Unhappy Customer

Joined
Dec 19, 2013
Messages
6,735
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
The job I had today makes me want to NEVER do a Bench/Carry-out transmission rebuild ever again.

1998 Chevy Camaro Z-28, 5.7L/4L60E.

Owner called Monday saying he was having an issue with a 4L60E I built him. He didn't want to tell me how long it had been by telling me he didn't know. His name/invoice wasn't coming up on my computer & told him if I did it after August 2019....The Invoice would be in my system.
Asked if he had his copy of the Invoice? He does not.
Was it a hand written Invoice? He thinks it was.

I could tell he was getting aggravated, So I got to the point & asked what the problem was.....
"I'm getting my car dyno tuned & the transmission is locked in 3rd gear"
Me: Are you sure you have Ignition Power at the Trans Connector?
"Yes....We checked EVERYTHING, It's in the transmission"
Me: Are there any trans codes stored in the PCM?
"No....I was a mechanic, I know what I'm doing"
Me: If there's an issue with my unit, I'll be happy to take care of it.
"Starts shouting off an address 50 miles away & he needs this taken care of right away"
Me: Sir....I'm not a mobile mechanic & can't just drop what I'm doing, Shut the doors to my business & come play "whack-a mole" with you.
"You said you'd fix it?"
Me: I will fix it IF I'm at fault or the fault is INSIDE the unit. But, I DO NOT do field repairs & I DO NOT travel to other businesses to do repairs. You have 3 options....
*Remove the unit & bring it to me
*Have the car towed to my shop
*Trailer it here yourself
I highly recommend the latter 2 options so I can make sure the Wiring & PCM are sound.


He started mouthing off in a elevated tone, I caught very little of it because of my selective hearing which I've perfected by being married for 25 years!!
I advised him to calm down.....Bring your car & I'll be happy to look at it, But don't show up here running your mouth! Then I hung up the phone.

He called back @ 30 minutes later wanting my address with a different tone.

I found his Invoice later that evening by going through my paper invoices in storage....Dated 6-24-17, He bought ALL the parts himself....Including the Solenoids & Internal Harness. I wrote "No Part Warranty" in bold sharpie right on the Invoice & judging by the total....He beat me up pretty good on the labor as well.

He showed up this morning....Of course he didn't trailer it or have the car towed per my recommendation....He drove it! I bit my tongue & didn't say anything as I'm no longer liable for this unit anyway.

IT GETS BETTER....He didn't arrange any transportation back home & Didn't set up an appointment for me to diagnose the issue while he waited. I'm at least partially at fault for this as I never got around to informing him that I don't deal with "Waiting Customers".

Pulling the car into the bay.....The car was taking off in 4th, Not 3rd!!! With the little/sloppy 3600-4000 stall converter....It took half throttle to get it to move forward!


On to the diagnostics......
*He was correct....There are no DTC's stored & The Trans Connector had Ignition Power.
*Using my Snap-on Solus Ultra.....I activated the 2 Shift Solenoids individually to see if I could audibly hear them Click.
*Shift Solenoid "A" would click, Shift Solenoid "B" would not. Makes sense...."A" solenoid On & "B" solenoid Off is 4th gear.
*My first thought was the "B" solenoid is mechanically stuck Off, If there an Open in the electrical circuit....The PCM would set a "B" Solenoid Circuit DTC.

*Instead of dropping the Trans Pan & replacing the "B" Solenoid based on this alone....I decided to do some actual circuit testing first.
*I backprobed the "B" Solenoid Circuit at the PCM with a incandescent test light hooked to ground.
*KOEO....Test Light was lit, Normal on a Ground Side Switched Solenoid as the Ignition Power will pass through the solenoid coil.
*5amp fused jumper wire hooked to Ground, Touching the "B" Solenoid resulted in a Click from the Solenoid.
*Test Light hooked to ground, Probing the "B" Solenoid Circuit, I activated the "B" Solenoid with the Scan Tool.
*Test Light stayed lit....No "B" Solenoid control from the PCM.

Okay....Bad PCM? Maybe so, It doesn't control the circuit & no circuit DTC is being generated?? Even though '97/'98 LSx PCM's suck....They're not known for shift solenoid control driver issues.

Not having a P0758 (Solenoid B Circuit) DTC had me a little confused, So I unplugged the Trans Connector to see if I could generate ANY Trans related DTC's. No DTC'S!
As this PCM has been fiddled with....I hooked up HP-Tuners to it....Low & behold, ALL the Trans DTC's had been disabled, Probably because it was setting a P0758???

I would've thrown a used PCM in it just to conclude my circuit testing, But I don't keep '97/'98 PCM's laying around.

Alright.....Let's remove the connectors from the PCM to make sure nothings funky in there.....There it was, Staring right at me, Pin 40 of C1 which is Solenoid B Control was pushed into the PCM.
I was kinda disappointed in myself because I've seen this before with bolt down connector Gen III LSx controllers, Though it's usually more than one pin that gets pushed in.

Removed the PCM casing & pushed the pin back & straightened it out, Threw the PCM back in....We now have Solenoid B control, Short test drive confirmed repair.

I kept up with my time & charged him for every minute! I could see he wanted to complain, But at the same time.....He knew it was his own doing.
I demanded CASH as I could see him disputing a credit card charge, Had to give him a ride to an ATM....We got to talking cars/engines, Seems like a nice enough guy, He was just frustrated & it was boiling over when we spoke over the phone.
In the end....I'm glad I was able to resolve the issue!!!

TEvmgu4.jpg

r3zlGKJ.jpg

b3F15aY.jpg

AB8S6Zg.jpg
 
Last edited:

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
10,697
Location
Birmingham, AL
Yeah, people are nuts these days.

With my Explorer guys, I tell them exactly what I want done, if there's any issue they call me and it's handled. Period. There's no nickel and diming, beating around the bush stuff, no games, and if there is a previous problem, it's disclosed so we can get to the bottom of it. Why hide the problem if you are being straightforward and want it fixed?
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,386
Location
New Jersey
I can’t fathom dealing with people like that every day. To put that much skill and logic into a situation with a questionable customer… that was nice of you. I did enjoy reviewing your thought process. Lots to learn and so I appreciate you documenting steps like that!
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
2,194
Location
Vancouver
Nice work.

I work in the fuel injection repair business and the amount of hack “mechanics” that phone us on a daily basis to diagnose, or try to install something we rebuilt, or just simply bring back something perfectly good that they believe is bad because they can’t install it properly is astronomical. It costs us many, many thousands a year. Half these guys don’t even want to try and install something correctly because the proper procedure is too difficult or requires special tools. Then they wonder why the thing smokes or runs poorly. The flip side of that is we get a lot of work because guys try to fix things themselves and just make it worse.

All in all I hate dealing with the public. Honestly even half our wholesale accounts are not a picnic either. I’m too deep into it now to consider a career change however.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
426
Location
Kern Co. California
Wonderful story. From my past in the automotive service biz, I remember so many calls getting screamed at for things I cannot control or did. I commend you on keeping your cool and having emotional intelligence!!
 

WDB

Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
26
Location
NOT IN THE CITY
The job I had today makes me want to NEVER do a Bench/Carry-out transmission rebuild ever again.

1998 Chevy Camaro Z-28, 5.7L/4L60E.

Owner called Monday saying he was having an issue with a 4L60E I built him. He didn't want to tell me how long it had been by telling me he didn't know. His name/invoice wasn't coming up on my computer & told him if I did it after August 2019....The Invoice would be in my system.
Asked if he had his copy of the Invoice? He does not.
Was it a hand written Invoice? He thinks it was.

I could tell he was getting aggravated, So I got to the point & asked what the problem was.....
"I'm getting my car dyno tuned & the transmission is locked in 3rd gear"
Me: Are you sure you have Ignition Power at the Trans Connector?
"Yes....We checked EVERYTHING, It's in the transmission"
Me: Are there any trans codes stored in the PCM?
"No....I was a mechanic, I know what I'm doing"
Me: If there's an issue with my unit, I'll be happy to take care of it.
"Starts shouting off an address 50 miles away & he needs this taken care of right away"
Me: Sir....I'm not a mobile mechanic & can't just drop what I'm doing, Shut the doors to my business & come play "whack-a mole" with you.
"You said you'd fix it?"
Me: I will fix it IF I'm at fault or the fault is INSIDE the unit. But, I DO NOT do field repairs & I DO NOT travel to other businesses to do repairs. You have 3 options....
*Remove the unit & bring it to me
*Have the car towed to my shop
*Trailer it here yourself
I highly recommend the latter 2 options so I can make sure the Wiring & PCM are sound.


He started mouthing off in a elevated tone, I caught very little of it because of my selective hearing which I've perfected by being married for 25 years!!
I advised him to calm down.....Bring your car & I'll be happy to look at it, But don't show up here running your mouth! Then I hung up the phone.

He called back @ 30 minutes later wanting my address with a different tone.

I found his Invoice later that evening by going through my paper invoices in storage....Dated 6-24-17, He bought ALL the parts himself....Including the Solenoids & Internal Harness. I wrote "No Part Warranty" in bold sharpie right on the Invoice & judging by the total....He beat me up pretty good on the labor as well.

He showed up this morning....Of course he didn't trailer it or have the car towed per my recommendation....He drove it! I bit my tongue & didn't say anything as I'm no longer liable for this unit anyway.

IT GETS BETTER....He didn't arrange any transportation back home & Didn't set up an appointment for me to diagnose the issue while he waited. I'm at least partially at fault for this as I never got around to informing him that I don't deal with "Waiting Customers".

Pulling the car into the bay.....The car was taking off in 4th, Not 3rd!!! With the little/sloppy 3600-4000 stall converter....It took half throttle to get it to move forward!


On to the diagnostics......
*He was correct....There are no DTC's stored & The Trans Connector had Ignition Power.
*Using my Snap-on Solus Ultra.....I activated the 2 Shift Solenoids individually to see if I could audibly hear them Click.
*Shift Solenoid "A" would click, Shift Solenoid "B" would not. Makes sense...."A" solenoid On & "B" solenoid Off is 4th gear.
*My first thought was the "B" solenoid is mechanically stuck Off, If there an Open in the electrical circuit....The PCM would set a "B" Solenoid Circuit DTC.

*Instead of dropping the Trans Pan & replacing the "B" Solenoid based on this alone....I decided to do some actual circuit testing first.
*I backprobed the "B" Solenoid Circuit at the PCM with a incandescent test light hooked to ground.
*KOEO....Test Light was lit, Normal on a Ground Side Switched Solenoid as the Ignition Power will pass through the solenoid coil.
*5amp fused jumper wire hooked to Ground, Touching the "B" Solenoid resulted in a Click from the Solenoid.
*Test Light hooked to ground, Probing the "B" Solenoid Circuit, I activated the "B" Solenoid with the Scan Tool.
*Test Light stayed lit....No "B" Solenoid control from the PCM.

Okay....Bad PCM? Maybe so, It doesn't control the circuit & no circuit DTC is being generated?? Even though '97/'98 LSx PCM's suck....They're not known for shift solenoid control driver issues.

Not having a P0758 (Solenoid B Circuit) DTC had me a little confused, So I unplugged the Trans Connector to see if I could generate ANY Trans related DTC's. No DTC'S!
As this PCM has been fiddled with....I hooked up HP-Tuners to it....Low & behold, ALL the Trans DTC's had been disabled, Probably because it was setting a P0758???

I would've thrown a used PCM in it just to conclude my circuit testing, But I don't keep '97/'98 PCM's laying around.

Alright.....Let's remove the connectors from the PCM to make sure nothings funky in there.....There it was, Staring right at me, Pin 40 of C1 which is Solenoid B Control was pushed into the PCM.
I was kinda disappointed in myself because I've seen this before with bolt down connector Gen III LSx controllers, Though it's usually more than one pin that gets pushed in.

Removed the PCM casing & pushed the pin back & straightened it out, Threw the PCM back in....We now have Solenoid B control, Short test drive confirmed repair.

I kept up with my time & charged him for every minute! I could see he wanted to complain, But at the same time.....He knew it was his own doing.
I demanded CASH as I could see him disputing a credit card charge, Had to give him a ride to an ATM....We got to talking cars/engines, Seems like a nice enough guy, He was just frustrated & it was boiling over when we spoke over the phone.
In the end....I'm glad I was able to resolve the issue!!!

TEvmgu4.jpg

r3zlGKJ.jpg

b3F15aY.jpg

AB8S6Zg.jpg
You are truly a saint.....To put up with this man's mouth and whatever else he accused you of.....I have every belief you are a TRUE, HONEST AND TRULY THE CREAM OF THE CROP INDIVIDUALS...Truly a one of a kind human being. I salute you with the highest regards. I wished you lived close by...I would buy you the dinner of your choice, just to prove what I am saying about you. If you ever in my area look me up! Send me a private note. BEST TO YOU ALWAYS.
WDB
 

ZeeOSix

$100 site donor 2022
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
33,034
Location
PNW
Alright.....Let's remove the connectors from the PCM to make sure nothings funky in there.....There it was, Staring right at me, Pin 40 of C1 which is Solenoid B Control was pushed into the PCM.
I was kinda disappointed in myself because I've seen this before with bolt down connector Gen III LSx controllers, Though it's usually more than one pin that gets pushed in.
So what caused the pin on the PCM to push in? Was someone not careful enough while reconnecting the connector (sloppy install alignment)? Did you ask him if the PCM connectors were monkeyed with by someone?
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
36,953
Location
NY
Kudos! I have a story about an irate customer who accused me of hanging her wallpaper which was peeling off in sheets, two years after it was hung. I remembered her, and made a note in my computer after the estimate. Many customers just stand out, and are note worthy! Shortly after the estimate she called to inform me my price was too high and she was using someone else. She even mentioned his name, and how his price was almost half of mine [I hear that a lot] which I put into my notes. My notes said shopping, got better price, and is using *.* to do the job. After I listened to her scream and threaten to take me to court I informed her of who did the work for her and to call him and bust his balls! LOL She felt stupid and hung up.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
3,640
Location
pa
dealing with customers is surely the worse part of business, + since you surely know both ends it was a success!!
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
8,816
Location
MI
Surely, this is one of the challenges of owning ones own business. It is rarely as easy as some dream it is. I run into this a bit growing Christmas trees.

I feel compelled to add to the existing accolades. Kudos for your professionalism, both technical and personal relationship skills. I dream of having excellent critical diagnostic skills. Your selective listening comment gave me my much needed morning chuckle. Thank you.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
2,284
Location
RI
Kudos to your patience my friend. Even better that you proved all his diagnostics wrong!! Well done.
 
Top