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Cadillac Dealership Screwup, Who's Responsible?

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Cadillac Dealership Screwup, Who's Responsible?

Old 11-20-2020, 12:19 PM
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Default Cadillac Dealership Screwup, Who's Responsible?

Long story short, the local Chevrolet/Cadillac dealership cross-threaded 4 of my 8 spark plugs in my aluminum head, CTS-V. It took several years for this to come to light, this when one of the plugs literally fell out of the head while I was driving down the highway. Was able to get that plug to seat again after limping into a repair shop, but less than 200 miles later, another plug fell out from the other head. This happened close to a Chevrolet dealership that I limped into. I actually thought that first plug had just fallen out again, but that wasn't the case. It was another plug in the opposite head. Their diagnosis... improper installation by the Cadillac dealership. The mechanic showed me how the plug had been firing across the threads and destroyed them in the head.

Here's the real kicker. That dealership changed ownership after this work was done. The previous owner (who I know) still owns a Chevrolet dealership locally. The new owner claims it's not his responsibility, even though he kept the service personnel who screwed up this deal along with a long history of screwups on my car. The old owner claims it's "water under the bridge" and says he has no responsibility. Bottom line is, I'm out $1,400 from another shop to have the heads removed and inserts installed. Not a ton of money, but it pisses me off. I guarantee you that had my car caught fire and burned up as a result of this stupidity, my insurance company would have gone after the dealer who was responsible.

Small claims court is an easy and inexpensive route to take for such things, but I'm assuming I would have to sue both of these people since neither wants to accept responsibility. That may mean separate suits, but I haven't checked into that particular aspect. Anybody have any experience with this type thing?
Old 11-20-2020, 12:24 PM
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How could you prove to a reasonable doubt that you or another shop have never worked on your car? I believe you, but would a judge or jury?
Old 11-20-2020, 12:27 PM
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Bad luck. The new owner could fix it for some good will, which likely won't happen. The old owner could do the same, likely won't happen. You won't win in small claims court.
Old 11-20-2020, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
Long story short, the local Chevrolet/Cadillac dealership cross-threaded 4 of my 8 spark plugs in my aluminum head, CTS-V. It took several years for this to come to light, this when one of the plugs literally fell out of the head while I was driving down the highway. Was able to get that plug to seat again after limping into a repair shop, but less than 200 miles later, another plug fell out from the other head. This happened close to a Chevrolet dealership that I limped into. I actually thought that first plug had just fallen out again, but that wasn't the case. It was another plug in the opposite head. Their diagnosis... improper installation by the Cadillac dealership. The mechanic showed me how the plug had been firing across the threads and destroyed them in the head.

Here's the real kicker. That dealership changed ownership after this work was done. The previous owner (who I know) still owns a Chevrolet dealership locally. The new owner claims it's not his responsibility, even though he kept the service personnel who screwed up this deal along with a long history of screwups on my car. The old owner claims it's "water under the bridge" and says he has no responsibility. Bottom line is, I'm out $1,400 from another shop to have the heads removed and inserts installed. Not a ton of money, but it pisses me off. I guarantee you that had my car caught fire and burned up as a result of this stupidity, my insurance company would have gone after the dealer who was responsible.

Small claims court is an easy and inexpensive route to take for such things, but I'm assuming I would have to sue both of these people since neither wants to accept responsibility. That may mean separate suits, but I haven't checked into that particular aspect. Anybody have any experience with this type thing?
Here's the problem you're going to have. This took several years to come to light so the tech that diagnosed this as "improper installation by the Cadillac dealership" is inept, or you may be embellishing a bit. It's improper installation...full stop. Only you know when the plugs where changed over the several year period and you can't prove it. The fact that the dealership changed hands is a whole other level of complexity.

It's a crappy situation and when this happens to me I try real hard to figure out if it's worth my time. I get that spite is a powerful motivator but let's say your time is worth $300/hr. Small claims to going to cost you more than $1400.
Old 11-20-2020, 12:48 PM
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I had a cross threaded spark plug on my old jeep years ago. I bought a thread chaser and re-tapped the hole and put a new plug in it. Never had a problem again. I'd try that before you spend $1400.

"However, using an ordinary tap or die to clean threads generally removes some material, which results in looser, weaker threads. Because of this, machinists generally clean threads with special taps and dies—called chasers—made for that purpose. Chasers are made of softer materials and don't cut new threads."
Old 11-20-2020, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Qb1rdman View Post
Here's the problem you're going to have. This took several years to come to light so the tech that diagnosed this as "improper installation by the Cadillac dealership" is inept, or you may be embellishing a bit. It's improper installation...full stop. Only you know when the plugs where changed over the several year period and you can't prove it. The fact that the dealership changed hands is a whole other level of complexity.

It's a crappy situation and when this happens to me I try real hard to figure out if it's worth my time. I get that spite is a powerful motivator but let's say your time is worth $300/hr. Small claims to going to cost you more than $1400.
No embellishment, just the facts as verified by the Chevrolet dealership who listed improper installation on the repair ticket. This particular dealership is the only one who has ever worked on the car, and there would have been zero reason for me to have the plugs changed after they did it. If I had hired another shop to change the plugs, I would have gone after them. They're also good for 100K+ miles, and this was the only time they had been changed since I owned the car for 14 years now. Changing plugs in these cars is not a DIY kind of deal as they are extremely hard to get to with that LS6 Corvette engine squeezed into a bay designed for a V6. That's what lead to this particular issue where some idiot just blindly fired them into the holes with an air ratchet vs making sure they were properly aligned. This from the guy who did the subsequent work.

I've used that service department for over 40 years, but it REALLY went downhill over the past 10-15 years. All the "old" guys are gone and have been replaced with young, fresh out of school, computer-trained parts replacers. When you can't even change spark plugs in a car without screwing it up, something is bad wrong. This was just the proverbial icing on the cake with that outfit, and the Chevrolet dealership was very familiar with incompetency from this dealership. If I were making $300 per hour, I'd write it off as not being worth my time or effort. If nothing else, taking them to court would give them the publicity that their customers need, but the dealership most certainly does not.
Old 11-20-2020, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by KBH View Post
I had a cross threaded spark plug on my old jeep years ago. I bought a thread chaser and re-tapped the hole and put a new plug in it. Never had a problem again. I'd try that before you spend $1400.

"However, using an ordinary tap or die to clean threads generally removes some material, which results in looser, weaker threads. Because of this, machinists generally clean threads with special taps and dies—called chasers—made for that purpose. Chasers are made of softer materials and don't cut new threads."
These are aluminum heads, and the money has already been spent. Drilling and tapping was not an option. I can't remember the name of these inserts, but they are supposed to be a lot better than a helicoil. The biggest expense was the labor involved in pulling and reinstalling the heads.
Old 11-20-2020, 01:20 PM
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if it had happened with in say a year of plugs being replaced you would have no issues. being it took several years for this to pop up, makes it hard to prove anything.
Old 11-20-2020, 01:28 PM
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Plugs blow out of aluminum heads all the time. Might be due to improper install, might not. Not easy to prove, especially in court.

Also timesert inserts can usually be done without pulling heads.
Old 11-20-2020, 01:41 PM
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The mechanic showed me how the plug had been firing across the threads and destroyed them in the head.
This is a pretty strange event, plugs don't fire across the threads any different if they were cross threaded, cross threading in an alloy head will just damage the thread, it can be retapped, or an insert used, but it won't affect the plug firing, why a plug fell out is pretty odd too, even if cross threaded, unless the mechanic actually stripped the thread completely.
Old 11-20-2020, 01:54 PM
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That just blows, sorry. The CTS-V is such a fun car. I just picked up a CTS-Vsport and I’d hate to take it to this dealership. Would you mind divulging the dealer or location?
Old 11-20-2020, 01:57 PM
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Other than the two year delay messing things up, my opinion is that the first dealership should assume responsibility. The new owner purchased a business, so all the good and bad that came with that should be considered part of the deal. The second dealership owes you nothing, even if the same guy who owned the first shop is the owner.
Old 11-20-2020, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
How could you prove to a reasonable doubt that you or another shop have never worked on your car? I believe you, but would a judge or jury?
"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is only the standard in criminal cases. This is a civil claim, so a preponderance of the evidence is the standard ("more likely than not").
Old 11-20-2020, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by IES99 View Post
Other than the two year delay messing things up, my opinion is that the first dealership should assume responsibility. The new owner purchased a business, so all the good and bad that came with that should be considered part of the deal. The second dealership owes you nothing, even if the same guy who owned the first shop is the owner.
If that were the case, the old dealer would need to look the car over before accepting fault. If it were my dealership I wouldn’t just assume fault based on some other dealers opinion.
Old 11-20-2020, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
I've used that service department for over 40 years, but it REALLY went downhill over the past 10-15 years. All the "old" guys are gone and have been replaced with young, fresh out of school, computer-trained parts replacers.
And you wonder why nobody wants to get into the trades. They get shat on for not getting into trades, they get into trades and they get shat on for getting into them. The same generation bitching about today's tech's and mechanics are the ones to developed the systems and trained the people they bitch about.
Old 11-20-2020, 02:44 PM
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“You touched it last “ blame is only good for 30 days
Old 11-20-2020, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
Long story short, the local Chevrolet/Cadillac dealership cross-threaded 4 of my 8 spark plugs in my aluminum head, CTS-V. It took several years for this to come to light, this when one of the plugs literally fell out of the head while I was driving down the highway. Was able to get that plug to seat again after limping into a repair shop, but less than 200 miles later, another plug fell out from the other head. This happened close to a Chevrolet dealership that I limped into. I actually thought that first plug had just fallen out again, but that wasn't the case. It was another plug in the opposite head. Their diagnosis... improper installation by the Cadillac dealership. The mechanic showed me how the plug had been firing across the threads and destroyed them in the head.

Here's the real kicker. That dealership changed ownership after this work was done. The previous owner (who I know) still owns a Chevrolet dealership locally. The new owner claims it's not his responsibility, even though he kept the service personnel who screwed up this deal along with a long history of screwups on my car. The old owner claims it's "water under the bridge" and says he has no responsibility. Bottom line is, I'm out $1,400 from another shop to have the heads removed and inserts installed. Not a ton of money, but it pisses me off. I guarantee you that had my car caught fire and burned up as a result of this stupidity, my insurance company would have gone after the dealer who was responsible.

Small claims court is an easy and inexpensive route to take for such things, but I'm assuming I would have to sue both of these people since neither wants to accept responsibility. That may mean separate suits, but I haven't checked into that particular aspect. Anybody have any experience with this type thing?
if they are insured, they may have to inform their insurance company of any law suit, and the insurance company may be quick to settle.

this is why i go over things with a fine tooth comb after "pros" touch anything. ive seen pros goof so many times. some times you just dont have the time to do everything though.

but honestly, years later, you are probably SOL.

Last edited by mystery; 11-20-2020 at 06:07 PM.
Old 11-20-2020, 03:07 PM
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chalk it up as another stroke of bad luck. Be glad it was $1400 instead of $4100.
Old 11-20-2020, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by magua View Post
chalk it up as another stroke of bad luck. Be glad it was $1400 instead of $4100.
Had I not questioned them on an earlier matter, I would have lost that and then some.

Started hearing a noise in the rear end and took it to them. Their diagnosis was, it needed a new rear end. Said the factory unit was sealed and couldn't be repaired. With that, I started looking around for a used one from a later model. Mine is a 2005, a model that had a history of being problematic, especially when abused. They even upgraded them when they let go under warranty. Mine never had been abused, but I found a low mileage rear end for around $1,500 as I recall. I don't remember why I had stopped by a friend's tire shop, but he and his father are very well known race car guys. I told him what was going on, so he wanted us to take it down the road. He said it sounded like a wheel bearing to him.

When I took the car to the dealership with the new rear end, I told them what my buddy said about the noise. They blew off his diagnosis and insisted the car needed a rear end. After they installed it, I got a call telling me that replacing the rear end didn't fix the problem. Guess what they told me. It was a wheel bearing. I reminded them of what I had told them prior to installing, but they seemed to have developed amnesia. The owner at the time came out at my request, and his stance was, I brought in a used rear end, asked them to install it, and that's what they did. It didn't matter that they blew the diagnosis, that was his stance. Yep, same guy that owns the other Chevy dealership I mentioned.

Best part was, that rear end made all sorts of racket when I picked it up. I looked at my bill and didn't see anything about the required additive for positraction rear ends. They said the mechanic who installed it just happened to have some at his station, added it, but didn't charge me for it. Hmmm... okay. They told me to drive the car to a parking lot and do some figure 8's with it to get everything lubricated. That didn't help at all.

After a couple more days, I took the car back and found an older guy who had been there for decades. I told him what was going on, and he said it sounded like the additive wasn't used. With that, he asked me what I wanted him to do. I told him to drain the rear and start from scratch so we would know exactly what we had in there. He did that, refilled it with the specified lubricant and additive, and it was smooth as silk. The dealership charged me for labor and parts on that fix.

Wanna hear about the LS7 clutch they installed incorrectly with the hydraulic line running across the exhaust manifold which burned it in half, stranding me?

How about the time they left the hose to the mass airflow sensor off which made the car run like shit?

As I said, I've known these folks for over 40 years. I can't remember which one of these screwups it was, but I had a little heart to heart with their service manager. He said, "Randy, I know you've been coming here for a very long time, but it seems like lately I'm having to discount things to keep you happy".

"Mike, old buddy, that's because every time I have my car worked on here, I have to bring it back a second time to fix something your guys screwed up".

I could fill a courtroom with people who had similar experiences with this service department as I made mention on my personal Facebook page of my experience. Seems a number of my friends had encountered the same type issues. Seems to me it would be in the best interest of both these owners to settle this between the three of us and make it go away, so maybe a well written letter to that effect would be the best step at this point. There is a local Facebook page for the county that would make a great platform to raise awareness. It's not libel if it's the truth.
Old 11-20-2020, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
No embellishment, just the facts as verified by the Chevrolet dealership who listed improper installation on the repair ticket. This particular dealership is the only one who has ever worked on the car, and there would have been zero reason for me to have the plugs changed after they did it. If I had hired another shop to change the plugs, I would have gone after them. They're also good for 100K+ miles, and this was the only time they had been changed since I owned the car for 14 years now. Changing plugs in these cars is not a DIY kind of deal as they are extremely hard to get to with that LS6 Corvette engine squeezed into a bay designed for a V6. That's what lead to this particular issue where some idiot just blindly fired them into the holes with an air ratchet vs making sure they were properly aligned. This from the guy who did the subsequent work.

I've used that service department for over 40 years, but it REALLY went downhill over the past 10-15 years. All the "old" guys are gone and have been replaced with young, fresh out of school, computer-trained parts replacers. When you can't even change spark plugs in a car without screwing it up, something is bad wrong. This was just the proverbial icing on the cake with that outfit, and the Chevrolet dealership was very familiar with incompetency from this dealership. If I were making $300 per hour, I'd write it off as not being worth my time or effort. If nothing else, taking them to court would give them the publicity that their customers need, but the dealership most certainly does not.
You stated ""improper installation by the Cadillac dealership" as the diagnosis and now you're claiming the repair ticket read "improper installation". That's a big difference if you take this to court. You have absolutely NOTHING to prove that it was due to negligence by the Cadillac dealership.

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