Car stalled and engine knocking after service test

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Car stalled and engine knocking after service test drive. Background info is 2004 Grand Prix GTP w/ 75000 miles. The car is owned by my dad but used exclusively by his GF. I did have 2 days use of it, the day before going to the dealership, and the day of the dealership. Problem: The car had slow actual acceleration under heavy/full pedal use (heavy to full acceleration resulted in little actual acceleration. During the period of attempted acceleration there was also a semi rapid click that was described by someone earlier (non dealership test drive) said it sounded like spark knock. Suggested I take it somewhere to test the exhaust/cat converter which I did and they did some back flow test and said it was not clogged according to their test. Aside from the heavy acceleration problem, the car drove and sounded normal, no issues at all during normal driving. None described by the GF or noticed by myself for the 2 days I had it. Drove it a few hours both days. Took the car to a chevy dealership to get the ignition recall done and also figured I would let them diagnose it for the $32 fee. After doing the write up with the service writer I requested a tech to test drive/ride along to show first hand what I was describing. They come out with a trainee to ride along with me. Didn't really have much to say, kind of laughed said that's funny it drives normally, yet has no power during accelerate but no codes. 2:46 PM got a call from service writer saying the recall was done, and said something along the line that the power issue was an unkown internal engine problem and would need 4 hours labor @$400 to take the engine apart to accurately diagnose. Figuring that it was still fine for normal driving, I opted to decline and just pick it up and find an alternate place for someone to diagnose/look into the engine problem. Said he needed to finish writing up the paper work and would need about 30 min to finish. 4:53 (2hrs and 7 min later) I called them because I had a ride lined up that was wondering what was going on. It's all set they say. I get dropped off, get my paperwork, pay the bill, and they retrieve the car and pull it up outside and turn it off. I wait a few min to be able to talk to service adviser before leaving to go over the the notes on the paper work. I go out, get in the car and start it up and my gut drops! The engine is now knocking and shaking. Very noticeable, not good at all, can't even consider driving it anywhere. I go in to find out what the deal with that was, figure out what happened/changed while they had it. That's when the adviser tells me "yeah, one of the techs took it for a test, it stalled and had to get towed back. Of course, now that it was after 5, all the techs were gone except for the quick lube people. Can't find out what exactly happened during the test. Now I'm wondering did they wait until almost 5 to call instead of the 30 min originally stated so all the techs were gone. I did talk to the service writer and the service department manager before I got picked up, and will be going back today. Service manager actualy said some ridiculous things like "an engine doesn't just start doing this, it's been like it for a while" and perhaps someone (implying myself or the owner) added something to hide the knocking". Anyone with advice on the situation, insight to the problem with the engine. Is it just something that happens, not their problem at all and take it somewhere else or should I aim for a discount on them doing the engine disassembly and diagnoses.
 
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Do you have an oil pressure gauge or just a light? You have oil pressure. Oil level is all good I'm assuming? You missing any plugs?
 
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Looks like a mess of a deal for you. Doesn't make any sense to do any ignition work first with an underlying mechanical problem. They hid the bad news until you paid the bill=not interested in dealing with it or you I'd say. Reminds some of my dealer tech trainer pal regarding service managers='why tell the truth when a perfectly good lie is available'-good luck.
 
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I don't see how a 3.8 being SC or NA grenaded itself... You need to find out what they exactly did. I know engines have problems from time to time but, 3.8s are bulletproof.
 
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I have a feeling you're going to be SOL, since you brought it in and asked them to diagnose an engine issue. Cars can be fine one minute and dead on the side of the road a minute later. Things like this happen. That will probably be their excuse, and their out. Good luck.
 
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Maybe they mixed up some plug wires. No easy to do on a 38 though. Does this year still use waste spark iggy with 3 dual-ended coil packs?
 
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Scott_mi

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Looking at how it ended up, I'm upset that they chose to have a trainee do the ride along just to have another tech take it out anyways. It would have been different if it happened while I was driving with a tech. Also not hearing from them for 2 hours instead of the 30 minutes and not being told upfront about the stalling and the engine knocking is of interest. Is it almost certain that if it started knocking the engine is damaged and not just fixable parts?
 
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Originally Posted By: Scott_mi
Looking at how it ended up, I'm upset that they chose to have a trainee do the ride along just to have another tech take it out anyways. It would have been different if it happened while I was driving with a tech. Also not hearing from them for 2 hours instead of the 30 minutes and not being told upfront about the stalling and the engine knocking is of interest. Is it almost certain that if it started knocking the engine is damaged and not just fixable parts?
I feel your pain. Seeing first hand what goes on at some of these dealerships I'm not a bit surprised if they tried to hide it from you. I remember guys scratching or dinging cars, and having the service writer call the customer and tell them they fell behind, and pick their cars up at night when it was dark hoping they wouldn't see the damage. This doesn't happen all the time but rest assured it happens. My example is different that what happened to you, but it still applies.
 
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time to trade your car was damaged by a woman driver i have confidence in the dealership i would take my car to them
 
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Originally Posted By: Scott_mi
Looking at how it ended up, I'm upset that they chose to have a trainee do the ride along just to have another tech take it out anyways. It would have been different if it happened while I was driving with a tech. Also not hearing from them for 2 hours instead of the 30 minutes and not being told upfront about the stalling and the engine knocking is of interest. Is it almost certain that if it started knocking the engine is damaged and not just fixable parts?
It depends on the source of the knock. On the 3.8 supercharged engine, the coupler in the supercharger will fail and make a knock. Not sure on the s/c 3.8 but the crank damper of regular 3.8's fail and knock like mad too.
 
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If the problem started suddenly after the diagnostic then I would assume the diagnostic caused the problem. Two posts above regarding spark plugs and spark plug wires would be my first things to check. If the engine knocks when it didn't before I'd assume it out of timing somehow. To check the weak acceleration, I'd check compression and spark to each cylinder. That would require removing the spark plugs and futzing with the plug wires. It's really bad that they had the car towed back in and didn't tell you.
 
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My BIL had a 99 Bonneville normally aspirated 3800. It was running doggy, we didn't know why. I figured it needed the tar run out of it, so I hit some back roads and whipped it up near redline. Then it was knocking. Looked through the oil cap and it looked dry up top, not getting much oil. They took your car and beat on it and blew it up. Now they're like cockroaches hiding from the light. You should pursue this as you went in to fix the key, but declined all other work. WTH happened guys?
 
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I would fight the urge to touch it myself while it's at the Dealer. If you even open the hood, they will blame you for the problem. Have dealer double check their work (plugs & wires) etc. If still not fixed, document times, work done, and people involved. Talk to Management, this is not the time to be passive. Demand justice. Edit: Tough call perhaps. Could a small problem have gotten worse by the Dealer test drive ? ? ? I'm no expert. Problem: The car had slow actual acceleration under heavy/full pedal use (heavy to full acceleration resulted in little actual acceleration. During the period of attempted acceleration there was also a semi rapid click that was described by someone earlier (non dealership test drive) said it sounded like spark knock. Suggested I take it somewhere to test the exhaust/cat converter which I did and they did some back flow test and said it was not clogged according to their test.
 
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I wonder if it had a leaking intake gasket and was drinking coolant and the op didn't realize it and this is what killed the motor. Hard to be sure but besides that 3.8 don't usually die.
 

Scott_mi

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Posting video soon. Thanks for any comments and suggestions, your help is appreciated. 1 minute with audio
 
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If it was my scirocco I'd throw an engine in (I have a choice of three ready to go) then pull the motor apart to inspect/diagnose. If I was in your case, I'd make the dealer fix it. You gave it to them to diagnose a problem and it came back still not fixed and with a new problem that wasn't there in the first place. Can you quote a certain consumer protection law to them? Play hardball, like; I entrusted my vehicle to your company to perform repair work. You did not perform the repairs and caused further damage. I hold you liable for all repairs and will initiate court proceedings if I do not receive a satisfactory answer within 20 working days. Send it to the dealer and to HQ so they can communicate with each other about it, ultimately they'll decide to cover you. It's not worth their time, effort or expense, not to me ton the bad publicity, if you were to go to the local media with your son-story..
 
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