This is a bit long. I'll try to shorten it up as much as possible.
In Oct. of 2016 I traveled to Longview, TX to pick up my 231 from the Maxwell's after purchasing it from them. Just before I took off for home there was a puff of smoke in the cockpit that came from behind the panel on the co-pilot side. After shut down Don, Paul and myself searched for what the culprit could be but to no avail. Don started and ran up the plane and there was no indication that anything was wrong. No more smoke, no indications of any failures, nothing. So he told me to let him know if I ended up having the issue again. I launched from KGGG to OKC without any issues on that flight. About two or three weeks later after putting a few hours on the plane I turned on the master switch and had another puff of smoke from behind the panel larger than the first one I had experienced in Longview. I pulled the cowl and found a place on the firewall next to the heater box where it looked like a wire had been arcing but didn't see any wires that looked like they could be the culprit. After speaking with Don and sending pictures he suggested I bring it back to them to look at again. It ended up being a chaffed battery cable.
After replacing the cable everything was put back together and I was sent on my way. Taxied to the runway, accelerated for takeoff and just after rotation lost electrical power in the aircraft. Everything went offline that was electrically powered. I didn't retract the gear thinking it may not come up and if it did I may not get it back down so I left everything as it was and flew the pattern to land and taxied back to Maxwell's. Everything did come back online before landing. There was an electrical burning smell in the cockpit when I landed so I suspected it must be connected with the issue that I had flown in for them to fix. While troubleshooting the problem Don put his hand over the starter and it was too hot to touch. Anyway, turns out to be a starter solenoid failure that Don said he had never seen or encountered before. I won't get into all the details because it would take too long but It ended up frying my starter and completely draining the battery. By now it's after 6pm so I end up having to stay in Longview overnight at a hotel (which I had planned on possibly having to do anyway not knowing if my first issue was something they could fix in a day.) I was given a courtesy car and Don and I were able to have dinner together. It was cool to be able to talk aviation with him.
The following morning Don locates a starter and solenoid and sends someone to pick it up in Dallas. By later that afternoon the starter and solenoid arrive and are installed in the airplane. It's getting late in the afternoon, so Don does a run-up on the plane and I can tell he doesn't like something he is seeing. After spending a considerable amount of time in the airplane he shuts it down and tells me he was getting an amperage indication on the JPI 900 that doesn't make sense. We go in his office, he makes some phone calls and I don't think he ever got the answers he was hoping for. Again, its after 6pm on my second day and a Friday night in Longview and he and Paul are still there trying to work out the issues on my airplane. Don suspects the battery may have been affected by the incident i had the previous day so he wants to run another battery test and let it charge overnight again. He told me He didn't want me flying it home at night until he knew it wasn't going to give me problems. I agreed. I didn't want to fly it at night either...lol.
I called and made a hotel reservation again for that night before heading out to dinner with Don and Jan (his wife) who decided to join us. Again, I enjoyed getting to spend time with Don and Jan, (who I had only met that day) and getting to know them. You learn a lot about people when you spend more than just a few minutes with them. They were both extremely apologetic for the problems I was having, even though these were problems they neither created nor could have predicted. Sometimes these things just happen. At dinner Jan insisted that I stay with them in their home that night so I wouldn't have to incur the expense of another night in a hotel. I respectfully declined because I had already made a hotel reservation and I didn't want to impose.
The next morning (on a Saturday) I show up at the shop. The battery has already been installed and Don has done a run-up and determined that everything is ok. Thirty minutes later I'm in the air and on my way back home to OKC.
This isn't the only time Don and his staff have provided me with this level of service. When I had two cylinders fail earlier this year and was AOG in Idabel, OK. Paul (Don's son) and Tom were there within 12 hours of the failure diagnosing the problem and pulling the two cylinders. The cylinders failed on a Thursday night at around 11pm. I sent Don a text at midnight which he responded to immediately. Paul and Tom arrived the next morning (Friday) in Idabel between 10:30 and 11am and I was back in the air by the following Wednesday before dark.
This is the reason it's difficult for me to believe that we have heard the entire story from some of the posters to this thread. I have no doubt that Don and his mechanics have missed some things on a PPI and unintentionally overlooked some things on an annual inspection and probably messed some things up. Every one of you on this forum who are aircraft mechanics have made those same mistakes while working on aircraft and will make them again. We're all only human. But having a failure after some sort of maintenance or repair doesn't automatically make it maintenance induced (like in my case.)
Don Maxwell Aviation is the best shop I've ever dealt with (I'm sure there are others....I'm just speaking for myself) and after having spent a fair amount of time with Don and his family he has definitely earned and is worthy of the respect and admiration so many have bestowed upon him in the aviation community.
Just my 2 pennies.