Hidden Costs

There are 6 major expenses that may not be included in an engine overhaul quote. These costs range widely, but I’ll do my best to ballpark them so you have some idea. I meant the word ‘ballpark’ in that last sentence so don’t tell your shop “Well the website said it would cost X!” (insert serious face).

  1. Dismounting and Mounting the Engine – You need to find someone who can remove your engine and install the new one. Typically, this is someone who is local like an FBO, or your favorite mechanic or shop. This process takes a significant amount of time and can cost between $1-5k per engine. Your overhaul shop will probably give you the best price so they can have control of this process (they have an interest to know it’s done right).
  2. Shipping – The cost to ship an engine in the US is usually less than $1,000 round trip! This is paid outside of the Overhaul Bids website – often to the shop. Most shops don’t mark-up shipping and a few will include it in the quote. In 2014 I got a quote to ship a 500lb 6-cylinder engine from FL to CA for $350 one way. Sometimes the return trip costs more because you need to add more insurance for the added value.
  3. Replacement Parts – This is a big question mark on an overhaul. When most shops quote, they anticipate replacing all required components and overhauling the rest. Occasionally a shop will find unrepairable damage on components and have to replace them. The upshot is, you’ll be glad they found this damage so you’re not flying around with parts getting ready to fail. Here’s a few examples of components that our shops see from time to time:
    1. Crank case – An overhauled replacement for a Bonanza will be about $4,500. Your cost will depend on the exact model and the parts market. Around 10-20% have to be replaced
    2. Crank shaft – An overhauled replacement for a Bonanza will be about $4,500. Your cost will depend on the exact model and the parts market. Around 10-20% have to be replaced.
    3. Cylinders – Talk to your shop about cylinders because there’s two ways to look at cylinders. Sometimes owners prefer to get all new cylinders instead of overhauling their existing ones. New cylinders can cost $2-10k for a full set. If the plan is just to overhaul existing, sometimes a shop will find a cracked cylinder and need to replace just one. Again, talk to the shop here to work out the best plan of action for your situation.
    4. Camshaft – An overhauled Replacement will be around $650. This part has to be replaced around 60-70% of the time.
  4. Component Repair – This may or may not impact your engine overhaul cost. Some shops include major component repair, some don’t. See “Price contingencies” above so you know how to tell if a shop will charge extra for this. It’s important because there’s about a 60-70% chance your case or crank will have to be sent out in order to be restored to ‘new limits’. If you do get charged for Case or Crank repair, you’re looking at around $1,500.
  5. Sales Tax – Most shops quote overhauls without tax initially. They do this to see if you meet sales tax exemptions before adding that in. When you get down the details with a shop, talk to them about sales tax and if there are any ways to avoid it. Some states charge sales tax on parts and labor, others just parts, and some don’t charge at all. The percentage can range from 6-10%, so the tax could easily exceed $1,000. Sometimes there’s creative ways to avoid it. For example, one shop was able to save his client sales tax by selling to a broker in a neighboring state, and then have that broker sell it to the client. Again, talk to your shop about legit loopholes.
  6. Ancillary Parts – This stuff is considered outside the engine overhaul, but when you put the brand new engine back on your plane you might notice the hoses, baffles, fuel lines, and engine mounts are looking tired. The person doing removal and reinstallation will be the one to charge you for this. Also, some people decide to overhaul other components like the prop governor, alternator, vacuum pump, and electric fuel pumps. Costs vary on this stuff, so I’m not going to go there.

Whoa! Are we scaring you? It’s worth pointing out again that we have zero tolerance for foul play. Shops know they’ll get booted from our network if they do anything unethical. The fact that the shops are still here shows you they’ve had an excellent history of being honest in reputable with many customers before you.

If this post has created more anxiety and questions, give us a call at (317) 550-0030. Or, we have an overhaul anxiety support group that meets Monday nights and you’re welcome to speak there.

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