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86 gmc sierra 1500 been in shop 7 months getting new engine

Hi I’m puzzeled… literally.
Fed 28 I took my gmc Sierra 1500 to have a engine installed only because the leaks we had and repair work needed would be jus a lil less then a engine so we decided put a another one in cause it still had original engine in it. the mechanic said it would be 2 weeks so we paid $2000 cash .now for some reason it has (check engine light) been on all along since I acquired the truck but now with a new engine the light will still not go off and the mechanic says he cant release it to me as long as it’s on, its against the law he has changed the tps, some valves , electrical and other stuff and still can not locate the problem he has done according to him everything under the sun even located a gmc specialist with the diagram for the truck and still cant figure it out. It probably doesn’t help the the previous owners where tweakers and I believe tweaked on it cause he found parts that dont even belong. So here we are 7 months later and he still has my truck I dont know what to do he thinks its th CPU but we cant locate one they dont make them for my truck anymore supposedly my truck was only a few made and it was the first computer to be put in that model… so now I have put a new tranny and engine in but in California if ur engine light is on it’s an automatic fail in smog and it is due for smog so I’m damned if I take it with engine light on cause I cant smog and drive it and I’m damned if I dont so I’m stuck we only have these 2 vehicle and right now we are jus down to using my SUVfor EVERYTHING… WHAT DO I DO. It is still in shop being worked on (trying find problem) SOMEONE PLEASE HELP… can my mechanic actually keep my truck since it’s been there so long?? What do I do?? Thanks

It is your truck, you can have anyone you want work on it. It is not against the law for your mechanic to release the vehicle to you. He is likely lying to you. I’d also suggest that the mechanic is lying to you about the ECU since RockAuto shows remanufactured ECUs as being available and cheap ($118)

A re-built transmission alone would cost more than $2000 so I’m guessing a used engine and transmission were installed.

I’d suggest you have it towed to a better mechanic. Get the police involved if he won’t give up the truck. I’d also suggest you talk to a lawyer because I’d suggest you are not going to find this engine and transmission installed in the truck satisfactory.

Good Luck


Maybe the poster who was considering an old pickup needing an engine will read this and ‘see the light.’

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Well we paid 2000 for a rebuilt engine and according to the mechanic it runs beautiful its jus the engine light and he said cali laws wont let him release but of course we could take it but then wouldn’t that be forfeit all the engine work done…but prior to this 2 years ago we had also put in a new tranny for around 1800 and it is great jus this engine thing

He is lying to you. If you pay him for the work he’s done to this point, you can take the car. I suggest you DO that and send it to a mechanic that can actually fix it. Your mechanic has proven he can’t fix your car.

I jus spike to him about it he told me he also called bureau of automotive repair and spoke with them about the check engine on having a leniency since everything else is good , but that didn’t work either so I’m thinking I’m gonna be picking it up but I’m starting to believe it is gonna be a loss I’m taking

Again this is legal advice not car advice. He has no business representing you to state officials. Get the truck to someone that can diagnose it and then charge him for the cost.

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Will do thanks so much.

The light was on before he got the truck to do the engine swap. That would be an uphill battle holding him responsible for fixing it.

He can’t hold your truck. If he’s licensed inspector, he can fail it but that just means you’re not supposed to operate it on the roads. In MA you’d get a red Repair sticker and have 30 days to fix it. That’s one example. He’s had ample time. I’d go there, thank him for trying but you’d like to take your truck immediately. Settle your bill and he should relinquish it.

You cannot get a rebuilt engine for $2000. This guy is lying through his teeth. Only you can decide what to do about that.

I suspect it will involve a lawyer or whatever agency that regulates auto repair shops in California.

IIRC fuel injection wasn’t introduced in these trucks until 1987. So where is all this ECU business coming from? Also they were still using the C/K 1520/30 nomenclature as well. Are we sure this is a 1986 model?