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Old 06-09-2019, 11:28 AM   #1
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Shop Quotes are all over the place

As i posted in another thread, i'm getting ready to travel cross country with my boys in less than two weeks in my 04 E350 4x4 sportsmobile. i bought it last october and it has 225K miles on it.

i want to get the little things taken care of before I leave.

I'm in Las Vegas and diesel mechanics seems to charge about $125 an hour. I found a shop to replace my Heater Hose back in january for 1k. i thought it was high but i called around and get the same ballpark, i like the guy i met and gave him the work.

So a couple weeks ago i took the van back in because the front inner axle seal was leaking. he quoted me $2,000 to fix that. yup, you read that correctly. 16 hours to replace an axle seal. i took that as he was too busy to be bothered.

took it to another shop in Vegas and they are also $125 an hour. not a diesel specific shop, but they work on 4x4.

after some back and forth, it was determined that i would source and buy the parts and they would install. i've been scrambling the last few days to find parts and learned more about what's in my front end lol.

i got this quote from the shop yesterday which i think it high. he's essentially allowing 12 hours to complete this work and it seems more like a 5 hour job. here's the scope:

Tail shaft seal - $275
Front axle seals with ball joints - $819
brakes - $0 if done with ball joints
cooler line repair - $68
power steering pressure hose - $200

so that comes out to $1,362 so what i think is about 5 hours of work and that's being generous.

everybody seems so busy they can just charge what they want and if you don't want to go to them, there's plenty of others in line with their wallets open.

there seems to be a lot of mobile mechanics in Vegas on craiglist. considering trying that route.

is it because we drive these "expensive" vehicles so we already have a target on our back of having disposable income and will pay whatever they ask as we site back and drink our starbucks? which by the way, i'm writing this from starbucks lol
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:35 PM   #2
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In this case, I'd recommend letting the mechanic source parts, not bring your own. Seals are easy to damage during install, and parts are sometimes defective. If you bring your own parts, you might be able to get the part-only warranted, but not the labor, so you'd be out the same labor all over again. If the shop buys the parts, they should have a full parts and labor warranty to go with it. If not, walk away. This is where picking a shop based on nationwide warranty coverage (Ford/Napa auto care, AAA etc) can pay huge dividends later.

Those quotes above actually don't look unreasonable to me. I certainly couldn't do 4 ball joints and a power steering hose in 5 hours, much less the other work. Just doing a proper brake bleed is about an hour labor (2x 0.5 hrs).

If you go the mobile mechanic route, make sure you review their written warranty. And make sure they're licensed and bonded. If their pricing is much lower than a shop, they're probably cutting corners somewhere. Usually mobile mechanics charge a premium.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfood View Post
Tail shaft seal - $275
Front axle seals with ball joints - $819
brakes - $0 if done with ball joints
cooler line repair - $68
power steering pressure hose - $200
l
Those prices seem reasonable to me. The big number there is the axle seals, and there's actually quite a bit of stuff that has to come apart for them. Every part of that job is heavy as well. It's not a fun DIY.

The only part that seems a bit steep is the tail shaft seal, a competent person can knock that out in under an hour, I've seen it done.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:30 PM   #4
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thanks for the feedback. yeah i've been doing more research on the forums and it seems just working on these bigger vans is heavy work. ball joints arent as easy as i thought. i'm gonna go ahead and have the shop do these repairs. i told him i thought the installation of the tail shaft seal was a little high and if he could include the enlarging of the front rotor holes that would be great and he agreed.

as a side note, the AC compressor also needs to be replaced.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by urbanfood View Post
I'm in Las Vegas and diesel mechanics seems to charge about $125 an hour. I found a shop to replace my Heater Hose back in january for 1k. i thought it was high but i called around and get the same ballpark, i like the guy i met and gave him the work.

which heater hose ballparks at a grand?
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