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Am I getting had by alignment shop?


vagabond80

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Full hour for the pitman arm, 2.5 hours for the bushings.
Guy said "well they're adjustable camber and caster so we have to go in and make adjustments and check and it's very time consuming"
I get that you have to make adjustments. It's an alignment. There will be adjustments, as the nature of the operation. I don't think it should be an extra 2.5 hours. Anyway, I paid it. But I won't be going back or recommending them, that's for sure.
Also feels real floaty/sloppy in the center now(didn't before), but that may be a natural product of the new setup...
 

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RonD

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That does seem very high on the hours

In a shop I would expect 30min for Pitman arm unless it was the ONLY thing done, then 1 hour minimum

Bushings can be a pain at home, but in a shop............2.5hours seems like you are paying for a coffee break in there somewhere

Overall I think you got dinged for an extra hour , so $115
 

JMF661

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Bozeman is a spendy town.
 

vagabond80

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That does seem very high on the hours

In a shop I would expect 30min for Pitman arm unless it was the ONLY thing done, then 1 hour minimum

Bushings can be a pain at home, but in a shop............2.5hours seems like you are paying for a coffee break in there somewhere

Overall I think you got dinged for an extra hour , so $115
That doesn't sound too unreasonable. I probably wouldn't have even questioned a straight 2 hours extra, but this 3.5... not cool
Bozeman is a spendy town.
Yep. Place I've been renting from a friend for over 5 years was just sold (because the market is exploding, they more than doubled their money selling the weekend it was listed). Now I get to find a new place at massive inflation. could have purchased a couple years ago, now I've been trying to find a rental I can afford for 2 months without any luck. Also, probably not going to be able to set up the garage in a new place
 

Shran

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Gawd. That's a bummer, I am familiar with that alignment shop too as I have offroad raced with their crew a couple times. Seemed like decent folks.

One hour for a pitman arm is ridiculus. It is literally two nuts. Maybe a 10 minute job.

Did they even give you a printout of your before and after camber/caster measurements?

I get that swapping bushings takes time but the guy I go to has literally done it while I waited on crusty 35 year old junk...and it is PART OF the alignment process. The way I read your bill, you got charged $115 to drive your truck onto their rack, and another $287 for them to do the actual alignment. Wow.
 

bobbywalter

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Well. I can tell none of you have done alignments on ford ttb or did lift installs for a living.


Sure ...most of the time a pitman arm is a 20 minute job.


I can't tell you how many pitman arms I have had to cut off.

Doing that without pooching a seal or bearing is a skill set few will ever have.


They are not as crusty out there as here....so maybe they did knock it out in an hour and a half.

But I will ask you this.... Mark the bushings.... and now that it has all been apart and is as easy as possible to adjust...change them a few marks..torque it up....
Move it....

..and then put it back again......

YOU physically try to set the caster and camber...


With a timer.


THEN....maybe you will realize ...under the best conditions you now have...

Why Most places won't touch them.

Since they have a racing background as shran reports...I suspect that is the reason it is acceptable in performance...


If I couldn't do it myself I would be happy to pay that for a quality job handling wise........and I also suspect they actually had 5 or 6 hours into it. Between the radius arm bushing and pivot bushing variations of wear.....hard to nail quickly.
 

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Well. I can tell none of you have done alignments on ford ttb or did lift installs for a living.


Sure ...most of the time a pitman arm is a 20 minute job.


I can't tell you how many pitman arms I have had to cut off.

Doing that without pooching a seal or bearing is a skill set few will ever have.


They are not as crusty out there as here....so maybe they did knock it out in an hour and a half.

But I will ask you this.... Mark the bushings.... and now that it has all been apart and is as easy as possible to adjust...change them a few marks..torque it up....
Move it....

..and then put it back again......

YOU physically try to set the caster and camber...


With a timer.


THEN....maybe you will realize ...under the best conditions you now have...

Why Most places won't touch them.

Since they have a racing background as shran reports...I suspect that is the reason it is acceptable in performance...


If I couldn't do it myself I would be happy to pay that for a quality job handling wise........and I also suspect they actually had 5 or 6 hours into it. Between the radius arm bushing and pivot bushing variations of wear.....hard to nail quickly.
My brother lost money when I had him do it, it took him 4 hours to do it, EVERYTHING was new. He had to figure out the adjustable bushings as nobody had brought anything in with them before. He just didn't turn in all his time and ate it for me.
 

RonD

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Don't think I agree with all of that Bobby

It's a shop that charges over $100/hour to do these jobs
It may take 20min to do Pitman arm on 20 vehicles, then number 21 takes two hours, you don't charge the customer "to go to school" on a pain in the butt part replacement, you learn from it, and education cost money

Same for bushing replacements and alignments, you make "good money" on the ones that are "easy", then you eat the hour or two on the ones that aren't, while you LEARN why they are not easy so you are better educated for the next time

Then the next time someone calls or comes in with similar vehicle you can estimate $200+ for alignment, not $125

I don't mind paying for someone's time and knowledge, I shouldn't have to pay for ongoing education
 

bobbywalter

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My brother lost money when I had him do it, it took him 4 hours to do it, EVERYTHING was new. He had to figure out the adjustable bushings as nobody had brought anything in with them before. He just didn't turn in all his time and ate it for me.
Yeah..... efficiently.
Takes experience.

If you have a ttb guy ...you have a ttb guy.

Well worn pivot and radius arm bushings...takes time to split the difference...you can get it perfect on jounce plates.....drive it 2 miles....and it will be 2 degrees different .... Hour and 15 per side to swap bushings is fair....
 

bobbywalter

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Don't think I agree with all of that Bobby

It's a shop that charges over $100/hour to do these jobs
It may take 20min to do Pitman arm on 20 vehicles, then number 21 takes two hours, you don't charge the customer "to go to school" on a pain in the butt part replacement, you learn from it, and education cost money

Same for bushing replacements and alignments, you make "good money" on the ones that are "easy", then you eat the hour or two on the ones that aren't, while you LEARN why they are not easy so you are better educated for the next time

Then the next time someone calls or comes in with similar vehicle you can estimate $200+ for alignment, not $125

I don't mind paying for someone's time and knowledge, I shouldn't have to pay for ongoing education
No....

You can disagree ...but these critters are different. Especially at this point.

They are all different. And vast in range. You can do 5 trucks with 4 hours variation....some 1/2 day....some an hour.


That is why in rust central they tell you to kick rocks. Better then this conversation.
 

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Its easy for us to be armchair quarterbacks. But until We know exactly what that particular truck is like and exactly what it took ti do the job, all we are doing is guessing. Thats not really fair to the guy who was there and did the work no matter what our individual OPINIONS are.
 
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Shran

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If there were other worn out parts replaced then they should have been noted on the receipt and charged accordingly, not just billed for in a blanket hourly line item. Which brings me to a good point, I do not see bushings on the receipt? If you are charging for a part, you do not include it in the cost of labor. I don't doubt that they installed bushings in this case but why all one line item?

I am just speaking as someone who has invested thousands of dollars into paying my local shop to do TTB alignments... there are two specific guys there that just blow them out fast and do excellent work. I have NEVER been charged more than $300 and they tell me up front if there are other worn out parts that would prevent them from aligning it. I fully understand that rust belt trucks equal more labor but that is not quite the case here in SD, and even much less so in MT.
 

ericbphoto

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Customer supplied the bushings and the pittman arm if i understand correctly.
 

bobbywalter

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If there were other worn out parts replaced then they should have been noted on the receipt and charged accordingly, not just billed for in a blanket hourly line item. Which brings me to a good point, I do not see bushings on the receipt? If you are charging for a part, you do not include it in the cost of labor. I don't doubt that they installed bushings in this case but why all one line item?

I am just speaking as someone who has invested thousands of dollars into paying my local shop to do TTB alignments... there are two specific guys there that just blow them out fast and do excellent work. I have NEVER been charged more than $300 and they tell me up front if there are other worn out parts that would prevent them from aligning it. I fully understand that rust belt trucks equal more labor but that is not quite the case here in SD, and even much less so in MT.


We did not read the same invoice.

I seen 1 hour 15 per side to swap bushings.

Fair.


Alignment is alignment. And exactly what Ron refers to. And it's priced for eating some.....winning some. Also fair.

The pitman arm. 1/2 hr minimum.

So maybe....maybe a 1/2 hr. And again...I will wager they have more time into it then billed ... And they are more then the 1/2 hr on the pitman arm.




And I am happy to know you have ttb gods local to you. You are in good hands.
 

Shran

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@bobbywalter I am not trying to bust your balls or anything. Everyone here appreciates your expertise, I have certainly learned a lot from your posts over the years. I just think there is either something serious missing from the receipt that the shop replaced and we don't know about or they way overcharged him.
 

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