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Am I getting had by alignment shop?


vagabond80

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I just put a skyjacker lift in my 90 4x4, so I took it to the local off road shop to get alignment done. I brought them the adjustable camber bushings and drop pitman arm(I had loosened everything up but my cheap puller tool was bending, so I brought it in). They told me $125 flat for alignment, and said they didn't expect to need to use the bushings but if they did it would be extra and they would call me. Dropped it off first thing yesterday morning. Just got a call this afternoon that it's done, drives great except a little tire rub, total bill $527.50. I'm first ticked they didn't contact me, but still this seems much higher than reasonable, or am I underestimating the bushings swap?? Input appreciated, even if it's just to tell me I'm an idiot.

Thanks yall
 


JMF661

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Might want to ask them for your itemized bill when you pick it up before you get yourself too bent out of shape.

I've had my 94 done a few times, ended up changing some spring around and such. Each time was 240 and 290 bucks.

If its one of those fancy offroad specialty shops, they could just have a little higher rate of labor. Also, if they had to fool around with that pitman arm I would imagine that is an extra expense.

Seems a little bit steep to me, especially given this initial estimate of 125 bucks. All you can do is ask them to explain it.
 

ericbphoto

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Get a detailed report of what they did and ask why it's so much more than they estimated. That doesn't sound right, especially if you provided the new adjustable bushings and Pittman arm. It sounds like they're charging you for the price of a Pittman arm plus the alignment.
 

vagabond80

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I expected a bit of a charge for the pitman arm for sure, maybe a half hour just on a technicality, but I don't see $400 there.
I know there are laws against shops charging more than estimated under certain conditions, not that I would raise action against them, but this seems exorbitant. I will definitely be asking for an itemized receipt, just want to go in as savvy as possible. Eric as you mentioned, I wonder if they did charge for some part(s), as the total isn't a multiple of a standard rate
 

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The final price being 4x what the estimate was is a little more than exorbitant IMO. They should of called you when they realized it was going to be even 2x what the estimate was...
 

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I think in Michigan you were allowed 20% beyond the original estimate. More then that a verbal approval would have been required.

I would look over what they actually did. Also consider their labor rate is likely in the neighborhood of $100 an hour. Probably got dinged for shop supplies too... none of that stuff is free anymore.

More importantly... if the truck drives straight... steering wheel is straight... doesn't wear out your tires and pull you off the road or into the next lane they did a bang up job with a thirty year old truck that most places really struggle to get right.

Seriously... take a deep breath and talk with them.
 

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Yes, I would have to say the difference would have to be at least 80% Parts

The reason you, or I, would pay a shop $100+/hour is for the knowledge but also the "tool rental"
What a shop can do in 2 hours with all the right tools, i.e lift, transmission jack, alignment platform, air tools, ect..........might take me 4 or 5 hours in the driveway or garage
So for some jobs I will pay it because its faster or better than if I do it
 

vagabond80

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Where I'm at, I figure closer to $125 for labor rate. Since I don't know how big of a deal it is to change camber bushings, my main question before seeing the line out leans on "does it take 3 hours?"
Saying it's impressive to get these trucks aligned is some new perspective though
 

vagabond80

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Agreed, I've even got air with tools in my garage, but alignment isn't something I want to mess around doing myself. I've done toe and go a few times, but that's as far (or further) as I'm confident
 

ericbphoto

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If things aren't too rusty, the bushings are a few minutes each to replace. After that, the alignment is a normal procedure. There's a good outline of how to do it yourself in our tech library. With the right tools, the Pittman arm should pop off pretty easy. From where the rest of us are, we cant evaluate how rusty and stuck everything is on your truck. I can do that job on my truck in driveway in a couple hours. But mine is relatively clean and I have had all that stuff apart and reassembled with anti-sieze.
 

vagabond80

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This is more or less what I assumed, but again haven't done it and don't know. My truck is not an exceptional example of cherry, but it's minimal surface rust for the age. As outlined in another thread, I did the lift myself, and aside from seized bolts in the rear leaves, it was a pretty clean job. I'm more than ready to let them explain the rationale if it's there, but that's a large chunk of change, several times over the estimate and I'm not going to throw it away blindly.

So, thank you all for the info, I feel better prepared for the upcoming conversation
 

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I agree... they should have called you.

Be sure to post what actually happens
 

ericbphoto

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Yes. Please let us know. We're very curious and we hope it works out well for you.
 

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Holy shit. Bushings are like $50 each at most and you only need two... My most expensive alignment ever was like $250. Keep us posted, something is not right.
 

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The initial estimate was for best case scenario....


Bushings can take minutes or hours...days..or a new beam ...


Often if they are grown in....you need to completely pop the knuckle off.



Then put it all back together.

At this point...you are fully cleaning and inspecting the bearings and spindles ECT....because if you are not a useless pos....you are not aligning something that is ready to shit out bearings. It's just etiquette. This itself is a ton of work.



Did you have the correct bushings?

Dana 35 and 28 bushings are different. That can cause labor time to increase...if your parts now are causing the truck to hold up a hoist waiting on different stuff....


100 bux an hour adds up fast.

So. Need more data.


And...not very many people can align these systems efficiently.
 

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