10-30-05, 05:05 PM
NO SHORT STORY! Noticed a slight surging when idling last fall. Felt like transmission to me. Friendly Mechanic said it was a misfire requiring tune-up and as long as I was there several assorted filters, plugs, etc to the tune of $2700. Three days later I picked it up and suddenly, no more cold air from ac and all the coolant poured out of my carr at a light. Friendly mechanic forgot to connect a hose and recharged the ac system and replaced a lovely $1300 thing that goes in the dash. AC worked great for about two weeks. Friendly mechanic then says I need an ac compressor or condensor or something, for about $400. I got a second opinion at the dealership, and they agreed and also said they needed to take my motor apart for some recall work. Replaced thatac part, and it worked great for about a month. During that month, engine temp gauge went up and I lost coolant. I questioned relationship to the recall work. Dealership replaced something for about $450, I think it was a heater cooler. Took it in to have ac inspected and they recharged the system and told me there was a heavy coolant leak and I would need to replace that heater cooler thing. I was sure I didn't since they just replaced it. Please keep in mind that no coolant level light was on at all. They then said I would need a right side head gasket replaced for over $1900. Great AC now, but it still put out cold air when off and my battery died by morning. Replaced the battery, and again it was dead by morning. I took the ac fuse out and battery was fine. Dealership monkeyed with it for a few hours and said that the $1300 part in the dash for the ac needed to be replaced because it was draining power even when switched off. They would contact Friendly Mechanic and get receipt, leave the fuse out and I could drive. Got in and suddenly no turn signals, transmission trouble light on, coolant light on, check engine light on, and they had removed the wrong fuse from the panel for the ac. They admitted that they had pulled every fuse to try to troubleshoot the power drain. Please keep in mind that I had no apparaent problem this time, until Dealership recharged the ac system. They said I could drive it but would have to manually shift my automatic. The car had no problem shifting before I got there. They showed me a leak in the transmission sensor, or something like that at the transmission. Another week at the dealership, no I don't need the $1300 dollar part replaced, yes they replaced the transmission sensor thing, and there was a short caused by rain water in the brain that caused the trouble lights to come on and drained the battery, and it was test driven with no transmission or ac problems. Dealership said, we did you a favor and did not charge you for 3-4 hours of troubleshooting so I would be satisfied and able to trust them. Picked up the car, and first clue was no fuse in for the ac, which they said was fixed, but if the battery died again then I should buy one and they would install for free. Nice guys! And the transmission that had no problem shifting before they got a hold of it, is now shifting hard and does not seem to be going into low gear judging from my sudden lack of power after stopping at lights. We'll see what the dealership has to say on Monday. I love my catera but not the nightmare of this chain of service problems.