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Old 03-24-2002, 12:53 PM
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pmizell pmizell is offline
Benz Zealot
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
Great discussion here --

Seems like the trend here is going against the hard and fast, set-in-stone book rates for jobs that obviously don't take as long as published.

As an example I'll use a head gasket job on a 103 engine. I'd say the typical or average labor charge for this task is $750, so that's about 10 hrs book (or more) to remove and replace head.

I myself have now done this job twice. The first time it took me 2 full days to remove and replace. Second time, 6 hours total -- and this is with rudimentary tools and no lift. (note-- this is with me diagnosing the problem and asking a shop what their labor charge is for R&R'ing the head)

-- drain radiator, block; remove shroud, fan clutch, serp belt (15 minutes)
-- remove valve cover and air filter housing (10 minutes)
-- remove distributor, cap, wires, driver, protective cover (15 minutes)
-- remove front cover (4 bolts) and knock off with rubber hammer (5 minutes)
-- set crank to TDC (2-3 minutes)
-- remove chain tensioner plug (tricky if you don't have the correct tools (30 minutes), about 10 minutes with right tools
-- mark cam timing on sprocket (1 min)
-- pull slide rail bolt (5 minutes)
-- remove intake manifold bolts, cold start valve (7 I think), tough to do with a regular 13mm box wrench (45 minutes) 15 minutes with a small ratchet or better tool (small area to work in)
-- remove exhaust manifold (1 hour) just because you need to get underneath car, with lift 20 mins tops
-- bust off head bolts (10 minutes)
-- remove tranny dipstick bolt and 2 others on other side (10 mins)

pull head off

This is just an illustration and my personal experience. I have only done it twice, and I already feel like a pro. I'm sure a tech that has done this job dozens of time could have the head off in an hour and a half or less. YES this is a major job and it ooohs and aaahs the average customer when told what needs to be done -- but this is NOT a 10 hour job and shouldn't be charged as such.

Techs and customers both have valid arguments regarding these book times -- but it is jobs like the one I just described that has no basis whatever, for a preset 10hr or more book rate. It is pure profit and shops lather at the mouth I'm sure when they see these come in.

just my .02

~Paul

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'91 300E, 208k miles
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