Like others on thislist, I’ve successfully rebuilt a number of engines, although I have had do-overs
to correct mistakes also.
I think it is a hard way to make a living. I spend a lot more time than I expect to and I always think about the guys who make a living doing this and what they would do to keep from losing money. Sometimes things can happen which are unexpected and not included in the estimate-like broken bolts, seized bolts, stripped threaded holes in the head etc. I suspect the mistake in your case was not reviewing the estimated costs at completion periodically. I would not want a mechanic to try to beat time to protect his profit, but I would expect him to let me know about cost impacts he runs across.
I also work with a local body shop, in business over 40 years. We have much mutual trust. I have had them do bodywork and paint a car and I just pay the bill knowing it will be honest but likely more than I would have thought. Their workers are all on a time clock, with a separate number for each customers car. If there is no work (mostly on Fridays while the deliver completed cars and bring in new work) they send workers home UNLESS they have cars like mine in to work on When my job is over, the charges are accumulated and I pay the bill. That is the fairest way I know of doing work on old cars, but requires mutual trust. A lot in fact! They will not work for some people because they don’t have to and don’t want to because of attitude.
In my case, it works out very well though.
He assembled and tuned it, but we brought it to him out of the car, and will put it back in ourselves.
"Kindness to animals may be the best measure of a person's character."
Other than the carbs and rams and maybe a cam. I don’t believe there is much that is “abnormal” about rebuilding a 413 or any other big block Chrysler
Unless you “go nuts” with a bunch of “special” speed stuff.
But that’s just me
Total for parts and machine work on my F rebuild were a heck of a lot less than that!
Of course we reassembled it and installed it ourselves
Did this guy install the engine and tune it also for that price?
Sorry, I meant to reference Shannon's last reply, not Ron's, in my last comment.
On Sun, Mar 27, 2016 at 8:24 PM, Steve Albu <saforwardlook@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Given your last reply above, Ron, then it seems things worked out, but understandably, he could have done a better job explaining how the pricing worked. His bad.
But you also appreciate the quality of his work and see the price as reasonable after all is said and done. Good for you. I think you made all the right decisions in trying to resolve this. Guys like him are a jewel in our hobby, and we need to be good to them to be sure they will still do this kind of work. Sadly, the guys doing this kind of quality work are all but disappearing. They have to work hard and sweat a lot to earn their income, while others play the stock market or are in the hedge funds business pushing paper around and making bets, getting relatively easy money and have to pay little in taxes. In other words, these good car guys are working "hard" for their money while the "smart" money makers are raking in the profits from thier ventures. Things need to change.
On Sun, Mar 27, 2016 at 4:20 PM, Shannon LabLoverDC@xxxxxxx [Chrysler300] <Chrysler300-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
As far as getting the "estimate" in writing, in a sense, we did. He gave us his "street/strip" engine flyer, said this is what he does for $3500, we told him that was what we wanted, gave him $2500 to get started (and another $2000 along the way), and thought we were all on the same page. That's what made it so frustrating--it was never set up as a time and materials type of job. It turned out he could do a "normal" engine for that, but apparently not ours. For ours, without telling us, we were sort of switched to the "open checkbook" rebuild. Probably we should have used some "official" estimating form, which would hold up in court, but we're more handshake type of people. For me, life's to short to settle squabbles like this in court, regardless of who's right.
Anyway, as I said, it's all OK. If I had it to do all over again, I would still use him. And, I would recommend him, perhaps with an explanation of his "style." We got a great engine, paid much more than we thought we were going to have to pay, but I'm still happy with the job, and don't think the amount was unfair. As I said, even though I tried my best to get him to compromise on the price based on a legitimate misunderstanding, when he wouldn't, we still paid the full bill, shook hands and parted as friends.
Incidentally, out of curiosity I asked him what the warranty was. He said, "lifetime." I chuckled, but he said he was positive we would never have a problem with that motor, but if we did, just bring it back and he would take care of it. He asked if we wanted something in writing, but I said I would prefer his word, and we shook on that as well. As I said, we're sort of old school, and I believe if we should have a problem, whenever, he would make it right.
"Kindness to animals may be the best measure of a person's character."
For custom work like rebuilding an engine, it comes down to time and materials. The shop has an excellent reputation and to expect a first class rebuild for 3500 is unrealistic.
It probably would not have been a good idea to have your 'big guy' boyfriend just drive off without paying. The shop owner would have reported it as a theft and y'all would have had the police at your door in no time.
Lesson learned: Next time get the quote in writing, including an itemized list of what the guy will do and what will cost extra.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2016 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Chrysler300] Advice on engine repair
I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who responded and provide an update re this thread.
This is sort of a "good news/bad news" story. The good news is that the engine started at the touch of a button, ran unbelievably smoothly and sounded GREAT. I really do believe I got a first class, probably better than new motor for the F. And that was my ultimate objective.
The bad news is that the guy would not lower his price even a little bit. The promised price was $3500, and the parts totaled $3000, leaving an unexpected $3000 due on his bill. "Add-ons" included mounting the engine on a stand so we could hear it run (which we thought was included but the "quote" did not specifically state that) and rebuilding and adjusting the carburetors. His explanation for the the rest is that this is a very complicated engine, and required many extra hours which he did not plan on. He insisted there was no way he could ever have done all that he did for the $3500.
In that regard, he was probably right. In my mind, the issue wasn't the quality of the work or a fair price for it. If he had initially said, "look, I'm an expert and can build you the best, most reliable engine out there, but it's going to cost you $9500," I probably would have agreed. I do think the guy does excellent work. But my point was that he severely mis-quoted the price, and he should eat at least a portion of that.
However, he would not budge an inch, insisting he was losing a lot even at the price he billed. In the end, I only had two choices at the time. When we discussed the amount due, the engine was strapped in, and we were ready to roll. One choice would have been to give him a compromise amount which I thought was fair, get into our truck, and leave. My boyfriend is a huge guy, and there is no way the guy (who is handicapped, BTW) could have stopped us. Just as there is no paper trail to support a lawsuit (which I had already decided against anyway), there would be nothing to show we authorized any work, plus we had cash receipts showing we had already paid more than the estimate, so a successful mechanics lien would be highly improbable.
But we just don't do business that way. Despite the mis-quote on the price, I believe the guy did actually put in all the hours he said, did a good job, and the result was worth his price. Looking around, he's not getting rich from his shop, which is in the middle of nowhere and also where he lives. The bottom line, at least for me, is that he's simply very poor at business communication. He truly believed he was being fair, even more than fair, with us, and was very proud at the way the engine turned out. So, we paid him the full amount, shook hands, and departed friends.
In the end, to me it's not worth becoming embittered by the whole experience. I got an excellent engine for a price I was willing to pay, so the fact that it was not as good a deal as I thought it was going to be isn't so important.
Again, thanks to all who responded.
The engine builder you chose has a very good reputation. The description of machine work done is very detailed, and would be the same as that done by my local Mopar engine builder. From what I see, the price quoted was labor only, and was quite a deal. I think the parts price may be a little high, but 413 pistons are pretty expensive. It sounds like a misunderstanding between you both that can probably be worked out when you meet in person.
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2016 1:21 PM
Subject: [Chrysler300] Advice on engine repair
I'm afraid I already know the answer here, but I'm going to ask the group for any opinions which might help.
Quite some time ago, we took our motor to a reputed old Mopar engine rebuilding specialist/machine shop for a complete and thorough rebuild. From what we could tell at the time, he had excellent credentials, was reputable, and knew what he was doing. The project was delayed initially when we discovered the engine which came with the car (300F) was not the correct year, but with kind help from Scott Tozzi and Don Verity, we managed to secure a proper, date correct engine. Now, finally, the motor is supposed to be finished, and ready to pick up.
The problem we are having is with the bill (although we don't know how the engine runs yet). We were initially quoted $3500 plus parts for a very thorough rebuild. Unfortunately, we did not get a written estimate per se, but instead he gave us a printed flyer he had which described his process and the price in great detail. It was one and a half full pages, single spaced, VERY detailed, described the whole procedure, and even discussed tolerances, etc.. Basically, it's about all you can do to a normal engine, at least from my knowledge. We didn't want any high performance mods--just a stock, very reliable motor. We did say we were OK with minor modifications to enable running on unleaded gas or to create significant improvements in reliability.
So far, we've given him $4500, and thought we were nearly paid up, but today he said the motor is ready for pickup, and he wants another $5000! We haven't seen the parts bill (I know he put in pistons, and maybe a cam, which we didn't want), but we were floored. The initial discussion started to go south over the phone, so we thought it better to go there in person to deal with it, which we plan to do on Friday. His explanation so far is that the $3500 was a special he was running at the time, but it took a lot longer than what he thought, so this is his bill.
My belief at this point is that we are getting totally ripped off, but I don't see any other choice but to pay his price and get our motor back. I suppose we would have a weak case in small claims court for the overage (I'm guessing about $3500-4000, depending on the parts cost), but otherwise I'm at a loss.
Does anyone have any better ideas than paying the "ransom?"
As an aside, can anyone tell me what a complete rebuild on a 413 from a 300F should cost? I guess if the going rate was about $9K, I wouldn't feel as bad, but that seems awfully high to me for a normal performance motor.
Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.
Posted by: Michael Moore <mmoore8425@xxxxxxx>
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