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Ketchamized

Service rates reasonable?

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Ketchamized
I have been unable to figure out what's wrong with my tractor, so I called around to find out rates for repair. At the closest tractor shop, I was quoted at $55.00 an hour for labor. Is this reasonable? Thanks

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SmilinSam
Its reasonable only if the mechanics are motivated and move at a fair rate of speed to get things done. Anymore shop personall seem to move like molasses in January. One has to keep in mind that shops have to pay liability insurance and this is precisely why in my area we went from dozens of individually owned general small engine shops down to 2 or three within a half hour drive in the last ten years. Only shops now are mainly full time full line dealers and the wait for repair work is an average of 3-4 weeks on machines you didnt buy from them, 2 weeks on stuff you did buy from them. Busy Busy.

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ehertzfeld
No clue about here. I'm too cheep to pay some one. Plus isn't that one reason for joining this club? I have found that a lot of the members here are some of the best mechanics around. And their knowledge only cost $10 a year!:D Now that is my kind of deal!!!!!:D:D:D Elon

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Simplicity314
Fourth...I refuse to pay a small engine shop the same rate as an auto mechanic gets for working on something far more complicated than a one banger. I've worked on them. I'd be embarassed to ask that much, insurance or not. If you need it up and running pay it, then keep an eye out for home made signs for small engine repair. You can always put a wanted classified ad in you local paper for a shade tree mechanic.

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Ketchamized
Thanks guys for the input. :) Shanon, Here's what's wrong with my tractor: 1) It keeps shorting, and I have spent a week trying to figure out where it's shorting. The problems were much worse when I got it, but it's much better thanks to the excellent advice from guys here. But, after the engine is running for a few seconds, the fuse blows and the wire gets really hot. 2) I have a new coil I'd like to install. But I don't have that much time or patience to install it. (In order to do this, I have to remove the hydraulic wheel, belt, probably have to remove the pump too, have to remove the spinning wheel, remove the engine, disconnect the wiring, and etc. Between teaching and taking care of my mother, I have to watch our son. 3) Want to install an electronic ignition module. While I can do this myself, I don't want to connect it while something's shorting out in my electrical system. 4) The vari-shift needs to be adjusted. While I can do this myself, a belt costs $60- and I already killed a brand new belt just by testing it. I really can't afford to keep killing $60 dollar belts while in the proccess of adjusting the vari-shift. Mainly, I'd do all the work myself, but the short in the system is something I can't solve. So, I figure while I'm sending my tractor down to get that fixed, I'll just save myself the labor and have someone fix it all. I know, it sounds conceited, but with my schedule, I just barely have the time or the energy. When I'm in between it all, I take a few cherished moments for myself daily, and I spend it on this computer and reading this forum. I did offer an excellent deal for whoever here would like to come down here and fix my tractor with my assistance (in the classifieds section). But, nobody took me on it. So, to the garage it goes.

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Guest
Erick, it was a noble advertisement you put in. If I had the time, I'd taken you up on it. I'm surprised no one in the club responded. Oh well. Personally, I would value anyone elses time and especially a mechanic. I have so little time for this hobby these days.

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Ketchamized
Michael, I second that. :) I'm sure the timing isn't that good too... Many guys here are picking up tractors that people are getting rid of, due to the weather. So, I can imagine their time is valuable to them. :) I agree, that a good mechanic and someone's else time is valuable. It's the very reason why I would do what I could to accomodiate anyone- even cook dinner for em. Not giving up just yet, though... Just got a PM from a member, and he offered some repair manuals on PDF file, so will give it another shot myself before giving up. I do really want to learn and understand my B-210 inside and out. You top-of-the-line guys in this club and your advices are what keeps me going... Whenever I think I'm about to give up, someone comes up with something new to check on.

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SmilinSam
I just heard from the dealer shop on our ConQuest that was eating regulators. They finally found a dead short where an obscure wire was rubbing the frame and had been bared and was grouding out intermittently. Had I not taken it to them it would likely still be sitting here immobile.

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Ketchamized
SmilinSam, Ah, so a short would kill a voltage regulator. I wonder if there's something that's still shorting out in my wiring somewhere and it's killing my regulator. Thanks for the heads up. The only place I can't see is the area where the wiring has been taped together. Sounds like it's time for me to take that tape off and see if anything's been rubbing inside or was already shorted when the previous owner taped it together. Ironpony, I agree with that logic 100%. Not only that, but you get a guarantee that the end results will be desireable. Simplicity 314, It's very possible that I had done some damage to my voltage regulator now that I think of it. I had a brand new voltage regulator on the tractor. But it was already dead by the time I got it. (No matter what I did, the ammeter needle went to the extreme left. It only stopped when I installed my other voltage regulator from the other tractor, that it stopped doing that... Temporarily at least. I wonder if this short is very lightly touching each other, causing a slow and hot short, rather than a quick one. The voltage regulator did smoke temporarily. So... Now that I've got to get a new voltage regulator... It would be wise for me to just bring it to the garage and have them deal with the problem. Voltage regulators run from 35 bucks to 70 bucks. It'd be a very expensive proposition if I were to continue to hit and miss.

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ZippoVarga
60 bucks per belt and 35-70 for a regulator. Plus ridding your self of the annoying illusive short once and for all....priceless. sticker shock after the fact.....that all depends on your perspective and wallet. I often find that if I do not have the answer to a question that the service techs are usually more than willing to assist with a simple fix rather than have to go pick the unit up, (load and unload twice) and perform the work for 15 minutes of labor time. But if they're due to get a couple hours labor by the books and know they can do the job in less time, they'll jump on the opportunity to service your unit. Like another has said, there's the peace of mind involved. I wish you luck Erick.

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HubbardRA
I would take my tractor to a good mechanic, if I could just find one like Al. Most of the ones in this area know much less than I do about tractors. In recent years, every time I decide to let someone else fix one of my machines, they end up messing up more things than they fix. I usually only find this out after I have paid them nearly double what their original estimate was. I only know one place that has a parts guy who can get you a part without the tractor's entire history. I get very tired of going into these places and asking for something like a head gasket for a Kohler K301, and having the guy reply with "You need to give me the model, type, and serial numbers from the tractor it is in." Then I have to explain to them that they should start with the Kohler engine number and not a tractor number and walk them thru the process till they find the right part. Most of these guys don't seem to learn anything nowadays, they just go thru the motions, and make the same mistakes over and over.

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D-17_Dave
Since spending Many hrs working on things myself, when it comes to paying a labor charge for someone's service, I'll gladly pay whatever their rate is. Just as I exspect to get paid my rate at the end of a repair. Especially if it's a specialty repair where they have tinkered with it till they ran out of options and called me. I do however exspect the repair to by satisfactory with no "talking time" sitting around the soda machine involved. I do however tend to dicker when it comes to parts prices. I refuse to get "stuck" paying inflated prices for wholegoods while on the road. If a person thinks his time in labor for a repiar is that deserving then so be it. That's how he makes a liveing. Parts are another thing.

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portuncia
Yes if it is a good shop and you haven't the time then it is worth every penny. I bought an old Husqvarna chain saw awhile back and it ran great until it sat for a few weeks, go to start it up and it run coughs and sputters then acted like it didn't want to go. Check spark and all the usual, even pulled the carb and cleaned it. Finally just didn't want to work on it so I took it to a shop, 45 minutes to clean and put the carb back and supposedly fired up, they adjusted the hi/lo and billed me. I got it home, it would start but died evertime I put it to the wood. I sat there for 45 minutes fine tweaking the the adjustments now it runs like a champ, probably got charged $45 to just put it back together. That is one small shop I won't be going back to again since I ended up doing most of the work, oh well. I doubt if they even cleaned the carb as that had been done when I gave it to them. Good knowledgeable help is hard to find and when you do they are worth what they get.

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Ketchamized
portunica and others, Yeah, I've heard horror stories pertaining to car shops too. I guess the same story applies to tractor shops, motorcycle shops, bus shops, and etc. In the past, I have noticed that it helps when you talk with the mechanic and detail on what's wrong- that would usually scare them, knowing that you know your machine. So, having that in mind, when I bring my tractor into the shop, I'll make it clear on what I want fixed first, and to have them stop at 2 hours. At that point, I will personally visit the shop and find out how much work has been done. If they're not anywhere close to being finished, or the quality is not as good as I expect, it'll be when I'm taking out my tractor. Here's how I look at it- a brand new tractor would cost me $2,000.00-$3,000.00 for a tractor that is in my Allis' league, or at least, close to it. So, I wouldn't mind paying $500 or less altogether on the repairs. But of course, if the garage tells me it'll take 2-3 hours and cost $55.00 an hour, I EXPECT it to be like that. In fact, I'll tell them to stop at 2 hours, and that I'll be coming in at that point to inspect the work. At any rate, I'm going to drop off my tractor at the shop, probably this Friday. So I will keep you guys updated on its progress.

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lboy1971
I get asked by alot of locals to fix their riders and other small engines but I keep telling them I don't work on other peoples stuff. I have no formal training in engine repair,other than growing up on a farm with old tractors, and fix all my own stuff by reading manuals or going online. Eventually I get things fixed and my neighbors see that so that's why they keep asking. But most of the people around here are cheap like me so I know trying to get them to even pay $10 an hour would be like pulling teeth let alone paying for new parts from a dealer which is where I'd have to get them anyway. So I just send them to a couple small engine shops I know and let them deal with the headaches.

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BrianP
I consider rates reasonable if I get what I pay for. Example 1: Took my F-250 to a ASE certified mechanic to fix a carburetor problem. Like most, I had no time to fool with it and had gotten good "word-of-mouth" feedback. I paid my bill and went home. Next day the problem still existed, I popped the hood and how do you think the "professionals" adjusted the choke? Did they adjust the choke rod? Naw, too easy, they actually bent the choke plate in a vise! Gee, nice way to ruin a $500 or so Holley carb. Went back, vented my opinions of the mechanic and questioned his ancestory in a loud manner and left, never to return. Went home, dismantled carb, straightened choke plate on my anvil, re-assembled carb and was back in business. Example 2: My local Simplicity dealer had to rebuild the tranny in my 3410, because, once again, time was not on my side. Now to his credit, he did eliminate the rear axle problem, but to this day if I want to push the tractor (with it in neutral) both rear wheels slide along the floor instead of rolling. If I push the clutch down slightly it will roll, but in that odd position, I have no leverage to push. So the dealer fixed the initial problem, but gave me one back that I didn't ask for in the first place. That's why I joined this club and have manuals and discussion topics printed out all over the place. I use my dealer now for ordering parts. As the old adage says...if you want a job done right, you better do it yourself. Just a couple of experiences to share.

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jdm
I look at it like this. I just got my truck back from the local GM dealer. I had not the time nor the inclination (or possibly the ability) to fix it. I needed it, therefore, money well spent. I am fortunate with my tractors of having more than one for any certain job. That being the case, I have the luxury of waiting until I have the time, knowledge, and the locating of parts to fix it.It all depends on your circumstances as to whether or not to take it to the shop. I'm guessing you need you your tractor now.

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