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Hi, so yesterday a girl walks in and handed me some pictures of what looks to be a Black spot on her cooling fan like something has been rubbing on it. She explained that she was on a trip over the weekend and something it happened she lost all her coolant while driving. She had it towed to the local Subaru dealer. They told her the cooling fan had rubbed a spot through on the upper radiator hose causing the engine to loose it’s coolant, it overheated and now supposedly the engine is seized up. Guess who just replace the radiator about one month ago Yep we did. Luckily she’s a very nice girl but kind of sat there wondering what I would do for her. she said the dealer quoted her six grand for a new engine... of course that’s not gonna happen since has approximately 200,000 on her 05 Subaru Outback. Now the vehicle is approximately three hours away and she’s wondering what I can do for her. I talk to the dealership that the car is that they basically said whoever put the radiator in is at fault but they didn’t know why the hose started rubbing against the fan??? Anyway we were in that spot last so I feel like I’m responsible to do something. Wondering if anybody has any thoughts on how to handle this, or if anyone has had similar situations. Thanks.

 

 

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Assuming that your workmanship is indeed at fault, this would probably be covered by your insurance. Funny how it works though. They probably wouldn't cover the hose because that was caused by your tech, but they would cover any resulting damage ie the engine. We had a similar situation last year where an oil filter came off 6 months after an oil change. The insurance company didn't cover a new filter, but they did cover the engine, albeit at a reduced cost. The only big question is whether the insurance company wants you to get it back in your shop.

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Lot's of questions here. Have you talked to a person at the dealership who looked at the car? How far did the girl drive after seeing the temp was hot (might be hard to determine)? What is the car worth? What exactly on those cars could have caused this to happen? Are you part of network like Certified Auto Care or Technet? Gathering as much info as possible is the first step. 

We had one a few years ago where we had flushed the cooling system and done a couple things to resolve an overheating problem. We couldn't duplicate the symptom. A week later the girl drove over the mountains (I5 up the Grapevine, if anyone knows where that is) and it got hot and she hurt the motor. She admitted to her mother that she just kept driving and didn't stop until she got to the top and an off ramp. We didn't fix the car. It was 15 yr old car, they didn't want to spend more money on it, and we didn't think we owned the whole motor because she kept driving it.

Last year we did some work on a customers Dodge 1500. A few weeks later a heater hose blew off while he was towing up a mountain. He admitted he didn't stop right away. We didn't work on the heater hose, tech swears he had no reason to remove the heater hose to do the job. We put a motor in the truck. Customer is a good customer, and has a large circle of influence, and we just didn't want to argue about it. We just smiled and replaced the motor.

My point is that each decision is individual based on the facts, and what your brain and gut tell you is the right thing to do. 

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How does replacing the radiator cause the hose to be repositioned and rubbing? It seems like youll only remove one end and stick it back on the new radiator. Maybe you did the hoses too? 

Anyway, Im sure youll get the blame since dealers always will say independents cant do anything right.

We had a VW with a dead converter. We replaced it and parked it. A few hours later the car was on fire. Turns out VW had a recall on their heat shields that were flammable. The woman admitted that she got notices and never took it in. Who makes a car with flammable heat shields? I guess the same company that defeats their emmissions testing on their diesels. Who sells a converter with a larger diameter than the original? Worldpac. Who doesnt take their car in for a recall that could have burnt their house down and killed them? The customer. Who paid for the car? My insurance. The point is that I think we're always going to eat these things and its because of peoples general perceptions of independent shops. 

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YEP!  I would definitely get my insurance company involved - takes YOU out of the middle of it and puts it in the hands of an independent 3rd party.  It is also easier for them to look at a car 3 hours away and help you figure out your options.   Good luck - I've only had this happen once but I didn't loose the customer (at first)...  🙂

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Not a good position to be in.

As “Old & Tired” asked- Did you replace the hose? If you did, was it the correct hose? Did it match the original hose? Did the tech have any issues with proper fit? Was the hose supposed to be “cut to fit” and that step was overlooked causing a mis-routing of the hose and a possible contact issue? Was there fitmet issues with the radiator which may have caused a hose routing issue? Did the new radiator match up to the old radiator?

Most fan shrouds do a pretty good job at keeping hands, hoses and other components away from contacting 'the fan, was the shroud damaged? With 200K miles on the vehicle an engine mount or mounts may be worn/broken and allowed the engine to lift out of position thereby allowing the fan to contact the hose. How can the dealer come to the conclusion that whoever replaced the radiator is at fault but they are unable to identify how the fan contacted the hose?  

Could dealer check Freeze Frame information for an over temp code, miles driven since code set, coolant temp when code set?

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A lot of good questions here but if it were me i'd tow the car in and replace the engine with a used one with about 200k miles or less.

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AS most already said, if nothing else at least put your insurance company on hold. I would have it towed to my shop if you felt like the customer was ok with it and not trying to make you rebuilt the 200k mile car. It should be obvious what happened. Sometimes the dealerships love to throw independents under the bus. If you think the customer is salvageable and reasonable about what to do. Want hurt to look at it. GoodLuck. 

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Thx for all the feedback. I spoke in depth with the dealership. According to their master tech, the radiator hose was installed backwards (“s” shaped hose). My tech claims to have not removed the hose, just removed the radiator end (makes sense). So, who had the radiator hose off last.... who knows. Anyway, I feel partially responsible since we didn’t catch this. After a lot of thinking, I offered to pay for the tow back. I also offered to split the motor swap. She was very grateful. All in this will probably cost me $2000 (or just over), so I decided just to eat it and not get insurance involved. If this were a more expensive vehicle, I agree getting insurance involved sounds like a good idea. Thx for the responses to this, so helpful to hear how others have handled similar instances. Another reason to strive to MAKE MONEY on every job we do.


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10 minutes ago, autorepairuniversity said:

Thx for all the feedback. I spoke in depth with the dealership. According to their master tech, the radiator hose was installed backwards (“s” shaped hose). My tech claims to have not removed the hose, just removed the radiator end (makes sense). So, who had the radiator hose off last.... who knows. Anyway, I feel partially responsible since we didn’t catch this. After a lot of thinking, I offered to pay for the tow back. I also offered to split the motor swap. She was very grateful. All in this will probably cost me $2000 (or just over), so I decided just to eat it and not get insurance involved. If this were a more expensive vehicle, I agree getting insurance involved sounds like a good idea. Thx for the responses to this, so helpful to hear how others have handled similar instances. Another reason to strive to MAKE MONEY on every job we do.


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Like they say don't look back, move forward. Good Job !!

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52 minutes ago, autorepairuniversity said:

Thx for all the feedback. I spoke in depth with the dealership. According to their master tech, the radiator hose was installed backwards (“s” shaped hose). My tech claims to have not removed the hose, just removed the radiator end (makes sense). So, who had the radiator hose off last.... who knows. Anyway, I feel partially responsible since we didn’t catch this. After a lot of thinking, I offered to pay for the tow back. I also offered to split the motor swap. She was very grateful. All in this will probably cost me $2000 (or just over), so I decided just to eat it and not get insurance involved. If this were a more expensive vehicle, I agree getting insurance involved sounds like a good idea. Thx for the responses to this, so helpful to hear how others have handled similar instances. Another reason to strive to MAKE MONEY on every job we do.


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I guess your final message illustrates the variety of talents you need to have when you are self employed.

1- You started being a mechanic, buisiness owner.

2- You then became a detective gathering information from your peers and the crime scene.

3- You then became a judge and made a decision who should bear the cost of restoration.

4- You then became an arbitrator by calling the customer, explain the situation and arriving at a fair point of liability for both involved parties.

5- You then became an accountant and carefully weighed the financial pros and cons by involving the insurance company.

6- During the entire ordeal you became a student, attended the School of Hard Knocks and graduated with honors.

Good job!

 

 

 

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Another option would have been to see if you could find an engine where it was at a salvage yard that installs engine. That is sometimes the cheapest option. 

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