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Old 09-30-2009, 07:10 AM
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Default How many times should you pay a mechanic to fix the same problem?

I'm sure that the answer is "it depends". I have a good relationship with a local mechanic and he/they have been to my boat twice to fix the same problem, but it still isn't fixed. The first service visit they diagnosed a problem and told me that my neutral switch needed to be replaced. I paid a few hundred for labor and then paid for the part (another hundred) and installed it myself. That didn't fix the problem. The second trip the mechanic spent more time and said that he found a loose connection with the neutral wire and that the issue was resolved. That cost me around $500. Unfortunately, the problem remains the same. I need to get them out to the boat again. I don't mind paying what is fair, I like these people and want to be able to continue using them. At this point, should they continue to charge for each trip or should this be considered a "warranty" situation?
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:25 AM
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Warranty ???? Not. You have to pay for each visit.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:30 AM
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They should at least be sympathetic to your problem and be giving you a break. Intermittent problems can be tough, break it and it's easy to fix. Now....are they diagnosing it or wiggling wires till it works? How often does it occur?

I have a marine service on the Cape and feel free to PM me if you want.....
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:30 AM
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If it's the same promblem, it's not fixed............
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:36 AM
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You can only fix a problem once so why pay for it more then once. If you continue to have the same problem it was never fixed..
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:39 AM
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I assume you installed the switch so they would not have to make another trip? Was the loose wire something you did? Sounds like you have shelled out close to a grand and still have the problem. Did they bother to test it the second time? Is the problem intermittent? How far do they have to travel? We really need more information to answer your question. However it sounds like you are being too nice of a guy with them. I would not pay another cent and tell them they need to fix it at no further cost.

Your best bet would be to post here in detail what the issue is and someone here will probably be able to walk you through fixing it yourself. I am guessing the motor will not turn over when trying to crank it sometimes. Other times it will. You have a new neutral switch so I would look at the kill switch being faulty or a wire to it loose/damaged/corroded. Next time it happens bypass the kill switch and see if that helps. Or "wiggle" it some with key in the start position and see if that helps.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:56 AM
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"I like these people and want to be able to continue using them." Strange, I would feel like I'm being screwed if after more than 700$ you still haven't fixed the problem and they even consider charging you more money for diagnosing the issue.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:19 AM
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Likable person does not equal competent mechanic. If they say it's fixed and it isn't, you may give them one more try to make good, after all some problems are tricky, but after that move on.... There are good mechanics out there, you just need to find them.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:31 AM
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Well inherently electrical is tricky, because nothing is standardized in boats. Very tough, and I did it for a few years. Diagnosing issues like this are tough.

When they diagnose, what tools do they bring with them? How much are they charging hourly? I am assuming roughly $100. At that charge, for a STUPID nuetral switch or loose wire, I could NEVER charge someone 5 hours. Travel time(within half hour) is eaten by them, no charge. If so, much, MUCH lower rate. Diagnosis is hard, but when I was a tech, I could NEVER bill 100% of my day. You just can't hit a guy for all diagnostic work. if I had a result of loose wire, no matter how long it took, I could never bill for more than 2 hours.

Are you getting a service report written up by their service guy? If so, what does he give a time as. Even non-descript electrical issues our service writer would write up an estimate of time, and you had to adhere at least CLOSE to his estimate. There is no real way to nullify them having to come out for 2 seperate things. 1 time it could have been the nuetral switch, but it may not have. Unless you saved the old switch, there's no real way for you to prove or disprove it. The second time, there is no way for you, or them to prove, or disprove that it wasn't done by you, OR since they came out and checked last time. Regardless of what the issue is, or how long they spend on it, after 2 failed attempts, they need to fix it SEVERELY discounted, or for free. All that means to me is that the guy doesnt know his *** from his elbow, and is just guessing on what to do next. Don't let them keep hitting you for shoddy diagnostics.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m2434 View Post
Likable person does not equal competent mechanic. If they say it's fixed and it isn't, you may give them one more try to make good, after all some problems are tricky, but after that move on.... There are good mechanics out there, you just need to find them.
I don't care what you guys say but even the best technician cannot fix an intermittent problem that only happens certain times. So say it doesn't crank.....tech comes out and finds a loose wire on the nuetral safety switch...motor starts 20 times in a row perfectly..Job done.......maybe...maybe not. It's not his fault if the thing acts up again. You can only fix it if it's broken. You'd keep paying for his time anyway if he continues to search.....most customers would say stop now and I will try it for a while. Having to come back to keep looking for the problem is time he would have spent there the first time anyway.

Now that said......This is saying he is a good tech and has done a proper diognosis before wiggling loose wires, the first rule of fixing most problems is duplicating it and then diagnosing it.....

I'm local to him and offered help.......oh well.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatfishn View Post
The first service visit they diagnosed a problem and told me that my neutral switch needed to be replaced. I paid a few hundred for labor and then paid for the part (another hundred) and installed it myself. That didn't fix the problem....

The second trip the mechanic spent more time and said that he found a loose connection with the neutral wire and that the issue was resolved. That cost me around $500...
these guys are taking you for a ride. referencing a faulty neutral safety switch is information most mechanics will offer free over the phone, certainly not worthy of a few hundred. and then assuming ~$75/hr service charge, youre fine assuming they spent almost 7hr to determine that you had a loose connection? wtf over?
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Chiefsurfer View Post
Well inherently electrical is tricky, because nothing is standardized in boats. Very tough, and I did it for a few years. Diagnosing issues like this are tough.

When they diagnose, what tools do they bring with them? How much are they charging hourly? I am assuming roughly $100. At that charge, for a STUPID nuetral switch or loose wire, I could NEVER charge someone 5 hours. Travel time(within half hour) is eaten by them, no charge. If so, much, MUCH lower rate. Diagnosis is hard, but when I was a tech, I could NEVER bill 100% of my day. You just can't hit a guy for all diagnostic work. if I had a result of loose wire, no matter how long it took, I could never bill for more than 2 hours.

Are you getting a service report written up by their service guy? If so, what does he give a time as. Even non-descript electrical issues our service writer would write up an estimate of time, and you had to adhere at least CLOSE to his estimate. There is no real way to nullify them having to come out for 2 seperate things. 1 time it could have been the nuetral switch, but it may not have. Unless you saved the old switch, there's no real way for you to prove or disprove it. The second time, there is no way for you, or them to prove, or disprove that it wasn't done by you, OR since they came out and checked last time. Regardless of what the issue is, or how long they spend on it, after 2 failed attempts, they need to fix it SEVERELY discounted, or for free. All that means to me is that the guy doesnt know his *** from his elbow, and is just guessing on what to do next. Don't let them keep hitting you for shoddy diagnostics.

As a retired electronics service technician and business owner I feel this is your best answer. Or you could let carbo, a forum member give it a shot and you can post about him....
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:01 PM
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Is $100 for a neutral switch a little steep?
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
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Is $100 for a neutral switch a little steep?
I'd say no, depending on the switch. Some are as cheap as $25, some are much more expensive.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:08 PM
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Is $100 for a neutral switch a little steep?

He did PM me and we may talk. I know the shop he's using and the owner and they are a good operation. Seems he has a fairly big boat and may have diesels......He will keep up posted.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:21 PM
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If the mechanic worked on it, he gets paid wether fixed or not, he did work on it which he should be paid for. Usually after a couple of attempts to fix it with no luck, they'll give you a break on the labor charges going forward until the problem is resolved. Warranty, no such thing on labor, now if it was fixed and something fell off because it wasn't properly installed that would be a different situation. One more try and then find another mechanic. Intermittent problems are difficult to diagnose and repair when the problem is not in fact happening when the mechanic is working on it, I deal with problems like this every day and it is not fun....
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:22 PM
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Is $100 for a neutral switch a little steep?
Isn't everything "marine" a little steep??
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:32 PM
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Sounds like you are paying some guy to come out an screw around on your boat for a couple hours. Either fix it yourself or find someone else who will fix the problem (Did I miss what the problem was?)
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for all of the responses. To answer a few of the questions: yes, it is an intermittent problem but they have been on the boat when it is acting up. I installed the new switch at their suggestion and it was very simple. I didn't cause any further problems. I've got diesels. I realize that problems like this can difficult to fix that is why I was asking what the standard is in a situation like this. Everyone deserves to get paid for their work, and I stated that I intend to be fair, but at the same time I don't want to get screwed. They are only traveling about 30 minutes to my boat.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:43 PM
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I don't care what you guys say but even the best technician cannot fix an intermittent problem that only happens certain times. So say it doesn't crank.....tech comes out and finds a loose wire on the nuetral safety switch...motor starts 20 times in a row perfectly..Job done.......maybe...maybe not. It's not his fault if the thing acts up again. You can only fix it if it's broken. You'd keep paying for his time anyway if he continues to search.....most customers would say stop now and I will try it for a while. Having to come back to keep looking for the problem is time he would have spent there the first time anyway.

Now that said......This is saying he is a good tech and has done a proper diognosis before wiggling loose wires, the first rule of fixing most problems is duplicating it and then diagnosing it.....

I'm local to him and offered help.......oh well.
I would agree 100%. Anyone who has tried to chase down an intermittent electrical issue knows how difficult it can be to reproduce the problem consistantly. Just throwing parts at it is not good either though as Carbo points out.

Another point is that he diagnosed it and you fixed it the first time. All that said at this point you should be getting a very good break on further work done to resolve this particular issue. That outfit is not charging you the cheapest rate around.
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