I recently took my car to a “Cadillac” “Specialist here in Los angles CA.
After leaving my car to diagnose my steering column for not shifting properly. I get this txt from the shop owner. Mind you I just got the car and wanted to at least shift from the column without having to shift for the engine bay. Also wanted to get a price on dash lights to work. Basically I’m trying to feel out if he’s putting gravy on the labor.

Here we go. Parts Labor
Oil pump kit - 225 375 600
Steering column 395. 550 945
Turn signal switch. 295. 295
(Labor Included
From dash)
Fuel pump leaks. 189. 250. 439
Headlight switch
( dash removal) 250. 375 640
Dash bulbs (15)
Repair wiring harness
For RT headlight
And cornering Light 250. 250
Install rear 1/4 panels 125. 125
Repair brake line to
Master cylinder+bleed 125. 125
Total $3584.94

Before I could approve the repairs I got this txt from the business owner.

Lee here is a breakdown of the parts and labor to get your caddie up and running and safe for the road..
we have already completed the following
1.  Oil pump
2.  Headlite switch
3.  Wiring harness repair
4.  1/4 panel replacement
5.  Brake line repair
Remaking items are steering column.. turn signal switch...and the fuel pump that is leaking raw gas...
You have a $500 credit..
Please call this am at your convenience
Thanks J

Basically does this look normal. Figured this would be the best place to either know if I’m getting bamboozled or it looks ok. I dropped it at the shop when there was an old timer there that works part time. I knew they charged 125 an hour. I came In just wanting to get it to driver status. Ie. changing gears. But for sure didn’t want to be driving a ticking time bomb.
Thoughts. Good or bad are appreciated

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Comment by Kevin Campbell on December 14, 2018 at 2:02pm

Talk to folks in car clubs about the mechanics they use.

There are some great mechanics out there that are only too willing to help you get your car sorted.

Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on December 14, 2018 at 1:27pm
I find that most mechanics will do good work for a period of time and then become a problem regarding cost and quality of there work
Like they are trying to get rid of you while they are ahead of you regarding there profit margin
It seems they can justify the high prices they are charging based only -- on How Long they keep the car --if they are working on it or NOT during that time
They know you want your car back so --time is on there side ( Rolling Stones tune )
A perfect example which i see on here for years is them doing a complete engine rebuild and giving you back an engine running --real bad --as a tune up,is not included in there work order ( almost with every engine rebuild on here )
They do this to get you back into the shop so they can now tack on additional expenses
This would be exactly the time you need the engine perfoming as well as possible to get you through a good break in period as smoothly as is possible
The far worse problem is giving you back a rebuilt engine -with the rocker arms on backwards -( far to common ) that prevent a new engine from being oiled correctly at the very critical break in period that will determine the entire engines longevity for years to come

The anxiety and stress caused by these mechanics is difficult when they are working on your pride and joy and screwing with you and you know it
The more you know about car repairs the worse this will effect you

Looks like your window washer fluid bearings need to be replaced --Ha Ha --LOL !!

When you do the repairs yourself with the research available to us on the internet these days you will know the repair will get done right saving you a lot of labor expense --and you can maintain you sanity in the process -and not want to kill a mechanic for the BS you know he is sending your way

Ahhhhhh the joy of owning you Classic Antique Cadillac and being the Cool guy at the center of attention where ever you choose to show up ----priceless
Owning my 64 convert adds endless JOY to my life but then again i am a Super Gearhead all my life ( track record in Super Stock drag racing )

Bottom line is this hobby cannot be for everyone for many reasons

Loving what you got --is the KEY always

Comment by Jeff Kinzler on December 14, 2018 at 11:51am

This is a VERY IMPORTANT lesson I’ve learned recently. The hard way.

Pay at least half of the bill on a major credit card. 

If you later find out a repair was not correctly done and the shop does not satisfy you, you can dispute the charge and provide documentation to have the money charged back to the merchant and credited to your account.  

Negotiating a discount for cash leaves you without recourse once you pay. 

Tony is correct no work should have been done if you didn’t authorize, but if disassembly was required to diagnose, it would make sense to replace the defective part.

If the front engine cover was already removed to replace the oil pump, the fuel pump is part of that assembly and should  not be  a separate labor charge. 

And you should feel free to question if a mistaken charge for labor was made and ask them to correct the error.  

Comment by Ronnie Lay on December 14, 2018 at 10:43am

If they changed your oil pump gears and removed the front cover to accomplish this, the fuel pump had to be removed in the process anyway so them charging you $250 labor for the fuel pump looks like double dipping to me.

Comment by Kevin Campbell on December 14, 2018 at 2:20am

Just a little bit more to add, if you can do some repairs yourself, you will learn so much.

As Anders would say, buy a workshop manual..... you will use it a lot.

These cars, can be lots of fun to work on and some days, not so much. Scan the HELP section, lots of really good stuff in there for you. Always be prepared, to ask what you might think, is a silly question. These save lots of mistakes as well.

Mate, good luck and get into it.

Comment by Kevin Campbell on December 14, 2018 at 2:03am

Hi DJ, look, its hard to comment on, in any real detail, but a couple of items seemed a tad high, but having said that, i'm in Australia, so a different ball game down here too.

I'd suggest you sit down with the mechanic and talk it through with him.

Get everything in writing on what you want done and how much it will cost.

Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on December 14, 2018 at 12:28am
A leaking fuel pump will --contaminate your engine oil so you must do a complete oil change to remove the gas and oil mix you now have in the engine --Right after you replace the defective fuel pump
Do not run the engine until the oil is changed and fresh to protect the engine

Comment by Dj Lethal on December 14, 2018 at 12:16am
I had to pick the car up. The credit was 500 deposit I left when I dropped it of.
Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on December 14, 2018 at 12:11am
This guy is a problem
You did not authorize him to do any of the work so he has no business touching your car or fixing anything
He first presented prices for you to determine what you should have him do for you
What does a 500 dollar credit mean ??
He fixes stuff but is sure to let you know you have fuel leaking
Why would that not be the first thing he would address to prevent a poossible fire and make the car road worthy ASAP
He wants you to think the car is not driveable and unsafe as he stated
Mostly he is not being very clear about what he is doing for each repair he is suggesting
Is he replacing the steering column or fixing it
Your shift lever issue on the column --could just be a minor linkage adjustment at the transmission ( not sure )
Get a flat bed to the shop to get you car out of there(if not drivable ) before he takes you thru the mill

Dealing with the mechanics and shops that repair our cars is a very difficult task for many people myself included
They can be expensive and that would even be ok if they did the repairs correctly ( $125 an hour is on the high side of an hourly )
They often do not do the repair correctly or cause a secondary problem

My feeling have been you need to be car savvy and know how to turn a wrench when you need to own a car of this kind
The more you can do yourself the better off you will be
That only works if you have a love and passion for working on cars

When you see one of these machines coming by your line of sight you can bet the driver is car savvy or has very very deep pockets to be enjoying such a fine Antique car of this kind 50 plus years after its birth
That is exactly what does not make the Antique Car hobby for just anyone
Owning my 64 Caddy convertible since new has been a somewhat expensive but PRICELESS experience i enjoy every day --She is mine
My story is one of constant maintenance over the years for love of what that great car offers the owner that is not duplicated by any other vehicle i know of

We are Classic Antique Cadillac crazy in this neighborhood --LOL !!

Comment by Jeff Kinzler on December 13, 2018 at 10:08pm
Dj welcome to the world of driving a 55 year old car.

If the work is competently done and guaranteed you’re probably ok.

Unless you have lots of time, be prepared to spend lots of money.

Good luck.

Jeff Kinzler
1964 Eldorado 6367
1969 Fleetwood 68069M


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