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Old 06-25-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
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Default Fighting a VW dealer

OK, from the beginning....

Tuesday my wife was on her way home in her 07 GTI. Mods are Neuspeed CAI and diverter valve, GIAC ECU reflash, and H&R street performance coilovers. She stopped at the grocery store and then headed home. She went across the railroad tracks by the house and heard a bang. Then the engine started vibrating badly and was very low on power. She was just 1/2 mile from the house so she went on home.

When she got home, she opened the hood and the passenger side of the motor had dropped 5-6". She called me and I called VW roadside assistance as the car only has 21k on it and is still under warranty.

Roadside assistance shows up an hour later and takes the car to the dealer. Two days later they call me and tell me the motor mount is broken and that the warranty claim is denied because the car has aftermarket suspension.

Needless to say, I'm a bit pissed over the whole thing, and have contacted VW USA. There's a mfr. rep coming to look at it Tuesday.




Now here's the real kicker...

I did my own research and took plenty of good pictures. Turns out that the head of the bolt that secures the motor mount together sheared off. That left one bolt to support that side of the motor and the mount couldn't handle the stress in the wrong direction, so the mount broke at its weakest point, around the bolt hole.

There's a line of rust present on the broken bolt where the head used to be. This is on a Grade 8 hardened bolt. That indicates a weak point created during casting.

I work for an architectural firm and we deal with hardened fasteners regularly. A 1/4" diameter grade 8 bolt has a tension strength of 91,000 lbs and a shear strength of 4500 lbs. This means that the impact required to break the bolt would be 9 G's of force in the shear direction and over 180 G's of force in the vertical direction assuming the engine weighs 500 lbs fully dressed. Nevermind that this load is divided between 3 motor mounts and a transmission mount.

The dealer is supposed to call me back today with further news. Here's a pic of the broken mount and bolt:

http://www.roadster-chat.net/gallery...6-22%20002.JPG
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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I don't understand the logic that an aftermarket suspension caused an engine mount to fail.

It sounds like you have your case well prepared, I'd tell the rep exactly what you've typed here.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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Time to bust out a copy of their warranty and a copy of the Magnussen-Moss Warranty Act
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:18 AM   #4
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A 1/4" grade 8 should be able to support the whole car. Failing in tension is most certainly a manufacuring defect (I suspect it was overtorqued). Present your case to the rep. in a polite manner, and he'll honor the warranty.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:37 AM   #5
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VW's have been known to break engine mount bolts for well over 10 years now. I've seen so many people break their mounts/bolts by now I'm surprised they didn't recall that ****.

Go after them will full force
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I don't understand the logic that an aftermarket suspension caused an engine mount to fail.
Dealerships/employees/techs will stick a square peg in a round hole to come up with an excuse about how an aftermarket part caused a failure.

Case in point that a service writer at a Mazda dealership got onto me about with my GF's MSM-

Symptom: Burning oil smell after driving

Cause- I looked under the car and found the 4 bolts that holt the shifter turret plate to the top of the transmission had come loose. Mind you, the transmission/shifter has NEVER been touched. This plate is sealed with a liquid gasket.

Solution- tighten up bolts and see what happens.

A couple of days later the smell was back indicating the seal had been compromised. Since the car was under warranty, we took it up and dropped it off. They diagnosed the problem as a band transmission rear seal ring/output shaft seal. They replaced the seal and gave the car back.
A week goes by and the smell returns. I get under the car, find there is still a leak fro mthe TOP of the transmission and take the car back. This time I tell the service writer exactly where it is coming from and what it is. Explain that I am not "car stupid" and to fix the problem. Car gets returned citing a faulty the seal that was replaced was faulty...and replaced with another seal. Guess what? Yup, the leak is still there. Once again, with more irritation, I take the car back..explain AGAIN what the problem is and what I saw when I looked under the car. This time when I get the car back, I am informed that they replaced the ENTIRE tailshaft housing and all the seals. Idiots.

The service write comes to me and says "well, we noticed the car doesn't have the original catalytic converter and the OEM one has a heat shield on it, your does not. You know converters runn really hot and we suspect that the extra heat caused a deformation of the rear of the transmission. We normall deny clams on cars with aftermarket parts". Yeah ******* right you piece of ****. I told him how there are hundreds of Miatas with that transmissions running the same parts and none of them have been known to fail. But it just went to show what kind of **** they'll pull to find a way to void a claim.

My thoughts are the tech saw the problem, fix another problem to make a few bucks off the warranty pay, probably didn't fix it the second time and then over-complicated the job to make even more money on replacing the housing....all of this because there probably was no pay involved with running a bead of gasket on the plate that originally came loose. Oh and when I asked to see the old housing, they wouldn't let me see it.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:23 PM   #7
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Most dealerships don't give two ***** about you once you've signed the papers and drove the car out the 1st time. They will literally exhaust any and all possibilities of telling you "you're screwed" before they even attempt to properly diagnose your problem
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Most dealerships don't give two ***** about you once you've signed the papers and drove the car out the 1st time. They will literally exhaust any and all possibilities of telling you "you're screwed" before they even attempt to properly diagnose your problem
That's not always true. I was a tech at a Chevy/Buick/Subaru (yea I know) dealer and we had some really good service writers and techs both that went out of their (our) way to do **** right, even on warranty work (except stupid **** like.. "my carpet smells funny" in a BRAND ******* NEW $70K Suburban)
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:32 PM   #9
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How long ago was this?
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:33 PM   #10
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Dealership service depts suck... no question and good luck with getting them to fix it. I agree with Y8's, Moss-Magnuson should have you covered on this one.

One nit I'll pick (which might help you), the bolt in question shouldn't be an SAE grade 8 in 1/4", but probably ISO grade 8.8 in 6mm. ISO grade 8.8 strength ratings are more comparable to an SAE grade 5 than grade 8 generally.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:06 PM   #11
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It happened Tuesday the 22nd and the car is still at the dealer awaiting a decision.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
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There's a line of rust present on the broken bolt where the head used to be. This is on a Grade 8 hardened bolt. That indicates a weak point created during casting.
I am sorry sir but what you've written here is wrong, in more than one way.

Take a closer-up, more detailed picture of the failure surface and I can give you a better idea of what has happened. From what I can gather from the picture you linked to it looks like the bolt has fatigued. The rust probably formed after the fatigue crack had opened up. Also, fatigue cracks always form at some sort of defect, not necessarily a casting defect. Fastener material goes through so much deformation after it is "cast" that the chances of a casting defect still being present in the final bolt are pretty low. That's not to say the crack didn't form at a manufacturing defect (I would be willing to bet it did) but I doubt it was from casting.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:00 PM   #13
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Take a closer-up, more detailed picture of the failure surface and I can give you a better idea of what has happened. From what I can gather from the picture you linked to it looks like the bolt has fatigued. The rust probably formed after the fatigue crack had opened up. Also, fatigue cracks always form at some sort of defect, not necessarily a casting defect. Fastener material goes through so much deformation after it is "cast" that the chances of a casting defect still being present in the final bolt are pretty low. That's not to say the crack didn't form at a manufacturing defect (I would be willing to bet it did) but I doubt it was from casting.
I'll agree with that. Regardless, it's a bolt that's designed to take much more load without failing than what it has, and now the claim is being denied because of the suspension on the car.

Oh, and here's that same pic cropped and at full resolution:
Attached Thumbnails
Fighting a VW dealer-2010-6-22-012.jpg  
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:57 PM   #14
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I'll chime in. I am a VW dealer tech. Three points to add

1. I would think they will fix it. Bitch loud enough and long enough and they will give in. More to the point it is a VERY easy fix. And the VW rep's are generally allowed a TON more leeway as to what they can sign off on. The dealer may just want to wriggle out of it (and they do, I would have fixed it no questions asked. After this find a new dealership) but the VW rep can say yes to whatever he wants. They are usually more "switched on" and will see that it is a simple manufacturing defect, and that as you say, the suspension could not have affected any more than the air freshener.

2.when they do give in, they will replace the huge upper portion of the motor mount with the rubber block in it, and the bolts. Most likely that is all that is damaged. It is cheap and easy so I doubt you will have THAT much a fight. If they tell you to go blow, just replace the bolts. The rubber encapsulated upper mount is just about certainly ok (they would only change it "in case"). And built in such a way that even if the rubber tears it cannot fall apart.

3. this is not the common failure point for engine mounts. In 7 years I have never seen one go there. The common fault is for the lower 1/2 of the mount to shear its bolts from the block. Or to be more specific the rear of the 3 lower bolts will break out of its threaded hole at the back of the block (a piece of the block breaks off leaving the hole split on 2 lengthwise) and then the other two will snap flush with the bock. when that happens the whole engine is ruined because that rear mount hole is gone. I have seen this about a dozen times (all Mk5 golf/rabbit)

I would imagine you will win this time, good luck

One other thing, has the cambelt been changed yet? if so there is your answer, that mount gets removed to change the belt and could have been over torqued.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:13 PM   #15
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The car only has 21k on it, so no.. timing belt hasn't been changed.

Went and spent a good bit of time with the dealer and the mfr's rep.

Turns out, most of the issue was with the sh*tty service writer not communicating all the information.

The claim was originally denied because of the aftermarket suspension. But, when I questioned it, they re-opened the ticket. It turns out... the PO had removed those bolts at some time in the past. They're grade 10.9 bolts and not 8.8, and they're classified as one time use bolts. This is actually pretty common, I ran into it a bunch at Sea Ray when I was parts and service manager.

So, it turns out that the claim was denied because it had been tampered with.

But.... after spending so much time with the dealer, bitching about it as much as I did, and all the crappy service I got, VW and the dealer are paying for half the repairs and also paying for the tow bill entirely. And, my warranty is now fully intact. While they're in there, they're also going to look for anything else that might have been modified or tampered with.

Also, during my research, I found out that the suspension that I'm running on the GTI is basically a height adjustable version of the OEM suspension on the R32. H&R manufactures the suspension and sells it to VW as OEM for the Mk5 R32. That suspension also carries TUV (Europe's version of DOT) approval for use on my car and it's also approved by VW Europe. So, that suspension does not void my warranty.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:26 PM   #16
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That suspension also carries TUV (Europe's version of DOT) approval for use on my car and it's also approved by VW Europe. So, that suspension does not void my warranty.
None of that matters in the USA. I'm surprised they paid considering all the **** I went through. My buddies who worked at the VW dealer always talked about how broken transmissions, clutches, wheel bearings, turbochargers, suspension bushings, and broken windshields were denied warranty coverage because of non-stock wheels, lol.
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