"Catastrophic Failure"

Two weeks ago, I took my Focus to Aamco for a clutch replacement, as my regular mechanics don’t do clutches.

Yesterday, the car was driving perfectly normal until, after stopped at a light, i shifted into first gear and the car made a terribly loud, awful grinding noise, the engine raced, and the car wouldn’t move. I had it towed back to Aamco and it turned out the engine shifted and rotated due to a broken transmission and engine mounts, and it caused the two front axles to snap. I called my regular mechanics for a consult and they called this “catastrophic failure” and said they’ve never heard of this happening without warning. Currently, Aamco is ‘looking into’ whether or not the clutch replacement had anything to do with this.

Knowing nothing about cars, it’s hard to suggest that this was related to their clutch replacement but I suspect it was. Why would this happen?

" Why would this happen?"
Because you went to Aamco.

Since the dolts at AAMCO were the last ones to deal with the transmission and motor mounts, it surely seems to indicate that they are at fault. However, AAMCO being AAMCO, they will never admit fault with their traditionally poor workmanship.

Why, oh why, oh why do people continue to patronize these ham-handed, thieving chain operations?

If all your engine and transmission mounts were on the verge of sudden collapse, Aamco should have noticed this and recommended replacements. It is more likely that they forgot to fully install, tighten, one or more mounts and this led to the shifting of the engine and transmission, and subsequent “snapping” of your front axles.

There is no way you can replace a clutch and not see a broken transmission mount which you have to remove and reinstall for this job. Did your car fall off the lift?

AAMCO knows this is their fault. They’re hoping you don’t.

They just called and said that actually, it wasn’t the transmission mount that broke, but the connector piece to it, which ‘snapped in half’. Again, he said he’s never seen anything like this, and may not get the part until Monday or Tue… Does anyone know what this piece would be and would it have to be removed when replacing a clutch?

so THAT’S what those extra nuts and bolts were for ! Dang.

( I honestly think that ‘broke in half’ is a result of , not a caouse of. )

I think Mr. Green has pretty well nailed the underlying cause of this problem.

Luna–I hope you learn from this experience that chains like AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Sears, Midas, Meineke, Monro, etc are best known for poor-quality workmanship, high prices, and failure to stand behind their work. Even though your usual mechanic does not do clutch work, you could have found another independent mechanic who does do clutch work.

In almost every case, you can get a lower price and far better workmanship from an indy guy, rather than from the charlatans who manage these chains.

Amen. The only thing a good independent shop has to draw business is a good reputation for doing things right and standing behind the results. Chains rely on being everywhere and advertising. Best to remember that even if your mechanic does not handle the work, to ask for a reference to where he would take his car.