Earl Bros.Transmission/Auto Repair
Toledo, OH 43611 (2111)
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1 Review for Earl Bros.Transmission/Auto Repair
Repair/Service: Driveshaft Replacement, Differential Swap.
Hourly Rate: $75
Total Cost: $750
I had an couple experiences with Earls Bros Transmission Shop in Fremont Ohio. I would like to share my experiences with you.
Before I start, I would like to say that there is a Too Long; Didn't Read (TL; DR) version at the bottom of this review, but the full review more accurately reflects my experience with Earl Bros.
It started off as a vibration at highway speed in excess of roughly 60MPH in my car. After researching online about my driveline, it appeared to be an issue with my factory 2-piece Driveshaft. I purchased an all-aluminum 1-piece Driveshaft, and new synthetic Differential fluid (which I had been planning to change anyways), then had Earl Bros install the Driveshaft and change the Differential Fluid. They installed it and gave it back, however, it did not solve the problem. In fact, instead I had a massive vibration at speeds over 50MPH, rendering the car undriveable on the highway. They said they were simply doing what was requested of them, and I agree that I did not ask them to look into the vibration, I simply told them about it, then asked them to install the Driveshaft. However, I took it to another shop, and after inspection, they noticed that the rear tight axle was bent. The second shop told me that no such damage could occur, except from improper towing, or improper jacking. However, they also mentioned that because the Driveshaft was swapped, in may have been an existing vibration that i did not feel, due to the other hardware. I chose to believe the ladder of two possibilities, and bought and had the second shop install the rear right axle.
This led me to my second experience with Earl Bros. I took it back to them after the new axle was installed and asked them explicitly to look into the vibration issue. They told me they would, and called me the next day asking me to come in. They told me that my Differential was starting to die, and that they offered a rebuild service for typically (unless unexpected work was required) around $1000 and that this would be cheaper than a new differential. However, I knew some online sites who offered the same VLSD R230 Differential as the one currently in my car that were tested and known good. I picked up a low mile tested Diff, and brought it in to Earl Bros. However, I mentioned that during shipping, it looked like one of the speed senor guards had been resting on a foam piece in the box and had been bent slightly. They told me not to worry, that they would inspect it and repair small items such as that before installation. I told them that I would accept and charges associated with these fixes, I just wanted the job done right, regardless of cost. A couple of days later they called me, telling me that me car had been finished. When picking up my car, I asked if they had test drove it, and what the outcome was. They told me they did test drive it, and it drove fine. So I got the keys and drove it, but noticed that there was a loud grinding noise at low speeds, starting around 10MPH.
This led me to my third experience with Earl Bros Transmission. I took the car back, and told them that I noticed a grinding noise at low speeds, and that the (initial, over 60MPH) high-speed vibration was still there. They put it back on the lift and told me they would call me when they figured out the noise. They called me later that day, and mentioned that a speed sensor guard was bent and was grinding against the casing, as I had indicated before I gave them the Differential. They tore the guard off, and gave the car back. However, they told me that they would not investigate the high-speed vibration and that, again, they were only doing what they were requested to do. Even though I disagree, and that I explicitly told them to fix the vibration, I reluctantly agreed to take the car.
They gave my car back right before the shop closed up, and I drove the car home. However, when i got out of the car and walked around it, I noticed that my fender was damaged from underneath, which had crushed the pinch weld upwards, and the fender out. I immediately called the shop, but as it was after business hours, I left a message telling them that I had found damage to my vehicle.
This led me to my final experience with Earl Bros. I brought the car back in the following week, when the manager (one of the Earl Brothers) was in. He told me to leave the car for a couple of hours and he would inspect the damage. He then called me and told me to come into the shop. He had my car on a lift, and let me walk under the car and inspect it with him. He showed me the damage that they did do to my car, which was to the rust-proofing on the frame, then told me the following (which is verbatim, to the best of my knowledge):
It looks like damage that was done to your car could have been done by our jack, but my guy said he didn't do it, and I have to believe him.
Cutting my losses, I walked away from the situation and took my car. Although, wanting to know definitively how the damage was done, I took my car to the dealership outside of Fremont, and two body shops, both being in Fremont Ohio. The dealership said that their word could not be legally taken as true, but that it did look like the damage was done by by a shops swing-out jack, which is the type that Earl Bros uses. Another shop told me almost that exact same thing, then the last body shop told me verbatim (again, to the best of my knowledge):
Yes, I guarantee that you fender was damaged by a shop jack. Looking at the damage, there is no other way that that could have happened.
However, even though I was told this, there is no way to definitively prove that Earl Bros damaged my car. This was simply my experiences with the other shops.
So after spending over $1000 (I purchased the parts, so I paid less for labor), unfortunately I walked away with the same problem and a damaged car. I'm going to keep this objective, and say that my car is a rare sports car that is a bit harder to work on, but overall I, personally, will not be taking any more cars to Earl Brothers Transmission of Fremont Ohio. My experience with them, however, does not reflect any other Earl Bros Transmission locations, as I know they have a couple more. It only reflects the location in Fremont Ohio.
Although, I will say that the shop had a very friendly staff.
TL; DR version:
I was advised by Earl Bros Transmission to replace my Differential and that it was bad. After purchasing a tested good Differential and having them install it, not only was the issue not fixed, but I then discovered that I had further damage to my car.
by Paul on March 6, 2012