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Autobahn Experience

 
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:08 PM
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Default Autobahn Experience

I wanted to put my experience out there so that hopefully it doesn't happen to someone else who doesn't know better. I also want to try to explain the situation and facts as best I can without coloring them, so you can draw your own conclusions.

I took my 2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged into Autobahn for Extended Warranty service, to fix the seat heaters. I also mentioned that there was a whistle from the engine on cold startup, which was new to me. After a few weeks they sent it back to me with a comment that it's probably the air injection pump I'm hearing.

Shortly after receiving the car back, it started rattling on startup, just for a second before going back to running fine. I assumed they had left a heat shield loose while checking the whistle sound, and resolved to fix it when I had a chance.

Finally I got my other car started and off the lift, so I put the Jaguar up in the air and removed all the underbody covers to check the heatshields, no drips or leaks inside the covers, and all the heatshields seemed fine - I moved the drivers side manifold one up a bit, but don't think it was hitting. Noticed the passenger side motor mount is cracked, so I figured "Well, back to the dealer for warranty to get the mount covered". Since they're about $200. Then they can diagnose the rattle.

So two days after driving the car in to have the motor mount replaced and the engine diagnosed, I called them, and they had an estimate for me. I needed a new engine, and I'm looking at $20k in parts alone, because it was low on oil, and has 'a damaged crank to rod clearance' and it can't be repaired. But my service writer was out, so they'd have more information for me on Monday.

While thinking on this afterwards, it occurred to me that the only way to measure crank to rod clearance was likely to pull the engine, since the subframe would probably prevent you pulling the pan with the engine in the car, and it's unlikely they'd take the engine apart for an estimate. It's also unlikely that you could wear out the bearings enough to cause damage to the crank and rods without noticing, or throwing a check engine light, low oil pressure warning or something.

With that in mind, I decided to record my conversations with them. Today when they called I asked where the oil had gone, since there are no leaks, nothing inside the covers, it's not burning oil and they just had it 2 months and 1,000 miles ago (I work from home, so we don't put many miles on it.) No idea. I asked how they measured the crank to rod clearance and they said they'd have to ask the technician when he came in and they'd get back to me.

At this point I decided (this is my own opinion and I have no reason to believe this other than being safe) that I didn't trust them to work on my car anymore, because knowing that I was skeptical, it would be easy to put the car back together with no oil in it and run it for a bit to cause the same kind of damage they're talking about to avoid getting caught in a lie. So without telling them I was coming, I went to go see my car. Before I left, I called European Service Center in Lewisville and explained that I had taken my car into a shop, and they are quoting me a new engine because it was low on oil and they're saying the crank and rods can't be replaced. I asked him if he knew of any reason why you couldn't replace the crank and rods on a Jaguar 4.2L engine, and he said (very professionally) that it was suspect at best, which confirms my thoughts.

I walked in and told them I'd like to see my car and the estimate. If they had walked me back to my car and the covers were off and it were disassembled to some degree, then I probably would have been satisfied that I wasn't being ripped off, but they drove it down from the upper storage area and parked it where I could see it. Still purring like a kitten, no rough running or vibration or knocking or anything, no check engine light.

Also, the estimate didn't include the cracked motor mount, which should have been obvious to them while they were pulling the pan, if they had actually done it.

So I told them that basically I just needed to understand why we're talking about a new engine, how they determined the crank to rod clearances were bad. The technician for my car had called in sick, apparently. They were looking for the shop supervisor to ask the question, and he couldn't be reached. So they asked the Sr Tech who was there working on a different car, and he basically said "Experience" and explained to them that when oil is low, then you cause wear on the bearings, and when you add oil back, the oil can't bridge the gap anymore. When they told me this, I explained that was true, but even paying dealership prices, installing a set of bearings would be about $3k, not $20k for a new engine. Even if you needed a new crank and rods, you should still get out the door under $5k.
They suggested that maybe it wasn't possible to get the rods directly from Jaguar, but they weren't sure and they would check with the parts department.
Finally they got in touch with the shop supervisor who wouldn't talk to me, but suggested to them that I could pay $1800 for a 'point of failure analysis'. To be clear, this is me drawing conclusions again, but THAT'S the point when I was sure that they hadn't actually looked at the engine, because the $1800 fee is basically when they're going to pull it out and look.

So it seems to me that they had decided that I needed to purchase a $20k refurbished Jaguar engine without even bothering to check for damage. I told them I would go ahead and pay for the oil change ($140) and take my car back.

It drove beautifully all the way home, no check engine lights, etc. I may put it up on the lift this weekend and see if I can get into the bottom of the engine myself to check the state of the bearings. Then I'll probably take it to European Service Center to get a new motor mount installed and whatever else needs replacing, but I won't be going back to Autobahn.

I DO want to say though, that the Service Writers were very polite throughout (if a bit nervous when I showed up). It's not their job to understand technically every part of a car, so I didn't expect them to know why I knew something was wrong when they told me (what the tech had told them) that the crank to rod clearance required an entire new engine instead of new bearing shells and possibly turning the crank.

But hopefully this prevents someone else from buying a new engine because their thermostat failed open or something.
 
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:34 PM
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Update: I decided to check my oil to make sure they'd actually filled it while they had it. It turns out they had:


I've sent the service writers an email:


While I appreciate the foresight of putting a couple of extra quarts oil in to help protect against running low in the future, I'm not sure it's a sound mechanical practice. How should I go about returning these extra quarts of oil for a refund?

Also, since it turns out the low oil sensor is calibrated in the XF to come on with less than 2 quarts remaining, and mine was not on when I brought it into the shop, it's only fair to assume that Jaguar's position is that the amount of oil in my car shouldn't be low enough to cause damage, or else they would likely need to recall and rectify the low oil sensors to come on higher.

For your technicians who can diagnose failed crank to rod clearance through the powers of his experience alone without benefit of machinist tools, it may be useful to review the symptoms of a failing VVT unit, as well as oil filling procedures. I find we can all benefit from a having additional experience to draw from. I know mine has been educational.
 
Attached Thumbnails Autobahn Experience-after_professional_service1.jpg   Autobahn Experience-after_professional_service2.jpg  
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2015, 10:51 PM
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That doesn't leave many indies to go to in the Dallas area now does it?

I have had my car worked on at JagMac's and was not happy with the experience. It seems like I won't be going to Autobahn's any time soon either now..

So that leaves..?
 
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:16 AM
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I'm up north of Dallas, and the shop I called for a second opinion (Autobahn told me the engine had to be replaced because you couldn't replace the crank/rods on these cars, which sounded like BS to me but I wanted to confirm) was European Auto Care in Lewisville.
They were very professional and they've had very high reviews. He's also told me that they handle extended warranty work as well. My plan is to take my Jaguar to them on Wednesday. The big drawback for me is that they won't have a loaner for me, I expect. But at least they're 20 minutes away, not an hour.
 
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:59 AM
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Update on this - so far the shop has been great. I forgot to tell them about the cracked motor mount until right about the time the Extended Warranty company was FINALLY going to approve the repairs, so I sent him an email and asked if he happened to notice the cracked motor mount and submit it to the warranty company as well. He said "Yep, and the worn out control arm bushings." (Which I didn't know about myself.)

I still haven't gotten the car back yet, but so far I'm impressed with the shop. Less impressed with my Jaguar/Land Rover extended warranty company, since we're going on 6 weeks or better now, and they only approved it this past Tuesday.
 
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:41 PM
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I had about that much extra oil in my car after a dealer service. I posted a thread on it. They were basically putting 8 quarts in (because that's about what it holds) even though they hadn't bothered to extract more than about six.

The rest of your story sounds like a narrowly averted disaster which means the damages aren't there for a lawsuit. Otherwise I would say it's a great consumer protection claim.

Excellent job on protecting yourself in this situation.
 
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Old 08-03-2015, 01:48 PM
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Well, and to be honest I don't want to sue anyone, I just want people to actually try to do a good job, and treat my things with the care they'd give their own (or more, since I'm paying them to!)
 
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:26 PM
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I hear you. If you do find a good tech treat him or her well. They are remarkably scarce.
 
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:27 AM
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Which autobahn was this? Ft Worth?
 
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Locoitaly View Post
Which autobahn was this? Ft Worth?
Yep.
 
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:38 PM
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The service advisors there are really cool but I have ZERO faith in the techs that worked on my car when I went there. Not sure what Jag looks for when they hire some of those guys but "willing to be dishonest" must be a pre req. That was my experience though, not saying they are all like that obviously, but I have heard a couple bad stories about that dealership.
 
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Locoitaly View Post
The service advisors there are really cool but I have ZERO faith in the techs that worked on my car when I went there. Not sure what Jag looks for when they hire some of those guys but "willing to be dishonest" must be a pre req. That was my experience though, not saying they are all like that obviously, but I have heard a couple bad stories about that dealership.
That was exactly my experience. I have zero complaints about the service advisors at all, they hung in like heroes in what was obviously an incredibly uncomfortable experience that was in no way their fault.
 
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:59 AM
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The whole service advisor/tech system annoys me. Would much rather have a chance to talk to the tech directly at some point in the process.
 
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Old 10-18-2015, 10:26 PM
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Trying to convince myself it'll be okay to take the car back to them to handle the TPMS system and a squeaking pulley. I really don't want to deal with them again, but these jobs seem straightforward, and at least if I go there, I get a loaner and the extended warranty company waives the $100 deductible.

If all things were equal though, it would be a no-brainer to take it back to the local european car shop.
 
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:50 PM
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haha, mixed results. The TPMS, they told me there was a software update, and the cost would be about $150. The pulley squeak, they're blaming on belt glazing (I'm doubtful), and wanted $950 to replace the two belts, which wouldn't be covered by the extended warranty. Which means, to get them to find the real problem, I'm already going to be $1000 in.

I told them to fix the TPMS, and I'll replace the belts myself. They ended up replacing the TPMS Module itself (under warranty) and that fixed that issue.

So I was looking up part numbers to find the belts I needed, and ran up against jaguarparts.com, but couldn't get the site to accept my order, so I called them and realized that it's a dealership in San Juan, TX. So I figured, I'll give Autobahn a shot here, too.

Called Autobahn parts, gave them the part numbers, and they said "Retail on that is $98" C2C37063, it's $39 online. I said "So that's the price to me, then?" "Oh yeah, we can't adjust prices."

So talked to Nathan at Jaguar San Juan, super helpful, and even beat the websites calculated shipping by $5. I've got two belts to replace for $110, and supposedly it takes about 30 minutes, to save $840 or so. Then I can take it back to Autobahn and make them replace the actual problem that's covered under warranty.
 
 
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