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Hot Rods chassis guys what do you think?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fortress, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. Fortress
    Joined: Sep 8, 2009
    Posts: 240

    Fortress
    Member

    I bought a 34 ford coupe that had an original chassis. The chassis had a poorly installed mustang II front end and and parallel leafs out back that were also poorly installed. I wanted to build this car as a driver and I didn't feel the chassis was safe. I didn't feel 100% confident I could fix the chassis and get everything to a standard I would be happy with, as well as being short of time to work on the car. I thought I'd hire a shop to swap the front end to a drop axle and put the rear to a transverse leaf with ladder bars. The frame didn't seem too bad and the numbers matched the tittle so I thought it would be worth saving. I made all of this clear to the shop, I also asked them if it would be better to just buy a new P&J frame. Looking back he didn't give me a real clear answer on that. I just figured even if fixing the frame cost a bit more it would be worth it because of the vin stamp. The shop was unable to give me any kind of estimate on time to complete, should have been a red flag, but I understand it is difficult to judge. I'd read good things about the shop and they were confident they could handle the job. I bought all Pete and Jakes components through the shop. I wanted them to install the components, box the frame and paint it. Seeing very slow progress after 70 billed hours on the chassis at $70/hr, I told them to tack things together and be done. After 15 more hours that was completed. So I have 85 hours or $5,950 labor into this frame and it's nowhere near complete. I've never hired a shop to do work before and I wonder if this could possibly be in the range of acceptable? Not only to me is the amount of time not acceptable, but the rear crossmember is unusable as is. I don't want to be unfair to the shop and I have tried to be completely honest in my description of the situation. I think the owner of the shop should have been more upfront with me how much more expensive fixing the frame would be compared to buying a new. He knows how much a new frame is, because he sells them. If you know the name of the shop please don't name them, as I want to give them a chance to make things right.

    Here is what we started with.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is the progress at 70 hours when I told them to tack it together to make it roll so I could get it back home and finish it myself. I could see that things were going to get way too expensive to have them finish the job.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is what was delivered....$5950 in shop labor later.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    They flattened and straightened the original rear crossmember and tacked in a chassis engineering replacement X.
    [​IMG]
    A little hard to see but they welded in a 6-7" patch here on both sides.
    [​IMG]
    Front crossmember tacked in....those are the old boxing plates.
     
  2. bustedwrench
    Joined: Dec 22, 2009
    Posts: 131

    bustedwrench
    Member

    I'll admit I'm not an expert,but in my opinion, if you bought parts thru them, and have paid damn near 6000 dollars in labor, you should have a complete rolling chassis, and at least a hand-job from the shop-owner's wife!
     
    3hawgs likes this.
  3. I sure don't see the money. I would probably not been as nice as you were.
     
  4. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,558

    mike bowling
    Member

    Not nice to dis on the guy's wife! On point, I'm sure not seeing over 2 weeks work or 6 grand worth of anything.It looks like 90% of it is aftermarket ( not fabricated) and it's all just tacked together (show and tell).Lots of welding to be finished for sure.If you do get it out of there and finish it yourself, make sure you check everything twice before finish welding ( maybe three times).Bad situation- Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

  5. If you want my honest opinion I think that you should go the walgreens and buy a pregnancy test. Nice to know you go both ways though just incase all the women on the planet die.

    here is a deal and I tell people in your situation this all the time, any shop of a decent reputation can ball park you before they ever start, they know what it takes to get a job done. Any decent chassis man will bill you flat rate on a restoration or a bill not by the hour. No one ever reads what I say on these threads so I am probably whistling in the wind but you are paying way too much especially given that you have purchased your parts from the shop and they have marked them up a minimum of 30%.
     
  6. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    Can we get more picks of how messed up that rear cross member is?

    Not to hurt your feelings more but the frame was 6k what were the parts on top of that?

    What a bunch of clowns!
     
  7. My question is,,, What kind of mess did you give them to start with? How much work did they need to do before they could start going back together? It can take more time than you think un screwing a welded up mess and saving what is needed.
    Another question is,,,, Why isn't it on some kind of frame table or jig? That would have me overly conserned.
    Sadly we see and hear this kind of story way to often. Best solution is get things in writing and don't pay up front, hold them to the contract. Any real shop worth it's Salt will do that. It's to late for you.
    The Wizzard
     
  8. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 2,003

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    85 hours, over two weeks of labor? At the very least I would ask for an itemized time sheet! You are talking over the counter parts, that require a minimum of fabrication. I just could not justify that bill. A complete rolling '34 chassis from TCI is about 10K.,and it is jig welded, so you know it's straight. Any professional chassis builder would never build a chassis like you are posting. We did a complete '32 rolling chassis, front crossmember, tube X members with trans and master cylinder mount with pedals. Dropped axle with hairpins and shock mounts. Rear crossmember with coil overs and four bar setup with a 9" Ford rear in 4 days!
     
  9. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    If nothing gets resolved send a letter of complaint to the Minnesota street rod association... It's one of their advertisers , you got burned cause others rolled over and said well I guess so.... And that's as far as it goes ...

    I got bent over hard by "Adams sandblasting " I used them cause they were a MSRA member... I should of screamed bloody murder but I was embarrassed , I whish I would of acted differently
     
  10. I hate to say it but man..I believe you got hosed! HRP
     
  11. I too feel you didnt get what you paid for BUT removing an independant front end (or removing any extra suspension/welded on stuff) sure takes a LOT more hours than just installing it. 2 weeks worth? No, but it does take up hours to not just get in there and "go to town".
     
    metal man likes this.
  12. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,780

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

    Sometimes it an take a lot more time than you think to get rid of some else's hack job and return the frame to normal before you even get to start on the mods. I would think you could have gotten a stock frame in good condition for $500-800 and simply cut out the frame number and transplant it. I would guess 20 hrs to install the new prefab parts on a bare frame. They should have warned you on the amount of work to get the frame back to stock before the mods.
    You could have went to speedway for your labor cost and once again transplanted frame number.
    http://www.speedwaymotors.com/1934-Ford-Extended-Frame-Assembly,22183.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  13. Fortress
    Joined: Sep 8, 2009
    Posts: 240

    Fortress
    Member

    True, but then he should have recommended buying a frame from him for $3700 when I asked about it. He though he could take advantage of me and that I would just keep paying. Tomorrow I will post the breakdown they gave me of hours and what I was charged for parts.
     
  14. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,431

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Did they start with a bare roller chassis, or did you drive in a complete car that needed to be stripped of body, drivetrain, tank, lines, etc?
    That's the only way I could see close to 70 hours at the point you indicated.

    For a fully equipped shop (lift, plama, etc.), I honestly don't see more than 2 days labor (maybe 20 hours) for what you brought home. I think they billed you about 4x what a WRITTEN estimate would have read for the amount of work we're looking at. 20 hours x $70=$1400.

    I see;
    Day 1) If they started with a roller chassis w/o drivetrain, they could have had it on 4 jackstands and had the front crossmember and rear leaf hangers hot wrenched off and the old front and rear suspensions rolled out from under the frame and the slag ground/cleaned up before lunch. Afternoon would be spent tacking in temp. crossmembers, doing frame cleanup, tacking in place the replacement X member and ladder bar mount.

    Day 2) Roll the rearend under the car, bolt in the ladder bars and springs, then tack the ladder bar brackets to the housing. That leaves about 6 hours to assemble the front suspension components, weld in the 4 bar frame brackets and tack in the front crossmember (the front crossmember will need to come out, then be welded to a full boxing plate once it is welded in along with replacing the missing section of bottom rail where the crossmember is).

    85 hours means 1 guy spent two full weeks of M-F/8 hours a day. I don't see it unless the tech is 90 years old.

    I think they knew they were working with a blank check here and took full advantage of the situation. Sadly, it's a hose job on you and the chassis.
    I would have had them load the P@J parts I paid for in my truck and let them have the chassis/labor on a mechanics lien before I would have paid them $6000.
     
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  15. Fortress
    Joined: Sep 8, 2009
    Posts: 240

    Fortress
    Member

    The body was on the frame, but no motor and trans. I would have pulled the body, but they quoted me 4 hours for that. The only estimate of time they gave me. The first day they had the car they pulled the body and cut off the mustang stuff....that was 7 hours and I have not included that in the hours I quoted in this thread . The 85 hours are strictly work on the chassis.
     
  16. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    I'm going to bring attention to these issues as I did in the other thread look at crossmember location for the rear they pushed it forward and no longer has any clearance for the pumpkin... Won't work .. Needs to be re-done image.jpg look at the frame between motor mount and front crossmember looks bent and not straightened plus on a stock car that center rivit hole should be center of crossmember image.jpg now look at how narrow they mounted the rear perches , the leaf spring looks like something out of a rancho lift kit, because it is unloaded image.jpg
     
    Fortress likes this.
  17. Although I would have given you the options and AT LEAST ballpark figures, some small shops aren't going to "recommend" buying a prefabbed frame that they make a small percentage on vs the hours of labor spent. Doesnt mean that they did that intentionally, but how new is this shop? Learning to estimate takes experience.

    Plus some guys want original, not repop stuff.

    They should have put the options out there, but you should take on some responsibility by not forcing the issue of at LEAST a ball park figure. By just signing off, you wrote them a blank check.
     
  18. I'm curious (since you arent naming names yet) how long has the shop been in business? Makes a big difference between an intentional rip off or not enough experience to know.
     
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,925

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This should have been no more than 28-30 hours of work, all the way to boxed, and welded properly.
     
    Fortress likes this.
  20. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    I believe if you hang out your shingle as a hot rod shop and take on a job like that , you are supposed to know what you are doing , not educating yourself on fortress's dime

    70.00 hr you dive in and get it done ... I have basic hand tools and a frame table , complete frame takes me about 40hrs with new rails and 20 ish to mount motor setup suspension and weld it all in... And I'm slow... But not my first rodeo

    This place is billing themselves as a hotrod shop... They got their big boy pants on now! They should be embarrassed they let that thing see the light of day... Way too many mistakes... Over their head
     
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  21. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,925

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I own two plasma cutters. My assistant and I could have all offending parts removed, and the frame ground clean, by the first coffee break.
     
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  22. Fortress
    Joined: Sep 8, 2009
    Posts: 240

    Fortress
    Member

    I know I fucked up, I can see that in hindsight, I should have pushed harder in the beginning on buying a new frame vs fixing. It was clear I didn't care about original vs repop. I honestly never in a million years thought it would take them the number of hours it did. I figured with their reputation and for the rate they charged they could knock this thing out no problem. The shop has been around at least 15 years 1/2 of their business is selling hotrod parts.
     
  23. That's just insane. Curious, you trying to get them to reimburse you by showing them this thread?
    I agree 100%. I'm just curious if its a new shop and a case of not knowing, or someone seeing him as a wallet to pay bills.

    I think everyone will agree that it was billed way too high. I'm just more curious as to WHY at this point.
     
  24. With them going that long, they "gots sum splianing to do".
     
    volvobrynk and Fortress like this.
  25. I could have too, but you and I weren't doing it ;)
     
    volvobrynk and gimpyshotrods like this.
  26. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,755

    The37Kid
    Member

    Whats with the angle iron? If they try to claim that was a frame jig nothing is going to be close to square. Did they charge drive time to Home Depot to buy it? Bob
     
    volvobrynk and prewarcars4me like this.
  27. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    Minnesota is a strange place mostly streetrods tri-5s and muscle cars ... My guess is since traditional stuff is the new bandwagon they thought they would give it a whirl... How hard could it be right?

    Obviously they had no business to try chassis work and should of known their limitations ... Especially 20 hrs in ...... Some places just need to buy 1-800 stuff and bolt together with instructions
     
  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,925

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What method of payment did you use?
     
  29. Haven't you heard? Anyone with a 110v Harbor Freight flux core welder can now open up shop in the hot rod genre.
     
    Texas Webb, volvobrynk and thirtytwo like this.
  30. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    Haha like 10 yrs ago ... Everyone went to harbor freight and started building choppers?
     
    54fierro, Larry T and prewarcars4me like this.

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