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Is $5K outrageous to fix my 96 Camaro Z28?

Jet black Camaro Z28 convertible. Only 77K miles. Awesome car. Not a garage queen, but things break. Few days ago, ran over a curb that broke open the AC line, but didn’t notice the damage. Days later, while driving in town, it began stuttering and then died in traffic. Argh! Got it started, but repeatedly died at idle. Smelled fuel. Finally, would not start at all. Got a tow to the dealer, which I don’t like, but the only place open with minutes to go. They diagnosed the fuel pump, which is inside the gas tank. Said it would take $2.4K to fix the AC and replace pump and gas tank. Later, on the shop’s test drive, it went a mile and died. No restart possible. They then diagnosed the ignition module as having been destroyed by oil thrown up out of a worn seal. Has been no sign of oil in my parking place. They now say it will take about $5K to fix it all. Way, way over my budget. Am I getting hosed, maybe? Or are these figures “reasonable.” Just looking for general advice/feedback. As of now, the Z28 is a hostage of the Al Qaeda of Automobilia. Thanks in advance.

Sounds like a hose job. You damaged the AC line, fuel tank, and fuel pump when you ran over a curb? Could this be an insurance claim?

Get the car out of the shop, tow it if you have to. Find a good independant shop. This car is not hard to work on and any good shop can handle this work.

If I read this correctly you spent $2,400 already and now they want another $5,000? What is the book value of this car? Get you car outta there!!!

Explain, “hitting a curb”?


I damaged the AC line on the curb, but fuel pump and ignition modules pooped out separately days later. Insurance … tnx, I’ll have to check coverage. I was too hasty and approved fixing the fuel pump and AC for $2.4K. Now, they say it will take another $2.4K to fix the ignition system (about $5K total). I think I’m stuck. Greatly appreciate your comments. Thanks for replying. More thoughts?

Get it out of the dealership and find an independent mechanic who knows and loves these cars.

My son has a '96 Camaro and I can verify that if you run over anything more than about 1.5 inches high something will get damaged. It’s a royal pain in the neck to even get any type of low profile jack under those cars.
(He’s ripped the front air dam off 4 times, with 4 repaints, and that’s by being careful with it.)

Did the condenser get whacked on the hit? The fuel pumps are also a royal pain in the neck to change (exhaust down, rear end drop, etc.) and combined with an A/C repair, dealer labor rates, and factory OEM parts I could see it hitting over 2 grand pretty quick. Especially considering the price of a factory OEM fuel pump module.
And why the gas tank replacement? Did it get whacked too?

As to the module/oil leak that’s hard to say. Maybe damage occurred to the engine from the curb strike and it simply took a few days for the problem to develop.
I can’t speak with authority on the cost of the module, having never done one. Offhand, that seems high unless there is more damage involved than the module itself. Maybe someone else can weigh in on that one.

Isn’t this the engine with the ignition/distributor mounted below the water pump? I have seen these damaged by coolant, but oil?

Yes, oldschool, the ignition/distributor is mounted near the front of the engine, below the water pump. I agree … damage usually doesn’t come from oil, and there is no sign of oil leakage on this engine. Engine coolant isn’t leaking, either. But just below the ignition/distributor was the break in the AC line with visible fluid leaking out. That might be the cause. Thanks for replying.

Yeah, good advice. At the time of the breakdown, I had no other choice … but out it’s gonna come now. Thanks.

I’ve tried replying to this question by Tester three times, but my replies don’t show up, unlike other replies. What’s up with that? Most parking lots here have stubs of curbs about 3-feet wide, sticking out into the driving area to separate them from parking spots. I thought I had cleared one as I turned right, but the right front wheel went up and almost over the stub at low speed. I backed off and examined the car but found no damage or leaks, but I failed to look under the hood. The car ran normally for the next two days, until it began stuttering. It is possible that fluid leaking from the AC system, caused by contact with that curb, damaged the ignition module, which is immediately above the leak, which I hadn’t noticed until the breakdown. Thanks for asking.

If you broke an AC line, the refrigerant escaping to the atmosphere would be in the form of a gas, not a liquid. What color is this “liquid” that’s leaking from the broken line?

This is sort of shop “bar talk” but the driveability mechanics would tell me that once any type of fluid was introduced into that module there was never any reliability, so they got into a habit of replacing the entire unit.

I had a woman pull into my shop insisting a “big cloud of steam” poured from under her hood. Cooling system checked out fine but a AC line had ruptured.

As I remember the customer was charged every bit of 4hrs to change the fuel pump on a “F” body (as your car is known).

Your car is the car I learned convertible top repair on. I did not even know the names of the parts and I had convertible tops dispatched to me.

Yeah, this BBS has problems if you try to respond to multiple postings without exiting the thread after each one. The thread needs to get refreshed after each reply.

IMO, you’re getting hosed on the price of these repairs. I’m not convinced by their logic either on the ignition module. You’re never stuck. Tell them to put it back together, pay the diagnostic fee and have it towed if necessary. Wouldn’t be the first time that a customer demanded something like this and the cost magically came down or they backpedalled on the diagnosis…

The FIRST thing I would do would be to check the “Blue Book” on this car…

Air conditioners use chemicals that easily convert from a gas to a liquid and back again. This chemical is used to transfer heat from the air inside a car to the outside air. In liquid form, the chemical in my car is vivid green. I agree that if the break had occured upstream, it would exit as a gas, but the break occured downstream, where the coolant is liquid. Thanks for the question, mcparadise.

Hi, ok4450. Tried to respond earlier, but the electronic goblins ate the msg. Yes, indeed, ground clearance is minimal, and anything over 1.5 inches high causes damage. Have had painful experiences there. No, the condenser didn’t get whacked, being far above street level. But the nearby ignition module (opti?) seems to have been killed by the AC fluid leaking just below it. Just discovered that the fuel pump can be accessed relatively easily by cutting an access hatch in the body just above the gas tank. The mechanic here didn’t do that and instead went through the laborious process of dropping the exhaust, rear end, etc. Argh! I know he replaced the fuel pump, not because it got whacked but because it broke down, but I’m not sure yet about the tank. I’ll have to check. I think you’re right about taking extra days (in this case, two) to manifest damage to the ignition module. Thanks again for the reply. Much appreciated.

The refridgerant does not exist in liquid form when under atmospheric pressure,that is you cant have a open bottle of liquid R134A it will always turn to a gas under just atmospheric pressure. What will be liquid under just atmospheric pressure is the oil in the system and the green you see is dye added to find leaks.

Ah! Thanks, oldschool. mcparadise is right, then. Oil! That’s what the mechanic said had been thrown up at the ignition module. It’s beginning to make more sense. Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.