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Old 01-11-2006, 04:25 PM   #1
live-
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Default Exhaust ripoff? UPDATE: Every single weld came undone today...

About 3 and a half months ago, I bought a new Magnaflow 2.25" muffler online and took it to a Monro Muffler shop in my neighborhood. Anyway, they quoted me around $250, which I thought sounded about right for stainless steel custom exhaust, so I take it in one Saturday (I work all day, so I dropped it off, went to work, and expected to come back and pick it up).

Here's when the problems began. I come back (dropped it off at 8 right when they opened, saw it go up on the lift) around 4:30 I'm back. I notice the car is still up on the lift, so I'm a bit worried and go inside. The guy claims that their "grinder" was broken and that the welds couldn't be finished, so they were going to put some sort of "gook" on there to hold it together and I'd have to bring it back within a week or so. This seemed suspicious to me, but I'm about as unassertive as I could possibly be so I jsut kind of said well OK. A couple hours later after it is on there in "functional" condition (I sat there and waited while they told me it would be any minute now for a couple hours), I take it home. It sounds good, don't have any numbers on it but it feels like its running ok.

So I eventually bring it back, and once again, they spend all day supposedly hooking up this hardass "custom exhaust" job. When I finally call them around the time theya re closing, they tell me that its just about ready. I get there, and again, the guy who did it is running around and appears to kind of be rushing to finish up (I'm not sure what the hell he spent those two days doing, but it sure seemed to me he didn't do **** during the day and just started rushing when I came back to finish it up). Ignorant as I was (I'm a total noob if you haven't figured out yet), I waited again and they said it was finally finished. They charged me $311 for it, which was more than the $250 they had expected, and refused to accept a 20% off coupon for "any exhaust service" for Monro because that evidently didn't apply to "custom jobs" such as mine. Again, being the unassertive fool I am, I said ok, paid up, and left. It seemed to be running fine again, so whatever, it was over with.

But anyway, what they didn't tell me is that they were going to "cut and weld" what the manager now claims are "strong, heavy stainless steel pipes" rather than bend them. As I said, I'm a noob, and really didn't know what I was getting into. I will post pics later, but the best way I can describe it are there are basically 3 different straight pipes: one coming from the inlet on the Magnaflow, another angled at about 45-60 degrees and welded onto that one, and then one big, long straight pipe angled at another 45-60 degrees running all the way back to what appears to be a flange (its got a big chunk of the "gook" on it right near the end) connecting to the cat.

Anyway, yesterday I just had my tires rotated and an oil change from the mechanic my family has known and trusted for years for all their auto work, and he was pretty much appalled by the job they did. He said it's probably the worst exhaust job he's ever seen and recommended I either get it redone or buy a premade catback somewhere because it looked like it would fall off at any time. I had also noticed that one of the hangers behind the muffler had fallen off, but he said it wasn't even worth welding that back on.

So today I call Monro, and the guy is claiming that the way they "cut and weld heavy stainless steel pipes" is much better than "cheap pipe bends" and that the welds are tons stronger than it would be if I had gone the "cheap pipe bending" route. He claimed that they informed me they didn't have a pipe bender, and when I contested this statement, he immediately said that they never told me they did have one...certainly a bit suspicious. I explained to him how my mechanic whom I've known and trusted for years told me it was a terrible job and I needed to get it redone, and he immediately got defensive and said he's been doing exhausts for 20 years and that the guys at the shop I get my maintenance work done at "don't know anything about exhausts." He ultimately told me that if I bring it in, they'll reweld the one hanger free of charge, and said I have no reason to ask for my money back if the exhaust is flowing and "performs fine."

I called back my mechanic, and he's sticking by his word completely and says they are just covering up for a crappy job, and recommends that I take it to another shop and just be honest, and get their opinion on it to use as leverage against this Monro.

So, sorry for the long post, but I know a lot of people here are very knowledgeable...have you ever heard of a "cut and weld" catback, and is it supposedly stronger than "cheap bent steel" pipes? Have you guys ever even heard of a muffler shop that doesn't even have a pipe bender?

Thanks a ****load for any help...I'm going to take it in to either Midas or Meineke tomorrow but am very curious in the meantime.
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Last edited by live-; 01-18-2006 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:33 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear. Go down there and raise hell. Be ASSERTIVE. Look around for there customer satisfaction & work guarantee documents. As them for it. Most places have a "100% satisfaction" guarantee. Obviously not 100%, if they still say no, ask for there corporate information and contact them. They will likley force the store manager into refunding you if they do make a statement like that.

Try to avoid chain shops. Look in your area for a reputable exhaust shop.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:35 PM   #3
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BBB time definately
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:36 PM   #4
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cn's?
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaeater69
cn's?
went to a chain muffler shop and bought an exhaust. took them 2 weeks to do it, they over charged him and they didnt bend any pipes only cut/weld. his real mechanic told him it was a **** job, the muff shop monkey said the mech was stupid and the exhaust was l33t
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:47 PM   #6
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Wow...I guess I may as well drive down to Midas right now and see if I can get a written confirmation from them that it's a terrible job I feel so dumb for not realizing this as it was happening.

I also checked out Monro's website, and they claim that every one of their locations is equipped with a pipe bender. I'll definitely take this up with their corporate division if they still refuse to at least partially refund me after I get another opinion from an exhaust shop.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaisersouse
went to a chain muffler shop and bought an exhaust. took them 2 weeks to do it, they over charged him and they didnt bend any pipes only cut/weld. his real mechanic told him it was a **** job, the muff shop monkey said the mech was stupid and the exhaust was l33t
lol, nicely summarized.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:15 PM   #8
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The best way to get ripped off?

Let somebody else work on your car.

I refuse to let anyone touch my car because at least 1/2 the time you pay a ton more than originally quoted and they mess up stuff.

Either buy a pre-made quality exhaust and put it on yourself or don't get one at all, my advice.

-Mac
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:15 PM   #9
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I'm willing to bet that if you mechanic that you know and trust says it's junk then it probably is.

If you really want to stick it to them go to a different monro and ask their opinion. Just don't tell them that it was another store that did it. When they tell it's junk ask about the welds vs the bends, and be sure to tell them the whole story. Take that information back to the original monro and confront them with it, but don't tell them that was the other monro that said it was junk until they start to get pushy. At that point play the trump card, and ask who you can get involved at corporate about this.

I'm guessing you're young. I'm not being a jerk and saying "ah, you're just some kid," but from the way you're telling it that it sounds like how I used to get blown off by some places when I was young. Don't take that - you've got to be more assertive. If you still cannot get any resolution to this then get the BBB involved.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:26 PM   #10
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http://www.bbb.org/

hopefully that will solve your problems
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:32 PM   #11
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Well, all I can say is find a day that you are off and stay there and watch them do it, and what kind of exahust shop doesn't have a pipe bender??? really? I mean I got mine custom done with a muffler, and tip all for 300, all welded and hung. So I mean I would seriously stay at the next place and verify all the work that is done, it woud also also be better to take it to a performance exahust place.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:41 PM   #12
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i like the idea about going to a different shop within the same franchise, and get it writing that the job is crap.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaeater69
i like the idea about going to a different shop within the same franchise, and get it writing that the job is crap.
^Ditto!
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by live-
have you ever heard of a "cut and weld" catback, and is it supposedly stronger than "cheap bent steel" pipes?
Is it straight pipe welded to mandrel bend pieces? Shops that don't have expensive mandrel bending equipment have to do this if you insist on having mandrel bends (not sure if you did). Otherwise shops could use a crush bender, which can pinch a pipe down 1/4"-1/2" throughout the bend from what I've seen on a custom rear exhaust pipe I had made. Though, if they didn't even have a crush bender, as you said, they'd have to weld with pre-bent pieces, and it'd suck if those pre-bent pieces were crush bent anyway.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:01 PM   #15
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I'm 18, so yes, I'm young and stupid and naive.

Anyway, I just went down to Midas and asked the guy in there, and while he didn't have time to look at the car right now, I explained my situation and his exact quote was "They shouldn't be a muffler shop if they don't have a pipe bender." He had never even heard of this "cut and weld" method, and said that it should be one solid pipe running all the way from the muffler to the cat if I wanted the sturdiest and best job possible. Ugh.

But yeah, ironically my parents just suggested that I go to another Monro and use that estimate and the one I'm going to get from Midas as leverage...And the other Monro would, as you guys said, be HUGE if I went to corporate with this, since these two estimates will essentially be estimates to fix the job this one ****hole did.

In the end, though, unless these estimates are like $100 for quality bends and welds I'll probably just get a premade catback since I no longer have the stock one (which was a HUGE mistake). Instead of spending close to $400 for a crappy custom job I could have just spent $500-600 on a high quality premade with a lifetime warranty and still have my stock catback ready to easily bold on if I ever needed it.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PossumK
Is it straight pipe welded to mandrel bend pieces? Shops that don't have expensive mandrel bending equipment have to do this if you insist on having mandrel bends (not sure if you did). Otherwise shops could use a crush bender, which can pinch a pipe down 1/4"-1/2" throughout the bend from what I've seen on a custom rear exhaust pipe I had made. Though, if they didn't even have a crush bender, as you said, they'd have to weld with pre-bent pieces, and it'd suck if those pre-bent pieces were crush bent anyway.
None of those describe what these guys did. It is 3 straight pieces of pipe, no bends at all, with monstrous welds connecting them at pretty harsh angles.

Damn this was such a mistake...if I had just never tried to get some custom exhaust I'd either be sitting here perfectly happy with my stock piece knowing it will work fine for the next 10 years or I'd have a nice premade catback knowing the same thing
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:16 PM   #17
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Take your car to a different Monroe and get their opinion. Don't mention to them that you got it done at the Monroe across town, just tell them your mechnic said it was pretty poor, and you wanted a second opinion from a reputable exhaust shop before going back to the original installer to raise hell.

The icing on the cake is going back to the original Monroe and complaining again, the original store manager denying everything and saying that they did it the "Good" way, and then rubbing it in their faces that another store in their own chain thought is was a horrible job.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:34 PM   #18
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Pics!!!!!
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:49 PM   #19
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It's been pouring here (Baltimore) all day . I'll definitely take some tomorrow...

My plan is to get two estimates as early as tomorrow (one from another Monro) and use these as leverage to the manager of the first one. I'm planning to ask for the amount of money the new shops will charge to do it correctly (although I'm almost 100% sure I'll just put that towards a premade catback). If he refuses to budge, I'll contact Monro corporate and file a complaint against this franchise (its hard to imagine them being able to deny my claim if another Monro gives me an estimate of $150-200 or so to get it done right). Finally, if that doesn't work, I'll file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (thanks for that idea guys). If nothing ends up working, I'll stand outside this shop with picket signs and fliers explaining how they ****ed me over.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:27 PM   #20
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Don't feel bad - I got screwed the same way by a local "big name muffler chain" shop on my Grand Cherokee. After they butchered the install of a hi-flo cat and muffler, I finally took it to the place I should have from the start (a custom exhaust shop) and they made it nice.

Moral of story - NEVER go to a chain muffler shop for custom work!
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:42 PM   #21
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Don't worry, I don't plan on actually having it done at this Midas or the other Monro, I just don't trust it enough anymore. There's a local shop (Agile Auto) that does a lot of work on Subarus that I would probably trust, but at this point, to me, its probably going to be worth the piece of mind to have one that I know fits right and will work and last a long time.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:59 PM   #22
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Wow, sorry to hear about your troubles. I'd contact the BBB. Doesn't sound like these people are too willing to listen.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:10 PM   #23
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That really sucks...Keep us updated on how it all goes for ya.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:24 PM   #24
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Well, I don't have a solution for your problem, but what I usually do if I need a specialized shop to do something for me is to ask the respected local performance shops who they use. You'll often find that all the performance shops use the same place because they do good work. And, no, it usually isn't a place like Midas or Bob's mufflers that he runs out of his gas station.
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Old 01-11-2006, 10:52 PM   #25
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Haha believe me, I regret running into it. For the time being, I've found someone locally willing to sell me their stock RS exhaust so I can at least cut my losses in that respect.

Thanks for all the replies...I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes. I'm more just going to Midas tomorrow because that's a reputable chain that could be used as good leverage once I have an actual quote (and Monro because thats the best leverage). I've found a local shop as well that I hear very good things about (they do a lot of work on Subarus and even post in the MAIC) that I may end up using if I want to get another custom job at some point, but realistically this has been a pretty brutal "first mod" and its kind of scared me into just keeping low for a bit and saving some money.
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