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Quote for engine uninstall/reinstall changed from $1800 to $4400 @ F&F Bothell WA

Old 11-07-2014, 02:05 AM
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Quote for engine uninstall/reinstall changed from $1800 to $4400 @ F&F Bothell WA

There isn't much to be done here- the original estimate wasn't guaranteed. Nevertheless I just want to put it out there for future customers. The engine finally went on our 2004 RX8, which we had had for 9 years/150K miles with the original engine. We chose to get it rebuilt, knowing it was probably not the most cost effective choice, but it's what we wanted to do. It took awhile to find a local shop willing to pull the old engine and reinstall it after it was rebuilt- finally we went with F&F in Bothell, WA. Atkins Rotary did the engine rebuild.

They estimated, based on a book estimate thing, that it would be around $1800 for the job.

We dropped it off, got the engine down to Atkins- which was also a bit of an adventure, it took them much longer than they estimated to do the rebuild, which made the folks with F&F angry as our car was cluttering up their shop meanwhile. $5500 ish for the rebuild, since everything was warped, I guess (also turned out to be more $$ than we hoped but no shock there since they couldn't know for sure without getting in to it and there were obvious reasons for the higher cost).

Anyway, shortly after we got the engine to them, I got a call from the owner, Amy, who told me the "book time" was way off and it would be more like $2500 or a bit more, as it was a lot more labor intensive than they thought. Okay. Not thrilled but understandable. She indicated our car was a frustrating and difficult job for them.

So, after more time passed, I called on Thursday 10/30. They said what with other jobs, maybe it would be done mid next week (about... now, in other words).

Then Tuesday 11/4 I got a phone call (which I couldn't pick up) immediately followed by a text from Amy saying they had been "desperately" trying to get in touch since Friday 10/30, to get other parts ordered to finish the job. I called back five minutes later. They had indeed sent a single text the day before which my phone didn't show- I guess a single text one day ago constitutes "desperately trying to get in touch for three days"?! Anyway.

Basically they said the spark plugs needed replacing, despite having around 10 miles on them. And that our total was around $4400. Prior to that they said the plugs looked fine, but whatever. The parts they said we needed to authorize (hence the "desperately trying to get in touch") were spark plugs, oil filter and coolant.

Honestly I don't think there is much we can do except pray they at least get the car running, and express our displeasure that the estimate changed so wildly, though I doubt there is much they will do except say tough. I keep having the feeling they are trying to push us into saying "fine, keep the car in trade for the labor and we will walk away from this". Maybe I am paranoid at this point though!

As an alternative to the wall of text here are bullet points, though I would hardly say they make a TLDR summary!

-Got a $1800 estimate from F&F to pull engine and replace it
-plugs notes as okay, they have about 10 miles on them
-drove the removed engine to Atkins
-Waited
-Got engine back to F&F, $5600 major rebuild from Atkins Rotary with basically everything replaced.
-Got phone call from F&F saying the book underestimated the labor, it would be more like $2500.
-waited more
-called on Thursday 10/30
-told they were likely to be done mid next week with other projects in the pipeline
-got a text my phone didn't pop up on 11/3 but no calls. Not a single voice mail left, at any point, by the way.
-one call on 11/4 which we returned within 5 minutes
-estimate changed to $4400, and the spark plugs are now noted as bad/oily, the oil pump needs replacing and "coolant needs to be added" which was the additional cost. (And presumably more labor.) Told we were difficult to get in touch with "they had been desperately trying to call since Friday", which my phone doesn't show.
-Snarky on the phone with my husband who was nothing but polite. My husband tried to say something after listening for about 5 solid minutes (to say that the engine had not flooded recently, which is relevant to the spark plugs' condition) and the tech got angry at him for "interrupting".
-The tech we talked to is not the same person who pulled the engine- it seems one person pulled it and another is installing it.
-With F&F the whole time they kept going on about how quickly they needed the rebuilt engine back, and how it would block one of their repair bays inconveniently, suddenly once they got the engine, time passed with no communication- I haven't checked actually but around 2 weeks I think? And then they say we are hard to get ahold of, suddenly, with one text we didn't see on Monday, followed by one phone call on Tuesday which I returned in 5 minutes (with a text in that five minutes saying they were "desperately trying to get in touch"- but no phone calls! And this is with a call I made on Thursday saying they wouldn't be ready til mid next week.)

We had a good feeling about F&F at first, but after we ended up getting swapped to the second tech, who was unpleasant to us despite being nothing but polite, not so much.

Real TLDR: do not take an RX8 to F&F in Bothell WA- they apparently hate to work on them even though they were one of the few shops near us that would (and were recommended to us).
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:11 AM
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If by "oil pump" they meant OMP, then yes, that would jack up the cost at least $1000 (but it probably didn't truly need to be replaced). I'd assume that the Atkins guys did whatever was needed to the engine oil pump.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:51 PM
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To bad you didn't live closer to Indiana. I paid Banzai Racing $4600 for removal, installation and rebuild w/new evap pump all I did was drop it off and pick it up. They are awesome if anyone in the Midwest needs a rebuild.

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Old 11-07-2014, 04:17 PM
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Oh myy.. I am so sorry to hear that. I can imagine how frustrating that could be.
I hope once you get your car back it will all be put away when you hit that redline :-)

OneBaddRx8, yup heard alot of good stuff about Benzai so far.. well too bad I live wayy tooo far lol
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:48 PM
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That is a huge amount to do a re-re on a stock motor

It take about 6 hours to put it back in from a shortblock if you are only decent at it

$4400 is 40 hours @100 an hour and shop supplies etc of $400.....WOW
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:23 PM
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Just called today, they said the mechanic would call me tomorrow. Talked to them Tuesday last week and they said it was not starting when hot; just no good all around. i just don't see a good ending to this. At this point we assume they don't know what they are doing. The car has been at F&F since October 1- the engine rebuild folks, Atkins, took about 2 weeks so that is around a month (excluding Atkins delay) they have been dinking around with it.

Last edited by apocalypsemeow; 11-17-2014 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:55 PM
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Wow! Such a bad turn of events. I hope they get it back to you in fine working order soon.
That labor cost alone is $2900 more than I charge for R/R. I'm really sorry you're gong through this.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:20 PM
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This sucks, people really suck. We are not pros and can put a Renny back in the car in a few hours tops.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 9krpmrx8 View Post
This sucks, people really suck. We are not pros and can put a Renny back in the car in a few hours tops.
Yeah, I worked as a mechanic for an unethical boss who would knowingly overcharge and even charge for work not done, then when people would get mad he'd just tell them to take him to court knowing how hard it is to prove anything.

In this case I would say it's warranted & the customer might likely win.
This seems like blatant incompetence or willful fraud.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:18 PM
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I wonder if that place is quoting and charging book time on everything?
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:27 PM
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So after waiting for a phone call from F&F for a couple of days I called yesterday. The car is currently not starting when it is hot- fine when cold, but simply won't hot start. There is also a code that is coming up but they think they are unrelated issues. F&F called the engine rebuilders, Atkins, and they said it isn't terribly unusual for the hot restart issue to arise, and it should go away after the apex seals break in ~500 miles or so. I spoke to Atkins and they said the same to me, and that indeed it is at least covered by their warranty if it is indeed the engine that is the problem.

F&F also cleaned and rebuilt the intake manifold which was carbon clogged. The code it sounded like was possibly related to that but they re inspected it and it was put together correctly. They pointed out they spent a few hours un billed on this.

They said they could either continue trying to figure out the problem (and billing us more labor) or we could pay the existing $4400 bill, and take the non-fixed car elsewhere to be worked on more. And currently it is sitting in limbo.

They pointed out that the engine light code could be pre existing (I will point out that CEL actually never came on while the engine was dying).

At a certain point it feels like we are paying them to learn how to fix an RX8. We went to a whole lot of shops before settling on F&F. They were confident they could do the job- and indeed were recommended as having some experience with rx8s.

What the heck should we do at this point? If we pay and pick up the car, it isn't very drivable, what with the not-starting when hot, and we will be over $10k to get to that point. And the mystery CEL. If we just keep letting them tinker with it who knows if they can fix it or how much it'll end up costing in the end.

Thanks everyone, I know this is a lengthy post to wade through. And it is helpful to know that yes, the amount they're charging is high.
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by apocalypsemeow View Post
At a certain point it feels like we are paying them to learn how to fix an RX8.
This.

It is what you are doing. It's painfully obvious to everyone i think.

At this point, I'd cut your losses, and consider digging in to see if you have any grounds to legally claim any of the $4400 back. Most states have laws against huge estimate hikes. It makes sense if there is actually a different job that needs to be applied, but their failure to complete the engine replacement in the given industry standard time isn't your fault at all.

Here is one law that might help you: Auto repair facilities customer rights (specific to washington state)
Not sure if you have any wiggle room there. Your original post sounds like you agreed to the $2,500, but not the $4,400. The $4,400 was just them telling you what it would be without you agreeing to it. (I may be mistaken).

And a repair shop that can't pull out an OBD2 code reader and give you the code is... unreliable? I know, that point is redundant now.
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:46 PM
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I would suggest you go get an itemized printout of the bill they are trying to foist on you, then ask for any old parts they took off your car, (a good idea anytime you let someone work on your car) and then tell them you have someone that wants to look at it.
See what they say, if they refuse, threaten to take them to court.
If they give it to you, bring it to another shop that hopefully you or someone you know trusts and let them give you an opinion, there are books out there with standardized labor costs.
You may even be able to research it yourself.
See what you can find out before you pay.
If you feel they are wrong still, there are several things imo, that I would do;
If you are a compromising person, maybe make a reasonable offer that's substantially less, they may agree yo waive some labor costs just to save themselves from admitting they're in over their head.
If you are a mild mannered person, and you think you're being taken advantage of, (I do) stew on that and go in there and get rude and raise hell. They may threaten to call the police, good, let them, they will say it's a civil matter & they can't do anything.
They may settle for less just to be rid of you, not good for business to have cop cars with flashing lights in the parking lot.
If you still don't get satisfactory results, take them to court.
Good luck!

Last edited by BigCajun; 11-20-2014 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:02 PM
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Atkins is full of ****. I have never liked them and this just furthers my dislike for them.

A fresh rebuild should start right away, especially with new housings. If it does not start when hot there is a problem. Occasionally on a rebuild it will take a while to idle right and start right but that is typically with a backyard build using less than ideal parts, but not on an engine built from an experienced re-builder using new parts. I have been a part a few rebuilds here locally and hot hard starts are not normal by any means on a fresh engine. My rebuild from Pineapple Racing started on the first crank like it had been started 100 times before and when I expressed my satisfaction to Rob at Pineapple about that, he said that it is nothing special and it should be that way every time if it is rebuilt correctly. Of course there could be an install related problem but for Atkins to say that is normal is just plain BS.

Last edited by 9krpmrx8; 11-20-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:15 PM
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Do you know if Atkins Cryo Apex seals were used? I bet they were. It would explain the hard starts.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:19 PM
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Check my build thread.....sounds similar and ended up being warped cryo treated Apex seals
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:30 PM
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If that's the case, and the rebuild is bad, then disregard my previous post.
Sounds like if they provided your shop with a bad engine, then that's a whole different story.
How you go about finding that out is beyond me, sorry.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:18 PM
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Atkins = unicorn fairy tale storytellers ( hint "we are the only supplier of Mazda side seals in the world" )

Even my Mazda reman starts like a champ after R&R, never needed any so called "break in" for it to get rid of hot start issues. Never ever even had hot start issues even on the factory engine.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:06 AM
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Truly a bad rebuild is the basis of the problem.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:40 PM
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just went through similar situation in lynnwood Wa

I got the entire job done for $ 4200 out the door bought a completely rebuilt engine out of Texas for $2500 plus $300 shipping and about $1400 to remove and reinstall new engine . granted they said they don't do a lot of rotaries so they were not experts . I did the research found the engine company OJrotors on ebay $2500 for a completely rebuilt 4 port and they are buying my old core and paid trucking back to Texas. just picked it up 3 days ago .runs great just tracking down an Idle issue .ojimports.com
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:22 PM
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I know this is an old thread, but does anyone know what the OP's outcome was?
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