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Discussion Starter #1
So I'll share with you all my last week experience. Don't let your friend try to change your valve covers and plugs.....

When he couldn't complete the job (couldn't get the valve cover back on) I had it towed to the dealer across the street.

Dealer completed the valve cover replacement and did not touch the plugs because I instructed the service manager that they had been changed already.

They started it up and BAM! They heard some metal rattling around in the engine somewhere. Pulled valve covers back off, no metal so they put a scope down the cylinder and saw scoring. They pulled the head and sure enough found a small piece of metal that scored the piston wall and cracked the piston. No damage to the head or valves. I had three options, 1) put a new piston, rings, sand the scratch and new head gasket and pray. 2) reman'd engine from Land Rover $15k total, 3) used low miles engine and pray.

I chose option 3) everything is back together it ran today, now they are buttoning everything up and it should be ready tomorrow (keeping my fingers crossed).

Now the buddy - offered me $2k needless to say that's not even half of what this is costing me. Questions

Should I push him to pay for half - he is a licensed mechanic working at a dealership. (he was doing the job after hours at the dealership)
Should I ask the dealership to pay the bill (he would most likely lose his job and to me that's not ideal)
Take the $2k and take the rest in the A$$?

Just curious what everyone else would do. It's been a mutha-blank of a week so I might sound a bit bitter. Needless to say I can't wait to get my ride back.

Cheers everyone.
 

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Did the plugs come out clean, or was one or more already cross-threaded and ultimately triggered by previous service (although should have noticed anyway)? Did your friend say anything? How can you be sure the dealer didn't sabotage (I know it sounds far fetched but I've seen too many investigative news stories about stuff like this to rule it out and its all too easy for them to point the finger at the other guy and say "let that be a lesson to you")?

Personally I think you have to just eat it. It will be difficult to prove what happened.
 

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If you want to keep your friend as a friend you will probably have to eat the costs (ouch a very rough week).
With the engine you have had replaced what's happening to it?
Will you keep it and rebuid it, or did you sell it to the company that sold you the used engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
linuxfreakus said:
Did the plugs come out clean, or was one or more already cross-threaded and ultimately triggered by previous service (although should have noticed anyway)? Did your friend say anything? How can you be sure the dealer didn't sabotage (I know it sounds far fetched but I've seen too many investigative news stories about stuff like this to rule it out and its all too easy for them to point the finger at the other guy and say "let that be a lesson to you")?

Personally I think you have to just eat it. It will be difficult to prove what happened.
Plugs came out clean, not cross threaded. I just highly doubt the dealer would do that I have many friends their they have gotten a lot of my business as well. I was trying to help out my buddy to give him some extra $ on the side. I live in a small town, my parents take their RR there and mostly I do as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
olbear1962 said:
If you want to keep your friend as a friend you will probably have to eat the costs (ouch a very rough week).
With the engine you have had replaced what's happening to it?
Will you keep it and rebuid it, or did you sell it to the company that sold you the used engine?
It will go back to the guys I bought the replacement engine from. You can't rebuild the blocks I've been told, when reman companies have been re-sleeving the blocks they take out too much metal and the blocks warp, so they have stopped.

Land rover has been hording all the blocks and will not sell them to reman'd companies.
 

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I have found a few "bang my head against the wall" errors made by my helpers from my engine rebuild. Normally I could have rebuilt my engine in a weekend once everything was cleaned up and ready to go. Health issues required the help of some terrific friends. However there have been afew little things that have been a real WTF. Tranny drained instead of engine. This lead to driving for a couple weeks several quarts low. THank goodness I drive like an old (older) fart and I don;t think any damage was done. Grounding cables for the hood were left off. Couple bits of wire were misrouted. Couple bolts and an odd bracket left on the work bench... who knows where they came from. My rig purrs like a kitten and runs like a scalded tiger. It is so smooth I can balance a quarter on the slam panel. Still, if you want it done right, always do it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
what was the reason for the rebuild? Did you retain your original block?
 

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So where did the shaving come from if the plugs weren't cross threaded?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's the $8k question...who knows. When he was replacing the plug it could have come from the socket wrench (it was magnetized) anything...

I had snapped a picture when he was doing the plugs, so it was pull one out and put one right back in. There was about 4-5 min of the hole being exposed.

The dealer showed me the piece of metal, looked like a tip of a tiny screwdriver, but it was really dark and banged up a bit.
 

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Very strange... maybe it was completely foreign and just fell in somehow. I don't know where else it could have come from if all the threads were undamaged and no damage to anything else... :(
 

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localbrew said:
That's the $8k question...who knows. When he was replacing the plug it could have come from the socket wrench (it was magnetized) anything...

I had snapped a picture when he was doing the plugs, so it was pull one out and put one right back in. There was about 4-5 min of the hole being exposed.

The dealer showed me the piece of metal, looked like a tip of a tiny screwdriver, but it was really dark and banged up a bit.
Finally - was waiting for this (and the appropriate question) the whole time while reading the thread. Could it be an electrode? Do you still have the new plugs? It might be that your bud wasn't even at fault.

I can give you the legal evaluation to this and, although I'm a German-trained lawyer, most cases are handled very similarly in Germany and the U.S. - at least in theory and until a trial lawyer and juries become involved.
I'm going to make a couple of assumptions from what you wrote:
- your buddy was - at least in part - doing you a favor as this was a job between friends.
- your buddy is not the ace tech at this dealership as he couldn't even get the valve cover back on. I'm assuming both of you are not yet near your mid-life crisis and that he's still very close to being a trainee (if he's not still one - you do say licensed, tho)

When you have someone doing you a favor, it would be unjust to apply the same standards for negligence as on a just-for-pay job. This means that the person receiving the favor must take into account a.) how the favor-giver handles his own affairs and b.) the ability (aptitude and skill) of the favor-giver to complete the job (favor). This means that a.) you can't expect a slob to do a perfect job cleaning your house and b.) if said slob is also known to be highly uncoordinated and accident prone, the favor-taker can't ask for full retribution when the slob sticks his elbow through the glass door on the antique china cabinet in the dining room while vacuuming.

In your case - unless it really was a just-for-pay job or your buddy completely mis-represented himself - this means that part of the blame lies with you. And, as you were getting a deal, you were also taking a risk which you entered into knowingly. To tell the truth, I think your bud's already shown good character by picking up half of the bill (it is 2 grand after all). I don't think many would have even gone that far. As for suing the dealer, only if the dealer knew and tolerated after-hours work and even then it's not a cut and dry case (and there's the difference to German law. Here you'd be SOL, guaranteed. If the work was tolerated, the dealer was indirectly doing you a favor too).

No risk, no gain. You takes your chances and you pays your money. Part of the blame lies with you. This is why an official shop has insurance. Part of the problem with our legal system (I'm American) is the attitude that you always have to find someone to blame and pay. My opinion? Take your bud's money and show as much character as he did by thanking him for it and forgiving him. And go kick yourself in the butt repeatedly (as I'm sure you already are :roll: ).
 

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Your friend is not responsible for paying you any money, and I think it is poor judgement to even consider taking it. It could anyone's fault, badly manufactured plug, previous issue that finally worked it's way through etc... You took the risk by saving money to do a repair, anytime you are not blanketed by a shop for work then you are responsible for any damages. More than likely, if you did take it to a shop and this happened, you would have to prove it was their fault before they would shell out any money to compensate for any further repairs - especially an expensive engine repair.

It says alot about your friends integrity by admitting he could not complete the valve cover installation, and then offering something for your inconvenience. $2k is probably way more than he has, especially if he is a struggling mechanic forced to pick up side jobs to make ends meet (othewise, it is obviously not worth the trouble).

It seems to be a recurring theme that if you go on the cheap with a Range Rover, it has a way of biting back multiple times over. Hopefully you stay friends with this person, he seems from your description of the events that he is a standup guy regardless.
 

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I assume the dealer would have noticed a melted/broken plug, but yeah... did you have a look at the plug in question? Perhaps the plug was defective (I assume you used the right kind?)

I also agree with the comments, and would not accept money from my friend if this happened to me (maybe if he repeatedly insists, but I would still be rather uncomfortable doing so). If this happened at the dealer in a more formal situation, I would be all over them though.
 

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I had a nut inside of an aircleaner on a old Corvette loosen with vibration, fall into the carb. and end up on embedded on top of the piston without any damage to the valves. Stuff happens. FYI: I wouldn't let any of my buddies touch my stuff. Buddies are for drinking beer, not working on complex automobiles.
 

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A "tip of a tiny screwdriver" sounds a kinda like the electrode of a sparkplug. Perhaps defective plug that took advantage of the worst possible time to let-go its electrode?

I'd be inclined, if not too late, to look at the plugs that were installed to see if they are still in one piece and not missing any electrodes. It may be a case of liability falling on the spark plug manufacturer for a defective plug.
 

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Which normal mechanic can't install a **** valve cover back on???

Take $2000 and call it a day. Do your own work from now on, its cheaper, you will learn about your car, and save money.
 

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localbrew said:
The dealer showed me the piece of metal, looked like a tip of a tiny screwdriver, but it was really dark and banged up a bit.
That sounds like a busted ring. The description you are describing with the cracked piston and scorred walls doesn't sound like your buddy did anything wrong.

I think I would pull the piston and have a closer look.

This is the #1 reason I wont help anyone. You change a spark plug and then someone will complain their transmission doesn't work right. Not that you are doing this. I can understand the questioning in this case. The fact that your buddy is willing to give you $2k says he's a pretty good guy, if he is a mechanic he KNOWS this has nothing to do with him. He is only doing it because he feels bad for you.

You would need something to fall in the hole to do damage like that. Like a nut or a bolt. There really isn't a reason for your buddy to have a screwdriver and then be prying around down there. The only thing I could think of that could fall in there would be the nuts that hold the coils on. And even then I haven't checked to see if it would actually fit. Just my thoughts.


I am however intruiged about your statements of the engine not being rebuildable. Where did you get this information from? I do not know myself that is why I am asking. I know some engines like my acura NSX can't be rebuilt because of how the cylinder walls are made. But they just sleave these motors and bypass the issue. Hard for me to believe they cant sleave a RR motor. Anyone else have a more technical explanation?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Appreciate everyone's comments and advice. The rings were fine, electrodes were fine, nothing broke it was clearly an issue where something fell in the hole.

I have looked at the piece of metal, it basically fell down where gravity would have it fall and scored the lowest point of the wall when piston went to the top.

I agree that is was not intentional, merely poor skill to leave the plug hole exposed for a lengthy time. Regarding the mechanic friend, yes I agree this is not something that he normally works on.

To some of the other comments: I'm the one that called it quits when I could tell he was getting frustrated with the valve cover and started to get worried because the shop foreman was leaving for the night. I simply said, no worries I'll tow it to the dealer and they can complete it. He's done some work on my car before and was generally pleased. I think this was one of those cases where he was just not into it.

I'm not going to cause him to lose his job over this cause that's just F'd and I'm not that kinda guy.

BTW - the shop foreman at the Land Rover dealership said he hadn't seen an engine that perfect with that many miles. He said there was so much life left in it, it was a shame that it happened.

As for stuff falling in the hole, it had actually happened to the LR dealership before he said years ago and they're insurance had to buy the owner a new engine. They have procedures now that minimizes that risk he said. Either way it sucks regardless just a botch all around.

More informative for guys changing their plugs or having friends do it.
 

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localbrew said:
Appreciate everyone's comments and advice. The rings were fine, electrodes were fine, nothing broke it was clearly an issue where something fell in the hole.
Did you pull the piston? You said the piston was cracked. And you heard a "bang" that's not what a small piece of metal rolling around sounds like.

There is just nothing to fall into the hole when replacing spark plugs. Exspecially when when he is replacing one at a time. You could leave the hole opend for 10 hours and nothing is going to jump in the hole on its own. busted electrode maybe! possibly from the old plugs or the new plugs. Why were you getting your plugs replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
nsxxtreme said:
localbrew said:
The dealer showed me the piece of metal, looked like a tip of a tiny screwdriver, but it was really dark and banged up a bit.
That sounds like a busted ring. The description you are describing with the cracked piston and scorred walls doesn't sound like your buddy did anything wrong.

I think I would pull the piston and have a closer look.

This is the #1 reason I wont help anyone. You change a spark plug and then someone will complain their transmission doesn't work right. Not that you are doing this. I can understand the questioning in this case. The fact that your buddy is willing to give you $2k says he's a pretty good guy, if he is a mechanic he KNOWS this has nothing to do with him. He is only doing it because he feels bad for you.

I don't really agree with this, if you change the plugs and you are not sure if something was attached to the magnetic socket cause your work table was dirty or whatever and something ended up down the hole, how is the mechanic not responsible? Yes you change a plug and the tranny issues a fail safe message likely has nothing to do with the work he did.

You would need something to fall in the hole to do damage like that. Like a nut or a bolt. There really isn't a reason for your buddy to have a screwdriver and then be prying around down there. The only thing I could think of that could fall in there would be the nuts that hold the coils on. And even then I haven't checked to see if it would actually fit. Just my thoughts.


I am however intruiged about your statements of the engine not being rebuildable. Where did you get this information from? I do not know myself that is why I am asking. I know some engines like my acura NSX can't be rebuilt because of how the cylinder walls are made. But they just sleave these motors and bypass the issue. Hard for me to believe they cant sleave a RR motor. Anyone else have a more technical explanation?
I have talked to several rebuilders, they were having good luck with resleaving the blocks but when they would get hot the blocks would flex. You can sleave it but the issue was the amount of material that is taken out is too much for the aluminum block. Nikasil or nikisil blocks have been known for these issues before. BMW 530i v8 had issues with them, it's basically the same design.
 
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