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Alex, ASE Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1161
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician, L1 Advanced Level Specialist
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Intake manifold..coolant..Flush..the left inner tie rod end

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In Omaha, NE. I would like to validate an estimate from a local shop. they are indicating a problem with: Intake manifold, remove & replace, then a new thermostat and a complete coolant Flush $90, also the left inner tie rod end is starting to get loose. I do not have any issue today. how critical? what is a fair price?
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They are most likely recommending replacing the intake gaskets because they are leaking and allowing oil to enter the coolant. This is a fairly common problem on these engines and it will need to be fixed as soon as possible. Labor time to replace the intake manifold gaskets is 5.4 hours, which should also include the thermostat. I suspect the shop charges around $90 per hour since a coolant flush is usually one hour. The cost of the intake gaskets is around $80-$100 and another $20 or so for the thermostat. Labor is $486 at $90/hr. So the intake gaskets, thermostat, and coolant flush should cost somewhere around $700.

The inner tie rod is less critical if it is only slightly loose, but can eventually cause uneven tire wear when it gets more loose. It is a good idea to get this fixed as soon as possible, especially if your tires are currently in good condition and wearing evenly across the tread. Labor to replace the inner tie rod end should be $135-$180 at most shops, plus around $70-$100 for an alignment. The tie rod itself is usually around $50-$60. So the total cost of this job should be in the neighborhood of $330.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i accepted your response earlier. just lookign over their proposal. they want $22 for the thermostat, same as your $20 estimate. they want $90 for the flush, including $53 for labor. to replace the gaskets and thermostate they want $$1040 in labor, so looks like I am going some where else
The problem here seems to be that they are trying to charge the full labor time for the thermostat (3 hours) on top of the 5 1/2 to replace the intake manifold gaskets. There should be some "overlap" here in labor time for the thermostat because the thermostat is mounted in the intake manifold. So, if the intake manifold is already being removed, there should be very little, if any, additional labor time to replace the thermostat.
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