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Old 03-20-2013, 11:50 AM   #1
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Am I getting beat up by the mechanic?

Hey guys:

Figured I would turn to you guys since it feels like every mechanic I take my TJ to in South Florida is out for blood.

Just a little back drop: I'm new to the area and didn't have a mechanic or any real suggestions for who to use. I bought my 03 TJ in October with 93K miles on it. Before purchasing it I took it to a mechanic to have him check it out, he came back with the only issue of just replacing the valve cover gasket. I purchased the jeep with that assumption that it would just need a $150-200 repair. After purchasing I took it to a "jeep specialist" to get this work done and he came with back saying I needing the valve cover gasket, all new fluids, rotors, and a tune up. Ending up at about $750 worth of work which seemed expense to me but I was still in my honeymoon faze with the Jeep.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and the TJ is leaking oil again (slowly). I wasn't thrilled with the last mechanic so talked to a few people and was recommended locally to a new shop. They perform their diagnostics and determine that the main seal needs to be replaced and the oil pan gasket is leaking. He tells me in order to fix these issues the transmission has to be taken apart and I am looking at $828 in labor (9 hours of work), $113 in parts and sales tax and that they would need the jeep for a couple days.

I was a little floored that a slow oil leak which they even had trouble finding could end up being about a $1000 bill. They also are suggesting a brake flush, transmission flush and fuel injection/inductions systems flush(which seems strange considering I did all this less than 3000 miles ago)

As I don't have much mechanical prowess (which I'm sure is evident) I was hoping someone could let me know if this reasonable, and necessary or if I should shop it/possibly go back to the "jeep specialist". This would be a little awkward considering I brought the TJ somewhere else but if I'd rather not get jacked up.

Thanks for your opinions.

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:05 PM   #2
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You have not filled in your profile so we don't know which engine you have. As far as everything else you mentioned it sounds like alot of "up-selling" to me.

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:07 PM   #3
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You have not filled in your profile so we don't know which engine you have.
Its a 4.0L automatic...
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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There is something to be said for having the fluid changes and flushes just to set a baseline for your own maintenance schedule if you are a consciences maintainer. So, don't feel too bad about having done the work. The cost is something else. The RMS alone could go for 450-500.

Try joining a local jeep club. You would be able to pick up recommendations for reputable shops and have a great source for improving your jeep knowledge.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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You have not filled in your profile so we don't know which engine you have. As far as everything else you mentioned it sounds like alot of "up-selling" to me.
Yeah I shot the "jeep specialist" a text asking for a quote and he said $425 gaskets, oil, labor total...

Seems crazy that its half the price, I guess he could be missing an important detail through a text but, not sure...
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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There is something to be said for having the fluid changes and flushes just to set a baseline for your own maintenance schedule if you are a consciences maintainer. So, don't feel too bad about having done the work. The cost is something else. The RMS alone could go for 450-500.

Try joining a local jeep club. You would be able to pick up recommendations for reputable shops and have a great source for improving your jeep knowledge.
Thanks for the feedback, just to clarify you are saying that the $750 I paid originally for the fluids, rotors, tuneup and valve cover gasket was reasonable, right?

The $1000 I was quoted for the leaking main seal and oil pan gasket does not include fluids and I am not sure why I would need them <3000 miles later...
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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Its a 4.0L automatic...
The trans does not need to be removed to replace the rear main seal on your 4.0L. So the labor quote is way off. You need to get an accurate written estimate and then we can let you know if it's reasonable.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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I can't really tell you what is reasonable cost in your area, I am still too new to my LJ. I just spent just over $300 fort rear pads and rotor turn, new plugs and an inspection of the OPDA.

I was just saying that, cost aside, it was not a bad thing to have had that work done.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #9
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The trans does not need to be removed to replace the rear main seal on your 4.0L. So the labor quote is way off. You need to get an accurate written estimate and then we can let you know if it's reasonable.
The text I got is pretty specific, gaskets, oil, labor $425 total and they would need the jeep for 1 day... Does that seem reasonable?
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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Jeep specialist, preferably recommended, would be the best route. Anytime any sort of maintenance work is needed, they will try to force the full flush, fluid replacement, etc down your throat just to get a quick couple hundred extra bucks off of you and tell you it's so important just to scare you into it. So it's not necessary, but does need to be done from time to time. Definitely not if you just had it done 3 months ago.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:47 PM   #11
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425 for rear main is in the ball park, call a few other shops and compare. I would then take another $300 your saving and go buy some tools so you can do most of this stuff on your own.. for example, brakes...its really just a few bolts push down on the piston in the caliper and your done... $100 to $150 job with new pads and rotors for the front.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Before you go through all that that...spend 10 minutes and make sure your valve cover bolts are tight. It's pretty common they loosen up and oil will seep down the back of the motor making it seem the RMS and/or oil pan gaskets are bad. The 2.5L and 4.0L are both known for this. (It might be a very simple fix.)
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
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425 for rear main is in the ball park, call a few other shops and compare. I would then take another $300 your saving and go buy some tools so you can do most of this stuff on your own.. for example, brakes...its really just a few bolts push down on the piston in the caliper and your done... $100 to $150 job with new pads and rotors for the front.
Thanks as much as I would love to do this stuff myself its not really in my blood. But it would definitely be nice to save some real $$...

Silly question - but when he lists oil, gaskets, labor... does that mean he is changing the oil too?
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:57 PM   #14
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Before you go through all that that...spend 10 minutes and make sure your valve cover bolts are tight. It's pretty common they loosen up and oil will seep down the back of the motor making it seem the RMS and/or oil pan gaskets are bad. The 2.5L and 4.0L are both known for this. (It might be a very simple fix.)
I don't have any tools or anything, I will definitely ask him to check before he starts that its not just some loose bolts.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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Thanks as much as I would love to do this stuff myself its not really in my blood. But it would definitely be nice to save some real $$...

Silly question - but when he lists oil, gaskets, labor... does that mean he is changing the oil too?
In order to get the RMS.. the oil pan has to come off, so yes new oil would be needed.

As stated.. above check your cover bolts.. spend a few bucks on a can or two of brake parts cleaner.. safe to use in the engine compartment.. and clean the oil off as best you can.. this will also allow you to confirm is true leak location.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:04 PM   #16
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I don't have any tools or anything,....
I would invest in some ASAP! You bought a Jeep, but a basic set of hand tools is a necessity when owning any vehicle, IMO.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:17 PM   #17
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In order to get the RMS.. the oil pan has to come off, so yes new oil would be needed.
Not necessarily.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BenC7 View Post
The text I got is pretty specific, gaskets, oil, labor $425 total and they would need the jeep for 1 day... Does that seem reasonable?
That's reasonable.

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Not necessarily.
Unless you're going to reuse the oil, but I don't know that I'd be on board with that unless I just changed it.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:41 PM   #19
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I would invest in some ASAP! You bought a Jeep, but a basic set of hand tools is a necessity when owning any vehicle, IMO.
Yeah, a $100 set of regular and deep socket will pay for itself instantly for basic repairs. Heck, you can can tear the whole Jeep apart with cheap tools from Harbor Freight.

If you don't, you will continue to be beat up by mechanics for simple things because their labor rate is usually $75-$100/hr.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:42 PM   #20
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Yeah, a $100 set of regular and deep socket will pay for itself instantly for basic repairs. Heck, you can can tear the whole Jeep apart with cheap tools from Harbor Freight.

If you don't, you will continue to be beat up by mechanics for simple things because their labor rate is usually $75-$100/hr.
X2. Jeeps are easier to work on than you may think, even if it's not in your blood.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:57 PM   #21
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Yeah, a $100 set of regular and deep socket will pay for itself instantly for basic repairs. Heck, you can can tear the whole Jeep apart with cheap tools from Harbor Freight.
Yep. And don't forget a good set of Torx bits to use with your socket set. I have found those invaluable on my Jeep. Damn things are everywhere!
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:58 PM   #22
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X2. Jeeps are easier to work on than you may think, even if it's not in your blood.
I think you guys would shift your opinions if you had seen me replace the TPS sensor. I didn't even realize the girl at autozone had given me the wrong screwdriver until I was halfway done...
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:11 PM   #23
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Workin on your jeep is half the fun of owning/driving one. There's so many add-ons and little things you can do to it with simple tools. Trust me, I wasn't mechanically gifted, but after spendin some time tinkering with it, you grow to love it and want to do more. It's a fun hobby that's become more addicting. A set of your regular basic tools will do most of the work so it's cheap and convenient plus you learn a little along the way.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:21 PM   #24
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If there isn't a puddle of oil after sitting over night under your jeep from the RMS leaking, then that is a very common thing for jeeps to do. You can keep replacing the RMS and it will eventually leak again and repeat the whole process.

If it was up to me and my jeep wasn't loosing puddles of oil I would just leave the RMS alone and maybe just do the valve cover if it is actually leaking or maybe like others have said you may need to just re-tighten it. And replace the oil pan gasket. Both you can do easily in your driveway and save lots of $$$.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:26 PM   #25
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I think you guys would shift your opinions if you had seen me replace the TPS sensor. I didn't even realize the girl at autozone had given me the wrong screwdriver until I was halfway done...
That's alright, keep at it (doing repairs yourself). It's the best way to learn.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #26
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If it was up to me and my jeep wasn't loosing puddles of oil I would just leave the RMS alone and maybe just do the valve cover if it is actually leaking or maybe like others have said you may need to just re-tighten it. And replace the oil pan gasket.
Replace the oil pan gasket and leave the leaking RMS behind?
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:16 PM   #27
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Replace the oil pan gasket and leave the leaking RMS behind?
Yeah, you're already 75% of the way to replacing the RMS, why not just do it?
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #28
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Take the money you were gonna spend at a shop and get some tools, beer, and a buddy to help ya out..get a decent set of wrenches and sockets as well as a good set of torex bits and you should be able to fix a lot of problems on your own. And if you have some trouble I'm sure the fine people on here will be willing to lend some time and advice just as they do for me

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