Dodged a Bullet

Day 86 | $35,083 paid | $55,634 till freedom

I went to Round Rock Honda this morning and the foreman, Paul, test drove my car and told me about a Technical Service Bulletin that might be causing the notchiness instead of a bad clutch. He explained that if the the lubrication on the release fork that works the release bearing dries up, causing a notchy feeling in the pedal. The solution is to apply super high temp grease to the fork.

I had actually found the TSB for lubricating the release fork online yesterday and had included that in my list of things for Rick at the indie to inspect before installing a new clutch.

Paul went on to say that there was no way of knowing if this were my problem for sure unless he got in the transmission to look at it, and it would cost $109 to do that and the TSB. If that wasn’t the problem and it really was a bad clutch, he’d charge me another $1500 to replace it.

That wasn’t very reassuring, but I wasn’t really sure what to do. I had taken the car to the dealership expecting them to give me a clear, straightforward answer to my problems, but they couldn’t. Since they didn’t have one, I decided to take the car back to my regular guy. Before I left, I got a print-out of the TSB from Paul.

I arrived at the indie and told Rick, the service writer, to check out the cylinder rod and the release fork TSB before he replaced the clutch. He agreed to, but I was still suspicious that he might be just paying me lip service. Then he asked if he could keep the documents that I had shown him, which meant he was taking my suggestions seriously. I felt better. Then he went on to say that they would lube up the cylinder rod and the release fork, put everything back together again for a test drive. He encouraged me to test drive the car for a week and give the grease time to work into the parts adequately so the grease could do its magic.

At this point, I was feeling really good about things. Obviously, he wasn’t trying to rip me off, otherwise he could have just called me up after supposedly lubing the parts, told me that that hadn’t worked, and asked for authorization to replace the clutch kit.

I got a call from him at 4:30 telling me to come on in. When I arrived, I asked him how it went. He said that the cylinder rod was fully greased, but the release fork had actually been pretty dry.

I took the car for a test drive. It felt like butter! No more notchy pedal!

I came back into the shop with a huge smile and asked Rick how much I owed him. He told me $0. I was ecstatic. I shook his hand and thanked him for working with me. Throughout the my phone calls and emails to him, Rick had been extremely patient with me, and when he could have charged me the same $109 that the dealership was planning on charging me to lube the release fork, he decided not to. And it’s not like that was work that should have been done when the clutch master and slave cylinders were replaced–it was unrelated.

I’m very glad that I did my due diligence with Round Rock Honda where I got the actual TSB print-out for the indie to review. Even though I had told the shop to check out the release fork in the email I sent them, that’s not really as compelling as a print-out of an actual Honda-issued Technical Service Bulletin. Without that important document, the indie might not have noticed the dry release fork, they might have gone ahead and replaced the clutch–and I would have still had a problem.

So I dodged a $1,600 bullet. That was an emotional rollercoaster, but I’m back on track…for now. Going forward, I don’t think I’ll be as cocky as I was on Sunday night–anything can happen.

Fadi Is Selling the Bike
I got a really weird call from Fadi as I was leaving the gym. He called me up and asked me how much I thought he could get for selling the bike he had just bought from me. It was so bizarre. I told him, “Well, I got $1900 for it from you, so…” I really didn’t know what to tell him, and quite frankly, I was a little perturbed that he was getting rid of it—he had gotten a heck of a deal on it, and it’s a great bike. He explained that the battery kept dying on him, and that he didn’t want to deal with it. He knew about the battery when he bought it, so I think he simply has buyer’s remorse.

It’s too bad; I wish I had sold my bike to somebody who appreciated it as much as I did.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Dodged a Bullet

  1. brian

    about Fadi. Not sure if he was asking how much you’d give him back or if he asked how much you think he’d get if he resold it. If he wants you to refund him, explain that now the title has another owner listed on it and dimisnhed the value and that he took up your time and you’re not going to give him a 100% return.

    If he wants to resell it I still would be annoyed if you gave him a deal.

    One on-hand you didn’t want to put the time to list it longer and get more cash so you can’t be annoyed. On the other hand if you sold it to a friend for a better price and he turns around and had the intention all along to sell it for a profit I would be annoyed.

    That’s like giving a family member a car as a favor/gift so they don’t have to spend money and they go and sell the car and pocket the cash. I would say something.

  2. Tod Deskin

    When you press on the clutch pedal to shift the transmission, pressure is transferred from the clutch master cylinder to the clutch slave cylinder. The slave cylinder piston pushes the clutch release fork, which temporarily separates the clutch disc from the transmission allowing one to change gears without grinding. A good index of a faulty slave cylinder is the clutch not being completely introduced when the pedal is pressed, which can be puzzled for a worn clutch.

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