On December 3, 2002, Tuesday, while I was temporally living in Mesa Arizona, my 89 Jeep Grand Wagoneers, original engine went bad.
December 4, 2002, Wednesday, I took my Jeep to my mechanics, Auto Repair Clinic in Mesa, Arizona, to find out what wrong with my Jeep.
Jim had determined that 2 cylinders were gone and he told me that I needed a new rebuilt engine. Jim gave me an estimate of $3500. I did not have that kind of money, so I started calling places for other estimates.
On December 16, 2002, Monday, I was given an estimate of $1983.00 from American Engines Installations Texas (the main company) and I spoke with Derek Goss, to replace my engine on my 89 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with a rebuilt engine. Along with a $30.00 discount coupon to be deducted. So then my total lowered to $1953.00 to replace my engine.
On December 17, 2002, Tuesday, they towed my car from Mesa to their repair shop in Phoenix, to Ray and George (the manager), and at that time I paid the tow truck driver an $800.00 cash deposit. Minus my deposit of $800.00, my total then became $1153.00.
On December 19, 2002, Thursday, after they had my car, I was told that I would also be charged and Enviro. Fee of $37.50 which bring my total to $1190.50, then tax of $54.27, bringing my total of $1244.77, and then I have a shop charge of $20.00, now bring my total to $1264.77.
On January 7, 2003, Tuesday, the day I was promised my car would be ready, I called Ray, I was told my car was not ready yet and I was faxed over a list of additional charges of items that I was told that I needed, which now added up to another $1294.77! Now shooting my bill now to the total of $2559.54!!!
Including another new smog pump and pulley, that I just had replaced in California, that I paid $528.61, on October 28, 2002!
I was told that my replace smog pump had been installed improperly. At that time I told them to go ahead and replace it and I told Ray, that I wanted the old pump to take back to that mechanic to prove that it had been installed improperly.
Several times, I had asked for the old smog pump back, and it was never given back to me!
On January 23, 2003, Thursday, 32 days (without transportation) later, I was told that my car was finally ready, but I was told that I now had carburetor problems and they suggested I get my carburetor rebuilt, and that I have to have my Jeep towed (at my expense) back to my mechanic to rebuild my carburetor as my car was not drivable!
But my mechanic had already rebuilt my carburetor on August 21, 2002, at the cost of $444.33! American Engines never even offered me a rental car for that whole month! I was told their company does not do that.
On January 24, 2003, Friday, my mechanic checked out my car after I had it towed to his shop and he found that find running problems were that all the vacuum hoses were left disconnected for ported vac switches. I paid out another $143.23 only to find out that American Engines had left all the vacuum hoses disconnected and to have my mechanic to correct what American Engines should have done!
On the Check-in Quality Control Check form that I was faxed to me on January 23, 2003, Thursday Ray (whom was in charge of quality control) checked the box regarding the vacuum lines and he wrote All hook up according to spec control! Which clearly shows they had claimed to have connected them!
On February 18, 2003, Tuesday, I noticed that my transmission was shifting very hard. I called George (who was the manager that that time) at American Engines, and he told me that it sounded like he wanted to check my transmission.
I drove my Jeep to Phoenix at 10 Am, with my daughter-in-law following me to get me back to her house, and I left my at their shop.
On February 24, 2003, Monday, I was called and I went to pickup my car with my son and his wife. I was told that he adjusted a transmission leakage on carb. and there no charge. Another 6 days without my car.
On March, 10, 2003, Monday, I was hearing a banging sound and I called George (who was the manager that that time) at American Engines, and he told me that it sounded like it was my carburetor again! So he told me to take it back to my mechanic again.
That day I took my car back again, to my mechanic and he found that the torque converter bolts in my new engine was hitting shield between motor and trans thrust bearings are out of motor.
Their 1st rebuilt engine was defective! Again, I paid out another $68.23!
On March 11, 2003, Tuesday, they towed my Jeep again, back to American Engines, and they confirmed that the engine was bad, and that they were going to replace the engine again with a second engine.
I was promised my Jeep back in 7 to 10 working days, the date was March 24, but they would try for the March 21, so I would be able to take my Jeep with me for my move to Los Angeles.
I reminded them again that I still needed the broken new smog pump that they had said was not installed properly in Los Angeles And they Never gave it back to me!
I had planned to move back to California on March 8, 2003, and I was forced to postpone my move and rental moving truck, due to continues engine problems with my car and the excess length of time that American Engines kept my car. I did not want to leave Arizona without my car!
As of, March 1, 2003, I had already began to pay rent on a house I rented in Los Angeles, but that I wasnt able to live in waiting for my car!
So I had to move without my only mode of transportation, my car, on March 24th, after I called and I was told that my car would not be ready yet.
The fact is; when I got to Los Angeles, I had to depend on my friends and family for rides to go anywhere, otherwise I was stranded!
Again, I was never offered a rental car even though the first engine was defective and when I asked about it they said no.
On April 10, 2003, Thursday, I was told that my car was fine and ready to be picked up. My 2 sons, had to pickup my car for me (a 30 minute drive to pickup and another 30 minutes to get back home).
They told my sons that my car was repaired and ready to be picked up. There quality control check form showed that all was good on my car.
My kids had been driving me back and forth to American Engine, and I had used their cars to go to the doctor, and various errands, as I had no car.
Again, another 30 days with no transportation!
Now that my car was supposedly completed, I had to leave my Jeep in Arizona with my sons, until I could figure out how to get there to pick it up.
I wanted them to drive it around to make sure my Jeep ran okay, before I got there,and I would have to turn around and drive it right back to LA.
Another 13 days without my car.
On April, 23, 2003, Wednesday, I had to rent a car from Dollar Rentals to go back to Arizona to pick up my newly repaired car. The cost to me was $102.00, one way, plus gas and my time.
On April 25, 2003, Friday, I drove my car 8 hours, back to Los Angeles, being careful to break in my Jeep carefully, and about $80.00 in gas.
On May 28, 2003, Wednesday, about only 35 days of getting my Jeep back, I was due for a smog check in California, and my Jeep failed the test.
Since I was out of money, I applied to the California Consumer Assistance Program, and in June, I was denied repair assistance for smog repair, because my smog system was considered as tampered with.
And I was informed that I needed to have my smog system repaired properly and pay to have it smog tested again! I was so upset!
On July 7, 2003, Monday, I called the American Engines main office in Texas, and I spoke to Shane Metzner, who I was told, was the VP of the company.
I also, faxed him copies of my smog report, the California Consumer Assistance Program, stating the smog system was not correct and considered tamped with, and copies of my mechanic bills that I paid to try to find out what was going on with my Jeep.
Shane told me that he would call me back. I waited 2 days, as my car was not driving right! My Jeep was now misfiring, stalling out, and almost un-drivable again.
On July 9, 2003, Wednesday, I called again to speak with Shane, and he told me that he would call me back after he talked to someone, at the Phoenix shop.
He did tell me that I would have to bring my car back to Arizona for them to check it out at my own expense!
I followed up with a fax to him regarding our conversation, and reminding him that I never got my old smog pump back. I heard nothing!
On July 14, 2003, Monday, I called Texas again, and I left a message for Shane to call me. He never did. However, after telling the gentleman that answered the phone about my smog problems, he told me that California strict smog laws is what keeps them from opening an American Engine Installations, here in California.
I told him that if their company doesnt do business here, because of the smog laws, why did they not inform me of that?
My car has CA plates, it is registered to CA, and I told them that I was moving back to CA.
They should have disclosed that to me before they touched my car!!!! They installed the second engine, and they had told me all was fine! No one in Texas would return any of my calls or faxes.
On July, 23, 2003, Wednesday, after not getting anywhere with the head office in Texas, I took my Jeep to a local shop by my home, Image Repair, Inc. and their smog check resulted in showing that the Vacuum Hoses and hoses to the EGR were left disconnected (again) and the ignition timing failed. I was extremely upset!!!
The estimate of repair was between $200.00 to $450.00 depending on closer inspection of my car.
On July, 27, 2003, Sunday, my car was driving so bad, I called my Auto Club for a referral to a automotive and smog repair station.
I took my car to Burbank Auto and Smog Repair, and I had them repair the faulty work of American Engine Installations and also replace my hood cable, as it came back to me broken! I paid $356.43 (borrowed money again!), I went without my car for another 3 days.
Upon Burbank Auto Repairs inspection, Mike, found that #3 cylinder on my second engine, has low compression and it has a lot of carbon deposits for a new engine. And all my smog/vacuum hoses were left disconnected and plugged up, again.
Also, that there was damage to my heater box during the installation of the engine, as it was crushed when the engine was replaced.
My mechanic taped it up until it could be replaced in Arizona. I was told that I needed another engine!!! This would mean a third engine replacement!!!
On July 29, 2003, Tuesday, I called Shane to inform him about my mechanics findings about the 3 cylinder being bad, and I wanted to know what he was going to do about this?
Shane told me that I would have to bring my Jeep back to Arizona at my own expense.
I asked him if he expected me do I even attempt try drive my broken car 400 miles to their shop, and take a chance of breaking down in the desert? And that I no longer trusted his shop mechanics work.
He said he could do nothing, my contract called for me to bring the car back to Arizona for repairs.
The fact is, Shane began to tell me that he didnt have a crystal ball. And he began to patronize me, and talk to me like I was a child! I was very upset!
I hung up telling Shane I will have to figure out something, as I had paid out so much money and time in my Jeep already. He offered me nothing. I drove my shakey, dying out at every stop, Jeep back home and cried.
On August 4, 2003, Monday, after realizing I could do nothing without extra funds, I drove my shakey Jeep back to my mechanics shop, in Burbank, I asked Mike if my Jeep would be safe enough to make it back to Arizona.
Mike said that since driving my Jeep on the freeway is smoother than on the streets and without all the stopping, it should be okay. I had no options.
I went home, called Ray Yslava, at the American Engines in Phoenix, and let him know that I was bringing back my Jeep for a third engine, tonight, and I let him know that my Auto Club was going to tow it to their shop the next morning (Tuesday).
He said he had talked to Shane from the Texas offices, and he knew about the problems. (Ray, is now the manager, he was Quality Control, and the ex-manager, George is gone.)
My grandson wanted to go with me, so I wouldnt go alone, we both have cell phones, I have towing services through Auto Club,
I was going to drive extra carefully, and I know he wanted to see his two uncles, and their families, so his Dad let him go with me. Gianni was not due back in middle school for 2 weeks.
We packed and departed Los Angeles about 9:00 PM. Arriving in Mesa, Arizona, about 4 AM.
August 5, 2003, Tuesday, about 8:30 AM, my Auto Club came to tow my Jeep to American Engines, in Phoenix. I called and I told Ray that I would call him the next day to see what their plan is, and how long would it take. (Ray, is now the manager, he was Quality Control, and the ex-manager, George is gone.)
August 6, 2003, Wednesday, I called Ray and he told me that they were going to replace the engine, that it had already was ordered for a overnight delivery, and it would be ready by the Monday the 11th or Wednesday the 13th , about 5 to 7 days.
August 8, 2003, Friday, I called Ray to see how it was going. To my utter dismay, Ray told me that they hadnt even gotten the engine in yet. And that they were trying to track it. Ray did not know when it was going to come in!
I let Ray know that my mechanic in Burbank, CA, had sent him a copy of a diagram for the vacuum hoses for my Jeep and that I would fax a copy to him.
Ray thanked me and told me that they could never find a diagram for the 89 Wagoneers vacuum hoses! And that he was going to laminate it!
August 11, 2003, Monday, I called Ray and they were still trying to track my engine.
I told Ray that I was booked to housesit with 2 senior dogs to medicate and I was being paid $200.00 for sitting and that I needed to be in Los Angeles by the 15th.
So I started calling the main office in Texas again, I was so frustrated, as Shane was not very nice to me, and I asked him to speak to someone that was above him in the company.
(No one will give me any information on who the CEO of their company is, or where the office is, they tell me that they dont know who he or she is, nor can they give me any information!)
Shane referred me to his general manager, John Hartnack, but he said, his general manager feels the same about it. For the next couple of days, I did attempt to caIl Mr. Hartnack, but he was always in a meeting.
August 12, 2003, Tuesday, my eldest son, Marcello, Giannis dad, flew in on Southwest in the evening, as a surprise, to drive back with me and his son, as my Jeep was promised to me the next day.
But to his surprise, he soon found himself, stranded along with me and his son, in Arizona.
August 15, 2003, Friday, I called the Attorney Generals Office, Teri Goddard, in Phoenix, Consumer Information and Complaints. I spoke to his secretary, Mary. I told her what was going on with American Engines Phoenix.
She immediately took down all the information I gave her, she was sending me all the complaint forms, she advised me to call the Better Business Bureau, and file a complaint, and she also, gave me the address and phone number of the Court House in Phoenix where I can file a lawsuit against American Engines.
Mary also encouraged me to call their local news reporter, Marc Ryan 3 on Your Side, to see if he could get some answers.
August 18, 2003, Monday, I called the reporter, Marc Ryan, but I had to leave a message for him. The gas shortage had created more press right now. And I waited for the Consumer Complaint form from the Attorney Generals Office.
I called the BBB and I was told to go to their website and file my complaint. I called the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and they gave me the phone numbers to Call for Action, Rick Totul, at channel 12 News, and channel 10 News, with reporter Keith Yaskin. Their call hours were limited.
August 19, 2003, Tuesday, I called Ray about my Jeep, his wife, Maria, is the secretary there, and she told me that he wasnt there and that he forgot his cell phone.
I called back 3 hours later and Ray told me that they were fixing something that they broke in my new engine, something about the manifold bolt, and that my car would be ready tomorrow Wednesday, the 20th, another 16 days later, without my car.
At that point I asked Ray to give me a break and at least deliver my car to me, since we were dying to get home! Ray agreed to deliver my Jeep to me.
August 20, 2003, Wednesday, I called Ray, about 11 AM, and I told him that my 2 sons were in the vicinity of their shop and could they pickup my car yet, and Ray told me that they were just finishing my repairs, and then they were going to test drive my car and to give him until 3 PM.
I called Ray at 3:45 PM, and someone was to test drive my car, and he would call me back. And my grandson, Gianni, was to start back to his school in Los Angeles, Thursday, August 21, 2003, the next day. We had been there 17 days now.
At 5:15, Ray called my cell phone, and told me that he could deliver my Jeep to me ONLY if I can give him a ride back to his Phoenix shop! I could not believe this, and I told him that this was not what we agreed on. This is no favor to me!
He told me that no one was in the shop to follow him. I told him that he should have planned on someone to follow him, since he agreed the day before!
Do not hit me up at the last minute, but he told me I would then have to wait another day.
My son talked to Ray too, and told him that he was losing money now, but Ray would only speak to me.
I called Ray back at 5:30, only 15 minutes had pasted, and told him that my one of my sons offered to give him a ride back, but then Ray told me that it was too late, he was off and his wife was waiting for him in their car to go home.
I was shocked, surprised, and desperate to get my son and grandson home. My son was now missing work and my grandson was supposed to attend his first day at school the next day.
I asked him that if Auto Club would come to get my Jeep if that would be better as it was at least a half hour drive for me to get there.
Ray agreed, and said he could keep a guy later to wait to release my Jeep to my Auto Club, and that he needed a faxed signed permission note from me for them to release my Jeep to the Auto Club.
I called Auto Club and booked the tow, and faxed Ray the permission note. However, I got a call about 6 PM from Auto Club stating that the tow driver was at American Engines and that he was being asked to sign papers, that he was told that I was too lazy to drive down to Phoenix, that I owed them money, and that my Jeep runs fine.
The driver could not pick up my car, and the American Engine employee locked the gates to the shop and left.
August 21, 2003, Thursday, I waited for a call from Ray, but I had to call him about 11 AM, and I asked why I didnt have my Jeep. He told me that the tow driver didnt want to tow the car because the car was running.
I told Ray what the Auto Club told me what really happened and Ray asked for my Auto Club phone number to verify what I told him.
During our conversation, Ray called in his employee, and asked him what happened and he told me that he denied saying all that. I told him to call my Auto Club, because how could the tow driver make that story up?
Ray called me back 5 minutes later and agreed to have my Jeep towed to me.
When my Jeep arrived on their tow truck at 3:30 PM, the driver told me that was given the wrong address. He was give the address number 9416 instead of the correct number, 9462.
I noticed some small puddle of motor oil on the flatbed, but their driver told me that it must be the other car he towed before mine.
My car was taken off the tow truck and my son tried to start the car. It idled for a couple of minutes and died out. My gas tank was bone empty, so their tow truck driver agreed to tow my Jeep to the gas station, a block and a half away.
We pushed my Jeep back on the tow truck and my son and their driver left.
My son brought back my Jeep after filling it at the cost of $36.00 @ $2.69 a gallon, due to the gas shortage.
My son drove my Jeep around and it seemed that the brakes were hard and not stopping properly, and my Jeep was hard to start.
We all just wanted to get home to Los Angeles, so we left that night. I do not believe that anyone test drove my car, as they released it to me with almost no brakes and it was leaking motor oil!
But I did not want American Engine Installation to touch my car again!
Leaving Arizona at 3 AM, so that we would not run into stop and go traffic, our drive was long, as we were just breaking in a new engine.
My Jeep was hard to start when we would stop for gas, my son also noticed that there was no passing gear, and that it was struggling going up hills, (semi-trucks were passing us).
Just as we passed the border into California, my Jeep started to blow white smoke through my air conditioner vents!. We turned off the air conditioning and opened all the windows in the car.
We got off at the next off ramp, about 8:30 AM, somewhere near San Bernardino, and Into a store parking lot and the engine began to blow white smoke out from under the hood.
I looked on the ground and what looked like motor oil was dripping out from under the car. My oil gauge went almost to zero and my son checked the oil and it said to add.
I called Ray from my cell phone and told him want was going on with the Jeep and he told me that he would call Shane in Texas, and he would call me back. No one called me back.
So Marcello went into the store and bought motor oil. I called Ray again, but his wife said that he was out testing driving a car, I asked her to have him call me back, as my car was almost un-drivable and Not safe to drive! Ray never called me back.
August 25, 2003, Monday, I had my Auto Club tow my Jeep back to my mechanic, Mike, at Burbank Auto Repair, as he had worked on my Jeep and corrected the Jeeps vacuum hose problems, the smog issues, and he found that the 3rd cylinder on the second engine was bad.
Mike called me back the next day and he told me that what he has checked out so far, was appalling and that he had more that he wanted to check out more and test drive the Jeep.
He found that nothing mechanically was wrong with my having no brakes, but that it had to do with the way the vacuum hoses were wrongly connected again!
Even though I provided American Engine with a vacuum diagram copy given to my by Mike for American Engine to be able to follow this time!
August 27, 2003, Wednesday, Mike called me to tell me that my Jeep was ready, and that all the things that he found wrong with my 3rd rebuilt engine, was due to negligence and shoddy workmanship on behalf of American Engines.
So another $200 paid out, and another 6 days without my car!
August 28, 2003, Thursday, I have not heard a word from anyone at American Engines Installations, since.
I cannot express the anxiety and emotional roller coaster that American Engine Installation has caused me to endure during these last 8 months.
I am financially drained, as I now owe borrowed money that I had to pay out to try to undo the shoddy work done on my Jeep by American Engine just to get my car to run for at least a couple of months, until the prior 2 rebuilt engines broke down again.
My nerves are shot, I cannot sleep, I am currently suffering severe itching attacks at bedtime, therefore, I am up all night, along with stomach aches, and my hair is falling out from the stress this has all caused me.
I know that the American Engine in Phoenix is a franchise, but the fact is that I had counted on the executives in the main office in Texas, that I tried to get help from, that wound up doing nothing to help me with the numerous problems I had encountered with their franchise for the period of 8 months, nothing! They just don't care, as they got their money.
No rental cars offered to me, no reimbursements, my bad car parts were never returned to me, as I had requested several times, and not even returning my calls!
I even tried to get the name of their CEO and they would refused to disclose anything to me, they just kept reverting me back to the same people that wouldnt even call me back.
My last ditch effort to see if American Engine Installations would try to resolve this rats nest of problems, is that I have faxed a letter to Greg Eyster, VP of the franchise department today, to see if I get any positive response from the company. I am waiting.
I have not had my only car for a period of approximately 88 days, from December to August and still counting!
I have also, paid out over $1500 in additional repairs, thus far, more than $5000.00 invested in my Jeep, double the price I paid for my jeep, 3 years ago. I have had to depend on family and friends for rides and extra money loans.
The fact is; If I had no one in the state of Arizona to stay with all this time, I would have come alone, and would be forced to stay in a motel utterly stranded. Until I could not afford to stay anymore, and then I would have been in the street waiting for my car to be finished.