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  #1  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:05 PM
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Issue with local auto shop

A few weeks ago I took my 96 Suzuki Sidekick to a local shop to replace the left front wheel bearing. I knew it required a special tool to remove the axle nut and the bearing would have to be removed/installed with a press which I don't have. I got a call from the shop a few hours later telling me that the spindle was badly worn, a new spindle was $900 but they could sand down the spindle and put the new bearing in there but it would not last very long. I suggested a used spindle and he said we would look for one. He called me back about an hour later saying he couldn't find one. So I said put it back together with the new bearing, old spindle, and I would look for a used spindle.
After driving it a few days, I noticed a rattle and jacked the car up to check the wheel. There was a 1/2" play in the bearing measured at the top and bottom of the wheel. I called the shop, told them, they said bring it back in and they would check it. Since I had a used spindle on the way from Ebay, I decided to wait until I got it and just parked the car.
Today I decided to get into it myself. Once I took off the hubs and lock ring I found the axle nut loose. I tightened it 3/4 of a turn with my fingers. It had to have been installed by the shop this way since the lock ring was in place. The nut should have between 123-180 ft lbs of torque on it. It can only be tightened with a special tool ($70). Once I removed the caliper and hub I found the spindle in fine condition with no evidence of damage at all.
So what was going on?
My hypothesis is that the shop did not know the vehicle required a special wrench and once they got into it, they didn't want to buy one. They knew the bearing would fail in short order if it wasn't torqued, but instead of telling me this, they invented the cock and bull story of a bad spindle so they couldn't be held accountable when the bearing failed in a few thousand miles.
I called the shop today and told them the axle nut was loose when I disassembled it. They insisted they had tightened it with an impact wrench.

Opinions?
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:07 PM
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Ask them if you can borrow their special tool, then tighten the nut yourself with a torque wrench. If not, suck it up and buy the special tool.
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
My hypothesis is that the shop did not know the vehicle required a special wrench and once they got into it, they didn't want to buy one. They knew the bearing would fail in short order if it wasn't torqued, but instead of telling me this, they invented the cock and bull story of a bad spindle so they couldn't be held accountable when the bearing failed in a few thousand miles.
I think you're on to something
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas H View Post
Ask them if you can borrow their special tool, then tighten the nut yourself with a torque wrench. If not, suck it up and buy the special tool.
I did, that's why I was willing to disassemble it today. I'm pretty sure they don't have the tool, that's why it was loose. I'm pissed because I bought a used hub assembly for the spindle because they told me the spindle was bad and because they knew the bearing would fail since it was not tightened.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
I think you're on to something
yup.
What did they say when you told them an impact wrench couldn't have tightened it?
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  #6  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:34 PM
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The tool can be used with an impact wrench, so it's theoretically possible. (It's a large 'socket' with 4 hardened pins which fit into holes in the perimeter of the axle nut.) Although failure to use a torque wrench when the torque is really specific is poor workmanship.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #7  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:39 PM
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Then I would definitely ask to borrow it. When they say no because they don't really have it, ask them if you can look at it so you know what to buy.

Got any pictures of what it looks like?
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  #8  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
I did, that's why I was willing to disassemble it today. I'm pretty sure they don't have the tool, that's why it was loose. I'm pissed because I bought a used hub assembly for the spindle because they told me the spindle was bad and because they knew the bearing would fail since it was not tightened.
It appears to me they don't have the tool also. I don't know your situation with the shop and how you might need them in the future.
I do my own work, even if it requires an expendature for a special tool. After years of hearing and reading cases such as yours I am confident in my choice. I would have bought the tool or borrowed or rented it, or maybe fabricated one.
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:44 PM
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/89-98-Geo-Tracker-spindle-axle-nut-tool-suzuki-sidekick_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em14QQhashZitem2ea72382dcQQitemZ200372617948QQptZMoto rsQ5fAutomotiveQ5fTools
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas H View Post
It appears to me they don't have the tool also. I don't know your situation with the shop and how you might need them in the future.
I do my own work, even if it requires an expendature for a special tool. After years of hearing and reading cases such as yours I am confident in my choice. I would have bought the tool or borrowed or rented it, or maybe fabricated one.
I follow those principles in general too. In this instance, I decided to violate it because I don't have a garage to work in so have to work on the street. I thought it might have taken me more than one day to get everything done and didn't like the idea of leaving a car on a jackstand on the street.

In retrospect it confirms the principles. When in doubt, buy the tool.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2009, 10:02 PM
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Location: Columbus OH
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I like to do my own work too, but when it comes to pressing out bearings and tools you'll only use once, it becomes a cost/benefit issue.

That tool doesn't look too hard to make. I take it that's the nut in the pics, kerry? How much is the nut?
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2009, 10:12 PM
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Yes, that's the nut. Don't know how much it costs. I used the existing nut. It's not a complicated tool but it was made on a lathe or something like that which I don't have. The walls of the socket are so thick that I don't think a standard impact socket could have holes drilled in it and pins added.
__________________
1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2009, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
A few weeks ago I took my 96 Suzuki Sidekick to a local shop to replace the left front wheel bearing. I knew it required a special tool to remove the axle nut and the bearing would have to be removed/installed with a press which I don't have. I got a call from the shop a few hours later telling me that the spindle was badly worn, a new spindle was $900 but they could sand down the spindle and put the new bearing in there but it would not last very long. I suggested a used spindle and he said we would look for one. He called me back about an hour later saying he couldn't find one. So I said put it back together with the new bearing, old spindle, and I would look for a used spindle.
After driving it a few days, I noticed a rattle and jacked the car up to check the wheel. There was a 1/2" play in the bearing measured at the top and bottom of the wheel. I called the shop, told them, they said bring it back in and they would check it. Since I had a used spindle on the way from Ebay, I decided to wait until I got it and just parked the car.
Today I decided to get into it myself. Once I took off the hubs and lock ring I found the axle nut loose. I tightened it 3/4 of a turn with my fingers. It had to have been installed by the shop this way since the lock ring was in place. The nut should have between 123-180 ft lbs of torque on it. It can only be tightened with a special tool ($70). Once I removed the caliper and hub I found the spindle in fine condition with no evidence of damage at all.
So what was going on?
My hypothesis is that the shop did not know the vehicle required a special wrench and once they got into it, they didn't want to buy one. They knew the bearing would fail in short order if it wasn't torqued, but instead of telling me this, they invented the cock and bull story of a bad spindle so they couldn't be held accountable when the bearing failed in a few thousand miles.
I called the shop today and told them the axle nut was loose when I disassembled it. They insisted they had tightened it with an impact wrench.

Opinions?
These are the types of situations that beg for a trip to small claims. However, with your word against the word of a "professional mechanic", it's nearly impossible to prove your case. You cannot convince a judge that the existing spindle is perfectly good because he's not an expert and he doesn't consider you an expert.

The only possibility is to drag another mechanic into court with you............a very unlikely scenario.

Another example of the auto repair industry getting away with financial murder because there is no possibility of any recourse.
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  #14  
Old 09-05-2009, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Yes, that's the nut. Don't know how much it costs. I used the existing nut. It's not a complicated tool but it was made on a lathe or something like that which I don't have. The walls of the socket are so thick that I don't think a standard impact socket could have holes drilled in it and pins added.
Well, I was thinking how I would make one. If the nut isn't that expensive, then one could use an old nut, stick the rods through the holes, weld the rods to the nut, then weld the nut to a socket.
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  #15  
Old 09-05-2009, 12:51 AM
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Bargain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
It can only be tightened with a special tool ($70). Opinions?
Opinion? That special tool at $70 sounds like quite a bargain now! Sorry to hear how this is working out. I'd buy the tool, get the bearing pressed in/on and get things back together correctly, check the bearing on the other side, resell the tool, and chalk it up as a learning experience. Be happy that the wheel didn't come off at speed and kill you or some innocent person!
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