I recently have an engine overheat issue and see my previous post for details: How long does items in the engine last in general for standard size cars?

This is an interesting follow up on that at the same dealership: They said they need $375 labor fee to open the engine top and diagnosis the problem. I agree. So they open the top to see the CAM SHAFT, etc. However, I am not convinced with their recommendation, i.e., pay another $3000+ to replace the following stuff:


I would like to get a second opinion. So I ask them to put things back and I will drive away to another shop.

Initially, they refuse to do so and say once everything is put back, my engine may not even start. Then they say, if I really want to do this, I will need to pay another $1000 to assembly everything they have disassemble. Note that the engine is not completely disassemble, they just open the cover so they CAM SHAFT is exposed. I know that I am not experienced with cars, however, I feel something strange about it. Is this scenario normal that they charge so much just to put things back?

BTW: They suggest me to tow the car to another place rather than assemble it. So I avoid paying for the assemble fee as well as the disassemble fee at another place.

In fact, I don't normally challenge what the dealership tells me about repairs. But I tells them to fix the engine overheat issue and they ask for 1500. Now two weeks later, I found another issue about the sound. They ask for another 3k. The issue may already be there when I go and repair the first time because my friend happen to be on my car that day and he suggested me to take a look at the sound (that day was two weeks later after the first repair). Moreover, when I spend the 1500k to replace bunch of stuff, I also spend some money to do the alignment. But the driving wheel turn out to be even more misaligned after they "fix" it and they are blaming me that I did not call them right after I found that.

UPDATE 1: So I call the dealer today to ask for the details of the $1000 fee. My service advisor said he will check it and then after 5 seconds he said it is $500. After telling me $1000 for three days now he change to $500 in 5 seconds.

  • 3
    I'm interested to see what @Paulster2 thinks about this. He knows his stuff.
    – Dan
    Jul 24, 2015 at 7:13
  • What car is it? Jul 24, 2015 at 8:14
  • @JuannStrauss - It's a 2007 Passat wagon. 2.0T 4WD, per his other question. Jul 24, 2015 at 12:15
  • With all that you've brought to light, I'm thinking I need to retract my answer below. The noise you are talking about is probably the camshaft, but they should have caught this from doing the previous work. Jul 24, 2015 at 14:25
  • From what you've said, I'd be tempted to ask some of your friends if they can recommend a local mechanic who would be happy to come with you to look at the car where it stands at the moment with a view to either taking on the work himself or debunking some of what the garage the car is at at the moment are telling you. To be fair, if the cylinder head has to come off, it's likely linked to the previous overheat. Best advice is befriend a local mechanic and your problems may disappear. Jul 24, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Refuse to pay - they're trying to coerce you to use their services...

On most cars, removing the cam cover is a 5 minute operation, and replacing it would be similar. Even a really complicated one isn't going to take more than half an hour, unless loads of stuff needs to be removed to get to it. I'd therefore consider 1-2 hours labour (at however much your local labour rate is) to be reasonable for the whole job - dismantle, diagnose, reassemble.

Even if it really did need $375 worth of labour to dismantle it, reassembling should cost no more than that, if not less...


Yes it is reasonable. Remember, you only agreed to the cost of disassembly, which was the initial cost of $375. Taking things apart is usually far easier than putting them back together. Considering what is in their list of repairs, there was more than just the valve cover removed to figure out the issues. I'll almost guarantee you they removed the head as well. Had you told them you only want a diagnosis based on external factors without the dismantling of the engine, you would have been in far better shape here. The problem is, you agreed to the disassembly.

Factors to consider for reassembly costs:

  • It will take more time to put the engine back together than it did to pull it apart
    • Engine/cam timing
    • Clean up of parts prior to reassembly
  • You'll need new parts just to put it back together
    • Assuming they removed the head, you'll need a new head gasket. You cannot reuse the previous one with any expectation of it running again. If you did, you can expect further damage to the engine, which they would then be responsible for (not going to happen).
    • Other non-reusable parts such as torque-to-yield fasteners (head bolts)
    • Replacement of other items, such as oil, coolant, etc.
  • Shop costs
  • Disposal fees

Again, getting the engine back together using the bad does not ensure the engine will run, especially considering what they are specifying as needing replaced (valve, cam, and timing chain).

As with what @Movemorecommentslinktotop said in his comment yesterday in your other question, it may be better for you to source a different used engine to replace the one you have in the car now. At the very least, you should ask the shop if there is a cheaper way to go about the fix. I'm not sure if $3000 is reasonable for the work they have listed, but putting a used engine in place of yours should be less than that (IMHO).

As with what you said about them suggesting you get it towed to a different shop for evaluation and fix, this is not unreasonable and actually makes sense. If you do have it put back together, the next shop will have to pull everything apart so they can do their own diagnosis. This will cost you another $375 (or whatever they charge). Who's to say that shop won't be more expensive than the shop you are at now. Any new part which you put on your car to get it back together will be a complete loss, so you can expect to pay for them again. Regardless of why the car is now dismantled, a tow charge, at this point, is far more economical than is getting the engine back together.

  • 1
    The head did not come out. I went to see their thing myself.
    – drdot
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:21
  • 1
    Then it kind of makes my answer moot, eh? :P What exactly did they remove, then? Jul 24, 2015 at 14:04
  • They just open the top cover so that I can see the cam shaft, and parts that touches it. They said if I go for the repair, then the whole head will need to come out and we will be able to see the bottom half of the engine visually. I may understand their words wrong but this is the original word they told me.
    – drdot
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:12
  • They did say it is not gurantee the engine will even start once things assemble back.
    – drdot
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:14
  • Kindly see my update at the end, that is why I am having doubt their plan.
    – drdot
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:21

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