There is no advantage to a new rack and pinion assembly. Every remanufactured unit is hand assembled and tested, and the aftermarket rebuilders develop a lot of fixes for the common problems. As a result, the remanufactured racks can be better than new, especially for the real low quality GM units.
The shop that did the work should stand behind their work. The markup on the parts helps to cover the cost of doing the job a second time. There really isn't that much that can leak. It is legitimate to ask you to pay for additional needed parts that weren't installed or billed out previously, but you should not have to pay again for any parts that were installed the last time. Mechanics get a warranty on parts from their suppliers that they pass on to you. In some cases the parts warranty might be longer than the warranty the shop gives you on their labor, so you might have to pay the labor charge again even when the parts might be under warranty. That will vary among shops.
The first thing to do is find out definitely what is leaking. The metal end of one of the hoses could be cracked, one of the hose nuts could be loose, the new rack and pinion housing could have a crack, but that would be very uncommon. There are a couple of different styles of hose ends too. I suppose it is possible they installed a rack assembly for a different model year that uses a different hose. They could tell if the part number they installed is wrong for your car. If the manufacturer packaged it with the wrong part number, that could be a little trickier to figure out. The shop might just have to order another rack and install it.
As for your antenna, if it doesn't make any noise when it should be going down, the new part is likely defective or a pin in the electrical connector got bent over. That happens quite often. If it does sound like it's trying to go down, use your hand to help it. If that gets it to go down but it's sluggish, the mast could be bent. I repaired two on Chrysler products many years ago. One was just full of bug juice. After cleaning it, it worked fine. The other one was up when it went through a car wash and got bent. It was a nice smooth bow, so I tristed it back and forth while putting pressure on it to straighten it. That one worked fine too, but because they were under warranty, Chrysler insisted that both be replaced with new ones.
As one manufacturer's trainer said a long time ago, "we not only provide you parts, we provide them pre-broken". It is rare, but not unheard of, for a new part to be defective. It must have worked when it was installed or the mechanic would have had to look for the reason it wasn't working. Here again, technically you paid for a repair you didn't get, and the shop that did the work will have to see what went wrong. Every job they do has a little cushion built into the bill that helps cover the cost of doing the job again. Only bargain basement shops don't offer some kind of warranty on their parts and labor, but you pay fewer dollars up front. Those kinds of shops are rare. Legitimate businesses charge enough the first time so they don't lose money if they have to do a few jobs here and there a second time. Their reputation is based, in part, on how they take care of their customers' problems after the work is done. They would rather have you come back, and they would rather do the work over for free, than to have you bad-mouth them to your friends. A common saying in the business is "it takes more dollars for adverising to get one new customer than it takes to keep ten current customers happy.
Please don't be visibly angry with your mechanics. They didn't cause these problems, ... At least not on purpose. You will get much more help and cooperation if you are polite, but you don't have to be a pushover either. Keep the idea in mind that you are part of a team of people working together to solve these problems. As a suggestion, you might ask if they have a loaner car you could use so they can take their time to be sure they found the problem. That will reduce the stress they will be under if they know you depend on your car and they are responsible for not getting it back to you.
Sunday, May 30th, 2010 AT 11:41 PM