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I have just had my Head Gasket replaced, the head was skimmed, I supplied the oil and filter and the saab specialist charged me in excess of £750. the job sheet said 10 hrs is this a little bit excessive or right. The car is a 2.3 lpt 1996
 

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£750.00+
At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask What hourly rate did they quote on the bill? Having recently carried out a DIY head gasket set replacement (12 - 14 hrs) this reinforces my belief that if, and I know that it is a big if, circumstances and know how permit then diy represents a considerable saving on work such as this.
 

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Jon, I have had the head gaskets replaced on all my 9000s over the years everytime Ive had the heads skimmed and all work done by reputable Saab specialists and I have NEVER been charged anything like that, the last one I had done was £410 inc vat......I would look for another specialist because the one your using is way 2 expensive
 

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My headgasket job (on a 9-3, mind) cost £690.00 incl from a Saab dealer.

The Saab "dealer" attitude on here gets a bit wearing sometimes.
There are good dealers and there are no-so-good dealers. You've just got to find a good one
 

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I guess a lot of it is down to what we think someone's (expert??) time should be worth. I just had some dental work done(yes, face, not car) and paid £104. Which rather shocked me until I considered that there was a material cost for injections, for the fancy white filling stuff, for the equipment including cameras and screens, computers etc, and then not least the very professional dentist and equally professional dental nurse. The job took a good 40 minutes and cost, as I say £100+; after consideration I felt it was perfectly reasonable, but still painful So bills of £500 - £700 for 10 hours work on our cars are, if not welcome, at least understandable.
 

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I would agree with the rate dealers charge for expert work if they are expert. In many cases they are charging expert rates for non-expert diagnosis.

If my car goes to a dealer and I am charged £75 an hour for a solution - fine.

If I take my car for repair and they charge £75 an hour when all they do is start changing parts "to see if it sorts it". "Come back again if it's still wrong" (and we'll charge you again for trying something else). etc.etc. is what gets me annoyed. This is not expert behaviour. This is something I could do myself for the cost of the parts. If it's raining I might pay £10 an hour for the labour at most to keep me from getting a cold.
 

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Originally posted by sgould:
[qb]If my car goes to a dealer and I am charged £75 an hour for a solution - fine.

If I take my car for repair and they charge £75 an hour when all they do is start changing parts "to see if it sorts it".  "Come back again if it's still wrong" (and we'll charge you again for trying something else). etc.etc. is what gets me annoyed.  This is not expert behaviour.  [/qb][/b]
...or you can tap the collective knowledge of Saabscene (or contribute to it to help others) and diagnose the possibilities of a lot of problems before taking the car to a specialist or dealer

The collective wisdom of Saabscene contributors has been known to save people a few quid
 

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Looking for the right garage does definatley help no doubt.Its handy if you know a mechanic to do some donkey work on the side which helps the wallet a wee bit.Are head gaskets a common thing with these cars? I just bought a 9000 se 2.3 hpt from my work for 150 and funnily enough the h/gasket went in a week.2much of a bargain.When I took the head off and got it skimmed it revealed that it had been welded up in 3places on the water passages,that job was good but the problem lied between two of the valves on no.3 piston-whopping crack!kind of annoyed me cause the full serv history was with a saab dealer.Got a 2nd hand head for 70 from local scrappy after bartaring and got it skimmed for 15quid. got genuine h/set 4 36 quid and then I rebuilt it.Also genuine filter for 4.50 from german and sweedish. great place for parts- anyone use them?
 

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Welcome to Saabscene, scousepete!

We certainly know about GSF here- they do offer a lot of reasonable alternative parts.

I am worried however about the tendancy that seems to prevail of skimming heads as a matter of course. I wonder how many places do this as means to make a few more bucks? If a head really needs to be skimmed it's normally due to thermal stress- which I would also expect to result in some cracks, or if not weaknesses that will develop into cracks.
 

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In my expierience as a mechanic, the reason that a head has to be skimmed because when you remove the head from the block there is the chance of the head slightly warping, even more so now they are aluminuim. Thats the main one anyway as for the reasons you described ive not heard of that, but maybe an engineer of some sort may clarify that with you. Ive heard from older meccy's that in the "old days" with steel ones you just measured the head for trueness with a flate rule and gave it the sandpaper n block shave. I mean if you skimped by not skimming the head on a car and put it back together and the h/gasket goes again from doing this you'd be a bit peeved! it'd all have to come off, new h/set and more labour.
 

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I forgot to add, even if its a half decent garage most places which do h/gasket jobs wont put it back together without doing a skim, as its too risky to them and their profits on the job. Its a matter of course in the trade for a cyl head off job. Unless the person getting the work done on his car stressed that they are low on cash and agree to not have it skimmed to save dosh. Downside to that is that the garage wont guarantee it then.
 

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I've never had any of the heads I've done myself (about 10 now) skimmed, and I've never been offered a skim on the 3 warrenty HG repl;acements I've had done at Saab Dealers.

Even the well lcooked Alloy heads have been true when measured with a steel.

Maybe they are not being un torqued correctly by the garages. taking the head off correctly is as important as putting it back on.

My father was an engine fitter in the RAF, and while they routinely crack tested everything, the never skimmed heads and planes need to be reliable else they're scrap...

Andrew.
 
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