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Old 10-19-07, 05:25 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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Yup...Midas indeed tried to screw me.

So I ended up taking my car to my trusted mechanic, in hopes of getting a 2nd opinion on my cars state inspection failure. The Midas quote was 441 dollars to get it "passable". The recommendation was to also install a timing belt, water pump, and seal kit change; 500 dollars more.

So apparently the law states that for my OBD I car, the only requirement is that the catalytic converter needs to APPEAR to be working. It needs to be there physically, but there is no emission test or anything. Even if it's hollow (which I do not believe it is, because I took it off a few months ago), nobody has any way of proving it without removing it all together. What Midas didn't tell me:
The car didn't fail because of the rusty converter, it failed because of a small exhaust leak between the catalytic converter + header pipe flange. I had forgotten to install a gasket in there when I did some exhaust work, a n00b mistake .

So it ends up that in order to get my car in "passable" condition, it cost me 4.49 for a new gasket, and between 20 minutes of my time to crawl under there, unscrew a few bolts, and slide in the gasket.
They were right about the timing belt, though I think that the claims were exaggerated. I had a new timing belt, new cam seal, water pump, and every other accessory belt replaced, for 475 dollars including labor. The mechanic said that the old belt was indeed soaked in an oil bath, and was a little soft, but not about to break.

Avoid chain stores for auto repair!!!
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Old 10-19-07, 06:40 PM   #2
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Well anyone coulda told you that.

Keep learning about cars, it'll save you major bucks....
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Old 10-19-07, 06:49 PM   #3
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Well I've done all of my own work, and will continue to do all of my own work. Timing belt though, that's up there on the totem pole. I'm not quite ready to do a DIY timing belt+pump job now.
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Old 10-19-07, 08:21 PM   #4
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Timing belts are not difficult to do yourself. Rent the tools at Autozone if needed. Midas isn't going to know why it failed emissions. They can only make guesses, like you.
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Old 10-19-07, 11:07 PM   #5
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Timing belts are not difficult to do yourself. Rent the tools at Autozone if needed. Midas isn't going to know why it failed emissions. They can only make guesses, like you.
Unless you have a crank puller and a lift a Honda timing belt is a PITA! The room in there, or lack thereof, sucks! The $475 is well worth the trouble of everything your mech did.

Glad you were able to fix the cat problem for about $5!! You should write Midas headquarters a letter about your bad experience and let them know that they lost a customer for life, along with several others you know online.... even though most of us already knew Midas was crap.

Good for you!
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Old 10-20-07, 07:04 AM   #6
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I thought 475 was a very good price. He replaced the old cracked and hardened cam seals, water pump, accessory belts (all), and even the valve cover gasket. Midas only would have replaced the pump + timing belt.

NH has a funny thing with emissions. For one, if the car is prior OBDI, there is no emissions, period. A catalytic converter, or something that appears to be one that is still in one piece, must be present. Also, there must be no exhaust leak.

I don't think I would like to replace my car's timing belt. It's so low to the ground that getting under there, even with a jack, isn't any fun.
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Old 10-20-07, 08:15 AM   #7
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I think I mentioned this in your first post on this....
Those chain type store managers are under intense pressure
to meet quotas and push unecassary services and parts.
Thier livlihood depends on it so they have to lie to eat and pay their bills.
The crap they pull on people regularly gets documented on those 20/20 type
news shows. Good local mechanic = gold !
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Old 10-20-07, 08:32 AM   #8
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I've had a bad experience with Midas before. I had an old clunker with plenty of faults (none serious) that developed a stuck-shut thermostat away from home. Midas was closest. They put it up on the rack and said they'd call me in 10 minutes. They came back and said I needed new half shafts, had oil leaks, coolant leaks, ps leaks, tranny leaks, and that they would require several days to get it road-worthy again.

"Fix the thermostat. Nothing else is affecting the drivability of the car." No can do, liability, blah blah, dangerous, blah blah, expensive. I said, "The car overheated because the thermostat stuck shut. You can tell because the upper radiator hose is stone cold, yet the heater core leads are hot. Either replace the thermostat or drop the car and I'll do it myself in the Walmart parking lot next door. I'm willing to pay you the $80 to change out a $15 part to avoid the mess, but if you keep trying to jerk every last dollar out of my not-as-gullible-as-you-think pockets, you'll lose even that easy money."

I was ready to do it, too: 2 blocks to a NAPA for the thermostat and gasket, antifreeze and a cheap tool kit from Wally World, and I'd be on my way.

Ripoff artists. They'd try to install a new wiper motor when all you need is washer fluid.
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Old 10-20-07, 08:35 AM   #9
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find a good mechanic, stick with him until he retires.

repeat.
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