Thought i'd add my 5cents worth tonight...
I've had my 156 v6 Sportwagon in and out of Pino's place since purchasing it 3 months ago, and I'm pretty sure Pino would never say nah leave the cam belt @ 120000km, he's usually an absolute pain in the **** with stuff like that, I've had work done by him just today, in the 3 months I've been using him for my current Alfa, I'd get three quotes each time: Arnold Chatz, Germiston and Alfissimo just for ****s and giggles and well read below and you'll see why i don't trust my cars with anyone else but him.
when i just bought the car, knew this going in figured it was small when i got my head in under teh bonnet so did Pino
Pino R1000 in total 3 visits because we struggled to find the cause but we figured it out eventually small electrical issue and and a replacement pipe on the low pressure side.
Agents wanted R19000-R22000, replace aircon and controls and no guarantee the problem wouldn't come back
My car only has 61000kms on it now although 8yrs old so we did belt and water pump @54000km when i bought her the rest of the stuff looked brand new, but the belt was F%&^ed and about to let go, bet Arnold Chats did everything but the belt...hmmm i wonder
Parts from Kevin (AKcomp) R1350 and that's for a water pump with a stainless steel impeller and not the "designed to fail" plastic factory one.
Pino labour and inspection 2days and R1000
Agents wanted R10932 - R12550-00 ROFL
now just 2days ago power steering fluid
******* all over the garage floor, the front left pipe, nicked by something in the road
Parts from scrapyard as per Pino's good call R400 and loks brand new
Agents wanted R2500
Pino's time and labour for teh above fix, including the lube service, where I provided the goods:
Oil change, oil filter, pollen filter, radiator flush, fresh coolant and water 50/50, air filter
Oil Castrol EDGE 10W60 -6liters
Air filter,oil filter, pollen filter
Radiator flush and ATF fluid to top up the power steering
She was on 60500 so i thought i'd giver her fresh fluids and filters, cam belt was done at 54000km when i bought her.
Agents wanted another R3100-R3300, oh and the "we might need to replace the power steering pump, all the lines etc etc", i hung up the phone at that point but I'm pretty sure it was R20000+ again
So let's see...I paid the paltry some of R38000 cash for my ride and in 3months if I'd gone to the agents I'd have left R35000+- on sorting the car out, basically as much as i paid for her. R50000 if they would have ripped the power steering system apart
Pino: +- R3500 and another R3500 sourcing parts, brakes, rear blind deck, Lube service etc etc – no contest.
In my books he's a genius, eccentric, Italian and full of nonsense, you either get on with him or you don't !
If you keep asking him "how much" on every little thing you'll **** him off, there are lot's of things he could have charged me for but doesn't and just sends me on my way with a ciao have a nice day. bad fuel fix, ecu error clear i could go on and on...he's not interested in ripping people off. If you're genuine with him he'll be genuine with you. nothings free, if you have an Alfa it costs a little more than a Toyota to maintain, but you know that before buying one didn't you?
Don't second guess him, i know my way around an Alfa and i know nothing compared to my old man, but also Pino knows a whole lot of other stuff especially on the electronics and engine management stuff, don't go there puffing your chest out because you think you're smart after reading something on the Net. if you're dead sure about something and want to "get his input on it" then you'll need time like 1-2hrs and need to be patient and diplomatic.
And Lastly you'll know you've really ****ed him off when he asks you to F#$% off out of his place because you don’t know **** - stay away for 4-5days, go back, say sorry and start again.
There's one of only 6 or 7 '95Maserati Ghibli's in SA , a good friend of mines who get's Pino's antics (we're Italian so maybe it helps) and understands the car will be ready when it's ready that's in and out of there, Sports cars, M3's for Custom Exhaust systems, a Porche 911 turbo. a skyline GTR or two, 4x4's they all trust Pino.
Alfa's have been in my family for more than 40yrs, golden rule is, never let an idiot dealership (flaming I'm sure will ensue) touch your car, case in point 10yrs ago i had a 155 Super and 155 Q4 both went to Alfissimo,or Chatz all over the show to agents, once for a routine thing like brakes or oil service etc, came back with R10000 bill because workshop techie thought he'd see how quick a Q4 really was and manged to pull the gearbox and clutch through his **** in about 30 seconds flat, oh and then gave me the bill to fix it with the excuse of I'm just a young "lightie" and must not know how to drive properly. Frikkie - I learned to drive by racing Alfa's around Swartkops in Alfa Juniors, Super Nova's and GTV's and stealing my old mans Alfa’s for Joy rides long before i was legally aloud to drive, - the only thing dealerships get from me are phone calls to have a laugh at the "telephone number" length prices they come up with for fixing stuff they very likely broke in the first place.
No ones perfect I have to concede, i wouldn't be too worried, Pino is known for drifting off point sometimes and getting a little side tracked but he's also one of only a handful who I know, who know's how to sort out Selespeed issues for good unless it's very serious and he asks you to sit down, have some grappa and then tells you the bad news
Hope you come right!