Need advice if I'm being 'had' by my repair shop

Discussion in 'RV Dealers & Repair Shops' started by JennG, Aug 21, 2020.

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  1. JennG

    JennG Member

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    I just bought a 2008 Jayco HW12 and the seller put on a new coupler. He told me it needed a $50 part called Demco reverse break lockout for the surge brakes actuator, i was told by my local shop it would cost between $250-500 so i went ahead and bought the popup. Fast forward to now, they are estimating it to be minimum $675.00 or 5 hours of labor and said that once they take it apart it could be even more. I found a DIY video on eTrailer and the guy did this in about 15 minutes? I also found info that says it takes 15 minutes per tire/brakes to bleed. I declined to have the service done and now they suddenly are tacking on a $135 diagnostic charge which they never told me about in the first place. Am I just a dumb blonde in their eyes? am i being played or is this valid? also I found out if your PUP is under 6k lbs you don't even need brakes, why didn't' they tell me this?
     
  2. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    Find another shop.
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    . Research this yourself , as this is a state mandated rule and that could change. In my state any camper 2000 pounds Gross has to be equipped with breaks and they even add that if already equipped HAS to be working. So if that was my camper I would be required that everything be working no matter what. I don’t know what’s all required to get your breaks working as my breaks are electric. Sadly I had to pay $650 to get everything working on mine as well when I bought my camper. As apparently in my case I didn’t look the drums over when I bought the camper and they were litterly rust buckets. I assumed when the camper was inspected something like that would have been spotted, I was wrong. I do suggest to try and find another shop, but in my neck of the woods, shops willing to look at popups are few and far between. At least once you get everything working you know it’s fixed and will be more on top of maintenance vrs the prior owner. Owning camper can be very frustrating and expensive unfortunately especially if you need a shop to do the repairs. Good luck.
     
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  4. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    If you have breaks , its a good idea if they work. I would go somewhere else.
     
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  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Did you ask why it will take more time than originally estimated? Did they find other damage to the brakes?

    The diagnostic charge is usually incorporated into the repair cost. Because you told them not to do the work, they charge you for the time they already spent on it for the diagnosis. This is pretty normal for shops.

    Your shop may be ripping you off, but maybe not. My shop is really good about stating "it may end up costing more once we get into it" when we talk about costs. If I call and ask "how much would this be?" , they will give me a "should be around $xx if that's all it needs", knowing that I understand it could be more if that's not all it needs.

    If your shop found more damage to the brakes, then this all may be legitimate. You cannot trust a prior owner or dealer to be honest about the extent of work needed or damage to a camper.

    If the shop did not find additional damage/work needed, then ask them why their labor increased so much. Then call another shop and ask them what their labor would be for the same job.

    I agree with above - if it has brakes, get them working properly. Even if your camper can legally be without, they will make it safer and they are already there.
     
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  6. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    The shop didn't tell you this because it's not true. Laws vary from one jurisdiction to another but there's no way a trailer of any kind that weighs 3 tons doesn't have to have functioning brakes.
     
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  7. Ductape

    Ductape Well-Known Member

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    It does sound high. Here brakes are required over 3000lbs, but even with a lower gross weight.... if it has brakes, they need to work properly.
     
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  8. myride

    myride Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Find a new shop.
     
  9. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    The shop I was at this week charges $135 for diagnostic work. So that seems in line as far as diagnostic pricing goes.
     
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  10. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    I can share something that might be useful info for you. My local trailer shop charged me similar to what you are quoted. But they did a lot of work: put in new tires (I bought them), installed new bearings, checked the electric breaks (it worked, but they said power wasn't going to the left one, which they fixed), installed new breakaway switch, installed a new circuit breaker for the battery, removed the anode rod (it was stuck), and most importantly, they straightened the rear bumper (it was bent badly by the previous owner). So your cost, just to have the breaks checked seems really high to me. All the best.
     
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  11. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Are your brakes functional? The reverse lockout solenoid is an option and will not stop the brakes from working when going forward. If the trailer needs to be inspected in your jurisdiction it may or may not be required, find out.

    Research your tongue actuator. They should provide a manual reverse lockout capability. Might be as simple as a pin stuck through a hole. It just means you have to get out of the vehicle before you start backing, I usually do to look over the site anyway.

    The cost of the part is no indication of the labor required to install it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
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  12. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Run
     
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  13. JennG

    JennG Member

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  14. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    Agreed and I was at least told about it.
     
  15. Tracy Jenkins

    Tracy Jenkins New Member

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    The whole unit is under 300?
     
  16. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    You're sure the reverse lockout solenoid is optional? It seems like it would be pretty important, for surge brakes, to not be applied when the vehicle is in reverse. It's my understanding that surge brakes work by applying themselves when there is negative pressure at the hitch, which can happen when brakes are being applied on the vehicle, when the trailer is chasing the vehicle down a hill, or when backing up.

    But I'm not an expert, it just seems like it's probably a little more than a nice-to-have.

    As for shop diagnostic fees:

    Shop diagnostic fees are normal. It's unfair to the shop to spend 90 minutes of labor on diagnostics, then to get nothing from that time spent because the person declined the repair. The options usually are "Pay for two hours of shop time to diagnose and fix this thing" or "Pay for 90 minutes of shop time to diagnose." Often the diagnosis is 2/3rds of the work, anyway.
     
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  17. Nikwho

    Nikwho New Member

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    Firstly, you should understand the system that the shop is working on, so you understand what they are telling you, with regard to repairs. Surge brakes are hydraulic, as opposed to electric brakes. I prefer them! The forward most part of your coupler on your trailer slides in and out of the rearward portion. When you apply the brakes in your tow vehicle, the weight of your trailer pushes against your tow vehicle. Between the two pieces of the coupler is a brake cylinder. The pressure of the trailer pushing against your tow vehicle compresses this cylinder, and translates to hydraulic pressure being pushed down your brake lines, to the brakes on your trailer.

    The problem with this system is that when you put your car in reverse, and back your trailer up, it's applying pressure in the same way. A little pressure applies the brakes a little, causing resistance, which in turn applies more pressure between the tow vehicle and trailer. This will end up applying your trailer brakes to the point that you cannot back your trailer up.

    There are two solutions for this typically. The first is a reverse lock-out solenoid. These commonly utilize the 7 pin round trailer light connector. When your car goes into reverse, it sends 12vdc to the reverse wire in your trailer wire harness. That 12v goes to a solenoid, which is an electric valve. When in reverse, and this solenoid receives power, it closes, preventing the hydraulic brake fluid pressure from being sent down the brakes lines, and prohibits the trailer brakes from applying.

    The next solution (depending on your surge brake coupler) is a lockout key! When you park, before you reverse, you hop out and put this key in the coupler. Instead of the solenoid preventing line pressure from applying the brakes, the key physically prohibits the two parts of the coupler from moving towards each other, therefore it prevents the brake cylinder from creating pressure to send to the brakes!

    Here is a link to the key that I am referring to (they're about $5):
    https://www.pacifictrailers.com/products/ufp-side-lockout-bracket-34557?variant=36463531658&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google Shopping&utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_term=&utm_content=340182651085&keyword=&utm_campaign=smart-all-test&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7ZL6BRCmARIsAH6XFDLLEhz4dWoQ6NoBVgF3B9hbsy9g_viOE3MBDSJYzeNqih0VDFtxINcaAnmrEALw_wcB


    SO, that's how those systems work. What I didn't see (I admittedly did not read EVERY post in your thread) is what are the symptoms that you took your trailer to the shop for? Just because PO told you it needed addressed? Or is there a problem with the brakes? Is the trailer not allowing you to reverse? Are the brakes not working? How do you know? These systems are not overly complicated.

    I bought a boat and its trailer surge brake hinder was dry of brake fluid and full of rust. I paid about $40 for a new brake cylinder, preventing the brakes from applying. I removed and replaced the brake cylinder and bled the system. Total cost was about $60, and I had perfectly working, freshly bled brakes.

    So, what is the actual problem that you are experiencing with your brakes? How big is your PUP? How big is your tow vehicle? If you're towing a little PUP with a full size, or 3/4 truck, it just doesn't matter if it has functioning brakes or not. If you're towing a big PUP with a Subaru, you're going to really want functioning brakes. The GVWR of a trailer isn't enough information to say whether or not you need brakes. Lots of factors there. The simple answer is "you need brains. But, there are factors that impact the actual functional need.

    Sorry, that was lots of info, and lots of questions. Regarding your shop, if you know what you're talking about, and call them out on their BS, they'll recognize that they cannot take advantage of you! My wife is a cute blonde lady, and it amazes me the nonsense that shops have told her. She's also a very smart, tough lady, and she'll put them right in their place! So, knowledge is literally power, when dealing with shops. Just because a shop repair gets more expensive, doesn't necessarily mean that they're ripping you off! Good luck!

    Nik
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  18. fronsm

    fronsm First time owner at 67

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    I called some shops to look at mine and after diagnosis, it would be $125 per hour. It does seem exhorbitant!
     
  19. Nikwho

    Nikwho New Member

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    That is a high hourly shop rate! I personally would rather put time and energy into learning how to repair things myself, rather than paying someone else to fix something for me. But, learning to repair things and wrenching on stuff is not everyone's cup 'o tea!

    I avoid allowing someone else to wrench on anything of mine, if at all possible. But, turning wrenches is kind of a hobby of mine. But, I think that if you're going to have a shop work on your stuff, you should at least put a little bit of energy into learning about the system that you are paying them to work on, so that you sound educated when you have a discussion with the shop about your stuff! I've had shops outright try to rip me off! I would have been taken for thousands, if not tens of thousands, if I didn't know enough to call BS when they start lying to me, or exaggerating the extent of damage, or repairs needed.
     
  20. Nikwho

    Nikwho New Member

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    OP,
    If you post pictures of your trailer tongue coupler, along with a description of the symptoms that you're experiencing, most repairs are very cheap to these systems. As said above, you should be able to buy the entire replacement for about $300. Then, that just needs to be swapped in place of the old coupler, and the brakes bled. But, more often than not, you don't need the entire assembly. It sounds like your issue is with the reverse lockout. That is a simple thing to replace, with common hand tools. Though, sometimes those brake lines will need line wrenches, and common combination wrenches will just strip the brake line flare fittings.
     

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