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Old 04-01-2011, 06:45   #61
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Haven't had any diesel mechanic horror stories....yet.. haven't hired any...yet!

I belive the captain/owner should have a good working and hands on knowlege of their motor. Not to the tear it down and rebuild level.. but, at minimum how it works.. being able to, and having the tools, spares, and supplies, on board to, service fuel filter, oil, impeller..etc to quickly troubleshoot a problem, on the water, far from home. Having a mechanic do EVERYTHING is counter-intuitive..to me anyway.

Best money I have spent on our boat was taking a Mack Boring 3 day Diesel mechanic class. Got to work on actual motors (I got lucky and got to work on an identical motor I own).. we took apart the filters, belts, fuel injectors, adjust valves, etc and put it back together. Learned coutless tricks.. most important to break open the high pressure fuel injector lines when hand cranking the motor with a breaker bar (say to adjust the valves)..otherwise the motor may start!

The stories the instructor was telling us about customer horror stories was amazing... customer always blaming the mechanic for whatever went wrong.. but not telling the mechanic they made an attempt and couldn't fix it..or had a lack of maintenance and many times making it worse! I would bet there are more CUSTOMER horror stories than mechanic horror stories.

After taking the class, I want to know what my boat yard was doing when they quoted me $600 to winterize the motor and $500 to commission it in the spring!

I think the owner should get down and dirty with your motor .. frequently .. be one with your motor!

Plus the $$ you save you can put away for when something actually goes wrong and you need to actually hire a mechanic for a problem that is out of the scope of a DIY'er.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:59   #62
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Originally Posted by SvenG View Post
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
Heck I would kill to get back to $85/hr rates.. most of the auto dealers around here (Boston) are about $90-120/hr. My independent specialists that I use (MG, Audi, Land Rover) are $85-105/hr.

My boatyard rate varies on the trade..I believe the mechanic is 90/hr. Once I called on the phone and asked a question (wanting to set up some work) and got a bill for $90 for 'phone diagnosis' after I cancelled the repair order (they didn't 'diagnose' anything..just discussed what the symptoms were). I fixed the problem myself after doing some research. A call to the yard manager got that bill squashed! Never heard of being charged to talk on the phone!
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:02   #63
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Never heard of being charged to talk on the phone!
You haven't phoned me
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:30   #64
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You haven't phoned me
true.. whats the # 900-976-babe

I bet Linksys' complaints went way down after their misprint in their manual...totally forgetting their router problem!! http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/toll-free...ine-327686.php
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:35   #65
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Seriously? you believe he get's to keep all of that labor rate?
I realize you are just being argumentative so I'll let you score a cheap point because I didn't specifically spell out that it was his gross income as opposed to net.



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Old 04-01-2011, 08:51   #66
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I once had some work done by the local yanmar shop to the tune of $3500 but that did include a haul out because they were working on the saildrives. When he was putting the drives back in the boat I should have known what I was in for when he started tightening bolts without a torque wrench that had specific torque requirements. Unfortunately the work on the inside of the drive had already been completed. It turned out that he didn't own a torque wrench. I provided him one along with a torque chart and insisted that he use it. The repairs to the inside of the drive lasted less than 100 hours. The problem, which returned was exactly the same as the one on the first repair, was a leak in the front main seal or the O ring on the seal housing. Both were replaced along with the pilot shaft which they said had a groove worn in it by the failed seal. Their diagnosis, not mine. Warranty, 90 days or 100 hours. It took me two years to get the 100 hours on that engine, so I was out of luck. Needless to say I won't be going back to him. On the other hand I went to a non yanmar shop to get some maintenance done and had a very good experience. He came to my boat, adjusted the valves and changed the impellers on both engines and the genset, as well as diagnosing and repairing a problem on the genset for about $400 including parts. It took him about 5 hours, and included a trip back to the shop for a part for the genset. The repairs were done well and professionally and I was happy to pay his rate. By the way when the Yanmar shop didn't bring something they needed I was charged mileage and time for their mistake.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:17   #67
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I returned to the boat in Newport, after buying provisions. We were getting some last minute repairs done in preparation for the 2009 NARC rally. On the dock beside the boat was the exhaust pipe for the generator. The mechanic was getting ready to go to work on it with a hacksaw. I asked, "What's happening?"
His reply, "This exhaust pipe has this big extra loop in it that is just taking up too much room below. I thought I would cut out the loop and just make the pipe a straight line from the generator to the outside."
I escorted him off my boat and out of the marina.
Where do thay find these guys?
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:23   #68
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Having worked as a ships mechanic and a boat mechanic/do-dadd installer, I can honestley say that it's a 50/50 split on blame like has been discussed here. I've had calls to fix someones generator, the call out sheet says generator won't start. Go to boat, and start generator........nothing has been repaired, customer over the phone says it just wouldn't start. they then refused to pay the $70 charge for an hour of time to drive to the boat and find no problem that could be duplicated. At the same time I couldn't afford to pay the hourly rate to work on the engine in our own boat, it's in the bowels of hell and any little thing takes much more time than you could ever imagine. This whole discussion is a double edged sword.............
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:33   #69
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This whole discussion is a double edged sword.............
Couldn't agree more. The question I still have is; if you are willing to pay for the actual time and effort, how do you find someone competent and trustworthy ? I'm really surprised that there doesn't seem to be a trade guild or association with a self-policing membership.

We now have a triple-recommendation to contact so I hope the question for us will be answered, but the general question remains. I just hope he isn't too busy to take on new work



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Old 04-01-2011, 10:08   #70
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ABYC can test and certify people, that doesn't mean that the certified people can operate in the real world.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:33   #71
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I earn my living as a tradesman. The first thing out of my truck is to cover the floor and the last thing put away is the vacuum cleaner. I'm not the cheapest or the most expensive but even in these times I manage to stay busy. All my work comes from references of past customers, you have to shop around to avoid the boneheads and if you want a tradesman to treat your precious possesions with the respect they deserve you have to pay the guy a wage that allows him to live a fulfilling life. I also know to avoid potental customers that cannot be satisfied. I wonder how many mechanics look at a job or engine room and say "I don't want any part of this mess."
Dave
Bravo Dave

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Old 04-01-2011, 10:44   #72
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This brings to mind someone I worked freelance for back in the 90's in the Med...
This Irish guy came strolling along the quay one day knocking on boats asking if anyone had experience with epoxies... myself and two Swedish friends found ourselves on an old Jongert where we were set to work sanding the teak decks and toerail... when all was done to satisfaction drums of SP Epoxy and hardener were produced and we were told to put 3 coats on everything we'd sanded..
I questioned this as teak and epoxy are not keen on each other and this was a helluva area that was gonna look like **** in 18mths or less...
I was told to get on with it and earn my money... so I did (broke as usual)...
Three weeks after we'd finished 'Paddy' was back at my boat saying the german guy was so chuffed with the boat job he wanted all the wood framed windows of his house 10miles down the road doing....
Same routine... sand it all to prep... I'd started to prise out the wood battens that hold the glass in the frames... Paddy came along and asked what the '@#' I was doing... so I explained that if we did not if the glass was ever broken they'd never be able to fix it short of ruining the window frame...
"Just #%^#ing epoxy... I'm not paying you to think..." so I did...
The following winter I headed back to the same marina from the Islands and within 48hrs of berthing the German was banging on my hull... absolutely furious over windows and boat... glass had been broken in a storm and he'd had to scrap frames as predicted as everything was rock solid.... and his decks were covered in yellowing blisters....
Where was Paddy...??
Last I heard he was plying his bullshit to cruisers in the Canaries.....
So its not just mechanics... there's good and bad in all the boat trades... just gotta hope/learn to avoid them as cheaply as possible..
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:31   #73
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Bravo Dave

JB
yup.. sounds like my MG mechanic (who sold me my Ohlson).. I call him 'mother' because he was always on his hands and knees wiping down oil drops the moment they hit the floor in his shop! Being a British car mechanic.. that is a LOT!! His shop is 40 years old.. but the unseald and unpainted concrete floor in his shop looks like it was poured yesterday! He takes even better care of his customer's cars!

The workmanship he did rebuilding my Ohlson is just so over the top in quality, I sometimes don't want to take her out because she might get dirty!!

he doesn't advertise (until I made a website for him) and his shop is always busy. He charges a fair rate for his work. Stands by his work if a part fails (which is becoming too frequent with the POS parts coming from China, etc).

I gladly pay for a stand up mechanic or service facility. These top 1% mechanics are few and far between...but worth their weight in gold IMO.

My issue now is, when I modify the boat, I try soooooo hard to ensure I do the job with the best parts and practices like he would do.
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Old 04-01-2011, 13:16   #74
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The modus operandi has been revealed a few times in this thread. If the mechanic is available to work on your boat immediately, you need to ask how cum'.
IMHO, it aint hard to figure out which boats I wouldn't touch for love nor money.
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Old 04-01-2011, 13:59   #75
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... I was told to get on with it and earn my money... so I did (broke as usual)...
... "Just #%^#ing epoxy... I'm not paying you to think..." so I did...
But "I vas joost following horders."
The Nuremberg defence didn't work then, and it shouldn't now.
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