I've replaced a lot of these parts on Chrysler products so I can put this repair in perspective. For what you get for your money, the wheel bearing costs about double what the old Chrysler style cost but is about half of the newer style. The more expensive bearing assemblies require much less labor to replace. Yours is sort of a cross between them. It should cost in the area of $100.00, maybe $150.00.
There doesn't seem to be anything unusual about the half shaft, and I found them to cost less than the Chrysler products. A fair price would also be around $100.00 but that is very surprising. I would have expected it to be closer to $150.00 or even as much as $200.00. I can think of four things that can be damaged on a half shaft. One of the two rubber boots could be torn. If it looks like a smashed piece of meat, the mechanic likely did that and the shop should cover the cost of the part. On Chryslers we just replace the boot. On many imports that's a difficult job and it's less expensive to just replace the shaft. If you see grease sprayed around the area of a tear in the boot, it has been doing that for a while and the mechanic didn't cause it.
Second, if the mechanic was in a hurry and using air tools at an inappropriate time, he could have cross-threaded the axle nut and damaged the threads. I saw a fellow do that once many years ago. He was still able to fix the threads but it cost him a lot of wasted time. That is also something the shop should cover.
There's a spring inside the inner cv joint that can break. That's a judgement call if it happened while it was being worked on, because to break, it had to handled somewhat roughly, but if the spring is in good condition, rough handling isn't going to hurt it. In that case it was about to break anyway. Those springs for Chryslers cost $3.00 and take about an hour to replace.
The last thing would be if your vehicle has anti-lock brakes and the wheel speed sensor's tone ring broke. That's another judgement call. Yes, it was working fine when you brought it in, but if it was rusty and about to break on it's own, the normal bumping during other service would hurry that along. If it was not rusty, they can take plenty of pounding and abuse without damage. Until recently those rings were not available unless you found one in a salvage yard. Now we can buy them separately for many vehicles without having to buy the entire half shaft. The shaft still has to be partially removed to replace it.
Again, my experience is from working at a very nice Chrysler dealership for ten years as their suspension and alignment expert, but these parts on your vehicle are very similar in design. A typical repair, leaning toward the high end of the costs, would be $200.00 for the shaft, $200.00 for the bearing, and if I worked slowly, two hours labor. That does not include any time I would have spent trying to repair damage I caused, and it wouldn't include my time to diagnose the original problem you came in for. Most of the time I can explain why you were charged what you were charged. I will never defend a disreputable mechanic or shop. In this case, something is wrong. It should never have taken four days unless they had to special-order a part and wait for it to arrive. Most auto parts stores get parts shipped in from their warehouses in one or two days. The parts you got are typically stocked in most stores. $1300.00 is way too much unless there is something else you didn't tell us or you don't know about. Your bill should include an itemized list of the parts and the labor. I would ask why both are so far out of line with other cars and other shops.
Thursday, January 31st, 2013 AT 3:09 AM