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Is the mechanic honest?

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I took my '96 G20 auto to a new mechanic (with a very good reputation) for new CV joints. The CV joint job was fine (although he kept the car an extra day, and I had to bring it back for a minor adjustment).

When I picked up my car, the shifter was locked in park (the was no click sound when I tapped the brake). The manager inspected it, and tried to force the shifter to no avail. He told me he may have to tow it back to the garage (50 ft). He then popped off the shifter cover, unlocked the shifter (with a screw driver), and drove it to the service bay. The technician looked it over (out of my view), and declared that I needed a new shift interlock cable and solenoid. He explained the solenoid and cable were one part, and the cable had stretched, and was not adjustable.

I thought it was a bit fishy that the problem would present it's self out of the blue, and there was no sound at all when I tapped the brake. I told the manager that I would drive the car home, and use the "screw driver method" while I thought about the repair. The technician then crawled into the car for less than 30 seconds, and said he adjusted (the allegedly un-adjustable part), and it would be fine for a week, but the part would have to be replaced soon. I thanked the mechanic for the adjustment, and (giving him the benefit of the doubt) commented how lucky I was to get stranded at his shop.

I drove the car for 2 weeks without incident... then the shifter locked up on me (in park). I was able to start the car in neutral, and continued to do so for a month before realizing my brake lights were not working. After checking the fuse, I looked at the brake light switch, and noticed what appeared to be a loose clip. I noticed the connector was a bit loose, and after pushing it, the brake lights and shift lock worked (for a couple of days).

Is there any chance that there is a grain of truth to the mechanics story?

Is the brake light switch connector clip out of place on the pictures below? If so, how can I clip it correctly?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

-Zog


 

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Umm... the brake light switch completes a circuit and allows the shift lock solenoid to operate, without that clip being put all the way in, the solenoid will not work.
 

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If hes not crooked, hes an idiot. Dont go back there.

You may want to check car talk's website. They have setup a portion of their website to list good mechanics and ones to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If hes not crooked, hes an idiot. Dont go back there.

You may want to check car talk's website. They have setup a portion of their website to list good mechanics and ones to avoid.
I used car talk and kudzu.com to find him. 3 positive reviews on car talk &151 rave reviews 3 negative at Kudzu.
 

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drunken master
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Im thinking he mabe misdiagnosed the problem are it could be posible that the brake light switch was tested during diag and was not returned correctly.
hard to say.
im not to formiliare withthe g20 auto shift essy but i have fixed plenty on nissans and commenly its either contacts broken, shift inter lock relay and some times a soliniod.

i fi were you id disconect the brake switch an check the terminals out and tighten them and tighten their contact a bit then go from thier. i could give you more tips but you are not a tech and im assuming you dont have tools and such to find and fix a problem
 

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drunken master
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randy if it was the blue relay in the shifter essy commen for pathfinder and qx4 it is the shift interlock relay that you had replaced
 

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Yeah that sounds like sabotage.
Id have to agree with Colin on this one.



That little black tab shouldnt have a gash in there like that, it should be all black with no pieces missing (arrow points to what im talking about) Look at similar connectors and youll see what im talking about. That part of the connector does NOT come out on its own, it takes quite a bit of effort to get it to come out.

edit: Unless thats just paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Im thinking he mabe misdiagnosed the problem are it could be posible that the brake light switch was tested during diag and was not returned correctly.
hard to say.
im not to formiliare withthe g20 auto shift essy but i have fixed plenty on nissans and commenly its either contacts broken, shift inter lock relay and some times a soliniod.

That's an interesting theory... So, the mechanic could have legitimatly found a defect, and forgot to clip the brake switch contact back together.

Dose his claim that the shift interlock cable stretched make sense? Could he have adjusted it that quickly (or at all)?

If the only problem was a shortened cable, wouldn't I have heard something (either the solenoid or the shift lock assembly partially disengaging)?

i fi were you id disconect the brake switch an check the terminals out and tighten them and tighten their contact a bit then go from thier. i could give you more tips but you are not a tech and im assuming you dont have tools and such to find and fix a problem

I tried to disconnect the switch, but it didn't come apart easily (and I didn't want to froce anything). Should I be a bit more aggressive pulling the plug out, or is there some trick to removing the connector?


Id have to agree with Colin on this one.



That little black tab shouldnt have a gash in there like that, it should be all black with no pieces missing (arrow points to what im talking about) Look at similar connectors and youll see what im talking about. That part of the connector does NOT come out on its own, it takes quite a bit of effort to get it to come out.

edit: Unless thats just paint.
Not sure what that is, I see it more clearly in the pictures than with my own eyes. I looked for a similar connector under the hood, but didn't see any. Would I find one in the center console?


The connector doesn't look rite as it is now... should those hooks be clipped into the notch in the gray part of the connector?

Thanks for all the input guys
 

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should those hooks be clipped into the notch in the gray part of the connector?

Thanks for all the input guys
Yes, thats what holds the clip in place. Its hard to say. Things fail on cars all the time for no reason. I did a headgasket on an 01 Civic. When he dropped the car off I drove it into the shop no problem. Did the job, took it on a road test, no prob. Parked it, took the key back into the shop, then before he came down to pick it up I took it to wash it, clean it up nice for the customer. When I got to the wash I couldnt pull the key out of the switch. I obviously did nothing. Things fail on cars all the time, its just bad odds it fails at the shop.
Think about it, you probably spend 98% of the time of your car driving. Its only at a shop for less than 1% of its life. The 98% of the time when something would fail you wouldnt think anything of it, then that 1% of random bad luck when something goes bad while the car is sitting at a shop looks bad.
But with that said, there are several scenerios. Hard to say what actually happened:
1. They changed your axle and buggered the brake switch to get you back for some reason (Seems a bit extreme, there are safer ways to bring you back if you want to sabotage something)
2. Your clip just broke with age and use and they misdiagnosed it and assumed it was the PNP switch instead of the brake switch.
3. They went thru the diagnostic procedure, unplugged the brake switch, checked it, tried to put back on but did it incorrectly and came up inconclusive. So without knowing anything just assumed it was the PNP again

1 suggests sabotage the other 2 suggest ineptitude. If they have that good a rep and reviews this coulda just been some noob at the shop. Personally I would be hesitant to go back, but would understand that another tech could possibly get it done right. I would call them, let them know what you found and what you did and that your not happy and skeptical about bringing it back to them. And IF you do bring it back to them you will thoroughly inspect their work afterwards.
 

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Id have to agree with Colin on this one.



That little black tab shouldnt have a gash in there like that, it should be all black with no pieces missing (arrow points to what im talking about) Look at similar connectors and youll see what im talking about. That part of the connector does NOT come out on its own, it takes quite a bit of effort to get it to come out.

edit: Unless thats just paint.
this gouge could have been due to an old owner or another mechanic prior to this work. Its impossible to say whether or not this is the mechanic in question's fault.

You could test that mechanic. A family friend bought a toyota in the 80's when you were supposed to come in every so often and get the head bolts tightened. He put a piece of masking tape over the head and valve cover and it was untouched when the work was done. He went to the manager and mechanic with this detail and got the work redone on the spot for free and he watched just to be certain.

You could partially unplug it and take it back and see what he does. You could also put a small amount of paint on part of the solenoid to see if he actually swaps it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If I am correct, the mechanic & technician are crooked

If the shift interlock cable did stretch, would the locking mechanism fail to lock, or fail to un-lock?
 
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