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No, he understands what makes the noise, just not why when he's used it in the past that it led to the whining noise in about 90% of the cars that he's used that tool with. In other words, it sounds like he's saying that he doesn't understand why it didn't work every time for him and that he doesn't know what he did wrong when it did lead to the whining noise afterwards.

As for why he prefers to open up the case instead of using the tool, that's what I don't understand either. Except for him being leery of the tool, that TSB didn't sway him in the least and he's still saying that he'd prefer to open the case up. And I agree: if the case is opened up, it shouldn't be that much more of a pain to swap out the chain stuff to be safe, but when I asked about that, he made it sound like doing that would bump up the costs closer to $2k+ and I think a lot of these costs come from the GM job rates that he seems to reference whenever I ask him about things like this. (He always says that X job looks to take Y hours of labor, like he's referencing something offline. I guess their techs have things like that on their systems that they use to provide customers with quotes?)

Part of me suspects that he's thinking that he's saving time by opening the case because if it's opened, he can reset the tensioner right there. Is there any virtue in that line of thought?




You and others on here all claim that the tool is okay to use if used right, but nobody ever clearly explains how that's done. I've seen YouTube videos of it online and it does look like it should be a simple affair, but I'd imagine it's much more of a pain to use when you have to bend over the fender into engine bay to reach out things or reach up from underneath when the car is raised without having clear line-of-sight to the sprocket holes, let alone, the bolts attaching it to the WP. I can see how even the slightest cross-threading or incorrect angle of one of those bolts could lead to major problems... And I can imagine how even the slightest amount of slack during that work for the chain could lead to that tensioner easily ratchet up like a spring trap (assuming that's all it takes for that condition to happen)...

If I can get him to come down to about $1,400, I'm going to let him do it. But I hear a whine after that, all hell is going to break loose.
You are correct I misunderstood, I thought he wasn't sure what caused the noise. Not that he wasn't sure why the failure can still occur with the tool. My understanding on why using the tool can still possibly fail is a couple of reasons.
-You listed one, that if it's not 100% tight or cockeyed is just enough to allow some movement.
-There is also a theory that the balance chain tensioner may be just on the edge of tightening to the next ratchet. With the jostling of the WP being removed is just enough to click the tensioner over to the next ratchet click. The tool didn't move, but the tensioner picked up just the slightest amount of slack and now it's too tight once everything is bolted back up.

I have no idea on any of those theories, but they do make some sense of it.

Most shops use a book/software to figure out the amount of hours to charge per job. I utilize similar in commercial construction as my job as an estimator. There is a difference on pricing out a t-stat job stand alone vs with a WP as a modifier though. So that would make sense for the $400 difference in that case. Just a t-stat could easily be a 3-4 hour job per the shop book, hence the $400 charge. While doing the WP it really is a while you're there procedure and should just be a modifier. It shouldn't be more than an additional 1/2 hour labor charge if they must charge you something besides the part itself.
 

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I did the WP change using the tool and kept the cover on the front. It was A-OK. You have to make sure you use the tool properly. Mine I had to tighten down a few turns at a time on the holding bolts and then the sprocket bolts, then back and forth multiple times till all bolts were off. It was weird at first as I thought once it was tight on the holding bolts I was all set. But no, there must have been some ... play, or interference? Anyways I did it and no whine and did not mess up the timing.
That's VERY interesting, thank you. This may well explain why folks (and dealers) have had issues with the tensioner even when they used the tool.
 

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It is good that you got it fixed, and it does seem that you spent way too much for it, but I agree that fighting it at this point would be a waste.

There have been a lot of amateurs use that tool to do a water pump replacement without problems, and it doesn't seem likely that they all just got lucky.
 

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I would ask for a cost breakout before you pay anything to them. Let's assume at 8.5 hours their shop rate is $100-$150 per hour so $850-$1,275 in labor. The WP, t-stat, and coolant should cost around $250 from a shop. So a grand total of $1,100- $1,525 for the WP.

He's overcharging you period. And yes you should fight it regardless of how much you like the guy. It sounds like he's taking advantage of your kindness and trust.

I think you have a fair argument here. Which is one, it's not your fault as the customer that their use of the tool failed. I have read other stories of forum members who had WPs replaced using the tool that developed the whine and they promptly brought back the car and had the whine fixed on the shop's dime. Second. The coolant should really be part of the WP job and not additional charge for labor. The same goes for the oil and serpentine belt if he cracked open the timing chain cover to reset the balancing chain tensioner. Those needed to be removed and replaced as part of that job. Again materials only. What's the most upsetting part IMO is they really should of also replaced your timing and balancing chain and guides at that point. They were right there and it wouldn't of been much more work to get this done and then you could rest easy knowing most of the major mechanical work that seems to pop up on our cars was taken care of.

For comparison, myself a non-professional mechanic, but someone who has worked on cars for years, successfully did the WP using the tool. I did the job in total over a few days after work about 8-10 hours total. I then ended up doing the timing chain job a few months later similarly over a week a few hours at a time after work. Maybe another 10-12 hours.
 
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