Are They Ripping Me Off For A Transmission Job? - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

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Are They Ripping Me Off For A Transmission Job?

 
  #1  
Old 02-28-2016, 09:06 PM
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Are They Ripping Me Off For A Transmission Job?

So my truck is currently in the shop because it desperately needs clutch work. Despite getting the slave and master cylinders replaced six months ago, the truck has been getting progressively harder to shift into gear, particularly first or reverse from a stop. In fact, it actually started to creep if I was sitting still, in first gear, with the clutch in.

So, by all accounts this is a very reputable transmission shop that I'm dealing with. They quoted me $1300, labor and parts, for a new clutch kit and a new single mass flywheel (the truck has not yet been converted).

However, they took it for a test drive, and told me that it was also popping out of second gear on a downshift, and this indicates a transmission problem. I do seem to faintly recall this happening a time or two, but it never really struck me as a huge problem.

Anyway, they're telling me that it will cost $1100 to just take the case on the transmission apart, inspect it to see what's wrong, and put it back together. They said it would require a new bearing and seal kit, which is understandable. However, those kits from what I've seen run right around $150. So, I can't wrap my mind around where they're getting $950 in labor just to take the case apart to inspect the internals of the transmission.

On top of that, they told me it could run up as high as $1700 for the transmission work depending on what needs replacing (fork, gear, etc).

Please note that those two quotes do NOT include the labor of dropping the transmission or putting it back in the truck, as that's already covered by the quote for the clutch job.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how they're coming up with their $1100/1700 quotes, because parts aren't that expensive and from the reading I've done online, others have gotten their ZF5's serviced/rebuilt for less than $1000. Am I totally misunderstanding how extensive this job would be, or are they trying to pull a fast one on me?
 
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:51 PM
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It's been probably 20 years since I had a clutch replaced, but I remember it being around $1000, so $1300 with 20 years inflation seems pretty good. I can't say about the rebuild.
 
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:56 PM
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Yeah, the cost of the clutch job isn't what concerns me. I fielded several quotes from shops around town for the clutch job, and $1300 is actually the cheapest one I found.

I'm getting hung up on the transmission work. I've read various forum posts where people are getting these transmissions totally rebuilt for $600 when they supply the parts. A top quality TOTAL overhaul kit is a little over $500 online, so $1100 for a total rebuild sounds way better than my shop's quote of $1100 just to pop the case and put new bearings and seals in.
 
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:58 PM
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If it's just the $1700 for a rebuild, that's on the upper end of the price range but still within reason. If it is in addition to the $1100, NO WAY!
 
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:58 PM
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Seems pretty high priced to me, but then again, shop labor rates are often in excess of $100/hr. I could see a thorough inspection and tear-down of a ZF5 taking 8-9 hours, especially since it more than likely requires some press-work.

As to your truck, even if you replaced the salve cylinder, are you sure it's still good? Have someone look under the truck while you press the clutch (engine off, e-brake set) an see if the clutch fork slowly starts to sink back in.

There are also two very common problems on older high-mileage ZF5 equipped trucks:

1. The firewall starts to flex and crack around the clutch master, meaning you don't get the full pedal travel. It will get worse over time. I believe there is a brace you can buy and install to correct the issue.

2. There's a bushing on the clutch pedal that often wears out, and will cause the master cylinder to not depress enough. The pin itself on the pedal can also get gouged out and worn if the bushing is completely destroyed.

I suspect your problem is one or both of the above.
 
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:02 PM
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No, it's $1700 total for the transmission work, if they have to replace a gear or a fork. $1100 for breaking it open, and they're estimating 500-600 more once they're actually inside. $1700 for a total rebuild would be understandable, but it just sounds so incredibly high when you realize that they're not replacing everything inside, just the one or two bad pieces.

The slave cylinder is still good, and the firewall is not flexing. As to the bushing at the clutch pedal, it was just replaced a few weeks ago.
 
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:59 AM
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I just had my ZF-5 and transfer case rebuilt as a bench job. My trans was from a truck I bought for a conversion project. Around 330,000 miles and pretty rough. It had gear oil in both when I drained them, which is incorrect, should be ATF. Anyway, pretty tired transmission but it worked in all gears and would grind reverse a little. T-case worked as well.

Labor for both: $450

Labor to weld/machine repair gouged input shaft at pilot: $185

Parts, complete overhaul kit, all new shift forks(scorched and worn away from using gear oil), seals and bearings for transfer case, and on: $665

Total: $1300

The guy called me down once he had it apart and cleaned in his assembly room to show me the good, bad, and ugly. Took about two weeks from the time I dropped it off to get it back as I told him I wasn't in a huge hurry for it.

ETA: Just saw you're in Alaska. If it's anything like Hawaii in terms of cost of living, tack on a healthy percentage to my numbers. These are Gulf Coast Texas prices.
 

Last edited by 119er; 02-29-2016 at 01:02 AM. Reason: Add comment
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Old 02-29-2016, 01:11 AM
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I agree with 119er , you have no idea what they are going to find until they get inside, and i need to say, beware of the cheap rebuild kits, your not dealing with a typical small block trans. these are a hd trans. the prices are not out of line for whats being done
 
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:15 AM
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this is a sticky situation.
can you live with the way the trans currently is?
if so tell them to just do the clutch.
the 5 speed in my 88 would occasionally pop out of gear. for close to 100,000 miles. i finally fixed it when the transfer case exploded and i put an automatic in the truck.
the guy i sold it to knew it would jump out of gear but needed it instantly, and he got close to another 100k out of it before he rebuilt it.
 
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:03 AM
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having second gear pop out tells me that the synchros are worn, and that generally means replacing them all, and that gets expensive these days, so $1700 for rebuilding a gear box isnt all that bad. i would say the numbers you were quoted are in line.
 
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:07 PM
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Too bad you're in Alaska. There are rebuilt, and supposedly installed and driven and tested, transmissions in Kentucky on Ebay for $799. They don't mention any core charge or exchange.

They say they ship anywhere in the United States, I'm not sure if it would be practical to ship it to you. You might want to check it out and give them a call.
 
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:40 PM
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure I can live with the transmission the way it is currently. Truthfully I only remember it popping out of gear a handful of times over the year I've owned it, so it never really struck me as a big deal. Something to be addressed in the future, but not an immediate concern.

Originally, I bought the truck because I needed something a little heavier duty than my 1/2 ton for work, but it wasn't meant to be a long term solution. More so, I intended to drive it until I could afford to upgrade to a better truck, either a 7.3 or 6.0 Powerstroke. Being that it's not a vehicle I intend to keep for years to come, I'm hesitant to dump a bunch of money into it. It's already received $2500 in work, and I only paid $2000 for it.

For the time being I have a loaner vehicle to get by, and about $3000 to spend if I wanted to buy a different vehicle. In addition to whatever I could get from selling this one with a worn clutch. I'm leaning toward buying a half ton with the straight 6, because I no longer need the heavy duty truck in the immediate future. More economical, but still has some capability. Something like that makes more sense in my mind to keep long term, so I wouldn't be as opposed to spending money on it as necessary.

What makes more sense?
 
 
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