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lemon

Timing Belt Change (At Dealer)

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So I posted a while back about the Toyota dealer quoting me $399 vs $599 at the Lexus dealer. Being obsessive, I called the Toyota dealer two or three times after the original quote and double checked. When I booked the appointment on Tuesday for today, I again asked and the service advisor actually spoke to a mechanic and was told $399.99 for a six cylinder. Each time I spoke to them I was very clear to point out that it was a hybrid, exactly like the Highlander Hybrid in the engine bay. Each time, the mechanic told the service advisor, it's just a six cylinder, $399.99 for a six cylinder timing belt. I was also advised that the water pump was not changed just because, but would be inspected and changed if it was weeping.

So today I drop it off, telling them to call me if it needed a water pump. At the time I was advised that sometimes the engine mount bolts are seized and need to be replaced. An hour later, I get a call at home. Service advisor (not the one that quoted me the $399) says he spoke to mechanic and there could 'potentially' be additional charges once they get into the repair (the car hadn't actually been touched yet). In addition to the water pump and the bolts, the idler pulleys (tensioner etc. for the timing belt) might also need to be replaced if they are worn. Again, they'll inspect it like the water pump and decide if it needs replacing.

Water pump $160 or so, pulley kit $300!!! or so. Additional labour etc. led to a potential grand total of $1200. Just to confirm, I then called Lexus and was told that, yes, the water pump and the pulleys sometimes need to be replaced when the timing belt is done.

Then the guy on the phone starts asking about the $399, saying the mechanic was griping that he needs to remove air cleaner, brake fluid master cylinder etc etc and the $399 quote was wrong - that's for a regular gas six cylinder. I just laughed and said, 'not my problem', I confirmed the $399 price several times and that had better be what you charge me - and don't pull any fast ones, like replacing water pump and pulleys, even if they don't need it, to make up for the wrong price of $399. I told him if any parts are replaced, I wanted the original parts back (that's something we can ask for here in Ontario based on some obscure law).

So anyway, I'll wait and see what happens. I also printed out the TSB for the Idle Speed Reset, attached it to my work order, and asked the service advisor to confirm with the mechanic that they had the proper equipment to do the ISC reset. The service adviser said he talked to the mechanic and the ISC reset would be done.

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Wow. Those service managers are a piece of work. I'm quite sure the guy that gave you the quote is aware that he may have messed up pretty good. Very few people get the opportunity to get away with a misquote, so do us proud and get that thing done for that low price. Wish it was me.

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Oh it's being done for the $399. I already discussed that with the dealership. Now I know why Lexus wanted $599. There's more labour involved with the timing belt on the hybrid, due to other parts needing to be moved out of the way - air cleaner, brake fluid master cylinder, battery & tray, windshield wipers/cowl etc. I have the printout from my shop manual (DVD actually) and there's a whole lot of things to be moved.

Now it's just a matter of whether or not I need water pump and pulleys. If I do, I'm getting the used parts back to look at myself.

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Dealership just called. Water pump was fine, but they replaced the pulleys/tensioner etc. All I can say is the old parts had better be worn.

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If not, your $200 "savings" has turned into a $100 "premium" at the Toyota dealership. I hope this teaches us all a lesson. If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true! :cries:

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Well, no, not really. It's $399 at Toyota vs $599 at Lexus for the timing belt service (which includes the timing belt). The extra money for the tensioner and pulleys would have been extra at the Lexus dealership on top of the $599 same as at the Toyota dealership. So, no matter what, I saved $200 by using Toyota.

Too good to be true doesn't apply in this case. The Toyota dealer screwed up and quoted me the wrong price for the timing belt change, despite me pointing out to them (several times) that I was bringing a hybrid in. As should be expected, they stuck to the quote of $399.99 even after discovering their mistake, however, I don't expect them to make this mistake on the next hybrid that comes in.

*edit* Just re-read your post. You mean extra money if they replaced the parts without them needing to be replaced? I looked at the old parts when I picked up the vehicle, and while I'm no expert, they did look worn compared to a new set that they showed me - to be expected after 145000KM. When I called the Lexus dealer yesterday (after Toyota told me I might need the tensioner/pulleys and/or water pump) I confirmed that the $599 only included the timing belt and labour, and also confirmed that they would do the same as Toyota - inspect the water pump and tensioner and replace if necessary. If Toyota really wanted to screw me over, they would have told me I needed a new water pump as well.

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Ah, but the Lexus technician may have decided that your tensioner and pulley did NOT have to be replaced - saving you some money.

There is one Mazda dealership (in my area) that employs a very honest mechanic. Even though the timing belt in my MX6 GT's engine has over 60,000 miles on it, he told me it did NOT need replacing. I am sure that had I brought my car to a different dealership, they would've recommended replacing the belt. back a few years ago I was told at the "other" dealership that my Mazda's waste gate was bad and the entire turbo-charger would need to be replaced, costing thousands of dollars. The guy at the "good" dealership found that the problem was the distributor - a far less-costly component to replace.

I bring up these stories to show you that you should not assume that all dealership technicians use the same "judgement" when analyzing parts/assemblies.

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True, I guess the only way would be for me to take the old parts to the Lexus dealership and ask their opinion. Like I said, they showed me the old parts and also showed me a new set of parts (it's a kit with the belt and the pulleys/tensioner) and I agreed the old parts looked worn (but of course they would after 145000km) However, when it comes to pulleys and tensioners - a seized pulley is as bad as a broken timing belt (or will lead to a broken timing belt) and a loose belt runs the risk of skipping a tooth, also leading to potential engine damage. At least with these parts new and the belt new, I can motor on for another 145000km with no worries (assuming the leak I just found under my inverter doesn't cause some massive self destruction of the hybrid components (see my post about leaking inverter)

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I have a friend who was briefly a service writer for a GM dealership. I gave up the job because he was constantly pushed to "oversell," which conflicted with his religious beliefs. And, yes, service writers are sometimes commissioned and sometimes get nice bonuses for jacking prices.

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I think it just depends on the dealer. I had my timing belt replayed in my 2006 440h at my local Toyota dealer for $324, which included parts. He said they inspected the water pump and the pulleys and I didn't need them. He even gave me a free loaner car. We have no Lexus dealer within 50 miles north (Charleston) or south (Savannah) so he's trying to earn the Lexus trade. he's got mine.

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I have a friend who was a good technician at a local Chrysler dealership, and he asked for and as given a position as Service Writer. Unlike other service writers, he was very knowledgeable regarding cars and their problems and sold only what was needed. The company reassigned him as a mechanic very quickly.

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