Unnecessary AC repair?

Do what you can with the dealers but a credit card dispute is a joke for car repairs at least. The guy that OH my trans screwed up my 4th gear apply by not replacing the harness like I told him to and like he said he did. Cost me $500 to have someone else do it and was a Detroit only part so no way he could have replaced it. I disputed that part of the bill and got no where. The guy lied through his teeth and they backed him up.

So the dealership gets $1200 of your money and fixes NOTHING?? You can air condition your entire house for $1200…

What I would do is get the old one and re-install it in your car and see if the problem re occurs if not at least you know the truth…more ammo for a fight


Well, I do have the old module. I’d be happy to get it re-installed. Might be an idea, thanks. I’m pretty sure the module wasn’t the problem since replacing it didn’t fix the situation. Also, I took car into another shop Saturday and they diagnosed a problem with the compressor clutch and offered to replace the compressor for $1600. That would bring bill for AC up to $3,000. I declined and will be heading back to the first shop on Tuesday to discuss the situation. I doubt they’re gonna be reasonable so I’m gonna have to get into a fight. More on that in a separate comment.

Update: I took car into another shop Saturday and they diagnosed a problem with the compressor clutch and offered to replace the compressor for $1,600. That would bring bill for AC up to $3,000 – oh, wait, I’m also out $146 for the latest diagnosis if I don’t go back to the second shop for the repair. I declined the work and will be heading back to the first shop on Tuesday to discuss the situation. I doubt they’re gonna be reasonable so I’m gonna have to get into a fight. Here are my plans for a fight: Dispute bill with credit card company. Call in AAA, which apparently “approves” of this shop and “mediates member complaints”. Report dealership to BBB. Put the story on every internet business-recommendation and car-oriented blog I can find. (I’ve delayed naming them here to give them a chance to do the right thing.) Sue them – maybe in small claims court. Anyone have any other ideas?

How much discussion between the tech and the Foreman/ Service Manager happened before they decided to put their faith in a control head? They knew if it did not work it would be impossible to return it and they knew the customer would not accept that “things just happen”.

Dave (OP) perhaps you ask them to walk you through the reasoning that lead them to decide on selling you the head. I really think they should refund you the money for the head as it appears they did something similar to throwing a dart at a list of parts.

At all of my previous Dealerships a mistake like this most likely would have cost someone his job. A 1200.00 non returnable part installed on just a guess?

For what it’s worth, the clutch diagnosis sounds reasonable. I’d want in writing that this will fix the problem and that the verified it isn’t an issue with electrical power to the clutch.
It is possible (and cheaper) to replace just the clutch. Most shops don’t want to because of the danger that the compressor itself may have a problem too.

Right, thanks. That’s my thinking now. I’ll say, “You told me that the new module would fix the problem. You didn’t say it was a gamble. You said it would fix it. What made you think so?” He’ll say, “We ran a test and it said you needed the new module.” I’ll say, “Could I have a copy of the results?” He’ll likely not have them but will give me an error code or just say there was an error code. I’ll say, “What from that test or that error code made you think that that part was causing intermittent failure? Could you show me in the documentation where that error message relates to intermittent failure?” He likely won’t be able to but by now will know I’m pretty serious. I’ll say, “Did you consider any other underlying problems?” Who knows what he’ll say. I’ll say, “Well, this other shop claims they found the problem and that it didn’t take them long to do so.” Who knows where we’ll be at that point?

Thanks. I was wondering about whether just the clutch might be changed. Also wondering if there’s such a thing as a reconditioned compressor.

Dave, I know if a Mercedes has a freon leak, the control head has to be reprogrammed. This can be done without a computer hook-up. You use a step by step procedure at the climate control controls. This info is available online. Maybe it is a similiar system. Has a TSB been issued on this matter?{Technical Service Bulletin} Unless your tech has been to climate control school, he might not be up to speed on this system.Some shop techs help each other out , while at other shops the techs like to watch another tech suffer through the repair, for whatever reason. Look for a Master Certified Tech with the most Factory Volvo school training credentials. Ask for another Tech if need be.Once a Tech is paid for the job, it goes back to him again and again.

Thanks much for this info. I’ll check it out.

Agreed with oldschool about something like this possibly costing someone their job even though it may not be 100% their fault.

Let me play devil’s advocate here for a minute with a couple of things.
One is that not everything, especially with electrical, is black and white. There are a lot of gray areas unless it’s a noticeable hard fault. Many times even factory service manuals make make the recommendation of (paraphrased), replace this, that, or the other and see if it fixes the problem.

I do not know how this car is wired up but if the module directly controls the compressor one could consider this. If for the sake of argument a fault existed in the compressor clutch coil which was making and breaking contact it’s possible that this could have caused arcing and voltage surges which could have knocked out the module or affected it to the point where it was intermittent.

At the dealership level the level of expertise and equipment for checking electronics such as modules, ECMs, etc. can only go so high. At some point the only way of knowing would be an inspection by the factory that manufactured the module (not Volvo in this case) as they are the only ones with the equipment and high end expertise to know for sure.

Just something for consideration anyway.

Very interesting. Good info for me to have. Thanks.

So why does the customer have to bear the brunt of the shortcomings? In a lot of other industries, the field service techs have service spares for such situations. They swap in a part and if it fixes the problem, great. If not, they remove it and reinstall the customer’s original part.

I contend that if you cannot troubleshoot accurately, then part of the cost of doing business is buying and maintaining a stock of service spares for board/module level troubleshooting. It would be far more palatable to the consumer if you said- we don’t know for sure if this will fix it and there are labor costs we will have to charge to do the swapping, but if it doesn’t fix it, that is the extent of your liability, we assume the rest.

Charging consumers parts costs for guessing, especially at those prices, is asking for trouble. Not many people are going to be receptive to the- even though the small leak ultimately fixed the problem, you also needed this $1200 part we tried first… or the even more ludicrous suggestion that it is somehow permanently “married” to your car and can’t be swapped back out.

This kind of thing is regrettable and at times downright heartbreaking but with many situations the shop and mechanic are between a rock and a hard place.

It is not possible at all for a dealer to stock every part needed for so-called test purposes. There are too many makes, models, and variations so it would take a warehouse and a full time employee to maintain all of this.
At last count (off the top of my head also) my Lincoln has over 2 dozen electronic modules and that doesn’t count the myriad of relays, switches, and parts that are controlled by all of that; and that’s just one year, one make, and one model.

We had a VW in the shop once that died several times on the road and was towed. At the shop it always started right up and ran fine with nary a hiccup. The 3rd time it got towed the car stayed dead and I deterimined it was a no spark condition.
Long story short, repeated testing (several dozen times) showed no problem, replacement of the module curing nothing, and after pulling a brand new VW into the shop and changing every stinking part of the system; still no dice. No spark.
Parts swapping was done on the basis of the factory manual recommendation if testing shows everything to be fine.

The VW rep threw in the towel and after a cool down (me, not the car) I decided the problem was the wire itself and sure enough; that’s what it turned out to be.
Even with the harness cut open and the individual wires cut out and laid out on the bench testing with the VOM showed no problem with those wires although there was definitely a problem with them.
I reused the connectors, made up my own harness, and the car started, ran fine, and never had a problem again.

That’s just an example of that rock and a hard place I mentioned. At what point would one consider anything I did here in the wrong? My guesstimate is that these ignition tests were performed by me several dozen times, by an assistant trainee (sharp guy) half a dozen times, and the VW rep went through it 3 or 4 times.

In this case, I’m not condoning anything this shop did but it would be very interesting to know the entire story behind any testing or how the diagnosis was arrived at and who had the final say on the module authorization.

Along the same lines, if a mechanic said that an ignition switch failed because of a clogged fuel filter some would look at the mechanic with a raised eyebrow, followed by calling the guys in the white coats.

First off, we’re talking about larger, expensive assys not every relay etc. Second, you don’t necessarily have to stock every part, as in my example. They already had the new part, right? So if it doesn’t fix the problem, that becomes their new spare. You don’t sock the customer for your mistakes or shortcomings.

But according to the OP the dealer stated that the part would solve the problem, in your story did you point to a part and say, ?Replace this and it?ll solve your problem.? Not according to your story.

You have a manual to follow, but if replacing a part didn?t solve the problem, shouldn?t that part be returned? And yes a part can be removed and reset, the dealer may not have the equipment to do this but it has and can be done.

The dealer should at very least reduce the CCM to cost, it?s the closest thing to a win-win. The dealer isn?t out much and the OP isn?t out much. Then they can fix the problem with the OP being charged to fix it.

I?m glad I drive and old car, my CCM is two slide levers with a cables this way for heat and this way for cold, move the other one for how much heat or how much cold.

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.

I know this is getting off thread. You guys are right that a dealerships should put the part back in stock as a pre-tested unit. Unfortunately the shops are a dog-eat-dog environment for the most part. Techs are usually on a commisssion only basis as is just about everyone else at the dealership. In my opinion that is the whole problem with the industry. If a tech brings in a car, puts it on the lift, takes off the wheels and inspects the brakes, he then has to get the okay to do the job and hope and pray he doesn’t have to wait half an hour to get the brake parts. This leaves him 15 minutes to slam on the brakes and not do a roadtest to get the job done in the flat rate hour he is paid.If a tech is losing his butt on a repair{its all about beating the flat rate time clock] then he is going to get the vehicle out the door asap before he spends two to three hours of diagnosis time and gets paid half an hour labor. Fixing a broken wire takes ten minutes, but it took two hours to locate the break in the wire. If techs were paid a decent salary to fix vehicles, there would be no comebacks! According to the US labor and statistics bureau, todays techs average $30k a year. Tool purchase keeping up with every special tool to fix whatever is about $200 a month.Young guys spend twice that much in the beginning.