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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First I would not go the small claims route. It has no teeth. Get a lawyer and  take him to big boy court, I had a similar situation many years ago and I sued for fraud and the penalty in Mass. is triple damages and the offending shop had to pay my lawyers fees as well. I'm not a guy who ever wants to sue for anything but my expected repair of $3900.00 ended up being $7900.00. My lawyer got a phone call the day before the court date offering to refund the $3000.00 and pay my lawyer his $600.00 so we settled it. I wasn't trying to make money but the threat of triple damages made them think twice about taking it to court when they knew I was right.

I know the Q motors can be quite different and I hear about side oilers and other things I don't see on a regular basis but a 454 is a 454. Pull the shaft back, jack and block the bottom of the engine, support the tranny and pull it back from the engine. After that it's removing the bell housing and taking the damper plate off the flywheel. The most time consuming thing for me was always disconnecting the exhaust and fresh water cooling to get at the back of the engine. All in I was 8 hrs the first time I did it and 6 the second time. Run as fast as you can away from mechanics like that, he sounds like a guy who only wants to work 2 days a month.

I have to do my own mechanical work (thanks college tuitions) but with the help and guidance of so many members here anything I have had to troubleshoot or R&R has always come out super. My damper plate cost me 125.00 at Atlantis Marine Gear in Toppsfield ma.  New not rebuilt

yup!



Matt Cowles said:

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.

Hi Kevin, interesting the my lawyer just suggested fraud as the charges are higher as you point out. I actually have multiple claims against this guy. thanks for the reply 

Kevin McKinnon said:

First I would not go the small claims route. It has no teeth. Get a lawyer and  take him to big boy court, I had a similar situation many years ago and I sued for fraud and the penalty in Mass. is triple damages and the offending shop had to pay my lawyers fees as well. I'm not a guy who ever wants to sue for anything but my expected repair of $3900.00 ended up being $7900.00. My lawyer got a phone call the day before the court date offering to refund the $3000.00 and pay my lawyer his $600.00 so we settled it. I wasn't trying to make money but the threat of triple damages made them think twice about taking it to court when they knew I was right.

I know the Q motors can be quite different and I hear about side oilers and other things I don't see on a regular basis but a 454 is a 454. Pull the shaft back, jack and block the bottom of the engine, support the tranny and pull it back from the engine. After that it's removing the bell housing and taking the damper plate off the flywheel. The most time consuming thing for me was always disconnecting the exhaust and fresh water cooling to get at the back of the engine. All in I was 8 hrs the first time I did it and 6 the second time. Run as fast as you can away from mechanics like that, he sounds like a guy who only wants to work 2 days a month.

I have to do my own mechanical work (thanks college tuitions) but with the help and guidance of so many members here anything I have had to troubleshoot or R&R has always come out super. My damper plate cost me 125.00 at Atlantis Marine Gear in Toppsfield ma.  New not rebuilt

Ok I don't normally do this.... But I'm going to make an exception in this case. ( And a case it is)

Attn: CHAR: Don't archive this without a disclaimer of the year. ( Prices go up)

I just wrote him a quote. I just did one of these jobs in Texas on a 410. Same trans and engine package. So my numbers are accurate. 

Re: Dampener Plate replacement

Labor:

  1. Disconnect Battery Systems
  2. Disconnect Shaft Coupler and slide shaft.
  3. Disconnect Starter and remove
  4. Remove 4 lag bolts (Rear mounts only)

2.0 hrs

  1. Set up Mecca Hoist and lift rear of engine to clear shaft.
  2. Block Engine
  3. Unbolt and remove dust cover, Bellhousing.
  4. Remove Trans/Bellhousing unit with hoist.

2.5 hrs

  1. Remove and replace Damper plate.

0.25 hrs

  1. Reverse Process of Steps 8 down to 3.

4.0 hrs

  1. Align Engine to .003” with shaft.

2.5 hrs

  1. Reconnect Battery and start engine.
  2. Sea Trial to be sure no vibration exists.

1.0 hrs

Total Labor: 12.25 hrs $1225.00

Travel: $600.00

Tax $109.69


Total Quote: $1934.69

And if you can do it faster? I'm hiring!

Lee

I laughed 4 times at this post Matt.... But easy now.... I do have the computer stuff now ya know?? ... =) 

Matt Cowles said:

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.

I have to concur with Lee on the time for a repair like this. A number of years ago I did a similar repair on an identical boat, a 1971 (Gen II) 38 Commander belonging to a friend of mine. He had really low oil pressure in his port 427, so I pulled the engine so that I could drop the oil pan and install a new pump. Just like Lee said, this involved setting up the original Mecca hoist :-) and lifting the engine so I had access to the bottom of the engine. I started early on a Saturday morning around 8 o'clock and was done & running in time for the cocktail hour, around 5 PM. Yes, I had some help, primarily a couple of friends that were essentially watching me, handing me wrenches, and helping with some manual lifting. So --- let's say 2 guys for a little over 8.5 hours for a total of 17 hours. Although I did not change the dampener plate, I'm sure it would not have taken as much time as the oil pump replacement, even if you would have to lift the engine in a Gen II 38 foot Commander. I'm pretty expensive ($125/hr) and let's even charge that for my helper. IMHO, this would come to a shade over $2,000 for labor and I would have a hard time looking at my face in the mirror while shaving :-)  $7500 for this job is absolutely one of the biggest ripoffs I seen in a long time.

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