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Old 03-01-2011, 15:20   #46
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I'm NOT a mechanic... but short of major breakdowns I've managed to fix a variety of problems from exhaust explosion, cooling blockages in head/system, leaking fuel/cooling, blocked filters/injectors, thermostats, impellers, pumps, dirty/water logged fuel, charging etc... all it takes is a w/shop manual, patience and common sense...
The mechanics for when the engines blown and needs a rebuild..
It would seem that is the safe approach.

Thanks to Gord's manual thread (sticky somewhere around here) I do have the manuals in scanned PDF form and have read them while getting grease on the printed pages.



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Old 03-01-2011, 15:36   #47
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Boy, you couldn't be more wrong. The mechanics who did all the collateral damages don't even know that we haven't called them back because we were dissatisfied. We paid up in full and left it at that. We won't tell anyone to avoid them unless specifically asked by name, but we also won't recomend them.

You may think it is ok to do repeated actual damage while doing basic service, that's your prerogative. I chose not to do business with such "professionals" again.

As for being on a mission, that part you do have right, a mission to figure out how to get good diesel service when word of mouth has such a spotty record in our experience. The other stories I related were from other owners when we were asking if they were happy with their mechanics since we were trying to find someone dependable and skilled.

This thread has been a real eye opener.



-Sven
I had a problem like that with a Sail-maker in Villamoura Portugal when my main was blown out rounding St Vicente... they looked at it.. said "I can fix that" and away they went....
1 week later they appeared with the biggest load of crap I've ever seen... allegedly the 'latest US repair technique'.... for a newbie it may have been acceptable and they'd have sailed on happy with the new panel.
However I was not.. they got shitty and basically told me to go F myself....
So I strolled around to the Marina Office and spoke to the head honcho... he got on the phone and told them of they did not resolve the situation they'd be banned from the marina and all associated marinas in Portugal...
The next morning they were at the boat with gifts... their 4 kids in tow and begging to take the sail away and resolve the problem...
Its no good yelling at the offender... go see the man who lets him work in the yard under license... they soon get reasonable when the meal tickets threatened
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Old 03-01-2011, 15:47   #48
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I know some customers/clients are a royal pain, but working with mechanics (one of my brothers is a mechanic as well), I'm equally certain they're not all saints either. You can't tell me as a technician that you've never worked with someone who takes shortcuts, uses the wrong tools, overtorques fasteners & leaves the customer's property in disarray. I don't mean the "everyone makes mistakes" sort of thing, I mean a consistently poor performer. My brother worked in a shop that charged customers for repairs they never did (he gave a statement to the police)- it's not rampant, but it happens.

In that respect, the boating industry is no different than the automotive industry- mostly decent guys trying hard, a few really skilled people, & some dirtbags.
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Old 03-01-2011, 15:59   #49
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You may think it is ok to do repeated actual damage while doing basic service, that's your prerogative. I chose not to do business with such "professionals" again.
No I don't nor has anyone else other than you as it is a quote from you.
This thread has been a real eye opener
Yes it has as to the number of replies that have not jumped on board your band wagon.
You obviously do not like trades people this has come across very clearly in your posts from beginning to end. Yes I am one of those trades people and like all areas of endeavour there are good and bad. Lawyers, doctors, Police, Carpenters builders etc but the majority are ok. I don't avoid jobs but I do avoid impossible clients who want everything at a bargain price. I also avoid taking short cuts to save clients money because history has shown that your a great guy when it works but an AH when does not so I sail safe.
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Old 03-01-2011, 16:09   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I'm NOT a mechanic... but short of major breakdowns I've managed to fix a variety of problems from exhaust explosion, cooling blockages in head/system, leaking fuel/cooling, blocked filters/injectors, thermostats, impellers, pumps, dirty/water logged fuel, charging etc... all it takes is a w/shop manual, patience and common sense...
The mechanics for when the engines blown and needs a rebuild..
I'm with you on this and do the same. I would like to find a decent mechanic to undertake the more difficult (to me) tasks of prop shaft alignment and valve adjustments where a mistake may be easy to make and time consuming to fix.

I don't mind paying top dollar for a skill that I do not have and do not wish to acquire (such as assessing standing rigging and tuning it), but not for the mundane and simple such as changing the impeller, fuel filters and bleeding air (skills every sailor must have) or on the electrical side of things crimping a few wires and applying ohms law.

I generally get ticked off when I see someone act as if my boat is their ATM.
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Old 03-01-2011, 16:29   #51
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I to have to rely on others for work rigging is one area I have very little knowledge. How I will go about finding a competent person.
1 NOT try to tell them their job
2 Clearly explain what I am trying to achieve not what I want done.
3 Listen to there advice and reason out if it sounds logical.
4 Do my homework first as to what is usually the life of components, what has failed on other boats by talking to owners, reading forums etc.
5 Attitude to the job, again one on one conversation and feeling of confidence in the person.
6 I will not query every aspect of his work looking over his shoulder and asking why he did this why he did that.
7 I will never say that my next door neighbour reckons you should have done it differently.
Can I gurantee it will be 100% no. Can I guarantee that the surgeon that operates on me does it right no. Do they make mistakes yes. How many diesel engines are out there being worked on day in day out, thousands. How many bad jobs do we here about lots. How many great jobs do we here about none. Why? Because no one would be interested to respond and entertain the poster on forums like this.
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Old 03-01-2011, 16:29   #52
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You obviously do not like trades people this has come across very clearly in your posts from beginning to end.
Wrong again. Finding good trades people is fairly easy in most trades and they are worth their weight in gold. In the diesel trade it seems to be a very different story and I'm not sure why that is. Maybe we've just been unlucky. Maybe those that have a really good diesel mechanic just want to keep them to themselves. Maybe it is the difficult and cramped working environment.

It can't just be licensing and certification as our independent auto mechanic is brilliant and the outboard mechanic knows the diagnosis and the time needed to fix as if by telepathy. The electrician and plumber are licensed so I'm not surprised they know what they are doing since complaints would be recorded and drum them out if they were not.



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Old 03-01-2011, 17:10   #53
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I worked for a major computer company (long since gone) that found that some ~90% of all major problems were resolved by some ~10% of their technicians. I have since felt that it was a reasonable guideline and noticed the same type of demographic in doctors and mechanics. meyermm, I don't quite understand why you are so emotionally involved with this thread. You yourself must know mechanics and doctors that you would not recommend to others. I don't think anyone wants to trash the trade, but it doesn't hurt to vent a little about those large numbers of mechanics that don't know their trade as well as they should.
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Old 03-01-2011, 22:13   #54
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I worked for a major computer company (long since gone) that found that some ~90% of all major problems were resolved by some ~10% of their technicians. I have since felt that it was a reasonable guideline and noticed the same type of demographic in doctors and mechanics. meyermm, I don't quite understand why you are so emotionally involved with this thread. You yourself must know mechanics and doctors that you would not recommend to others. I don't think anyone wants to trash the trade, but it doesn't hurt to vent a little about those large numbers of mechanics that don't know their trade as well as they should.
Maybe you have answered your own question by peddling the same line I highlighted.
How many qualified diesel mechanics are there 10, 100, 1000?
How many bad ones 10, 100, 1000?
So your large number figure constitutes how many or what percentage?
You see it is very easy to make these statements and not have to back them up. Who decides a bad mechanic just because someone was not happy does not mean it was the mechanics fault the example of which I gave earlier in this thread. All mechanics would be able to give instances in which they were blamed for causing a problem. A mate of mine I bumped into one day was looking very unhappy. I asked what the problem was and it seems he had repaired the rear brakes on a car earlier in the week. Friday the car is brought back with a radiator failure the owner blaming him for the problem his justification was that as he had worked on the car it was his fault. Does that sound familiar to some of the cases recalled on this thread. My last boat had been DIY wired by previous owner who when I asked what he had done in his working life stated Electrical Engineer. The whole wiring panel including some 110v was done with a roll of RED cable, would you have liked to have been the sparky trying to sort it out. This is the kind of crap that trades people are constantly up against on old boats. Everything done the owners way much of which would not meet any specification. According to some the professional way would be to decline the work. What then?
As for the personal side this thread was based on running down mechanics so when a mechanic does not like it and replies it seems some don't like it, funny that.
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Old 03-01-2011, 22:25   #55
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Just a little food for thought and this relates to Australia as I would not presume to know the situation in other countries out of all the trades, mechanic/diesel fitters are the worst paid trade. So it is very hard to hold good people in the trade when much better paying jobs are available elsewhere and cleaner as well. Why are they paid so poorly well having owned an auto repair business all my working life my opinion is a perception by the public that it is all brawn no brains so why should I pay for it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 22:40   #56
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Just a little food for thought and this relates to Australia as I would not presume to know the situation in other countries out of all the trades, mechanic/diesel fitters are the worst paid trade. So it is very hard to hold good people in the trade when much better paying jobs are available elsewhere and cleaner as well.
That may be part of the answer. The last guy charged $85US/hour and that was actual time, without a firm prior estimate as we agreed that he could run into all kinds of problems that could not be anticipated. I'm not sure how that rate compares to the other trades but it was his personal take as he was an independent and did not share it with an employer.



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Old 03-01-2011, 22:58   #57
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Flow chart diagnosis of faults

Having worked on my own marine engines for many years - maybe a few words for and against.
A good number of Diesel Mechs/Techs are natural gifted - and are very good at working on certain brands. There are others who have served apprenticeships in diesel engineering and who are very competent artisans.
There are others who have attend courses and have coupled this with hands on experience. There are those mechanics who know their limitations and who are honest and will admit that they do not know the reason for an engines malfunction.
Then there are the chancers, the lazy, the dishonest, the wankers - I sincerely believe that these are a minority.
The responsibility for choosing a competent diesel mechanic lies with the owner/skipper of the boat - The mechanic must be given notice of what is expected of him/her.
In the meantime here is a link to a very good flow chart for fault diagnosis of diesel engine smoke :United Diesel UK – Diesel Engine Smoke Explained
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Old 03-01-2011, 23:31   #58
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The last guy charged $85US/hour and that was actual time, without a firm prior estimate as we agreed that he could run into all kinds of problems that could not be anticipated... his personal take as he was an independent and did not share it with an employer.
That's pretty good pay in my book. Typical pay in the automotive industry (Canada) was $22/hr a few years ago & is probably about $25/hr now. The garage's rate is at least $65/hr for the cheap places, more typically $80/hr. However, there are manufacturer's repair schedules that state how much time each repair task takes, & that's what they have to bill you for... with cars.
I guess its open season on boaters for repair times, but I would expect an estimate, & a courtesy call if other issues arise.

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... it doesn't hurt to vent a little about those large numbers of mechanics that don't know their trade as well as they should.
I agree that it's a minority of guys out there doing bad work, but it's a significant minority, at least 5 & maybe as many as 10%.

I would also point out that so far in this thread, there have been very few mechanic horror stories contributed. Maybe this is an indicator of how common (or uncommon) it is.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:09   #59
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Unfortunately manufacturers times are usually non achievable in the real world especially once the machinery is not new and everything does not fall apart it take much longer. Hence the mechanic has to charge less than the time taken. If you have ever been unhappy with a panel repair covered by insurance its the same reason. The insurance says we will pay this amount, the repairer says he needs more. Insurance wins repairer has to then take shortcuts or go broke. Over time good work is hard to get as they only know one way to work fast, which = rough. Reality unfortunately but thats the world we live in not enough people want top jobs and are willing to pay for it. Same reason its hard to find any product these days not made in China, we all are aware most is poor quality but the masses still pick it over home grown quality and that is something that is common to both sides of the Pacific.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:47   #60
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That may be part of the answer. The last guy charged $85US/hour and that was actual time, without a firm prior estimate as we agreed that he could run into all kinds of problems that could not be anticipated. I'm not sure how that rate compares to the other trades but it was his personal take as he was an independent and did not share it with an employer.

-Sven
Seriously? you believe he get's to keep all of that labor rate?

well, let's see here
Income taxes, Self employment taxes, personal property taxes on tools used to earn income, Property taxes / rent on a shop space, truck / company insurance, health / disability insurance, fuel expenses, truck maintainance, etc....


nah, he doesn't share it with anyone......
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