In the first week of July, Tri-Cities Auto Parts was contacted regarding my need for a used engine for my1996 Sebring Convertible. The owner, Brad, claimed that he would be comfortable putting the one he had with 63,000 miles in a car for his wife or daughter, so I agreed to purchase it for $600. At Bradu2019s recommendation, I contacted Butch Lee to have the motor installed, agreeing to pay for new plugs, plug wires, oil and oil filter and timing belt. After waiting several weeks to have it ready when I had been promised it in a week, Butch told me there was a problem with it making a noise. When he told that to the representative from Tri-State (Michael?) about the problem, Michael asked Butch if they could, u201cjust let her pick up the car and see if she notices the problem.u201d So much for trusting Tri-Cities! Once that problem was supposed to be fixed (I sent a new distributor to be installed), and I had a friend take me over to Butler to get the car (a three hour round trip), the first thing we noticed was that the air conditioner was not working as it had been before the engine change. I was told at the garage that had u201cnothing to do with the changing of the engines.u201d After paying another mechanic nearly $200 to repair the two leaks in the AC system u2018 likely caused when the engines were changed, and had a new battery installed, the oil light and check engine lights came on in addition to the engine not running smoothly. I talked with Michael at Tri-State on Aug. 19, then sent Brad the email on Aug. 20 that Iu2019d written before talking to him on the phone about the miss, the noises, etc., (copy attached.) Got permission from Brad to take the car to a Boone mechanic (because I was afraid to drive it far with the oil light coming on) regarding the lights. He replaced the oil sending unit, but said the u2018missu2019 in the engine needed to be corrected by the garage that replaced the engine. Brad did not read the email until many days later (after the oil sending unit had been replaced) and got very huffy with me, telling me that my options were to just have the engine removed and heu2019d refund the difference between what Iu2019d paid and what heu2019d reimbursed me for the oil sending unit replacement. I called Butch and asked him to talk to Brad and try to get the problem resolved. Butch later told me to bring the car back and they would likely have to do a valve job. On the way to Butler, I had an auto parts store run the codes because of the check engine light and it came up with a misfire in the third cylinder. I didnu2019t tell the garage I had done this to see what they found. They claimed they couldnu2019t see/hear anything wrong and that no codes were coming up. After I told them I had just gotten a misfire code for the 3rd cylinder, a mechanic, Jason, rode with me and he acknowledged hearing/feeling the problem while driving up a steep driveway. So it was kept there several more weeks with Butch saying he was short two mechanics. Had a friend carry me over and picked it up a second time after a valve job was supposed to have been done. Asked that they make sure it was ready to go . . . no dead battery, etc., Dale assured me it was. I went to crank it and the battery was deader than a doornail! The driveru2019s door had not been closed completely. The mechanic Dale sent to jump it said he had done the work and claimed there had been bent valves. (There was another trip over there to get something corrected only to be told they couldnu2019t do it then, that I had to leave it several days. Told Dale they could keep it then if theyu2019d get me back to Banner Elk. They couldnu2019t, so I had another friend take me over there that evening, then back to pick it up a few days later.) The engine was still making the same type of flutter/rattle when accelerating slightly and a very noticeable noise when accelerating so that it would downshift going up a grade. Butch told me it was just a timing problem and they could correct it while I waited, so I took it back the third time. Again I stopped by an auto parts store to have the diagnostic codes read and it showed misfires on the 2nd and 4th cylinders as well as two u201cmultiple misfireu201d 300 codes. I shared this info with Butch and Dale who were present at the garage. Waited an hour and a half only to have Butch and Dale leave the garage, then send a mechanic (Jason) in to tell me it was a problem not caused by the u201ccoreu201d engine they had installed, but was some expensive problem I was going to have to pay for. That seemed pretty un-professional on their part u2018 for the owner and his son/garage manager u2018 to leave the premises, then send in a mechanic to tell me rather than tell me in person themselves u2018 and left me wondering why and/or what they were ashamed of. I immediately called Butch only to have him give me an explanation that it was a problem not related to the installation of the used engine. I may not be a mechanic, but I know that the problem came into being only after the installation of the used engine. So . . . in between having to go to GA for a funeral and other priorities, the car has been sitting in my driveway except for me taking it to five different mechanics go get their diagnosis of the noise. Four of the five say it does sound like a rod (maybe wrist pin) causing the knock/noise, that it is a problem that came with the used engine and/or the work that has been done on it at Butch Lee Automotive and that it is the responsibility of the company from whom I bought the engine and the garage who installed (and claimed that they corrected it) to have it repaired since it was identified, reported and worked on during the warranty period. I have spent all summer and fall, at least 12 hours driving it to and from Butch Leeu2019s garage, many hours on the phone and gathering information from other knowledge mechanics, nearly $2,000 and still donu2019t have the car running as it should be. On December 27, 2010, I sent certified letters to both Butch Lee and Tri-Cities giving them 2 weeks to pick up the car and correct the problems before I took other actions, but they never responded.
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