When is it time to say goodbye?

I have a 2003 Passat 4 Motion a couple of years ago, which I bought used. Recently (1/15) the transmission failed, I had it replaced with a used one with a one year warranty for $3000. I now have a transmission leak coming from the torque converter/transmission. The mechanic who replaced the transmission is saying it’s 12 hours work to replace the seal, which will cost about $1000. I bought the car for $8000 originally. I don’t think the resale value will be very high for this car, especially with it’s recent history. Should I replace the seal? When is it time to throw in the towel and move along?

Why isn’t the leak covered by the warranty?

The warranty only covers the transmission for failure.

Well, for sure it is time to say goodbye to that mechanic.

Why not have a different mechanic evaluate the car and advise you as to whether to ditch it or repair it?
Due to the poor ratings and high prices at most VW dealership service departments, there are independent VW specialists in most areas.
I suggest that you look for an indy VW specialist, and get his opinion.

This is not a car problem; it’s a mechanic problem. If the torque converter seal is leaking this means:

  1. He did not install a new seal during the transmsission swap. This is not an option; it’s a MUST and preferably an engine rear main seal at the same time.
  2. He did install a new seal and nicked the new seal during the installation.

If the mechanic does not cover his screwup for you that doesn’t say much about his competency or ethics; or at least honorable ethics.

Or about the value of the (apparently worthless) “warranty”.

$3000 seems beyond steep for a used transmission.

I think some fluff exists to compromise and pay 1/2 the cost of $600 instead of $1200.

"$3000 seems beyond steep for a used transmission. "

For $3k, I would expect to get an expertly-overhauled transmission, rather than one plucked from a junkyard, with an unknown maintenance history and likely unknown mileage.

Everything we have been told about the OP’s mechanic indicates someone who is at least unscrupulous and very possibly not even a competent mechanic.

“Everything we have been told about the OP’s mechanic indicates someone who is at least unscrupulous and very possibly not even a competent mechanic.”

I agree 100% with that sentiment.

Since you don’t think the car is worth the expensive proper fix, try a bottle of leak stop for transmissions. It’s cheap and if it works, WooHoo! If not, oh well, at least you didn’t spend much.

It’s appalling to me that he charged 3 grand for a used transmission with a leak that is more than likely due to him.
Didn’t replace the converter seal? His fault.
Didn’t check the converter for a seal wear groove? His fault.
Nicked the seal during the install? His fault.
A 3 grand used transmission with a 1 year warranty that he won’t back up even due to his negligence? His fault.

A converter seal is 10 bucks or whatever and not replacing it on a used transmission before installing the trans in the car is utter idiocy; not to mention piracy for wanting a grand to redo his work. Fpr 3 grand I’d be hot under the collar to put it in polite terms.

OP got ripped off, plain and simple

There is no way in H . . L that mechanic can justify 3K to install a used transmission, and a leaky one at that

Even considering the fact that a 4Motion transmission might be rarer and more expensive than the regular passat transmission, still got ripped off

Just like the poster whose oil filter allegedly blew up I think the OP here should not take this lying down and go after the shop.

A tag agent screwed me out of 5 bucks once on a lost title and before all was said and done 4 or 5 months later he sincerely regretted doing it. I caused that guy so much grief he not only offered me the 5 bucks back an increment at a time as it went along but was begging me at the end to take the legit charge also and go away.

@jfk802, I think you should insist that the mechanic make good on his warranty. It is in writing, correct? If he refuses, you should consider contacting an attorney. Often a letter from a lawyer is enough to convince someone like this to change his mind.

I would think if it failed within 90 days, the shop would be on the hook, as most offer at least that coverage on their own work.

AS for having a 12 year old VW and its value to you, hard to say if you should move on. A diesel would retain value in the market. My cousin used to sell new VW at the dealer and would not advise owning a used example. New, they were great, just do not age well

I concur w/the others here that a new seal (along with at least one other) should have been installed at the time the transmission was replaced. That job is very inexpensive to do when the transmission is sitting on the floor of the garage. Not so much once it is back in, as you know.

However, if the shop refuses to fix it for you gratis, or for only a very small fee (less than $200), I’d throw in the towel on this car. Cars don’t last forever.

Unfortunately, the only statutes covering competency and integrity are tort laws. You might consider documenting everything in detail and filing in small claims court.

Hey, come on guys, I think it’s a bit much to be ripping the shop a new one for the price of the used transmission. I myself am surprised at what salvage yard transmissions go for. We recently put a good used transmission in a Hyundai Santa Fe and the price–including new seals–and a few incidentals was $2700. Just this week finished an engine transplant on an 03 Accord. Complete with new water pump and all maintenance items, $3100. And I’m not anywhere near the top of the price chain for this area.

But back to the original poster…best practices indicate that seals, gaskets, and fluids be replaced when installing a used transmission. Legally I don’t know if you have grounds to stand on, but ethically the shop should cover part or all of the repair.

I don’t necessarily have an issue with the price as AutoZone shows a transmission at about 5200 bucks sans sales tax.

It’s the fact that the guy apparently didn’t think the seal issue through before installing a boneyard unit while offering a 1 year warranty and now wants a grand to cover his lack of foresight.

The same would apply if he had installed a boneyard engine without replacing the rear main seal first.

OK4450 has described my feeling perfectly. The seal should be replaced under a workmanship warranty. The OP should not be squeezed for another grand. IMHO it was negligence on the part of the mechanic for not having replaced the seal that caused the current situation.