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sailingketch 08-07-2006 04:05 PM

Mechanic from hell
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I have a Perkins 4.108 engine in my Irwin 37 sailboat. A mechanic has been working on it since the second week of May. The problem was initially that it would not start. He has pulled off the hydraulic fuel injector pump and had it rebuilt. Then he said the starter was bad so that needed to be rebuilt. I have inserted an image of his bill. Note how many times he has charged me for going over the fuel sysem.

Now last week he says it's fixed and sent me a bill within a day. I was shocked. I said it was ok to fix the fuel system and then ok to pull the starter but now I have a bill for $3,000. I haven't paid it.

I never signed anything, I never received an estimate. I tried to use the boat yesterday and oil shoots out of oil line next to the starter. Oil has filled the area under the engine. Diesel fuel drips out of the injector line. I'm not sure what I should do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

mcollins07 08-07-2006 04:54 PM

I think I would take pictures of the leaks. Perhaps even have another mechanic look at it, if one is available. Take him to court before he can file a mechanics lein, small claims court if the sum is not too great.

jorjo 08-08-2006 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by sailingketch
but now I have a bill for $3,000. I haven't paid it.

I never signed anything, I never received an estimate. I tried to use the boat yesterday and oil shoots out of oil line next to the starter. Oil has filled the area under the engine. Diesel fuel drips out of the injector line. I'm not sure what I should do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ask him to come down and show you how to start it "Properly"
Observe with interest as he demonstrates how to start it "Properly"
Ask about things of interest you notice during the process of him demonstrating
his proper process.
Listen with interest to his explinations for the oil and fuel leaks you'll notice.
Remain calm, let him convince you that all is well and that nothing is really a problem and stay calm as he offers to cure these new problems at added expense.
When all is said and done and everybody is smiling and happy and about to go their seperate ways.

Add a simple observation of your own.

Mention that you have his $3000 bill for getting the engine to it's current condition, and that you would assume from that, that it will Likely take $3000 more in time and effort to get back to where you started.

Now the tricky bit. "Mention" that since the engine could mean the difference between Life or death. you have now lost confidence in his work for obvious reasons and intend to have a new mechanic give you a second opinion (make it sound like a reasonable thing to do for sake of your peice of mind).

He will
1 take it well
2 become twisty
3 get angry

for 1, proceed as suggested and have your new mechanic detail any shoddy workmanship and simply refuse to pay while also questioning qualifications, insurance's and liability cover for damages. If bad mechanic is lacking in any of these areas theres little chance of him persuing the matter.

For 2 or 3 rip up his bill infront of him then break his jaw on the spot Throw him of your boat with the warning that IF he ever happens to see you on the street it would be advisable for him to cross to the other side since you will break more bones for him any time he comes with in reach. (thus building in the means to be sure he won't want to esculate things further) (Ok so thats not nice , But enjoy the image for a bit anyways)

If the latter is not part of your disposition. You will need a friendly Hulk to step in on your behalf. Thats way esier than you'd think.
Just go find yourself a hulking Biker/mechanicy type and Ask if he knows any good mechanics. Any bike worth his salt will know a dozen if not fit the bill perfectly himself.

Biker mechanics are generally able to Fix an engine with anything that comes to hand. To do so means they generally KNOW what is really what and how to rig a work around even if the proper parts are not available. You can imagine how easy a fix would be for them with proper parts suppilied as required. Most are keen to earn a few extra $ and if the options come down to a biker watching some jerk mechanic scam you for $3000 for a bad repair when HE could have a slice of that for ACTUALLY fixing it. You can bet that the Biker may take an interest in running the dodgy mechainc out of dodge ( or at least out of your hair ) and deal with those repairs in short order.


Not really.Shiny happy people with boats are easy prey stereotyped as having plenty of cash to burn. Docky side mechanics seldom expect anyone to challange to their so called expertise.
Boat engines are not complex. Bikers (real ones ) know engines and don't like being stranded by breakdowns any more than boaters do. but most signifigantly the legacy of the somewhat earthy biker image is Not something that your average dockside mechainc wants to mess with.

Picture the scene.
Mechanic 1 spinning you bull about your engine and Bubba roars up, steps on board and asks him a bunch of leading Mechanical questions will becoming visably less impressed with each answer.

Bubba will inevetably tell him to sling his hook and fix the thing himself.

Bubba gets that engine sorted and bad mechanic out of your hair for a few $.
Bubba sees you as a new friend that can Pay him for EASY WORK
Bubba don't like people ripping of his Friends.
Bubba tells Bad mechanic that its a bad plan to Upset Bubbas friends. Bad mechanic won't want to risk calling Bubbas bluff.

You save money, your engines sorted and you can get a professional service done on the FIXED and WORKING engine for peice of mind with the change.

(just don't rub Bubbas nose in that)

How do you find the right Bubba?
Easy watch for a huge scruffy monster on a pristene but heavily modified bike and compliment him on it. Ask as though in awe if he did it ALL himself and watch him glow with pride. tell him your prediciment and mention that you'd sure appreciate a second opinion about your engine from a guy that can turn out that kinda quality and you'll be only too happy to cover his time and fill his tank in return ;)

oh.. yeah..
Your boat will be SAFE but don't EVER introduce your Daughter to Bubba ( Murphys law dictates she's sure to marry him)

Btw. I have utmost respect for you keeping your cool thus far. I would have long since had him dangeling by a rope round his ankles of the peir, waiting for the tide to come back in to start negotiations about trading his BILL for a haul back up

@ $3000 to be faced with leaking oil and fuel, I'd crack. probably to the point of explaining at lenght and in very great detail about the resultant COST of a cleaning up after him, with a firm grip of his throat to ensure he was paying best attention..


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