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My Cobalt had needed control arm bushings and struts for a lengthy amount of time, and after a long debate I decided to save myself the hassle and have a shop do it. For fear of having issues with the captured nut that is nearly impossible to reach if it breaks free.

The quote went from $550 (canuck bucks) for installation and alignment, to $820 for the extra time they had to spend getting the bolt out when one broke. So all in all, including parts I ended up spending about $1750 (new struts, control arms).

Now even though this is pretty expensive, this car doesn't owe me anything and has been overall fantastic between mileage and reliability.

I got the car back (thursday night) and it's driving like new, and I'm loving it.

Yesterday I decided to finish bringing it back up to 100% by replacing the downstream o2 which was causing the CEL.

In the midst of that job I had a look at what they did with the suspension work..

The passenger side is fine, but the drivers side...



This does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling after spending that much money. Now given that I know how much of a pain this job seems to turn out being from the research I did when I was considering doing it myself, I'm trying to give them some slack.. but I'm worried that this could be unsafe. It seems to be okay, I just wanted to gather some insight from you guys with more experience than myself.

A few other points,
- The stickers that come on top of the struts stating caution, they stuck one on the airbox and they left the other on the strut which now makes it trapped with it installed. I'm not worried about driveability with this, but really, I just spend some decent coin at this shop. Seems kinda ignorant.
- They charged me for an alignment, but it doesn't look like they adjusted the tie-rods at all.. I'm wondering if they even did one at this point. I guess it's possible that they checked it and it was bang on and they charged me for that?
- This shop has glowing reviews, and I find that pretty interesting based on my overall experience.



Cliff notes;

- Questionable work at the shop I brought my car to for suspension work
- Safe?
- Do I have good reason to be aggravated by this?
 

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I'd be annoyed that they used a torch to cut out that bolt when all most people do is slip a reciprocating saw blade in there and cut it off. If I did this job the way they did it I would've put a washer on there to hide that hole. I wouldn't call it unsafe but obviously not a well trained tech.

If you're curious take the car out for an alignment check at another place. If it's off than take the receipt back to this shop and make them pay that back to you. Alot of private shops don't get their machines calibrated as often as they should. GCR tire is one of them.

I'd be aggravated just at the fact the job was $1750. That's nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
$1,750 stung, believe me.

$920 for moog control arms, and monroe quickstruts
$50 bolt kit for replacing control arm bolts
$100 for the alignment
$680 labour?

I had the intention of doing it myself at $920, but I figured if it would need an alignment and they originally quoted $500 and change including that.. I'd save the hassle and have them do it. It's still a lot of money, but I had a bad feeling about those bolts.

I appreciate the response. I'm happy to hear that you wouldn't call it unsafe. I'm tempted to give them a call and hear their end before I leave a scathing review.
 

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Oh well. It's done now and you didn't have to get your hands dirty. What's their labour rate?
 

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Not to cause undue worry - but you'll probably be replacing those struts soon. They're known (by Monroe) to fail quickly. Monroe, as I said, is aware, and will replace them for free, but you still have to change struts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
$90/hr is their rate.

As far as the Monroe struts failing, that's out of my control at this point so what're you gonna do. Hopefully they last for a while anyways. At least the hardware should come out relatively easily at this point. I meant to ask them, but how would they go about torquing the control arm bolt if they can't access the nut on the other side? I'm assuming they had to replace this based on the "frame bolt kit and nut" on the invoice.

And because you mentioned it, if they should fail, I should be able to bring them to where I bought them (Canadian Tire) and get a new pair? Or I have to go through Monroe directly?
 

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I'd think the shop should warranty them - but you'll then need to pay labor again to have them changed each time they fail. Luckily, struts are simple on this car, so you could also do them yourself.

As far as torquing the control arm - unless the weld nut broke free on the top side, which I don't see in the original post (only that the bolt broke), it'll work as intended - you don't need to hold the nut, since it doesn't spin. In order to replace it, if it did break free, they would have had to drop the subframe down, and then weld a new one on up top.

---------- Post added at 12:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:43 PM ----------

But you know what, the Monroes that fail are the Sensa-Tracs. I don't think the Quick Struts use those - so you should be fine. I don't even see the Sensa-Tracs listed on Rock Auto anymore, so perhaps they stopped selling them for the Cobalt.
 

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I just had this same work done to my 07 Cobalt but their hourly rate was $63.25, I brought them all the parts from PrimeChoice. 2 front wheel bearing, 2 front rotors and pads, 2 new lower control arms, 2 new end-links, 2 new swaybar bushings, 2 outer tie-rods, intermediate shaft and 2 complete struts and I walked out of the whole thing under $1000 Cdn parts included. They had to cut both LCA bushings with torches too because they were seized on the bolts. So do I think you were plucked out of hard earned cash, well yes a little bit, but shopping helps. Now do I think the work done on your car is unsafe, no, even though a bit sloppy.
 

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They all seem to seize to the sleeves of the bushings so I always coat my bolt in grease to prevent that from happening again
 

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One above and below.
 

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Vice grips have worked for me in the past. If the nut has broken free up top you can pull the piece out and weld a nut to the bolt and back it out. The bolt shouldn't be to bad with the bushing out of the way.
 
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