Is this mechanic trying to pull one over on me? - SailNet Community

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Old 06-23-2011
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Is this mechanic trying to pull one over on me?

I recently had a Honda 9.9 power thrust start making a funny noise and cutting out. I had a repair yard mechanic come have a look at it and when he arrived at the boat it started up on the first pull and ran for around 15 minutes before we shut it down. The previous day it had made a sort of popping sound. The mechanic said he thinks it might be carburation and started spraying some of my carb cleaner in it while I pulled the chord. Now I started to suspect that this guy didn't know what he was doing. He started fiddling with the idle screw and then the motor never started again. He kept dicking around with it not really doing anything of value and then said he wants to take the whole thing back to his shop so I dismounted it. He then said that the motor had no compression. Forgive me if I'm not a mechanic but would the motor have run with no compression for 15 minutes? He struck me as incompetent all around. I have since left the motor with them and have not yet paid them as I feel like they broke or pretended to break a perfectly good engine and are trying to milk me as times are slow. I refuse to play ball and am just going to leave the motor there (I noted he had a boat that motor would have been perfect for of his own and his engine looked about 35 years old). They also charge $100 an hour for time at this yard and for this level of incompetence I feel they should pay me for making a running engine completely dead. I just feel robbed and am debating whether they deserve money for this performance and what might happen if I dont pay. The boat is in a seperate marina from the repair place.
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Old 06-23-2011
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He's incompetent. Compression is something easily measured. To declare it based on the symptoms you described betrays a great deal of ignorance.
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Old 06-23-2011
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I smelled BS all over that operation. My feeling is he wanted to tell me I need a new motor and then quietly fix that one up for his own boat. The issue now is just that I am silently outraged at being hoodwinked and refuse to pay good money for nothing to be fixed. I am willing to just leave the motor there I think and not pay them a dime and just not return any more of their calls. As far as I recall I never gave them any credit card info and all they took from me was the name of the boat, my name, phone number and said hed come down and take a look so really what will they do if I just ignore them? If I do go back I am going to be quite angry and its not going to be pleasant for anyone involved. What would they need to put a lien on the boat?
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The other thing that gets me is he said he'd just had surgery so I did all the wrenching that day except for the things that should take an expert touch like an idle screw adjustment etc. For them to bill me $100 an hour to watch me work and make the odd comment or suggestion is not going to fly.
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Old 06-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariner777 View Post
He struck me as incompetent all around. I have since left the motor with them and have not yet paid them as I feel like they broke or pretended to break a perfectly good engine and are trying to milk me as times are slow.
But.. you still left the motor with them... good or bad.. you leaving it is an implied authorization for them to repair it.
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You're right. An engine with no compression wouldn't have run. Also, I would think that "no compression" would be observable by pulling the starter cord.

If you want to confront him while you're still in a position to do anything, it's easy enough to jam a compression meter into one of the spark plug holes and pull the cord. If there's compression, just shoot him. Then take your engine.

Tell me....because I'm curious...did he give you a copy of any kind of work order for the work to be done. Anything to indicate that he even has the engine. A very well regarded boatyard here on Michigan's west coast wanted me to leave my engine with them and balked at giving me any paper on it. I walked away with the engine.

If you're not mechanical and can't do the compression check, just have him do it. A compression meter's about the size of a dial type tire gage. You cram it's cone shaped rubber end into one of the spark plug holes and yank on the starter cord. The needle on the gauges stops on it's scale and indicates how much compression there is.

The two likely causes of no compression would be really bad valves and/or really bad piston rings. If rings, you would have been burning a lot of oil.

Either valves or rings would be an expensive repair. The kind that would cause you to give him the engine.

Maybe you could get him to confirm that's it has "no compression". Ask him if he's sure that it has no compression. By the way, a compression tester costs less than 20 bucks and there's nothing iffy about the results. Either there's good compression or there's not. What was his reading? What is it SUPPOSED to be? I'll guess that as soon as you try to nail him down on the compression is that he'll change his story, which is why I would have him confirm it on the phone. Also, there's no way it has NO compression. Ask him if he used a compression tester on it, and what was the reading. His story's probably going to fall apart.

I'd get the engine from him and take it someplace reliable. Where I live, the "yard" would be the last place to take an outboard. Better to go where the fishermen go. Pay the yard if you have to.

The yard will likely get away with robbing you.

Chances are, if the engine was running well before, the popping's just bad fuel or something.
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Old 06-23-2011
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You left your OB with an outfit that charges ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS AN HOUR???????
You only get ripped off if you allow yourself to get ripped off, and right now you have sent that shop an engraved invitation
Here is what one hour of labour buys you:
A socket set and the shop manual for the OB you own.
For one hour of labour paid to somebody else, you are able to fix it yourself.... forever. Pick up your motor, pick up your big girl panties, and do. it. yourself.
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Old 06-23-2011
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I'm sure you've figured out the answer by now. Get your engine back and don't pay then anything. What's so hard?
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Old 06-23-2011
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Mr Jones is right. I may not have said it in quite the same way, but a boat buck can certainly point you in the right direction to self reliance.

Sounds like it may have had a stuck/sticky valve. A nice oil change with some form of additive may have corrected the problem. Or it may not have. The point being that there is no real mystery to be found under the cowl of an outboard, and doing it yourself (in this particular case) wouldn't have left you any further behind than just leaving him with your motor.

Pay your tithe, get your motor back, and play around with it.
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Old 06-23-2011
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So he's diagnosed compression failure. That's an hour's labour at the very outside. So pay it, and take your engine back. It's worth $100 WITH compression failure.

Why on earth would you leave him the engine if you're convinced it's fine?
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