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Old 06-24-2015, 09:33 AM   #41
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islandgypsy,
How were these "refurbished" parts refurbished? Reason I ask the question is that there could be a legitimate reason they priced them as new. Just fixing a blem in paint or some other element that has nothing to do with the function of the part may not be cause to price them less valuable than new. It's a bit of a stretch but possible IMO.

And if they forgot to bill you for a part why should'nt you happy to pay for that part?
Not paying for that un-billed part is dishonest IMO. Dishonest on your account .. not theirs.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:46 AM   #42
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For general info on maintaining and doing simple repairs on marine diesels engines I suggest you look at Nigel Calder's book -
Marine Diesel Engines by Nigel Calder | 9780071475358 | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble Just the info provided on preventive maintenance is worth the cost and time to read it.
I also suggest you reference a repair manual for your particular engine. I have a small boat, and though I am not really mechanically inclined, I have been successful at making many repairs just by following the directions in my manual. Accept the challenge, get some grease under your nails and surprise yourself!
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:14 PM   #43
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I think a manual and book on engine maintenance is well worth carrying on your boat. However when I have a problem with my Cummins engines I first go to Boatdiesel.com. The experts there are more knowledgeable then even the manual.
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Old 06-24-2015, 04:26 PM   #44
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As with everyone else, we have had issues finding good repair people. That goes for cars as well as boats. Unfortunately, some of the auto company practices have slipped over to the marine world when dealing primarily with dealers and dealer reps. In the auto world, virtually all works is done on a "standard hour" basis, not on the actual hours a mechanic takes to do a job. The manufacturer provides the dealer with the "standard hours" to do a job, including all parts needed to do it, many expendable parts included whether they actually need to be replaced or not. One advantage, this allows a dealer to give you a firm quite for the job up front. The disadvantage is that that is what it will cost no matter how long it takes to do it. Mechanics can get paid extra for completing jobs n less than the standard hours charged. A mechanic who routinely takes more than the standard hours will soon be out of a job. That system has leaked over to the marine world. Thus Cummins has a book to tell them what needs to be done for any given issue and how long, and with what parts, and that will be their estimate, and most likely will be what you are billed.

I am a mechanics' nightmare. I am no mechanic although I do as much work on the boat as possible. But, I am a pretty bright guy and have learned over the years the theory of why and how things work. I may not know the mechanical side, but I can understand when told what the parts do and how they do it and what makes them no do it. I have a few rules that have generally served me well. First-I only pay on time actually worked, documented, not a standard hour basis. Auto dealers generally will not agree to this. Sometimes I get taken when something takes more hours, but generally I feel I have some out ahead. Second, on diagnosis, I want the problem explained to me, shown to me and I have to understand why something is not working. I am willing to pay for this time. We agree ahead of time on failed parts, needed replacements, the cost of those replacements, and ancillaries (brackets, O-rings, screws, whatever). Third, I can watch and learn and have things explained to me if I choose, and Fourth, all removed parts are saved, shown to me and their failure or replacement need explained to me. I know I am a PITA, but I generally feel I get what I pay for and I learn a bit in the process.

One auto example-my wife has a VW Passat. The timing chain broke at 51K miles. She wanted to take it only to the VW dealer, and it ended up $4,900 for a completely new top end. They just took the old head off and replaced it with a brand new, completely preassembled top end. And they completed it in about 4 hours! I asked for the old one just for fun and at first they refused to provide it but ultimately did. I took it to my mechanic and asked him to look at it and give me a cost to repair. I even offered to pay him to do it just out of curiosity. Naturally, it had some valve damage, a few other things, new timing chain and gears, and he said he would also replace the water pump, maybe $1,500-$1,800 total. Then he asked me what happened to the spark plugs, they weren't in the old head. How the hell did I know? So, he looked at my wife's car, pulled a plug, and the VW dealer had removed the old plugs and put them in the new head! They were pretty much shot to hell! Needless to say, I pitched more than a fit at the VW dealer, going all the way up their "dealer complaint" process and VW finally, after two months, agreed to kick $1,500 for the repair.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:07 PM   #45
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Auto manufacturers went to flat rates as a remedy to two problems before. One was not quoting firm prices which consumers want. The second was accusations that mechanics were taking longer than they should and the costs being run up. Now, obviously the remedy has it's own problems. We had a dealer in NC who took an interesting approach. They always quoted the book rate. However, they billed you in the end the lesser of the book rate and the actual time charge.

It really comes down to finding people you trust. My number one fear isn't just a normal overcharge, but it's diagnosing something expensive and that doesn't fix it and then something very inexpensive does. Their answer is always that both items needed repair but you couldn't detect the small one until the big one was repaired. I personally don't have the knowledge to then know if they're telling the truth. I do google a lot of similar situations though.
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:54 PM   #46
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As a GM and Ford line mechanic in a previous life, I REALLY liked the flat rate much better than actuall hours. I could beat it everytime, after a little practice. When given the choice I always did flat rate work. The book paid 6 hours to R&R a 700R4 auto trans in a 1500 pickup truck, I could do it in 3. Still got paid for 6. THD, I would only work on your stuff 1 time, may have something to do with your difficulty finding (and keeping?) a decent mechanic. Spark plugs at 51k are almost like new. I routinely get 150k out of a set. Personally, If I take out a set of plugs I would put new ones in, but have used the old ones again. I normally will put 50k on a vehicle in the first few years, so everything is warranty. In 5 years it will be at or over 100k and out of warranty. Then I do my own work. I have had 1 accasion where a service manager at a Ford dealership tried to pull a fast on. He told me my F550 had contaminated fuel and low compression on # 8. I asked how he knew it had low compression on # 8. Resonse, "computer showed it" and we need to drop the tank and flush the entire fuel system, not covered under warranty.I called B.S. and told him to pull the valve cover and plug the injector back in, it was a known problem on these engines that they just came unplugged. And while your there put in a new fuel filter if it makes you feel better. He stammered awhile and then had to go help another vict, I mean customer.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:34 PM   #47
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Kulas-your post makes the point. On the mechanic, in fact I have had the same one for the four years we have owned the boat. He is a joy to work with. He knows he gets paid for what he does, with his markup on parts and I know I get what I happily pay him for. He has taught me a great deal. I know a helluva t ore about diesel engines than I did before I know now that if he says something needs repair or replacement, it really does and he will repair/replace at the best cost possible.
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:44 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by timjet View Post
..... when I have a problem with my Cummins engines I first go to Boatdiesel.com. The experts there are more knowledgeable then even the manual.
My last boat had a Cummins & my present boat has Yanmars. I can't think of a better place to file your engine problems than Boat Diesel. It's terrific!

http://boatdiesel.com/
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:41 AM   #49
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As a GM and Ford line mechanic in a previous life, I REALLY liked the flat rate much better than actuall hours. I could beat it everytime, after a little practice. When given the choice I always did flat rate work. The book paid 6 hours to R&R a 700R4 auto trans in a 1500 pickup truck, I could do it in 3. Still got paid for 6.

Of course it seems obvious mechanics would often prefer to be paid twice what they "earned."

Puts the vict.... er... customer at a disadvantage, though. If yard labor rates are $100/hour, paying $600 labor for a $300 job is a major (100%) hit.

One alternative is to do a job myself. That means the yard also loses what they could conceivably have earned by charging actual hours (because I might have been able to afford that, and may well have elected to have them do the work).


OTOH, I do also know that I should be paying for expertise, and for a job well-completed... so labor hours aren't the whole thing. IOW, I don't think what a technican "earns" on a given job can be simply defined as the labor hours involved.


Not sure book rate is a great solution, though. That might be a useful way to predict a maximum charge, but then always charging everybody that same maximum doesn't work all that well for customers either.

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Old 06-25-2015, 08:11 AM   #50
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The first 700R4 that I R&Rd took 10 hours, I got paid for 6. The next was faster. The next I broke even. After several I had the tools and expertise to do the job. And I got all those jobs. I bought the tools and developed the skills to do it. Would you be willing to pay me 10 hours to do a 6 hour job, probably not. I liked doing the same job because I could get good at it and knew how to do it, and had the tools. But, if a different job came in that I still knew how to do but didnt do on a regular basis I couldnt beat the book. The lazy guys liked salary pay, or straight wages, because they were,,,,well,,,lazy, and liked getting paid for being slow. I was a lot more driven and made way more $$$ than them. Just remember, that tech getting paid by the hour has little motivation to get you done very fast.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:25 AM   #51
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Not pointing at anyone on TF....


And people complain about government workers.......


All the same personnel issues ....in or out.....


honor and honesty...or not....
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:02 AM   #52
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Not pointing at anyone on TF....


And people complain about government workers.......


All the same personnel issues ....in or out.....


honor and honesty...or not....
Even more shocking....there may be members here who have not been the best or most honest workers in the world.

I also keep this in mind when talking about any profession. Half of the people in the profession are below average.

A highly regarded doctor once pointed out to me to just always keep in mind that half the doctors finished in the bottom half of their graduating class so just having the license doesn't mean they're good at it.

Sometimes too we jump to a conclusion someone is cheating us when the reality might just be they had no idea what they were doing. I remember years ago a Controller and the head of IT arguing. It was about something the head of IT had told the Controller that turned out to be untrue. The IT guy lashed out and said, "You're accusing me of lying." The Controller's comeback was, "I'm not saying that. I don't know if you're lying or just incompetent."

The same methods good companies use in trying to find the top employees, or to select consultants and vendors, apply for contractors and mechanics as well.

1. Interview diligently. Ask specific questions. If they resent it, there is your answer. What certifications do you have? How many Cummins 330's QSB's have you rebuilt? What approach will you take toward solving this problem? Don't just say "good morning, beautiful weather today." Ask with the intent of finding out if you're comfortable with them.

2. Do background checks. Ask around. If it's a big job, ask for references of previous people he's done similar work for. Check criminal records. You're looking for character, integrity, and ability to do the job. Don't contract with someone for a $4000 job based on convenient location.

3. Be willing to pay for quality work. If someone can get to the job now when everyone else in the area tells you it will be three weeks, why is this person not booked? When they start criticizing their competition, why aren't they willing to just stand on their own record, but feel the need to put others down? If their prices are lower than competition, why? The market has somehow said they're not worth as much or they, in setting their prices, have said it. If you want want above average skill and honestly, then shouldn't you expect to pay above average rates?

4. Yes, do the analysis, but also listen to your inner voice, your gut feelings. If something makes you uncomfortable with someone, even if you have no idea why and can't put your finger on the reason at the moment, still listen to the discomfort. You may not know why now, but if you give them the work, you'll find out later and you'll think back, "I knew there was something I didn't like."

5. Build relationships. Find someone good and stick with them. If you have to wait sometime, wait. If someone else is a bit cheaper, don't change. The more mechanics you try, the more likely to hit some bad ones. Once you find the good one, be loyal. Also, if there's work he doesn't handle, he likely can give you a good referral to someone else of his caliber. They're reward your loyalty. Don't go just in search of someone to make one repair. Try to find someone to do all your work for a long time.

You are the customer/employer. You take control of the selection process.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:12 AM   #53
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The first 700R4 that I R&Rd took 10 hours, I got paid for 6. The next was faster. The next I broke even. After several I had the tools and expertise to do the job. And I got all those jobs. I bought the tools and developed the skills to do it. Would you be willing to pay me 10 hours to do a 6 hour job, probably not. I liked doing the same job because I could get good at it and knew how to do it, and had the tools. But, if a different job came in that I still knew how to do but didnt do on a regular basis I couldnt beat the book. The lazy guys liked salary pay, or straight wages, because they were,,,,well,,,lazy, and liked getting paid for being slow. I was a lot more driven and made way more $$$ than them. Just remember, that tech getting paid by the hour has little motivation to get you done very fast.

Very good points.

Hypothetical: You need something fixed and can't do it yourself (lack of time, expertise, tools, whatever). How comfortable are you with paying book rate?

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