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31 December 2001 @ 05:21 pm
I have car!  
I left my car at Sears Auto last night, for them to work on it this morning. So, I call them at 8:30, and the following conversation ensued:

"You figured out what's wrong with the car?"
"Yeah, bad battery, and alternator. We can replace the battery, but can't find an alternator."
"Okay, well, I think I can get the part brought down, can you put it in?"
"No, we only install parts that we sell to the customer."
". . . Wait, you'll only put a part that you don't sell in if you sell it?"
"Well, see, it's for the warranty. We buy our parts from dealers, so we can give a 3-year warranty."
"Fine, I'll waive the warranty. I just want to get home!"
"No, sorry, we can't put in the part if we don't sell it to--"
"Yeah, fine, I'll call you back."

I hang up, and call around til I find a local dealer with the part. $450, ouch. It's just a standard Bosch alternator, retails at around $180 plus a $90 core (you get that last bit back when you turn in your old alternator). But, then you add on the standard Saab markup.

But, I just want to get home, so I call Sears back.
"I found a local dealer who has the Saab part."
" . . . "
"What's the problem?"
"Well, we didn't want to tell you this, but...we don't want to touch it."
"We don't know how to get your alternator out! Our mechanic has 25 years experience, but he can't see how to get it out without removing the engine, or the transmission."

I knew that was bullshit, so I knew I had to get the car someplace competent. I proceed to start making many, many phonecalls.

General consensus: The part from a parts store will cost around $280, $190 after rebate from the core. But will take 3 days to get in. No Saab garages can look at it til later in the week. That one dealer has the alternator at the grossly-inflated price.

Then, jackpot! Tracey finds a small, unassuming ad in the yellow pages, a place that works on foreign cars. I call, "Do you do work on Saabs?"
"Yep, one of our specialties."
"Great! When do you think you could replace an alternator on a 1997 Saab 900 2.0 liter?"
"If you get it in here soon, I'll put it right up on the lift!"
"Whoah!" Pause, expecting the worst, but figuring it's worth a shot..."Do you have the replacement alternator in stock?"
"Yep. It's expensive, though...gonna run you $190 after core trade."
At this point, I had a little dance around the living room.
"We'll be right over as soon as we can get it towed!"

Got the car towed from Sears to the other place (Cruz, I highly recommend it). Poor car, 3rd tow in a 24-hour period. But anyways! Dropped it off there, the shop looked like one of those shops where the guy's been doing it forever, because he honestly likes the cars he works on. And sure enough, there's Saab up on the sign!

3 hours later, he calls back. Part's in, new battery Sears put in is happy with it, car's ready! We go pick it up, drive around for 50 miles or so, and the car's still working like a charm. And all told, the tow to Cruz, parts, and labor were less than just the *part* at the other place, which couldn't install it anyways!

Something good: Resolving a tricky situation

Something bad: Head colds

Something disturbing: The reason the Sears mechanic couldn't figure out how to get out the alternator was because you had to do something really, really tricky. You had to take it out from below, not above :P
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Genesis Whitmore: cutesmilegen on December 31st, 2001 04:04 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you cashed in some Karma! Glad it worked out.
Lanakilalanakila on December 31st, 2001 06:09 pm (UTC)
Way to go, Roho!

Lanakila gape-grins delightfully, watching the Fennecy prance around his friend's living room doing a happy dance at discovering the small auto repair place that has a technician who works on foreign cars and has the Saab sign lit up in front of his premise.

I'm SOOOOO happy to hear that you were able to find the alternator part at a reduced price AND located a person who specialized in repairing foreign cars (including Saab!). I could just imagine how relieved and happy you are to know that you now have a perfectly working and functional car to get you back home to Chicago!

If you're travelling on the New York State Thruway (I-90), just be careful about all the snow that's falling around the Buffalo area. I heard there's a snowstorm going to produce 30cm (12 inches) of the white stuff on the ground.

Congratulations on getting your vehicle fixed!

Safe drive home tomorrow! *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
genetenveri on January 2nd, 2002 05:09 am (UTC)
He's home safe. And it's a good thing that he didn't come, since we're both ill, and we probably would have spent the weekend being miserable on the couch. ;)

And I definately am coming down...