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Old 09-23-2015, 08:43 PM   #1
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1999 35' Cutter Diesel Bus w/slide
Sacramento , California
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$1700 Front Brake Job On a 1989 345 LE!!

I had this in the wrong thread so moving here.

I picked up a 1989 345 LE with 55k miles in Seattle, WA. I drove it to get tires then dropped it off at RV Super Center in Kent. I knew they might be a bit expensive but they said they could hold it for as long as I needed at no charge. So far my bill is up to $3,300. I don't think this is too bad, as they took care of a lot of items that needed attention after 5 years of sitting, including:
Fixing water system (freeze damage), new front air bags, new alternator, new 55 amp converter, generator overhaul, 2 coach batteries (12v, said 6v would not fit).

I just got a call that the front brakes, brake lines, bearings, etc., all need to be replaced at a cost of $1,700. I'm told this is outrageous. Any thoughts on where to go from here? I certainly can not get it on the road as the brake lines have ruptured, and brakes are bare metal. Any thoughts on shops near Kent, WA?

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Old 09-23-2015, 08:56 PM   #2
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1995 25' Excella
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Look for a truck repair center.

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Old 09-23-2015, 09:05 PM   #3
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Manston , Kent
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Having tried every truck shop within a 30mile radius of my house and no one will touch our Argosy, then tried all the local auto repair shops and no-one can get the Argosy either inside or on the ramp, I have come to the conclusion that folks willing to work on a motorhome know they can charge what they want, because they are the only choice we have (unless you are able to do it yourself). I would be content just to find someone capable of doing the work, but then I am resigned to the situation, not happy with it.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:26 PM   #4
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I think you need to have a conversation with the Kent people, indicating that your wallet is not bottomless and asking them if they think that with this comprehensive brake job the vehicle will be ready to drive home. If they really are replacing everything, including lines and bearings, and giving themselves some wiggle room in the estimate, I would not call the price outrageous. You need to draw a line for them, and make sure it is a dead line.
1989 345LE
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:08 PM   #5
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Sorry to say but you bought a 25 year old Chevy that was only designed to be on the road for 15 max. Luckily for you, parts are cheap and plentiful. Unluckily for you, labour rates have risen sharply in the past few years and these old birds can be a beatch to work on. It took the shop I had a master cylinder replaced at, six times to bleed all the air out of the system.

If you're looking at hoses, wheel bearings, rotors, master cylinder replacement, pads and possibly callipers, $1,700 including taxes wouldn't be out of line.

Get it to a truck repair place (sorry, don't know one in your area), versus a RV service centre for mechanical. I think the heavy truck service place would be cheaper and probably more competent to do the work.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:08 AM   #6
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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Have them email you a detailed estimate and ask them to include an itemized parts list. At least then you will know exactly what they are quoting you. As Tony said, That price doesnt seem too out of line IF they are replacing all the parts he detailed. Rotors, flex lines, bearings n seals, pads, etc etc etc.. It adds up pretty quick. If it were me, Id feel a good deal more comfortable if I had an itemized parts list. My 2 cents

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Old 09-24-2015, 05:13 AM   #7
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(2 more cents). Make sure they flush your entire brake system. If its been sitting that long the fluid needs flushed.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:38 AM   #8
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Austin , Texas
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I agree, for a comprehensive job that doesn't seem too far out of line. I just had my rears done to the tune of $1100 at a competent fleet service center here in central TX. Cost included new rear drums to go along with the new shoes and oil seals. ($360 for the drums. A rip-off considering I can buy them myself for half that) Still not cheap, but in the grand scheme of things they wont' have to be done again for a very long time.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:20 AM   #9
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Livingston , Texas
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That price is in line with what we paid last year for the front brake rebuild on our '08 Ford F-250, FWTW.

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Old 09-24-2015, 07:53 AM   #10
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Hanalei, /Chino Valley , Hawaii / Arizona
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That price doesn't seem too out of line for a total replacementof all brake parts on the front.

I had to have the brakes on the drive axel on my 345 redone this summer while on a trip up the west coast. Cost was near $1200. Would have cost less than $500 to do it myself. But I was on the road and didn't have the tools needed for the job with me.
I also replace the front tires in Salt Lake City at over $1,100 for that job. Made me blink too. These old larger vehicles are not cheap to keep up, but are so worth it.

Otherwise it sounds like they are getting a lot done on your coach for reasonable $ s.

Lots of your classic motorhome brethren here are pretty DIY inclined, and lots of info and help is available here. Each job I complete on my coach makes me feel better about the condition of the coach and about my ability to deal with its needs on the road.

Welcome to the joys and challenges of classic airstream ownership. You will be rewarded in spades once you are out there enjoying your coach.

Post some pics of your new ride.

Cheers Richard

PS. Mine is also a 1989 345 LE, it was a great year for coach building :-)
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:44 AM   #11
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
....It took the shop I had a master cylinder replaced at, six times to bleed all the air out of the system.
It took a shop working on my old 310 over a month to get the brakes repaired properly due to what they said were problems with the replacement master cylinders they were getting from the parts houses.

As much as I think the $1700 is an outrageous price it may also be your best option. The other repair prices you mentioned had been done seemed to be reasonable. There are times when I will pay extra if I know the job is being done right. If that's the case here it might be worth it.

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1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:48 AM   #12
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How do they know it needs new wheel bearings without inspecting them? Bearings can last a long time if properly maintained.
The ability to follow instructions is highly underrated.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:28 AM   #13
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1977 31' Sovereign
Lynnwood , Washington
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Call Elliott Tire. They work on just about everything. Knowledgeable staff. They won't rip you off.

25923 104th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98030
(253) 373-1500

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Old 09-25-2015, 08:53 AM   #14
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1997 30' Excella
1983 31' Airstream310
Austin , Texas
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As I stated before, for the brake pads, bearings and brake lines for the front only, 1700.- is totally out of line. That is a 3-4 hour job at the most.
If it includes turning or replacing rotors, replacing the master cylinder, I could justify the price if I am in a bind away from home.
Note: I have done the above work several times on P30 and G3500

1983 310 Classic Motorhome
1997 30' Excella Trailer
AIR #13
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