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  #101  
Old November 11th, 2015, 11:17 PM
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Az. yes there is a sticky thread in the Defender Technical Discussions section. It is called the "[Un]Official Where to Get Your Rover Fixed Thread."
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  #102  
Old November 12th, 2015, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Daddymow View Post
Az. yes there is a sticky thread in the Defender Technical Discussions section. It is called the "[Un]Official Where to Get Your Rover Fixed Thread."
Yup. I know it exists. Unfortunately it's not very popular (there's a couple of posts from September and before that June - the total number of posts on this week-old thread exceeds the other one) and it's usually populated by people asking for a referral in a specific location. Imagine the reverse: list populated by providers with a description of their capabilities, area served, referrals. Does not have to be complex, just organized. At some point someone started added all names to a wiki page, but that has long been abandoned.

Anyway. I think it would be useful.
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  #103  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:02 AM
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ECR is not expensive, and you don't need to go there to get good work done. Reputable shops doing restoration work bill time and materials. A good shop like ECR will ensure you're getting good value from the time you are paying for - they're not learning on your truck or underbidding to get your business and then failing to deliver because they bid too low.

There are lots of good shops, ECR isn't the only one.

And no one stocks ALL parts needed for a restoration, that's ridiculous. ECR is known for their stash, but that is a huge investment in capital for a well-established shop, and even they are going to have to order some stuff in.
Very well put Jim. ECR, and a handful of others are an example of a partnership of good business practices, along with good mechanical and restorative skills, and vision.

Having mechanical skills and a passion for Rovers doesn't mean you can easily make a living at it as a proprietor. Just as there are lots of business people that don't know anything about being a mechanic, there are lots of mechanics that know nothing about business. There's more to it than just getting a hoist and putting a sign in the window. Just like there is more to being a mechanic than buying a box of tools.

Being a successful business person is not easy, then add geographical challenges of parts availability faced in the Americas, (the issues with parts costs, exchange, duties, taxes, shipping, timing etc.) staffing, scheduling, equipment, sales, inventory, training. On top of it all, this market is VERY limited.

The odds of success are pretty slim, but there are a few that have combined the required skills, talent and experience to make it work. Due your diligence and seek them out. Ask questions, lots of them, ask for references, look at previous projects.

If you are having a large scale restoration done, ask for a project plan and a budget. Lack of proper planning and budgeting is a recipe for disaster. If you were going to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a home reno, would you just put down the money with out seeing any sort of budget and plans?
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  #104  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:50 AM
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Buyer beware is a very deep statement isn't it?

Due diligence is usually much more than checking the facts that you are aware of. It's also making sure you know the applicable facts to check. That's the hard part.

I've personally made more mistakes in this regard than I can count. But at the end of the day hopefully there are lessons learned and they can be applied to get you ahead of the game again.
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  #105  
Old November 12th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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Isn't there a happy middle, though?

I get trying to do work yourself. But that's not always realistic. Therefore a review system or a list or a section for register/comments would make sense.

I work in cancer. Obviously I would never tell someone to "do it yourself," no matter how skilled they are at other stuff. In cancer we are reviewed, scrutinized, analyzed ten ways 'til Sunday by patients, colleagues, nurses and reviewers. If we suck at what we do then patients go elsewhere and other doctors stop referring. Same goes for dozens of other professions, from plumbers to piano teachers.

Why can we not have something like that in our forum? Yes, i get that sometimes you'll do your own work. And that's great. But in those cases where you can't or don't want to do it yourself, wouldn't it be great to be able to determine who is good and not so good? Who is reasonably priced and who isn't? Who meet their timelines and who don't?
I am curious, is there a cancer fan bandwagon? I am sure there are cancer forums, but do people who have never gotten treatment, or never personally known anyone who has, out there referring patients to specific doctors? Because that happens all the time here. That's OK with plumbers and piano tuners.




Maybe we need a series of youtube videos in the spirit of Spike TV's "To Catch a Contractor" show.
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  #106  
Old November 12th, 2015, 11:08 AM
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I am curious, is there a cancer fan bandwagon? I am sure there are cancer forums, but do people who have never gotten treatment, or never personally known anyone who has, out there referring patients to specific doctors? Because that happens all the time here. That's OK with plumbers and piano tuners.




Maybe we need a series of youtube videos in the spirit of Spike TV's "To Catch a Contractor" show.
There is definitively a cancer fan bandwagon. There are very famous oncologists and surgeons that get quoted and referred to even by people who have never had cancer and have never had a relative/close one treated. I guess it's human nature to try to help others even if it means stretching the extent of one's own knowledge.

Cancer surgery is a perfect example of where a referral system works great because the outcome of a cancer surgery is perfectly known usually within a week of the procedure. And the way it works is the pathologist will determine if the surgery was successful (i.e., "They got it all") or not, in which case the procedure needs to be repeated (and often times expanded). You can imagine how people with "5 stars" tend to get it all on the first go around, and people with "one star" tend to have bad outcomes. There are no opinions: either you performed a successful procedure or you didn't!

Obviously it's a big stretch to ask plumbers, piano teachers and defender repair shops to stick to the level of accountability of cancer surgeons. The risk is much higher (i.e., someone's life) and the reward is significant (good cancer surgeons do make quite a bit of money), and therefore a referral system has to be both efficient and precise. But there are definitively aspects of restoring/repairing a defender that be measured quantitatively without emotion: was the original timeline met? Was a budget presented and the work completed within a reasonable margin? Was communication regular and efficient? Were issues addressed in a satisfactory manner?

The guys who I've worked on my defender (who are not really active on this forum) undertook a huge risk by working with us because it was an unusual restoration. They presented a budget and a timeline, and every month we go back and look at the originals for reference. Through a multitude of changes and issues we have now spent twice as long and twice as much as originally budgeted (and still have a fair amount to go). But throughout we have come to agreement on every delay, on every addition, on every change. Communication occurs weekly, by phone and email. Always regular, always polite, always complete, always informative. There is no positioning and no BS. My calls are always promptly returned and my concerns addressed. If there were a way to do so, I would give them 5 stars, even my timeline and expense is considerably higher than originally planned. My point is there are professional proficient ways of dealing with crazy customers (i.e., me) and difficult situations (i.e., every single defender restoration) through which cordiality and a good outcome are preserved. IMHO documentation and a way to quantify these matters would be invaluable for all members here...
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  #107  
Old November 12th, 2015, 02:11 PM
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1. This is all predicated on humans making rational decisions.
2. This assumes that the "buyer" will do research and is capable of making not only rational decisions, but is able to aggregate evidence and use that evidence to guide their decision-making.

All this talk of providing effective peer review services is predicated on the idea that the information was not available and did not exist. The problem is that it is only now that all the crap hit the fan. Therefore, in this case, having such a service would not have helped any of the individuals who are now considered "victims".

Therefore, what information was being used by these customers to choose Geared Restoration as opposed to say, SafariHP?

In this case, maybe "Cherbear" chose "Geared Restoration" because she thought "Ash" (what legitimate businessperson uses an alias?) was a young, passionate, and attractive male. Maybe she was attracted to the risk. Cute face. Who knows. Maybe other people chose Ash because they met him in person and they thought he was funny and charismatic.

Let's say, also, that each of these customers knew about legitimate restoration shops (SafariHP, etc) and couldn't afford their rates. Maybe SafariHP actually actively decided against working on their trucks. Therefore, the customer may have economic reasons for not going with legitimate shops.

So therefore, the customer is at least partially responsible for these failures because, potentially:

1. They cannot afford legitimate restoration shops.
2. The legitimate restoration shops actively refuse to work on their trucks because they are basket cases or anticipated that the customer will make problematic demands.
3. They made their decisions despite the availability of data, or made decisions based on "soft" criteria that really have nothing to do with the ability of the shop to deliver on its promises.

None of these would be fixed by providing a service that rated vendors because:

1. Such a service would not have had any negative information on Geared Restoration.
2. Such a service would not have provided downward price pressure necessary for individuals to choose already established shops that they couldn't otherwise afford.
3. This is the obvious one: Services like this already exist and are not used.
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  #108  
Old November 12th, 2015, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
1. This is all predicated on humans making rational decisions.
2. This assumes that the "buyer" will do research and is capable of making not only rational decisions, but is able to aggregate evidence and use that evidence to guide their decision-making.

All this talk of providing effective peer review services is predicated on the idea that the information was not available and did not exist. The problem is that it is only now that all the crap hit the fan. Therefore, in this case, having such a service would not have helped any of the individuals who are now considered "victims".

Therefore, what information was being used by these customers to choose Geared Restoration as opposed to say, SafariHP?

In this case, maybe "Cherbear" chose "Geared Restoration" because she thought "Ash" (what legitimate businessperson uses an alias?) was a young, passionate, and attractive male. Maybe she was attracted to the risk. Cute face. Who knows. Maybe other people chose Ash because they met him in person and they thought he was funny and charismatic.

Let's say, also, that each of these customers knew about legitimate restoration shops (SafariHP, etc) and couldn't afford their rates. Maybe SafariHP actually actively decided against working on their trucks. Therefore, the customer may have economic reasons for not going with legitimate shops.

So therefore, the customer is at least partially responsible for these failures because, potentially:

1. They cannot afford legitimate restoration shops.
2. The legitimate restoration shops actively refuse to work on their trucks because they are basket cases or anticipated that the customer will make problematic demands.
3. They made their decisions despite the availability of data, or made decisions based on "soft" criteria that really have nothing to do with the ability of the shop to deliver on its promises.

None of these would be fixed by providing a service that rated vendors because:

1. Such a service would not have had any negative information on Geared Restoration.
2. Such a service would not have provided downward price pressure necessary for individuals to choose already established shops that they couldn't otherwise afford.
3. This is the obvious one: Services like this already exist and are not used.

Ed,

You make some very valid points, and those may very well be enough to bury the proposed concept of an effective rating system, especially #3 above (those services exist and no one uses them).

I have to say though, in my experience those information services were deficient at best. Before commissioning my restoration to the shop I chose, which was not a traditional LR shop (-- now they're becoming one, I think in no small part because of what they learned through the experience of working on my truck), but rather a 4x4 specialist, I explored these pages for hours on end. The information available was disjointed, emotional and not actionable because there was no common criteria to rate vendors. I PM'd various long time members who gave me their opinions and stories and in the end spent dozens of hours and I was no better than when I started. So i went with the guys I knew and elected to take a risk on working with someone I knew and trusted on a platform that was not their specialty (i.e. Defender vs. Land Cruisers and Jeeps). As I said before, they learned with me (and I knew that would be the case) and others will likely benefit from that learning in the future.

Would I have gone with someone else? Maybe. If I had an objective rating system that gave me an idea of not only quality but also numbers (having 100 customers with a 4 star rating is more informative than having 2 customers with 5 stars) I would have been able to better gauge my options, and not make a decision based solely on risk minimization.

This may very well be a theoretical exercise and never materialize (very much like any defender restoration project!!!). So I would be much more interested in your second point above: would people be willing to share their experiences not only when the fecal matter hits the spinning ventilator, but also when they're fully satisfied with their experience. And would others then follow up with opinions from reviewers... maybe I'll start another thread on the subject later (and get back to work for now!)
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  #109  
Old November 12th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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A public rating forum for vendors is the wrong approach. That invites, as you said, astroturfed and illegitimate reviews. Consider this instead: first, forget about community-submitted reviews. Instead, have a sticky that only moderators can post in or edit. To make this impartial, forget all about positive reviews and focus only on the most egregious bad vendors. The thread serves as a warning to the readers and is (hopefully) impartially edited by mods based on their assessment of vendor problems that have been hashed out on the board. Again, only the worst vendors make the list--the ULCs, the Arkoniks, etc. It has to be done carefully in a way that doesn't libel the vendors. I plan on doing this for DiscoWeb but I'm not sure about the right verbiage yet. I might call it the "list of troubled vendors" and say that these vendors are not recommended by the owners of the site because of multiple complaints from members.
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  #110  
Old November 12th, 2015, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Azarur View Post
There is definitively a cancer fan bandwagon. There are very famous oncologists and surgeons that get quoted and referred to even by people who have never had cancer and have never had a relative/close one treated. I guess it's human nature to try to help others even if it means stretching the extent of one's own knowledge.
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  #111  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chris snell View Post
Again, only the worst vendors make the list--the ULCs, the Arkoniks, etc. It has to be done carefully in a way that doesn't libel the vendors. I plan on doing this for DiscoWeb but I'm not sure about the right verbiage yet. I might call it the "list of troubled vendors" and say that these vendors are not recommended by the owners of the site because of multiple complaints from members.
I hear you Chris (although I promised I would quit this and get back to work! Can't. Stop. Myself!). But isn't just reporting bad guys part of the problem? At the end, the bad guys are easier to identify (quick search, mountain of poop, move on) and people are more likely to report on bad behavior. But how about finding the good guys? That's significantly more difficult. I know this thread started because of problems reported by a couple of members that had bad experiences, but the far more common need goes like this:
"I want A/C on my D90. Who do I go to that is near XYZ?"
Discussion ensues, loudest people dominate the thread, vendor defends himself. More rocks fly. No one knows what reality is, and more important HOW MANY TIMES has that particular reality occurs.

Like I said before, maybe this is theoretical and impractical (so why am I still arguing?!?!? MUST STOP NOW) but wouldn't a GOOD shop have many positive reviews? Isn't that a good sign? Yea, maybe they'll also have a couple of loud negative reviews, but wouldn't the sheer number of positive ones down out the bad ones?

So how about this:
- Only verified customers get to post (How do you do the verification, who manages it? I have no clue...)
- Only one post per repair or project
- Specific quantitative metrics on certain items (Closeness to budget, timeline, quality of communication, quality of work).
- Maximum 100 word review

Why wouldn't that work (assuming you can verify service somehow... again theoretically...)?
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  #112  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:31 PM
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I think you have a comprehensive set on the criteria.

Perhaps a method could be used to incentivize participation. The most costly method would be to have an individual research and interview people. The least costly method would be to have people provide this info themselves. Something must be incentivizing participation other than altruism, or the pleasure of self-expression.

One could argue that the possibility of avoiding a bad vendor is enough incentive, but I don't know if the evidence is there.

Perhaps having an advertising certification (a la BBB) that vendors can use, then publishing a guide, would be the best approach. Once a vendor provides poor service, they can be removed from the guide, until some criteria is met for rectifying their business practices.

Part of the issue is that good vendors oftentimes go bad. They might have been good in 2011, but the owner might have gotten into cocaine and prostitutes in Q4 2012, leading to financial problems in Q1 2013. Potential users of the review system should be able to detect when good vendors go bad, preferably prior to the start of their decline.

I guess the question I have is whether or not user-curation of the system is sufficient. Or is it necessary to pay an individual full time to curate such a system, and therefore, existence of the system requires a fee (how it's paid for, I have no idea)
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  #113  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:45 PM
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Part of the issue is that good vendors oftentimes go bad. They might have been good in 2011, but the owner might have gotten into cocaine and prostitutes in Q4 2012, leading to financial problems in Q1 2013.

That's a hell of a quarter.
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  #114  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:55 PM
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Hey, it happens

Another question entirely is why shops aren't required to hold Contract Surety Bonds by the state. I'm no fan of unnecessary regulation, but this industry is just so crammed full of sheisters that some measure of regulation would probably improve it.
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  #115  
Old November 12th, 2015, 05:28 PM
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Just for the record....I am not so shallow as to pick a restoration shop by one of the owners looks and I can absolutely assure my husband does not find Ash attractive. Ron and I spoke with a few shops before deciding where to take my truck. All had come with very positive referrals and in the end we went with who we felt best understood what our vision was. I do agree that sometimes peoples choices are influenced by the strangest things but word of mouth has made or broke the biggest of business as well as the little guys. I am a person who will write a "atta boy" letter just as fast as an "onion letter". I am a person who will root for the underdog or pick the less experienced kid for the team. I believe in investing in people. Everyone has their criteria for picking a business to employ. Its really a crap shoot sometimes no matter the amount of research you do. If you live in an area where the number of shops is low or you are new to the Land Rover Community your even less informed regardless of the amount of research.
I welcome a forum where you can get others opinions and experiences. When we purchased my truck it had a gas and propane engine and since the person we purchased it from was unable to swap out the engine as promised, we got the name of someone in OR who went and picked up my truck and completed the conversion. We never met this person prior, but got a awesome review. We also purchased a engine for Ron's D90 in AZ on a referral when we had huge engine trouble and were stranded in AZ. I believe people are for the most part good and there intentions are honorable. I will not change my beliefs because of a horrible experience but I will do what I can to assure no one else falls prey to an opportunist who takes advantage of others kindness with no regard to anyone's feelings or needs except there own. The buyer must beware yes....... but God help the person who uses and abuses a good persons trust and Land Rover!
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  #116  
Old November 12th, 2015, 06:12 PM
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Out of curiosity, then, why didn't you pick SafariHP, an established shop less than 2 miles from Geared Restoration?

The possible reasons are:

1. They didn't want to restore your truck
2. They cost too much
3. They didn't have time to restore your truck

I can't think of any more.

"Rooting for the underdog" or "Pick the less experienced kid for the team". You aren't Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Give me a break. Look, I feel bad for you, but you are just as slick as Ash in providing little meaningful information with lots of pretty words. I mean for the love of Pete, you just spent a year of tuition at Harvard on this truck?! Help me understand the madness!
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  #117  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:32 PM
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Who is this person that logged in as Ed?
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  #118  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:44 PM
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I'm pretty sure Harvard costs more than Cherie spent....

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  #119  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:53 PM
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Out of curiosity, then, why didn't you pick SafariHP, an established shop less than 2 miles from Geared Restoration? The possible reasons are: 1. They didn't want to restore your truck 2. They cost too much 3. They didn't have time to restore your truck I can't think of any more. "Rooting for the underdog" or "Pick the less experienced kid for the team". You aren't Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Give me a break. Look, I feel bad for you, but you are just as slick as Ash in providing little meaningful information with lots of pretty words. I mean for the love of Pete, you just spent a year of tuition at Harvard on this truck?! Help me understand the madness!

Wow "ED". You seem like a really angry person .....There are people in the world like Sandra Bullock and I happen to be one of them ...and please don't feel bad for me....I have my truck, my parts and a plan. I am far better off than 2 days ago.

As you put it "I have spent a year of tuition at Harvard on my truck " I think you answered your own Question 2 .....I believe that Stephen Peters would have restored my truck if I had asked ......but I can't honestly answer Question 1 since we took it to Geared. Question 3 a unknown as well.

Moving on....first you call me a Train Wreck ...now I am slick like Ash as you said..... What the heck is it? You bash me for speaking out and now you say I am just as bad. Next you insinuate with lots of pretty words that maybe I took my truck to Ash because I found him attractive or some such nonsense. After all that YOU are confused? I am confused .... We took our truck there because we liked what we heard and saw , because I like to eat Oreos or because it was Tuesday ...really what does it matter?

My truck is home ...i have the parts that I paid for... so the only thing lost at this point is trail time....and soon that will not be a issue either ... And hopefully no one else will have the experience I have been living thru for the last 21 months ...safe travels Ed and happy trails......I'm leaving you in my dust
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  #120  
Old November 12th, 2015, 09:19 PM
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Isn't there a happy middle, though?

I get trying to do work yourself. But that's not always realistic. Therefore a review system or a list or a section for register/comments would make sense.

I work in cancer. Obviously I would never tell someone to "do it yourself," no matter how skilled they are at other stuff. In cancer we are reviewed, scrutinized, analyzed ten ways 'til Sunday by patients, colleagues, nurses and reviewers. If we suck at what we do then patients go elsewhere and other doctors stop referring. Same goes for dozens of other professions, from plumbers to piano teachers.

Why can we not have something like that in our forum? Yes, i get that sometimes you'll do your own work. And that's great. But in those cases where you can't or don't want to do it yourself, wouldn't it be great to be able to determine who is good and not so good? Who is reasonably priced and who isn't? Who meet their timelines and who don't?
OK so now I'm really going to offend people but o well....

Difference is most doctors spent 8+ years in school becoming professionals, so when you go to them for help they are much smarter that your average Joe. Most mechanics didn't go to college or pursue higher learning and are turning wrenches and blocking body panels b/c they weren't the sharpest crayons in the box and thats where things ended up there. Yes i am fully aware there are a number of highly trained, skill mechanics out there, but a lot of mechanics/technicians aren't them. And while i consider myself pretty average, i also consider myself more capable than most average mechanics and i would venture to say most people on this forum are in the same boat as me, they just haven't learned to trust themselves yet.

And it comes down to trust. When i was 16 i undertook a head/cam/exhaust swap on a 97 Mustang GT. Not only did i not have the proper tools, space, or any business taking this project on, but it wasn't even my car, it was my friends and neighbors! However i read every how to ever written on the job, memorized the Haynes manual, and took my time (many nights after school for over a month) and learned to trust my abilities. In the end. The job came out perfectly. People need trust in themselves to do this stuff. its not witchcraft its nuts and bolts.

Should there be a way to get someone to do quality work for a fair price? Absolutely. But the chances of you finding that person your first time around is slim, as there are many more shiesters out there than good professional shops. There are a few with great reps. ECR, Matt Browne, Safari HP (that i know of). Either go to them and be willing to spend the money and time or do it yourself. And even then there is a risk things may not go your way. For me, i like to be in control of my own destiny. If things go wrong i can only blame myself.

The other option, which i think would suite most people that end up in these situations better, is by a truck that has already been through a quality resto and you can see exactly what the end result is, instead of taking the risk of doing it yourself. Your going to probably save money and a whole lot of time and headaches in the long run.
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'98 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series
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