Ammco transmission repair nightmare

so I brought my 2002 Volvo xc70 crosscountry into Ammco to repair my transmission because my reverse and fifth gear where slipping. I bring it in on the 22nd, talk with the shop and agree to have the transmission rebuild for around 2700 give or take and have it back to me by the 3 or 4th because I us the car to drive kids to and from school and I figure I could get the work done over the Christmas break. During the repair process I had very poor communication and when I get a yes the car is done and can be paid for on the 3rd I assume I can go pick it up.

After I had payed and was about to go get my car I call and check and they inform me that the car is leaking transmission fluid and they need to take the transmission out again which will take another week and that I need to replace the stabilizer arms because the bushings are blown in the lower arms and you have to replace the whole unit, which will cost me another 600 dollars. At this point the cost has gone up to 3300 and I am with out a car for a whole month now. By now I’m pretty annoyed but I agree to the repair and wait to hear from them. A week goes by still no communication, I call again and they say there is another problem, that the valve body needs to be replaced and is going to cost me 2200 more on top of what i have already paid…

After discussing it with the manager the only thing he is willing to do is lower the cost to 1800 dollars. If I would have know it was going to cost me 5000 grand to do the work when the car is only worth 7000 I would have gone else where and or sold the car for parts.

How i see it is they quoted me on a price and a time frame it was going to be done in and it’s way over both now, how should I proceed?

I can see a potential problem. According to Aamco’s own web site, the following words were seen: “rebuilt using the original unit by an on-site expert technician”. That means that the rebuild quality can vary according to the skill of the in-house mechanic and you can be sure mechanics are not all equal in ability. I would prefer to get a rebuilt automatic from a place that does that in a quality controlled factory setting. I might get a mark for spam but in our area we have ETE Reman and you can read all about them on their site. There are likely more auto trans rebuilders who do it in a quality controlled factory setting but I don’t know that and don’t have to know that, I try to buy manual trans cars when possible.

As for your situation, you need to ask some pointed questions about the mechanic’s ability (rebuilt trans leaking fluid, doesn’t a rebuild include new seals?) and for detailed information on the stabilizer arms. Were they damaged by an inept mechanic or somehow deteriorated from corrosion or age so that they failed on removal of the transmission? What do they have to do with your automatic transmission? What happens if they are not replaced? Aren’t the bushings replaceable? Ask why not. You should not have paid before a test drive was done. What does “blown stabilizer arm” mean? Are there better words to describe a failed part? Are both failed?


The sway bar bushings have nothing to do with the transmission rebuild

And they didn’t even get that right

I suspect they may not even have diagnosed it correctly in the first place

In hind sight, you would have been better off paying a high quality transmission shop (clearly not this one) to diagnose your transmission problem. They may very well have sold you a rebuilt transmission (rather than attempting to rebuild yours) and the outcome may have been better

As for the leak, I understand that mistakes happen. The mechanic may have buggered up the front pump seal when he was reassembling your transmission. To replace that seal, the transmission must come out.

But I don’t see why that would mean an additional week for you.

Must be your first visit here or you never would have gone to SCAMCO in the first place. Now that you are into it, its going to be hard to extricate yourself. At this point you are going to take a hit. Best thing now is pay with a credit card and get it to a legitimate shop to have it properly fixed. When you get that resolved, protest the credit charge. Don’t hold your breath though, the credit card companies know nothing about transmissions and will likely side with AMMCO. The other option would be to go to small claims but then you have to at least give AMMCO the opportunity to repair it first which for me would no longer be an option. Maybe the judge will see it your way or maybe not. Take the $1800 hit and get the heck out of there though.

The problem with having a transmission rebuilt by a place like aamco is this, The mechanic may have never seen that Volvo transmission before. He is going to learn how to rebuild it then and there, when you learn you make mistakes. I agree its better to have a transmission like that rebuilt at a facility that has likely seen the transmission many times before.

If its an easy rebuild like a gm 4l60e or that nature I could see rebuilding in house. Lets be honest, all transmissions require specific special tools and knowledge to rebuild them, there is no way a shop can be experts at every make and model of transmission.

Wow, a 2002 Volvo and Aamco- talk about a perfect storm. There may be an auto repair chain with a worse reputation but I have never heard of one. I wish I had a fix for your problem but I can’t think of a good one.
If I was unfamiliar with transmission shops in an area I would find out where the local police send theirs to be fixed. With a Volvo I might try to find out where the closest Volvo dealer sends theirs although they might be reluctant to tell you because they want you to bring the car to them so they can mark up the tranny shops work.

I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. I will agree with the others though that the best course of action is to pay up and get your car out of there. Have them fix the valve body, decline the sway bar bushings if you can and hope the transmission works properly. The sway bars can be fixed at a shop of your choosing, perhaps for less money.

I think the only other option is to pay what you originally agreed to, remove your car from them and have it towed to the dealer or a transmission/euro specialist who can help you.

In retrospect (not that this will be useful to you now), from a professional point of view, $2700 is way too low for a quality transmission rebuild for your car. A quality job would have included rebuilding or replacing the valve body (which is inside the trans) from the get-go. If there is a leak in the trans following a rebuild it is obviously a result of workmanship or failed new parts. Either way, a professionally run shop would put this ahead of any other work in order to get the thing done and out, not put it on the back burner for another week or 2.

I think this is a classic example of bidding a job low to get the car in the door and then finding added needs.

I would get the car out of there, sans valve body and suspension parts, and have a decent long established independent transmission shop look at it.
There’s enough red flags to say with quite a bit of confidence that they don’t know what they’re doing or they’re crooks; or both.

A 2200 dollar valve body later and still a problem. Then what?

I would get your car out of there too. And seek legal counsel. Get everything you can in writing and keep everything.