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Old 01-06-2011, 07:15 AM   #1
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2001 Boxster bleeding to death...

Hey everyone, if this post is in the incorrect forum, I apologize. I will repost if necessary.

I know this is a lengthy post so I'll give an early bulleted summary:
-2001 Boxster leaking oil
-Paid over $1,000 to have cam covers repaired at dealership (didn't fix it)
-Now dealership claims it's the RMS (another $1,000)
-Questions at end of post

Here is my situation:
About a month ago, my 986 boxster began a slow drip of oil onto the exhaust and I was signaled by a distinct burning smell after I parked her. After she'd sit overnight there would be a tiny puddle (maybe 1/8 cup) of oil on the floor. I immediately began checking around for someone who could diagnose the problem but within a short few days the leak drastically increased. In fact, the last night I drove it was when I pulled into my garage and it leaked about 4 or 5 cups of oil. You could even see a visible trail of oil behind the vehicle. I checked the oil again and it still wasn't low, but I dared not drive it anymore.

I had it flatbedded to a local shop to diagnose and they had no idea what they were talking about... they said it was transaxle fluid and they couldn't work on it. I then had it flatbedded to another local shop and they said they didn't even have the tools to diagnose it.

Well, to make a long story short, I broke down and had it bedded to the dealership over an hour away (Bert Wolfe in Charleston, WV.) After taking about a week, they finally called me and told me the leak was due to the Cam Covers. I didn't even know what these were until I researched it and found out they are Valve Covers. They quoted me $1,068 for the repair ($368 in repairs and the rest in labor at $100/hour). I asked if this would fix the problem and the guy said, "I'm sure this will."

Well, after a few more weeks over Christmas and New Year's, they call me and tell it is ready for pickup. So, I have someone drive me all the way up there and I lay down my credit card for the repairs. I drive her about 2/3rds of the way home and decide to pull over just to check everything out. Well, it was leaking like crazy-just as bad as before, if not worse! I shut off the engine and immediately check the oil level. To my surprise, it was fine! I knew these held a lot of oil, but I didn't expect it to hold up this well with such a nasty leak.

So, the next day I call the dealership and they tell me to send it back. If it was something they did wrong then they would absorb the repair costs. Well, the next day I have it flatbedded all the way back to Charleston (the dealership doesn't have towing service and I have now paid almost $400 to have it towed everywhere). This morning they call me and say the problem is at the back of the crankshaft or something. I asked them if it was another name for the Rear Main Seal and they said yes.

They are quoting me about another $1,000 for parts and labor. I guess I have no choice so I told them to do it. I am not a rich guy by any means... I work full time and go to school full time and I'm going to have to sell the car after it is fixed.

So here are my questions:

1) Is the dealership taking advantage of me? Should they not be at least partially liable for the second phase of repairs?

2) Since they are going to have to drop the engine out to fix this, should I have them replace anything else or check anything else while they are up in there? (IMS, etc.?)

3) Does anyone want to buy a 2001 dark red Boxster with 66,000 miles on it after it is properly repaired? haha

I sincerely appreciate any advice or guidance on this... I know you guys are a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Thank you,
Aaron






Last edited by aaroncaserta; 01-06-2011 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:41 AM   #2
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IMHO they should in fact be standing up to take care of the cost of the 2nd repair if they misdiagnosed it initially. Especially something like a big oil leak like you describe, which they should at least be able to tell the area it's coming from.

But how much confidence do you now have in these guys to fix it right after they screwed up the first time?

It doesn't make sense to me that if it's the RMS it'll be dripping onto your exhaust as you describe.

BTW, you don't have to drop the engine to do the RMS, just the tranny. And, yes, most forum members would likely say do the clutch and IMS at the same time.

As much as it would pain you, I think if the dealership didn't stand up, I'd look elsewhere.

Personally, I love the colour of your car. (I've already got a Boxster, thanks.)
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:45 AM   #3
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With a bad enough leak that oil could get anywhere under and around on the engine. Most certainly at highway speeds. I feel that the dealer is telling you to just bend over and take it. You took it to a Porsche Dealership where they have cerrtified Porsche Techs. You should expect to get what you paid for. You did not. You asked if it would stop the oil leak they said it would. It did not. I would say pay for parts but labor is now on them. You just paid them $700 (labor) to fix something that was not broke.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaroncaserta
If it was something they did wrong then they would absorb the repair costs. Well, the next day I have it flatbedded all the way back to Charleston (the dealership doesn't have towing service and I have now paid almost $400 to have it towed everywhere). This morning they call me and say the problem is at the back of the crankshaft or something. I asked them if it was another name for the Rear Main Seal and they said yes.
It was something they did wrong. They misdiagnosed the problem. By their own word they should absorb the repair cost.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:56 AM   #5
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Any good lawyers on this forum like to have an input.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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Good will point #1:
If I were them -- I would waive the previous repair costs -- as that
did not resolve the problem.

I would then look to fix it correctly -- and only charge for what fixes the problem.

Good Will point #2:
I'd throw you a bone for having to deal with the issue more than once.

I think it is fair to pay for the proper fix -- but you shouldn't pay for any
fix that was incorrectly diagnosed.

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:31 AM   #7
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First, call your CC company and report the transaction as a fraud, to effect a refund.
That Dealership had no excuse for that incorrect diagnosis and costly and unneeded repair. As a matter of fact, how do you know the cam cover job was actually done?

Then find another place to work on your car.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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Call Porsche US Corporate office and complain, but let them know too, you are going to Porsche about there inability for them to have done the job right the first time. ******************** and ******************** LOUD.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:20 PM   #9
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I wouldn't be so quick to condemn the dealership. It's quite possible that these two leaks are separate incidents.

If an engine leaks as much as you describe, chances are it's been neglected for a long time (not necessarily by you, I am sure there is a PO somewhere...) and likely has plenty of other things that are on the verge of failing. So this may just be unfortunate coincidence.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluellen
I wouldn't be so quick to condemn the dealership. It's quite possible that these two leaks are separate incidents.

If an engine leaks as much as you describe, chances are it's been neglected for a long time (not necessarily by you, I am sure there is a PO somewhere...) and likely has plenty of other things that are on the verge of failing. So this may just be unfortunate coincidence.
The OP said it was leaking just as bad after the "repair" as before.

Cam covers on the M96s can tend to weep; no big deal.

They missed whatever the real problem is.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:07 PM   #11
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thanks

Thank you for the responses. I instructed the dealership to continue with the repairs because they are my only repair option in the area but they are over an hour away. I took it to two local shops where I am and neither could work on it. I got sick of paying to have it flatbedded everywhere and just shipped it to the dealer.

I am going to call the dealership tomorrow and ask the following questions:

1) Can you please show me proof that the cam covers were replaced?
2) How do you know for sure that the RMS is the problem?

If you all have any other suggestions, I great appreciate the help. It's nice to have some honest information.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:58 PM   #12
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1k to seal cam covers huh??? Damn, I thought we were expensive!

I have some indirect experience with this dealership, we have a car here now tht came to us from them..

Don't these people test drive a vehcle? I put at least 90 miles on every car we do any sort of repair work to and if they did the same and gave the oil a chance to heat up and thin out, they'd not get these types of comebacks...
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:12 AM   #13
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Devastating update time

Devastating update time:

Last week I got a call from Bert Wolfe telling me there was a leak on the transmission and the seal had to be replaced (RMS). I tell them to go for it... Well, today they call me back and tell me that there were metal shavings in the transmission fluid and they recommend to have the tranny replaced. I cringed as he proceeded to tell me that a new replacement transmission was going to be $8000 and a used transmission is going to cost $3000.

(I am wondering if the leak was the transmission all along and they misdiagnosed it.) I wouldn't know how to prove it anyway.

I am checking around locally to see if any shops are able to install a tiptronic transmission in this Boxster, but I highly doubt anyone where I live can do this type of surgery.

The dealership said they would work with me on the labor, but at this point I'm not sure what my options are. Does anyone know of a place that I could find a 2001 Boxster tiptronic transmission?

Thanks for the help,

Aaron
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaroncaserta
Devastating update time:

Last week I got a call from Bert Wolfe telling me there was a leak on the transmission and the seal had to be replaced (RMS). I tell them to go for it... Well, today they call me back and tell me that there were metal shavings in the transmission fluid and they recommend to have the tranny replaced. I cringed as he proceeded to tell me that a new replacement transmission was going to be $8000 and a used transmission is going to cost $3000.

(I am wondering if the leak was the transmission all along and they misdiagnosed it.) I wouldn't know how to prove it anyway.

I am checking around locally to see if any shops are able to install a tiptronic transmission in this Boxster, but I highly doubt anyone where I live can do this type of surgery.

The dealership said they would work with me on the labor, but at this point I'm not sure what my options are. Does anyone know of a place that I could find a 2001 Boxster tiptronic transmission?

Thanks for the help,

Aaron

I thought metal shavings are normal for automatic transmission as long as you don't have too much or metal chunk.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbarkley/5334659553/in/photostream/

My other cars are toyota and mercury. both has magnet attached to the transmission pan to attract all the metal shavings. I drop the pan every 50K miles and always find metal shavings build up on the magnet. Never have any problems with those transmission even with shavings...

Is you transmission shifts fine (does it slip??) ? If it works fine, I think the dealer is just try to make money selling you a new transmission. Also, you can check the leaky fluid color. If it is red, most likely it is the transmission. I hate dealer when they just want to make money and treat customer like they know nothing about car.

You can find used transmission from ebay....

Last edited by laphan; 01-26-2011 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:08 AM   #15
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I would tend to think that if the tranny was shifting fine before you brought it in for the leaks it's still fine. Something smells funny with this dealer.

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Old 01-26-2011, 08:21 AM   #16
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I don't think that I'd replace a transmission when the only symptom was a few metal shavings in the fluid ... not a good sign, but not the immediate end of life for the transmission either.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:40 AM   #17
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Personally...

Hi Aaron,

Sorry to hear of all your troubles with the stealership. This is the sort of thing that made me get out of the automobile service industry.

If it were me I'd be looking for an attorney to at least speak to, many will give pro bono advice on a situation, so you know where you stand legally. it will be tough to prove negligence I think, I don't know that overcharging you and misdiagnosing would qualify.

What scares me is the more I read from you it seems it's getting worse they more they touch the car.

I'd be finding out if the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Protection Office has complaints about them and what they were. It may also be beneficial to call the State Attorney Generals Office and explain as politely as you can the situation. You can dispute the charge if you paid using a credit card. Make sure you write down the name of everyone you speak to and the date and time, this may be important later on and will establish a time line of events.

Armed with what you have done, and all your notes ask to speak to the owner of the dealership and let them know you will pursue the matter with all the aforementioned entities. Offer to the dealership that you aren't above calling the local newspaper or investigative people at the local TV station to apprise them of your plight.

Even when it's all said and done and you get the car fixed I'd NEVER darken the door of that place again. I drive 65 miles to get my car serviced in Delaware, even though there is a dealer 14 miles from me. ( I used to work there and know how they are, that's why!!)

I wish you the best!

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Old 01-26-2011, 08:59 AM   #18
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Hmmn, they sound confused. I'd seriously recommend a second opinion.

Misdiagnosis? They can't tell the difference in transmission fluid or engine oil? I guess they aren't as hardcore as we are, hell I taste to tell the difference if I can't smell the difference!
Their probably isn't a publication that directs such action in their library~
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:13 AM   #19
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It is time to get your boxster out of their shop. And X2 on reporting your initial bill as fraud.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:34 PM   #20
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Politely tell them to reattach the tranny so you can remove your car from their premises. Don't let the tranny suggestion cloud the issue.

What have you worked out on the RMS / cam cover costs? Dealerships make mistakes but they should be offering something for their misdiagnosis. As others have said, there should be a refund of the cam cover cost or a parts only RMS repair. Something.

God forbid your car is still leaking, it would behoove you to get under it and locate the area that's leaking. Cam cover issues would most likely spill oil down the side of your engine. An RMS failure would leak at the bottom center of your engine where the block and trans connect. Depending on what the problem is, the leak would be in a distinct location. When you said it was leaking on your exhaust, did you mean the headers rather than the muffler? That would indicate cam covers, not RMS.

I hope things turn out well for you. Be civil but firm with them.

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