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Resonable Charge For Repair??

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by DGODGR, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    I just got an invoice for the ATTEMPTED repair of (2) hydrualic cylinders. I'm not sure it matters but they were for a 96" wide snow plow blade branded as Bobcat and sold at the Bobcat dealership. The attempted repair was ended before the units were even disassembled. They could not even get the head gland off. The head gland has some sort of locking ring (kind of like a cotter pin) that is inserted into the side of the barrell. I assume that once this pin is removed the head gland is threaded. The mechanic called me to tell me that he could not get the head glands off of either unit and that he "made some calls" and heard that this style of cylinder (the type with the retainer ring) are known to be difficult, and usually not cost effective, to remove/repair. When I dropped off the cylinders, for repair, the owner of the dealership tried to convince me that I would be better off to replace vs repair. The original sympton was that they were leaking fluid from the head gland during storage (discovered when I got the plow out to prep for winter). The rebuild kit was $60 for each unit and I estimated that it would take a qualified mechanic about an hour to repair each cylinder. Their shop rate is $90/hr so I came up with $300 to repair. New cylinders cost $400 for the pair. The originals were not used very much and, other than the leaks, showed no signs of wear. I decided not to waste $100 so I asked them to dis-assemble the units and we would decide after we saw what was wrong.
    Now to the matter at hand. I was charged 3.12 hours ($310.00) to attempt to remove the head glands. I have a hard time imagining how it could take that long to NOT dis-assemble anything. I would think that (1) hour would be reasonable, not (3) hours. I know that the mechanic is very "Jr." in his experience and this contributed to the situation. When the owner suggested new parts, vs repair, he did not mention his mechanics lack of ability as a factor in his suggestion. Does anybody else see the problem here or am I being un-reasonable in my expectations?
     
  2. dloiselle

    dloiselle Member

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    You are getting charged what the book allows by the ay it sounds. If it takes them 10 minutes and the book says 3 hours, you get wacked for three hours
     
  3. eric12

    eric12 Well-Known Member

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    that could have been 3 hours if they tried both cylinders and called around. it might be stretched a little bit but they also may have broken a tool and added an hour to replace the tool. but why wouldn't you spend the extra $100 and get 2 brand new cylinders with no issues at all. seems like a bad decision on your part. maybe you can make a deal with your dealer and buy the new cylinders and only pay part of the "repair?" of the old ones since they are not competent enough to repair them.
     
  4. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    No book time. This is actual time (per the mechanic anyway). I was told by the owner that he might charge me (1) hour per cylinder. My thinking was (1) hour for the pair for dis-assembly only.

    Yes, at this point, I see that it was a bad decision. At the time I made it I was quoted +/-$200, plus shipping, per cylinder and the shipping was unknown. Those cylinders are not light so I figure shipping would add at least $50. They have not charged me with any shipping costs because I elected to wait for a stock order to get the parts (after I was told they could not repair originals). With Bobcat this can be tricky as any one who may order the part, in a non-stock order status, will get priority if there are not enough parts to go around.
    Why should I replace the tools that they break?
    As a back yard mechanic I wonder if I would have spent three hours trying to get them apart. When I pay $90/ hour I expect to get an expert, experienced mechanic who does not have to call someone else for advice. If he does have to call should I have to pay for his time? Remember, this is not an obscure part from some off brand. This was a cylinder, pretty basic for a competent mechanic, from the brand that the dealer services (their only line too). I would not expect he would have to call Bobcat tech support for that. I pay my portion of his training in the $90/hr shop rate. Why should I have to pay $90/hr to train him too? I don't expect to not pay anything. I just have a hard time justifying 3.12 hours in my mind. They never even seperated the head gland from the barrel!
    On Edit: They did not have to remove the cylinders from the plow either. I dropped off the cylinders at the dealership.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  5. TheOldMan

    TheOldMan Senior Member

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    Let me see if I have this right. You paid these guys $310.00 for attempting to do a job they didn't know how to do, and then you bought new cylinders from them? did you just fall off the punking truck?
     
  6. stinkycat

    stinkycat Well-Known Member

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    In my day if the repairs cost more than 50% of new then I went with the new but that was before idiots ruined the world
     
  7. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    I haven't paid anything yet. I'm wrestling with how to proceed. I have had countless previous issues with this dealer and I'm growing tired of having this type of situation and the resultant confrontational conversation with the owner. At this point I regret buying machines from this dealer but I am also not willing to take a bath by selling them before I am done with them. I live in a relatively small town and I don't have too many options when it comes to Bobcat parts and service.
    So right now I'm looking for opinions for the situation as it is now. I'll pass on the Monday morning quarterbacking thank you.
     
  8. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    DGODGR; If I were in the same situation i would try to get them to give me a break on that attempted repair charge towards the purchase of new cylinders. I don't imagine you want to spend anymore cash on the old ones. At least not with that dealership. If they would do that, then you would know how much it is going to cost to walk out of there with two new cylinders. If you give up on them altogether you will most likely get stuck with the full bill of $310.00. Have you considered repairing them yourself ? You will certainly get enough information here on H.E.F. to do the job if you decided to go that route. I fully understand the awkwardness of this happening in a small town. If you don't work out a solution that you both can live with it can get even more awkward. I would just guess he needs your future business worse than you need him for parts and service.
     
  9. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton Senior Member

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    I had my local case dealer(brushog too) attempt a rebuild on a deck lift cylinder. They had it apart before i even got out of town and told me it wasn't happening. So back to the dealer i go. They handed me a box full of what used to be the deck cylinder and a new one. They didn't charge me for shop time or the unused rebuild kit. And i'm by no means this dealership's number 1 customer, I buy a set of blades ever few years and current mower is 10 years old. Basically, I'm trying to say getting charged shop time while some guy stares at your cylinders for 3 hours is a load of ****. I'd get your salesman and the service manager together and say that your not buying or having anything worked on here unless it gets made right.
     
  10. motrack

    motrack Charter Member

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    You stated that they told you to just buy 2 new cylinders up front but you insisted that they repair these. Ok so they made the attempt to take both apart and were unable to so now you received a bill for exactly the reason they told you to buy new in the first place.

    Having been on their side of the counter for years I really dont see what your upset about? I have been in the trade 34 yrs and see a lot of cylinders I am unable to take apart for one reason or another. Even with sending them to our local cylinder shop sometimes repair costs exceed or equal new replacement cost and we tell the customer up front to just buy a new one.

    Even if it were a greenhorn working on your cylinders he was under the guidence of a lead mechanic, shop forman, or service manager. Time to just suck it up and consider it school fees.
     
  11. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    It is because of the points that you have raised that I am on the fence about how I will move forward with this. I'm not interested in being unfair. I agree that I took the risk on the repair. If it would have cost as much, or more, than buying new to repair the cylinders I would have had an easier time coming to terms with it. At least they would have been repaired. The problem I'm having is why they spent so much time on them without any sort of dis-assembly whatsoever. These are 2" barrels not 6". The owner did not say that it would be cheaper to buy the new cylinders. He did not suggest that they may not be able to fix them at all either. He said 2 hours max for both cylinders. Would you have worked on (2) 2" cylinders for 3.12 hours without even losening the head gland? Or would your experience have helped you to determine it was futile after attempting what you know would work, if it was going to work at all? To be clear, I'm not trying to avoid responsibility. I'm just trying to see if I'm having an unreasonable expectation of what was accomplished (or rather not accomplished) in the time that they billed me for. As much as I don't like eating crow you may be right in that I simply am paying $300 for a bit of education. BTW, this shop does not have a "lead" mechanic, or a shop foreman. There is one "mechanic" (he used to be the parts guy) since they fired the mechanic they had due to too many call backs (according to the owner).
     
  12. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    A photo of the glands on the cylinders would make things a bit easier for a third party to assess. I've had many cylinders over the years that were apparently designed by idiots and you just threw them in the scrap barrel when they started leaking. Early Case backhoe steering cylinders come to mind. Various methods of holding the packing glands on are like trying to get out of chinese hand cuffs.

    As to the competence of the person doing the work, it sounds like you already know his limitations. If you had taken the cylinder to a hydraulic job shop I have no doubt you would have been charged the same or more. They might have even repaired the cylinders but the charges might have been the same that you face now.

    You can try to negotiate the charges with the owner of the shop but remember he is under no obligation to settle with you. The job apparently was understood to be time and materials. Keep calm, don't get loud and just explain how you feel. If they don't wish to deal, pay the bill and imply, don't actually state, you will let the world know of their abilities to repair what they sell.
     
  13. Colorado Digger

    Colorado Digger Senior Member

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    normally we don't get paid unless our services our complete and work properly. i can't stand that b.s. when you pay to have something fixed and nothing gets done but you still get a bill. i'd be rich if i ran my business that way. if i go put 100' foot of water line in and when i turn the valve on there is no water i don't get paid...period. until it is fixed.
    i know there are plenty of qualified mechanics on the forums and i respect your work very much. so don't think i'm balsting away at you guys.
    pretty clear that the bobcat wrench was not qualified and you should not pay for is inaptitude.
    regards, cd

    p.s any snow to plow?
     
  14. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    I have only plowed about 5x this year. I missed (2) events while I was on a cruise too. I won't complain much though. I only plowed 2x all of last season.
     
  15. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    I hate to hear stories like this.In my opinion the dealer should have gave you a call after the first hour ........"hey MR. DGODGR,we worked on these cyliders for an hour and still cant get them apart.Do you want us to keep at it or order the new cylinders?" At least then they would have given you the benefit of doubt on the decision which way to go.After all, they knew what the new cylinders cost to begin with.And if you said "yes ,order the new cylinders". A good gesture from the dealer would have been to waive the one hour labor cost sence youre a customer that has bought equipment from them in the past.If it was me I would pay them and look for another dealer or mechanic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  16. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  17. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    That would have been fantastic.

    I am seriously considering it.
     
  18. willie59

    willie59 Administrator

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    As JohnC stated, would be better for us to form an opinion if we had pics of said cylinders, but from what you're describing, that sounds like cylinders that have the head retained by a piece of 1/8" or 3/16" key stock inserted in a window slot cut in the side of cylinder can. Hard for me to describe it here, but that key stock is installed with a hook on one end latched into a hole in gland. Over the years, water, salt, rust, has an effect on that key stock retainer, if you turn the gland to remove that key stock retainer and it breaks off that hook, you're screwed. Sounds to me like that's what he was dealing with.



    My sentiments exactly, a customer is paying me to do stuff that he feels is above his head and needs someone with the expertise to do the job, something I'm always mindful of. Doesn't happen often, but if I run across a problem like this that I can't solve, I will be generous to the customer and not hose him down, it's just good business practice in my book. Sounds to me like you're working with a no loss shop, they account for every minute that an employee spends and they take no losses. Not the way I do business.
     
  19. dirty4fun

    dirty4fun Senior Member

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    Very well said willie 59, I was hoping you would have a comment. Treat me as you would like to be treated.
     
  20. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    this reminds me of something that happened to me. I slightly bent a rod on a cylinder, went to the local dealer and asked if they could fix it. They said "rods that are bent can not be fixed, we throw them out and just replace", and said they'd be happy to sell me a new one :rolleyes: I thought that sounded weird and took the rod to a local machine shop guy, he straightened it for $15.00, it was barely bent. I took everything a part and put it back together. So with the cost of some seals(under $20) and The $15.00 for straightening, I belive I came in way under the price of a new one, and it works fine. They're not called STEALERS for nothin