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Need sanity check on labor estimate

905 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  4nic8
Yesterday I received an estimate from the local dealer to install Chubby 508 bars on my 02 Road King. Also, the estimate included all labor to install braided lines, new chrome switch gear and running the wires inside the bars. The estimate was for labor only since I purchased the parts from an internet dealer for 20% off, plus no sales tax (I originally planned to try it myself, then chickened out). I explained this to the service writer and they had no problem (actually kind of surprised me).

There seem to be several Harley mechanics on this site, and I'm curious as to what you might quote as a labor estimate (a $ range would be fine if easier). Alternatively, number of hours??

Today I called a local non-dealer shop which specializes in Harleys (out of the yellow pages). Their quote was about 1/3 of the dealer.

The dealer seems to do good work and I expected them to be higher, but 3 times? On the other hand, i have learned the hard way that poor service is often worth less than zero. I have the impress from previous comments herein that this is a relativlely straight forward job (to a qualified mechanic).

I've left the actual $ amounts off so as not to bias anyone.

Appreciate any input, greg
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I'm not a mechanic by trade but I've done this on a Fat Boy. The softails are actually a little more work than a road king because the softail wire connectors are hidden under the tank...which has to come off.

The dealer may be OK with you buying the parts elsewhere, but trust me...you are gonna get charged more labor than a guy who bought it all from them.

I could tell you how long it took me but that really doesn't matter....I took my time on a rainy saturday and wasn't "on the clock". the point is that it is not something that takes a HD certified wrench. There isn't a lot of finesse or any special tools involved (unless you consider a T-27 torx special, which Craftsman seems too since they leave it out of their sets and force me to drive to pep boys in the middle of this job....but I digress...).

I say that if you have a lower quote, take it and run. The dealer is probably gouging a little and the indipendant probably is underestimating how much hassle the cables wil be. just be sure they understand everything you want them to install.

You didn't say, but if the controls and such are HD parts then I'd be even less concerned about who does it....less chance of fit problems with HD parts.

I'd guess it is less than 6 hours, but more than 4 for a guy who has done a few. The clutch cable is a chunk of time all by itself, same with the brake line. So $250 to $350 seems fair.

Would I pay it ?....hell no, but that's just me. The higher the labor rate, the more I take it as a challenge to do it my self. I'm not cheap...just stubborn I guess. Plus....I always see these projects as opportunities to justify buying more good tools. When I did my own 1000 mile service I figured it paid for the two new nice torque wrenches I bought. come to think of it I probably don't even save money but my workshop looks like the tool department at Sears.
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At $650 he is trying to charge $450 to do the work (which is kinda high) and $200 for the missed opportunity to gouge you on the parts. Walk away.

On the other hand, be sure the other guy knows what he is getting into...you don't want him getting 3.5 hours into it realizing he's over the time that he quoted and taking his frustration out on your switch housings.

Hippo....can't I ever be right about anything?;)
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