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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my oil changed in a new town and the mechanic said my front ball joints (or really the whole set?) were wiggling and needed to be replaced. I already knew that and an independent saab mechanic had quoted about $700 to do that.

This guy also quoted that - on his own, no input from me.

I have to do this - the front wobbles and it is time. I am a woman and don't feel I can do it myself - but does the $700 seem pricy or ok? I think this new shop is honest and they are well regarded here where I am currently living.

Price seem or should I shop around? Thanks everyone for all of your great suggestions and help over the years.
 

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I would see if it would be cheaper if you got the parts your self, rock auto sells them for like 60 a piece. Doesn't seem like hard work watched my dad do both sides in less than an hour. Although he has been doing this for over 25 years, on volvos then saabs, I think 700 sounds like a lot but don't know what they charge for there parts and hourly rate.
 

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You need to replace both lower control arms to replace the ball joints. It's not a huge job... book says .4 hours per side. You should also get an alignment after it's done ( see if a computerized 4 wheel alignment is included).

Parts cost is $100 for cheap ones I would not use, to $160 for Febi/Bilstein, to $280 for Genuine Saab. Those prices are per side form eeuroparts.com, shipping included. Rock auto has some Moog arms for $109 or some for others from $58 and up. I'd use the Moog... Moog is good stuff, not the others - they're likely cheap Chinese crap. Figure $20 for shipping from the Rock.

I don't know what the labor rates are at Saab shops around you. I'd figure a total of an hour of labor (.4x2 plus a little) at maybe $100/hour is $100 and $240 to $320 for parts shipped. Total cost $340 to $420 for the job.

I'd say that $700 is way too high unless they are using genuine Saab parts, which is overkill, especially for a car with high miles. You might want to ask them how much of that charge is for parts... what parts they are planning on replacing... and if you can just bring your own. Also ask how much they are charging for labor. This is really not a difficult job... more than a half hour per side is excessive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, crap. That's just terrible. They must have seen me coming -

The front is a little loose but nothing major. I would like to get this done but will call/ask around. How long do you think I can drive it with the extra 'wiggle' room on the front tires? Should I be worried about an accident or anything?

Thanks for the feedback, why do mechanics do that? it stinks - $300 over price? they said they would buy after market parts, but sheesh.
 

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I just did the drivers side. I get parts for cost at napa. 86 bucks for the moog. You don't need to replace the stanchion arm but it would be a good idea. Real easy to do. 7 tools. 17mm for wheel, 11 and 13 for sway bar, 18 for ball joint nut. T55 for stanchion bolt, and 15 socket and wrench for control arm bolt. 7 seems way high as noted previously. It's nothing special so a "certified Saab" tech is most defiantly not needed. I bet your neighbor kid would like a project haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok ! Once again, you guys on here have helped save the day - financially speaking.

Yes, of course you are right about the prices. I looked up the Moog, and right on the money for the price.

I called another mechanic in the city that a friend recommended and we talked about it and his prices were very reasonable for the labor. Not being a saab guy he was mostly concerned about finding the right parts but from what people have said the Moog parts sound like the best for this car - good quality but considering the age, not a huge investment. Sounds like easy to find at Napa or Rockcity. Yeah !!!

Some mechanics must have a 'how much can I get out of this person?' sensor and they just quote some ridiculous figure and see if you'll pay it. They might as well have a gun and a ski mask.
 

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If you have found someone who will allow you to source the parts and will pretty much stick to flat rate on the labor, you can save a ton of money.

Finding someone to trust is the key.
 

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Some mechanics must have a 'how much can I get out of this person?' sensor and they just quote some ridiculous figure and see if you'll pay it. They might as well have a gun and a ski mask.
There are, unfortunately, lots of mechanics who operate on that basis. Half the people don't bite, but since they charge three times the going rate, they still make a lot of money. Most Saab shops are overpriced in my experience... they track the outrageous dealer rates and just trail them by enough to that they seem more reasonable in comparison. There's nothing really special about working on Saabs. But they do it at the Toyota dealer too, where Lexus work costs more than Toyota work - even though Lexus is just a brand designation they made up in the marketing department - in Japan, they are all just Toyotas.

Anyway... it's good that you found a mechanic who is more reasonable. If you have any problems finding parts post here and we can a help. The best places to start are usually eeuroparts.com (same day shipping and no shipping charges for most orders) or rockauto.com (low prices, but not as fast to ship and they charge shipping on anything).
 

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It is sometimes hard for shops to price out repairs to the suspensioin/front end.
You get in there and start taking things apart and what seemed like a simple part replacement ends up being more. Maybe the wobble in the ball joints has caused or is a result of something else, maybe strut is going, bushings are shot, strut mount needs replaced, who really knows? When I replaced my control arms/ball joints I ended up needing to put in tie rod ends as well.
http://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/PartDetail.php?partCode=4242749F&diagramId=1202&diagramNumber=9

Not a big deal but if I didn't have the parts sitting there I would have tied up a bunch of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys, these are great things to think about. I believe this new mechanic should be on the up and up, and that he will be willing to use eeuroparts and rockauto. The eeuroparts prices look very good and I like the free shipping.

Underdog, I don't know for sure but after 254K with no replacement of anything upfront maybe these parts are just wearing down. You're probably right that there might be other things worn out there too but the parts seem reasonable and worth the replacement.

I feel pretty safe driving around and am always watching for weirdness or instability but so far it runs very smooth and steady. I feel alot better after learning about how to do this and how much it should cost. I am not ready to give up on the car and would like to drive it until it just stops or the body falls apart. Thanks again every body - you saved my wallet again!
 

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I had my oil changed in a new town and the mechanic said my front ball joints (or really the whole set?) were wiggling and needed to be replaced. I already knew that and an independent saab mechanic had quoted about $700 to do that.

This guy also quoted that - on his own, no input from me.

I have to do this - the front wobbles and it is time. I am a woman and don't feel I can do it myself - but does the $700 seem pricy or ok? I think this new shop is honest and they are well regarded here where I am currently living.

Price seem or should I shop around? Thanks everyone for all of your great suggestions and help over the years.
$700 ?
$140 in parts (rather inflated prices at that)....but I have seen even higher numbers , believe it or not.
Two hours in "labor" including tea-time and frequent breaks ay $120 per hour.
and the rest in profit (taking advantage of others,IMO).
Better to learn DIY as opposed to shopping around - but that too is necessary.
Google
Harbor Freight
RockAutoParts

"never give a sucker an even break" - I hope the internet use does away with this philosophy...but too many still cling to this...
AND
A woman can do this task...ever watch women play basketball today ?
I'll swear, they are so good that they can beat a mans team from our previous generation....When I was turning wrenches, there were no girls in this field that I knew of....now there are....we have progressed and will continue to do so..
One must believe in themselves...
 
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