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azure

Help, the shop stole parts from my truck!!!!!

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Posted (edited)

The title of this thread is no joke.  I'll make a very long story as short as possible.

 

My 2004 Suburban got rear ended badly, and I was out of state, and so I had to leave it at a local body shop over there.  The damage was basically just rear end body work, with some minor suspension repairs.   Insurance was totalling it, but I was trying to decided if and how to repair it.  The shop that it was at was not very helpful, and after it sat there for a few weeks eventually I had it transported back to near where I live.  First thing I noticed was that the running boards were missing from the truck, but they were inside.  That was very odd.  The guy who towed it told me some strange explanation the shop told him for that.  Very weird, but ok.  It was a couple weeks more after that before I actually got it back to my house to work on.  Well, guess what.  First we discovered, oddly, that the truck would not go in reverse.  Which was not the case when I had left it at the shop.  Also, it was telling me Service 4WD.  Well, anyway, when I went underneath  I discovered that they had begun harvesting parts from my truck!!  Apparently that shop assumed I was never coming back and that the truck would be junked, so they thought they could just take some stuff they needed!!  So, the front drive shaft that runs from the front axle to the transfer case is missing entirely.  And a whole bunch of connectors are unplugged from near the transfer case, and I can't figure out where they go, so there's probably a control module or something that they took.  There's a ton of codes in the TCC module. They also damaged the exhaust in the process, and other stuff but that's for another conversation.  They cut the nuts on one of the exhaust pipes to lower it, and I'm not exaggerating, they literally put a c-clamp on the pipe to sort of hold it together for the tow back up to me.  I doubt they were interested in the drive shaft; I'm guessing they probably planned on taking the transfer case, or tranny, whatever, but probably they heard that I was taking back the truck before they got to that point.

 

I do intend to try and take legal action, but in meanwhile I need to figure out what to do.  I'm not worried about the 4WD issue right now, even though I may want to repair it at some point, but bottom line right now I want to figure out why it won't go in reverse.  And to see if the vehicle can drive normally at this point.  The transmission fluid condition and level seem fine.  There's no indication that the transmission was damaged, and no reason to assume that it suddenly went bad.  I'm sure it has something to do with what they did.  Perhaps with something they disconnected or removed.  The shift cable looks ok I think, but I'm not really sure how to diagnose that for sure.  My scan tool did confirm that the transmssion range sensor indicated Reverse when I put it in reverse.  I'm at a loss where to take it from here.  So frustrating.  Would really appreciate any help, thanks!!

Edited by azure

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Did they swap the transmission? With running boards removed that was my first thought. 

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I guess there's no way for me to know for sure.  But it didn't look out of the ordinary near the transmission, no fluid or anything.  Also, I'm pretty sure they were planning on taking parts off my truck for another truck, not the opposite.  So no reason they would have done that.  I just thought maybe they wanted the running boards.

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Actually now I'm starting to wonder if maybe they did swap in a bad tranny. They obviously wouldn't have planned on doing that initially, but perhaps they pulled the tranny because they needed it, and then when they heard I planned on taking the truck back they put the busted tranny back in? I can't think of any other explanation. I know this whole story sounds crazy, but trust me it's real. They had to do some kind of a chop job to put things back together clearly. I can't think of any other explanation. This truck is low mileage and was very well maintained. The whole thing is insanely frustrating. Is there any way of verifying whether the tranny on the truck is the original one?

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There's a tag on the transmission which indicates what year it is, if they swapped it out, it's possible the tag will be for a different year than it should be.

 

But really, all you can do is file a police report that they stole parts from your truck.

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You can do as the last post said and look at the transmission tag and you can also contact a dealer if you've been the original owner as I am with my 04 Tahoe then unless you had a replacement and even if you did thru the dealer the serial number would be documented. If the took your transmission control module those have serial numbers and if I recollect properly if they used it for a vehicle similar but not same options as yours they'd have to update it thru the GM site which as we all know with computers everything is traceable. IF it's over a certain amount and pertains to auto theft which essentially they did do this by stealing your parts some states consider this grand theft.

Never know what a phone call to the local pd where your car was might yield as if they have suspicions about this shop being a underhanded shop you may have or might be able to give them their first lead and possibly help them being if you went in there it wouldn't seem odd and you throw a wire and other stuff and over time you may take down a car parts or car theft ring. They're in more places than we imagine.

What city and state was your vehicle stored in when all this happened?

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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I wouldn't do any work to it until you get a lawyer and have it inspected which I'm sure he'll recommend. If a lawyer sends them a letter notifying them of legal action I'd be willing to be that they would be very glad to have your vehicle fixed at the location of your choice and pay your legal bill rather than go to court and have the book thrown at them.

Maybe if they don't respond nicely to your lawyer you and the lawyer can contact thur insurance company since it was in their possession and they're responsible for it during that time.

You've got a case I'd think but if you go fixing things you may lose those rights. Check with a lawyer. Most decent lawyers will give you a free 15-30 minute consultation and let you know your options.

Do it the right way.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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I'm definitely going to follow up with a lawyer friend of mine.  And honestly at this point it may not be worth fixing the truck regardless.  Really frustrating that people would do that.  I realize that they thought I was never coming back and that the truck was junk.  But still it's so insensitive.  And then to charge me storage fees and ship it back in that condition?  Terrible.  It was in Virginia.  I'm in NY.

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Make sure after you get it all settled that you leave them a nice glowing review on google, yelp, Facebook and any other review platforms. If they’re a body shop that’s state or city contracted where they get calls from those agencies whether them being the only body shop around I’d let the better business bureau know. Wait till you’ve Ben given the green light by your lawyer to make sure it wouldn’t affect any case you may have. 

 

Youd ur probably be surprised with what you may or may not find by looking at reviews online right now.

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The tag on the transmission will have a build date with calendar year and Julian Date.  Behind the pan and in front of the mount holes, is the VIN Derivative numbers.  It can also be on the passenger side just above the rear end of the pan.  Again this will include the model year, year built and Julian Date and shift, etc.  Enough to know if it's your original or not.

 

Is it a 2WD transmission or a 4WD transmission?  

 

Call the police and file a theft report.  There's enough missing to make it a felony.

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Thanks to all you guys for your suggestions.  I'm going to think about this some more and I will try to follow up with what happens.  Either way, ironically in a way this makes the decision easier for me, because I really wasn't sure whether it was worth the time and money to fix it.  I was planning on doing it but it wasn't an easy decision.  By these guys making the job harder, it's more clarity not to go forward with the repair.  I do realize that's kind of a backwards way of thinking but hey.  And don't get me wrong, I'm still going to go after them.  But I'm feeling ok with my current situation is all.  Thanks again

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Sounds like a slam dunk lawsuit for damages.  It’s technically stealing but cops can’t arrest the business and good luck finding the tech who specifically stole it.  You are much better suing the company for ruining your private property.

 

not uncommon for shops to take legal custody of salvaged cars, but a lot don’t do it legally by pursuing salvage titles.

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