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Catalytic Converter RIPOFF?!

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Old 11-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #1
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Catalytic Converter RIPOFF?!

I have a 01 Tacoma DLX 4wd. The mechanic quoted me $700 to replace the catalytic converter. I looked online and have found them for around $100. Is this guy charging $200 an hour for labor? I have some mechanical aptitude and a buddy with a big garage. Is this something that any of you guys would do yourselves?
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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I remember getting an aftermarket cat for one of my cars. I should have known better when the original was the weight of a cinder block, and the new one was the weight of a tin can. Not surprised when my car was throwing codes 6 months later.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:45 PM   #4
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It unbolts. I can do that. What is a quality cat I can buy and run for another 5 years? I'm not paying some A-hole a doctors wage for a garbagemans skill.
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:58 AM   #5
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i would hardly say that a quality mechanic has a "garbageman's skill". It unbolts...yes...when the muffler/tailpipe/clamps/nuts and bolts are new. Try it when they're quite old and all rusted up. Takes alot of work to get the pieces off...and depending on the condition of the rest of your exhaust...the quote may reflect more than just the cat.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:43 AM   #6
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Not to be rude but this isn't rocket appliances. Rusted bolts are only a slow down. My initial comment refers to the high per hour wage. I can do it myself I'm just being lazy. There is a monetary limit to my laziness though. I think it's about $200!

A magnaflow cat is around $200, $700-$200=$500, $500/3hrs= $167/hr= doctors wages!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
Not to be rude but this isn't rocket appliances. Rusted bolts are only a slow down. My initial comment refers to the high per hour wage. I can do it myself I'm just being lazy. There is a monetary limit to my laziness though. I think it's about $200!

A magnaflow cat is around $200, $700-$200=$500, $500/3hrs= $167/hr= doctors wages!
Even the stealerships only charges half of that an hour.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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Your truck is a 2001, this is the year toyota switched all their vehicles to cali emissions. So a simple $100 converter is not going to work. The solution: get magna flow 50 state converters, there are two (on my v6, not sure about your 4 banger). Usually good to replace them together if you plan on keeping the truck. I got mine from auto anything, i was a first time customer and i got 15% off the order, which was a pretty good amount. You can do it yourself if you have basic knowledge and skills/ tools. Not horribly complicated, they come with new gaskets too. I don't like the amount mechanics charge, i do all my own work, and my friends car work too haha
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:49 AM   #9
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So I bought some cataclean... Followed the directions and ran the gas down to a quarter of a tank before adding it. Ran that through and a few days later refilled the tank. My wife outlawed the truck back and forth to work for a week. The light check engine light went out! So she took it to the mech for inspection. His reader still saw the 0420 code but all others read "not ready"?! Anyhow they gave us a temporary sticker and told us to come back in a week. They passed it and gave her a sticker! On the way home the light came back on! So now I have a year to get a new cat...
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:56 AM   #10
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Aftermarket cats work like piss. He probably knew this and quoted you an factory one.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
It unbolts. I can do that. What is a quality cat I can buy and run for another 5 years? I'm not paying some A-hole a doctors wage for a garbagemans skill.
This is insulting. I will address this at the end.


You are new on TW, so first off, welcome.

Second, To be fair, without having a full breakdown of the pricing, you have no idea what he is charging you for labor. Also, there are two different cats listed for the 2001. A front and a rear. Do you know which one? The front lists OEM at $1242 for just the part. The rear OEM lists for $1335. Obviously he is not pricing you OEM. Sure, you can buy a cheap cat, but you have to realize that a GOOD cat is going to be expensive. The primary internal metal in a cat is platinum, and platinum is not cheap! The knock off and aftermarket ones use either a cheaper, inferior metal, or half the amount that a factory OEM uses. The sensors that monitor it expect to see an OEM or equivalent one. Inferior ones are notorious for setting failure codes fast.

So you being quoted $700 for parts and labor is a good quote for even a DECENT cat. Labor time for diagnosis and replacement is typically around 1.8 hours. Plus you have the cost of the gaskets. sure, gaskets are not expensive, but little parts add up. Then you have sales tax. Calling a tech an "a-hole" with absolutely NO evidence that you bring is pretty judgmental.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
Not to be rude but this isn't rocket appliances. Rusted bolts are only a slow down. My initial comment refers to the high per hour wage. I can do it myself I'm just being lazy. There is a monetary limit to my laziness though. I think it's about $200!

A magnaflow cat is around $200, $700-$200=$500, $500/3hrs= $167/hr= doctors wages!
When I look up in my catalog for a Magnaflow cat that is OEM equivalent (Not the cheap replacement) for your 2001 Tacoma 2.7 (3RZFE) 4WD on the front, it shows a price of $412. Not sure where you found yours for $200, but I would be interested because I can't buy them that cheap directly from Magnaflow! And I am a wholesaler! So you figure $10 for gaskets, and $412 for the cat. That is $422 (not counting shipping charges) plus sales tax of I will guess 8%, would equal $455. Take that from the $700 quote would leave $245. (this is assuming your quote of $700 was EXACT.) So 1.8 hours would be close to $130 per hour. Yeah, labor sounds a little steep there, but I am only able to go by your information. also shipping was not included in the parts price. So yeah, $700 is a fair price. Again, without a break down, there is no way to know EXACTLY what the labor charges are. Sure, I get it, you look at this as if you were doing it in your garage at home. Well this place is a business, and has overhead that you are not calculating in either. A business has to keep it's doors open. That is rent/mortgage, electric, water, gas, payroll, insurance, health insurance, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
So I bought some cataclean... Followed the directions and ran the gas down to a quarter of a tank before adding it. Ran that through and a few days later refilled the tank. My wife outlawed the truck back and forth to work for a week. The light check engine light went out! So she took it to the mech for inspection. His reader still saw the 0420 code but all others read "not ready"?! Anyhow they gave us a temporary sticker and told us to come back in a week. They passed it and gave her a sticker! On the way home the light came back on! So now I have a year to get a new cat...
Yeah, that cat cleaner is a band-aid at best, and can actually damage your O2 sensors.


As to your "I'm not paying some A-hole a doctors wage for a garbagemans skill." That is pretty dang insulting. You think those of us who turn wrenches have no more skill than a garbageman, and not near as skilled as a doctor? Sir, you damn near have to have an electrical engineering and mechanical engineering degree these days to work on these cars. I always scoff at being compared to a doctor. It is funny. How much has the human body changed over the last 500 years? Yeah, almost zero. So a doctor only has to learn and build on something that has been unchanged over all that time. yeah, the human body is complex, and we learn more ABOUT it over the years, but doctors do not have to typically adapt their learning process. A stomach is still a stomach. The skin is still the skin.

Sure, unbolting a cat is not that difficult, and removing rusty bolts is not HARD, though it CAN be time consuming, especially if they are the A/F sensor nuts/studs. You don't pay based on how DIFFICULT a job is, you pay based on how LONG the job takes. We don't have labor hour rates that vary based on how HARD the job is. (though there typically is a lower rate for "maintenance" work, but not for repair work)

Now let us look at the automobile. Over just the past TEN years, the automobile has gone through THOUSANDS of changes in how they are built, and how they work. Yes, a transmission is a transmission, but you have 5 speed manuals, 5 speed synchromesh manuals, 4 speed automatics, 5 or 6 speed automatics with variable CVT. Then engines with VVT and gasoline direct injection..... Us "garbagemen" skilled technicians have to learn something TOTALLY new EVERY year. And that doesn't count the shops like mine that work on Mercedes, Toyota, Lexus, Cadillac, Ford, Hummer, BMW, Jaguar, Rolls Royce (Yes, I have had them in my shop) and Lambo. (Worked on a few of them as well)

So next time you step into a shop and think they are being outrageous in their prices, I challenge you to open that hood, get out your $3000 scan and diagnostic tool, and find out why the next customer has a check engine light.

Rant is over.

And don't get me wrong, I truly do welcome you to TacomaWorld. There are some really great people, and great information to be found here.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
It unbolts. I can do that. What is a quality cat I can buy and run for another 5 years? I'm not paying some A-hole a doctors wage for a garbagemans skill.
then get busy
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaToy1997 View Post
So next time you step into a shop and think they are being outrageous in their prices, I challenge you to open that hood, get out your $3000 scan and diagnostic tool, and find out why the next customer has a check engine light.
Nice!! Agree wholeheartedly- good post.

OP, if you don't like the price you are given, go somewhere else! I am sure there are plenty of shadetree, backyard mechanics that will poorly install that piece of shit, improperly specified excuse for a catalytic converter for you and happily take your money, even at $45 an hour! You obviously didn't shop around and find a mechanic that is appropriate for your level of expectation. Some people will pay the money for a proper job. Some people are happy with far less than that. It's your money, spend it how you like!
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:58 AM   #14
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guess he had enough
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaToy1997 View Post
This is insulting. I will address this at the end.


You are new on TW, so first off, welcome.

Second, To be fair, without having a full breakdown of the pricing, you have no idea what he is charging you for labor. Also, there are two different cats listed for the 2001. A front and a rear. Do you know which one? The front lists OEM at $1242 for just the part. The rear OEM lists for $1335. Obviously he is not pricing you OEM. Sure, you can buy a cheap cat, but you have to realize that a GOOD cat is going to be expensive. The primary internal metal in a cat is platinum, and platinum is not cheap! The knock off and aftermarket ones use either a cheaper, inferior metal, or half the amount that a factory OEM uses. The sensors that monitor it expect to see an OEM or equivalent one. Inferior ones are notorious for setting failure codes fast.

So you being quoted $700 for parts and labor is a good quote for even a DECENT cat. Labor time for diagnosis and replacement is typically around 1.8 hours. Plus you have the cost of the gaskets. sure, gaskets are not expensive, but little parts add up. Then you have sales tax. Calling a tech an "a-hole" with absolutely NO evidence that you bring is pretty judgmental.




When I look up in my catalog for a Magnaflow cat that is OEM equivalent (Not the cheap replacement) for your 2001 Tacoma 2.7 (3RZFE) 4WD on the front, it shows a price of $412. Not sure where you found yours for $200, but I would be interested because I can't buy them that cheap directly from Magnaflow! And I am a wholesaler! So you figure $10 for gaskets, and $412 for the cat. That is $422 (not counting shipping charges) plus sales tax of I will guess 8%, would equal $455. Take that from the $700 quote would leave $245. (this is assuming your quote of $700 was EXACT.) So 1.8 hours would be close to $130 per hour. Yeah, labor sounds a little steep there, but I am only able to go by your information. also shipping was not included in the parts price. So yeah, $700 is a fair price. Again, without a break down, there is no way to know EXACTLY what the labor charges are. Sure, I get it, you look at this as if you were doing it in your garage at home. Well this place is a business, and has overhead that you are not calculating in either. A business has to keep it's doors open. That is rent/mortgage, electric, water, gas, payroll, insurance, health insurance, etc.



Yeah, that cat cleaner is a band-aid at best, and can actually damage your O2 sensors.


As to your "I'm not paying some A-hole a doctors wage for a garbagemans skill." That is pretty dang insulting. You think those of us who turn wrenches have no more skill than a garbageman, and not near as skilled as a doctor? Sir, you damn near have to have an electrical engineering and mechanical engineering degree these days to work on these cars. I always scoff at being compared to a doctor. It is funny. How much has the human body changed over the last 500 years? Yeah, almost zero. So a doctor only has to learn and build on something that has been unchanged over all that time. yeah, the human body is complex, and we learn more ABOUT it over the years, but doctors do not have to typically adapt their learning process. A stomach is still a stomach. The skin is still the skin.

Sure, unbolting a cat is not that difficult, and removing rusty bolts is not HARD, though it CAN be time consuming, especially if they are the A/F sensor nuts/studs. You don't pay based on how DIFFICULT a job is, you pay based on how LONG the job takes. We don't have labor hour rates that vary based on how HARD the job is. (though there typically is a lower rate for "maintenance" work, but not for repair work)

Now let us look at the automobile. Over just the past TEN years, the automobile has gone through THOUSANDS of changes in how they are built, and how they work. Yes, a transmission is a transmission, but you have 5 speed manuals, 5 speed synchromesh manuals, 4 speed automatics, 5 or 6 speed automatics with variable CVT. Then engines with VVT and gasoline direct injection..... Us "garbagemen" skilled technicians have to learn something TOTALLY new EVERY year. And that doesn't count the shops like mine that work on Mercedes, Toyota, Lexus, Cadillac, Ford, Hummer, BMW, Jaguar, Rolls Royce (Yes, I have had them in my shop) and Lambo. (Worked on a few of them as well)

So next time you step into a shop and think they are being outrageous in their prices, I challenge you to open that hood, get out your $3000 scan and diagnostic tool, and find out why the next customer has a check engine light.

Rant is over.

And don't get me wrong, I truly do welcome you to TacomaWorld. There are some really great people, and great information to be found here.

As always, I bow to BamaToy.

I've done cheap fixes on this type of stuff in my garage and I know I am not getting something that will stand the test of time. I also tore my finger nearly to the bone using the wrong tool for the job because I didn't have the money to buy power tools. How much is that worth?

It reminds me of the slogan many years ago used by Pro-Tec when I needed a bike helmet at age 7. Their helmet did cost more..but as the ad said, "if you have a $10 head then buy a $10 helmet"
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:37 AM   #16
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I guess I got TOLD ! Anyway, I wrote that out of frustration. Sorry if I got anyone else's panties in a wad.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckylastard View Post
I guess I got TOLD ! Anyway, I wrote that out of frustration. Sorry if I got anyone else's panties in a wad.
I think your analogy was that it isn't that tough of a job compared to, say, rebuilding an engine..at least that's how I took it.

I get the frustration in general, I remember when those things cost a lot less..plus there was only one of the damn things.
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