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Discussion Starter #142 (Edited)
Update: They say "that's normal" and they "didn't hear a whine from the diff". Also "road force balancer won't tell you radial pull".

They are going to rotate the tires now.
 

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Discussion Starter #144
Had you tried coasting in neutral down a long, straight hill ? Does it wander left/right ? Is the parking brake fully releasing ? Clutching at straws here !!!
Traditionally it will start to roll straight and just decide after a bit to go in a random direction. I have not had the time or dry roads to test on since the new tires went on.

No evidence parking brake is holding the car.

No charge. He's going to talk to guys on Monday when they return from an FCA event thing. They had 3x 124's a few days ago in because they wouldn't start after port took delivery but they'd already been started and returned. None on the sales lot. He does not think it's the diff and says you would 100% feel it on launch. He did not hear the whining and therefore refused to speculate on that. That guy and I ended on better terms and it seems like he's more willing to help but I'm still no closer to a resolution so meh.
 

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This dealer has zero 124's in stock.

I'm now taking additional time off work this morning to drive the car for the shop foreman. My guess is, because they let it sit for 36 hours, they drove it briefly on local roads with low tire pressure, which masked the pulling with the larger surface area.

He already tried to blame the tires and the fact that it tramlines on them being summer tires.
Bummer. Look for a used one for sale locally and give it a test drive to see if it does the same. You actually are closer since you're working with the service manager.
 

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My mechanic roommate just drove it.

"Holy fuck does it pull left"
This is the first time your mechanic roommate has provided input to you about the situation? Anything further than just acknowledging the pull?

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #148
This is the first time your mechanic roommate has provided input to you about the situation? Anything further than just acknowledging the pull?

Steve.
He's been up to speed on the process but it's the first time he's driven the car. He's been agreeing with everyone else so far...alignment, tire pressure, tires, no immediate outlier otherwise. He works long enough days that I didn't want to ask him to stay after hours and do more work on this possessed machine.

He's taking it to work today and we're going to throw it on a lift and potentially their alignment rack this evening.
If we're able to get it on the alignment rack, I can almost guarantee it won't match the alignment Fiat did 2 weeks ago.

When I mentioned that Fiat's "before" specs weren't near shop # 4's "after" specs from 6 days prior I was told "that doesn't mean anything since we didn't do the alignment."
 

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Discussion Starter #149
Update: My roommate had it on the lift for 3 seconds before pointing it out. Notice anything?

74914


74915


Top view of passenger side:

74916
 

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Unless that's an optical illusion, it looks like I'm looking a bent control arm.
 

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Discussion Starter #151
Unless that's an optical illusion, it looks like I'm looking a bent control arm.
Yup.

So much for Fiat (and every other place) swearing up and down that, and this is verbatim, "absolutely nothing on that car is bent, broken, or damaged. It's 100% mechanically sound"
 

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I have no words. You have to be the unluckiest guy in the world to have gone to that many inept and incompetent people. Another reason I do all my own work now.

Incompetence extends to all industries though. We have a dishwasher that recently quit drying the dishes. After five service trips and several replacements of circuit boards we were told to replace it. My wife decided to download the GE service manual and found out that if you pull the dishwasher out and look behind it there it a reset switch. Been working fine ever since.
 

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Holy crap.
 
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I don't even know how that could happen! Especially the direction of the bend, it's perpendicular to the motion of travel of the arm. Looks like maybe whoever put that first set of tires on backed your car into something while reversing (if whatever it was could even clear the bumper) or they did something majorly fucky when lifting the car. Yikes!
 

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Hooray! Mystery solved! I am so glad to see these photos.

Show those pictures to the manager of each place that took money off you for nothing and get refunds - Show them to the first tyre shop to get them to pay for the damage they did in October

And then only take the car to your room-mate's shop for work from now on? Trusted mechanics are hard to find, and dealer prices don't equal expert workers. I am not familiar with the US dealer warantee rules, Are you allowed to get servicing etc done away from the dealer without invalidating anything?

I stopped paying Toyota dealer rates the day they gave my car a full service and MOT test pass, but when I drove it off their forecourt it had no headlights plugged in. I figured I could make those stupid mistakes myself on the ramps in my driveway for free, and maybe learn some useful skills along the way.

My local indy workshop did anything I couldn't cope with, were happy with special requests, fitting performance parts I had sourced myself etc, gave me great service and worked out the most cost effective workplan with me so there were no surprises in the bill.

(unsolicited plug for Valley Autos for anyone within driving distance of Brands Hatch circuit in Kent!)
 

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Jacked up incorrectly at first tyre change ? Happy for you now, sort of !!!
Glad you found the cause, not so much that four shops (?) would have missed it. Certainly does not increase confidence, I bet. Best of luck getting your damages covered!

What I am still curious about, though, is how would rotating tires change behavior, with a bent control arm?

Thx, S
 
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Discussion Starter #158
I have no words. You have to be the unluckiest guy in the world to have gone to that many inept and incompetent people. Another reason I do all my own work now.
Welcome to my life lol

Holy crap.
I said something along those lines, too!

I don't even know how that could happen! Especially the direction of the bend, it's perpendicular to the motion of travel of the arm. Looks like maybe whoever put that first set of tires on backed your car into something while reversing (if whatever it was could even clear the bumper) or they did something majorly fucky when lifting the car. Yikes!
I can't figure it out either. I know I sure as hell didn't do it. And I would agree - it would be hard for a curb to do that and not take the exhaust and body panels off first.

Maybe they lowered the car off the lift with something under the car still? Really, really wish I'd kept that dash cam footage.

Hooray! Mystery solved! I am so glad to see these photos.
Hopefully! Straight up - if my roommate replaces that link and aligns the car later this week and it still does not resolve, I'm getting a different car.

Show those pictures to the manager of each place that took money off you for nothing and get refunds - Show them to the first tyre shop to get them to pay for the damage they did in October
At the very least I believe Fiat owes me a refund as well as shop # 4. I think I'll have difficulty getting anything from shop # 1 from the October install, given the length of time and the number of cooks in the kitchen here.

Are you allowed to get servicing etc done away from the dealer without invalidating anything?
It depends - if you ask the supreme court: yes, as long as the vehicle is maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendation it's the burden of the manufacturer to prove a modification or maintenance was performed incorrectly/not performed and damaged the car.

If you ask Fiat: "that's only for oil changes."

Jacked up incorrectly at first tyre change ? Happy for you now, sort of !!!
Not sure - I don't know why you would ever jack this car up from that point but I think you'd struggle to fit a lift arm there, too. It's a hell of a weird angle.

What I am still curious about, though, is how would rotating tires change behavior, with a bent control arm?
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That has entered my mind too. And that's why I'll trade the car if this doesn't resolve it.

The only thing I can think of is the tires so far have all been asymmetrical (but NOT rotation directionals), so rotating the tires provided just enough of a pull to work with or against whatever screwed up geometry that bent link is causing.
 

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Discussion Starter #159 (Edited)
I can only blame myself for a lot of this too...5 days a week I go to work and live by the mantra "trust, but verify."

Had I just not assumed these shops had done their due diligence and thrown it up in the air to inspect it myself, this may have started and ended back in October.

And you know, now that I think about it, this is the second time I thought shop # 1 damaged my car without me recognizing it immediately or having the evidence to back it up. Years ago I had them perform a tire rotation on my Wrangler and about a week later noticed a dent on the hub cover. They insisted it wasn't them, especially given the rust vs. time since it allegedly had happened, but they agreed to beat the dent out anyway. It would be hard to cause that dent just by driving the damn thing. Honestly I'd forgotten about that until now.

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Funny my beat YJ had lug locks but my 124 doesn't...

tl;dr: I'm a big dummy
 

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I sympathize with putting faith in what you think are professionals and that they know their job. Know it all too well.
 
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