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Old 04-09-2015, 10:02 PM   #1
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This is Crazy

I had the local CAT authorized service center do an inspection of our engines. They made numerous recommendations, all of a preventive maintenance nature. Items such as removing and cleaning after coolers and gear coolers, some hose replacement etc. among the items were the replacement of a radiator cap.

Today I received their estimate read just two items---the total and the first item on the estimate list.

Item 1. Replace radiator cap: Parts, $5.61. Labor, $120.83
I timed removal of radiator cap and replacing at about 8 seconds, and I am not a mechanic.

The total for both engines, which are very well maintained was in excess of $13,000 !

Have they lost their collective minds, or do they think all boaters are rich by nature. Should any TF ers need their radiator caps replaced, I'll do it for 50 bucks plus travel time of course.

BTW, when the Admiral saw the quote she said sell the boat.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:31 PM   #2
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Cat engines are like Colt revolvers. You pay through the nose for the name even though there are other engines (and revolvers) that are just as good or better.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:48 PM   #3
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I disagree. While that estimate for a radiator cap replacement is ridiculous, CAT makes a good engine. And you can get service anywhere in the world.

If you think you pay through the nose for CATs, don't even bother looking at MTUs or MANs.

There are no cheap modern diesels from what I see today.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
I disagree. While that estimate for a radiator cap replacement is ridiculous, CAT makes a good engine. And you can get service anywhere in the world.

If you think you pay through the nose for CATs, don't even bother looking at MTUs or MANs.

There are no cheap modern diesels from what I see today.
Disagree with what?
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #5
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I take it the inspection was free?
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:12 PM   #6
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Yep. Free and included oil and coolant sampling. All came out perfect.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:57 PM   #7
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You just need to find a good independent mechanic.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:29 AM   #8
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Or......I'll let you borrow a couple Colts, incase they try to rob you!
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:50 AM   #9
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Disagree with what?
The post directly before my last. I thought that would be clear without quoting it. But I guess it wasn't.
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:14 AM   #10
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I had the local CAT authorized service center do an inspection of our engines. They made numerous recommendations, all of a preventive maintenance nature. Items such as removing and cleaning after coolers and gear coolers, some hose replacement etc. among the items were the replacement of a radiator cap.

Today I received their estimate read just two items---the total and the first item on the estimate list.

Item 1. Replace radiator cap: Parts, $5.61. Labor, $120.83
I timed removal of radiator cap and replacing at about 8 seconds, and I am not a mechanic.

The total for both engines, which are very well maintained was in excess of $13,000 !

Have they lost their collective minds, or do they think all boaters are rich by nature. Should any TF ers need their radiator caps replaced, I'll do it for 50 bucks plus travel time of course.

BTW, when the Admiral saw the quote she said sell the boat.

There are some items not needing for we Captains to share. Keep Admiral happy and everybody is happy!
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:00 AM   #11
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While I do agree that the price is ridiculous, if they had quoted $5 to change the radiator cap, would you expect them to make a service call and only change one radiator cap for $10.61? My guess and it's only a guess, is that the labor total was negotiable. Wonder if the time quoted to change the radiator cap included disconnecting and reconnecting the battery for safety reasons?

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Old 04-10-2015, 07:09 AM   #12
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Yep. Free and included oil and coolant sampling. All came out perfect.

I wonder how many Perkins, Volvo, Detroit, Yanmar, or Lehman factory dealers send trained technicians to your boat to inspect their products free of charge? Then leave you with an estimate complete with part numbers and recommendations.

Crazy or customer service? Even you stated a desire to be reimbursed travel expenses, my CAT dealer travels 45 minutes one way. I'm willing to bet if you asked them to do those items one at a time they'd charge as quoted but if you asked for a discount to have all items corrected they would do so.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:16 AM   #13
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I wonder how many Perkins, Volvo, Detroit, Yanmar, or Lehman factory dealers send trained technicians to your boat to inspect their products free of charge? Then leave you with an estimate complete with part numbers and recommendations.

Crazy or customer service? Even you stated a desire to be reimbursed travel expenses, my CAT dealer travels 45 minutes one way. I'm willing to bet if you asked them to do those items one at a time they'd charge as quoted but if you asked for a discount to have all items corrected they would do so.
My take too. I'm guessing the $120 is their hourly flat rate, and their system automatically adds that, so in essence you got an ala carte menu of pricing. So yes, to have a tech drive over there and just replace the cap would cost that. I'm sure they will sell you a new cap for DIY installation. Personally I would go ahead and review the whole package with them and discuss. I can't really comment on the total price, but just replacing all the hoses on most big diesels is an expensive job in and of itself, but one that should be done on the prescribed schedule. So if that was part of it as well as removing, testing inspecting and cleaning the heat exchangers, aftercoolers and any other coolers (oil, fuel), I can see the price tag getting up there. You gotta pay to play!

I agree if you can get references on a good independent, chances are you can save on labor vs the markup a dealer has to put on it, which includes of course, the cost of doing complete inspections and writing up job quotes for guys who never have the work done.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:03 AM   #14
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I could see the cleaning of the coolers after a catastrophic mechanical failure or if there was a overheating issue. Personally I think the inline filters should take care of any contaminates. Now a full fluid change I would agree with if it was due.


It is a good feeling when the oil samples come back good.. I have one CAT in a dump truck. Great engine till there is an issue, then crack open the piggy bank.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:56 AM   #15
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Everybody has to get paid.

You want to get paid from the moment you arrive at work until the moment you leave for home, at least I want to get paid that way.

The time that the mechanic spent coming to your boat, inspecting everything, and testing the oil are all in my opinion billable hours, which they gave you for free.

The time that the mechanic has to spend even thinking about your boat is again billable hours. Gathering parts, going to the boat, doing the work, going back to the shop, cleaning out his truck, and filling out the paperwork are all billable hours. The mechanic expects his shop to pay him all day doesn't he?

So, while your quote might seem high to you, and it may well be shocking, just think how many hours you would bill your employer for a job like that.

Then either hire a different cheaper mechanic, or grab a wrench.

I bill out my time for a living. $155 an hour, and I bill out every minute of every working day.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:12 AM   #16
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I could see the cleaning of the coolers after a catastrophic mechanical failure or if there was a overheating issue. Personally I think the inline filters should take care of any contaminates.
NO! Want a catastrophic failure? Don't maintain the various coolers!
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:17 AM   #17
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This thread took sides.

Those that are tradesmen defended it and the others didn't. My take is it's way overblown and they are fishing with that quote. Looking for a sucker to bite.

I was in the car business and we did free inspections daily as part of the business plan. We didn't expect every quote to become a job, it was a quote. That's how that works. If the shop told you they send techs out at 150.00 an hour billable the minute they leave the shop and ending upon return, that shop wouldn't get any business. Simple as that.

The best advice has been said but I will add this, DIY. It's your boat.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:32 AM   #18
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Was the quote itemized for the whole job? You could probably save some money here & there (like the radiator cap). How many hours on the engines?
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:25 AM   #19
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Having not seen your list I cannot comment on whether a reasonable price or not. As Craig said, Cat is one of the few marine engine companies that has an able tech group and the 3116 and 3126s are a bomb, especially cracked heads, if not serviced right.

At about 3 days per engines and assuming a normal multi thousand service, I can see labor at $5K to 7K alone.

Are the aftercoolers raw water or coolant cooled? If raw water and over 10-12 years old the remainiing life if cleaned may not justify it, go new. Not cheap though. Ditto transmission HXers.

Have a local smart guy do all the hoses, coolant changes, etc. Good Cat matching hoses are not cheap either. Filters and oil I'd guess you do yourself. So what does this leave for Cat, other than ACs, that is on your list?

Unlike a rusty anchor, when engine things get rusty and salt laden they wear out.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post

Item 1. Replace radiator cap: Parts, $5.61. Labor, $120.83
I timed removal of radiator cap and replacing at about 8 seconds, and I am not a mechanic.


Have they lost their collective minds, or do they think all boaters are rich by nature. Should any TF ers need their radiator caps replaced, I'll do it for 50 bucks plus travel time of course.
Their labor amount includes them knowing it needed to be changed.
The example tells me you didn't know.
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