I've read most of this with interest.
Interesting differences in perception. I personally have found quality people in both enviroments, unfortunatly the dealeship also has that bad juju..... politics. Simply the reason I'm no longer in the dealership loop and am doing the indy thing.
Locally the dealer here has several damn good techs, a bunch of OK techs and a bunch of wannabe's and hacks. You've gotta ask for certian people to work on your car if you want it right the first time. The biggest advantage the dealer has is training and product knowledge of the newest product. Not to mention the ability to call in tech and beat on the rep's ability to root out knowledge.
I have however found that more indys take the time to nail the exact cause of the problem rather than throw parts at it, especially when it comes to drivability and trans issues. Not only is it a issue of pride but one of money backing you up.
As of late, MB warrenty time won't pay for lunch, much less keep that mortgage paid. I watched most good techs in the dealers get place into the posistion of being penalized for being good by continually having to put out fires, fix other people mistakes, sort out the mean ones (that might not have been mean until that Elite tech got ahold of it) and do it all for warrenty time. The best setup I've seen had these guys on salary and letting them handle the problem cars while teaching the newbies how to do it.
No, I'm not one of these "qood techs", just a old mechanic who has continued to retrain himself on the hows and whys of the new technology. (I work with a guy who was in diapers when points were king but, is about the best tech I've seen in years)Between the 2 of us, 99% of what we get into gets fixed both right and resonably. However, in my opinion, part of being a tech is knowing when you are over your head and respectfully bowing out.
Project Smoker, '87 603 powered wagon
Hauler, 96 CTD can you say torque?
Toy 73 Cougar xr7 convertible
Acme Automotive Inc.