Good experience with a good shop

I took my '97 Chevy pickup to Midas today for a badly-needed shutup
job. I've done my own work for decades, have the tools and skills,
but crawling under a vehicle ain't near as easy as it was when I was
younger.
The office guy predictably said they'd have to look at it and would
call me when they had an estimate. I said OK but I'd like a ballpark
before I decide to leave it with them, might save us both some time.
He said, "man, I hate ballparks. People say ballpark and then get
upset later." "I understand that. Ballpark means ballpark. I need
two mufflers and two tailpipes, possibly more but I have no tolerance
for being told I need to change the brakelines or the blinker fluid."
He kinda grinned at me, got off his arse in the air conditioned office
and came out to the parking lot where we both crawled under the truck.
"Yup, coupla mufflers and tailpipes, the rest of your exhaust system
looks good." It did indeed, I was quite amazed. He gave me a
ballpark of $375. OK, I'd expected north of $300 and my cost
datapoints are years out of date. Told him that'd be OK, let's
proceed.

I was impressed with this shop. They use 16-gage aluminized pipe,
bent as needed -- all starts as straight stock. I told him I didn't
want glasspacks again, I want quiet. Glasspacks are for teenagers. OK,
quiet it'll be. Won't be whisper with duals, but it'll be considerably
quieter than glasspacks. I returned a bit before closing to see how
it was coming. They have the obligatory sign about nobody allowed in
the shop, but there ain't a good tradesman alive that doesn't like
having his work appreciated and all the doors were wide open so it was
easy to kinda mosy in from the parking lot.

The guy was just about to weld on new chromed tailpipe extensions. I
coulda skipped those, but that's where he was in the job, pipes were
cut to accomodate, and they do look kinda neat. He had two
purpose-built stands to get them levelled just right before welding,
and you'd think he was making a jewellry box. He saw me. "Whaddya
think?" "I think about 1/16" lower on the left one. I don't mind
if they droop slightly, and I'd like to be sure that condensation can
drip out. I also want some clearance between that and the camper
hold-down so I don't get clanks and rattles later." "Ah! Will that
give you enough road clearance on an off-road bottom?" "Yup, the
trailer hitch would skid first." "Yeah ...OK, I can do that." He
did. I looked at the mufflers. Real close together. "Are those
gonna rattle after while?" "Nope, I welded them together, look at
the front." I looked. "Oh, yeah! Man, you sure did! Those
suckers won't be rattling this lifetime, will they?" He grinned
hugely. "Hope not!" He'd used 1/4" dia hanger rod to contrive a
rather ingenious mount. Neatly done.

He MIG'd the tailpipe extensions in place and declared victory. I
don't know how the hell they MIG-weld on top where they can't see, but
they do, and my finger said it was a nice weld on top. Lowered the
hoist. Started her up and looked at me expectantly. I said, "are ya
gonna start it up, or what?" He loved that!

It isn't really quite whisper quiet, but it is a lot quieter than
it was when I got it 10 years ago. Glasspacks are for teenagers.
The guys in this Midas shop do nice work and they take pride in their
work.

Went in the office to settle up. I really don't recall the amount,
$425 comes to mind. It was in the $375 guesstimate ballpark. I'm
pleased with the work and with the results. I'll crawl under the
truck tomorrow and shoot some instant cold galvanize on the welds.
They'll rust out before anything else does because the aluminizing was
burned off in the HAZ, but zinc-rich paint will help. I rarely if
ever use the truck in winter salt condx, so this job could well last
for as long as I'll care.

Who'da thunk it, right? Might be a MN thing, YMMV.
Reply to
Don Foreman
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I like reading these success stories.
Sadly, they seem to be few and far between...
Could you tell us where this shop is?
Thanks,
Erik
Reply to
Erik
Fridley, Minnesota, USA. Fridley is a second-tier suburb of Minneapolis.
Reply to
Don Foreman
actually, believe it or not, I've had more good experiences at midas (for mufflers only) than bad - bad was when the idiot tried to tell my my stainless steel tail pipe was "zinc" and would have to be replaced (no, I told him, it's stainless, you don't weld to it, you clamp, and I'm going to stand here and watch you while you replace my muffler for free, which he did) - but mostly good, no hassles - I keep cars a long time, so I get a free muffler from time to time, for example on my 51 dodge, I think I'm onto free muffler number 3 or 4
Reply to
William Noble
Nice story and good to hear you had a good experience.
Gunner, 94 Mazda B3000, with stainless steel exaust system. All Original at 439,000 miles. (did replace the cat though, myself..tigged with SS filler)
That's easy.... you're too dull witted to be capable of surprise. What little synaptic ability you do possess is stretched to the limit with life support. If you diverted power to the critical thought processors you'd asphyxiate in a matter of minutes.
George Orwell
Reply to
Gunner
Yup. That 16ga aluminized pipe is an amazing quality item in this day and age of cheap, cheesy shit. Last the life of the truck, I bet. JR Dweller in the cellar
D> I took my '97 Chevy pickup to Midas today for a badly-needed shutup
Reply to
JR North
Every once in a while... I too have occasionally run into artist/tradesmen, it's a renewing experience. I had an artist do my header and custom exhaust on my Mazda RX-7 (ZOOM-ZOOM (note caps)) many years ago. I told this 19 yr-old kid that it was a work of art. He said: "This was nothing, come look at this!" He showed me a '57 Chevy that he did a custom stainless dual system on that had so many compound bends it hurt my eyes. I think his name was Escher.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
My last trip to Midas was perhaps 15 years ago. I brought my car in with its perfectly-good muffler in the trunk. I needed new hangers and an 18" pipe part ahead of the muffler. I explained all of this to the nice guy in the office. A few minutes later, my car was up on the lift with the trunk unopened.
They told me that I needed everything from the manifold back. I would cost me several hundred $. My eyes told me different. I asked him about the muffler in the trunk. "It is bad" he said. I asked him how me made that diagnosis without opening the trunk and he just shuffled his feet. I got looking at all of the perfectly-good pipes in a pile that they had taken out of other folk's cars, sighed, and told the guy to lower my car off of the lift and stand back. Suddenly, he said that he could do the job a lot cheaper. I repeated that I wanted my car on the ground.
The bill at NAPA for the pipe and two hangers was something like $15.00. I got dirty on a Saturday and did the job myself. I got rid of that car about 5 years later with all of that perfectly-good stuff still working fine. I will never again darken the door of a Midas muffler shop.
Vaughn
Reply to
Vaughn Simon
Must be- in the Northeast, Midas is notorious for hiring torch-wielding maniacs, using poor quality materials, and having a propensity to sell unnecessary high-profit parts. On the plus side, the number of Midas stores has been in a steady decline for about 5 years.
-Carl
Reply to
Carl Byrns
Gunner,
The way the threading shows up on my newsreader it makes it look like you just dissed Don. I seriously doubt you ment that.
Wes
Reply to
Wes
I second this. I've had much better luck at the local Meineke of late. --Glenn Lyford
Reply to
glyford
Second that, I've had great luck at a local Meineke place where they can do just about everything up to major engine work.
And what's great about it is that the owner recognized early on that I'm pretty well versed in automotive technology and treats me accordingly, so it's a pleasure to do business with him.
Jeff
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
And on the other side of the coin, there's a Midas shop near me that does perfectly fine exhaust work at a reasonable price.
Reply to
Doug Miller
Midas is a franchise company. That means an independent businessman decided to go with this company for buying and marketing clout. But its still just your local garage. One downside of franchise companies is a poor operator in another part of the country effects businesses everywhere.
I believe Don's experience is still the norm here in the upper Midwest. There's still pride of a good job and the strong desire to have all your neighbor's think well of you. Sadly, this is not true everywhere.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
Yes, here in most parts of the northeast corridor, we often experience first hand why the word "service" is used to descibe that thing a farmer takes his cows to a bull for.
SWMBO and I are still reveling over all the nice people and clean surroundings we encountered when we visited Don's state six years ago.
Don't ask me why we still live here. I've stayed long enough to see the "Curse of the Bambino" lifted three years ago when the Red Sox won the World Series. We really should get serious about moving to greener pastures.
formatting link
Jeff
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Just a sig line. No dis taken.
Reply to
Don Foreman
Gods NO! That was a poorly formatted sig that Im rather fond of, that came up using my random sig picker. Ill need to reformat the sig so there is no chance of this confusion happening again.
Normally..that sig is used when in a round of "debate" with Lieberals, as it applies well to most of them
Gunner
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. Lazarus Long
Reply to
Gunner
Cole muffler has been good to me. I was going to change an exhaust pipe on my car and got a price of about 18 bucks from the parts store. Just for the heck of it I stopped at Cole muffler and asked for an estimate to replace the pipe..... 21 bucks. Guess what I did? This was in the early 80's but they have always been reasonable on their pricing with me.
John
Reply to
john
Second that. Great prices, good work done at the local Cole's. I just wish they would get rid of that awful jingle:
(sung to a sappy calypso tune) When your muffler's falling down And your car is out of whack Your trailer hitch is falling off And your shcoks have all relaxed Just come on down to Cole muffler The service can't be beat Just come on down to Cole muffler And give your car a treat Just come on down to Cole muffler Just come on down to Cole muffler Just come on down to Cole muffler
One of those tunes that gets stuck in your head.
-Carl
Reply to
Carl Byrns
If you used a normal .sig delimiter, there would be no chance of such confusions.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols

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