Shop cost estimates- does this sound right?

dbr549

Full Member
Hi All!
It's been a while since I've been here. But the good news is- I still have my 05 AV! I have about 120,000 on it now and overdue for regular service. I called a local shop and got an estimate and wanted to run these prices by you all to see if this is on par for these days.

Coolant Exchange and replace upper and lower hoses: $428.00
Spark plugs and wire: $420.00
Transmission fluid and filter $284.00
Rear Differential Fluid: $180
Front Differential Fluid $142
Transfer Case fluid: $99

To me- this seems HIGH!! The coolant alone says it's $80 for 2 gallons!

I have all original equipment and hoses in this and I know it's long overdue. I am smelling antifreeze and it's using a little oil too.
Just want to see if this is typical or should I check with more shops. This shop, I have used in the past and they have a great reputation for their work and fair prices. I guess it's been a while and I've got sticker shock- idk. What do you think?
 

EXT4ME

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Hi All!
It's been a while since I've been here. But the good news is- I still have my 05 AV! I have about 120,000 on it now and overdue for regular service. I called a local shop and got an estimate and wanted to run these prices by you all to see if this is on par for these days.

Coolant Exchange and replace upper and lower hoses: $428.00
Spark plugs and wire: $420.00
Transmission fluid and filter $284.00
Rear Differential Fluid: $180
Front Differential Fluid $142
Transfer Case fluid: $99

To me- this seems HIGH!! The coolant alone says it's $80 for 2 gallons!

I have all original equipment and hoses in this and I know it's long overdue. I am smelling antifreeze and it's using a little oil too.
Just want to see if this is typical or should I check with more shops. This shop, I have used in the past and they have a great reputation for their work and fair prices. I guess it's been a while and I've got sticker shock- idk. What do you think?
Seems a bit high to me.

Of your list, the only things I would probably have done for me would be the transmission fluid and filter and the rear diff service.

Not because they are too hard, but for me, they are too messy.

The rest of your list is a good Saturday's worth of piddling on the truck.

Both radiator hoses and the coolant will cost you less than $100.

The rest of the fluids might run you $50.

One thing I might suggest, since it has probably not ever been done, I would take the truck's VIN to a dealer's parts department and pick up both heater hoses with attached quick disconnects.

When one of those old original quick disconnects decides to snap and dump all of your coolant out instantly as you are flying down the freeway, your day is going to get real bad, real fast.

Don't bother with aftermarket for these parts.

Spend the dough and get the OEM parts that will last a long time.

If you are interested in finding where your actual coolant leaks are coming from, either purchase or borrow from most parts stores, a radiator pressure test kit.

On your cold engine, install the tester and pump the pressure up to 15 PSI and sit back and watch your coolant leaks present themselves.
 

ygmn

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Seems high for the first 2 items even for dealership.

3rd is on close to being high

Others OK

But as always you can do cheaper you just need proper container for used oil and an auto parts store to take it to.
 

dbr549

Full Member
Thank you both for looking these over. I'll strike off having them do some of those items.
Thanks EXT4ME for the advice!
 

dbr549

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Just out of curiosity- I called the quick lube place. They said transfer case, front and rear diff. would cost about $250. That's about $170 cheaper than the shop!
 

redheadedrod

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They assume you have no idea what you are looking at and are trying to charge as high a price they think they can get. None of those jobs you list are hard to do and you could do them all in a weekend with simple tools. The fluids are cheap as are the parts.

The $170 is still a little high for those fluids but if you are totally afraid of tools and don't know what a socket is then that is likely your best option.

Those jobs are some of the easiest things you could do on your vehicle. For the transmission it wouldn't hurt to have the service done at a trans shop as they have the proper equipment to do a full flush that no other shop is going to have. But that is the only thing that I would even consider doing at a shop. Would not be much different than doing an oil change in complexity. Changing all 3 of those fluids is about a 15 minute job if done on jack stands in a driveway by someone that has done it before. Taking your time.. Maybe an hour.

I have learned how to do most of my own maintenance and only pay someone else to do it if its inconvienient for me to do it or I don't have the proper tools.
 

dbr549

Full Member
Thanks for the reply! This is kind of the way I'm seeing it too. I've canceled all these services for the time being and will take a look at doing most of these myself with the exception for the transmission.
 

dna9656

Full Member
Seems way high to me ! The trans filter change can be tricky, There is a seal used on the neck of the filter you will have to pry out, DON'T LEAVE THE OLD ONE IN THERE! Don't trust it. I know. I got a steel washer just a bit smaller than the hole the seal is in but as close to the same size of the seal. I ground the washer into the shape of an oval or football so it would pass trough the seal but if rotated would catch on the seal when trying to remove the washer. There is a tool for this, a seal puller for seals or bearings. I then got a a machine screw the was large enough to NOT pass through the washer; put a washer on the threaded end of the screrw and threaded a nut onto the . I then got my home made seal puller into position with the washer resting on top of the seal as prev. described.I used a brake tool or like bent tool to get above the nut and pry the seal out, be careful what you rest the prying tool on a block of wood between the pry tool and the transmissions innards (valve body) is a good idea so as not to damage or nick anything. The seal came out with reasonable effort and I used a new washer to tap (drive lightly with a mallet) the new seal into place.
 
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redheadedrod

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For the diff's and TC you will find that they have a drain plug.. This works just like changing the oil in your car... Pull out the plug and let the fluid drain out... The rear diff may require removing the rear cover to drain the fluid if there is no drain plug. If you remove the rear diff cover you need a new seal for it. It likely is a paper seal. I would coat the seal with black "form a gasket" just to insure it seals properly.

For both diffs and TC you will find a plug half way up the unit. This is the fill plug. You will basically pump fluid into this plug until fluid starts dripping out then put the plug back in.

You will have to look up what they take for diff fluid. The TC uses specific AC Delco fluid but the diffs are more flexible.

Spark plugs and wires... Buy new wires, buy new OEM plugs. Get a plug socket that fits the plugs if you don't already have one. Change when engine is cold. Also get some dielectric grease. The go one by one and pull the wire off and unscrew the plug. You may find turning the wire will make removing them much easier. They bond to the ceramic over time but turning them will break them free and much easier to pull off. Install new plugs... Put a little dielectric grease in both plug ends of the wire, stick one on the coil and the other on the plug. Done deal. When you install the plugs you just tighten them until they are snug but not over tighten. You will also need to check the gap on the plugs before installing them. If the plugs are dropped at any point the gap can change enough to effect runability. Do not get anything fancy. Only OEM plugs. And high quality OEM wires are good enough. Racing wires tend to not have the ability to block noise into the system and you will hear humming in your radio. OEM wiring works great.

As far as transmission... Transmission Shops around here charge about $150 to do a full fluid exchange and filter. It is worth it to do it at a transmission shop. Some will say don't change the fluid if you have a lot of miles on it. Just drop the pan, change the filter, reassemble and top off the fluid. A full fluid exchange can knock things loose with high mileage fluid. Of course a repair shop won't tell you that because if it goes bad after a fluid change then "your transmission must have been bad anyway". But a good transmission shop won't over charge and will let you know if they suggest not doing a full flush and refill.

For the coolant. You might consider new heater hoses too if you are changing the main hoses. The plastic fittings at the firewall are the #1 failure that I am aware of. The plastic they are made of cracks causing leaks. I had to change mine last year. They release from the firewall similar to the fuel lines. You push a tool into them to release the clips holding them on. (There are Youtube videos showing these.)
When flushing I would suggest getting a new thermostat as well. You may have to pull your old one and bring it to the shop because there are 2 different sizes. Get a bunch of distilled water. What I would suggest to flush at home is to drain all of the coolant out of the radiator. This will be about half of the fluid. Also remove the thermostat from the pump housing. Refill system with distilled water. Run through the system long enough for the water to mix with the coolant but not long enough for the engine to get hot with full heat on. Drain the radiator, fill the system with water and run the system again. (You will want to fill the system while it is running to get all the air out. ) Continue this process until you only get clear water out of the radiator. Took my truck about 4 fills before it came out clear. Check your manual for # of gallons in your system. Think my truck has 2.5 gallons in the system. Drain the radiator, install the new thermostat, change the hoses. Once you have everything back together you can then refill the system with 1/2 the number of gallons the system holds of concentrated coolant. Then top off with more distilled water with the truck running. You are done.

Please note, never use tap water in your engine. There are chemicals and/or minerals in the water that will coat your radiator and coolant passages in the motor making the coolant less efficient. (See Flint Water Crisis if you really want to see why they put chemicals in the water...)

Hopefully that is clear enough for you. Some may have other ways of doing things but this is how I do mine.
 

Capt.Crunch

Full Member
Hi All!
It's been a while since I've been here. But the good news is- I still have my 05 AV! I have about 120,000 on it now and overdue for regular service. I called a local shop and got an estimate and wanted to run these prices by you all to see if this is on par for these days.

Coolant Exchange and replace upper and lower hoses: $428.00
Spark plugs and wire: $420.00
Transmission fluid and filter $284.00
Rear Differential Fluid: $180
Front Differential Fluid $142
Transfer Case fluid: $99

To me- this seems HIGH!! The coolant alone says it's $80 for 2 gallons!

I have all original equipment and hoses in this and I know it's long overdue. I am smelling antifreeze and it's using a little oil too.
Just want to see if this is typical or should I check with more shops. This shop, I have used in the past and they have a great reputation for their work and fair prices. I guess it's been a while and I've got sticker shock- idk. What do you think?
Sounds too high priced to me, antifreeze is only 15 bucks a gallon and you probably only need 2.5 gallons, I wouldn't do the transmission flush, it could create problems, unless you're already having problems with it. I have 226000 miles on my 2010 and it's working fine, I have only had to replace the radiator and I bought one with a lifetime warranty for 185.00. I still have the original hoses on it. Rule of thumb, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
 

Capt.Crunch

Full Member
Sounds too high priced to me, antifreeze is only 15 bucks a gallon and you probably only need 2.5 gallons, I wouldn't do the transmission flush, it could create problems, unless you're already having problems with it. I have 226000 miles on my 2010 and it's working fine, I have only had to replace the radiator and I bought one with a lifetime warranty for 185.00. I still have the original hoses on it. Rule of thumb, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
I would check the radiator for the coolant leak, that's why I replaced mine. I've only tuned it up 1 time and the plugs weren't bad at all, I could have driven it another 100k before I changed them.
 

dbr549

Full Member
Thanks CC for the advise. I changed the front diff. and the transfer case fluid this past weekend. Way too easy and way overdue! I haven't smelled coolant as much as before but did the pressure test as EXT4ME suggested. The gauge stayed at 15 psi for several hours. I'm not planning on a transmission flush but to drop the pan, change the filter and refill fluid. Maintenance schedule says to change it at 100,000 miles- so, I've scheduled that for tomorrow. Heard too many bad stories about flushing in the past to want to have that done. Interesting about the plugs- I'm thinking that everything is running just fine to just postpone this for a while.

Next is the radiator. I'll probably follow redheadedrod's suggestions above. Yep- $428 seems outrageous for coolant and hoses!
 

dbr549

Full Member
For the diff's and TC you will find that they have a drain plug.. This works just like changing the oil in your car... Pull out the plug and let the fluid drain out... The rear diff may require removing the rear cover to drain the fluid if there is no drain plug. If you remove the rear diff cover you need a new seal for it. It likely is a paper seal. I would coat the seal with black "form a gasket" just to insure it seals properly...........
Thank you so much redhededrod! This is great info for me as I've never done this before! I will follow your recommendations. Thank you for your help and taking the time to write that out!
 

Capt.Crunch

Full Member
Thanks CC for the advise. I changed the front diff. and the transfer case fluid this past weekend. Way too easy and way overdue! I haven't smelled coolant as much as before but did the pressure test as EXT4ME suggested. The gauge stayed at 15 psi for several hours. I'm not planning on a transmission flush but to drop the pan, change the filter and refill fluid. Maintenance schedule says to change it at 100,000 miles- so, I've scheduled that for tomorrow. Heard too many bad stories about flushing in the past to want to have that done. Interesting about the plugs- I'm thinking that everything is running just fine to just postpone this for a while.

Next is the radiator. I'll probably follow redheadedrod's suggestions above. Yep- $428 seems outrageous for coolant and hoses!
It sounds like you have it under control, I'm a master certified mechanic so if you have any questions you need answers don't hesitate to hit me up, my last name is Chilton, although I didn't write the books I know a lot about cars and trucks. I've been working on them since I was 13 and I'm 57 now. LOL
 

frito

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It sounds like you have it under control, I'm a master certified mechanic so if you have any questions you need answers don't hesitate to hit me up, my last name is Chilton, although I didn't write the books I know a lot about cars and trucks. I've been working on them since I was 13 and I'm 57 now. LOL
A master certified technician/Avy owner in the Cincinnati area. Good to know. 👍
 

dbr549

Full Member
Well just heard back from the transmission shop. Said they took it for a test drive and everything is ok.

They dropped the pan and said I have a lot of metal shaving- they changed the filter. Asked if I wanted them to button it back up or do more exploring. They said they can't guaranty they won't dislodge anything and I'd have problems next week and have to rebuild the transmission for $2200.00. What!?? I told them to close it up and I'll take my chances at this point.

Update:
Just got back from picking it up and looking at the filter. It's not as bad as I was told by their front office. Talked to the owner, he said the fluid was pink and this was pretty much normal wear. I feel much better!! The bill was $183.00....almost exactly $100.00 cheaper than the mechanic shop was going to charge!
 
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EXT4ME

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The transmission on my 2004 EXT went out at 125K back in 2012.

If the transmission on your 2005 with 120K has never been rebuilt, I would say you had a good run and may possibly be due.

Changing the fluid and filter will not rush things along and if they already found metal shavings in the pan, I would say you got your early warning.

Don't be afraid to have your transmission rebuilt.

I would just wait until it actually fails before having it rebuilt.

Just drive normally and start putting a few bucks back for the eventual repair.

The price they quoted is about what I paid back in 2012 and it included a new torque converter.

DO NOT skip on getting a new torque converter.

My EXT currently has 236K miles on it, so I now have 111K miles on that rebuild.

If it goes out again, I will have it rebuilt again.

But, knock on wood, there currently are no signs of trouble.
 

Capt.Crunch

Full Member
Well just heard back from the transmission shop. Said they took it for a test drive and everything is ok.

They dropped the pan and said I have a lot of metal shaving- they changed the filter. Asked if I wanted them to button it back up or do more exploring. They said they can't guaranty they won't dislodge anything and I'd have problems next week and have to rebuild the transmission for $2200.00. What!?? I told them to close it up and I'll take my chances at this point.

Update:
Just got back from picking it up and looking at the filter. It's not as bad as I was told by their front office. Talked to the owner, he said the fluid was pink and this was pretty much normal wear. I feel much better!! The bill was $183.00....almost exactly $100.00 cheaper than the mechanic shop was going to charge!
That's AWESOME! What a lot of people don't know is if the transmission has never been serviced before your going to find normal amounts of metal shavings and clutch shavings due to the break in process when it was new, even a completely rebuilt transmission after 30 days will have this in the pan, don't worry about it.... it's normal wear and tear.
 
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