Help please, 18 hours labor? Valve Adjustment & oil, coolant change?

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#1
I took my S 10 into the shop last week I ask them for a valve check coolant flush oil change air filter change and spark plug change they called today and said they had 18 hours in this work alone? They said they had to drop the motor from its engine mounts in front to perform the service. I was very surprised. I also asked for brake fluid and clutch fuild...check the steering head bearing and the pivot arm bushing. They said that would be about 12 more hours if they needed to pull the triple tree to get at it? Can you help me understand how much this should cost? Remember I’m at a dealership and I can’t do this work myself.

Thanks guys!

Dan
 

RCinNC

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#2
Re: 18 hours labor? Valve Adjustment & oil, coolant change?

There's no freaking way they had 18 hours into a job like that, unless they did something so wrong that it would equate to mechanical malpractice. If they dropped the motor from its mounts to do a clearance check then they don't know what they're doing, and if they had to drop the motor for some other reason, they should have called you before they went any further.

My valve check cost $340, which included labor. I just checked my records and the shop charged me 4.5 hours labor for the job. My valves didn't require any adjustment.

I seriously think you're getting hosed here.

PS: I should clarify that I got a discounted rate on the labor charge, so the job itself might cost more, but the hours should still be similar...either way, a valve check should in no way take 18 hours. Even if they were gouging you for an hour each for the coolant flush, clutch fluid flush, air filter change and spark plug change, you're still talking about 8-9 hours, not over twice that.

It would concern me when they said "if" they needed to pull triple tree to get at it (by "it", I assume they were referring to he steering head bearings). It sounds like they aren't familiar with your bike, otherwise they'd know the answer to that, and wouldn't have said "if".
 

Bryce

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#4
It maybe took me that long (18 hrs and 12 hrs), but I didn't know WTF I was doing. Next time it won't take that long.

If you had to have valves adjusted, it looks like a real bitch and takes longer.
 

RCinNC

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#5
Did you get a work order/estimate from them before they started on the job, that spelled out what specifically you were asking them to do and their estimate for labor/costs for the job? A shop should be able to tell you that it's going to be Price "A" for the clearance check, and it's going to be Price "A + B" if they actually have to adjust anything. They know from their own manuals how long each job should take, and a valve adjustment is a known quantity; it's not like trying to chase down a short somewhere in a wiring harness.
 
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#8
No...not even that. I know them very well. I just gave them a list. I take some blame for not being better thought out for sure. I purchased my bike from them and just figured all will be well, I thought it would be under a grand. I messed up on this maintenance job for sure!
 

RCinNC

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#9
Apologies if I made that sound like I was blaming you, that wasn't my intent. I learned my lessons the hard way, when it comes to shops and dealerships (which also drove me to do all my own maintenance, with the exception of the valve clearance check). I've learned through experience that service departments aren't necessarily your friend or your enemy, but you can't treat them like your buddy who'll do right by you. I'm always very clear what I need done, and I always get it in writing along with their estimate of labor costs for each job. And, if something transpires that's beyond their original estimate, then I want them to call me before they do it so there aren't any ugly surprises. And if a shop isn't willing to write up a work order for something like that, then I wouldn't use them.

Were I in your shoes right now, before I let the shop log one more hour on my bike, I'd be asking the service manager for an accounting of everything they'd done up to that point so I knew exactly where I was in the process, and how much it had cost up to that moment, and how much it was going to cost to finish up whatever was on my list.
 

steve68steve

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#10
DryRider said:
...They said that would be about 12 more hours if they needed to pull the triple tree to get at it?...
For what it's worth, it is CRAZY tight working on this head in the bike. With my limited (standard) tools, there were some fasteners I had to get an eighth of a turn on at a time. I think I ended up cutting off a hex wrench to get clearance.


I ended up pulling the whole engine due to mis-diagnosing valve damage (timing chain skipped teeth). As much work as that was, it makes all the other work easy - or even possible. Try torquing those head bolts to spec with the engine in the bike.


That said, a valve check is just a measurement - tear it down enough to pull the valve cover (no small feat on this bike), and stick a shim gage in a few places. If all in spec, put it back together.
If the check indicates an adjustment is required, that's when the fun starts: it means pulling the cam shafts, which involves the timing chain, which involves the CCT, which probably means the clutch cover is coming off. The gaskets and sealants alone are non-trivial, price-wise.


As others have noted, doing the job once makes doing the job a second time MUCH easier because you know where everything is and have sorted out all the "how do I get in there" problems. Following the shop manual cold will take longer. The comparative rarity of our bikes (I've been asked "cool bike - what is it, anyway? by the service manager of a Yamaha dealership) means that the service guys might not have previous experience on our bikes.


Lastly, comparison is the thief of joy. If you're getting all your work done without having to get dirty and skin your knuckles, and you can afford it, who cares if someone else got it cheaper. Someone else will probably pay more.
 

EricV

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#11
DryRider said:
I took my S 10 into the shop last week I ask them for a valve check coolant flush oil change air filter change and spark plug change they called today and said they had 18 hours in this work alone? They said they had to drop the motor from its engine mounts in front to perform the service. I was very surprised. I also asked for brake fluid and clutch fuild...check the steering head bearing and the pivot arm bushing. They said that would be about 12 more hours if they needed to pull the triple tree to get at it? Can you help me understand how much this should cost? Remember I’m at a dealership and I can’t do this work myself.

Thanks guys!

Dan
You asked for a lot to be done. The valve check usually runs around $400 and it's not really much different if they have to re-shim or not, as most of the work labor wise is getting to the point where they can check things. The extra time to pull the cams and swap shims isn't really huge, everything is accessible at that point.

Coolant flush - That's one to check on. On the FJR, they had to drain the coolant to do the valve check, so it added nothing. On the Super Ten, I don't think this is the case and it would be an extra charge plus some minor parts. Gasket and coolant. Now, if they really did a flush, not just a drain and fill, I would expect additional charges. A real flush takes time and has waste charges involved.

The air box is coming out to get to the valve cover, so installing a new air filter should only be the cost of the filter if the shop is honest. Dishonest, it adds "book time" in labor to the job.

Head bearing and swingarm pivot bearings - if they just "checked" them, that's really minor time. If they actually re-greased them, that's major labor time. Flush and bleed of the brake and clutch is probably significant 'book time' but not really that time consuming with the small volumes and normal shop tools like a vacuum bleeder.

There is no reason to have dropped the motor out of the frame unless the tech damaged the valve cover gasket or didn't read the Yamaha service manual and didn't 'think' he/she could get it off w/o dropping the motor.

The real question is how many miles on the bike and why did you think all of these things needed to be done at this time?

Brake/clutch fluids should be changed every couple of years max. Better still, every year. It's an easy job with some basic tools.

Coolant flush or at least change is a good thing too. It's no big deal for me to wait until the valve adjustment period because I usually cover that many miles in a year or less. Not so for everyone though.

The head bearings do need to be checked, but it's pretty easy to do if you have the correct tool and a torque wrench. There is a specific procedure and it's outlined in the Factory Service Manual. If the bearings need to be re-greased, it's more involved, but not hugely so. I bet 'book time' is huge on this though.

Swingarm pivot. Whatever. Yes, they eventually need attention. I never checked mine in over 100k miles and the swingarm never fell off. ::) They are needle bearings and you typically need to replace them, not re-grease them, when you eventually get to them.
 

RCinNC

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#12
Yes, but comparisons are apt when you're talking about service hours performed on a bike, because all the Yamaha service centers have a very good idea of how long a job will take. They know that a valve check for an R1 should take "x" amount of time, and for an S10 should take "y" amount of time. That's how they can estimate work flow, so they can get bikes in and out of the shop and keep new jobs (and money) coming in. Their mechanics may not be specifically familiar with a Super Tenere (that's not uncommon with this bike), but they're still trained mechanics, and they have their own manuals and procedures that not only describe the process but give them an estimate of how long the job should take. I got the same hourly estimate from two Yamaha shops for a valve clearance check. I'm not going to talk out of my ass because I don't know for sure what a Yamaha shops procedures are, but I know I wasn't charged for dropping the engine to do a clearance check, and I'm reasonably sure they don't do that even when they have to pull the cams and actually change shims. I was more than willing to pay a shop to do my valve check, because I didn't want to tackle that procedure myself, but my relief at not having to do it doesn't equate to writing them a blank check. It would probably take me 18 hours or more to do the job myself, assuming I could even do it without screwing it up, but I'm not a professional mechanic, and I definitely expect them to be able to do it in a reasonable amount of time, or at least for them to give me a decent estimate for how many hours the job will take and how much it will cost me.

I didn't have any issues pulling the steering head on my bike, Steve; which fasteners did you have a hard time with? The hardest part of it for me was that I pulled the forks at the same time so I could change the oil in them, and had a heck of a time getting one of the forks back in place. Oh, and also trying to figure out the order of the washers and spacers under the steering head nut; drove myself nuts with that for a while.
 

RCinNC

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#13
As near as I could tell from the original post, Eric, he's being told they have 18 hours of labor logged right now in a just a valve check, coolant flush, oil change, air filter change, and spark plug change. Even if they're really jamming him and counting up book time for each individual job (rather than something like just changing the plugs during the course of the valve check), 18 hours still sounds like way over the top, even if they're actually adjusting the valves. Plus, telling him another 12 hours labor just for the steering head? Wow, is all I can say.
 

EricV

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#14
I agree with you RCinNC. I'd expect more like 6 hours of shop labor for those tasks, and that based upon my own Yamaha dealer experiences with Super Ten valve checks and coolant flush work.
 

PAULIBIKER

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#15
In my previous life I was a service manager. There is a labor guide for everything. If the book states 4.5 hours you charge 4.5 X your hourly rate. If you give the job to your worst tech and it takes 6.5 hours, you charge 4.5 hours. If you give the job to your best tech and it take 3.5 hours, you charge 4.5 hours. It's that simple.

It would be impossible to write an estimate without these guides, as nobody has done everything to every model let alone remember how long it took.
 

EricV

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#16
PAULIBIKER said:
In my previous life I was a service manager. There is a labor guide for everything. If the book states 4.5 hours you charge 4.5 X your hourly rate. If you give the job to your worst tech and it takes 6.5 hours, you charge 4.5 hours. If you give the job to your best tech and it take 3.5 hours, you charge 4.5 hours. It's that simple.

It would be impossible to write an estimate without these guides, as nobody has done everything to every model let alone remember how long it took.
Exactly true. That is the 'book time' I refer to in my posts. All I can think of is that the dealer has charged the labor guide times for each item as separate events, or because no estimate was given, is attempting to charge the time an inexperienced tech took because they did extra tasks to perform the work.

I once had a junior tech follow the procedures in the Yamaha FSM for removing the engine in preparation for a valve check on my FJR. In part because that's how the FSM was written. There wasn't a separate procedure written for the valve check, it was added on to the procedure for removal of the engine. thankfully, the senior tech came back from vacation and stopped her from removing the engine, which was unnecessary for the valve check on the FJR.
 

Don in Lodi

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#17
I think I'd get a little demanding. Demand to see their flat rate manual and have them break down the job in front of you. That quote is a little absurd. I don't even get that much for swapping a motor out in a Dodge truck.
 
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