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Discussion Starter #1
HI! I have a 2000 Plymouth Grand Voyager. 146,000 miles. I am the original owner.
I never took it in to get the recall things fixed (clockspring and fuel rail) mostly for fear that as soon as I take it in to a dealership for the recall items something else will break.
This past sunday we noticed that there was a fuel smell so time to get it fixed!
Didn't drive it till we took it in Tuesday. Took it in to get recall things fixed, picked it up today (wed) and drove it home. Seemed great. Steering was stiff, but I hadn't been driving it for a few days and thought I forgot the feel of it. Pulled out of my drive way and noticed the steering was really hard to control (stiff) and got worse as I drove down my street. Picked up my kid from school (just down the road) and it overheated. I immediately pulled over. Opened the hood and noticed the serpentine (?) belt was askew. Called the dealership and they told me to get it towed in.
The dealership took a look at it and they say they didn't cause the damage and I now have to pay for the tow and to get it fixed with them... SHADY!!!!
Of course I could go to my trusted mechanic, but that would cost me another tow.
I am furious! My car ran GREAT before I took it to them for the recall items (minus the gas smell that was directly related to the recall). We replaces the tension mechanism and the serpentine belt just 1.5 years ago when it broke.
SO... my questions:
#1 - could it just be coincidence that my tension just happened to break while they were fixing other things???
#2 - if it is coincidence, how long should it last if we got it fixed 1.5 years ago?
#3 - how can I prove they broke it?

Thanks for any help anyone can give me!!!
 

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fix it if you can
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#1, yes it could just break (were there any symptoms prior - noise, slipping belt?)
#2 assuming you're replacing the belt tensioner again, they can last as long at 10 years + or just a few months - major factors being 1) quality of the part, 2) proper installation (all pulleys must be aligned or it won't last) 3) environmental factors (water, salt, sand, etc..)
#3 sorry, unless you have video of them working, you can't prove it..:
for fuel rail they just put retrofit rings & seals around the rail without removing the fuel rail from the van.. (unless they replaced the rail, but that would not fall under recall, AFAIK)
for clock spring, they don't tough the drive belt either..

It's possible that they messed with (removed) the belt to get better access to the fuel rail but they would not have screwed around with the tensioner...
 

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Man. Mopar. Minivan.
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I'd just like to point out something- as much as we'd all love to assign blame as quickly as possible, there *are* times where auto service providers are NOT out to get you. Fixing the clock spring and fuel rail does not require the serpentine belt being touched. Now if you had a repair done that might have involved that, I would be suspicious that it wasn't put back on properly. The fuel rail is along the top of the engine, and the clock spring is inside the vehicle.

YES, it is possible that it got broken at the dealer, anything's possible. But you should not be looking for reasons to jump down people's throats especially when you don't have any proof. I'm sure if the situation were reversed and you had a customer with this problem, you'd like it much better if they had sufficient proof showing cause for concern, prior to bargeing in kicking and screaming.

Coincidences DO happen, like it or not. My own van's radiator hose exploded just minutes after getting to the dealer for an oil change. The van was sitting, turned off in the waiting-for-service lane while I was checking in at the service desk. All of a sudden (((POP))) and all the fluid came draining out.

I could've been an @$$ and claimed that the technician who went out to the van after I parked it to grab the VIN number, had sabotaged the vehicle. However, it was more reasonable to treat this as a lucky break. At least it failed in the world's most perfect place, NOT on the side of the road.

I don't mean to come across as arguing with your frustration- trust me we've all been there. But you shouldn't be barking up the "the dealer is always corrupt" tree without sufficient proof.

Tensioners are MOVING pieces of equipment. Sometimes they'll last for years, sometimes they'll last a week. You cannot accurately predict with any amount of certainty. But you should make sure that it was indeed the tensioner that failed this time. It could be another pulley/bearing that is starting to bind up causing the belt to be thrown.

For example: if your A/C compressor locked up, that will throw the belt big time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate your feedback... but just to clarify... I did not barge in kicking and screaming. I was upset because the exact thing I was afraid would happen, did happen. It just all seemed too coincidental.
I really know nothing about cars. I only know what I have experienced, and what information I glean from reading online and asking questions, like this. So thank you for your help.
BTW - there were no symptoms. Car ran great before I brought it in. no squealing, no slipping.
I hope that if it is something other than what the dealership told me that they would be able to find that out. And not leave me with another thing to fix like the A/C compressor.
 

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It was not raining when you left the dealership, was it? Hitting a puddle just the right way can throw water onto the belt and cause it to jump off.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No - Not raining.
I "guess" it could have been the perfect storm... and just a coincidence. It's just so hard to swallow.
Especially since we had it replaced 1.5 years ago.
 

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Man. Mopar. Minivan.
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It's just so hard to swallow.
Remember it's a 10 year old vehicle. And also the cost of replacing that 1.5 year old part (if that's indeed the issue) is still cheaper than a new car payment.
 

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Ideally, we could stand with our car, watching carefully as any service tech worked on our car. 20/20 did a special report on auto repair rip off and found a 90% rip off rate according to many sites I Googled. That seems unbelievable.

You could not have done the clockspring recall yourself, but you could do the repair on the other things that happened if you are willing to learn to do some repairs.

I can assure you that successfully completing a repair yourself is a VERY satisfying experience. Not to mention the savings. If I do a repair that had a labor quote of $500 for example, I consider how much time at the job I would have had to spend to make that money. For most people, it would be WELL worth taking a day off to do that work if you could complete it in a day or even two for example.

There's no time like the present to learn to DIY.

Of course, everyone's situation is different and that may not be possible for you.
 
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