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It looks like San Jose BMW will have my sidecar rig finally ready this weekend. It has been there since the beginning of October. They faxed me the bill to review today and I about fell out of my seat. They replaced the motor and clutch, replaced the left fan motor, and put a new rotor and pads on the sidecar that I supplied. The total came to $6700. They had 38 hrs of labor on it. There was a charge of $1600 to diagnose that it needed a new motor and fan. They are telling me they have more hours into it then they are charging me for ($85/hr). There was about $3200 in parts. I was a little shocked by the labor charges. Especially the diagnosis charges. I spoke with the owner and he feels totally justified in the charges and that is how much time his mechanic spent on it. BMW national has denied any warranty work because of the sidecar. National will not even cover the fan saying the sidecar causes the bike to run hotter and causes the fan to run more often causing it to fail. I guess I have no choice but to pay the bill . I was just wondering what you guys thought of these charges and are they out of line considering they had to work on it with a sidecar frame.
 

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Sounds very high. We don't know enough about the details of your agreement with the dealer, but a stop limit should have been negotiated in advance, I'd guess, and it would have been a courtesy for them to keep you advised as to how many hours they thought it would take, and how many they were piling up as the project went alone.

Here is one lesson learned by me from your expensive ordeal: If you want a sidecar on your LT, (which I have considered) consider the LT a throw-away, or parts bike once you commit to the sidecar. :(

Therefore, one might consider using an older LT for this project, as one can be had for nearly the same as your repair costs. It looks like if you use a new one, this manufacturer does a warranty walkaway. I wonder if that is true with Honda and others? Sure haven't heard of it.

As for your bill, I'd pitch a bitch for their lack of communication. Good luck and thanks for the lesson.
 

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A $1600 diagnostic charge is a bit too much for them to conclude that you need to replace the motor anyway. Plus ... how hard is it to diagnose a failed cooling fan motor assuming the bike came in due to overheating. They should at least apply a major part of the diagnostic expense into the the R&R labor.

BTW, If the dealer hasn't done this, the consumer needs to be given an estimate of the diagnostic and repair costs and duly approved by him prior to start of work. Any additional cost MUST FIRST BE APPROVED BY THE CUSTOMER AND DOCUMENTED ACCORDINGLY. That is the law here in California. After 20 some years being in the auto repair business DAMHIK.

M2CW
 

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That seems very high to diagnose it. That works out to more than 2 days to figure out the motor and such is shot. The install is probably pretty fair.

I had the motor replaced in an RX7 a few years ago and the install was $2,900. There was no charge to diagnose it.
 

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I can only tell you that you are not the 1st person to be shocked by an enormous repair or maintainance bill from a BMW dealer. ANY work perfrmed by BMW dealers will cost you an arm and a leg.

you gotta remember that it says B-M-W on the bike.

Did you receive an estimate for the work before they started?

Did they notify you of the costs to install the parts after diagnosis?

If they did and they over shot the estimate, that is your only recourse.
 

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Hi cost...

I've got 4 BMWs: a 528i, 325i, k1200lte and an 1150gs. I've had BMW automobiles over the last 20 years. I've never had a repair bill that high. The highest I've ever experienced is about $2,500.

I'm getting more and more to the point of doing as much of my own work as possible. I've been very disappointed with the quality of service at one dealer I've been to. This type of experience confirms that its best to stay out of the dealership except for warranty claims and those things that are impossible for the individual person to perform.

Tom
 

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I think you were raped...(rant on) 16 hours to diagnose a bad cooling fan?
I'd be so ashamed if I were the tech I'd have not charged you a dime..
Technician's are supposed to be professionals. Troubleshooting is a very methodical thing. You start at one end and work your way to the other.. Anything more than an hour for troubleshooting and the technician must have been an idiot... I'm sorry to be so harsh but I am a professional troubleshooter and it shouldn't take more than an hour to troubleshoot almost anything found in the consumer world...Yeah, if it was the Space Shuttle or something like that. But a bad cooling fan.......No Way !!

If the world continues to revolve around this kind of greed things are going to go very bad very soon...Maybe I should open a bike shop and work on BMW's .. I could charge twice as much as the dealer and the final bill would still be half of what the dealer charges....

(Rant off)

John
 

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How is the handling with your sidecar.

I am looking at a 02 LTE rig with a hannigan 2+2, can you give any info on ride, comfort of the car, any safety issues.
 

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Tom_Becker said:
I've got 4 BMWs: a 528i, 325i, k1200lte and an 1150gs. I've had BMW automobiles over the last 20 years. I've never had a repair bill that high. The highest I've ever experienced is about $2,500.

I'm getting more and more to the point of doing as much of my own work as possible. I've been very disappointed with the quality of service at one dealer I've been to. This type of experience confirms that its best to stay out of the dealership except for warranty claims and those things that are impossible for the individual person to perform.

Tom
Agree 100%, That's what I do.
 

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It boggles my mind they can't test a cooling fan in just a few minutes. I am no master mechanic but it wouldn't take but a few minutes to check that puppy out. If I were the tech I would be embarrassed it took me that long to figure out the fan was bad. And how "freakin" long does it take to determine that you need a new clutch and Engine. Did they take it apart and check all tolerances on every bolt, shaft, screw, etc.etc......... That's just plain robbery.......
My unskilled 2 cents.
 

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ATFLT said:
That seems very high to diagnose it. That works out to more than 2 days to figure out the motor and such is shot. The install is probably pretty fair.

I had the motor replaced in an RX7 a few years ago and the install was $2,900. There was no charge to diagnose it.
Ouch. - now, if they included new hoses, belts, vacuum lines for the rat's nest, install kit. etc. - you did OK. Those parts are worth their weight in gold these days.

BTW, did you know there are BRAND NEW OEM motors available for the 93 to 95 FD3S? A dealer in the east has a stash of about 30 of 'em :)

Mine name is literally on one of them. ;)
 

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Sam,

When I put my Hannigan Astro Sport on my '00 in late 02 (I bought the bike used), I pretty much presumed that any remaining warranty (and there was some) would be null and void. But I was lucky and my favorite dealer supported a couple warranty claims (replaced the CD changer, motronic (took 10 months) a few other minor things). BUT, I had no reasonable expectation that any drivetrain issues would be handled under warranty (Thankfully, I've not had any problems). Note that I took the sidecar off the bike so that it wouldn't take up so much room in their small shop for the CD changer work, and the shop manager asked me to take the hack off when he called to say that the motronic replacement was in.

There are a very small handfull of bike manufacturers (Harley, Ural, Cheng Shing (SP?)) that will support mounting a sidecar. No others, to my knowledge.

Having said all that.....

The dealer should have communicated with you about on-going escalation of the repairs. BUT, why weren't you calling him???

I've not noticed a difference in the heat management when pulling the hack versus riding with the hack off. Of course, you did not provide much info about the problem for which you took the bike in to the shop.

J.
 

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Hi Sam - I thought that was your rig at SJ BMW. While the bill is steep, Chris and crew aren't in the habit of gouging people, if anything they tend to undercharge or eat a few hours of labor when things get expensive. Is it possible the larger labor charges are due to having to remove and reinstall the sidecar?
 

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Tom_Becker said:
I've got 4 BMWs: a 528i, 325i, k1200lte and an 1150gs. I've had BMW automobiles over the last 20 years. I've never had a repair bill that high. The highest I've ever experienced is about $2,500.

I'm getting more and more to the point of doing as much of my own work as possible. I've been very disappointed with the quality of service at one dealer I've been to. This type of experience confirms that its best to stay out of the dealership except for warranty claims and those things that are impossible for the individual person to perform.

Tom
I have two BMW cars now, a 525i and a 740iL, purchased them used. I REALLY like the way they drive, and the way they hold up over a LOT of miles, body, interior, etc.

BUT: If I could not do the work on them I would probably not own them very long. On my '94 525i I do have one recurring itermittent "Trans Program" error when decelerating, did everything I could to diagonse the problem myself, finally took it to a dealer to see what their diagnosis was. Well, they pulled the codes, and said they never repair transmissions, so I would need a new one, at over $4,000. I only paid $6,500 for the car a couple years ago. That was two visits in one, my first, and last time to take a BMW car to a dealer for anything! If I ever need something I cannot do myself, I will find a good independent BMW shop.

I put a pushbutton in the DME power line to the trans controller, and now if I get the error I just hit the button and reset it. The tranny never gives me any indication of anything wrong, shifts just fine and is always smooth. I will drive it until it decides there is really something wrong, and rebuild it myself.

I have the code reader, so can do most of the diagnosis work myself.
 

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Hi Sam -

Just curious - when you brought them your bike - did you leave in your turbo-carrera or your M5 - perhaps they saw you coming!

I agree w/ the consenus - the diagnostic charges seem a tad high - hope you can persuade them into some form of credit.
 

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dshealey said:
I have the code reader, so can do most of the diagnosis work myself.

David,
Do you remmember were did you buy the code reader?
I have a 1992 525i and also would like to have it.
Thank you
 

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strsout said:
David,
Do you remmember were did you buy the code reader?
I have a 1992 525i and also would like to have it.
Thank you
I have the Peake Research R5/FCX (II) unit for the engine codes, http://www.peakeresearch.com/code_tool.htm

Got it here:
http://www.bimmerzone.com/resettool.htm#1

It works on both the 525 and 740

I also have a different reader that is supposed to read all codes on the cars, got it on eBay, but it does not read some of the modules that it is supposed to. Not recommending that one.
 

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jpspen said:
16 hours to diagnose a bad cooling fan?
I'd be so ashamed if I were the tech I'd have not charged you a dime..
Technician's are supposed to be professionals. Troubleshooting is a very methodical thing. You start at one end and work your way to the other.. Anything more than an hour for troubleshooting and the technician must have been an idiot... I'm sorry to be so harsh but I am a professional troubleshooter and it shouldn't take more than an hour to troubleshoot almost anything found in the consumer world...Yeah, if it was the Space Shuttle or something like that. But a bad cooling fan.......No Way !!

John
Ah, were it always so easy! If the engine had to be replaced, it was obviously more than just a bad cooling fan.

Case file #1: vehicle gets towed into the shop with a no-start condition. Battery has exploded under the hood. Fairly simple diagnosis, right? Replace the battery, car now cranks but won't start. More diagnosis - no "Check Engine" light with the key on. Bulb is burned out in dash. Light comes on now, but still no start. More diagnosis - no fuel pressure, pump is not running. Now what? Fuel pump relay contacts are burned. New relay. Now we have pressure, but still won't start. More diagnosis - shorted injector windings have taken out the driver circuits in the ECU. New injectors and ECU installed. Car now starts, but ... alternator is going full field due to a bad regulator. That explains the exploded battery, shorted injectors and burned bulb. New alternator. Test drive - trans won't shift. More diagnosis. Shorted shift solenoids in transmission, and (you guessed it) the TCU is fried, too. Get that fixed and find out the ABS isn't working. It went on and on, eventually replacing multiple bulbs, control units, relays, even parts of the wiring harness. The problem was, it was impossible to know what didn't work until you fixed one problem, and fixing that would lead you to the next thing that didn't work. By the time the car was repaired, there were well over 20 hours of legitimate diagnostic time involved.

Case file #2: owner complains of a vibration in the vehicle, only in the morning after driving about 10 miles. Vibration only lasts a few seconds, but is so bad you can feel it in the steering wheel and up through the seats. Test drive the vehicle and find nothing. Inspect the front end, steering, brakes, suspension, tires, drive axles - all good. Return it to the customer and he calls the next day. It did it again. Ask him to leave car with us overnight to check it cold in the morning. Next morning, drive it again for about 30 miles without duplication. Return it to the customer. Get a call the next morning, it's still there. Agreed to meet the customer at his house in the morning and ride with him while he drives to work. 10 miles into the drive, he runs over the "rumble strips" in the road. Hours of diagnostic time wasted.

(BTW, I'm a regional troubleshooter for one of the auto manufacturers.)
 

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Way2fast,, I'm in agreement with most here. The bill is not that far out of line except for the trouble shooting charge. Tat_n_Telle has made some very good points also.. Try going to the dealer and see if he can walk you through $1600. worth of trouble shooting. I did 20 years of aviation maintenance in the Marines and if one of my troops would have taken 2 days to troubleshoot a bad engine I'd have beat him to death:)...Well gave him guard duty anyway......Regards Pete
 
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