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Thursday, February 2,2012

Happy Motoring

By Teresa Aquila  

Have you ever wondered how engineers design vehicles and in their thinking, include how to repair it once all the components are installed? I know I do. I find it hard to tell a customer just how much a repair is going to cost when the part itself is somewhat inexpensive. Recently a vary loyal customer came by the shop to have me check out his heater. He stated it worked but no hot air seemed to be coming from the vents and the windshield was fogging up. Evaluating the situation, I determined that it was the heater core leaking. Usually this repair is relatively easy, I was wrong on this one. My customer has owned his 1997 Ford F250 4X4 pickup since new and seemed to have very little issues with it until now. It was a good thing I did not quote this repair off of the top of my head, because I would have lost my shorts on this one. I decided to check the repair manual. As I read it, I thought that there might be some type of typo since it stated that the labor hours were 8.5. This made me expand my research.

I could not believe my eyes when it gave the step by step removal of the entire dash just to access the heater core. It also stated that the A/C system needed to be evacuated. Adding it all up came to an estimate close to $1,000.00. For a heater core. I found this very difficult to explain to someone on a fixed income that in order for him to repair his heater was to come up with such a large amount. Knowing it was his only source of transportation he ok’ d the repair. We worked out a payment plan to help lessen the blow. Since I had not attempted this repair before, the 8.5 hours became more like 10 and only one screw left over which I was able to find where that one went. If you own this type of vehicle and are planning on attempting this repair yourself, make sure to read the instructions carefully and disarm the air bags as instructed. Plan about 2 days or more depending on your repair knowledge. Finding some of the screws was like going through a corn maze and having a hard time finding your way out. Owning a cordless 1/4 in. ratchet would be highly recommended. Or save up and pay someone else to tackle this repair. Like anything the more you become aware of what it entails, the better you will become at it. In this case or should I say this type of repair, I am not so sure if I will ever be happy to dive in. But I know that if the next one comes in it will be more like 8.5 hours of labor, now that I know where they hid all the screws.


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