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Update: now what?

I well after my last post about the rear main seal on my Buick, I decided you guys we right. I went ahead and got the car fixed… The $600 repair became a $900 repair, with a new oil pan gasket, and a few other repairs…

What surprised me was when I went to check on things, I found out that he had removed the entire engine cradle (motor and trans)… I was not ready to see that. Well I picked the car up on Thursday, and the oil leak seems fixed but the car drives like crap… What I mean is the steering is all jacked up, the wheel will not self center all the way, and at times it feels like the car is skidding although it’s not… The steering also feels very light… It’s jugs not right at all.

My guess is the alignment is way off, although I asked him that when I saw the motor on the ground and he said the alignment should be fine at the end as he did not touch any of the suspension besides undoing the struts… What do you guys think?? I need to know when call him tomorrow…

If he undid the struts, he changed the alignment. He needs to make it right.

Just some musings from a guy on the internet, because without seeing what was taken apart I can only guess…

Why was the engine on the ground? The engine should have stayed hanging in the car. The subframe (engine cradle) should have been removed, the transmission should have been removed, and then the rear main replaced. The oil pan gasket should have been part of the original estimate, as replacing the rear seal housing mounting gaskets involves possibly breaking the seal on the oil pan gasket. Also the oil pan gasket is ridiculously easy to do at this point so should have been recommended anyway on principle.

If he undid the struts…well, he shouldn’t have. He should have separated the lower ball joints and left the steering knuckles mounted to the struts. Hopefully he didn’t do something like leave the rack and pinion bolted to the cradle and separate it at the steering column.

Anyway, have the alignment checked/corrected. I’ll bet your camber and toe are way off.

Ummm, yes that’s exactly what he did (left the rack in the cradle)… He said it was easier to drop everything as a unit then leave the motor in… He also opened up my ac which I am not happy with… He unbolted the two bolts at the bottom of the strut, and lowered the steering knuckles with the cradle.

Maybe these pics will help

What a ridiculous amount of unnecessary work. I can’t imagine that this was easier than just pulling the transmission and working on the engine in the car.

Some guys follow the factory service manual, some guys use their own experience and come up with a way that’s more time efficient. Looks like this guy did neither. I don’t want to come across as slamming another mechanic, but if guy at this shop was doing a rear main on your car it wouldn’t have gone like this.

Opened up the A/C, drained the coolant, disconnected the battery and removed the starter, removed the crossover exhaust pipe, removed the throttle body, all when it wasn’t needed. That engine never needed to come out of the car. Plus, had the rack never been separated from the column and the lower strut mounts never been removed chances are you wouldn’t have the steering trouble you have now.

I don’t think that I can add much of anything except “Ouch” and I’ve never had to drop an entire engine/transmission assembly on a transverse unit for anything like this.
That’s what a transverse engine support is for; to allow the engine to hang in position without removal.

Ok so I’m not nuts for being shocked to see everything on the floor when I walked in… That’s good…lol

So do we all agree that my alignment is fubar and that is what needs to be addressed ??

His shop does not have an alignment rack, so I’m gonna have to take it else ware.

The guy probably didn’t have a transmission jack. You could have bought him a transmission jack for less than the unneeded labor involved here. I hope he at least changed those spark plugs while they were easily accessible.

In a sense, nothing that is normally associated with alignment was disconnected so in theory, the alignment should be unchanged, EXCEPT, that the cradle never goes back in its original position. There is a little play around each of the mounting bolts and the alignment of the vehicle is based partly on the position of the cradle. It has an effect on the toe and the camber and maybe a tiny bit on the caster.

Ok so I just put on two new tie rod ends and drop the car off in the am for four tires and an alignment… Hopefully this is the last money I spend on this car for a long while.

Took the mech over two hours to get the wheels straight, but he got it almost right on… Car drives much better now… He said one tire was off by five degrees. I could literally hear the tires dragging while I drove it to the shop… Hopefully that’s the last money I have to spend on the car for a while !!

On my Corolla anyway the service manual says to recheck the alignment whenever removing/replacing the front axel shafts. I forget what kind of car this is, but if a front wheel drive and the axel shafts were removed checking the alignment is probably a good idea.

I helped a friend swap an engine in a minivan. We had to drop the k-member, including the lower a-arms and steering knuckles to do it. Put it all back together, and the alignment was way off, even tho we did not touch the tie rods. Just the act of removing the struts was enough to throw things off.