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Toyota Techs - Fort Mill, SC 29715
My Terrible Head Gasket Replacement Experience
With Mark Enos Of Toyota Techs


What Was Wrong With The Car

The car was overheating. It was overheating because all the coolant kept coming out of the overflow bottle. It was brown and nasty and frequently had bubbles and foam in it. The reason it was coming out of the overflow bottle was because the head gasket was blown. During boost the exhaust gasses would squeeze by the head gasket into the cooling system. No leakage occured under vacuum. I started shopping for a shop to replace it.

Mid-November, 2005

I stopped by Toyota Techs and met Mark Enos. Mark gave me a verbal estimate of $850. I called Jerwon Avery at Town & Country Toyota and ordered all the parts.

Nov. 23, 2005

I dropped the car off at Toyota Techs to have the head gasket replaced, water pump replaced, and timing belt replaced. Mark did the work. I visited the next morning and took Mark and his partner some danishes. Mark was half way though.

Nov. 29, 2005

I went to the shop to pick the car up after Thanksgiving. I also had a new TKO Racing exhaust which I'd just bought from Spike. I had Mark put the exhaust on (which didn't fit quite right, another story). I made sure the boost controller was off because I knew it would need to be retuned later because of the work done.

I drove down the entrance ramp to I-77 N from 21 and the boost controller alarm went off merging into traffic on the interstate. I backed off the throttle immediately and looked at the peak hold on my boost controller. It read 17.9psi which is too high. I drove carefully to work and noted that when more throttle was applied the turbo boost wouldn't stay within the limits it should (< 12psi with the boost controller off).

I called Mark from work and told him something was wrong with the boost control. He told me that he'd taken the car for a test drive and everything worked fine, but bring it back and he'd look at it.

Early December, 2005 (a few days after picking the car up)

The check engine light started coming on. I pulled the diagnostic codes out of the car's computer. I discovered that the knock sensor was not plugged in all the way. I also pressurized the intake system and found two air (boost) leaks, one under the intake manifold and one under the throttle body. I was able to fix the leak under the intake manifold but didn't want to disassemble the throttle body.

Dec. 9 - 11, 2005

Dropped the car off at Toyota Techs one night. Phone conversation the next day: Mark wasn't sure what was wrong. Had 3 choices- take the car back and fix it myself, leave the car with Mark, or go to Toyota Techs and work on it together. I didn't want to fix the car since I'd paid for the work. I didn't want Mark to sit on the car. I elected to go to Toyota Techs, but it would have to wait as it was the holidays.

Dec. 29, 2005

Went to Toyota Techs to assist Mark in diagnosing and fixing the turbo overboost problem. We went out in the front yard and looked at the car. Mark mentioned that there was an issue with the clutch or transmission. I didn't think much of it as he drove the car into the shop.

I suggested that we test the wastegate acuator. Mark put a pressurizer on it and pressurized it to 9-10psi. The rod didn't move. I thought it should have. I thought that was the problem and didn't think there was any more we could do about it right then. I then asked Mark to reverse the rear sway bar since it was rubbing on my exhaust. He did this in less than 1/2 hour. He then presented me with a bill for $107 which I paid with a credit card.

I got in the car to drive it out of the shop. The car would not go into gear. Mark said you had to turn the car off to get it in gear. I got out frustrated. Now there was another problem in addition to the turbo overboost problem. I stated that the car had not overboosted when I brought it to Mark and that the clutch and transmission worked fine. He asked me if I was accusing him of breaking it. I said I was just stating the facts. I also asked what the $107 was for that I just paid him. He said it was for some spark plugs and turning the sway bar around. I stated that that was outrageous, that spark plugs and 1/2 hour of shop work should not be $107.

He got in the car and drove it out of the shop. He got out of the car, said "Goodbye!", and closed the shop bay door behind me. I barely got the car into first gear and pulled out onto the road. I drove the car all the way home in first gear (several miles) mad as hell.

Follow Up

I immediately called PrePaid Legal and they said I needed to take the car to another mechanic and have them look for acts of neglegence and prepare an estimate for repairs. Sounded good to me. Except the first place I took it to didn't want to work on it. I hoped that one of the clutch cylinders had gone bad so I replaced both for about $160 in parts. The clutch still wouldn't disengage however. I eventually convinced myself it was the clutch and ordered a Spec stage 2.

GReddy Wastegate Actuator

I called GReddy next and they told me the wastegate actuator opens at approximately 11psi. That's why we didn't see it open in the shop. I later went by Performance First (P1, across the road from our house) and had Jack check the actuator. Of course it works fine when you put more than 11 pounds of pressure on it.

Overboost

So why did the car overboost? The GReddy TD-06 and the TKO exhaust will cause overboost, sometimes suddenly when the revs are high, because the TKO flows so much air that its easiest path is through the wide-open wastegate. Because I didn't have the money for ATS Racing's external wastegate conversion kit, I fabricated a restrictor plate with a 2" hole and put it between the downpipe and TKO b-pipe. The boost stills goes above 11psi but doesn't go any higher than 14psi.

Clutch

What happened to my clutch? Physically damaged; one of the springs was even missing. I had Chris Patterson replace it. (He did the engine swap for me and I should have had him do the head gasket.) We can only speculate what Mark Enos did to the car while he had it. I took the damaged clutch to Town and Country Toyota and the service manager said the damage was not just from Mark. He said it looked like it had been abused a good bit. I've had the car three years now and knew the clutch job was coming up. I baby the clutch and gearbox, however, and hadn't thought I'd need to replace the clutch for another year.

Mark Enos

It hope it goes without saying that I despise Mark Enos. I was always friendly with him and know what a pain the car can be to work on. His attitude throughout the work was usually negative and our final parting of ways was abominable. I still cannot believe he basically threw me out of the shop.



Moral Of The Story
Don't Let Mark Enos Of Toyota Techs Work On Your Car