I was living in Anchorage, AK at the time and worked in Bethel, AK 450 miles west. I commuted back and forth spending 4 days a week in Bethel and 3 in Anchorage. I had a 1967 Camaro convertible that needed some work done before I was transferred to Tucson, AZ. I planned to drive the car to Arizona as it was much cheaper than shipping. I took the car to the Alaska Motor Doctor approximately 3 months prior to my leave date. I wanted to make sure that the car was able to make the trip. I knew the car needed a brake rebuild and had been quoted around $1200.00 by Midas for the four wheel drum brakes. The Alaska Motor Doctor said that they could convert it to disc brakes up front for “a few hundred more.” It sounded like a deal to me. I looked on the internet and found that there were cars built in the 70’s that had disc brakes that could just be bolted onto a 1967 Camaro very cheaply. I found a disc brake setup at a junk yard and the Alaska Motor Doctor said that they would order it for me. The junk yard delivered a front end to the Alaska Motor Doctor right before they closed for the winter, but it was the wrong front end. No parts would work on my car. The Alaska Motor Doctor said that they could order a conversion kit from Stainless Steel Brakes and convert the car to disc brakes for “a few hundred more” and advised me that that was the way to go. I told them to order the parts. In the process of disassembling the front end to install the disc brake conversion the Alaska Motor Doctor notified me that BOTH front coil springs were broken and needed to be replaced, as well as both lower ball joints, tie rod ends, and bushings. I was advised that I needed a complete new front end. Only the frame was salvageable. Since I was in Bethel at the time and could not inspect the car, once again I told them to order the parts. When I asked how much that would cost, I was told again “a few hundred more.” Since I was going to be driving the car all the way through Canada and the west coast. I wanted to make sure that the engine was serviceable. The Alaska Motor Doctor ‘diagnosed’ the engine as being completely unfit although I had never had a single problem with the motor. I was told that there was water in the oil and that meant that the cylinder heads were shot and the entire engine needed to be rebuilt. When I asked for a price to rebuild the engine I was quoted nearly five thousand dollars because this was a ‘rare engine that parts were hard to get for.’ By the way- it was a standard small block Chevrolet engine. Hmmmmmmmmmm. I called Shucks automotive in Anchorage and they had a small block 350 cubic inch engine for $950.00 in stock, and would refund $250.00 when I brought the old engine in for a core. I called the Alaska Motor Doctor and told them about the engine. They said they would take care of it. At this time I was very sceptical, but the owner of the Alaska Motor Doctor was a nice older man so I gave him the benefit of the doubt as I know little about cars. Once again, when I asked the price to install the engine, I was told “a few hundred more.” I asked for a more specific figure and was told that without the price of the engine it should be “around $2000.00.” Once again I told them to order the parts. I was worried that with 2 months left the car would not be ready, but was assured that it would be ready early. I went about my business as usual and checked on the progress of the car from time to time and made some good faith payments so that I would have very little left for a final bill. A few weeks before I was due to leave I began to get antsy. I called the Alaska Motor Doctor and was assured they were almost done and it would be finished early. I had another problem. I had a Porsche and a snomobile that I didn’t have time to sell. The owner of the Alaska Motor Doctor told me that he would be happy to sell them for me at no charge since I was such a good customer. I was relieved that it was one less thing that I would have to worry about. So I shipped the snomobile and the Porsche to the Alaska Motor Doctor. The week I was due to leave I again called and was informed that the shop had run into some problems tuning the new brake setup but was once again assured that the car would be ready on time. I left Bethel after my last day of work eager to pick my car up with its new front suspension, new brakes, and new engine. When I arrived in Anchorage to my horror the car was not finished. In fact it was still in pieces and I was due to leave in less than 48 hours. Once again I was assured that the car would be ready before I was due to leave. On the day I was supposed to leave, I went to pick up the car but the Alaska Motor Doctor staff or ‘experts’ could not figure out how to use the proportioning valve for the brakes. I was told the car would be done the next day. This continued for another full week. I was told the car would finally be ready on that Friday night and that I could come pick it up. I was due in Tucson on the next Monday. I went to pick my car up and low and behold it ran. But another problem had cropped up. The owners early teenage son had been working on the car and somehow shattered the drivers side window. There was no way that I could drive across Canada without a window. I was told that the Alaska Motor Doctor would buy me a new window and bring me the car when it was finished. When I asked what the total bill was, I was informed that the shop had not figured it up yet but that we would work it out. The shop told me that it shouldn’t be too much. Needless to say I was furious but the owner had once again said the right things. I called my boss and asked for a week’s advance leave. I bought a ticket to my home town that left Anchorage that night and picked up my other car to drive from Iowa to Tucson. After I had been in Tucson a week or so I called to ask how much was still owed on my bill and whe my Camaro would be sent to me. The owner informed me that he would bring me my car when I bough him and his wife tickets to fly from Tucson to Anchorage and sent him enough gas money. I was furious! He had told me that he’d get me the car, but apparently he thought it should be at my expense so he and his wife could also have a free vacation for driving the car to me. I was livid. When I asked the total price for the work done on the car I almost exploded. Even though i had already paid in excess of $3000.00 on my bill, another $6500.00 was still owed. The owner said he wasn’t worried because he had two of my cars and my snomobile. So if I didn’t pay him, he’d just keep all three. I sent the Alaska Motor Doctor the money to have the Camaro shipped to Portland where I would pick it up and drive it to Tucson. When I picked the car up at the shipping yard the drivers side window that the Alaska Motor Doctor had replaced had fallen out of the car. It was inside the bottom of the door and I had to rig it back in place to drive to Tucson. I had asked the Alaska Motor Doctor to change over my rear tires from the studded snow tires to my summer ones. Yep, you guessed it. The snow tires were still on the car and the summer tires were simply in the trunk. I illegally drove on snow tires to the nearest tire shop to have the tires swapped. The tire shop gladly did the changover without too much hassle, but I could hear them laughing at me as I drove off. I had come to their shop in May with sno tires on. I began my trek back to Tucson and just outside Portland I hit a bump and instinctively pressed on my new brakes to slow down. As soon as I touched the brakes, the car veered violently to the right and then back straight as if the right front tire had locked up. I stopped and called the Alaska Motor Doctor and they said it must be that pesky proportioning valve. The told me how to adjust it and the rest of the trip went off without a hitch. When I got to Tucson i tried to have the driver’s side window installed by a reputable shop and was informed that the window appeared to be for a coupe, not a convertible and was the reason it would not fit correctly. I told them to order the correct window and install it. After I got the car back another event happened while I was driving. Once again I hit a bump, depressed the brake pedal, but this time I did a complete 360. Thankfully I was the only one on the road at the time. I took the car to Midas for their free brake inspection and found that the driver’s sidebrake line was routed too close to the coil spring. When the car hit a bump and the spring compressed it cut off the brake fluid to that caliper. When I depressed the pedal, the right side got all the pressure and locked up while the left side spun freely with no braking whatsoever. I had Midas immediately install a new brake line and check the rest of the car out. What they found was shocking. The emergency brakes were not even hooked up. All of the brake lines were dangerously misrouted. The entire exhaust system had been moved when the new engine was installed. Instead of fabricating new exhaust hangars, the entire exhaust was spot welded to the floor of the car. A few weeks later the driver’s side ball joint fell out, followed closely by the passenger’s side ball joint. I have since replaced almost everything that the Alaska Motor Doctor had done to my poor car. I had a friend pick up my Porsche from the Alaska Motor Doctor after I had sent the shop some money, but they refused to release my snomobile. I threatend litigation and talked to a lawyer. I was told that even though I had a strong case that the lawyer thought I could win. Being that I was in Tucson and the Alaska Motor Doctor was in Anchorage. It would cost me more money than the snomobile was worth and that I should just take the loss and move on. I pleaded with the owner of the Alaska Motor Doctor, but since I still owed, according to him, over four thousand dollars, that I had forfeited my rights to my snomobile and to feel free to take him to court. The Alaska Motor Doctor refused to take any more of my phone calls and directed me to their lawyer. Since my lawyer advised me it would ‘take a dollar to get back a quarter’ I forgot about my snomobile and refused to pay the Alaska Motor Doctor any more money for inferior work performed by unqualified people. Namely the owner’s early teen son. I since have no trust of ANY mechanic and have begun taking college classes so that I can work on my own car and do the job right the first time. Terry Tucson, Arizona
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