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Discussion Starter #1
$150 labor with your parts supplied, a week turn around and gear lightening for $50 a gear (9 gears possible to lighten)...Does this sound too good to be true?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To me it does, at least the labor price.
I thought it was just about right, I mean, most the trouble in getting the transmission rebuilt is removal and reinstallation, since you'd have to do that to ship the tranny to them, seems the hard parts are over. The gear lightnening was the cheap part, Performatek charges $100 for 1rst gear and $75 for the rest of them. You need diamond plate drill bits to get through hardened steel.
 

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sounds too cheap to me . . .

$150 . . . what is that, 2 or 3 hours total of labor. what all can they do in that short time ?

$50 each to lighten the gears . . . have they ever done it to super hard Alfa gears before ? need expensive cutting tools, and then cut slowly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sounds too cheap to me . . .

$150 . . . what is that, 2 or 3 hours total of labor. what all can they do in that short time ?

$50 each to lighten the gears . . . have they ever done it to super hard Alfa gears before ? need expensive cutting tools, and then cut slowly.
Yup, they've lightened gears before, he done mine. I called Performatek first, but realizing they don't balance the gears, which was explained to me as unneccessary, I went and looked else where. It would seem when you say "Alfa Romeo" there is already a $200 hike in price, but not with this guy. He doesn't undercut, but then again there is only 3 gears Performatek will undercut (1rst, 2nd and 5th on the layshaft). $ to $ he seemed alright and done the job for $450 for all 9 gears. I rebuilt my own tranny, I didn't know about him just then...
 

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That's way too cheap.

Alfa gearboxes, while not especially complex, have a few unique characteristics that would make me want an Alfa specialist to handle the job.

$400 + parts is normal for a standard rebuild. Parts can run between a couple hundred to upwards of $1000 if a lot of the bearings in the gear box are trashed.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's way too cheap.

Alfa gearboxes, while not especially complex, have a few unique characteristics that would make me want an Alfa specialist to handle.

$400 + parts is normal for a standard rebuild. Parts can run between a couple hundred to upwards of $1000 if a lot of the bearings in the gear box are trashed.

Joe
The roller bearings in them are quite beefy, it is the gear bushings themselves that I'd worry about, but those aren't expensive, dog rings impossible to find new-you'd have to buy new gears to get those or salvage some "good" used ones. I got my tranny dismantled in just an hour, waited for parts and reassembled in an hour. So you're only talking 2 hours (I had a hydraulic press for reassembly) which some/most shops charge $75-100/hour for labor. My tranny bushing was out and in within 5 minutes with the press-something to think about, we may be getting screwed by some places...then again, he didn't put mine together, but he had lencos, rock crushers, ford and chevy trannys all over his shop, he seemed to know the up and up...
 

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we may be getting screwed by some places...
That's one way to look at it.

Another way to think about it is that, quite simply, some people's tranny rebuilds work better than others. The same is true for engines. And they have a right to charge a premium for their experience and known good results.

The dog ring issue is just one of the things that commonly comes up in a rebuild. An Alfa specialist that rebuilds a lot of trannys is going to have a selection of good used dog gears sitting on their shelf, ready to install. And, they can quickly tell if a dog ring is OK to re-use or not. That bit of experience gets you a better end result.

I know I am perfectly capable of rebuilding a transmission, and have all the tools and parts at my disposal. But, if I needed one for my car it would be done by Rex Chalmers or Karen Dale McGowan.

Just my 40 lira.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
That's one way to look at it.

Another way to think about it is that, quite simply, some people's tranny rebuilds work better than others. The same is true for engines. And they have a right to charge a premium for their experience and known good results.

The dog ring issue is just one of the things that commonly comes up in a rebuild. An Alfa specialist that rebuilds a lot of trannys is going to have a selection of good used dog gears sitting on their shelf, ready to install. And, they can quickly tell if a dog ring is OK to re-use or not. That bit of experience gets you a better end result.

I know I am perfectly capable of rebuilding a transmission, and have all the tools and parts at my disposal. But, if I needed one for my car it would be done by Rex Chalmers or Karen Dale McGowan.

Just my 40 lira.

Joe
Ah, so you would say the price determines quality? I'm not sure, wish I would've used him to rebuild my tranny to just to know for sure. I'm not a specialist, but I can tell you I know a bad dog ring from a good one and if I had them laying on a shelf (good ones), it'd make myself wonder where I got them from to have laying around to begin with. Copy and paste of the email from him. Yes, my tranny is together and he did do a good job on the cross drilling...
Your gears.
From: John Render ([email protected])
You may not know this sender. Mark as safe | Mark as unsafe
Sent:Sun 6/24/07 3:26 PM
To: [email protected]



Encoding: Auto Select---------------------------Western European (Windows)Chinese Simplified (GB2312)---------------------------Arabic (Windows)Baltic (ISO)Baltic (Windows)Central European (ISO)Central European (Windows)Chinese Simplified (GB18030)Chinese Simplified (GB2312)Chinese Simplified (HZ)Chinese Traditional (Big5)Cyrillic (ISO)Cyrillic (KOI8-R)Cyrillic (KOI8-U)Cyrillic (Windows)Greek (ISO)Greek (Windows)Hebrew (Windows)Japanese (Auto-Select)Japanese (EUC)Japanese (JIS)Japanese (JIS-Allow 1 byte Kana)Japanese (Shift-JIS)Korean (Auto-Select)Korean (ISO)Latin 9 (ISO)Thai (Windows)Turkish (ISO)Turkish (Windows)Unicode (UTF-7)Unicode (UTF-8)Vietnamese (Windows)Western European (ISO)Western European (Windows)


I'm done with the gears you sent me, already reassembled on the shafts. Your total is $450, you may pick them up at your own time.
 

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Not sure I understand the point of this thread. You asked a question, got some very sensible answers from guys that very likely have a good deal more experience. and then reputed each of their replies. If you're able to do the job yourself, as you've mentioned you've done in the past, then why not follow that plan again?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure I understand the point of this thread. You asked a question, got some very sensible answers from guys that very likely have a good deal more experience. and then reputed each of their replies. If you're able to do the job yourself, as you've mentioned you've done in the past, then why not follow that plan again?
I didn't get any really good answers, most answers ended with a question (minus Joe Cabs, which ended with a $$$ to do a good job type of response-then again, that was with the tranny being trashed and again, this guy doesn't buy the rebuild parts, you do), re-read it.
 

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I did read your post, but the point is that this is one case in which you will very likely get what you pay for. An Alfa gearbox, for better or worse, isn't quite the same as the industrial quality boxes you mentioned laying around in that guy's shop. Unless he's done more than a few Alfa's, if he's even done any, you're paying a low price because you're taking a greater risk that the job won't be done right, or that the gearbox won't last. As for not getting any good answers here, what could you possibly expect? None of us know this guy, and that's really all that matters. Ask him how many Alfa gearboxes he's done, ask him about his warranty, ask to speak to another Alfa owner he's done work for, and the like. Why do you need another rebuild, anyway? Gearboxes, Alfa or otherwise, generally aren't regular maintenance items.
 

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I did read your post, but the point is that this is one case in which you will very likely get what you pay for. An Alfa gearbox, for better or worse, isn't quite the same as the industrial quality boxes you mentioned laying around in that guy's shop. Unless he's done more than a few Alfa's, if he's even done any, you're paying a low price because you're taking a greater risk that the job won't be done right, or that the gearbox won't last. As for not getting any good answers here, what could you possibly expect? None of us know this guy, and that's really all that matters. Ask him how many Alfa gearboxes he's done, ask him about his warranty, ask to speak to another Alfa owner he's done work for, and the like. Why do you need another rebuild, anyway? Gearboxes, Alfa or otherwise, generally aren't regular maintenance items.
Actually, I got the answers I needed. It took me 2 hours to get mine done. Someone replied "2-3 hours, what does that get you"...Also, $1000 or more to get new parts, actually, $1500 is about right for all new synchro sleeves, rings, bushings, seals and quadrants, which is what IAP puts in their rebuilt models that they sell for $1800 (Hmmm, $300 or less for a completely new rebuild in labor). You have to ask questions, if you don't, you get stuck with what "everyone elses charges" for, doesn't seem right. Diamond plated drill bit costs $30 and will last for 5 gears and yet others will charge, you get my point or at least I hope you do.
As far as experience in the trannys go, I'd trust just about anyone whose worked on a rock crusher to do a simple, very simple Porsche designed Alfa Transmission.
 

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Rock crushers and T-10 toploaders are pretty easy actually.

Open it up, pour the parts in, close it up, drive. (ok, a bit more difficult than that, but not much. I've done motorcycle transmissions that were more complex)

Still, it does raise the question of quality again.

If all those boxes were ones he did in the past but that are back in his shop for another rebuild, I'd wonder why as those transmissions in particular are pretty well bulletproof, can take huge amounts of abuse, tolerate inept drivers well, and can last thousands to tens of thousands of miles when being beat on regularly at the track. (if the driver has a modicum of talent)

If they came out of daily drivers, then they shouldn't come back at all in his lifetime.

Then again, mabe he's just collected up a bunch from the wrecking yards and such to throw a rebuild on and have them ready to go out the door. ( :shrug: might be worth actually asking that question....)

Dunno, and not overly important to my reality :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dunno, and not overly important to my reality :)
Rock crusher was the first one I ever did, so maybe I remember being it hard for that reason:D The transmissions were for sale, I never said they were back in his shop, just that they were there. The VW bus transmission was my 3rd tranny, not very hard at all, even though it was a transaxle. The point of quality is not very much. If you know how to remove sparkplugs on a GM 2.8L it is very safe to say you are compentent enough to remove them from a twin turbo porsche engine. To say a mechanic's work isn't as reliable because he may not have sufficient experience with a Alfa Transmission is backwards thinking. This attitude may be why we pay so much for parts and services on our cars. I had electrical problems with my Alfa (which is a problem with them along with rust). I had it fixed in half an hour, never having worked on a Alfa. Does that make my work on the car, the water pump, front seal replacement, radiator, thermostat, spark plugs, cap and rotor, sparkplug wires, alternator, door handle, window crank, radio, speakers, convertible top alignment, transmission rebuild, clutch replacement, clutch slave cylinder, rear brakes change, inner tie rod ends replacements unproffesional and not as good of a replacement since I did it as compared to taking it to a shop and being charged $90/hour???? You have experience with this Tifosi, you've rebuilt other transmissions (I did the transmission in my GS550E motorcycle as well, that one was not very hard to do either, Harley Transmissions are particularly easy as well, not sure about maybe a Honda bike or Hayabusa...) tell me why the Alfa would be considered a hard transmission to do? This isn't a rebutal, trying to get past the previous mentioned $200 hike in price when you say Alfa Romeo. In fact the only 2 things I'd ever take my car else where for is 1: Paint job. 2: Convertible top replacement. Engine R+R, transmission, rear end, etc...Not so much, but I do know my limits, I'm not a body man or an upholsterer (though I can do my own seat covers and carpet, just not a top).
 

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I guess it depends on what you know about this guy.

Just as an example:

There's a guy who is well known in the Toyota truck community who is a differential guru. He rebuilds Toyota differentials (big thing in 4x4 circles) basically as a hobby. So you send your diff off to him plus parts and he rebuilds it in an extremely meticulous way and gets everything just right and PERFECT and sends it back to you. Depending on how well you know him and what sort of mood he's in this costs $100 - $200 compared to ~$500 at most shops and he does a better job. NOBODY builds a better Toyota diff. Getting the right backlash, bearing preload, gear pattern, etc. is a real art form.

So my point is: it's not entirely impossible.

Also, if anybody is interested, that Toyota guy's website is www.gearinstalls.com.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I guess it depends on what you know about this guy.

Just as an example:

There's a guy who is well known in the Toyota truck community who is a differential guru. He rebuilds Toyota differentials (big thing in 4x4 circles) basically as a hobby. So you send your diff off to him plus parts and he rebuilds it in an extremely meticulous way and gets everything just right and PERFECT and sends it back to you. Depending on how well you know him and what sort of mood he's in this costs $100 - $200 compared to ~$500 at most shops and he does a better job. NOBODY builds a better Toyota diff.

So my point is, it's not entirely impossible but unlikely.

Also, if anybody is interested, that Toyota guy's website is www.gearinstalls.com.

Chris
Thanks for that bit of info. Going back earlier to this post, "What will 1-3 hours of labor get you?". A rear end is a little more complicated than a transmission as you have pinion angles to worry about along with the adjusting and readjusting of the crush sleeve and shimming up the differential for proper alignment. My tranny went back together just as it came out, all shims where the factory placed them and guess what, it put the gears right back where they were to begin with, perfect alignment, no need for marking compound or switching shims around, no crush sleeves to slow you (or rather me in this case) down. When I was in VICA Auto Tech competitions, my time on a rebuild (old parts not new) for a differential was just 20 minutes, however, new parts what have taken at least an hour and a half. So your guy, charges as much as this transmission guy. Being dedicated to one brand, Toyota, I'm willing to bet this guy you're talking about would have no problem doing a Ford or Chevy rear end as well.
 

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No, no trouble at all. He doesn't usually like doing it for clients just because he's not as comfortable as with the Toy stuff but he certainly helps his buddies out with their Dana axles. And you're right - a diff is much more of an art form than a tranny. So much so that he is often unhappy with the way the Toy axles come from the factory. He almost never puts one back in just as it came out. They almost always need adjustment. So I agree with you that an Alfa tranny probably doesn't present many surprises to a good tranny specialist. The principles are the same.
 

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No, no trouble at all. He doesn't usually like doing it for clients just because he's not as comfortable as with the Toy stuff but he certainly helps his buddies out with their Dana axles. And you're right - a diff is much more of an art form than a tranny. So much so that he is often unhappy with the way the Toy axles come from the factory....so I agree with you that an Alfa tranny probably doesn't present many surprises to a good tranny specialist. The principles are the same.
Thank you for that valuable input!
I believe the way cars come from the factory is more of a guideline to how the customer actually wants them. Most cars are modified from factory one way or another, some times minor, sometimes not so minor. Even when the model A fords rolled out. There were those of us in that time that would drill holes into the exhaust "muffler" (mainly a disc in the exhaust pipe). It was worth a whole horse, but when your engine doesn't even have 20 horses, that extra one makes all the difference;)
 

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The difference between you, me, that transmission guy you speak of and Alfa specialists is vast, which is where the strangeness comes in.

Certainly we are capable of doing the work, as likely is the person whose rates you're inquiring about.

I'd likely do it for around a 12 pack if it were someone I knew locally who was an old freind, but likely wouldn't touch one sent to me. It doesn't mean my work isn't worth any more than that, just that I'm easy to deal with under the right circumstances. (however, I'm inherantly lazy, so wouldn't build one for anyone anyway :) )

Depending on how he conducts his business, and the volume he goes through, he may feel the price is fair to him.

It's when you get to the specialist angle that rates change, as most of them prolly don't have a great volume of business in other makes to keep the overhead low, so there may be a bit of proportionate labor rate increase, as it is a business, and businesses cost money to run. (when you may only do 10-15 transmissions a year, it just doesn't bring the same revinue as doing 100 a year)

On the flip side, when someone pays the higher rate of the specialist, one expects a higher quality of work when compared to a general shop. (obviously not always the case, and certainly there is an upper limit to how much quality can actually be received, but it's what one would expect)

Your inital question was 'does this sound to good to be true', and based on my experience, that labor rate seemed more than a bit on the lowball side, that's all.

It really doesn't mean it's wrong, just lower than anything else I've seen or heard of (for any transmission actually) in decades. :shrug:
 
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