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Old 09-23-2012, 09:01 AM   #11
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A bit long-winded, but on topic.

We had a mechanic like this in our little town. People would blindly trust him with their cars. He started off a decent guy, but then realized he was the only game in town, people would have to go 20 miles to someone else. Next thing you know, he gets "funding" to build a bigger workshop, he started selling cars as well.
As far as I can tell, he was duping people left and right. Charge them for parts never replaced, replace stuff that didn't need it, and "create" issues while the car was in the shop, so that they would need to come back to fix the "created issue" down the road.

About the time I inherited my grandpa'* Regal (yes, the silver turbo 87), it needed some work, since grandpa didn't drive it much, and it tended to sit.
Took it to this guy (since I was only 16, and my parents followed everyone else in the BS line straight to this guy), to have some things done.

Now, I'm a person who questions things, and I knew a bit about electronics from my years running RC cars. We went through 3 batteries, 2 alternators, a new ECM, and days of it sitting outside the shop "waiting to be diagnosed", for insane diagnostic fees. All that in the time span of about 4 months. The last time it died and wouldn't charge, I bought my first Haynes manual and read it from cover to cover. I took my multimeter and started testing things on my own, even though I was fighting my parents who wanted to take it back to the guy. You know what it was? Bad cables. The ground cable was hanging on by a thread, and the battery cable was completely shot. Neither item was ever looked at or replaced. I grabbed new cables, put them in myself, and magically the problems went away. After that, I would buy parts and have my friend, (who took all the auto tech classes in high school, and went on to trade school for auto mechanics) help me understand and fix things. Soon, my parents were coming to me with their car problems, some of which were apparently done by the "mechanic".

As it so happened, around this time, another shop opened up about 8 miles from here, owned by a friend of the family. Place was family owned and run. Anything I didn't trust myself to do yet (brakes, engine work) or couldn't do (tires, inspections) went to this new shop. Their daughter was born the same day I was, and parents shared a hospital room. We knew them well. We helped the word about this place, and soon, they had a nice long line of people coming from the other shop.

Months later, magically, the original mechanic'* place was sitting empty, his business was all going elsewhere. Out of nowhere, a huge fire leveled almost the entire shop. (Either karma, or he had some good insurance, no one could prove it was intentional).

Eventually, the "good" shop was bought out by a chain. They ruined it, charged people too much, basically the status quo for a chain shop. One of the original mechanics, who worked for the original owners, bought them out and started over. Now he owns the place, and 2 more nearby, and it is family run, just like it used to be. He sits behind the desk answering the phone, picks up people, goes out into the shop to give the guys a hand, he'* not a "sit back and let everyone else work" type of guy. I go to this guy for everything. He even sold me the truck I now have, and financed it himself when the bank wouldn't give me a reasonable rate (since the truck is a 2001). He is probably one of the few good ones left out there. And he has more business than he can handle, and even parking there is always an adventure with so many customers. That is how you do business!


Moral of the story... learn something about cars. Doesn't mean you have to know how to tear something apart, but know how it works. Know some basics. If questionable, ask for the old parts when you get something done. Question anything that seems unreasonable.
I had to try to turn my parents away from the one mechanic they blindly trusted, too. It took work. I had to prove that what he was doing was wrong, and not needed, that he was a fraud. Its how I started learning to work on cars for myself. Once I could prove he was a fraud, they came around and listened to reason. Not just my parents, but a lot of people in this town took some pushing to realize it. Once my buddy and I started working on other people'* cars on the side just out of high school, and fixing problems the mechanic couldn't manage to fix, people started believing.

Its part of the problem with the world. People don't question things. Doctors, mechanics, accountants, etc. They trust these people to be honest, and they never learn anything for themselves. If the Doc says you need meds, they take the meds. No need to figure out why, the doc said so. If people would just start questioning things like this, we wouldn't have so many corrupt and fraudulent professionals.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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Well said Jason. Nothing wrong with asking questions and you have the legal right to ask for the old part back. Even if its a warranted item.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #13
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thanks for the feedback...that was actually the exact same alternator I was thinking would be the one after a bit of reading.the AC can be bypassed all together if I get the right size belt on the LX5 though can't it? Not sure if I found right belt diagram. I know how to measure...and know how tight a belt should be...ultimately i still have to look at the car to really know what I am dealing with, but yes I would prefer some cheaper ceramic/ daily driver pads- decent, not the best, but still fair quality and reliable.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #14
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I appreciate the post Jason, my biggest problem with this mech is it seems like he may honestly just be a complete moron....but either way it is frustrating, I took my first car to him as well on my dads suggestion, when he gave me a list of what should be done and I was looking at the pricing, I turned and walked out. My dad tried to convince me to get it all done right away and he would help me pay for it...I had about 250 bucks to spend on a chilton book and some parts. I wasn't about to waste 72 plus labor on some spark plugs and another 80 +labor for the wires...
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanlesabre View Post
thanks for the feedback...that was actually the exact same alternator I was thinking would be the one after a bit of reading.the AC can be bypassed all together if I get the right size belt on the LX5 though can't it? Not sure if I found right belt diagram. I know how to measure...and know how tight a belt should be...ultimately i still have to look at the car to really know what I am dealing with, but yes I would prefer some cheaper ceramic/ daily driver pads- decent, not the best, but still fair quality and reliable.
Very welcome, always happy to help another!
I imagine if you can get the right length belt, with the right amount of ribs, keep the right amount of tension, and be able to bypass the compressor, then it may work, but I have not had to ever bypass a pulley that way.
To see if you can find a belt the right length to bypass it, you'd want to use something like some string, and run it around the pulley'* except for the compressor pulley, make sure the belt is on the car when you do that though, or the lack of tension in the belt is going to throw off your measurements a bit.
When you have your measurements you may be able to find a V ribbed/6rib belt the length you need.

I tried to find a bypass pulley for your 2001 Intrigue, but was not able to find one, I did see one for the 3.8L version of your motor, but you should have the 3.5L motor, and honestly I am not sure the if the pulleys are the same or not.


As for the brake pads, there are some ceramic ones that are cheaper, but only by around $5.00, the CENTRIC Part # 30106990
I'd spend the 5.00 more and get the RAYBESTOS Part # SGD698C ceramic brake pads if it were me, but if cash is tight you should do ok with the Centric'*, I personally have never used them, so I am not sure how they are quality wise.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:14 AM   #16
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Forgot to add a pic of the belt diagram for the 3.5L motor you have.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:18 PM   #17
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I agree with you assessment of your dad'* "mechanic". BTW, I also searched, and found nothing for an A/C bypass pulley.
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