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Machine Shop Rant


MacAR
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I don't know if I would go so far as "never darkening his doorway again", given the dearth of finding any automotive machine shops at all.

Be thankful that he didn't bend you over and have his way with you, and hopefully, you will not have any surprises about the quality of the work (which if it does, gives you the right to "never darken his doorway again".

You can remember when almost every town had an generator/alternator/electrical repair shop, a radiator repair shop, at least one full service gas station that did minor repairs, and maybe an auto supply that had a small machine shop in the back.

Like almost everything else, automotive machine shops, like shoe makers, watch makers, and television repair shops, are almost extinct.

As it is, you might not have need of his services again for a long, long time, which is almost as good as "never darkening his doorway again".

 

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You probably are lucky to find a shop that would work on a 50's built machine in 2022.

I have had difficulty finding a shop to work on a 93 Chevy K2500 (that is an OBD1 system) in this area.  Other shops have told me they don't work on vehicle engines with carbs. They appear to pride themselves, that they don't work on old equipment.  I even offered to pay up-front!  BUT they have no one  trained any longer on their staff!

I had to drive 125 miles round-trip to get the block on our D179 engine worked on, by a true diesel shop.

I paid a  machine shop over $500 to bore and re-bush the front axle of our little 464 tractor. (I removed and dissembled everything and delivered,  they only did machine work) that was boring bar and bushing fitting back to stock bushing size, actually I was impressed with the job, damn the cost.

Good luck with your projects!

 

 

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Thanks to our leaders, nothing is cheap anymore.

I now ask the price of most everything and let make it be known there is a limit and a call is necessary if going over that limit.

Protect yourselves.

I think the $400 was cheap but going over the $75 without a call is not right.

 

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1 hour ago, Diesel Doctor said:

I now ask the price of most everything and let make it be known there is a limit and a call is necessary if going over that limit.

Protect yourselves.

I think going forward, that will be my MO. So many of us are still "trusting souls" and I guess I'm one of them. But, I learned a good lesson and at least it wasn't too expensive!
 

Mac

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On 8/1/2022 at 5:57 PM, MacAR said:

 I can also just about guarantee that I will not have anymore work done there. 

On the flip side, the guy makes most of his money building dirt track engines and I've never heard a bad word about his work. The head ought to be right when I get it, and I definitely can't go back and say he didn't do something that he should've. 

Mac

I would be cautious about how you approach this. 
If he’s as good as you hear, then I wouldn’t want to alienate him from doing anymore work in the future just because of a communication issue.

Yes, he should have called you. The question is, would you have said no, I’m not spending that much, or would you more likely told him you want it fixed right? I’m thinking it’s the later…

With small machine shops going the way of dinosaurs, I would think long and hard about “never doing any more work with him, again “

Never might bite you in the arse…

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4 hours ago, MacAR said:

I think going forward, that will be my MO. So many of us are still "trusting souls" and I guess I'm one of them. But, I learned a good lesson and at least it wasn't too expensive!
 

Mac

I'm curious if you had a chat with the ol boy yet? 

I would just let him know what your thinking politely. Maybe he will shave a few bucks off to make you happy realizing he probably should have called you.  I just took the head off my 5.9 cummins in. That machinist told me it was $100 for cleaning and inspection (magnaflux)   he then went on to tell me how much it would be if it needed parts. He have me a range of another $100-$500 more depending. So I knew walking away my bill could be up to $600. The next day he called me and said it was cracked like tbe desert and a new head was $1100+$200 shipping.  So now I was into it $100 for old inspection, $1100 for new head, $200 for shipping. And the one thing that burnt me up a little was another $100 for inspection of the new head.   $1500+tax later I came home with a new head.   I was a little butt hurt but not necessarily at him. That's my story. 

Soooooo I think what the guys are trying to tell you is if you called around you got off cheap even if you dont feel it's right. So again just talk to the ol boy. Explain yourself nicely. Maybe he will work with you or maybe at the very least he will think about it. I cannot imagine the time it takes to call around all the jobs. Injpumped your a little biased as you see the world from your side of the counter(which I dont envy you)  I'll bet you have your fair share of issues with customers you would like to vent about. 

Whenever I have someone follow up with me like they are supposed to I always make sure to thank them and let them know that is a very good thing to do these days. 

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What I see as the problem besides the communication - is if it is a good shop he is not going to debate or offer a repair less than one that his reputation has been built on, You really cannot take shortcuts on this type of job.   you asked for a valve job if it needed one and he has the skills to assess and do it-  I don't think he replaced the valves,guides and seats at that price ( maybe valves and guides but not all 3 ) so he did actually try to keep it reasonable for you. if he called you and you refused I wonder  where the deal would go? I think he would send it back to you as is 

In all honesty you won't get a valve job done on a lawn mower engine for $75

When money is tight these expenses hurt Mac but in the long run you will be happy with having it done right the first time

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3 hours ago, Ihfan4life said:

I’m thinking it’s the later…

This is correct. As I said earlier, it wasn't so much about the money as he did it and didn't ask me.

32 minutes ago, Missouri Mule said:

I'm curious if you had a chat with the ol boy yet? 

Not yet, going in the morning to pick it up. I think I will tell him I wish he'd called first, but only after I pay him and have the head in my truck. After asking around, he seems to be notorious for this kind of thing. Wish I'd known sooner, but such is life.

29 minutes ago, hillman said:

   you asked for a valve job if it needed one and he has the skills to assess and do it

I didn't ask for a valve job. I asked him to clean, magnaflux, and surface the head. Nothing extra. Yes, I left the valves in it when I took it in. Lesson learned for next time. It's that he presumed to do a valve job when, in my opinion, it didn't even need one. I deal with contractors at work who do this sort of thing. They usually don't get any more business from the company if they pull something like this. 

I'll let you guys know how I make out tomorrow. Odds are, I won't be unhappy with his work and it won't make any difference. As a friend of mine is so fond of saying, "100 years from now, nobody will ever know the difference."

Mac

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15 minutes ago, hillman said:

take some pics of the little 340 when its back up and running

I need to! I haven't taken the first one since buying it last May, just unloaded it and put it right to work. Regardless of the outcome of this little deal, I'm just excited to have it back to work. By far, one of the handiest little tractors I've ever run. It's got the "fast reverser" shuttle that IH offered for a bit, so it's not exactly common either. Fast hitch, of course. No power steering, but really easy to get around with. It's the one I use the most, especially when I just needed to move something around the yard or do a small job in the garden. Probably the best brush-hogging tractor I've ever run, I prefer it to the 300 even though the 300 walks the dog with the little 5' cutter I use. The wheels on the 340 are set in so that the little 5' hog cuts out the tracks, so I can get right up to the fence. I ran on to an old Ford 515 mower the other day for the low, low price of free, and I'm looking forward to using it on the 340 this fall. It runs my old 258 New Holland rake like a champ, too. I even tried it on the old 37 baler a bit last fall, but it's just a bit too light on the hills. Got pushed around quite a bit where the old bread-and-butter 300 doesn't. Then again, the 300 has about 2000 pounds on it! 

Yea, I guess a $400 worth of head work and another $300 in parts/etc. isn't too bad to get such a good machine back to work.

Mac

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I had a very talented machinist just few miles down the road hid in the brush out here. Not sign nothing but mail box with a number on it. Had artistic tendency's is mother is a artist. If he worked on it it was the best he could make it. If you wanted 1/2 way don't take to him.  He died about 4th of July at 70 years old. I had known him 60+ years. I had not had any work for him in years. But real lose to not have him if I do need work done.

 

If you said the wrong thing it was TAKE YOUR JUNK AND GET OUT. Some days he was board and looking for a odd job to put his brain to work figuring things out. Took on a CAT 3208 because he had discovered his boring machine was the model Cat had used at the factory. And of course the fact most called them the "throw away Cat engine" .  It was for a local school bus and it got like new life out of it saving a lot of money.

 

He never had a answering machine until the last 10 years at most. If he was involved in setting a machine up it just might no get answered. The beauty of being 3 or 4  mile away just drive down and see how busy he was. Being a Scotsman never bought a big machine new. Then take it apart and see if he could back to as tight as he demanded. Always bitched about the crank grinder was not as tight as he wished, but taking his time could it there without taking to much.

 

So be careful how much you think he could of communicated better. The one down the road may do thing poorly and charge more. I don't have one handy to yell and cuss me for being stupid anymore. 

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12 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

I'm curious if you had a chat with the ol boy yet? 

I would just let him know what your thinking politely. Maybe he will shave a few bucks off to make you happy realizing he probably should have called you.  I just took the head off my 5.9 cummins in. That machinist told me it was $100 for cleaning and inspection (magnaflux)   he then went on to tell me how much it would be if it needed parts. He have me a range of another $100-$500 more depending. So I knew walking away my bill could be up to $600. The next day he called me and said it was cracked like tbe desert and a new head was $1100+$200 shipping.  So now I was into it $100 for old inspection, $1100 for new head, $200 for shipping. And the one thing that burnt me up a little was another $100 for inspection of the new head.   $1500+tax later I came home with a new head.   I was a little butt hurt but not necessarily at him. That's my story. 

Soooooo I think what the guys are trying to tell you is if you called around you got off cheap even if you dont feel it's right. So again just talk to the ol boy. Explain yourself nicely. Maybe he will work with you or maybe at the very least he will think about it. I cannot imagine the time it takes to call around all the jobs. Injpumped your a little biased as you see the world from your side of the counter(which I dont envy you)  I'll bet you have your fair share of issues with customers you would like to vent about. 

Whenever I have someone follow up with me like they are supposed to I always make sure to thank them and let them know that is a very good thing to do these days. 

Actually, I'm very fortunate to have the customers I do have! 99% are great, but there's always a few that require "hand holding" lol! I try to let people know up front what the typical repair is, and if it's way more, I'll let them know as mentioned above. I try to treat my customers like it's me on the other side of the counter. If someone wants a patch job I'm not comfortable with, I won't do it. I've seen those repairs not last. It is a waste of everyone's time. This machinist should have advised up front though about what to expect to spend. 

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4 hours ago, Injpumped said:

Actually, I'm very fortunate to have the customers I do have! 99% are great, but there's always a few that require "hand holding" lol! I try to let people know up front what the typical repair is, and if it's way more, I'll let them know as mentioned above. I try to treat my customers like it's me on the other side of the counter. If someone wants a patch job I'm not comfortable with, I won't do it. I've seen those repairs not last. It is a waste of everyone's time. This machinist should have advised up front though about what to expect to spend. 

Agreed. A price range of $75-$500 for example. Such as life 

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20220803_151329.thumb.jpg.d4b1ab44f2f1a525cfeecc4048211855.jpg

I went and picked up the head today, and I've included a picture of the invoice. After talking to the guy and asking him to explain exactly what he did and why he did it, I'm not so unhappy as I was. I did mention that it was quite a surprise and would've appreciated the warning. His response was sort of bland, but he did tell me he was so far behind he wasn't taking anymore work until labor day. So I can understand his side a bit better now. I just hope he understands mine.

Mac

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1 hour ago, MacAR said:

20220803_151329.thumb.jpg.d4b1ab44f2f1a525cfeecc4048211855.jpg

I went and picked up the head today, and I've included a picture of the invoice. After talking to the guy and asking him to explain exactly what he did and why he did it, I'm not so unhappy as I was. I did mention that it was quite a surprise and would've appreciated the warning. His response was sort of bland, but he did tell me he was so far behind he wasn't taking anymore work until labor day. So I can understand his side a bit better now. I just hope he understands mine.

Mac

I’d say you did pretty well . Got all your engine block ,pre assembly prep work completed ? You have any questions now the time to ask .

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1 hour ago, 560Dennis said:

I’d say you did pretty well . Got all your engine block ,pre assembly prep work completed ? You have any questions now the time to ask .

I've got the block cleaned up, all gaskets and new manifold ready to go. Need to double check sleeve protrusion and torque specs, otherwise I think I'm good to go. 

Mac

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I say 400 bucks,done right on a old IH gas tractor is a pretty good deal.I had a head done on a 560 gas 20 years ago and IH dealer had a heck of a time getting the caps for the springs then.Said they found them down south somewhere. When a company goes out of business you always hold your breath when going for parts

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Mac.....reme mber you are of Irish  heritage..not Scottish......so quit wingeing about that   $400   a/c ...!!!!..That is a steal for that amount of work...asked for or not...:)

..If your area is anything like our area , down under, blokes of that skill level  are getting few and far between....more is the pity....and the machine shops that still exist are not really interested in old equipment....We had a graphic example of that when my lad almost ''drowned '' the old 886....Our mistaken loyalty to the then new Case-IH dealer  was a huge blunder....Like a $3000.00  NZ blunder...and we then took the 886 to the ''old bloke '' who had been working on various coloured tractors for many years.....long story , but the issues were fixed and I refuse to ever darken the door  of the Case-IH  outfit...

...just my thoughts, Mac....:)

Mike

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8 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

I’d say you did pretty well . Got all your engine block ,pre assembly prep work completed ? You have any questions now the time to ask .

Suggest you run a four flute clean  out tap the correct thread thru all the head nuts, also run a clean out thread die down all the the studs . Clean with solvent like n on cholrinated brake clean .Oil with 30 weight . 
that will give you the  best torque readings for accuracy . Last thing you want is a reading of seventy foot pounds when it’s only forty five , see what I saying crusty carbon will give you a false ready , you will bottom on rust and carbon build up.

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5 hours ago, mike newman said:

Mac.....reme mber you are of Irish  heritage..not Scottish......so quit wingeing about that   $400   a/c ...!!!!..That is a steal for that amount of work...asked for or not...:)

Yea, that's about right Mike. But it's hard not to winge a bit... you know how it is. As to going to the dealer, I try to avoid them as much as I can. Last time I went into a dealer (Big Green), I got shafted big time. We have a nice little independent tractor/implement dealer here in town and they're very helpful when it comes to getting parts for all colors. They do a bit of machine work as well, but nothing large. Surface flywheels, turn a shaft, rebuild hydraulic cylinders, etc. 

 

2 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

Suggest you run a four flute clean  out tap the correct thread thru all the head nuts, also run a clean out thread die down all the the studs . Clean with solvent like n on cholrinated brake clean .Oil with 30 weight . 
that will give you the  best torque readings for accuracy . Last thing you want is a reading of seventy foot pounds when it’s only forty five , see what I saying crusty carbon will give you a false ready , you will bottom on rust and carbon build up.

I'll do that, thanks. This particular engine has bolts rather than studs but I assume the same conditions apply. Going to go pick up another gasket scraper today since mine has disappeared, and grab a can of brake cleaner or two. I need to clean up the manifold surface a bit also, and make sure no other parts have "walked off" since I started this project. 

Mac

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48 minutes ago, MacAR said:

Yea, that's about right Mike. But it's hard not to winge a bit... you know how it is. As to going to the dealer, I try to avoid them as much as I can. Last time I went into a dealer (Big Green), I got shafted big time. We have a nice little independent tractor/implement dealer here in town and they're very helpful when it comes to getting parts for all colors. They do a bit of machine work as well, but nothing large. Surface flywheels, turn a shaft, rebuild hydraulic cylinders, etc. 

 

I'll do that, thanks. This particular engine has bolts rather than studs but I assume the same conditions apply. Going to go pick up another gasket scraper today since mine has disappeared, and grab a can of brake cleaner or two. I need to clean up the manifold surface a bit also, and make sure no other parts have "walked off" since I started this project. 

Mac

In that ( bolts ) I suggest that you use a four flute bottom tap to clean out thread in block , use vacuum to clear out cru sty ,then flush out the dirts with brake clean ,revaccuum it. With the shaved head threads are entering into new purchase locations for torque , 

the tap act as no gage go gage to make sure your going to torque it up to true reading . and not bottom out ,cause the bolt aren’t going back into the original blind tapped holes are they ?
 

Do the same with manifold nuts and bolts also don’t want any vacuum leaks after all this hard work and money . 
 

do you have any questions about head gasket retorque ? Even though I done it a few times , I reason the experience changes from Engine to Engine what good the last time the situation changes .
 

 

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2 minutes ago, 560Dennis said:

In that ( bolts ) I suggest that you use a four flute bottom tap to clean out thread in block , use vacuum to clear out cru sty ,then flush out the dirts with brake clean ,revaccuum it. With the shaved head threads are entering into new purchase locations for torque , 

the tap act as no gage go gage to make sure your going to torque it up to true reading . and not bottom out ,cause the bolt aren’t going back into the original blind tapped holes are they ?
 

Do the same with manifold nuts and bolts also don’t want any vacuum leaks after all this hard work and money . 
 

do you have any questions about head gasket retorque ? Even though I done it a few times , I reason the experience changes from Engine to Engine what good the last time the situation changes .
 

 

Thanks! I think I have an appropriate-size bottom tap in the drawer at home, will check this evening. Good idea about vacuuming out the holes, I hadn't thought of that. Since it seems to be going to rain all day today, I may do a bit of the prep work tonight. If I do, I'll post back with my progress. 

As to actually torqueing/re-torqueing a head, I've honestly never done it. I have a very good friend who is an excellent mechanic (builds chainsaws, repairs small engines, has a couple pulling tractors, etc.) who usually gives me a hand with this sort of stuff if he can. He's been pretty busy lately, so I may have to wing this one. I do have an I&T shop manual and an IH shop manual that I can consult if needed. I have some copper coat for the head gasket, but the gasket is the metal/fiber type. Would you coat it? What about the manifold and water neck gaskets? I replaced the manifold on the 300 several years ago and can't remember if I coated them or not.  

Mac

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4 minutes ago, MacAR said:

Thanks! I think I have an appropriate-size bottom tap in the drawer at home, will check this evening. Good idea about vacuuming out the holes, I hadn't thought of that. Since it seems to be going to rain all day today, I may do a bit of the prep work tonight. If I do, I'll post back with my progress. 

As to actually torqueing/re-torqueing a head, I've honestly never done it. I have a very good friend who is an excellent mechanic (builds chainsaws, repairs small engines, has a couple pulling tractors, etc.) who usually gives me a hand with this sort of stuff if he can. He's been pretty busy lately, so I may have to wing this one. I do have an I&T shop manual and an IH shop manual that I can consult if needed. I have some copper coat for the head gasket, but the gasket is the metal/fiber type. Would you coat it? What about the manifold and water neck gaskets? I replaced the manifold on the 300 several years ago and can't remember if I coated them or not.  

Mac

Suggestion called the head gasket mfg ,tech help and give them the number of the head gasket and ask a lot of questions ,take notes as to the procedure . What sealer to use and where , mine on the C is steel and graphite so they only recommend sealer on the steel , so I use that recommendation. Not to much sealer they say . See what the say ,post it cause if it different helps everyone. 
i know the procedure for a Farmall C but yours may differently 

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You said your using the bolts that came out . I would make sure that tha bolts don’t bottom out in the block instead of torque to head isn’t correct . I see h Engine had studs ( two sizes item 11 and 12 on description ) original. Measure the head of bolt to block  make sure it will pull head down correctly to seal torque gasket , don’t want that problem .

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23 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

Suggestion called the head gasket mfg ,tech help and give them the number of the head gasket and ask a lot of questions ,take notes as to the procedure . What sealer to use and where , mine on the C is steel and graphite so they only recommend sealer on the steel , so I use that recommendation. Not to much sealer they say . See what the say ,post it cause if it different helps everyone. 
i know the procedure for a Farmall C but yours may differently 

Called the company, and asked but the so-called "tech" had no idea. I did make a mistake when I said the gasket was steel and fiber, it's actually steel/fiber/steel. So, going to give it a light coat of copper coat on each side and set it.

As an update, last night I did some prep work. Cleaned and scraped the block surface, cleaned the oil and etc out of the bolt holes, cleaned up the valve cover, and cleaned up the head bolts. Interestingly enough, they are IH bolts (which Messick's lists as part #326-876 for $13.31 each) and seem to be in decent shape. Tonight, if I have time, I'm going to clean up the manifold and shoot it with a coat or two of high-temp paint. Not that it'll really help but it'll look nice for a bit. 

There is a possibility that my friend may not be able to help me on Sunday, so if anyone has any thoughts or tricks to putting the head back on and setting the valves, I'd appreciate them. 

Mac

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