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289 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 165963 26-Feb-2015 09:49
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Here's a doozy.

Recently purchased a second hand Honda, which came with mechanical insurance thrown in.

A few weeks ago, a noise started coming from the engine - quite akin to a supercharger whine which matched the engine revs. I used my amateur detective skills and diagnosed it as it possibly being the bearing for the serpentine belt tensioner (It's a cam chain engine by the way - this was the tensioner for the belt running the water pump/alternator/ac etc).

Took it to my local MTA mechanic as required by the insurance policy. They said yup, it's the tensioner bearing. The mechanics opened a claim with the insurance company, and I paid the $350 excess (+ another $150 for parts not covered by the warranty). The insurance company directly paid the mechanics $200, so the job all up was $700 ish. (ouch..).

Few days later, picked the car up and took it home....and the problem is still there - nothing has changed. (It only happens when the engine is warm, which is why I didn't notice it straight away).

Now, here's the catch.

As far as I'm concerned, the fault still exists. So by all accounts, it should fall under the same claim with the insurance company, because it's the same fault from my point of view. As such, I shouldn't have to pay an excess again.

I've just gotten off the phone with the insurance company, and they said the original claim is closed and the mechanics have been paid out, so any further work done on the car will fall under a new claim. I said the original fault is still there, so the claim is still open in my eyes and that I shouldn't have to pay another excess fee. They said to take it up with the mechanics.

The car is booked to go back in next week, and I intend to take it up then. But I am not sure how well they will take my request to pay the $350 excess if the insurance company requests it or denies re-opening the original claim.

How should I approach this? Is my expectation that I shouldn't have to pay another excess fee reasonable?

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295 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1246869 26-Feb-2015 10:00
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I had honda civic too before and having the same issue.. how i resolve it is to just use original CVT oil from honda.
more info here.. http://www.aautomotive.co.nz/repairs-rebuilds/honda-automatic-transmission-repairs.html

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  # 1246870 26-Feb-2015 10:02
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If it's a single component fault and was misdiagnosed the issue lies likely with the mechanic. If it was 2 failures, then they will charge you a second excess.

I found it quite galling when I made a claim for something in one of my cars that had 4 somethings, and they charged me excess on them all. 

The only "favour" insurance companies ever do you, is making your wallet lighter to carry :) 



 
 
 
 


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  # 1246873 26-Feb-2015 10:03
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This depends in my view. The tensioner bearing did need repair , but something else is still wrong.

It sounds like your car does have 2 different faults so in theory you'd need to pay up twice. Unless the faults are related, then it should be one claim. 








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Ultimate Geek


  # 1246881 26-Feb-2015 10:12
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Chrizvi: It's not the gearbox (which is an auto, not a cvt) as the noise is coming from the other side of the engine bay. It might be the alternator.

surfsup: There wasn't anything wrong with the tensioner. The mechanic has misdiagnosed the problem.

BTR

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  # 1246882 26-Feb-2015 10:14
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$700 to replace the bearing on a serpentine belt idler?? You got ripped off big time, my car had the same issue just over a month ago and I got both the idler and tensioner bearings replaced for $12.50 +gst per bearing and 3/4 of an hours labour. In fact the total job for me also included replacing a faulty Bilstein shock absorber and the total bill was just over $600.


IMHO mechanical warranties are a waste of time unless you have a major mechanical issue.



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  # 1246883 26-Feb-2015 10:14
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Jeeves: Chrizvi: It's not the gearbox (which is an auto, not a cvt) as the noise is coming from the other side of the engine bay. It might be the alternator.

surfsup: There wasn't anything wrong with the tensioner. The mechanic has misdiagnosed the problem.


So what did the mechanic actually fix for $700?



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  # 1246885 26-Feb-2015 10:15
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BTR: $700 to replace the bearing on a serpentine belt idler?? You got ripped off big time, my car had the same issue just over a month ago and I got both the idler and tensioner bearings replaced for $12.50 +gst per bearing and 3/4 of an hours labour. In fact the total job for me also included replacing a faulty Bilstein shock absorber and the total bill was just over $600.


IMHO mechanical warranties are a waste of time unless you have a major mechanical issue.




Well I had a cam belt go on a Pajero 3.5L that was money well spent I can assure you :) 


 
 
 
 




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Ultimate Geek


  # 1246890 26-Feb-2015 10:21
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surfisup1000:
Jeeves: Chrizvi: It's not the gearbox (which is an auto, not a cvt) as the noise is coming from the other side of the engine bay. It might be the alternator.

surfsup: There wasn't anything wrong with the tensioner. The mechanic has misdiagnosed the problem.


So what did the mechanic actually fix for $700?




They didn't fix anything - they replaced parts that didn't need replacing, as they thought it would fix the problem, but it didn't.

Tensioner assembly (Genuine Honda as required by insruance)
Serpentine belt (as suggested by Honda)
Lotsa labour as they had to remove some things to get to the pulley.

I agree mechanical insurance is a waste of time, but it was a freeby thrown in with the car so may as well use it.

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  # 1246893 26-Feb-2015 10:25
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How long ago did you buy the car, I'd suggest if it were very recently you could have a case against the dealer.

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  # 1246904 26-Feb-2015 10:25
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Jeeves:
surfisup1000:
Jeeves: Chrizvi: It's not the gearbox (which is an auto, not a cvt) as the noise is coming from the other side of the engine bay. It might be the alternator.

surfsup: There wasn't anything wrong with the tensioner. The mechanic has misdiagnosed the problem.


So what did the mechanic actually fix for $700?




They didn't fix anything - they replaced parts that didn't need replacing, as they thought it would fix the problem, but it didn't.

Tensioner assembly (Genuine Honda as required by insruance)
Serpentine belt (as suggested by Honda)
Lotsa labour as they had to remove some things to get to the pulley.

I agree mechanical insurance is a waste of time, but it was a freeby thrown in with the car so may as well use it.



Ah, this is a completely different situtation then. They misdiagnosed the fault and fixed something that was not broken. 

Your mechanic owes you $700. 

Take them to the disputes tribunal if they object. 




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Ultimate Geek


  # 1246906 26-Feb-2015 10:27
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networkn: How long ago did you buy the car, I'd suggest if it were very recently you could have a case against the dealer.


Indeed this is one option I've thought of. We bought it ~8 months ago.
It's a bit of a pain though as they are the other side of town from us. I'm also worried that because we've already engaged a mechanic and insurance that they will wipe their hands of it - but I guess it's one avenue I could go down if all else fails.

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  # 1246939 26-Feb-2015 11:06
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BTR: $700 to replace the bearing on a serpentine belt idler?? You got ripped off big time, my car had the same issue just over a month ago and I got both the idler and tensioner bearings replaced for $12.50 +gst per bearing and 3/4 of an hours labour. In fact the total job for me also included replacing a faulty Bilstein shock absorber and the total bill was just over $600.


IMHO mechanical warranties are a waste of time unless you have a major mechanical issue.




Subaru Legacy (notorious for cam belt change difficulty and cost) is around $1100 which include labour, idlers, tensioners, belt and a water pump. Toyota MR2 which isnt the easiest either is about $700 to do the whole cambelt change with new idlers and tensioners as well.

So yeah $700 on a Honda does seem rather expensive. Sounds like they inflated the cost because they knew it was a mechanical insurance claim.

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  # 1246975 26-Feb-2015 11:53
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Whilst not directly related to the problem, I have a mechanical warranty on my car (MK4 Golf R32) and it has more than paid for itself.

My excess is only $100, and so far I have had:

1) The engine stripped down and rebuilt when it started sounding like a diesel.  Turned out there was some 'metal' in the intake values, but it was never diagnosed where it came from.  Cost me $1000 (multiple excess charges and non-warranty items).  I hate to image the cost of even just the labor on this

2) Hadlex unit replaced.  I was told the cost (this is for a new original part) was $6000, plus fitting.  I paid $100

3) Alternator fixed.  Was quoted $1000, I paid $100 excess

The only issue I had not had covered so far was the clutch, and damn that was expensive!

Oh, and my warranty also covers all towing (used that twice so far) and taxi fees if I break down in Auckland (used once).

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  # 1246992 26-Feb-2015 12:19
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Did you go to the mechanic and ask him to fix the tensioner issue by any chance? If so my may have to suffer through this as he will have done what he was instructed to do.

If you told him to fix the noise and he replaced parts that didn't need replacing ask him why and if he test drove the car sufficiently after to determine it was fixed.

I somehow have a feeling we are talking about the latter here.

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  # 1246995 26-Feb-2015 12:22
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heylinb4nz:
BTR: $700 to replace the bearing on a serpentine belt idler?? You got ripped off big time, my car had the same issue just over a month ago and I got both the idler and tensioner bearings replaced for $12.50 +gst per bearing and 3/4 of an hours labour. In fact the total job for me also included replacing a faulty Bilstein shock absorber and the total bill was just over $600.


IMHO mechanical warranties are a waste of time unless you have a major mechanical issue.




Subaru Legacy (notorious for cam belt change difficulty and cost) is around $1100 which include labour, idlers, tensioners, belt and a water pump. Toyota MR2 which isnt the easiest either is about $700 to do the whole cambelt change with new idlers and tensioners as well.

So yeah $700 on a Honda does seem rather expensive. Sounds like they inflated the cost because they knew it was a mechanical insurance claim.


You're talking cam belt - the OP is talking serpentine belt - AKA "Fan Belt" (obsolete term these days).

It's unbelievable to me that replacing the tensioner bearing on a serpentine belt should cost $700.  Yes - some of them can be a bit difficult to access - but not 10 hours worth of labour charge difficult.

I would have suspected the alternator first.  People wreck the bearings on them routinely by over-tensioning the belt to get rid of the squeal of an old worn belt.  The belts can "look" okay on quick inspection - you need to look closely at the peaks on the vees for signs of cracking/burnishing, but more reasonably, if it's squeaking and tension is about right, then the belt is probably stuffed.

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