Auto Zone Tried to kill “Black Betty” Benton Illinois!!
My husband and brother-in-law took a small block Chevy 350 out of a 1976 Suburban. After having it machined at a local machine shop and dynoed at a local racing shop, they thought they had a good thing going. We had scrimped and scraped to buy all performance parts. When it came to buying a water pump, Auto Zone was the only place open at the time, so we figured what the heck. After all we had bought many chrome dress up parts and other miscellaneous parts there in the past. So we purchased the water pump, fan and fan spacer from Auto Zone in Benton IL. We had originally planned on putting the motor in a 1984 Monte Carlo until one day while driving down the road we found a 1986 Monte Carlo SS for sale with 60,000 orginal miles on it. Mind you, he and I have both dreamed of having an SS Monte Carlo for years. I thought he was crazy for wanting to take the original 305 out to put in the motor they had just built , but he had to have MORE POWER. They put the car together at a local mechanic’s (who is also a family friend) garage at night and in their spare time(they both worked full time) til all hours of the morning. After a week we finally had “Black Betty” in running order.She performed so well I almost thought my husband would leave me for her(she was 18 to my 29). Weeks of seeing lots of craned necks and many people drooling over the car, my husband noticed a squeaking on the way home from work one day. When he got home from work he popped the hood to figure out what was wrong. With hood raised he goosed it to see where the noise came from and that is when good turned to bad. There was a BANG and he managed to be narrowly missed by a big hunk of something coming out from under the hood. The shaft from the water pump had broke sending the fan into the radiator almost folding the radiator in half. One piece of the fan shot through the hood of “Betty” sending the bulk of the fan towards my husband missing him by inches. On a normal basis our 9 year old son would have been out “HELPING” with dad’s hot rod. Still having the reciepts for the water pump, my husband confronted Auto Zone. They told him they would have to file a claim wtih the corporate office sending pictures and unfortunately the water pump to them. However they did not get the original reciepts or anything more than copies of the digital pictures we had taken of the mess. A few weeks later a letter from corporate Auto Zone arrived at the Auto Zone in Benton(not to us) stating that the cause for the malfunction was either the water pump was installed improperly(which can not be done), the fan or fan spacer(bought from Auto Zone) was defective, or the belt tensioner or idle pulley(which this particular car does not have) was the problem. Disgusted with Auto Zone’s response and needing “Betty” back on the road my husband went to the local Bumper to Bumper in Benton,IL to get replacement parts and we have not had any problems with “Betty” since. Auto Zone has yet to own up to their responsibility in this ordeal and after 2 years we still have not received an apology. After my husband spoke to a few of his hot rodding buddies and we have found we are not the only ones in this town of 10,000 or less to have had similar problems. Many of which having received the the same letters from corporate Auto Zone. Recently my husband called the corporate office trying to get some re-imbursement for parts and hood and paint. The gentlement he spoke to said he wanted us to e-mail him pictures of the damages but the e-mail address we were given was not valid. Thanks Auto Zone. Bridget benton, IllinoisU.S.A.