2 weeks after picking up the car I have a really hard time starting the car one day after grabbing lunch and then the next day I am getting white smoke again after driving for 30 minutes with a really really bad hard start but the symptoms are only showing up after driving for a bit so I take some video and then go back to the shop and show them and tell them very clearly this time to find out whats wrong, do not do any work with out calling me that I will be charged for. They agree and say that they will check the block for cracks (should have been done the first time) and as long as its not that everything else on the top end will be covered.

Yesterday: I got a call, the guy told me that he pulled it apart and checked all the gaskets because it was leaking in cylinder number 3 again which was the dead cylinder and then put it back together and made sure it was torqued correctly and everything and that it was running fine again They test drove it for 15 miles. I went and picked it up, no charge this time, and it does seem to drive well again, they even hooked the temp sensor and the fans up correctly. The main tech was busy when I was there though so I didnt get to talk to him in person this time before taking off. When I got home I looked under the hood and saw all this brown/redish powder stuff on top of my radiator and around the cap. I went ahead and decided to purge air out of the system to make sure it was done right and while i was doing it i noticed that the coolant in my no-spill funnel was getting very dirty it went from being clean green to basicly looking like someone dumped a handfull of dirt in there. When I finished purging the air (of which there was quite a bit) I kept the left over coolant in an old water bottle and it looks disgusting. I asked my brother what it could be and he says its possible they just dumped some stop leak powder in there this time and claimed they fixed it.

Sorry for the long story, I liked to be detailed this brings me to the questions though. Does it sound like they did anything shady or messed up at all in some way? If the gasket does go again and i get the white smoke back or the really hard starting what are my options, do i have to just let them keep trying to fix it? I mean my car is worse than it was when i took it in honestly, it had a dead cylinder sure but it still drove everywhere i wanted to go and would start back up a little rough maybe but nothing like what it does now. before I wasnt losing coolant very quickly at all. Any advice on how to deal with this situation? I have never had to deal with mechanics before and this first experience is not going so well.
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:50 AM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

can you show us how the coolant looks? it could be oil mixing with the coolant. it sucks the amount of money you already spent could have gotten you a new motor.
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:43 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

This is what the coolant looks like. I dont remember it ever being this dirty before. Since they have to take all of the coolant out when doing the head gasket i figured it would actually look cleaner than normal when i got it back.
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Old 10-14-2015, 08:30 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

That coolant looks like it's never ever been changed b4, that would b messed up if they drained the old coolant And put it back into ur engine instead of using new coolant. Would be pretty messed up like wat u said that they might used some stop leak or something
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:46 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Yeah that is what i was thinking when I saw it. Even if there was some corrosion in my cooling system when i first took it in after this, the third time attempt to fix it, I would have expected it to be much cleaner looking that this. Everyone I have talked to today says I just need to go and demand my money back but I know that is not how things work. I am going to drive around a bit tomorrow after work and see if any of my symptoms come back again. If it is stop leak I don't think it will hold very long. If they do though I really don't want to leave my car with these people again. I mean three attempts is crazy, they have told me each time that they checked my block and head for cracks and found none so what else could be causing coolant to leak into one of my cylinders?
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Old 10-17-2015, 12:05 AM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Was the block resurfaced when they did the head gasket? I thought anytime you pull the head you should get the block done
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:35 AM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Geez-Louise I hate reading stories like this.

Not because you did anything wrong Sylvanus...no you asking for help is a good thing.
It's just that the vast majority of shops are ok. Yet the one bad one here or there is what we hear about.

Then youngsters being youngsters try to tackle jobs over their head after reading tales of the rip off shop.

Ok so now to your plight.
First, contact the better business buruae. Tell 'em what you told us...especially the part where they fixed it without your consent.

Second if you have to drive clear across the county to avoid that shop, do it. Don't go near those sorry sunza-b1tches anymore. They have enough of your money.

Obviously your car is still broken. My guess is one of 3 things (based on looking at that obviously used coolant)...They either slapped parts together without machining the head/block, and/or did not use a Honda gasket but some $8 pos chinese garbage...and/or didn't bother reading/following the torque sequence that Honda reccomends.


Ok now some questions:
- You say it was nearly empty, did you mean the over flow tank or the radiator?
- What kind of stop leak has been used?
-Has your got a misfire in cylinder 3?
- Are you a hermit or can you ask around the folks you know from work, school, church or whatever who they trust to fix their car?

Best regards.
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welcome to site Carl
...is a golden car fax kinda like a golden ticket? Sure hope willy wonka didn't put any snozberries in your motor.
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Only seen the first one, 15 years ago in theaters. Plan on keeping it that way. Get off my lawn.
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I remember my first thread, asking what a noise was when I got going 110mph.
Pretty much got flamed for driving like a jackass and was told to slow down. And I'll be damned, slowing down fixed it.

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Old 10-27-2015, 01:36 AM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Sorry i took so long to reply.

answers to your questions are that the overflow tank goes below the min line, i do not know what brand they used my brother says barsleak he might just be saying it as a general term for any stop leak stuff. It looks like sand in the bottom of the dirty coolant bottle i have now. I don't have a misfire but cylinder 3 has always been the problem cylinder and it did missfire a couple of times before I took it in to get repaired the first time. And I am a hermit but I did ask around friends at work most claim not to know much about cars or anyone they take their cars to regularly and the one car guy I know just said "i dont know anything about honds, get a subaru" so not very helpful lol.

I have not driven much since last time i posted I was really busy with work and then went on vacation so didnt even think about it till now. It seems like I am just lossing coolant now still no white smoke or coolant in oil yet.
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:24 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Just keep your eye on the overflow bottle.

Say you drive 20 minutes and have to put back a pint...yeah you still should be concerned.
But say you drive an hour or two and put back a pint...yeah you still have a leak but it may be a hose clamp isn't sealing 100%.

I have a leak I can't seem to find which tells me headgasket but no oil in coolant nor coolant in oil.
Yet a couple of hoses have green wet spots on the end but I see no puddles. So check the hose ends, around the oil filter as well as heater hoses etc.

And keep a quart bottle of coolant like a gatorade bottle in the trunk as your top up bottle. Way less sloppy than that gallon jug until you find the leak. Cut the top couple inches off a coke bottle and use that as your coolant funnel.

I use a green one for coolant and clear for oil.
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Originally Posted by ogsmakdade View Post
welcome to site Carl
...is a golden car fax kinda like a golden ticket? Sure hope willy wonka didn't put any snozberries in your motor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elspectro29 View Post
Only seen the first one, 15 years ago in theaters. Plan on keeping it that way. Get off my lawn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindso View Post
I remember my first thread, asking what a noise was when I got going 110mph.
Pretty much got flamed for driving like a jackass and was told to slow down. And I'll be damned, slowing down fixed it.

God's Not Dead
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:16 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Thanks for the advice. I will do that, I have 2 years/24k miles for the warrnty to go back and argue with them if anything happens and plan to get a second car after income tax so hopefully it lasts until then. Just gonna have to keep watching the coolant till then
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:54 PM
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Re: Mechanic keeps failing to fix head gasket. What can I do?

Yeah...that's the ticket.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogsmakdade View Post
welcome to site Carl
...is a golden car fax kinda like a golden ticket? Sure hope willy wonka didn't put any snozberries in your motor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elspectro29 View Post
Only seen the first one, 15 years ago in theaters. Plan on keeping it that way. Get off my lawn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindso View Post
I remember my first thread, asking what a noise was when I got going 110mph.
Pretty much got flamed for driving like a jackass and was told to slow down. And I'll be damned, slowing down fixed it.

God's Not Dead
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