Bill Stoneberg

Damn Buick Designers

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So one of the three motors went out on Dee's 2007 Lucerne.  No problem I will just replace the motor.  Likely story...

 

First the seat motor comes as a 3 pack, all wired together with 1 plug.  OK so replace all 3.

 

No, you have to buy the whole seat base, slides and the parts to the bottom of the car for well over $ 600.

 

Of course, it dealer only, just like the electric trunk latch that was $ 257 from the dealer.

 

 

GRRRR   what ever happened to just buying the part you need ?

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And it's probably not a hundred dollars worth of parts too!  Bass turds! 

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 They don't care about cost or ease of repair only initial cost. Dealer only parts are just extra gravy.

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Somewhere along the way, I think they figured out they could only earn so much on new vehicle sales, so looked around for other opportunities.  Thus came the parts that, if purchased separately, would cost considerably more than purchasing the assembled vehicle.  Between that and the recommended service intervals, with the upsell that goes with them...you go to the dealer for an oil change on your late model vehicle and leave with a lot more than an oil change done and your wallet / bank account lighter.

 

Don’t blame the engineers for how the marketing / accounting folks put everything together.

 

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Posted (edited)

I would be looking for a used part somewhere.

 

In fact, an entire salvage 2007 Lucerne would likely be less than $600.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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From the dealer's side of the situation . . . it has to do with replacement time and ultimate customer satisfaction.  PLUS how GM buys the item from the vendor and how that can relate to warehousing costs of one item vs. a multitude of parts.

 

If the vehicle comes in with a power seat base issue, few techs are schooled upon how to repair them.  Better to have a simple replacement situation, so that the OEM knows the customer gets a new part that will work.  Rather than rely upon the abilities of somebody "out there" to know how to do it.  IF the power seat base was "repairable" (as they used to be), but something else kaputs later, that dealer and tech "own" that repair.  GM does not (or did not) like to pay for the same warranty repair op TWICE.  If the dealership's shop warranty is operable, nobody makes any money.  PLUS having a dissatisfied customer that could well purchase a non-GM car next time.

 

One of the first "no repair parts available, replace the assembly" item I ran across was the alternators in the 1988 GM pickups.  No repair parts in the catalog, as prior model years had had.  BUT, there were parts the rebuilders could get!  Which also included via the ACDelco supply chain, but not the dealership supply chain.  But the OEM items would go 100K miles, except if the owners apparently washed their engines a lot (the normal failure point was the rear bearing).  Swapping the old for the new was quicker with the serpentine belt system on those vehicles, so the customer soon had a new GM reman alternator with a parts/labor warranty from GM.  Which gives the customer better protection, nationwide, than a dealer's shop warranty (if the customer was "out of the area").  Plus, more repairs/day for the dealership shop, which accelerates cash flow, for what its worth.

 

The power seat bases from the '80s had a full list of parts.  Motors, cables, switches, jacks, etc.  Only problems usually were if the mechanism got jammed.  But those problems were usually rare.  So, from those experiences, somebody in GM probably decided that they could sell the whole mechanism, stocking only ONE part, rather than 50, each of which would generate a part number, need shelf space in the distribution warehouses and also at the dealers, with related costs at each stage of the distribution chain.

 

FYI, Dorman Products (all they originally had was higher quality nut/bolt/fastener selections)  now has many replacement parts for almost every part on a late model vehicle.  Even if the OEM sells "assemblies" rather than "parts to repair the assemblies".  Some claim they might be made in the oriental regions of the world, but it's more the design specs and criteria that determine how good a part can be, rather than specifically where it's made.  For example, some later model GM pickup inside door handles are only sold "with the complete panel" from GM, but Dorman has a handle available with the related installation kit, for a good bit less money.  You can check out their website and then possibly purchase the item from a local NAPA store.

 

I will admit that it seems that GM and others might be getting a bit "out of whack" on their parts pricing.  Looking at parts prices on RockAuto, compared to other aftermarket brands, it seems that GM/ACDelco is getting their warranty paid for in the initial parts purchase, up front.  Which can easily send customers to other brands of items.  But if you go through the aftermarket ACDelco supply chain, those are the people who'll honor the warranty, not the dealer.  Not unlike purchasing an ACDelco part from an auto supply rather than the dealer.  Even buying some of those things at dealer cost can be too high, sometimes!

 

NTX5467

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Sorry to say, but Buick is not a big name in the

automotive world today.  Alienating their customers

does nothing to increase good will with their most

loyal customers.  And BCA members are probably

their most loyal customers!

 

Making a range of beautiful vehicles, making them tops

in reliability, and treating customers well is a formula for success.

GM's long down-trend doesn't have to continue:

They can rededicate themselves to this formula again.

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11 hours ago, Thriller said:

Somewhere along the way, I think they figured out they could only earn so much on new vehicle sales, so looked around for other opportunities.  Thus came the parts that, if purchased separately, would cost considerably more than purchasing the assembled vehicle.  

 

 

I've noticed this same phenomenon with older cars as well.  My 1940 model is worth much more in separate parts than as a whole car.

 

I think @NTX5467 provides a very plausible explanation for the newer car market.  As for the older car market I suspect it is in part because the guy with a fully restored car but lacking that one part will pay most anything to make his car a complete package.  Then there is me, I need almost all the parts to make a complete package.

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18 minutes ago, kgreen said:

 

I've noticed this same phenomenon with older cars as well.  My 1940 model is worth much more in separate parts than as a whole car.

 

I think @NTX5467 provides a very plausible explanation for the newer car market.  As for the older car market I suspect it is in part because the guy with a fully restored car but lacking that one part will pay most anything to make his car a complete package.  Then there is me, I need almost all the parts to make a complete package.

 

Me,  If I didn't get the seat to move and the trunk to open, my wife was going to go car shopping.  So, like you, I would pay almost anything to stop that from happening.

 

Willis,  thanks for the explaination.

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The Belton wrench a part had a Lucerne there Monday.

Also,  the passenger seat may have the same mechanism and you can switch sides.....if you don't already know,  2 bolt hold the back of the seat to the floor.  it pivots up, pull back and the front slips out of slots 

Willis is correct about parts,  and it is not just Buick or GM.......the bean counters concluded that it cost to warehouse parts,  so they eliminated the cheap parts (why carry a part that you only make $1.00 profit)

combined them into sub assemblies.    Even if the part was available,  at $90 - $100+ hourly shop rate a $5.00 part could cost $100 to install.

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GM tends to be the leader in the $300 to $900 replacement industry. Shop owners I talk with say GM has the most expensive replacement parts in the "bread and butter" transportation industry.

 

They tell me equivalent parts for a KIA or Hyundai will run $50-$75 at the $300 GM level. They say "Sure, a KIA breaks. But we rarely spend over $75 for a part. We know GM will be $300."

 

It is a reversal of the work Alfred P. Sloan did to build the GM dealer network (read the book).

 

I once complained to a GM dealer about the quality of front wheel bearings with integrated anti-lock brake sensors. He replied "Sometimes our suppliers send us crap." That statement still makes me laugh.

 

Maybe you should call Johnson Controls and ask them what kind of crap they are sending GM.

 

Bernie

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Barney Eaton said:

a $5.00 part could cost $100 to install.

 

I would patronize a place that could do that correctly on the first trip.

 

I haven't been to a dealer service department in years. I have replaced ALL of the failed front wheel bearings myself, replaced the steering intermediate shaft twice myself, and had a independent replace the broken spring hangers on the Silverado and the Tahoe. I didn't tell GM, so they are still ignorant that those are common flaws in their product.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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working in a Nissan & Subaru dealer currently and through my 30 plus years in the dealership parts dept business

and prior dealings with GM, Hyundai, Toyota, and Jaguar

the trend to full modules instead of individual parts is everywhere i have to agree with many strong points that NTX5467 makes

another part of the equation is the ease of installation at the assembly plants.

and remember especially on sensors the dealer is going to have the most up to date revision not the parts store!

i know that much of what is being said about dealerships is true but please be aware that the overhead is quite a bit more than the local auto parts store

and i buy there also, but for a good part of my life the dealers have been a good place to work and they are an integral part of the economy.

my opinion 

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19 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

So one of the three motors went out on Dee's 2007 Lucerne.  No problem I will just replace the motor.  Likely story...

 

First the seat motor comes as a 3 pack, all wired together with 1 plug.  OK so replace all 3.

 

No, you have to buy the whole seat base, slides and the parts to the bottom of the car for well over $ 600.

 

Of course, it dealer only, just like the electric trunk latch that was $ 257 from the dealer.

 

 

GRRRR   what ever happened to just buying the part you need ?

 

PULL AND PAY, here I come !!!

 

Mike in Colorado

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Not all Hyundai parts are inexpensive!  We re-sold a front core support "panel" today.  About as long as my forearm (elbow to index finger end).  A nicely done item, Turned out to be a two-piece item, welded together.  Retail was over $300.00.  In the '90s, a similar size piece of GM front end sheet metal would have probably been $75.00 retail.  I have seen other Hyundai parts that were several hundred dollars at wholesale, over the past few weeks.  So that "inexpensive" carline does NOT have parts that are inexpensive, by observation.

 

The issue (mentioned above) about assembly cost/complexity is very valid, too.  Rather than do an off-line assembly of the power seat bases, GM (and others) will just order it assembled from the vendor.  Then the whole assembly gets installed on the assembly line.

 

As for the suppliers "sending us crap"?  Unless some things have changed, EACH batch of parts from the supplier is spot-checked by Quality Control when they get to the parts distribution/packaging center.  If that batch fails, then the whole lot goes back, not just the bad items.  I've been through some deals like that, over the years.  Sometimes, with extended available "promise dates" in many cases.  In the case of parts shortages, the assembly plants get first priority or they have a different supply chain than the parts dist centers do.  Warranty replacement rates are also tracked daily, they claim.   I did notice that the various periods of warranty parts replacement have been shortened from what they were in the '80s.  Weeks rather than months, typically.  Especially for a design change situation on a new model.  TSBs being transmitted electronically now, can also shorten the time with getting techs advised of how to repair things, too.  Progress has been made, although sometimes it seems otherwise. 

 

In the case of the ABS wheel sensors being a part of the complete rotor assembly, this is a case where product liability can be an issue.  Should a customer replace the sensor, but not do it completely correct, such that it did not work as it should (which should set a "brake system code" in the BCM, which might cause the ABS system to not work as it should, causing or not preventing a collision and related damage, then somebody will find a lawyer and things can progress from there.  In the DIY repair, that puts the customer at risk.  IF GM is getting poorly done rotor/sensor assemblies, which fail, then the liability is with GM (or the particular OEM), as long as the rotor/sensor assy was installed correctly.  A reason why any safety-related system should only be serviced by approved individual/entities.

 

One possible way to beat the repair parts cost is to play the manufacturers' lease deal market.  There are usually some "cheap leases" around for many brands at one time.  IF you can abide with the mileage limits in the specs!  Some have more up-front costs than others, so paying attention to all of the details is important.  24 month, 30 month, 39 month, or whatever they've got it figured for.  The mileage spec it's based on is the killer, though.  I saw a BMW 3-series lease several years ago that was based on 9Kmiles/year.  On a "driving machine" as a BMW?  1 City Block at a time??

 

Lots of angles to some of these things!

NTX5467

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19 hours ago, MRJBUICK said:

The trend to full modules instead of individual parts is everywhere i have to agree with many strong points that NTX5467 makes

another part of the equation is the ease of installation at the assembly plants.

That 'plug & play' mentality was learned from the electronics industry in the later 1970's.  Snap-in modules, without soldering started to become the norm before much of the smaller appliances became throwaway items.  Also in some cases, it may be a safety-related item to prevent lawsuits, where to replace the entire assembly as a 'matched set' is supposed to be safer than an individual component, such as the hubs in 4 wheel drive vehicles, etc.

 

Craig

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11 hours ago, NTX5467 said:

Not all Hyundai parts are inexpensive!  We re-sold a front core support "panel" today.  About as long as my forearm (elbow to index finger end).  A nicely done item, Turned out to be a two-piece item, welded together.  Retail was over $300.00.  In the '90s, a similar size piece of GM front end sheet metal would have probably been $75.00 retail.  I have seen other Hyundai parts that were several hundred dollars at wholesale, over the past few weeks.  So that "inexpensive" carline does NOT have parts that are inexpensive, by observation.

My best stories over that involved Mazda MX6's and going to a Ford dealer for parts for it.  A customer of mine complained the Mazda dealer couldn't get a front end component for his daughter's MX6 right away, and it was something like $495 from the Mazda dealer, and had to be ordered in.  (If I remember right, it was a tie rod, or something she bent when she hit a curb.)  I suggested that he remove it and take it to the Ford dealer and ask to look at one for a Probe.  Sure enough, it was identical, and it was around $100 for the exact same part.

 

On another occasion, someone else with an MX6 had a broken plastic clip-on hinge for the hood prop, and same thing, the Mazda dealer didn't have them in stock, and wanted $9.99 for it.  Again, I told him to go to the Ford dealer and look at one for a Probe.  The parts man came back with a plastic bag full of them, and asked him how many he wanted, as they were 99 cents apiece!!

 

Craig 

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1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

My best stories over that involved Mazda MX6's and going to a Ford dealer for parts for it.  A customer of mine complained the Mazda dealer couldn't get a front end component for his daughter's MX6 right away, and it was something like $495 from the Mazda dealer, and had to be ordered in.  (If I remember right, it was a tie rod, or something she bent when she hit a curb.)  I suggested that he remove it and take it to the Ford dealer and ask to look at one for a Probe.  Sure enough, it was identical, and it was around $100 for the exact same part.

 

On another occasion, someone else with an MX6 had a broken plastic clip-on hinge for the hood prop, and same thing, the Mazda dealer didn't have them in stock, and wanted $9.99 for it.  Again, I told him to go to the Ford dealer and look at one for a Probe.  The parts man came back with a plastic bag full of them, and asked him how many he wanted, as they were 99 cents apiece!!

 

Craig 

 

Mazda body panels are notoriously expensive.  We have had several over the years that were total losses that would have ben repairable if it was any other vehicle.

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There are always exception to site. My issues are with persistent flaws that carry over in manufacture across decades.

 

I remember back in 1978, I was thinking about a new Camaro for my wife. The body style had been out since 1970. I asked the salesman if anything had been done to keep the side mirrors from rusting off the doors, a stiffener or something of the sort. He gave me the most incredulous look, as if I had just spoken in a foreign language. He was an old High School friend and we walked out of the howroom together. "Like that one, Gary" I said as we walked past a customer's car.

 

I had to smile about the QC comment. For a while I worked on a turret lathe finishing pump housings. I was young and another operator taught me how to place the best parts so the QC guy would pick them up, sort of like forcing a card in a card trick. Amazing how those things work.

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What do you call it when something is counter intuitive to what a bean counter thought was intuitive?

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On 7/18/2019 at 7:48 AM, 60FlatTop said:

I haven't been to a dealer service department in years. I have replaced ALL of the failed front wheel bearings myself, replaced the steering intermediate shaft twice myself, and had a independent replace the broken spring hangers on the Silverado and the Tahoe. I didn't tell GM, so they are still ignorant that those are common flaws in their product.

Bernie

My last trip to a dealer service department was in 1970, Bernie. Took my parents '66 LeSabre in for a tune up and when I got it back it ran very smoothly BUT was slower than when it went in (slow enough that my '70 Opel was faster - much faster). Took it back to them, they "checked it" and declared everything to be as it should be and the service manager reminded me to not expect too much from a small block engine (340 ci with the 4 barrel carb - 260 hp if I remember correctly). It was my experience with the car that it was more than able to get out of its own way so took a trip to Sears and bought my first timing light and engine analyzer. Timing was dead on BUT the dwell was not even close. Adjusted and the car performance was restored! With that level of service at the Buick dealership I never went back (and Tyrell Buick in North Hollywood, CA is long gone - sadly a Toyota dealership now).

 

Bill I feel your pain. Makes sense for a dealership (as well as independent shops) to have assemblies but sucks for us DIYers. Individual components have to be out there somewhere but finding them is pretty difficult. My last Park Avenue power seat lost its up/down adjustment and while the motor worked just fine the plastic gears were stripped out so... Cost for the entire assembly was too much and I just learned to drive with the seat where it was (not at all unlike pre-power seat days for all of the cars I had when I was younger) the rest of the time I had the car. Pick Your Parts may be your best option... Good luck

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7 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

What do you call it when something is counter intuitive to what a bean counter thought was intuitive?

 

Common sense.  ;)

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8 hours ago, Gene Brink said:

I just learned to drive with the seat where it was

 

Unfortunately, this is my wife car and it was "fix this damn seat and trunk latch or I am going to go car shopping" .   

 

I spent the money to fix the car.

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Happy wife, happy life.

 

Never saw a Brinks truck following a hearse.  Can't take it with you.

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