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      03-08-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
olegmukhanov
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(Resolved) Bird's VRSF downpipes install - really, 10 hours of labour?!

*** Update:

Collected my car with the pipes installed and up and running. Sounds great, pulls strong and no rattles so it seems that the adjustments done by Birds did the trick! Have to admit that I am quite happy with the end result so far.

On the bill front - Kevin is a sensible and understanding guy so in the end we managed to come to an agreement what was a great relief as well! To be fair it turned out as it should have in my view so no hard feelings and more tuning to be done together.

So all in all - with the tricky job like that, I guess even with the most expensive pipes (ARs) as still good but cheaper one (VSRF), fitment could be an issue and not guaranteed. And in the case by case basis it could require from minor fiddling to serious reshaping - and therefore take even very experienced mechanic serious time to get it right. There have been a number of examples in this thread of it.

Finally the fact that both Kevin and Tiago (who was kind enough to refund the pipes which is a great gesture!) are actually responsive is something to be noted and gives certain feeling that they do care about their clients. Not the easiest installation process but finally got there in the end!

*** Original:

Dear all,

Wanted to get some advice from fellow forum members.

I have bought VRSF ***less downpipes from my 335i as apparently those are one of the few which should fit RHD 335i's without any issues.

So I brought my car over to Bird's Auto as heard good things about the place.
I was quoted 4 hours of work for the install - just under £400 which is a lot but decided to go for it as apparently not a straightforward job.

Mid-day I received a call from the garage saying that the pipes are touching the frame and further adjustments should be made which will take... additional 4 hours! I understand that it takes some fiddling / bending but surely not that long given the car is already on the ramp and those guys should be experts.

Anyway given removing the pipes and returning to the OEM ones would take the same time I effectively didn't have much of a choice than say yes... only to receive a call 2.5 hours later saying that my 4 hours is up (not sure how the maths works in this case) and additional 2 are required.

So far what should be a fairly straightforward job already billed me £900+! Am I missing something and something like that is a usual thing or something is definitely not right here?

I have done my research beforehand but couldn't even expect anything like that - any view or advice would be much appreciated!

Last edited by olegmukhanov; 03-11-2013 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Update
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      03-08-2013, 12:23 PM   #2
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Ouch.

I think it's a bit harsh to tell you it's going to be longer in the middle of the job. I wish I could work like that. I mean, you've pretty much got your pants down at that point.

I would've thought Birds would know how long that job would take.

With regards to the time being up after 2.5 hours, maybe they had two people working on it?

Bit of an awkward one really. You could seek advice on what your rights are. I know jobs can sometimes entail more than first thought but that's a lot.
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      03-08-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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WHAT!!! Get you car the hell out of there!

I had my VRSF fitted at my local Indy. Yes they found it a pain... BUT 10 hours?!!! No!

People do it on their own drive way in the states in 3 hours!

It did take my garage around 4 hours, but they know me well and charged me £100 I gave em an extra 50 for it hehe. BARGAIN HERE! But they did say, they will nev do the job ever again hah
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      03-08-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
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If a garage quotes for a certain job... They do it for that amount! There was no addition work required. They just took ages working on the same job!

IMO I think they made mistakes and charges you for it.

When fitting them it is easy to cause your waste gates to get caught on the Downpipes so they do not open all they up giving you full boost. As well as annoying rattles which means further fiddling is needed. My garage had to fiddle with them twice once they were on to stop the rattling and allow my wastegates to erase normally.
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      03-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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In my opinion this is terrible. Ive only heard good things about birds to be honest. If they quoted a price then they should stick to it and with the experience they have they should be able to quote you accurately in the first place.
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      03-08-2013, 12:45 PM   #6
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Did Bird's supply the part? If they did then i think they should know how long it should take and if there's adjustment needed they should take account of that in their quote.

But if you supplied the part then they could only guess how long that part would take. If it's not as well made as you'd hope, and it sounds like other people have had problems too, then all they're doing is making you aware that it's going to take longer than expected due to the imperfections in the fit of the part. Not ideal by any means, but it's not Bird's fault that the part you supplied doesn't fit properly...

So, did you supply the part or did they? If they supplied it i'd be arguing for the original 4 hour quote unless there's something inherently "different" about your car...
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      03-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #7
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To take 900 quid for a job like that is really abusive. Even if some additional work is involved, it should never amount to these costs. You could have your DPs gold plated with that amount!

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      03-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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This is what a quote is for!

"I can do the job for this much as I think it will take this long".

They should have added a specific caveat to the quote stating possible problematic scenarios if they were unsure of fit etc.

Have you got a written quote? If so, tell them to stick to what they said or get ready for the solicitors.
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      03-08-2013, 01:03 PM   #9
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Yea that's kind of a bait and switch, bad business by them. Granite mine is LHD but it too me 5 or 6 hours on a gravel driveway with no lift and no powertools. Ask to have a talk with the owner tell him you are going to file a complaint with BBB for quoting then doubling the time and rate.
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      03-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #10
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I disagree

If you get a quote saying "on the basis of previous downpipe installs it should take 4 hrs". But due to manufacturing defects they don't fit without modification, why should they swallow the cost of additonal labour.

I'm certain they aren't ripping you off and it ain't as though they are not skilled technicians. Most people who have used Birds (myself included) would attest to this.

VRSF gets their stuff made in China and there are a number of poor fitting examples out there due to inconsistent manufacturing batches. Sounds like the ones you bought ain't up to scratch...
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      03-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #11
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Thank you all.

I did sign a quote which said 4 hours and I understand that some additional work might need to be done...

...but definitely not when you spend up all of the quoted time and say that you either stuck with a part that doesn't fit or I have at least to pay twice to get it rectified.

I totally appreciate that given the part wasn't supplied by them and might not fit well but it is a good thing to say it before the initial quote is used up and there is no coming back.

I know it is not that black and white but going from £400 to £900 is just ridiculous!
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      03-08-2013, 01:07 PM   #12
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phil, I totally agree with your point and do not doubt that they are skillful technicians but if you are so - probably you could say that the downpipe is not fitting before using up the 4 hours of labour.

To be fair if I was told half-way through that it is not fitting - I would've just happily paid them the 2 hours they spent, and returned the downpipes back.

But now I just don't have much of a choice which is not a very great situation
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      03-08-2013, 01:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olegmukhanov View Post
phil, I totally agree with your point and do not doubt that they are skillful technicians but if you are so - probably you could say that the downpipe is not fitting before using up the 4 hours of labour.

To be fair if I was told half-way through that it is not fitting - I would've just happily paid them the 2 hours they spent, and returned the downpipes back.

But now I just don't have much of a choice which is not a very great situation
I appreciate this, they should have told you within 2/3 hrs that they werent going to fit without modification. It is a crappy situation and you are right to expect more feedback.

Have you been speaking to Kevin directly?
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      03-08-2013, 01:42 PM   #14
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He was already out when I tried calling so dropped an e-mail - hope will get more clarity tomorrow.

But totally agree with what you said - this is a nice and honest thing to do rather than leaving you no option rather than pay twice (at least) the initial quote.

I guess unless this situation is resolved I am done for a while with both modding and Bird's garage (and given the bill - most possible eating for couple of weeks).
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      03-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #15
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I was quoted £150 (3hrs labour) to fit downpipes by Darren Wood last week. £900 is taking the mick

Last edited by DanTheManc; 03-09-2013 at 02:20 AM.
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      03-08-2013, 03:00 PM   #16
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Absolute ripp off never going to take my car to birds for anything even a service I think they have pulled your pants down.
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      03-08-2013, 03:54 PM   #17
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Birds supply and fit

Op

Birds supplied and fitted AR catted downpipes on my N54 for a little more than what they have charged you labour only.

There's always a risk when supplying your own parts. Fitter will give you an estimate based on what they know. Whilst there may be little to choose from between VRSF and AR in terms of quality, fit up of AR DP on RHD cars is known to Birds whereas VRSF may not be.
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      03-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #18
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What's so special about taking your car to birds? If you don't mind me asking guys except for getting stung by them. I'm pretty sure there are other garages that could do the job for half the cost
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      03-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olegmukhanov View Post
only to receive a call 2.5 hours later saying that my 4 hours is up (not sure how the maths works in this case) and additional 2 are required.
As previously mentioned, either multiple people or taking into account that they had to put things back together again and test drive before handing the car back. It's difficult to know what state the car was in when they called, but given they asked for more time I would guess the car had no DPs fitted. So a good 1h+ to put it all back together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTheManc View Post
I was quoted £150 (3hrs labour) to fit downpipes by Darren Wood last week. £900 is taking the milk.
The hourly rates are quite different up north and while Darren Wood may be able to fit DPs for £150 in 3 hours, I'm sure this price would go up if you bring something that just doesn't fit. Also is the £150 incl. VAT?
Anyway let's assume it's not. Then Darren Wood's hourly rate is £50 where Birds rate is £75 (Both prices +VAT). So that's 50% extra+VAT on the hourly rate. That quickly adds up. That's just what we get for being near London.

I really feel for the OP and I hope that he can come to an agreement with Kevin for a more reasonable price as they should have thrown in the towel much sooner. At what stage do you call it a day?
It sounds like Birds tried for too long to make something fit that just wasn't right. However Birds is running a business and did not supply the part. So while things in theory/practice should take 3-4 hours, then if something goes wrong or doesn't fit then who should pay for this? Most companies have a margin in the quote to account for this, but we are not talking an extra 30min here to tweak it. Part just didn't fit. It's a tricky situation and neither the OP or Birds could have known that there would be a fitment issue. It's not like Birds snapped a bolt, and with fitment issues on self supplied parts the customer pay. This is one of the reasons why many people pay extra for ARs to ensure they won't have a problem come fitment time. You may save a few hundred dollars on the purchase price, but you end up wasting more on bad fitment.

So I don't think we can dispute some extra costs here, but what's hard to swallow is the time it took making the bill sky rocket. Either way for the OP it's a shitty situation as he is out of pocket. Seller of the DPs is unlikely to reimburse the OP for bad fitment. No matter how you look at this, it's crappy situation that I'm sure both the OP and Birds would have liked to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevese90 View Post
What's so special about taking your car to birds? If you don't mind me asking guys except for getting stung by them. I'm pretty sure there are other garages that could do the job for half the cost
It's possible that there may be other garages that will be cheaper and willing to do the work, but whether they have the experience and skills is a different matter. Also are you willing to trust your pride a joy to someone you don't know? I been to other places to see some apprentice jump in my car and launch it down the road when he was just supposed to drive it around back. Let me put it this way, I haven't been back to that place.

It's really a matter of finding the right balance. Birds are not trying to be the cheapest in the market or fit parts for mate's rates. They have a business to run and employees to pay. Don't get me wrong I would love to have someone like Darren Wood down here, but that's just not the case. While driving up to Manchester is an option, then the time & fuel only makes it an option for large items.
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Last edited by 335rocks; 03-10-2013 at 07:12 PM.
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      03-08-2013, 07:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTheManc View Post
I was quoted £150 (3hrs labour) to fit downpipes by Darren Wood last week. £900 is taking the milk.
Now that is dammnn tempting!! =[
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      03-08-2013, 08:24 PM   #21
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Ouch.

That has got a bit out of control.
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      03-09-2013, 02:07 AM   #22
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Hope you get it sorted. I've used Birds twice and had exceptional service both times (LSD and Intercooler).

Downpipes can be a pain to fit, I had my local garbage fit mine (AR design Catted). We agreed a price upfront, it ended up taking him a whole day because he had to make some mild alterations to the pipes due to fitting issues. I gave him extra £££ when he finally turned up with his arms covered in scratches and looked knackered!!

I also previously sold set off uncatted AR pipes on eBay. I bought them off a forum member here but changed my mind and wanted Catted pipes instead. The chap that bought them contacted me because he had problems with fitting issues too, so even if you pay extra for AR design items there's no guarantee it will be straight fowards!! (Both my Catted and Uncatted AR pipes were for RHD cars).

Hopefully you can speak to Kevin Bird and get a reasonable outcome.
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