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Old 06-20-2020, 10:22 PM   #1
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Did I get ripped off?

Did I just get ripped off?

I've got a 2007 Vortec 6.0L Chevy 5 window Thomas short bus, 125,000 miles now. Been driving and living in it it for a little over a year. Runs great.

But, I noticed a water leak and it increased from a drip to loss of more than a quart when I stopped.

Figured my water pump was shot and I managed to limp over 100 miles of isolated high prairie to Malta, Montana.

Mechanic diagnosed water pump fail - replacement of water pump, thermostat, and belts cost me $750.

Was I ripped off? Could it have been just the gaskets? Should I have done additional preventive maintenance while he was under the hood? Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 06-20-2020, 10:32 PM   #2
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Mechanic diagnosed water pump fail - replacement of water pump, thermostat, and belts cost me $750.

Was I ripped off? Could it have been just the gaskets? Should I have done additional preventive maintenance while he was under the hood? Appreciate your thoughts.
That's kinda high, but being in BFE, you likely had no other options.

It could have been the gasket, but not likely, most likely it was the shaft seal on the pump. Only an inspection with a pressure test would tell for sure.

As far as additional maintenance goes, where do you want to stop? You could have done a coolant flush, replaced coolant and heater hoses, did a tune up on it, and a whole host of other things. All that I mentioned wouldn't be unheard of to do while you're working on it.
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Old 06-20-2020, 11:07 PM   #3
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Thanks - but what's BFE?

I did get new coolant and hoses - but was running OK so didn't think tune up was necessary. I was wondering about other stuff - e.g. fuel pump/filter. Does this engine have a timing chain? I know nothing and don't have a maintenance manual. Mechanic was resistant to my initial request to replace belts no matter what. Only after he inspected belts dn found they were frayed did he agree to replace the, Labor was 2.5 hours, parts were a lot.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:01 AM   #4
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BFE is a term for a place out in the middle of nowhere.


I would not feel comfortable with any mechanic that will not do as I asked ... in your case replacing the belts. I love it when they get in there and tell me it is not needed, but not refuse to do it. Glad you persisted in this case.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:26 AM   #5
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Does this engine have a timing chain?

Yes. It won't be an issue for many more miles. There are youtube videos showing whats involved if you wish to research.


BFE = Bum F**k Egypt, the 'middle of nowhere' reference. Common unofficial military term well circulated into civilian life after service.
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:57 AM   #6
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Thanks - but what's BFE?

I did get new coolant and hoses - but was running OK so didn't think tune up was necessary. I was wondering about other stuff - e.g. fuel pump/filter. Does this engine have a timing chain? I know nothing and don't have a maintenance manual. Mechanic was resistant to my initial request to replace belts no matter what. Only after he inspected belts dn found they were frayed did he agree to replace the, Labor was 2.5 hours, parts were a lot.
When you're closer to the urban centers where the parts may be cheaper, the labor rate will usually be more...

I wouldn't waste any energy feeling "ripped off" although when you have a minute you can always call a shop and ask "how much to change my pump and belts?".

Take it as a wake-up call to learn about the beast that hauls your burden...
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Old 06-21-2020, 09:59 AM   #7
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Did I just get ripped off?

I've got a 2007 Vortec 6.0L Chevy 5 window Thomas short bus, 125,000 miles now. Been driving and living in it it for a little over a year. Runs great.

But, I noticed a water leak and it increased from a drip to loss of more than a quart when I stopped.

Figured my water pump was shot and I managed to limp over 100 miles of isolated high prairie to Malta, Montana.

Mechanic diagnosed water pump fail - replacement of water pump, thermostat, and belts cost me $750.

Was I ripped off? Could it have been just the gaskets? Should I have done additional preventive maintenance while he was under the hood? Appreciate your thoughts.
Parts and labor can really add up especially working on a VAN. That price sounds a wee bit high but not surprising or anything I'd be shocked by.
Even in my much simpler Dodge van with v6 it was a total PITA to work on and I did my own water pump, t-stat, hoses etc. I"ve done that job on a 6.0 GM Vortech in a pickup truck and it was pretty damn easy honestly. In a van there's probably a good bit less space with more crap in the way so that could add to the labor.
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Old 06-22-2020, 06:22 PM   #8
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There's all kinds of weird in this post.
1. You were stuck in BFM, not BFE.
2. $750 is not highway robbery out in BFM.
3. Dude gripes about changing the belt? He is a idiot. He has to put the belt back on after changing the water pump. Makes zero difference putting a new belt on vs. the old belt. Plus he can get you for the markup on the belt.
4. 2.5 hrs labor on a van water pump? More likely should have been at least 4 hrs, probably more. I am an experienced mechanic and I don't think I can get all that done on the 6.0L in my Escalade in 2.5 hrs.

Feel good about the repair and the price, as long as you can look in there and tell you have a new water pump, belt, and hoses.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:39 PM   #9
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There's all kinds of weird in this post.
1. You were stuck in BFM, not BFE.
2. $750 is not highway robbery out in BFM.
3. Dude gripes about changing the belt? He is a idiot. He has to put the belt back on after changing the water pump. Makes zero difference putting a new belt on vs. the old belt. Plus he can get you for the markup on the belt.
4. 2.5 hrs labor on a van water pump? More likely should have been at least 4 hrs, probably more. I am an experienced mechanic and I don't think I can get all that done on the 6.0L in my Escalade in 2.5 hrs.

Feel good about the repair and the price, as long as you can look in there and tell you have a new water pump, belt, and hoses.
What do you think would be a fair price to replace a starter on a 2003 International?
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:03 PM   #10
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The labor shouldn't be more than a couple hours.
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Old 06-23-2020, 09:45 AM   #11
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What do you think would be a fair price to replace a starter on a 2003 International?
I don't know. The only reason I'm so sure on this job is because it's a van front end with 6.0L engine. Both I'm very familiar with. If your starter is anything like mine, it's right there on the underside in the open. I think I could have mine changed in about 30 minutes. Because everything is so much bigger, which equals more working space, I can't imagine any full size bus starter taking more than an hour to change. However, the only one I can be sure of is mine since this is the only bus I have ever worked on.
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:39 AM   #12
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The shop charged me for 4 hours, plus $475 for the starter. It's something I would have been willing to try doing myself (knockoff starters are like $150 or so) but I had no way of knowing what the problem was. All I knew is that I was stuck at the gas pump and the bus wouldn't start.
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:27 PM   #13
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The shop charged me for 4 hours, plus $475 for the starter. It's something I would have been willing to try doing myself (knockoff starters are like $150 or so) but I had no way of knowing what the problem was. All I knew is that I was stuck at the gas pump and the bus wouldn't start.
Right.
And that's a very difficult time to call around and try to get the best deal...
You are pretty much stuck paying whatever to have it done...
(I'm sure that's why some people never shut off their engine while on the road...)

But now (fer instance) that you know a thing or three about welding --
If you needed to hire a welder for something structural you didn't yet trust yourself to do. You'd have an idea what to look for when you shopped around...

I know I'm the odd man out on this forum in that "a bus found me" I was not looking for a bus...
But I just can't fathom anyone building their dream-house on a rolling foundation they don't mechanically understand...
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:38 PM   #14
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Right.
And that's a very difficult time to call around and try to get the best deal...
You are pretty much stuck paying whatever to have it done...
(I'm sure that's why some people never shut off their engine while on the road...)

But now (fer instance) that you know a thing or three about welding --
If you needed to hire a welder for something structural you didn't yet trust yourself to do. You'd have an idea what to look for when you shopped around...

I know I'm the odd man out on this forum in that "a bus found me" I was not looking for a bus...
But I just can't fathom anyone building their dream-house on a rolling foundation they don't mechanically understand...
I guess I'm in the same 'bus found me' category you are. I also agree with knowing and understanding what you have. That's why I spend way too much time surfing this web site! My brother is in the 'other' group. He buys fancy stuff because he doesn't know, or want to know, what he has. He is perfectly ok with paying someone to fix his problems as long as he can have nice stuff. He would rather work overtime for a few hours and pay someone, I would rather not work at all and fix it myself. The joke is on him though. I retire in a year with a pension and a converted skoolie. He is going to have to work at least 15 more years to get anything worth while and his 5th wheel will have been replaced at least 3 more times.
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:08 PM   #15
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But I just can't fathom anyone building their dream-house on a rolling foundation they don't mechanically understand...
Point taken. If I get a bus without having a clue (since I donít), what is a reasonable way to start learning?
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:11 AM   #16
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Point taken. If I get a bus without having a clue (since I donít), what is a reasonable way to start learning?
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/h...tml#post393447
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:03 PM   #17
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Many thanks, Banman!

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Old 06-30-2020, 05:00 AM   #18
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Point taken. If I get a bus without having a clue (since I don’t), what is a reasonable way to start learning?
One of the hardest things to learn with anything outside your experience; a bus, sewing machine, steam engine, whatever- is knowing what is normal versus what is terrible. This is critical knowledge.

The Bus Grease Monkey saved himself an engine on his '47 Silversides because it "just didn't seem right" when he started it up one morning. Few people in the world these days would have noticed what he did, and paused. Most would have just driven off. Scott trusted his sense of it, shut the bus off 1500+ miles from home, pulled the head, and the motor had just dropped a valve, but not enough to hit the piston. Yet. No damage inside. He consulted with an even more experienced local guy Joe, who helped sort the valve train and got the bus back on the road in a day. That's an extreme example, but deep knowledge you really need is out there.

The only way I know to get that kind of knowledge is from someone who has it. You need a mentor, if not a guru (literal translation: "slayer of darkness") to shed some light on it for you. Once you buy a bus, reach out to people who really know that model, and would be willing to "school" you on it. This site is a good place to start, as are good resellers, school district drivers, mechanics, whatever- don't be shy, you're asking something cool about what they know- just make sure they know it. Trust your feelings, Luke. Buy them lunch for an advanced walkaround and road test; make friends. Some are in business to help you, but if they are patronizing, don't patronize them. You know where I'm going with this, Barbara...

With collector vehicles, there's always a club full of great people who've been where you are and can help. Now its forums and youtubers, which is fine, too. Reading the books, and of course getting the factory manuals and watching the online videos are important, but its the community that will keep you (or put you back) on the road.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:09 AM   #19
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TomA, many thanks for your thoughtful reply. Like many couples, we have long had a division of labor where I don’t deal with electronics, cars, or sailboat. That started to change last year when our mechanic moved away, and we took on fall and spring maintenance for the Volvo diesel in our 36’ boat. “How many boat owners are needed to supervise a physical therapist and a lawyer changing the oil for the first time in three locations in their boat?” JohnnyMullet did a YouTube video on his 10,000 mile maintenance, that kind of thing is great. I’ll take a deep breath and be persistent. I can always practice on the boat!

Barbara
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:59 PM   #20
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Many thanks, Banman!

B.
Before the 'Rona... Some community colleges had non-credit courses for understanding automotive mechanics, welding, all kinds of fun stuff...

Hopefully these things will return...
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