Report: #118304

Complaint Review: Cottman Transmission

  • Submitted: Tue, November 16, 2004
  • Updated: Sat, January 01, 2005
  • Reported By: Pearl City Hawaii
  • Cottman Transmission
    814 South Dale Mabry Hwy
    Tampa, Hawaii

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Towards the end of January 2004, I had my transmission rebuilt at Cottman Transmission on Dale Mabry in Tampa at a cost of about $1,500.00. About a month later, my transmission lost a gear and had to be rebuilt again. Cottman said the failure was due to an adjustment they had missed on the hydraulic pressure required by the upgrades.

I'm in the USMC and was stationed at U. S. Central Command at the time. On 1 July 2004, I was transferred to Camp Smith, Hawaii. My wife and I drove across country and shipped the car from Long Beach. On 10 November, my transmission failed again. Since there is no Cottman Transmission in Hawaii, I had my transmission diagnosed by an ASE certified technician in Pearl City who said it was "fried".

I called Steve (Manager) in Tampa and explained that I was leaving on Marine Corps business 13 November and had to get my car fixed in case my wife needed it while I was gone. He said to get it fixed if I needed to but that they would need to know what parts were replaced. He also said the owner (George) was gone for the day and that I would have to talk to him to receive any kind of reimbursement since it was not a Cottman Dealer. The technician in Hawaii also called Steve to explain what was wrong and to make sure they had put all the upgrades in when it was rebuilt.

The morning of 12 November, I spoke to George (owner) who said he would have to discuss it with Steve (manager). The technician again called Tampa after he had the transmission apart to tell them what he had found. I spoke to Steve again later in the day and he he said I would still have to talk to George but that he was gone for the day. The repairs were completed that afternoon
at a cost of almost $1,600.00.

On 15 November I received an email from Cottman Customer Service informing me that the Warranty was void because I had work performed on it without their authorization. I contend that it was authorized. What was not authorized was reimbursement.

Pearl City, Hawaii
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#1 Consumer Comment

Both Coasts heard from. Time for the Judge?

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Norman: The way you described it, you could have been in the car with me. It was OD both times. Steve explained the grommet issue to me and assured me that they took care of it.

Paul: Sounds like even if the grommet is taken care of the cable could be adjusted improperly and still fry the OD.

This was also reported to the Better Business Bureau in Florida who recently informed me that Cottman did not respond to the complaint.

There are 85 other complaints on this site about Cottman. Maybe some of the others would be interested in getting together for a lawsuit. Something has to get the attention of Customer Relations at Cottman. Maybe a Judge can make them honor their commitments.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Looks like they're still learning the transmission business at this Cottman!

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

I can see how this would happen. A transmission shop works like an assembly line.

First, the bad transmission is removed by a removal technician. This guy works cheap. He does anywhere from 2 to 6 removals or installs each day.

Next, the trans is torn down-disassembled. The parts are placed in a big automatic washer.

Then, the builder steps in. He assembles the transmission, using new pieces where needed. All the normal wear items come in a kit. He uses the kit to restore the transmission to working order again.

A top dollar shop will have a test bench, where the trans is hooked up to a motor and tested before it is reinstalled in the car. But, if you build it right, it should work fine without testing.

Last, the removal technician puts it back in the car. This individual can make or break the job depending on how well he does his install.

Norman, above, is exactly right. All transmissions must have information on how much power the engine is making. In old cars, like this, the transmission has a cable that moves right along with the gas pedal. On newer cars, this is done through the power train computer.

Regardless of how the trans and engine are coordinated, it's essential that this happen.

The removal technician is supposed to install and adjust this cable properly. If he fails to do this, the trans burns up, and needs to be done over again.

The builder may have done a perfect rebuild, but without the cable working, it was all a waste of time.

Good transmission shops know all this.

It costs a lot of money to rebuild a late-model overdrive trans. Plus, the job is getting harder all the time as new designs continue to come out into the marketplace.

And, it's hard to keep good installers. The work is hard. The pay is low. They're under pressure to get the trans back in and return the car to the customer.

It's easy to see how this mistake can happen. But, since it clearly is the fault of the repair shop, the only recourse they have is to continue to pay for their mistakes until they can learn to eliminate most of them.

Service man, or not, everybody deserves to get what they pay for. I hope this Cottman pays for the repair to be done over. They make a good profit on transmission service. They can afford to have a few unprofitable jobs like this, and still be profitable overall.

On a large site like this, trust me, you are far better to resolve the complaint and demonstrate your good intentions, than to leave it unpaid. As more of the public turns to the internet for information, the absolute last thing a company needs is to be associated with fraud in any way.

Right now, this Cottman made a mistake. That happens from time to time. How they handle that mistake will determine their future reputation.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

the bad tv grommett struck again

AUTHOR: Norman - (U.S.A.)

now that i know the make of car, the gear you lost was most likley od, anotherwords you would be cruising down the highway and somewhere around 35-40 mph the car would just go into a neutral condition. this is why at the top of motor (throttle body) is a cable (or rod)that runs to the transmission this controls throttle pressure, the harder you push on the gas pedal, the more presuure is needed to firmly lock on clutch packs, because of load demand.

the manufacture originally used a plastic grommett, to hold this rod/cable in place, the heat generated at top of motor would deterioate the plastic and rod/cable would fall out of place, so when you were accelarting the tv pressure was low as if you were not even pushing on the gas, the 3/4 cltches are small in diameter and clamping surface (hello engineers wake up) so they fry rather quickly. the new bushing is made of a brass/bronze material, there is rumor if a customer has had transmission repairs and it is documented on the ro the grommett was bad there may be some compinsation comming from the manufacture????? most likley when cottman did the origanall repair there tech missed the fact that the grommett was off, or just shoved the rod into an already bad grommett and it fell out again. or maybe the pressure was not adjusted properly as they should be adjusted with a psi guage after rebuilding the unit.

check your car and make sure it has a brass looking bushing at throttle body lever where the rod/cable attaches, if not get one installed, it will not break up due to the heat factor. have a great new year and thank you for helping to keep this country safe, God bless
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#4 Consumer Comment

Stormin Norman from DC

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

The vehicle in question is a 1989 Lincoln Town Car. The email was from the Cottman home office customer relations. Thanks for the support.
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#5 Consumer Comment

that really stinks that cottman would rip off anyone let alone, a service man

AUTHOR: Norman - (U.S.A.)

About a month later, my transmission lost a gear and had to be rebuilt again. Cottman said the failure was due to an adjustment they had missed on the hydraulic pressure required by the upgrades.

sounds flakey to me what kind of vehicle is it? was it the home office at cottman that sent you that email?? that really stinks that cottman would rip off anyone let alone, a service man and his family, well those almighty dollar grabbers can spend there eternity in hell with those terroist that hit our twin towers.
stormin norman in dc
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