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Old 08-11-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Near Miss and Broken Trust: UPDATE

Took the van to my (much trusted by me) local dealership for fluids/filters/brakes after 3300 mile tour thru NYC and Eastern Seaboard. Fan clutch acting up, so replaced that also. New fan clutch ran full time on the way home. Next day, drove the 10 miles back to the dealership with Christine following. 7 miles in, felt something odd... stopped on the side of the road, walked around, shake/tug on wheels, look under... nothing

New-to-me (~25+ year old) mechanic @ dealership explained that the fan clutch was off-the-shelf and very old, might need a little "break-in" to behave properly, mechanical thermostat v. electric etc. etc., "drive it hard over the weekend, and if not right, we'll replace it". The youngster actually had a fairly believable, inveterate "air" about him.

This morning, I took the van to "town" for errands. 7 miles at 60 mph, and then exit at 1st stop. On the exit ramp, I heard a strange "pop/click" noise toward the rear of the van... thank goodness the windows were down. As I rolled in to the parking lot of the store, the noise kept on happening, and looking in my rearview driverside mirror, I could see my rear wheel wobble a bit.

Got out the much-loved lug wrench and checked the lugs... quite loose by my standards, but not noise making/wobbling loose. Called my saviour/mechanic/fabdude Ray. We pulled the rear driver-side wheel off, and discovered that the spacer, which had to be removed for the rear brake shoe replacement had all of it's nuts on, but totally loose, finger-turn loose. I'll refrain from sharing the explicatives. The other rear spacer was tight as could be. Ray assessed, examined and put it all back together. He is as mild and unexcitable as I am completely berserk, but his racetrack-seasoned estimate was 5 miles of straightaway or two hard turns, and "she'd have been on all-three's"

I would have written it off as a "fail" on my part to pay particular attention to the spacers, had it not been that the other side was perfect. I suspect texting/cellphone came in to play somewhere. I have filmed the whole "discovery" of it and will be in the dealership owners face on Monday morning when he gets there or on his front porch if he isn't. Someone could have died over this.

Trust no one... and I'm heartsick to say that. I make mistakes everyday, and some dumbass driving errors too, but I ain't getting paid a premium to keep others out of the ditch/hospital.

The fan clutch has settled in and worked just fine

I feel like puking thinking about what could have happened.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:20 PM   #2
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Well that would be a video somebody wouldn't like. Maybe you can get a video of their reaction I know SMB always advises to re-torque at 50 miles after the tire has been pulled off especially if it has spacers. Are the spacers held on by different bolts? I thought they were just set with longer studs.
Glad it didn't cause damage, an injury or worse.

Dave
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:17 AM   #3
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Maybe a gentle suggestion to the dealer that a few free oil changes would put your mind at ease, seeing as somebody could have been killed and it would be a shame if someone started calling Ford asking the corporate policy on torque specs after doing a brake job.

I doubt they'll care, but it doesn't hurt to try. I continue to be amazed by the incompetence of Ford dealerships when it comes to our vans...
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:09 AM   #4
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Spacers are on different bolts. The spacers have to be taken all the way off to put on new brake shoes. The other side was perfectly tight, so it wasn't an awareness problem, or a "we didn't know about the aftermarket stuff" issue. I'm working on finding out where the dealership owner lives today, and will go to his house on this bright, sunny Sunday, and ask him what he thinks about my little film (Christine won't be editing this one... straight-run footage).

Before I escaped the Real World 20 years ago, I worked as a contract Safety/Security Manager on construction projects in refineries, chemical plants, and power plants all over the country. It was a unique job, and I was a bit of a rarity in an elite group. On projects of 1500+ men, I was solo and had no "boss" or "direct report" on the sites. I worked at Exxon, Shell, BASF, Citgo and the like. If you can imagine, it was like putting new pistons in a running engine (literally... ex: power turbines are on slow-roll and never stop moving to prevent deflection in the shafts from sagging under their own enormous weight. Millwrights worked on 'em while turning). My job was to keep people from getting killed... me, the facility employees, our contract employees, and the general public. ALL of the craftspeople on these projects are highly skilled, highly paid and expected to perform as such. If I so much as saw you drop your pencil while putting it back in your pocket, I walked you to the office, had your final check prepared and escorted you off the site. Sounds harsh, but I have hauled bloody screaming grown-ass men on my back, been in two refinery explosions, and called families to the hospital for last rites, et cetera, et cetera, frikkin' et cetera. Zero Tolerance with gritted teeth.

I firmly believe professional mechanics should be held to the same standard... to keep people from getting killed. Gotta go now, hope the dealership owner had a good breakfast.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:18 AM   #5
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Sic em Marc!

Sounds like some one need to teach them a lesson!
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
Sic em Marc!

Sounds like some one need to teach them a lesson!
Someone definitely needs to teach them a lesson. I hope you're very polite though, an angry hostile stranger at my house, no matter how justified their claim, would be met with pepper spray at best, .40cal hollow points at worst. And the cops would be called immediately. Like your zero tolerance for safety issues (which I agree with), some people (like me) have zero tolerance for angry strangers on their property. Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:03 AM   #7
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Just got back, big ol gates, big ol dog. I'll be at the dealership in the morning. Also have a friend who knows his way around corporate Ford. He is going to hook me up with the correct person on Tuesday morning after my Monday d'ship visit.
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

@ IHeart... I wouldn't think that being an angry aggressor is the way to get his attention either, he wouldn't hear a word I said, nor would I. That solves no problems. I won't be angry tomorrow at his place of business either. I'm only interested in preventing like problems. I don't even want the young mechanic penalized, only raising awareness.

I once had a just-fired, twice-my-size employee who was a professional ironworker (they climb and handle massive amounts of hard work all day) tell me he was "gonna meet me in the parking lot when I got off that day". I smiled and said " you don't have to wait that long, I'm escorting you to the parking lot right now" I didn't hear another word. Always polite, always prepared.
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http://www.taylorarts.com
... If you have to ask, you'll never understand...
"... torpedo'd, because we don't generally cotton to bullshit around here." -jage
"... do they ooch apart in the night?" -Dia
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Old 08-12-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

Well if it's a good dealership they'll cop to the blame. Or if they're like my local yaahoos they will claim the spacers are not standard equipment and it wasn't their fault.

Good luck and hope they see it your way.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:07 PM   #10
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Re: Near Miss and Broken Trust

It's amazing how many of us have had problems with Ford dealerships, including me and I have had my SMB to the dealer only once in two and a half years.
Just needed to vent.

Woody
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