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Unbiased Advice? (Yeah, I know I'm dreamin')

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Bravus, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. So: just got off the phone with my mechanic. My 1988 GSXF400 has done its rings, and it looks liked $1300 or so to get it fixed (it needs a new back disc and a couple of other minor things too). I got it for $2500 and people are trying to sell them on Bikesales for up to 5 grand, so in some ways it might be worthwhile, but of course you then don't know what else might be wrong with it or go wrong.

    If it owed me $3800 or so it would be an expensive old bike and I'd never get all that back, but the other alternative is to sell it to a wrecker (likely for 50 bucks) and kiss my $2.5k goodbye. Because I'm a bit over-stretched financially at the moment I'd then have to get dealer finance to get another bike, and might even struggle a bit to get that.

    The latter would be nice: pick up something for 6 or 7 grand that's a hell of a lot newer and more reliable. After all, I commute every day on it, and have to, so a couple of weeks in the workshop just kills me.

    On the other hand, I really can't afford to blow a bunch of cash at this point, and nor do I want to borrow and get even more over-stretched.

    Apparently there aren't any replacement motors around to put in it either.

    So I guess my questions are about whether $1300 seems reasonable for a top-end rebuild, and about what you might do in my shoes.
  2. Fix, sell, buy something new. But thats me.
  3. Yeah, that's one I hadn't thought of - still risks a bit, but even if the bike owes me $4000 and I can only sell it for $3500 I've still only lost $500, not $2500... And maybe I risk it for a few months to save the cash to buy something newer and better...

    Plenty more ideas would be welcome, though!

    (And damn, there's a nice GSXF750 and a Firestorm I have my eye on!)
  4. Well now you know what's wrong with it, you can ring some other mechanics and ask what they would charge to do the work.

    First quote ain't usually the best :)

    I'd be ringing around for a second opinion.

    2nd step, is to ask around and see if anyone's got a friend who does these kinds of things. They are very rare, but there ARE people who just like working on bikes and will do so for the cost of parts and a case of beer.

    3rd: how difficult is the job?
    Do you have the right tools? Could you do it yourself?

    It might take a bit of learning and a few weekends off the road, but it's usually cheaper to do your own work... unless you screw it up worse ;)
  5. $1300 for a re-build is about right. There will be some variation depending on the labour time taken.

    To do up your ride all round, I would say budget for $2k.

    It should see it back onto the road for a few more years.
  6. I'd love to be able to do the work myself, and have definitely pulled various engines to bits over the years. Sadly, most of them ended up having bits left over when I put them back together! I don't have the right kind of sense of organisation, and I don't have the right tools... and to set me up with the latter would be expensive, and maybe not so point-ful without the former!

    My challenge with second opinions and other approaches is basically that the bike is a daily commuter rather than a weekend blatter, so every day off the road is costing me time and money. Fortunately we at least moved recently to a place where I can get public transport to work, but it takes 90 minutes instead of 20, so I'm pretty keen to get the bike back on the road.

    ...and being a fairly rare import definitely doesn't make life easier!

    Meh, sounds like I'm bagging all your suggestions, Ktulu, and I'm definitely not - lots of good sense there and a variety of useful approaches.
  7. Thanks pro-pilot, that's useful. I'm thinking I'll combine a few of the approaches: get the mechanic to go ahead, but ask him to get back in contact if there's anything screamingly worrying when he splits the motor (gearbox, valves, whatev). Assuming not, get the bike up and running again and ride it over the next few months while saving furiously, then sell privately or trade and get something that's actually younger than my teenagers. ;-)
  8. if you can spare 1300 then do it because your options are this

    1-loose 1,200

    2-gain 5000

    i would fix it then sell it straight away. get a new reliable bike if you're worried about other shit going down.

    if this is the only problem in the time youve had it [say a year or 2] then dont worry about other shit.

    1,300 is pretty cheap for a bike and you wont replace it for that.

    get her fixed and make some money off her, otherwise you're just going to go backwards.

    if you miss 1 payment on a finace deal they will reposes ya bike. its not like a mortage or bank loan, the finance guys want to reposes and they will at the first oportunity, that s the best way for them to make money.

    they finance the same bike to 2 people.

    cheers :cool:
  9. A few comments:

    Firstly, it doesnt sounds like you really trust your mechanic. I would find someone you can trust to give you an honest opinion of the overall condition of the bike, and whether or not it is worth repairing.

    Secondly, the replacement cost of the bike far exceeds the repair costs ($6-7k Vs $1300). If you're using this every day for transport I would think you would get utility from $1300 spent on the bike very quickly.

    Try to treat getting another bike as a separate question, I've been through the same thing recently and having a bike out of action always makes you look for alternatives. Still, you should try and break it down into repairing the bike if it's worth it, and if you want another bike you have to sort the one you've got out first either way.

    Chances are if you do fix it, you'll like it again and want to keep it a while longer.
  10. I would be getting it repaired, mate...It's the cheaper of your options...
    Then...you have a bit of breathing space and some time to think about whether or not you wanna keep it or not.

    I'd probably ride it for a few weeks, see how you feel with it...if you've lost confidence in the bikes ability to keep running without letting you down, then you could sell it.
    Just beware though...that sometimes it's better the devil you know than a replacement which is unknown. I think you will know how you feel about it once a few weeks is up.
  11. The best option would have not buy a bike that needs rings in the first place. Lol.

    $1300 for a top end rebuild is reasonable enough. Check for motors in wreckers interstate as it doesnt cost that much to ship them.
  12. If you sell it and buy another second hand bike, that too could be cacti.

    Fix it, love it.
  13. get it fixed, 1300 is the going rate.

    400 cc bikes are popular due to being a racing class, dont think the GSXF is a good conadidate thou.

    It only costs about 5 bucks to throw it on ebay and see what kind of money people are willing to pay for it once its fixed.

    I sold an unregistered streetfightered GSXR 400 for $3.2k fairly easily.
  14. Thanks again all. I do actually trust my mechanic, Iondah... it's more just that I'm aware of my own lack of knowledge/experience. I wasn't particularly suss of that number, and it sounds like it's normal/fair - I just haven't shopped around enough or done enough with bike repairs recently enough to know.

    So what I've done is asked him to go ahead, but to let me know if he finds anything else too fatal on the way through. My hope is that he can get it humming along enough to keep me going for 6 months and to then sell in good conscience. I expect to have a fair bit more money in a few months than I do now, and to move up to something (much) newer/better.

    And yeah, buying a bike not in need of a top end rebuild would have been favourite! Pitfalls of being a bit short on recent knowledge and also of buying cheap bikes on eBay. ;-) Still, if I get out of it under 4 grand total and it keeps me going for a while, that'd be OK.
  15. Two things, Bravus;

    Don't underestimate the value of spending some time, buying a manual, getting some tools and doing this sort of thing yourself. All the machine work will have to be done by a pro, but a top end rebuild actually isn't that difficult, and a big part of the cost is labour. You can save yourself that cost if you're determined.

    Having said that, if you're just not up for it, that's your choice. And I understand that downtime may not be an option with a bike that's your daily commuter.

    Once you're past all this, get yourself a common as dog pooh, do-everything, locally-sold bike with a reputation for reliability. I picked up a ZZR600 - they won't set the world on fire, but I paid well under 4 grand, it'll do distance, commuting and light sporty stuff, parts are cheap and the buggers run forever.

    Hope this is some help.


  16. Two things, Bravus;

    Don't underestimate the value of spending some time, buying a manual, getting some tools and doing this sort of thing yourself. All the machine work will have to be done by a pro, but a top end rebuild actually isn't that difficult, and a big part of the cost is labour. You can save yourself that cost if you're determined.


    Though my choice would probably be a Suzuki of some description entirely based on personal preference.