"Mechanic Repair Warranties | Incidental/Consequential Damage Is NOT Covered. ALSO. However inconvenient, always get a second opinion, maybe even a third."So, I've been able to update my website design and layout and write all of these long-time pending #VanLife blog posts that I promised everyone I would write because.I'm stranded.My brother, his girlfriend, his daughter, my mum and I had plans. We were going to drive from Jacksonville, Florida to Ishpeming, Michigan to surprise my grandma for her 80th birthday. The whole family was going to be there and it was going to be a great smash. And with my awesome grandpa's kind of deteriorating health it was just going to be a special day. And it was. But we didn't make it.
Rewind a week or so...My family had done a little bit of roadtripping near Jacksonville, driving up to Congaree National Park in South Carolina and then, upon returning, to an old childhood destination called Ichetucknee Springs. On those trips, and actually a few times prior to those trips, my brakes started acting funny. I didn't care so much because the brakes worked well enough and I drive the van like an old lady anyway (no offense, old ladies, it's just a phrase for effect). I drive in such a way that I use my brakes very minimally, accelerating slowly, letting off the gas WAY early approaching stops.But now that my family was crammed in the van, I started to care a bit more about the funky operation of the brakes.When you press your foot on the brake pedal, you might expect the car to slow down at a rate that directly correlates to how far you push the pedal down towards the floor.My brakes kind of worked, differently.I would press the brake pedal a little and, while I could feel the brakes grabbing a little, I could really feel the heavy weight of the van pushing through, like the brakes were made out of cotton. But as I continue to gradually press the brake pedal down further, the brakes would suddenly reach this point where they would GRAB. The front of the van would dip down as the van abruptly slowed down. I had sort of dialed in this situation and learned to make the brakes work even though they kind of didn't. But with the extra weight of 6 more bodies in the van, it got a bit dicey at times. In addition to the strange, non-smooth brake pedal travel issue, occasionally my rear brakes would grab and then would not release. They would seize when I would try to drive after having come to a stop for a long duration of time.After sitting for a bit, I would put the vehicle back into drive or reverse and, typically a vehicle will start moving on its own if you have your foot off the brake when it is in gear, but even when pressing the gas pedal down and hearing the engine rev up, the van just would not budge.I also had an AntiLock Brake error light that randomly appeared right before I left Los Angeles. I called Manny the mechanic in LA, but he didn't know what it was. He assured me it didn't matter, saying the worst that could happen is that my ABS wouldn't work and I'd just have to use my brakes like people used to a few decades ago before ABS was a thing. No problem.But, because my ABS error light came on, it made me think, because I didn't really know how car brakes REALLY worked at the time, that the brake issue was an electrical one. So, I consulted my handy Dodge Ram vehicle manual page 112, fuse diagram and I reset the only two fuses that mentioned anything about brakes. I also disconnected / reconnected the starter battery with my battery disconnect switch. This is essentially the same as resetting ALL of the fuses. I also pumped the brakes because, hey, why not, right? The antilock brake error light went away and the van moved. I'M A GENIUS! (not really).This electrical bit - resetting the ABS control module and ABS relay fuses - is an IMPORTANT detail for later.The issue went away for a while but came back at Ichetucknee Springs after my brakes almost caused me to blow a turn. My dad was like, how bout you go get that fixed before anything else on your list.June 8, 2017:So, I brought it in. Found a place with my mom that seemed to have good reviews and was recommended by other shops. The place was called American Garage in Jacksonville, FL. This was the first time visiting a mechanic since Manny in Los Angeles back in September of last year.I gave American Garage my spiel. "Hi, this is my van. It's also my home and my adventure vehicle that I take many miles into BLM land, so I'll be sitting here watching you work. I'd love to watch and learn what you're doing so, if I ever get stranded, I will know how to fix it myself, if that's cool with you. Oh, and one more thing, I have a propane tank under the van and four solar panels on the roof so be careful when you put the van on your lift you know, watch for dangling cables in the shop. I also have a battery disconnect installed because I have an unresolved electrical draw. But the reason I came in today is I'm having issues with my brakes. [I described in detail what the brakes were doing and what it feels like and what it sounds like] Think of it this way: If this was YOUR vehicle and you were planning on driving 15 miles deep into BLM backcountry with no cell signal, what would YOU replace so you knew you wouldn't get stranded? Absolutely anything that you find that might be bad, replace it. All of it. Money isn't an issue. I just want my brakes to work properly."They were like cool, we totally understand, no problem.So, up went the van and off went the tires.Long story short. They replaced a lot. Front discs, pads, calipers, steering arms, brake hoses. Rear drums, shoes, brake spring assemblies, brake cables, etc. All totaled up, it was way pricey: $1500. And they were unable to fix the ABS error light after trying to receive and interpret the error codes from the diagnostic wire on the ABS wiring harness. They also, like Manny, told me even though the error light was still on, I should be fine. IMPORTANT ^The high cost, to me, was fine, because you need brakes, but look Manny the Mechanic in LA replaced my tires, brakes, exhaust system, AC system, belts, hoses, seals, gaskets, sensors, filters, oil, fluids, speedometer, oil pump he repaired my power windows/locks, installed speakers, flushed the engine, did a smog check, got my van registered with the DMV, and helped me install my solar panels. ALL OF THAT FOR $2,400!!Anyway, back to American Garage. I drove it around after American Garage "fixed my brakes" and it seemed much better, but only for a short time. The same issue came back, but worse, because now I actually had new brake pads and brake shoes. So when the grabbing DID come back a few miles after driving away from the shop, the brakes started burning and smoking. Really bad. So, since they were already closed, a day later, approaching the departure date for our trip to Michigan, I took it back. The head mechanic, Steve, put it back up on the lift and took off the wheels and saw how much I had worn through the brakes already and he smelled the burning brakes. He asked if I had used my parking brake since I had left, and I said, you know what, I did, at Lee & Cates glass on a steep incline. He explained about how using the parking brake wasn't necessary because of how "Park" actually works and I said, wow I didn't know that. Good to know.He then went on to explain how the parking brake was a single cable that pulls on this equalizer which then pulls two individual cables to engage both rear drum brakes. The passenger-side rear tire cable, downstream of the equalizer worked fine and released when I released the parking brake up front, but the driver-side rear did not release because the cable from the equalizer to the brake was rusted and sticking. I told him (now that I knew better about Park vs the parking brake) to just disconnect the parking break cable and tie it up. So he did.I still was not fully assured that the brakes were good, once and for all.I had a feeling. But didn't have the detailed understanding at the time about how the antilock braking system works to know what that bad feeling was.We looked at my drum brakes and the springs and lever mechanisms were all rusted to sh*t. I asked him, so, hey, even though we disconnected the parking break cable, doesn't my brake pedal up front activate this same sh*tty, rusted mechanism back here via the hydraulic lines. He said yes, but it should be fine. I believed him because he was genuinely a really nice dude and seemed to 1) know his sh*t 2) care about me and my experience after leaving his shop and 3) take his time to diagnose and explain things to me, which he didn't have to do.So, I thanked him, shook his hand, he wished me luck on my trip, I hopped up into the van and set off to pick up my family who had been waiting for me for quite a while because I also had MAJOR issues with the alarm system I recently had installed at the shop next to American Garage, but I'll leave that for another post.We left for Michigan, stopped at a place called Foster Falls.My family went off to play in the falls, but I stayed behind in the van to work on the massive and growing van fix-it list. Gluing, sewing, organizing.A van is a cramped space. When it's your home, even if you are living very minimally, you can acquire a lot of STUFF. Tools, gear, power tools, more gear, hobby items, clothes, books, cooking and kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies, car fluids, MORE TOOLS, and in my case, a lot of computer and AV equipment. So, everything has its place. Keeping everything in its home is essential, or it becomes a clusterf*ck in a hurry.So, I worked all the way until my family came back. Apparently, Foster Falls was epic. After my backup camera stopped fritzing out, we headed out, setting the sails for Chicago as a pitstop on the way to the upper peninsula of Michigan. We only made it as far as Beechgrove, Tennessee. I had the van in cruise control, doing about 75 in the fast lane approaching Nashville on I-24. I started to smell burning brakes again. I looked in my side mirrors to see if I saw smoke coming from my tires, and I said, uh oh, I REALLY hope that's someone else's brakes. All of a sudden, it felt like a parachute had opened up behind the van.I had to press the gas pedal harder and harder to maintain speed until I was literally stomping the gas pedal all the way to the floor. But I was STILL losing speed. By this time, I was doing about 45 in the fast lane, but I couldn't get over to the shoulder because of semi trucks on my right side. It got serious quick when angry, non-understanding drivers started piling up behind me, honking, flashing their lights, with murder in their eyes. I put the hazards on and signaled with my hand out of the window to "give me ONE second. I'm trying to get over. Hold up!"I look in my side mirrors and see grey smoke billowing up from both of my rear tires. I'm still flooring the gas pedal and I manage to scoot over to the shoulder and grind to a halt.The shoulder was narrow and my mom and Lily were very nervous about the semi trucks roaring by at 70-80 mph, intensely shaking the van. I knew I had to get out of that situation for a few reasons. Most importantly, I knew that when drum brakes fail and seize, they get very very hot. Sometimes they get hot enough that they catch on fire. This happens frequently when the drum brakes on semi trucks fail. I actually captured a video of this happening while driving to Madison from Chicago: The reason I was super nervous about my brakes catching fire is because my 30-gallon fuel tank is mounted under the van directly between my two rear tires.This shop, American Garage, with their shotty workmanship, had put my and my family's life in serious jeopardy. I slowly and as carefully as I could continued on to the next exit ramp which ended up being quite a distance. My big 5.9 liter V8 engine roared as I pushed through the resistance down an exit ramp and to the right to the nearest gas station. I later found that both of my rear drum brakes had fortunately shattered and detached while I was exiting the highway.I got out of the van and saw the smoke rising more gently from the TWO rear tires. When I had this issue before, both brakes were grabbing but it was just the driver-side rear that was actually smoking.So I thought, "THERE. It WASN'T ONLY the parking brake cable like I said. It must have been the sh*tty, rusty drum brake mechanisms and something with that ABS error like as I suspected!" I called the American Garage, floored, and Steve what happened and that I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee with smoke coming up from both tires. He asked what I had done to cause the brakes to lock up. I said "NOTHING. I was on cruise control on the highway and the brakes just started to seize and now we were going to miss the entire 80th birthday supri---"
BOOM!!!!As I was explaining this to him, I was pacing back and forth by the passenger rear tire and it EXPLODED LIKE A GUNSHOT.It scared the piss out of me. So I screamed at him
"MY TIRE LITERALLY JUST EXPLO---"BOOM!!!!The driver side rear tire exploded as well. It was around this time, looking at my van slouched on its two rear rims, that I realized just how stranded we were and how dead my adventure project seemed in that moment so I passionately articulated my verbal disquiet about the situation. MOTHER F*CKER!! The mechanic asked if I was still there and I said Yea. I'm still here. YOU TOLD ME MY BRAKES WERE GOOD TO GO! I TOLD YOU THEY NEEDED TO BE REPLACED! I TOLD YOU THAT ABS ERROR LIGHT WASN'T MEANINGLESS!" Blah blah we talked it out, he had no idea what caused them to fail but he tried to turn it around with a little, "I've never heard of someone blowing out two tires by driving so long with their brakes locked up." Even though I told him the situation with the super narrow shoulder and the semi trucks shaking the van as they flew by, making my family nervous.I apologized to him, and said, "I'm sorry Steve, I'm just so frustrated right now. I can't believe this happened. What do I do?"He told me to call the warranty company on my invoice, but he warned me they probably weren't going to cover the tires. I called the "NAPA Peace of Mind" warranty center on my repair invoice and guess what they told me."We're terribly sorry for the inconvenience. We can pay to replace the parts of the brakes that the mechanic worked on, but unfortunately, the tires and any other damage sustained is not covered under warranty as it is considered consequential damage."I paused for a VERY, very long time until he asked for a second time, "Sir, are you still there."I finally said, "I....just.....wow. That.... is so incredibly f*cked up."The conversation continued, then ended. My van.... my home... sitting there slouched on its rims and rear bumper. A sad sight, indeed.We tried for no less than 3 hours to get a tow into a nearby town via my mom's super sh*tty Allstate Motor Club Roadside assistance. The most ridiculous customer service fail BS I've ever dealt with. It's one thing to have extremely poor spelling/comprehension skills, it's another thing to argue with a customer that Tennessee is a city and to ask more than three times if I wanted to be towed FROM a Tire World shop in a big town TO a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Just yikes, Allstate.It took a hell of an effort but we were FINALLY able to cancel her service....maybe? It's still unconfirmed and call a tow company on our own that I was reassured would be covered by NAPA's warranty program to get from Beechgrove, TN to a Tire Zone at that nearest big town called Murfreesboro, Tennessee.The E & A tow truck driver nearly ripped my rear bumper off when he put the van up on his flatbed, which disabled me from opening and closing my rear doors.What do you do in a situation like that, I mean, he felt bad-ish, and later tried to help me bend the bumper back down, but he literally ripped one side of the bumper off the frame of my van. This became yet another cost to me because of American Garage's initial shotty workmanship.I tried to start the van so I could reverse into a 2x4 to try and bend the bumper back down, but smoke came pouring out of my steering column! Something must have fried as a result of the sh*tty [super expensive] alarm installation at Audio Design & Custom Graphics in Jacksonville, FL. Just another thing on top of everything else.So, it was already too late on Friday and Tire World was closed. My mom and I slept through the night in the van, and woke up at 6:30 on Saturday to see what they could do. I talked to Blane, the service manager of Tire World, and his mechanic crew and gave them the same spiel that I gave the mechanics at American Garage in Florida (see above for said spiel) but this time with the new addition and instruction to NOT START MY VAN because the sh*tty alarm system installation was trying to start a fire in my steering column. I told them when you're ready, come get me and I'll help you push it into the garage.Maybe 10 minutes go by, and curiously, I look outside the window to check on the van. It had been moved halfway from its parking spot to the garage.I figured they started to push it without me. A few minutes later I walk out and the mechanic is getting out of my RUNNING van. I run over to him and he's like, "Hey, did you know you got something burning in your steering column."I took a deep breathe. (It wasn't deep enough).They lifted up the van, took the remaining shreds of wheel off, and I saw the damage. The drum brakes were literally DANGLING, all of the brake shoes were cracked, and there was burnt rubber all over. Completely destroyed. I was guna be here for a while. After seeing how badly both brakes had simultaneously failed, I asked the mechanic what controls both of these rear drums brakes. He said a hydraulic line and I said yes, but what pushes the fluid in that line? He said, the master cylinder. I said, don't you think that THAT must be what failed? Or do you think it has something to do with that ABS error light that's on in my dash? And he said something about how the ABS computer could be bad but it's more likely that the speed sensor was bad. Blane the service manager asked, didn't your mechanic replace all of your brake stuff? I said yea, apparently not! How could American Garage in Jacksonville not have thought to check and replace all of that.It was now Saturday so they couldn't call for part availability until Monday. So they offered to throw wheels on it, back it out and park it to let us sleep in it until Monday. As I was watching them back out I started to run over to the van because they were about to hit -- MOTHER F*CKER!! They dragged a dangling cable over all four of my solar panels then smashed my driver side mirror on the wall as they backed up.I had to take a long, long, long walk.My mom got us a hotel so we didn't have to be hot and stinky in the van (I still haven't had time to add that Fan-tastic Fan). So that was another expense on the long list of expenses related to American Garage's failure.But Murfreesboro:Big civil war town. Used to be the capital of Tennessee...and used to be called Cannonsburgh until some "Captain Little" hooked up his friend "Colonel Murfree" by renaming the town after him and later getting some legislation written up to make it look official. True love.Big agricultural town, corn, cotton, tobacco. Was once called the "Athens of Tennessee" because of its excellent colleges.Then the civil war, well, you know....war. So, there was that.This is where we've been for the last 5 days now:
UPDATE #1:Check out one of the two "new" tires that Tire World put on my van... Yea, that's a broken steel belt on the inside of the tire. I didn't see it until I had left TN and arrived just outside Detroit, Michigan.Another thing! The big sticker on the inner frame of my driver-side door says in big fat blue letters TIRES: FRONT: 50 PSI | REAR: 65 PSI...Tire World had my rear tires at 44 PSI, more than 20 PSI under pressured!!I also checked the Odometer IN and Odometer OUT on Tire World's invoice... They didn't even test drive the van. AFTER DOING A BRAKE REPAIR.And I'm STILL dealing with this alarm installation company in Jacksonville to 1) reimburse the cost of the repair for their having screwed a screw through my starter wire which caused that wire to ground, smoke, and burn up, luckily not causing a large fire and 2) make the alarm and consequently, my van, WORK PROPERLY as it wasn't even starting anymore.And this alarm installation company TOLD me to go to another shop to see what was causing the smoke in the steering column. They said if it turned out to be related to their installation they would pay for the diagnosis and repair.A screw driven through a starter wire is absolutely related to their installation but after the Tennessee shop fixed it and we called the original Jacksonville installation shop, Audio Designs & Custom Graphics told me that they were no longer liable or responsible for their installation since another shop had touched it.INSANE.Carefully read warranties. Don't trust mechanics just because they're nice. Get a second and third opinion. Shop around. BABYSIT YOUR VEHICLE WITH AN EAGLE EYE. Mechanics don't care about it as much as you do, and as such, will proceed to damage TF out of it if you're not paying close attention.INSPECT THEIR WORK. BECAUSE THEY WONT.Lesson Learned...UPDATE #2:So, my brakes locked up AGAIN after leaving the upper peninsula of Michigan towards my brother's girlfriend's family's cabin just north of Traverse City, MI.Same story: Driving on cruise control and a parachute opened up behind the van. This time I pulled over RIGHT away and called the NAPA warranty center to tell them that Tire World in Tennessee also did not fix the issue. It was of course a Saturday, so all shops in the NAPA family were closed. So I started reading. Long story short, this is when I finally fixed the brake issue myself by disconnecting the two electrical fuses for the ABS control module and relay. This action seemed to release my brakes. So we continued on with my temporary fix until I could get the van into a shop to get my brakes replaced yet again and to ask more specifically and sternly about the ABS system. I ended up disconnecting the entire ABS control module and tested to make sure my front and rear brakes still worked with the ABS brain disconnected. The brakes worked, and this is how my van is working currently.I wasn't able to get the van into a shop for many weeks. I called NAPA and sorted out my many open claims because Tire World in Tennessee was sending a bunch of bills to my home address not only for what was supposed to be covered by NAPA but also for what I had paid out of pocket for.NAPA helped sort that issue out and they gave me another list of in network shops that I could take the van to to have another mechanic take a look and see if more rework needed to be done related to the repairs done in Tennessee related to the repairs done in Florida.I took the van to a tire and brake shop in Deerfield, IL and explained the long saga above in great detail. They called NAPA to explain what I told them.This is where NAPA proceeded to absolutely F*CK me.NAPA told me that since American Garage didn't actually replace anything related to the ABS brake system because they weren't able to diagnose the problem with the ABS... that all the work that was done and redone under warranty at the many shops after Florida was now NOT REIMBURSABLE as American Garage misdiagnosed the main issue and NAPA warranty doesn't cover misdiagnoses.Un-F*cking-Believable.I was speechless. Hopeless. Wrecked.The head mechanic at the Deerfield shop came over to me after I got off the phone with NAPA Peace of Mind warranty and said...wow that's just not right. That Florida shop has to be liable in some way for all of this. I said I know but I don't know what to do. This has been so expensive and energy-draining. And now NAPA is backing out on all reimbursements. So he suggested that I sue American Garage. I told him I read about that already with my attorney aunt in Michigan and it looked like suing mechanics is generally a losing or at least a very steep, costly, and uphill battle.So he suggested I call my bank and dispute all of the charges. So that is exactly what I have done.Wish me luck. Jun 22, 2017 · Edited: Sep 12, 2017UPDATE #1 on Bad Alarm Installation:Here is the latest BS that I'm dealing with regarding the bad brakes repair job by American Garage in Jacksonville, FL which led to two simultaneous rear brake seizures and rear tire blowouts and a semi-warrantied repair in Murfreesboro, TN. Additionally, a bad alarm installation from Audio Designs & Custom Graphics that had to be serviced and tweaked while I was there but then led to a steering column fire and a broken remote start feature.I had to have that serviced *maybe under warranty* by a shop in Murfreesboro and I would be reimbursed for the cost if the steering column fire turned out to be related to the alarm installation.What the hell else would it be, as no one has touched ANYTHING on or around the steering column since I have owned this vehicle.Now that the issue was found and fixed, the matter of repair cost reimbursement is at hand. I've had to connect both Murfreesboro Auto Repair in Murfreesboro, TN to Audio Designs & Custom Graphics in Jacksonville, FL because I'm getting conflicting stories and "have your cake and eat it too" justifications for not honoring reimbursements and warranties by Audio Designs & Custom Graphics.Here is the email I just drafted to both parties:Hey guys, I'm connecting everyone here because there is a bit of conflicting information going on and I need help with a very expensive alarm installation that is no longer working.I got this alarm installed by Audio Designs on 6/13/2017. I had many issues with the installation after having left the shop around 7:30pm that day. The remote start feature was hit-or-miss via both the key fob transmitter and the iPhone Drone Mobile app.I also had issues communicating with the system via the Drone Mobile app, and would very often receive error messages saying the app couldn't communicate with the vehicle. During those no communication periods, even First Tech was unable to communicate and they suggested I take it back to the installer (Audio Design) to suss out an installation fault.Additionally, I had successfully disabled the "Siren" and "Shock" modes via the Drone Mobile app because my fridge compressor was waking up the neighborhood every 15 minutes. After using the remote start feature from the key fob, the brain reset itself and reenabled both the Siren and Shock modes (verified checking the Drone Mobile app). This happened while I was about 40 minutes from the house, where the van was parked, and although I was able to receive "Alarm Triggered" alerts on the app, I lost the ability to send commands to the Drone module receiver via 3G. So I brought the van back to the shop on 6/15/2017 around 3:00pm and you guys worked on it for about 3.5 hours.You demonstrated that the remote start was working flawlessly and that you had fixed an issue with the Drone module that should prevent communication errors in the future and you gave me the CompuStar installation guide so I could maybe add auxiliary outputs to the brain in the future (thanks for the book).Fast forward to Friday, 6/16/2017. I stopped and turned the car off at a gas station to fill up. Upon attempting to start my car, I couldn't even put the car into ACC mode as the key in the ignition did nothing. I would have to open the hood and reset my starter battery disconnect blade switch in order to start the car. This happened twice on the trip. I tried to start the car in Murfreesboro, TN, but white smoke started billowing up from the mid to upper portion of the steering column (video attached). I called Audio Designs and you guys said, since I'm far away and I couldn't start the car, I could have it towed to a shop in Murfreesboro and have it diagnosed and repaired with a tech on the phone from Audio Designs to verify it was an installation related or CompuStar related issue. You said either way, you'd cover the cost of the tow. On 6/20/2017 I got the van to Murfreesboro auto repair and told the guys there what was going on. The owner told me there would be an advanced electrical diagnostic fee. I told them, that's ok, Audio Designs said, if it turns out to be related to their installation, they would cover it. The owner said that's cool, how will they be paying because we won't take out-of-state checks. I called Audio Designs and you guys said you could pay with credit card. So Murfreesboro Auto Repair got to work.About an hour or two later, the van was done and it was explained to me that a steering column cover screw had been screwed through a wire which was essentially arc welding it to the metal that it was touching. It had fried the wire and the insulation and needed to be cut out and spliced around.When I asked if it was related to the alarm installation, the Murfreesboro technician said, it's honestly hard to say.When it came time to pay the $105.46 bill, I of course called Audio Designs but they were closed. So I was forced to pay myself with the hope that I would be reimbursed for the cost by Audio Designs. I left the shop in Murfreesboro and drove to Highland, Michigan, where I am currently. I tried to remote start the van to have the AC blow cold air in the hot van and it attempted to run the ignition sequence 3 times before giving up. I could hear the relays clicking on and off so I knew that communication to the CompuStar brain wasn't the issue. I tried twice more, but it failed each time.I called Audio Designs and told them about the failing remote start feature and also explained what had been explained to me about the repairs done in Murfreesboro then I asked if I could be reimbursed for the cost of the repair as, in my mind, I couldn't fathom any other work that had been done since I owned the vehicle that had ANYTHING to do with the electrical in or even around the steering column. Audio Designs asked to talk to the techs at Murfreesboro Auto Repair so I connected you guys. Murfreesboro told Audio Designs that everything that he found, touched, and fixed seemingly had nothing to do with the alarm hardware and that he had only cut out and spliced around some burnt up factory wiring.So, when I called Audio Designs to ask if I could be reimbursed they said....No. Because the repairs didn't have anything to do with the CompuStar alarm.Fine.But when I asked about why the remote start feature was all of a sudden not working, when it had worked before the steering column electrical fault, Audio Designs said, well probably what happened is that the tech at Murfreesboro auto repair spliced around some factory wire that the CompuStar alarm "ties into" so, now your remote start isn't working.So, I asked for clarification because I was having a hard time visualizing how a repair that was non-reimbursable because it had nothing to do with the alarm hardware also indeed had something to do with the alarm hardware because the repair - the splicing of the factory wires - was the best bet as to why the alarm was no longer working properly.
Basically right now I'm at this point:Which is it? Did the Murfreesboro repair have something to do with the alarm system, and is thus reimbursable under warranty. Or did the Murfreesboro repair have nothing to do with the alarm system, and the alarm system remote start feature is failing for a completely separate reason and also needs to be serviced under warranty. I'm exhausted with this and need you guys to help communicate through it, please.Thank you for your time.- Nick HankinsUPDATE #2 on Bad Alarm Installation:I arrived at my grandparents house in Ishpeming, Michigan on 6/16. The next morning the van wouldn't start at all. I tried everything that I had tried at the gas station in Highland when it wouldn't start, but this time nothing was working.I called Audio Designs in Jacksonville and told them their bad alarm installation had now caused the van to not even start anymore. They told me to use the shop installation manual they gave me to diagnose the issue myself.I called CompuStar and told them everything that had happened. Their support told me that they were incredibly sorry for my experience but they couldn't really do much to help me. I thought maybe it wasn't the alarm maybe something else on the old van related to starting it had died coincidentally. Maybe the starter motor died.But after talking to my grandpa and calling my Uncle Joe. I verified that the starter motor was fine after jumping my starter battery straight to the terminals on the starter motor solenoid.So back to the alarm installation after, HOURS of troubleshooting and tracing wires...I ended up just disconnecting the wires from my terminal posts on my battery. While doing this I noticed that the terminal posts were very loose, making poor connection, and missing bolts altogether. I cleaned off the terminal posts and my blade battery disconnect switch and the bare wires thoroughly with steel wool, then re-ran the wires so that they were tight and zip-tied snugly together then I reconnected the wires to the terminals then the terminals to the positive and negative battery posts TIGHTLY this time.The van started right away.I sent an email to Audio Designs & Custom Graphics explaining everything I had done to troubleshoot and fix the issue that they had caused by not properly tightening the wires and terminals to the battery posts and said, hey after all of this is said and done. I'm not mad, but come on guys. CHECK YOUR WORK!I didn't receive any reply.The 30 amp fuse for the remote start feature of the alarm STILL blows from time to time after back-to-back failed remote start attempts (it fails because Audio Graphics & Designs did not properly program the timing of the ignition).$1300 for a broken $90 alarm installation that the installation company refuses to warranty (My alarm system sells for less than $90 on Amazon). FML.Lesson Learned.