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John Jones

Mechanic Advice

25 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I would be grateful if someone could give me some advice about my car. I noticed a patch of oil on the drive so I took it to my mechanics. They had a look and say that the crankshaft seal is caput. They can't fit me in until Friday, but say it is okay to drive until then because it is not a heavy leak.

Now, I have a bit of a problem with the mechanic. I asked how much it would cost. "Oh, I don't know." I asked how many hours it would take and he wouldn't say. I asked if we are talking megabucks and he said "No," but wouldn't be any more accurate than that.

When the car last went in as a tow-away (the clutch went) he rang me up and told me what the cost would be before fixing it. Is he being secretive this time because the car is driveable, so I could ring around different garages to find the best price? I am going to press him on the price anyway as I have lost my bankcard- I need to know how much cash to take.

So, my questions are :

1. How many hour's labour would be reasonable for this job?

2. What kind of price is the part?

3. Is it possible that the senior mechanic can't tell me what the price is, ie. could there be unexpected problems?

4. Is the car okay to drive 150-200 miles before Friday? I need the car for work but don't want to knacker the gearbox.

Thanks is advance,

JJ

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Their should be no Reason why he can't give u a price

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General rule of thumb, if the garage won't quote you a price then find another garage.

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Righto, thanks.

I shall be ringing round other garages on Monday.

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Which crankshaft seal is it? The timing belt end or gearbox end?

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I don't know- does it make a big difference to the complexity of the job?

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Yes, if it's the timing end you will be best to purchase a new timing belt and tensioner and have it fitted at the same time - old one is coming off anyway.

If its the gearbox end then the gearbox, clutch and flywheel need to be removed.

Not sure what the labour times for your car will be for each tho

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As already stated, find yourself another garage. Going in blind without a quote is always asking for trouble, as once its done, you almost have to pay, no matter what price he gives you

There was an article recentlly on money saving expert, stating that taking your car to a council depot garage can be a wise move, as they are responsible for the maintiance on your local police cars and ambulances etc. Therefore, there is no insentive to overcharge you, or to 'create faults' that don't need fixing. See if there is one in your area.

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My local garage charges £40 per hour. They know what they are doing, though and do not rip you off. I recently got the timing belt, tensioner and aux. belt fitted and he only charged me for two hours labour. I gave him a £30 bung on top of that and supplied the Gates' kit and aux. belt myself. Total cost including the parts was £170. I thought this was reasonable.

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The smartest way to approach this is to phone around as many garages as you can, then take the lowest quote you have to that garage and tell them either to match it or you'll have it done elsewhere.

They shouldn't be starting work on your car without fully informing you of how much it's going to cost.

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Hi think your looking at 2.5 to 3 hrs if its gearbox side i,d say about 2 hrs timing belt side belt has to come off to do that side so might as well have it replaced will be covered in oiil anyways which even if cleaned will deteriate it crank seals are easy its what you have to do to get at them he wont give you a price as they might well suggest the above or new clutch if there doing the other end which its not as daft as it apopears if find to be worn kill to birds with one stone as to speak .

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From what you've said I suspect it is the gearbox end as the fella mentioned taking bits out... so I'm guessing a 3 hour(ish) job. A new clutch and cylinder was fitted a couple of months ago, so I don't want that doing again.

Still, thanks for your replies- I feel a little better informed for when I face the garages tomorrow.

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Ok, I just rang round some garages and got some frightening quotes. I then rang my garage back prepared for a fight and he said, "No, it's not the crank shaft seal, it's the drive shaft seal."

He reckons the cost will be £90 max.

Tank de lard.

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Ok, I just rang round some garages and got some frightening quotes. I then rang my garage back prepared for a fight and he said, "No, it's not the crank shaft seal, it's the drive shaft seal."

He reckons the cost will be £90 max.

Tank de lard.

So why did he say crankshaft seal originally :S :S? Or did you just mishear first time around :P?

Good your happy with the price, but you could probably half that if you bought the part and gave it a go yourself - it's not the EASIEST of jobs (it's pretty easy, but not as easy as say, changing an air filter), but for that kind of repair the Haynes manual instructions are very good, very clear, and even a relative novice could make a good go of it.

For the seal itself, you're talking £10 max. Another £10 for a used Haynes manual, and if you absolutely don't know anybody with tools, probably about £25-30 on the necessary ones from Halfords or something. Will probably take you twice or three times as long as a mechanic would, but if you're willing to persevere, learn and make a go of it, you'll save quite a few pennies!

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I done a driveshaft seal a few months back on a mk2 1.6 focus, cost me about a fiver for a genuine seal from ford and about an hour say to fit. £90 is a bit steep!

It has more than likely started leaking because it was disturbed doing the clutch - this is quite common

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I think that I must have misheard him the first time round! :wacko:

I understand that the seal is a cheap part, but I am a complete novice when it comes to mechanics. I have never fixed anything on my car before and am scared that I will take something to bits and not be able to get it back together again. If I muck it up I can't go to work.

I intend to have a go at replacing basic stuff in the future, but oil leaks scare me. With mechanics' hourly rate shooting up even small repairs end up costing a fortune.

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I think that I must have misheard him the first time round! :wacko:

I understand that the seal is a cheap part, but I am a complete novice when it comes to mechanics. I have never fixed anything on my car before and am scared that I will take something to bits and not be able to get it back together again. If I muck it up I can't go to work.

I intend to have a go at replacing basic stuff in the future, but oil leaks scare me. With mechanics' hourly rate shooting up even small repairs end up costing a fortune.

what is your local garage charging per hour? i really cant see it taking any more than an hour to be fair so £60-£70 including the seal should be about right

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I forgot to say that now I have got this figure I can phone around for a better deal...

I think my garage charges £50 +vat per hour, so that's £60 (assuming he thinks it will take an hour). That brings the seal in at an eye-watering £30. Most garages round here charge £60/hour, so I guess this guy makes his money by having a low hourly rate, but overcharges for the parts.

I'm just relieved that it's a one hour job rather than a 3-4 hour one.

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Would he allow you to supply the seal?

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So, the plot thickens. I rang around a few garages today and all I got was stupid quotes. I rang a Ford garage first and they said about 10 quid for the part and then 1 hour's labour, but they charge 100/hour. I used this as a benchmark for the other quotes.

I then rang a load of independent garages and every one of them quoted a higher price than the Ford garage saying that it is a 1.5-2 hour job!

The final garage I rang said that it is an odd seal to fail without something else being wrong or damage during a previous repair. I said that I had my clutch and cyclinder changed a couple of months back. He said that I should speak to the garage who did the clutch change as they may have damaged it. I think he felt a bit awkward as the garage concerned is opposite his and he knows the owner...

Is it possible for the problem to not rear its ugly head for 4 months?

In a way I am not so much concerned about the seal as I am my clutch. I first noticed that the car was not right the when 'average MPG' dropped a bit, only by 0.5MPG When I switched to 'instant MPG' I noticed the efficiency is lower than normal in low gears, particularly when I am pulling away. The efficiency dips and then picks up very quickly. (I realise that cars are at their least from stationary, but to pull away gently in 1st and see 5.0MPG on the dash seems very low.) This was when I had a look under the car and noticed a small oil leak.

When I took it to the garage I explained the MPG thing but I was told to 'ignore the instant MPG, cars are inefficient in low gears- it's the average MPG you've got to watch' as if I am daft. I know this, but my concern is that their is some kind of clutch slippage.

Can this leaking drive shaft have knackered the clutch? Can the leaking oil cause a drop in efficiency? My first clutch did 60k+ miles and the previous owner lived somewhere hilly. This clutch has done no more than 6k miles.

Ah, I'll be on the blower to the garage tomorrow to hammer this one out.

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The leaking oil could destroy the gearbox if the level gets low enough.

It wont harm the clutch though

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The leaking oil could destroy the gearbox if the level gets low enough.

It wont harm the clutch though

Phew.

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john just a thought check your brake fluid level are you having any sort of clutch problem i,m just thinking along the lines you mentioned you had the slave cylinder replaced a few month back and know you see what you think is oil could it be clutch/brake fluid and they know it is hence why you could not get a straight answere on a price first off they have seen easy money available ten min fix charge you for an hour or two just that i served my time in a garage long ago and these sort of things used to go on might be worth a look.

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Thanks STEADS.

I just checked the brake/clutch fluid reservoir and it is okay, so at least I will not be ripped off on that front!

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I got the car fixed this morning.

I went in and showed my receipt from the clutch and cylinder change a couple of months ago. I also mentioned that I'd had a word with his mechanic friend from the garage opposite and that he'd said that the seal was likely damaged during the clutch repair. I asked him if he agreed.

He said that it was a possibility and that he couldn't tell until they did the job.

I sat in the waiting room and watched the whole process with my beady eyes- I saw the old seal come out and the new one go in. About an hour later the job was done.

I asked him what the damage was, and he said £20, parts only. I know that a seal costs about £10, but I think this was an admission that the fault was theirs. Or he was scared I'd go to the mechanic across the road.

Either way, I've now got some cardboard under the car just so I can be sure that the oil leak has gone once and for all.

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