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Time to tune and repair recoil on Stihl FS85 trimmer

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by roncan, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. roncan

    roncan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I recently brought my Stihl FS85R trimmer to a Stihl dealer to be diagnosed as it would not start. The clutch is starting to wear but is still a great machine with 110 psi compression. I knew it needed a new pawl (41331957201) and spring (00009980612) in the recoil and had left 2 of the 3 screws fastening the recoil loose (the third had vibrated out) to facilitate installation of the new parts.

    I was told I had to pay a $20 deposit upfront and that that money would be applied to any repairs if I chose to have the company fix the trimmer. If I did not want them to go ahead with the repairs, then they would keep the $20 for their work in diagnosing the problem. Well, I did not get a phone call telling me what was wrong with the trimmer and the expected option of wanting it repaired or not... Instead they phoned me and told me it was fixed and that I owed them almost $40 more!

    I was surprised when I saw the bill, as three quarters of an hour was spent to install a new pawl and spring and to tune the carburetor!! I would have expected the installation of the pawl and spring in the recoil to not take any more than 5 minutes (remove the 2 loose screws, install the pawl and spring, get a new screw, screw in the 3 screws). Similarly, the tuning of the carburetor I think should not have taken any more than 15 minutes.

    What I would like to know is, what is a reasonable time to expect to have this work done? I am not an expert in this area of service. Perhaps my expected times of repair are not at all accurate.

    I can understand a repair shop wanting to charge a minimum for looking at the trimmer. However, If that is what they are expecting to do, then I think that is something that should be explained clearly upfront and secondly, it should be described as such on the bill.

    Is 45 minutes really necessary to install the pawl, spring and tune the carburetor? Or does it really only take a fraction of that time and I was subject to a minimum shop charge or was I just treated unfairly?

    Thanks for all feedback.
  2. dutch1

    dutch1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Jayhawk
    Posts: 2,231

    It's been 7 years since I worked in a shop envoirnment but our standard fixed labor charge for a recoil repair was $20 if off the equipment and $28 on. Of course parts are extra. At the time our labor charge was $56/hr.

    Unless they ran into some extenuating problems, what you described should be about about a 15-20 minute(max) job. You didn't state the breakdown on parts/labor and without knowing what the cost of parts were it's a difficult call. Most shops have a labor minimum regardless of how little time is involved. I would say that a fair price would have been 1/2 hour labor plus parts. $60 seems a little excessive.

    They failed to make the phone call with an estimate. You should at least make them aware of that fact then negotiate with them. I have been in that boat a couple of times when I failed to look at the work order thoroughly and note that an extimate call was necessary. I those cases we worked things out to the satisfaction of the customer.

    In many cases, particularly with lawn care companies, we suggested to them to carry a spare recoil assembly as the cost is sometimes less than a repair. They can make the changeout in the field and be back to work without a wait.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,192

    You have got to learn to do this stuff yourself on these hand held. For example I had a Shindawa 2510 that had the clutches wore out and needed the valves adjusted. It probably took me an hour and parts cost $34. I would guess that a shop would have been close to $110 dollars. They would have replaced plug, and filters as well as the clutches and the adjustment. Now this unit was 5 months old so if I had to have that done every 6 months that would be very expensive.
  4. BigFish

    BigFish LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,248

    Quit cryin'!!!! Ya had it apart! How hard is it to pop a E clip and replace the pawl????? You apparently didn't want to ( or couldn't ) fix it yourself, so ya gotta pay to play.
    And what the heck is " tuning the carb"?????
  5. roncan

    roncan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the excellent reply dutch1.
    That is the exact information I was seeking and is pretty much what I figured.

    I was charged for three quarters of an hour labor or $45 ($1/minute), pawl $2.46, spring $4.07, taxes $6.19.

    I agree 100%. Thanks once again dutch1. :)

    I know exactly what you mean. Normally, I do all repairs I can to save on labor costs. I just rebuilt a carb and installed a pawl, spring on a similar trimmer. With this particular trimmer, my boss had told me he couldn't get it started and I knew he was fairly mechanically inclined and assumed something was seriously wrong with it. We thought knowing what was wrong with it was worth the $20 estimate. Obviously, in retrospect, if I had known that only the carb had to be adjusted, I could have done it on my own.
  6. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 965

    You should use the fact that they did not call you as leverage to get the price down.

    However, a majority of mechanics are expensive and have a minimum labor that they will charge. I do not think 60 dollars is excessive and that is probably the figure I would have in my head if I dropped it off.
  7. Ruben Rocha

    Ruben Rocha LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 577

    It amazes me that people think that everything is to expensive when they have to pay someone. But when they charge someone it is the opposite story.
    If you were to drive to a job and cut a lawn one time for 30 to 45 minutes then use $7.00 in parts what would you charge?
    Don't forget you have to pay for the expense of a open shop also.

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