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are all machine shops so slooooow?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by obsolete zach, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. yeah, mine is back at the shop right now for another cleaning because loose carbon left in the oil galleys damaged my rod/main bearings. luckily i found it on assembly and it was not in the car yet.
    maybe if i had'nt rushed them it would have been cleaned better;)
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259


    I had some work done a while back, I was in a hurry and I was paying plenty for it. I asked the guy when it would be done and he told me a date. I confirmed the date with him and he told me "no problem", so I told him for every day it was late after the promised date would he refund me $100.00? He didnt like that arrangement much but I did get it when promised. Its Ok when their playing with your time and cash but not so much when its theirs!
  3. 1957Custom
    Joined: Jul 26, 2009
    Posts: 231

    from Tulsa Ok

    The shop I use is fast, dependable, & good. They are good enough to do most top fuel teams' clutches, some top fuel block work, & even did my lowly 1973 Harley heads. Sometimes you really have to look long & hard
  4. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,404


    problem with a good reliable honest shop is word of mouth keeps them very busy , and everyone wants to keep enough work ahead so there isnt slow time so most are over worked ,must have patience
  5. gooseta2
    Joined: Jul 31, 2005
    Posts: 220


    Yes the have 2 speeds Slow and Slower...But if it is a quality machine shop they are really slow because of their quality work....
  6. Ford-Man
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 288


    I took my heads to a local shop to get worked over and cleaned. He said it would take 4 to 5 weeks...tops. I paid his price in full up front and even offered to order in the valves I want cause I work at Advance Auto...he said everything except the springs are in stock. Ok.

    4 weeks later I stop in just to see how things are going. I did not expect them to be done, but on the off chance they were I would be there. No dice. No biggie. The following week...same thing. Ok, I understand he is busy. The following week...same thing. Hmm...ok, well before I get all pissy..I will give it another week. We are at 7 weeks now when I walk in and he says they are next up. NEXT UP?!? What the hell? I told him I will be in next week for my completed work, or my heads and my cash. Week 8, no completed heads. I called another local machine shop that had them sitting on the shelf for $200 less bagged, oiled, ready to install and paint so I went there.

    Here was the story. The first place I went to went right to work on my heads. With SBF heads, the hot ticket is getting the press in studs removed for threaded studs, oversized valves, X-angle valve on. Well, he pulled 15 of my studs no problem, busted the boss on #16. Rather than calling me, he sent them to another machine shop to have the boss welded back on. This, of course, all came to light after I had my cash back in my hand. He got pissed when I called him a liar. Later I started to hear stories about how he botched other jobs.

    It's sad, but so many of the machine shops around here are so slow they have parts laying around waiting to get used. The shop I ended up using has 3 or 4 sets of heads identical to mine sitting on a shelf bagged, oiled, tagged...waiting to get purchased. Same with cranks, blocks...the whole 9. None for SBC...cause everyone around here is bowtie crazy, but SBF, BBF, Mopar, could have blown me over with a feather when I saw his 455 Olds parts!

    For those that are wondering...the heads perform beautifully! Couldnt have asked for a better product.
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,069


    I'd add that most machine shops have their regular customers that quite often get pushed ahead of the walk in trade. I don't get a lot of machine work done but usually it is done when the shop says it is done and the work is done right. I'm lucky in that I have two good shops to choose from and know the people who run both of them fairly well.
  8. Beebeebobby
    Joined: Sep 5, 2010
    Posts: 224

    from Webb City

    In shoe repair customer doesn't pick up left having saved a sole and no pay....
    In machine work? They are only slow when you need it. Lol.
  9. csimonds
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 546


    We have a small machine shop here in Eastern CT that has a GREAT turn-around time! Usually about 3 or 4 days. Does it all in house and he does great work!
  10. Damn some of you guys are being pretty hard on us machine shop owners !!! I have a great Idea. Invest 400--500 thousand of your hard earned American Dollars in one of these places and just have at it !!! And by the way you will have to have a cat running the machines that won't screw stuff up !! And you will also need a cat that can handle THE PUBLIC !!! >>>>.
  11. I am very happy with the shop we use and the last job a few months ago was 2 weeks drop off till done, including decking, boring, sleeving 2 holes, valve job, grinding the crank and balancing! Reasonable price, great service on top of it! The last shop, well I grew up with the fella and he does great work but 3 months for a 350 Chevy crank? No thanks, again, service is job #1 in my books!
  12. igby
    Joined: Aug 6, 2005
    Posts: 109


    YOU WENT TO NAPA ! so did i the machinist was behind the counter longer than in the machine shop. every time i went there.

    took me two years to get my engine back. and then i demanded it back.
    picked it up monday. it's a 241 with 270 heads and heavy. now i have to finish it.

    NAPA NEVER AGAIN for engine work!
  13. not a lot of Napa's have machine shop anymore , which one is it? the last two engines i had done were from Napa in Northfield. he is slow ( took over three months for the last 283 block and heads) because he is very busy. there must be some reason for that , like he is very good and reasonably priced. i planned ahead and took it to him long before i needed it. i guess you can say i'm a satisfied customer and will still use him again
  14. igby
    Joined: Aug 6, 2005
    Posts: 109


    i have another 241 to have built but have not found another shop.
    also a 327 to have done

    looking but not finding any i'm happy with yet . this is in Ill.
  15. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,559


    To the owners that posted, sorry if it hurts, but the main theme here is DELIVER AS PROMISED!
    We know quality takes time. We know it's a tough business or we would have opened a shop down the street. We also know quality costs. The issue is be honest with us on when the job will be completed.

    BTW, I have never had a job done at a shop and not been able to pay and pick up within 24 hours of the phone call. Sorry if you have customers that do.
  16. Beebeebobby
    Joined: Sep 5, 2010
    Posts: 224

    from Webb City

    To be are right. Do you know what kinds of machines are used in Shoe Repair? I hired a few "CATS" who destroyed shoes for my customers. Have you ever tried to explain to a lady who has a 38 fall out of her purse when she picks up her shoes why the guy who works for you scuffed her brand new Jimmy Amazing to say the least!!! And my equipment was no where near what you paid for it!! So, thanks to all the brothers who do good work in the machine trade. I hope no one comes across a lady with scuffed shoes and a loaded 38!!!:eek:
  17. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,531

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    You obviously got further in the process than I did, I went to three different shops. One was by appointment only and wanted to interview you to see if your project was worth their time, I told that clown that someone was stealing his tricycle, hurry go stop them. The other said they would give me an estimate 4 weeks later and the jag bag had no estimate, he told me to order a crate engine, his work was too expensive why bother giving me a price, he was busy rebuilding kamikazee rice burner engines, screw him, most likely lost his non metric tools anyway. The 3rd shop says sure bring it in, calls me with bad news, oh your block is cracked and crank is bent come see, 2 days later I get there and the guy says he scrapped it cause it was junk, take my word for it, then he hands me a bill for 200 bucks for magna fluxing, he must have read my mind cause half his staff was out there to deal with me before I even responded, I don't know why a guy with 30 foot of glass on his store would play like that. Still looking for a human from our galaxy that does what they say and answers questions when asked, a guy with 2 ounces of ambition and an ounce of care sure could make a comfy living at this gig, bathing optional.
    Where is engine Pro 5 X's shop, to be honest with you, this post he has here is the most feed back I have ever gotten from a machine shop, If you are close by I would give you guys a try. Plus you're a hamber.
    By the way, I never busted any of this wanksters glass, he did however have board up on it a lot. A good rule of thumb may be that if a guy has board up on his glass every 2 weeks, it's not cause he is pissing off the local children.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  18. Jalopy Jim
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    Jalopy Jim

    Try Northern Cyl head in Andover Mn. Talk to Tom. They do modern and vintage engines.
  19. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,898


    What's reasonable? You put 2 guys on the same machine: one makes good in tolerance parts and the other makes scrap, but does it really fast. you'd think the second guy gets fired but what really happenes is the owner sell the parts that are'nt scrap and makes the first guy fix the scrap. The point is not everyone can do this stuff and if you do it well, you learn not to rush because no matter how fast you do it the first time, it takes twice as long to do it over.
  20. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    I worked in a large high performance shop, where ever guy there did his job day in and day out, unless you transfered to another machine. Yes we could build an engine top to bottom in a day, your talking everyone doing there own job. Now you take a small shop where maybe one or two guys work and there goes your time, set up and tear down on all the different jobs take time. I won't ever take some of the time frames meationed, but what do you do if there just isn't alot of shops around? Word of mouth can go along way and look around the shop, if it's dirty, junk laying around, and the guy's a smart ass go somewhere else.
  21. thank for the reference jim, i appreciate it.
    i'm not trying to come down on machine shop owners.
    just looking for honest time frames.
    thanks everyone for the feedback, i thought maybe i was just a chump, but this seems to be a common problem.
  22. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    are all machine shops so slooooow?

    Usually just the good ones...
  23. alex211
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 39

    from NW PA

    I have a good machine shop about .5 mile from my house, everyone I have talked to says he does good work.

    So I took a steering knuckle over there for him to machine, drill, and tap for a steering arm. He got it done in a week and charged me $90 for 3 hours labor, I was happy and he did a good job. I must be lucky, and only two guys work there.

  24. I don't know the details of a machine shop, but you obviously haven't a clue about how a custom chrome shop works. Our turnaround time is normally anywhere from 4-6 weeks; sometimes more, sometimes less. It has nothing to do with being lazy, as our tanks almost always have something filling them up as long as they are within spec. It is a cycle with MANY steps, and only so much can run through at a time. Some easier parts can be done in as little as one day, other parts can take 2-3 weeks of working on them everyday, especially if plating problems occur, which happens often, as our dozen or so tanks all require maintenance and can all be made unuseable with one unknown contaminate sneaking in from anywhere. All parts require a skilled hand on a one on one basis, whether it is a bolt or a bumper.

    This a difficult and frustrating profession, but rewarding to me to make junk into show pieces. If everything goes right (mostly keeping the plating working right, and having a skillled polisher) it is profitable, but not lucrative unless cheating of customers and/or taxes is going on.

    There are many hacks, and I have fixed their screwups many times, but to paint all as self-centered jerks is an uninformed and arrogant assumption. I have very few unhappy customers and usually do more than I should have to to keep the dificult ones happy.

    Sorry to hijack the post, but I felt the need to give my side of the story as a custom chrome plater.
  25. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,069

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    ChromePlaterJosh, you need to re-read my obviously missed the fact that it was strictly sarcastic (I thought everyone would have picked up on that). My "self centered jerks" comment was actually directed at the oh so demanding customers (again there is no doubt), not you the shop owners. Have a nice day.
  26. oneredryderone
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 131


    figger this way, when he quoted your engine job he was well aware of the time it took to do your engine, and the profit he was gonna put in his pocket.

    if a job came into the shop the day 'after' your engine came in, that would put $$$$ in his pocket 'before' the end of his business day, your engine was pushed back another day.

    i care less what kind of $$$$ he has invested in his equipment, who his regular customers are, if i am told the work will be done in 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months, unless a tornado hits his shop, i expect my work done right and on-time!

    i resent being held captive by an shopowner, machine, body or mechanic who expects his customers to wait until the planets to align! if it happens once i will look for another shop where i can be treated like the paying customer i am!

    would you continue to patronize a restaurant that treated their customers in similar fashion? food and hospitality businesses live and die on the way they treat their customers. why not expect the same consideration of the machine, body and mechanics we patronize?

  27. Comparing A Machine Shop to a restaurant is insane. Simpley put you can't go into a restaurant and stop the cook from working any time you want and the same goes with the dishwasher, the waitress, the waitor and so on. Simple part is you can walk right in my shop and stop me from working at any time. And you can call me on the phone and take up 30 minutes of my time whenever you want. So with all of this please tell me how to keep things on schedule. I refer to my shop as the Engine Emergency Room and The Doctor Is IN !!!! >>>>.
  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,119


    I have never had a problem with waiting a bit for work that I can trust will be done properly. I do appreciate being given a time estimate, and it being held to, and informed if there is a reason if it will not be.
  29. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim

    Not all of them but most are ! I guess they drag their feet so when they hand you the bill you feel like you got your moneys worth .

    I have 3 around me . The first one told me 2 weeks for doing a block and crank for me . Well 6 weeks later still not done . I told him I would be down tomorrow and pick up my parts and go else where . Well that night he called and told me it was done .
    Second guy does good work , turn around 2 weeks as he told me but 3 times as much as anyone else !
    Third guy does good work , good price and usually about a week or so depending on if he has a drag race engine to build for someone .

    Needless to say I deal with the 3rd guy and have been very happy with him so far .

    You just have to fund the right people to do your work . Now give them some time because you are not the only customer he has but nicely , just ask about how long to get the work done . Then if you don't hear from them by that time stop by and talk with them . Talking in person is way better than bitching on the phone !

    Retro Jim
  30. EnglishBob
    Joined: Jan 19, 2008
    Posts: 1,029


    And you are the 'perfect customer' they all want to deal with.With b/s comments like that is it any wonder you can't find a decent shop?
    Most machine shops are busy enough with earthlings who know exactly what they want and will pay for the same so don't need crap like that.

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