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Old 06-18-2015, 10:35 PM   #1
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The Ongoing Quest To Find Honest Marine Repair

About a month ago I ended up paying out over $5200 for repairs to my Exhaust Manifold/Elbow. OUCH- Turns out that because they used refurbished parts, the REAL BILL should have been much less. Then this unscrupulous company tried to collect another $400 after I paid my bill, saying they forgot to bill me for a part. BUYER BEWARE

And now for the good news:
I have been losing coolant resulting in my engine alarm going off on several occasions with an engine temp over 200. Obviously both times this left me powerless for about 15 minutes on each occasion as I immediately shut down and added coolant. A few minutes later, all would go back to normal - or so I thought.

I was very worried that the loss of coolant was the result of another major engine problem which was going to cost me thousands. AT LAST, I found an honest, highly recommended local mechanic who diagnosed the problem in 2 minutes time - a faulty pressure cap on my radiator. That was it. Nothing more. WOW- how nice to have an honest guy not milk me and make the problem into something else entirely.

I'm trying my best to educate myself on basic engine and mechanical stuff. I'm a great salesman, but certainly no mechanic. Just glad there are still honest people in the world and learning each day how critical it is to get personal recommendations when it comes to finding vendors in the boating world..especially in Florida.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:59 PM   #2
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Great post and very timely. Sorry you had such a lousy experience with the first guy. I'm frequently surprised at the lack of professionalism, accountability and valid written estimates (with appropriate amendments) in the marine repair industry. Every time someone else works on my boat, I feel vulnerable for a fleecing. Fortunately, it's only happened once. I vowed to make it my last, but we all know we have very little control over much of the process.

My temps have also been creeping on my port engine. Nothing over 195, but I'm used to 180. When I drop the RPMs from 1800 to 1600, it drops to 185-190. I also found some coolant in the pan, but figured I must have over serviced it. I was preparing to drop the HXs to look for blockage, but now I will race to the store to buy 2 new caps.

Does anyone know the specs for the caps for a Perkins 4.236? Is the cap pressure spec normally stamped into the cap?
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:29 AM   #3
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A good, trustworthy, competent marine mechanic or service tech is like gold. Eric at Coeymans Landing Marina in New York for example. Now it's just too bad we live 1500 miles away in South Dakota and our boat will probably never see him again. (Hmmm, unless I fly him out here.. )
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:14 AM   #4
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This has the potential to be a very valuable thread inasmuch as honest marine mechanics can be as hard to find as rocking horse crap.
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:25 AM   #5
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I got the shaft from the marina where I bought my boat. They took 3 months to figure out why my engine was overheating. Most of that time was just me waiting for them to find the time to get to me. They finally figured it out, then tried to charge me twice for a bunch of things. Utterly useless buffoons.

The guy at my current marina had it figured out immediately. He's been spot on with his diagnoses ever since, and very fair with his prices. I trust him, and would do a lot to keep him around for a good, long while. If I could, I'd hire him to work for just me, so I wouldn't have to share him with anybody else. I'd keep him in a pot of good soil in my cockpit, and be sure to water him every few days and be sure he got lots of sunlight. He'd be very happy. Yes precious, very happy.

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Old 06-19-2015, 07:13 AM   #6
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Honest Services and Repairs are hard to come by

Boat Mechanics and service people are not hard to find in Florida. Good, honest and reliable ones are. I owned and operated a repair and service business for 20 plus years and taught Diesel, Electronics and Mechanics for 17 years at tech schools.Years ago I had a sailboat in Florida and could not get down to work on it So I hired a recommended company to do the work. The mechanic assigned did a great deal of work. I asked him to meet me at the boat to go over the repairs. The Yanmar diesel on which he said he replaced a $300. stop solenoid does not have one. I asked him to show me where it is located. He pointed and said "Down There" I ordered him off the boat and took the company to small claims court. Our trawler developed a problem and due to back surgery I could do little. We stopped in Dana at a well known repair company that is highly recommended. An older mechanic came to give estimate. He started talking about some very expensive parts and repairs to be done. A young mechanic was sent to start by draining some fluids. I talked with him and discover he had attended a college where I knew the diesel teacher. I told him some of my past. He excused himself and went to the office. When he came back he told me he did not want to lose his job but that they had planned to rip me off. A few minor repairs and we were on our way. I know personally and have used the services of two technicians one in Marathon and one in Brunswick. Both are self employed and both are skilled mechanics that are honest men. PM me if you need their information. Hope this helps!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:07 AM   #7
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Another great guy is Tom at T-Diesel in Marblehead, OH. Straight shooter, and very accurate. We were in a pinch for time. Tom got right to it, and allowed for us to order and ship in our own parts to help expedite after advising us on what to look for. He had also performed our Mechanical survey, and spent a lot of time on our boat at sea trial. Never rushed us, and very respectful. Wish he was in Muskegon....
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #8
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...Boat Mechanics and service people are not hard to find in Florida. Good, honest and reliable ones are...
We are in JAX and the area is blessed to have a couple of competent boat mechanics. One of them, Eric, who use to work at Huckins, is an absolute Boy Scout. We had a transient neighbor from up north with engine issues who I referred to Eric. When the job was done they wanted to pay me. I hear stories of the bad $100 plus per hour mechanics and cringe. Eric charges $65. Maybe that's why the guy is so busy.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Great post and very timely. Sorry you had such a lousy experience with the first guy. I'm frequently surprised at the lack of professionalism, accountability and valid written estimates (with appropriate amendments) in the marine repair industry. Every time someone else works on my boat, I feel vulnerable for a fleecing. Fortunately, it's only happened once. I vowed to make it my last, but we all know we have very little control over much of the process.

My temps have also been creeping on my port engine. Nothing over 195, but I'm used to 180. When I drop the RPMs from 1800 to 1600, it drops to 185-190. I also found some coolant in the pan, but figured I must have over serviced it. I was preparing to drop the HXs to look for blockage, but now I will race to the store to buy 2 new caps.

Does anyone know the specs for the caps for a Perkins 4.236? Is the cap pressure spec normally stamped into the cap?
Al,
I replaced mine last summer in my perkins 6.354 . I'm thinking it was 7 psi but could be wrong .I know it was a low pressure . It was a little hard to find the right fit with the right pressure , but I found one at Napa .
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:13 PM   #10
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Oh, Diogenes would be so happy with these honest mechanics - he could set his lamp down and rest for a while .. Great thread and info.
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:44 PM   #11
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It's like any other profession, good and bad. I do look for certifications from manufacturers. In our case when in South Florida we've picked one major yard for everything. We know there are less expensive places but we also know they do their work well and stand behind it and we have an established solid relationship. When away from home obviously it's more difficult, but choose carefully and not by price.

Now, as to our responsibilities as customers if we wish to build more good mechanics. That is, when we find one, we don't quibble about every nickel and dime, we remain loyal to them, we don't jump around when we find someone willing to work for less. As a society, we've not shown we're willing to pay for service. So businesses seem to look for every way to reduce service. Gas stations were once called service stations by many until they all became self-serve. Yes, I know, not in New Jersey and Oregon.

Just please make sure you show your appreciation and your loyalty to the people who treat you right, including marine repair places.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:30 PM   #12
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I just got a quote from Cummins to tighten the fuel line that feeds the port engine. Their estimate is $1,800. No typo there.
See the thread with pics here : Cummins fuel block
This was their quote, they did nothing unethical. Yes they're crazy but not unethical.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:35 PM   #13
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Wow! Did they give you any breakdown on how they cam up with that number?
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:57 PM   #14
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I've said it before, the users of TF are not the typical boating consumer.

What we see in the marine world is exactly what has been going on in the auto industry for a looonnnng time.

I lived in cities just to close to the one mechanic I had found who was actually both competent and charged reasonalbe rates.

virtually all self employed.

Even today, we drive 6 hours and leave the Jeep at a guy in Maine because even i can no longer tell from the merely incompetent or the true thieves. So when I find someone who is neither, I keep him.
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:37 PM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. Wx. "...competent and charged reasonalbe rates...virtually all self employed."
EXACTLY!!!!!! Where ARE these people. In the last 30 years of boating I can recall only 5 or 6 mechanics who I consider reasonable and competent. I've been stung so many times for big $$ I'm VERY "gun shy" about employing anybody.
Most recently while having an engine serviced, I watched the "mechanic" attempting to remove an injector line by tightening the fitting (turning the wrong way) and on top of that I was charged (initially) for parts that didn't even belong on the equipment (Cummins parts for a Lehman?). Not the "mechanics" fault but it took 3 phone calls to convince the service desk that the closest Cummins engine was 1/4 mile away and was NOT involved with my Lehman in any way. Final bill still had Cummins parts on which I paid for simply to get rid of the "professionals".
Good mechanic=worth the $$ and usually less than the $100+/hr for the....(expletive deleted).
How about a "sticky" for good, reasonable, independent mechanics in various areas? Start with Ft. Lauderdale
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:03 PM   #16
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We are in JAX and the area is blessed to have a couple of competent boat mechanics. One of them, Eric, who use to work at Huckins, is an absolute Boy Scout. We had a transient neighbor from up north with engine issues who I referred to Eric. When the job was done they wanted to pay me. I hear stories of the bad $100 plus per hour mechanics and cringe. Eric charges $65. Maybe that's why the guy is so busy.
PLEASE share Eric's number.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:18 PM   #17
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Well, we don't use independent mechanics and we still find very good service. In Fort Lauderdale there are plenty of boatyards that provide good service. So, I don't buy that they're all independent.

Now relating to Richard's post, I've never lived where there was a shortage of mechanics to choose from and I can see that as being very different. Probably much more hit or miss. I lived and boated on a lake with boat dealers and mechanics all around and easy to find out their reputations. I now live in Fort Lauderdale and it's the same way.

So, I don't share the anti yard, pro independent view but I also have never needed mechanics in areas where the choices were limited or it was difficult to find our reputations.

One thing I've also noticed is that there aren't many reviews of mechanics or boatyards available. I google auto mechanic in Fort Lauderdale and get a long list with lots of reviews. Try the same with marine mechanic, no reviews. Active Captain partially hits it as you see some mechanics in marina reviews. But perhaps another marker or layer would be nice to add as an enhancement with marine service providers, not just mechanics. But include canvas makers, upholsterers, mechanics.

I can go online and find out about service reputations of the vast majority of businesses but not marine mechanics and boatyards. The source of information there I use is professional boat captains. Just walk among them and ask.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:30 PM   #18
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for some..where they may take a 30-40 footer may be different than the 55 plus crowd.....for a lot of reasons.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:31 PM   #19
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PLEASE share Eric's number.
Eric Weatherly
New Point Marine
(904) 635-4044

New Point Marine | Jacksonville, FL 32234


Edit: JAX is unique from what I can tell. There are 6 marinas with in the "marina mile" which includes Huckins Yachts, Sadler Point Marine and Lambs which all offer full service. Competition is a good thing. This is a small local area so word travels fast and the last boating down turn seems like it took out the marginal guys. Besides Eric, there are other service providers from alternator/starter rebuilders to custom marine mattresses available in the area, all with good honest, reputations.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:37 PM   #20
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for some..where they may take a 30-40 footer may be different than the 55 plus crowd.....for a lot of reasons.
Very true, although sometimes people think places are only geared for larger boats when they aren't necessarily.
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