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Thread: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

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    Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    I recently had some work done on the GT6, and I'm not sure that what I paid was actually fair. I haven't had much time to spend on it, so I took the car to a British car specialist near me, a pretty famous one, but they nearly doubled the budget I gave them without approval, and I'm pretty sure the volume of work I got wasn't commiserate.

    When I picked it up, I paid the extra $2500 over the budget I gave them of $3500, (which they blew past without ever asking for approval), thinking at least the work would be done correctly and I wouldn't have had to mess with it, but I ended up having to redo a lot of the work they did myself. They replaced both rear wheel cylinders, but after leaving a trail of brake fluid through my garage, I discovered that one of the new ones was leaking quite a bit. When I contacted them about it, they said to "top it off and bring it back in" (20 miles through Dallas in a car with questionable brakes to replace a $15 wheel cylinder?).

    That made me actually start to look at the work that was done. According to the invoice, the time to replace 2 wheel cylinders, flush the brake lines and flush the clutch lines was 13 hours. That seems ridiculously high to me for a car where the clutch slave cylinder and both front wheels are accessible just by opening the hood. Does that seem like a reasonable amount to anyone else?

    Maybe I'm being unrealistic. I'd like to hear other people's opinions.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    A tricky topic, but to give you some reference, here are repair times quoted by British Leyland for a TR6:
    https://app.box.com/s/snza6oitlul4nnrfsk1sdgx9lt90yq7q

    I think times would be similar for a GT6, at least I can't think of what would make it more complicated. Looking at that, the estimate is about an hour for the bleeding, and about 2 hrs for the cylinder changeout so maybe 3-4 hours total?
    Randy
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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    I found the TR job time estimate book linked by Randy to be very interesting. I also agree with Randy's time estimate. Anything over about 5 hours to replace the rear cylinders is creeping into 'unreasonable'. That said, if you were also having the flex lines changed, flushing all the old fluid out and switching to DOT-5 fluid... that could easily approach 13 hours to do it right.
    Doug L.
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    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    What is their shop rate? $85 an hr.? My MINI dealer is $135 hr and the Rover dealer is $160 hr. My shop is $85 hr.
    Larry K
    58 Jag 3.4 MK 1 auto under restoration, 57 Jag 3.4 MK1 manual ,
    03 Cooper S, 2011 Cooper S Countryman, 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX, 1964 Valiant V200
    Also had , 68 Cortina 1600E, 64 Spit 4 & 80 1500, 73 GT6 3, 71 XJ6, 79 XJ6, 86 XJS V-12, 53 XK120 OTS.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    That's a ridiculous price and very illegal. They can not exceed their estimate without permission. In a previous life, I pulled the engine from a GT6+ in two hours. Bleeding brakes is about one hour. Replacing all the rubber could take 4 hours.

    Steve

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by TR4nut View Post
    A tricky topic, but to give you some reference, here are repair times quoted by British Leyland for a TR6:
    https://app.box.com/s/snza6oitlul4nnrfsk1sdgx9lt90yq7q

    I think times would be similar for a GT6, at least I can't think of what would make it more complicated. Looking at that, the estimate is about an hour for the bleeding, and about 2 hrs for the cylinder changeout so maybe 3-4 hours total?
    That's even less time than I expected. I had figured it would actually take 4 hours, and billing 6 hours to cover road testing and all of the miscellaneous stuff would be reasonable. Not 13.

    I withheld this, but rather than take it back and be raked over the coals again, I replaced the same rear wheel cylinder, clutch hard line, bled the clutch line and all 4 brake cylinders due to air possibly getting in, and actually timed it. As an amateur, using only hand tools, it took me less than 3 hours. I borrowed my wife to pump the brakes pedal and clutch pedal for a half hour, so call it 4 hours.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by dklawson View Post
    I found the TR job time estimate book linked by Randy to be very interesting. I also agree with Randy's time estimate. Anything over about 5 hours to replace the rear cylinders is creeping into 'unreasonable'. That said, if you were also having the flex lines changed, flushing all the old fluid out and switching to DOT-5 fluid... that could easily approach 13 hours to do it right.
    Nothing but the two wheel cylinders was replaced. The fluid change was from 'I can't remember DOT 3' to magic Castrol DOT 3. So no major incompatibility issues, just a full fluid swap. Since you're already hooked up, I don't see it taking another 9 hours.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by STeve 1958 View Post
    That's a ridiculous price and very illegal. They can not exceed their estimate without permission. In a previous life, I pulled the engine from a GT6+ in two hours. Bleeding brakes is about one hour. Replacing all the rubber could take 4 hours.

    Steve
    Well, joke was on me, I guess. I told them to let me know before exceeding $3500. So they invoiced me once in December for $2500 ish, and then when I picked it up in January invoiced me for another $3500.01.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    I removed, rebuilt the transmission, in her MKIII GT6 ( after I destroyed 3rd gear ) , installed within a 3 hr time. Then drove it to work because she had my car. Cost $5 in gaskets and fluid. Never spent more than $100 on full brake replacement.
    Larry K
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    03 Cooper S, 2011 Cooper S Countryman, 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX, 1964 Valiant V200
    Also had , 68 Cortina 1600E, 64 Spit 4 & 80 1500, 73 GT6 3, 71 XJ6, 79 XJ6, 86 XJS V-12, 53 XK120 OTS.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Richter12x2 View Post
    Well, joke was on me, I guess. I told them to let me know before exceeding $3500. So they invoiced me once in December for $2500 ish, and then when I picked it up in January invoiced me for another $3500.01.
    Sorry you got burned. Hope the work they did was at least professional. I got burned when I bought my TR3A. I bought it without seeing it other than photo's. A friend of mine went to see it and heard it running. He called me on the phone so I could hear it run.
    When they delivered it to my house it was indeed running with flames coming out the exhaust pipe. Had to rebuild the distributor, rebuild the carburators, gap the valves and plugs. Now it runs great. At least it had good compression.

    Enjoy the car. I miss my GT6+

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Two things, first, dare I ask the name of the shop? Second, if this was in the city of Dallas itself, unless they have changed the law, what they did was illegal. Dallas had an a ordinance that restricted the amount they could over an estimate or an authorized repair figure without getting specific authorization to go over the original estimate by more than the small amount that the ordinance allowed. You might want to check into seeing if that ordinance is still in place and what limits it imposes if you had the work done within the Dallas city limits.

    Regardless of legality or not, it strikes me as definitely falling into the unethical category. Thirteen hours of labor to replace two rear wheel cylinders and flush the hydraulic system is obscene.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Tybalt View Post
    Two things, first, dare I ask the name of the shop? Second, if this was in the city of Dallas itself, unless they have changed the law, what they did was illegal. Dallas had an a ordinance that restricted the amount they could over an estimate or an authorized repair figure without getting specific authorization to go over the original estimate by more than the small amount that the ordinance allowed. You might want to check into seeing if that ordinance is still in place and what limits it imposes if you had the work done within the Dallas city limits.

    Regardless of legality or not, it strikes me as definitely falling into the unethical category. Thirteen hours of labor to replace two rear wheel cylinders and flush the hydraulic system is obscene.
    I’m the wife. This is my car. I have already been involved in one slapsuit involving slander when discussing on a message board a completely unrelated business and their unprofessional treatment of me. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if they, or anyone else, would do the same here, so I will let my husband be the one to mention their name, when and if he decides to. But the company has been recommended numerous times to us from various sources, including this site. They have a ton of positive reviews. And they also heavily sponsor the biggest British car event in Dallas, so it already will be awkward attending this in the future, especially if local club chapters pick the company’s side. With enough sleuthing, it’s probably easy to figure out who the company may be.

    Anyway, I’ve had this car for almost a decade now, and personally, put maybe 3 miles on it total. For Christmas, my husband (Richter12x2) surprised me, by hiring a well known professional to work on it. The goal was to correct whatever we did wrong in hopes to make it reliable, and if still within the budget, a few other issues we were having (but we well exceeded that). I ended up driving it around 25 miles back home during rush hour, (but not before my credit card was skimmed at the station a block from there). My husband offered to drive, but this was my present. This was something I had to do. I needed to do. The amount of stress I was under trying to make it home, driving what was basically foreign technology to me was crazy, especially with only having experienced stalling and braking issues during those initial 3 miles prior to servicing. But I arrived safely, even though, by then, it was night time. I felt like the simplest task was a huge achievement. I guess that’s why people like thess cars. Everything you do is a “triumph.”

    I’ve attached the receipt, and invoices of parts and labor, which may help everyone figure out where the money went, and if we did in fact get scammed.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    I can understand reluctance to name the shop. Having grown up out that way and cut my teeth in the parts and service departments of one of the local BL dealers, I have dealt with many of the shops out there, some that are now long gone, some that are still around. As much as anything, just curious if it was I shop that I knew.

    Based on the attachments above, and thinking strictly in terms of the bottom of page 2/top of page 3 where the labor hours add up to 13, there was more done for those 13 hours than merely replace two wheel cylinders and flush the hydraulics. Granted some of the other work listed would have to be performed in order to replace those two wheel cylinders but replacing a master cylinder and fiddling with hydraulic hard lines would be outside the scope of replacing the two rear wheel cylinders. Does it justify 13 hours? That's hard to say without a better understanding of the extent of work performed for those hard lines and how the work flowed from day to day since the tasks listed covered multiple days.

    But getting back to the root of the issue in my mind is the fact that a specific figure was stated as being authorized, yet the final bill was right at 70% higher than the previously stated authorized amount. Again, if this was at a shop within the city of Dallas, unless that ordinance has gone away, this would not be legal under that ordinance without a supplemental estimate being provided by the shop in question and approval for such work granted.

    Just out of curiosity, are you a member of Red River Triumph Club? If not, you should consider it. There was a deep well of knowledge about these cars and of local sources for parts and service in that club when I lived out there.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    ~Donning my moderator hat~ First, like the others who've posted, I'm sorry you've had such a negative experience. It does sour the joy we all want from owning and driving these great machines.

    More to the moderation point, though, thanks for not identifying the shop. Not only would that put yourself in jeopardy, but could also affect Basil, the forum owner.

    Mickey
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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey Richaud View Post
    ~Donning my moderator hat~ First, like the others who've posted, I'm sorry you've had such a negative experience. It does sour the joy we all want from owning and driving these great machines.

    More to the moderation point, though, thanks for not identifying the shop. Not only would that put yourself in jeopardy, but could also affect Basil, the forum owner.

    Mickey
    Just to piggy back on what Mickey is saying, I was once threatened with legal action over a post that a member made. After that I instituted rule #7:

    7. If you have a problem with a vendor (whether supporting or otherwise), take it up with the vendor. Don't use this forum for registering complaints about any vendor or business.


    That said, I have no problem with people discussing such bad transactions in general terms, as has been done in this thread since the name of the shop not being disclosed does not prevent the rest of the members from opining on said transaction based on the facts as presented by the party affected. If someone is interested in what shop it was and the OP wishes to share that with people via private message, I have no issue with that either since PMs are not in the public domain.

    It does sound like you got a bit of a raw deal and if, as one poster suggested, it is not legal in TX to go above an estimate without permission, (I'm not a lawyer so I said IF) then you might have a good case for small claims court.
    “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” - Oscar Wilde

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    This is the very reason why, circa 1972 as a poor college student, I purchased a factory workshop manual for my Mk3 Spitfire from the same dealer who had just rebuilt both SU carburetors to "cure" what turned out to be a dodgy ignition coil! (True story!) I pretty much read it cover-to-cover and then applied that and what bits of mechanical skill I'd picked up from friends in high school to keeping the car alive, along with dozens of cars since!

    I'm not saying everyone needs to be their own mechanic, but a lot of it simply is not that difficult. And there's plenty of written, in-person oral (and Internet-based) expertise around if you run into problems. In many, many instances, I found myself beating "official Repair Operations" times around the second time I performed a given procedure. Often as not, by the third time, I could build in breaks and still beat the times!

    IMO, no place calling itself a repair shop should allow a vehicle to leave the premises with something as obvious leaking brake fluid. Also IMO, if such a problem was discovered by the owner, a shop should offer to send a flatbed recovery truck to retrieve and properly repair the vehicle free of charge. Period. (And maybe offer a free oil change or other routine service free as an additional apology.) It's what I would do if I were a "professional" repair shop and not just a hobbyist who enjoys doing his own work and also helping others....
    -- Andrew (Andy) Mace, VTR's Triumph 10/Herald/Sports 6 vehicle consultant and keeper of the North American Triumph Sports 6 and Herald Database

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by STeve 1958 View Post
    Sorry you got burned. Hope the work they did was at least professional. I got burned when I bought my TR3A. I bought it without seeing it other than photo's. A friend of mine went to see it and heard it running. He called me on the phone so I could hear it run.
    When they delivered it to my house it was indeed running with flames coming out the exhaust pipe. Had to rebuild the distributor, rebuild the carburators, gap the valves and plugs. Now it runs great. At least it had good compression.

    Enjoy the car. I miss my GT6+
    Yeah, not so much. The wheel cylinder that they replaced was leaking fluid all over the garage, and the car wouldn't idle and made a terrific screaming noise when revved. Over the phone he suggested it sounded like the clutch hydraulics were sticking and not letting it fully disengage.

    ... so that was two of the things that I paid him way too much to do that I had to redo myself. Things that I'd think would have been caught.

    Also, the brand new knockoff nuts now have several dings from not using the knock-off wrench that I had sitting on top of the gas tank in the hatch, which they supposedly drained and cleaned. The fuel sender was totally gunked up, which again, I'd think would have been caught when they cleaned the tank, and the rubber seal that goes under the sender with the lock ring, was on TOP of the sender, under a puddle of gas because it wasn't sealing properly.

    In fairness, that could have been something I did years ago not knowing any better, but if so that means they charged me to clean the fuel tank without even looking at it, which isn't a lot better.

    They also converted it back to a generator because they assured me the alternator setup I'd converted to wouldn't work (despite the fact that it worked fine for years).

    After converting back to the generator, the flashers would speed up and slow down with the revs, so I asked if it was potentially a bad voltage regulator, and he said "No, it's due to the aftermarket flasher you've got installed." I said "What do you mean?" He said "The little black cube you've got next to the brake master under the hood".

    That's a replacement horn relay that I received from Victoria British - it's true it wasn't factory, but it should be obvious that it's the horn relay given that it's literally right under the disconnected factory horn relay. Especially to a specialist. The flasher is underneath the passenger side of the dashboard, and it says Lucas on it, because it's a factory one.

    When replacing the rear wheel cylinders, they pointed at the splines on the hub adapters and said they should be replaced because they're starting to wear thin towards the ends. After ordering replacements to put them on, it turns out the ones needing replacement were nearly brand new, with maybe 500 miles on them. You could also tell because a lot of the axle grease I used to install them was still red.

    That's just what I've caught so far.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Tybalt View Post
    Just out of curiosity, are you a member of Red River Triumph Club? If not, you should consider it. There was a deep well of knowledge about these cars and of local sources for parts and service in that club when I lived out there.
    I have considered it many times, but I wanted to wait until the car was “drivable.” I was more interested in events rather than attended “support meetings.” Immediately becoming “drivable,” it drove onto a trailer and we moved. A few months after that I became pregnant and kind of fell out of the automotive scene. Having a militant HOA helped a bit with that too. I drove it those combined 3 miles over the span of 5 years until we moved again. It’s been 3 years since then, collecting more dust, but with it being more “drivable” than ever before, I’m slowly getting bad into the hobby.

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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Mace View Post
    This is the very reason why, circa 1972 as a poor college student, I purchased a factory workshop manual for my Mk3 Spitfire from the same dealer who had just rebuilt both SU carburetors to "cure" what turned out to be a dodgy ignition coil! (True story!) I pretty much read it cover-to-cover and then applied that and what bits of mechanical skill I'd picked up from friends in high school to keeping the car alive, along with dozens of cars since!

    I'm not saying everyone needs to be their own mechanic, but a lot of it simply is not that difficult. And there's plenty of written, in-person oral (and Internet-based) expertise around if you run into problems. In many, many instances, I found myself beating "official Repair Operations" times around the second time I performed a given procedure. Often as not, by the third time, I could build in breaks and still beat the times!

    IMO, no place calling itself a repair shop should allow a vehicle to leave the premises with something as obvious leaking brake fluid. Also IMO, if such a problem was discovered by the owner, a shop should offer to send a flatbed recovery truck to retrieve and properly repair the vehicle free of charge. Period. (And maybe offer a free oil change or other routine service free as an additional apology.) It's what I would do if I were a "professional" repair shop and not just a hobbyist who enjoys doing his own work and also helping others....
    Yeah, this is what I get for trying to take the easy way out. The problem is I'm in the middle of several other car projects, and this was my wife's car that I kept not ever getting around to. That's why, for Christmas I thought "Okay, I'm just going to take it to someone and get it done right, and spend $3500 to make sure everything I've done over the years is correct, and then she'll have her car and I'll not have it hanging over my head anymore." My actual intent was that more time be spent on the things that specialists do well that take so much skill, like lining up the doors and hood shut lines and hinges and making all of those little things better. Even at their $105 an hour labor rate, I figured 35 hours or so should be enough time to clean the fuel tank and get it running again, do a basic safety check of the brakes and clutch and take care of several of those little things.

    My hope was that they'd come back and say "We did all this stuff, etc, and if you want to spend another $300, we can do X, and for $250 we can replace the crappy VB furflex seals with something that actually looks good and doesn't fall off the car when the wind blows, and get the right window seals, etc."

    Not "Well, we know you said $3500, but for $5500, we drained the fuel tank, rebuilt the carburetors, rebuilt the fuel pump, replaced two wheel cylinders and bled the brakes and clutch."

    For reference, Just Brakes charges about $100 to flush and fill - which is a long way off from $1300

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    Jedi Trainee Tybalt's Avatar
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    Re: Triumph GT6, basic work estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil View Post
    Just to piggy back on what Mickey is saying, I was once threatened with legal action over a post that a member made. After that I instituted rule #7:

    7. If you have a problem with a vendor (whether supporting or otherwise), take it up with the vendor. Don't use this forum for registering complaints about any vendor or business.


    That said, I have no problem with people discussing such bad transactions in general terms, as has been done in this thread since the name of the shop not being disclosed does not prevent the rest of the members from opining on said transaction based on the facts as presented by the party affected. If someone is interested in what shop it was and the OP wishes to share that with people via private message, I have no issue with that either since PMs are not in the public domain.

    It does sound like you got a bit of a raw deal and if, as one poster suggested, it is not legal in TX to go above an estimate without permission, (I'm not a lawyer so I said IF) then you might have a good case for small claims court.
    This is why I prefaced with "dare I ask the name of the shop?" As for legality in TX, I was speaking specifically to a city of Dallas ordinance that was passed back in the 1970s regarding estimates and work authorizations at automotive repair facilities located within the city of Dallas. Outside the city of Dallas, that ordinance would have no effect. So taking the intersection of Coit and Spring Valley Roads as an example, if an automotive repair facility were located at any corner except the northeast corner, the ordinance would have applied. If the facility was located at the northeast corner of that intersection, it would not have been applicable since that corner is located in Richardson, not Dallas. Then there is the question of whether or not that ordinance is still in place and how it might have changed over the years. As for the state of Texas, I am not aware of any similar law although other local governments within the state may have similar things written into their local codes.

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