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Old 12-11-2018, 04:25 PM
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WaltNYC WaltNYC is offline
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My starter motor decided to break on Thanksgiving while we visited family in NJ.

I live in NYC and as you can imagine, I have no place to park a disabled car. I would have done the job myself otherwise. Emergency repairs are big pain for city dwellers. No shade trees available to jobs which take more than a couple of hours or to park under for a couple of days. Logistics are bitch. On top of that, I don't have another starter handy and it was cold... below 20 degrees outside.

So I remembered that there was a Rover independent shop in north New Jersey just about 10 miles from where my car sat. I look on the handy "mechanics in your area thread" in the "General info" section of this site and I arranged a tow truck to pick up and drop off the truck at vinne Tarrone's shop, "Rover Specialist" in Garfield, NJ. vinnie was a pleasure to deal with on the phone and all went smoothly. So far.

I'm in no rush. I don't use the truck very often during the week. No pressure at all to turn this around quickly. Of course every shop rightfully wants to move cars along and get them off the lot.

I was pleasantly surprised when Vinnie called me on Monday morning to confirm that the starter had crapped out. He had a replacement in stock, the truck was on the lift, and could do the work immediately.

"Great," I said, "how much will it cost?".

Here's where it goes all wrong.

"$625 (with tax),"
"Wow, Vinnie, I'm surprised. How much does the starter cost?"
"The starter is $275"
"OK, how many hours do you need to do the job?"
"Two hours"
"Wow, $300 labor is basically what I'd expect at the dealer"
"Well if you want the work to be done right, that is what it costs"
"Yeah, but Vinnie, I want indy shops like yours to make money so that they remain in business, but I also expect a less expensive experience than the dealership" given your lower overhead.
"If you want to tow the car out of here I can take it off the lift, I won't charge you for the diagnosis, but it needs to be out of here today or I'll charge you storage"
"The labor operations time manual only calls for 0.7 hours"
"That was in 1997 when they used to have good mechanics working on these cars"
"so you're not a good mechanic?"
"Do you want me to to the job or not"

We then negotiate a small discount for cash payment, after he tells me he won't take a credit card.

This guy is going to run himself out of business with this attitude, and I'm glad to help. At the end of the day it was just a couple of hundred dollars so I'm not going to be hurting. The real issue is his blatant abuse of an "out of towner"

I paid, picked up the car and will never go back.

He did take the time to install his own license plate frames on both the front and rear of the car. I guess he charged me for them. Needless to say they are gone now.

This is a warning about this shop.

ROVER SPECIALIST, in Garfield, New Jersey is not an independent shop that I can support and will never go back. I recommend that all steer clear of the place and Vinnie Tarrone unless you are willing to pay a premium.
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2018, 04:35 PM
proper4wd proper4wd is offline
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to be honest, he is probably equally happy to not have you as a customer any longer by the sound of it.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:08 PM
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kade kade is offline
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yeah Walt, you shoulda just paid it no questions asked. Then left a good Christmas tip for his inconvenience.

Can someone explain the book hours to me? Seems like they normally quote the book and it doesn’t normally take as long as the book says- or in this case the book says too little so they just make up a number?
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:14 PM
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The guy had you over a barrel and he knew it. It's Jersey, waddya expect?
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  #5  
Old 12-11-2018, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kade View Post
or in this case the book says too little
45 min really too little?

I haven't done it in a while and only on trucks with some mild lift, but I recall it being quick and easy, especially with a cordless ratchet.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:22 PM
p m p m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kade View Post
Can someone explain the book hours to me? Seems like they normally quote the book and it doesn?t normally take as long as the book says- or in this case the book says too little so they just make up a number?
The book most frequently gives a reasonable time for a job, and every shop I know quotes the book.
However... to give you an idea - if you mangle the head of the top Allen bolt holding a starter (entire possible on a rust-belt truck), you're looking into removal of the exhaust manifold. Likely the shop owner knew that, but instead of offering a reasonable price breakdown, elected to pad the estimate and be rude about it.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkytoe69 View Post
45 min really too little?

I haven't done it in a while and only on trucks with some mild lift, but I recall it being quick and easy, especially with a cordless ratchet.
Was saying that the mechanic might would think that .7 is too little time or that he wouldn?t make any money on it.

I really Was curious of the book... do they all use it or what?
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:26 PM
proper4wd proper4wd is offline
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from the time someone touched that truck, pushed it in the shop, properly diagnosed a bad starter, replaced it, and verified the repair, could definitely be 2 hours. maybe padded a little but that is typical. dealer rate is closer to $200/hr, they would charge you at least 2 hours and a new genuine dealer starter is probably about $600. just saying. he is providing a cheaper than dealer alternative. it just isnt as cheap as you want it to be.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p m View Post
The book most frequently gives a reasonable time for a job, and every shop I know quotes the book.
However... to give you an idea - if you mangle the head of the top Allen bolt holding a starter (entire possible on a rust-belt truck), you're looking into removal of the exhaust manifold. Likely the shop owner knew that, but instead of offering a reasonable price breakdown, elected to pad the estimate and be rude about it.
Gotcha thanks
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:30 PM
p m p m is offline
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from the time someone touched that truck, pushed it in the shop, properly diagnosed a bad starter, replaced it, and verified the repair, could definitely be 2 hours.
Seriously?
Two hours, assuming the bolts and nuts came off nicely? What are you going to do to spend two hours diagnosing a starter? How long does it take to verify the repair - all of two seconds?
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:50 PM
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The last time I took my D2 to the dealer,the rate was just over $100 an hour. Similar to every indy shop in the area. I havent paid for any repairs in a long time so cant say what the current rate is. But $200/hr seems high even for the dealership.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2018, 06:05 PM
proper4wd proper4wd is offline
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not in NYC.

SOP at almost any shop is to charge 1 hour for diagnosis, and then repair time on top of that.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:09 PM
proper4wd proper4wd is offline
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i also want to point out, that he gave you a fair chance to take your business elsewhere without incurring any cost.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proper4wd View Post
not in NYC.

SOP at almost any shop is to charge 1 hour for diagnosis, and then repair time on top of that.
I would agree. That is the case in most shops (especially import specialty shops). I have two different shops I use for my trucks. If it's something simple (like a starter), I bring it to the local grease repair shop. If it's more Rover specific, I bring it to the import specialist.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:11 PM
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People complain about the price at a mechanic shop, I see it every day. The overhead is a lot more than people think for a small indy shop, try health insurance for four to seven mechanics and their families. If a shop wants to have mechanics and not oil changers they have to pay them to keep them. I'm not saying shops don't make money, but you can call most shops and ask for a estimate and if the service writer is good they will be close to the final price. I'm not bashing you but do you question the plumber, electrician, carpenter about their price?
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:54 PM
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How did you come up with .7 for a starter? I think he was reasonable. Good thing you can fix this shit yourself.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2018, 09:56 PM
discostew discostew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake_Bueller View Post
I would agree. That is the case in most shops (especially import specialty shops). I have two different shops I use for my trucks. If it's something simple (like a starter), I bring it to the local grease repair shop. If it's more Rover specific, I bring it to the import specialist.
Even a starter motor can go to shit on these trucks. I've seen guys take exhaust manifolds off to get a fucked up started bolt.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:39 PM
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Seriously?
Two hours, assuming the bolts and nuts came off nicely? What are you going to do to spend two hours diagnosing a starter? How long does it take to verify the repair - all of two seconds?
Pretty much any shop charges an hour for diagnosis. It is stupid that they call it an hour and not just a diagnostic fee. The hour diagnostic fee covers the cost of diagnostic equipment and a Topix subscription. Some vehicles take 5 minutes to diagnose, some take longer. Most of the time the customer is only charged the 1 hour diagnostic fee.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:20 AM
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Common maintenance practices does play a part in this for safety by the mechanic. Sometimes it's not that simple as R2 a part. It takes time and money.
Say the vehicle owner has burnt electrical wiring at the starter, the owner can't just tell the garage to replace the starter and that's it. The mechanic/technician has to take time to troubleshoot/diagnose why & how the cause of the problem and what is needed to correct the problem so the it doesn't happen again.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:24 AM
discostew discostew is offline
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Seriously?
Two hours, assuming the bolts and nuts came off nicely? What are you going to do to spend two hours diagnosing a starter? How long does it take to verify the repair - all of two seconds?
Well, it's likely he mis diagnosed the starter. Most times on these cars its a poor ground connection at the alternator bracket. Or at the battery. 1 hour is standard diagnostic time.

The easy answer is fix it yourself. I'm sure the guy doesn't want to be involved in this 18 year old piece of shit anyway. Nobody does.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:25 AM
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My original starter died three years ago while I was in front of a fire hydrant (always inconvenient) so I had it towed to the dealership in Manhattan. 1.5 hours of labor @ $160 which I thought was quite reasonable to replace the starter and drop in a new battery. The cherry on top was that they allowed me to supply the starter motor. That is pretty darn good service.

If indy shops can't compete, they will be dead. That is the message. As I wrote, I WANT indy shops to be able to survive and I want to support them (I love my 'regular' indy Rover shop). But if the dealer is the same price or less, why wouldn't I go to the dealer?

He called me when it was up on the lift. I live in the rustbelt but my truck is CLEAN (21 years of small oil leaks in addition to being a garage queen keeps the rust away). No rust underneath so he knew what he was looking at and the risks of having trouble when he quoted me a price.

He did give me the opportunity to take it away. Clearly the towing would have made the situation more expensive so I bit the bullet and remained polite.

I'm and educated consumer. I know what stuff costs and made that clear. He stuck to his pricing and lost a potential customer for life and lost whatever referrals I might have made to his shop. Everyone makes their own decisions.

Don't even get me started on the $125 (retail) starter for which he charged me $275. (URO: 9015A05 or NAD101490)
https://www.amazon.com/URO-Parts-NAD.../dp/B0066T3SVM

FYI, the labor operations time manual is in the link in my signature.
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1997 Discovery I SE - 160k miles

RAVE in pdf:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0By...FdyX1VQMS1iN00
Discovery I exploded parts diagrams....
http://www.allbrit.de/NAV.cfm?SPRACHE=EN&PAGE=491338
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:29 AM
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I think many of us can point to a time where we were in a place that isn't our normal repair hunting ground where we know the repair shops we can go to. Our vehicles are down, in the only shop around that knows their way around these trucks. Without the repair the truck and ourselves are going nowhere.

Yes the vehicle was repaired but we cannot but help feel we got taken by a cost of the repair.

Its the same feeling you get after you cut a deal on a car then think you could have gotten a better deal.

Move on.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jymmiejamz View Post
Pretty much any shop charges an hour for diagnosis. It is stupid that they call it an hour and not just a diagnostic fee. The hour diagnostic fee covers the cost of diagnostic equipment and a Topix subscription. Some vehicles take 5 minutes to diagnose, some take longer. Most of the time the customer is only charged the 1 hour diagnostic fee.
I've had shops tell me that if they hook up their computer, it's an hour charge, even if it takes 5 min to get the code/diagnose. When you look at the cost of computer licenses for each vehicle make/model, it makes sense.

That said, $200/hr for an indy shop is ridiculous, unless is building a car for NASCAR. I'm glad I live in Eastbumblefuck, TN (and AL) where mechanics are ~$75/hr.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:20 AM
proper4wd proper4wd is offline
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walt, at the end of the day you're a miserable customer and i can only imagine what your service providers would say about you given the chance. your parking in front of a fire hydrant rounds out the image. entitled.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:57 AM
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Whatever proper4wd. You’ve been sniping at me for two weeeks. Buzz off.
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1997 Discovery I SE - 160k miles

RAVE in pdf:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0By...FdyX1VQMS1iN00
Discovery I exploded parts diagrams....
http://www.allbrit.de/NAV.cfm?SPRACHE=EN&PAGE=491338
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