Tuesday, September 16, 2008

El Rebelde

Spanish for "The Rebel" - the new nickname bestowed upon my pickup by my mechanic in Guardia. I got the truck back the day before my week long return to Chicago after 4 months of pura mierda (pure shit) dealing with the Mahindra agency in S. Jose over a warranty dispute on a turbo that lasted me only 3 days. It would probably take me about 4 months to tell the story in detail with veins popping out of my forehead like the young assassin in that Angelina Jolie super action flick filmed in Chicago. So here are some bullet points:

- One day, El Rebelde is smoking and revving. I kill the engine in front of my house and call my mechanic.
- My mechanic arrives that afternoon. Tells me the turbo is bad. 7 month old turbo is not under warranty.
- Next day he orders a new one.
- 3 days later I have to go to the bank to wire transfer money to the agency's bank account for them to release the turbo. They never called me to tell me this.
- A week later new turbo is installed and El Rebelde is purring like a kitten.
- 3 days and 130 kms. later, new turbo expires. See No Vale la Pena.
- Call to agency results in my having to spend $270 to send El Rebelde to S. Jose for them to "diagnose" the problem. The flatbed arrives to collect El Rebelde 3 days later - it's too late on a Friday and the soonest the driver can get to S. Jose is Monday.
- After 2 weeks, the agency diagnoses the problem as "a problem with the turbo" - duh! In order for them to confirm it's the turbo and not the engine, they tell me they have to replace the engine!!!!!!! Not being born yesterday, I tell them to send the turbo to a lab for diagnostics and an independent 3rd opinion. The agency agrees.
- 2 weeks later the turbo has yet to be removed from the truck and sent to a lab.
- 1 week later my mechanic and I go to S. Jose to have a sit-down with the agency's head mechanic and recover the truck. My mechanic is livid - the agency is also blaming him for faulty installation of the newer turbo. There is blood in his eyes.
- After much discussion, agency agrees that turbo can be removed by my mechanic in Guanacaste and sent to lab for diagnostics in S. Jose. Could have been done in the first place. We put El Rebelde on the flatbed and drive home. Cha-ching, $270 more.
- 2 weeks later results from lab come back - turbo bad from factory. Therefore, warranty of turbo is valid.
- Agency in uproar because my mechanic did not send turbo to one of "their laboratories". Geeze, that doesn't smell fishy, does it? Agency will not pay for laboratory diagnostics. They agree to honor warranty, but hold new turbo hostage until laboratory bill is paid.
- 1 week of phone calls to get to the head manager of the agency.
- 30 minutes on phone with head manager and my turbo is on a bus from S. Jose to my mechanic. Very nice lady. But she's a woman and her underlings are resentful. She's as furious as I am.
- 2 days later, turbo arrives from S. Jose. But parts for installation are still with the old turbo at the lab. Agency still refuses to pay lab bill. Lab will not release old turbo with parts. My mechanic pays the bill for me and we agree to settle up later.
- 1 week later my mechanic is still waiting for gaskets to arrive from the agency in S. Jose - they were not shipped with the new turbo. The ones that arrived a couple of days ago weren't the right size.
- 1 week later El Rebelde has a new turbo - and a new oil leak. My mechanic is baffled.
- 1 weeks later, oil leak mystery is resolved and El Rebelde is purring like a kitten. But passenger windows won't roll down. New relay ordered.
- 1 day later I go to Chicago with specifications on a fast computer I am to buy for my mechanic so he can run new diagnostic software without having to wait overnight for his computer to process results.
- 1 week later I return from Chicago with new computer and new attitude. My mechanic is like a kid on Christmas day. He pays me for the computer and writes off the cost of all of the work he's done!!! I want to kiss the guy.
- 1 day later engine is dying randomly, like it's running out of fuel. El Rebelde dies the next day.
- 1 day later my mechanic arrives at the beach where El Rebelde has died. My guess is that there's air or water in the diesel line.
- 2 hours later my mechanic asks me when was the last time I changed my fuel filters. I tell him 4000 km. ago. He smiles a pitiful smile. Turns out they weren't changed but I was charged anyway by Super Servicio a.k.a. Super Ripoff. My mechanic goes to Liberia to find filters.
- 2 hours later my mechanic calls. The only place that has my filters is closed - it's Saturday.
- 2 days later my mechanic arrives at the beach where El Rebelde has died. Replaces filters. El Rebelde purrs like a kitten.
- 2 nights later I cannot turn off my headlights. Must disconnect the battery. Have no tools. Return to house to get them. Leave house keys at the beach. Return to beach. Recover keys. Return to house. Recover tools. Disconnect battery.
- 1 day later I return to my mechanic's shop. He jiggles a switch and a cable and the lights work. El Rebelde purrs like a kitten.
- Today... life is good.

¡Pura vida!