Hi everyone! Has anyone here had a dampner plate replaced or any mechanics who have done this work have an estimate of what it should cost? Or at least a likely range of costs? Mine has been replaced and I'm just curious as to going rates as mine was much higher than expected. The boat was a 1971 38 Commander with 2006 Marine Power 454's and Velvet drive trans. thanks for any advice. 

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figure R&R of transmission and bell housing + install 1 to 2 boat bucks.  DIY $150 and 4 to 8 hours.  All guesses.  And your number is?

Hi Tim....dont fall off your chair. $7500. Thanks for the reply. 

Timothy "Tim" Miller said:

figure R&R of transmission and bell housing + install 1 to 2 boat bucks.  DIY $150 and 4 to 8 hours.  All guesses.  And your number is?

That's half a used 38! geez, I thought we were getting toasted with minimum alternatives.  Come down to our harbor, it will save you a ton on dockage, maintenance AND you will be in the water year around.  Buy flights from Midway to STL and your 30 minutes to the Harbor and did I mention covered slip and you will be an owner, not a renter!

$7,500!?!?!?! Are they crazy!!!!

Brian Dietmeyer said:

Hi Tim....dont fall off your chair. $7500. Thanks for the reply. 

Timothy "Tim" Miller said:

figure R&R of transmission and bell housing + install 1 to 2 boat bucks.  DIY $150 and 4 to 8 hours.  All guesses.  And your number is?

Yeah, $7500 is nuts. I had one of my trans completely rebuilt a couple years ago and that was $3500. Add the $250 each way for the boom truck, and it would cost me $7500 to rebuild two transmissions. $7500 just for a new dampener is insane.

Agree. I am trying to build a case here. Ultimately I need a written bid from a mechanic. Would be happy to pay for it!

I would say Tim is pretty spot on on his time estimate. Last time I r&r’d my transmission it took me an hour to remove and 3 to install by myself. Granted I didn’t remove the bell housing but it’s not much past the point I was at, $7500 is ridiculous. 

I recently had to pull my transmission to replace the front seal and while doing so I replaced the damper plate.  The damper cost about $145.00  I built a wood support system out of 4x4’s and 2x8’s. Purchased a chain ball hoist $75.00.  Most  mechanics bill $110 an hour here in Florida .  I had at least 8 hours on the job. I did it while still in the water. I figure a reasonable cost with hauling fees and a few days in the yard should be just under $1800

thanks guys, this is really helpful!!!

Looking at 1800runsnew, rebuilt velvet drive from $1874 to $3970 complete, with a 1 year warranty. Time for a new mechanic. The most expensive dampner for a 454 I could find was $340. Even with a 40% markup, thats $7000 in labor. How does he justify that?

thanks, actually time to take the old mechanic to small claims, already have a new one! :)



Nat Brady said:

Looking at 1800runsnew, rebuilt velvet drive from $1874 to $3970 complete, with a 1 year warranty. Time for a new mechanic. The most expensive dampner for a 454 I could find was $340. Even with a 40% markup, thats $7000 in labor. How does he justify that?

Brian - this is actually an important lesson for others here. Our relationship with these old girls is unique, so traditional mechanics simply don’t work.

Out here in Annapolis, I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a mechanic or someone able to recommend one. Yet when I first bought the boat, and I called around just to arrange a time-up of my new motors, I got comments ranging from “Ford never made boat engines” to “that’s carbureted, you should just repower.” Even the mechanic the previous owner used and highly recommended ended-up being a total screw-up once I discovered more about what he did and how he did it (anyone remember one of my first pics with silicone jammed into the crab cap port?)

Just because someone might be a 350 Mag whisperer and be able to use a computer to diagnose doesn’t mean they know the first thing about why a 427 trans rattles or “walks” or any of the oddities of the Q motors. It’s almost harder with your newer motors because you won’t get that first wave of guys passing because of their age. Frankly, the first question I’d ask is do you really need new dampener plates and why? I’ve neet heard of someone needing to replace both at the same time.

I hope the new guy you found ends-up working out, and sorry you have to go through all this nonsense with small claims. But unfortunately, if we’re going to own one of these classics, if ya want it done right, you either have to learn to do it yourself, or make damn sure the guy you are using knows what he’s doing.

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