Is a more expensive install worth it?

J. Forbes

Member
May 24, 2010
164
Houston
So is a more expensive install really always the best? :p


We are installing Kussmaul Auto Ejects for a local PD because all of there patrol units are not starting after sitting for 8 hours. We did not do the installs, but here is what we are finding on what they have told us are $1800 installs.


Speaker installed facing backwards behind the bumper:


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00734.jpg


Dome Light secured with double sided tape:


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00736.jpg


ALPR CPU secured to rear partition - Also notice the seatbelt is routed behind the partition mount making it inopperable:


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00735.jpg
 
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Respondcode3

Member
May 23, 2010
1,936
Northen Il USA
If their work is anything like their wiring, I bet the 8 hr draw has something to do with the install. They need a chargeguard to time out whatever the draw is. I did a kussmall in the grille of PI's for a department that insisted on it, It went to a trickle charger under the hood. What a pain in the ass.
 
Nov 21, 2010
440
Pelican Rapids, MN
You do get what you pay for. Different markets will influence these costs and the most expensive isn't always the best either. I feel that in my area I am the best, but not the most expensive. $1800 is average for my tear-down and up-fit and they are top notch (pat self on back). Batteries dying in 8 hours points to a very poorly designed power distribution system. A kassmall would be a band-aid that may limp you along until the vehicle is decommissioned. Shouldn't be necessary though. I run into this all the time and all I can say is to find an actual "professional" up-fitter, have ample communication about what is expected or required and you will not have these kinds of issues. The pictures in your post are a complete embarrassment and I can't believe people charge money to do this crap.
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,595
Northwest Ohio
Respondcode3 said:
If their work is anything like their wiring, I bet the 8 hr draw has something to do with the install. They need a chargeguard to time out whatever the draw is. I did a kussmall in the grille of PI's for a department that insisted on it, It went to a trickle charger under the hood. What a pain in the ass.


+1, install fail is causing the battery drain for sure. The backwards speaker is dangerous...


A quality install is worth quality money..... an install isn't worth even a "cheap price" if it's of poor quality.
 
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EVModules

Member
May 16, 2010
864
Deer Park, WA
Most installations can be worthless unless the upfitter sits down with the customer to learn what it is expected from the vehicle. Sometimes some vehicles needs a basic delay timer, some needs a dual battery system, while still others would require a Kussmaul system. Most often, I've gotten quote requests with dual battery systems because they were led to believe it's the best way to go but upon learning more about the working environment that the vehicle and the equipments will go into. With those cases, they were pleasantly surprised to learn that they only need a less expensive alternate.


I also feel that it's the upfitter's responsibility to be knowledgeable of the vehicle code and advise them accordingly. For example, flashbacks are illegal in California because it does not permit flashing white lights to the rear.


Forbes, hang on those pictures and place them in your shop for potential customers to see!
 

J. Forbes

Member
May 24, 2010
164
Houston
The background on this deptartment is that they were using a mobile installer who created most of the problems with the parasitic draw. Then they were using another who tried to fix it, but did not. Then they started using a local radio shop for the complete installation. We are now cleaning up three companies messes.


The depart doesn't want to spend the money to yank everything and have it done properly. So here we are......They delivered the Kussmaul units and vehicles. We were given permission to fix "safety issues" ie the seat belt and speaker.


Well all that we were allowed to fix has been completed. Total time in the shop = 1.5 hours. The scary thing is that they used the correct speaker bracket, but mounted it incorrectly.


I guess they just did not care to do it correctly. Would have taken them less time to do it correctly.


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00741.jpg


Here is the auto eject:


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00745.jpg
 
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cajunblitz

Member
May 20, 2010
1,217
Saint Martin Parish LA
J. Forbes said:
The depart doesn't want to spend the money to yank everything and have it done properly.

They are so dumb. For real.


That department could have spent less money to have it done right the first time by a knowledgeable reputable dealer installer had they taken the time to be educated in the first place. I bet anything when they're going to need something done again they won't remember who pointed out all of the potential hazards and poor quality of their installs, and then fixed them.


Many of these dumb departments suffer from "battered install syndrome".....No matter how bad the installs are, they just keep going back for more. They must like taking it up the ass.


Your tax dollars at work.....
 

wolfman

Member
May 21, 2010
466
Scranton, PA
cajunblitz said:
Many of these dumb departments suffer from "battered install syndrome".....No matter how bad the installs are, they just keep going back for more. They must like taking it up the ass.

Cajun, always loved your installs, now I love your quotes! This is the best!


I have local departments that keep buying 'fully' upfitted vehicles from fleet providers that then come to me only days later to have me set up the vehicles 'just like they want'. It almost takes me as long to undo and redo what they get from fleet providers than it would have been for me to install everything the way they wanted if I did the full job. Not that I am complaining as I end up making more in labor fixing problems than I would have made quoting the full job + equipment and materials as they normally get cut a break in install fees if they buy a turnkey solution from my company.


wolfman
 

cory y

Member
May 21, 2010
1,614
You know, If i have 2 customers that want the exact same thing but one is willing to spend extra cash than the other, does not vary the quality of the work.


Some companies get the mindframe of "well hes only gonna get a $XXX.XX worth of quality"


thats bull and soo wrong.


the quality of my work is not $ dependant


what is $ dependant is the amount of stuff installed.
 

Fast LT1

New Member
May 24, 2010
2,017
Sedgwick County, KS
If i ever decide to pay someone to do an install for me it will be Cajunblitz and only cajun!
 

VolEms

Member
May 24, 2010
2,109
NY, USA
I have seen many lazy installers who install the speaker so they wont have to take off the bumper even if its louder inside the vehicle then out. If you use your lights and siren on a daily baisis you need to get a good installer. I have a friend who did a install by a dishonest guy , the installer blew a good 200watt siren then told the him it was broken and he needed to buy a new one which he did.
 

DaveCN5

Member
May 22, 2010
703
South East Michigan
Fast LT1 said:
If i ever decide to pay someone to do an install for me it will be Cajunblitz and only cajun!

Not to be devil's advocate, but we have some other great installers on this site. Cajunblitz isn't the only one. Cajunblitz, EVModules, Hugh A, Joe P, Seth (don't remember user name) all do excellent work as well and I would trust any of them to do my install. No offense to anyone else, those are the ones that really just stick out in my mind.
 

cajunblitz

Member
May 20, 2010
1,217
Saint Martin Parish LA
wolfman said:
Cajun, always loved your installs, now I love your quotes! This is the best!
wolfman

Thanks wolfman.


This subject always gets my blood boiling. I also like to use the expression "in this and any business, there is always a cheaper whore around the corner".


Given a choice, which one do you think is going to give you the most bang for your buck,....the professional,... very experienced,... fatally attractive high priced penthouse escort, or the $20 toothless crack addict looking for her next fix through quick tricks? Keep in mind you're paying them both the same $1800.00 for the job!


And oh yeah, in the case of the $20 toothless crack addict.....you can polish that turd all you want......it's still a turd.


Blade Runner, it's a shame you paid good money for a poor quality job, but your experience brings me to another issue. Just because it's a "big box big name" company, it doesn't mean you're going to get the best job. For years in the car audio industry, I watched people dump money into trash jobs at the "Circuit Citys" of the industry because they perceived them to be the specialists. Boy were they disappointed to find out who the real specialists were only after they were bothered to be educated in the difference.


In this day where there is a snake in every crevice just waiting to bite, folks should do their homework before putting the money out. I've got customers right now that have told me on more than one occasion that if I wasn't the one building their cars, they would not be doing business with my employer. I've got customers that now drive 2 hours each way to bring me their units. These customers have been "snakebit" by other local companies substandard work long enough.


Fast LT1, I am graciously humbled and flattered. I have had many folks make that same statement, and that is what makes what I do and how I do it worth it all. DaveCN5 is right. There are so many great installers on this site, it makes me very proud to be a member among these guys that take a lot of pride in what they do.


Here are a few of the quotes I like to set my standards by.


"The cheapest price is not always the best deal."


"Just because they can do it faster, it doesn't mean they do it better."


"There is never enough time to do it right, but always time to do it over."


"Look before you leap."


"Just because I can do it for that, it doesn't mean I will."


The original thread title asks, "Is a more expensive install worth it?" My answer is, "it depends on who is doing the install."
 

Respondcode3

Member
May 23, 2010
1,936
Northen Il USA
Sad to say in this economy departments are trying to save a buck and they will take the cheap shit to just get the car out on the road. Its noting against the quality of the installs of the better shop. It comes down to just cutting corners. When the Chief can spend $800 for an install vs. $1800. He someitmes cant justify to the bean counters that the extra $1000 is worth it.
 

Fast LT1

New Member
May 24, 2010
2,017
Sedgwick County, KS
DaveCN5 said:
Not to be devil's advocate, but we have some other great installers on this site. Cajunblitz isn't the only one. Cajunblitz, EVModules, Hugh A, Joe P, Seth (don't remember user name) all do excellent work as well and I would trust any of them to do my install. No offense to anyone else, those are the ones that really just stick out in my mind.


I haven't seen their work in person, as i have Cajun's and i was extremely impressed! Plus he is the closest out of all of them i think.


And to wolfman, yea he really does have some kick ass quotes!
 

EVModules

Member
May 16, 2010
864
Deer Park, WA
Kudos to the other professional installers. There's an upcoming one that should be in the ranks of the greats, Code4services does great work judging from his install pictures and his knowledge so keep him in mind if you're in his area.


One good way to judge a good installation shop is to see how busy they are. We get so busy that we never replaced the sales guy after he retired. 3-4 months wait for an upfit wasn't uncommon.
 
Nov 21, 2010
440
Pelican Rapids, MN
EVModules said:
Kudos to the other professional installers. There's an upcoming one that should be in the ranks of the greats, Code4services does great work judging from his install pictures and his knowledge so keep him in mind if you're in his area.

One good way to judge a good installation shop is to see how busy they are. We get so busy that we never replaced the sales guy after he retired. 3-4 months wait for an upfit wasn't uncommon.

Thanks Sean! (and I am very busy)
 
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bpollard

Member
Jun 13, 2010
390
USA, SC
Obviously quality work is necessary, and merits a fair price.


I have a question. How can crappy wiring drain the battery? I understand mis-sized wiring can be unsafe, and cause your equipment to not work right or even damage it, etc. poor connections can heat up, and all that. But if a circuit is open, in other words the lights and siren and stuff is switched off, then there is no current. If something is shorted to ground, your going to pop a fuse or smoke the wiring (maybe the whole vehicle).


Just wondering


Bob
 

J. Forbes

Member
May 24, 2010
164
Houston
On this car there is a video system, remote radio, remote siren, radar, docking station, and ticket printer that are all connected directly to the battery. All of these draw power even when the car is off. They are connected to the factory power point under the console, in the rear compartment, and additional power run to the battery [Four eight guage wires].


Nothing is connected to an ignition input.
 

EVModules

Member
May 16, 2010
864
Deer Park, WA
bpollard said:
Obviously quality work is necessary, and merits a fair price.

I have a question. How can crappy wiring drain the battery? I understand mis-sized wiring can be unsafe, and cause your equipment to not work right or even damage it, etc. poor connections can heat up, and all that. But if a circuit is open, in other words the lights and siren and stuff is switched off, then there is no current. If something is shorted to ground, your going to pop a fuse or smoke the wiring (maybe the whole vehicle).


Just wondering


Bob

Bob,


It's not so much as the physical aspects of the installation regarding wire size, quality of crimp, etc. It's mainly the functions that are desired with the right connections to the right circuit. There are more equipment nowdays that have parasite draws and/or are connected to ignition systems. Good examples are computers, two-way radios, video recording systems, flashlight chargers, K-9 monitoring systems and such. A good installer will identify equipments with excessive power drains and wire them appropriately to delay timers to have them shut down completely after a set number of hours, more so if they are connected to delay timers that actually watches the voltage levels and cut them off when they reach too low regardless of the time settings. That's besides a number of things a good installer needs to be familiar with such as park kill, using relays to create "if-then" logics, amperage, etc at the same time not overdoing things with reference to cost like too big a wire size when it's uncalled for.


This is one aspects of many which a good installer needs to be mindful of to outfit the vehicle to meet the needs of that particular agency/customer as there are no one-size-fits-all. Sometimes with the same equipment & car, a dual battery setup is needed for the rural officer while a simple delay timer will suit the city officer just fine.


With every new installation, I am clueless as to what's the best setup unless I learn precisely what conditions the vehicle will endure and a good upfitter will know this. I can't tell you how many times I've said "depends" to many questions that are thrown my way with regards to what's best for them out there. Can't say much unless I get more info.
 

J. Forbes

Member
May 24, 2010
164
Houston
cajunblitz said:
They are so dumb. For real.

That department could have spent less money to have it done right the first time by a knowledgeable reputable dealer installer had they taken the time to be educated in the first place. I bet anything when they're going to need something done again they won't remember who pointed out all of the potential hazards and poor quality of their installs, and then fixed them.


Many of these dumb departments suffer from "battered install syndrome".....No matter how bad the installs are, they just keep going back for more. They must like taking it up the ass.


Your tax dollars at work.....

Sean,


You know the deal with departments like this.....


We have been trying to get their busines for more than a year. A few months ago they actually called us from our competitors shop to ask our advise on which partition to buy. We did not get the business, but here we are fixing an install on a car with just over 500 miles.


What do they say about leading a horse to water? We did provide a professional experience while showing what we would have done differently and our suggestions on how and where equipment should have been installed.
 

cajunblitz

Member
May 20, 2010
1,217
Saint Martin Parish LA
J. Forbes said:
Sean,

You know the deal with departments like this.....


We have been trying to get their busines for more than a year. A few months ago they actually called us from our competitors shop to ask our advise on which partition to buy. We did not get the business, but here we are fixing an install on a car with just over 500 miles.


What do they say about leading a horse to water? We did provide a professional experience while showing what we would have done differently and our suggestions on how and where equipment should have been installed.


I hear you my friend!


They called you from the competitor to ask what to buy huh? That's some balls on those guys man! I'm hoping they took away a valuable lesson from your professional experience, but you never know with these idiots. Kind of like a plastic surgery patient on a butcher table in Mexico calling the elite surgeon in the States he got his quote from to ask advice on how the butcher shop should perform the surgery......that gets my goat man!

J. Forbes said:
showing what we would have done differently and our suggestions on how and where equipment should have been installed.

Sometimes doing that can backfire for me because the department or its Fleet Manager are embarrassed with their decisions and want to save face to their superiors....you know, they don't want to look like morons who spent $1800.00 on a shit install that was pointed out to be dangerous and incorrectly done!


Remember those 2 Military Police Impalas I called you about recently? Those dingdongs wasted all kinds of time getting me to quote them on a quality job with quality equipment, and then went down the road to the "cheaper whore" for a quote. The funny thing is, the "cheaper whore" calls us and wants to know what we will charge to subcontract the labor to them with their provided equipment. See, they can sell the shit cheaper, but they can't install it at all! Can you guess what I quoted them for labor?


I hope your time with them proves profitable. My dad used to spend hours educating guys on how to use electronic fishfinders, and they'd thank him for his time, walk out and down to Wal-mart to buy it cheaper, and then return for us to install it. We made real good money on those installs my friend!


You can tell this kind of dumb customer behavior really gets my juices going!


Anyway, off rant!
 
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ryan

Member
May 20, 2010
2,995
Massillon, Ohio
My quote which is on my business cards, Either bring it to me first, or bring it to me last but either way You will come to Vehicle Solutions.


And our motto "We move traffic"
 

usdemt

Member
May 21, 2010
195
Vermillion SD
I really need to start taking before and after pictures of some of the stuff I have fixed around here to show to potential customers. There is 2 main places that come to mind, one even worse than the other. Some departments have caught onto this but others are slowly learning after seeing that their are quality places out there.


One of the places I refer to as the fire shop, they actually sell radios and think they can install lights but I have found numerous instances of their work with no fuses and the tape and pray method seems to be their only way of connecting wires. I spent hours one time fixing a fire truck that had everything fused off of the 80 amp master, that was it. And the high beams didnt work but they didnt know why, well the prayers ran out and the wires werent connected for the HLF. They also used a 3 inch wood screw to secure the main unit of a remote mount radio in a cop car. The screw went straight through the trunk and into the gas tank. They did this not once but to 3 different cars and even worse was that they had already found and bought a new gas tank for the first before doing the same thing to the next 2 cars that came in a week later.
 

EVModules

Member
May 16, 2010
864
Deer Park, WA
I can say this much to you guys that are in the same boat, dealing with some potential customers who may find it hard to admit their shortcomings. I'm sure many of you don't need to be told this but just as a reminder, don't come forward with a "see-I-told-you-so" attitude but rather be professional in all aspects and this will reflect your business as a whole. If you must, vent it out with your spouse, close friend, on here referring to them as "Customer X" but don't give any hint of ridicule no matter how bad it was with them.


I have seen my newer customers turn beet red with embarrassment when I have pointed out installation incompetences so be sensitive when pointing them out by identifying the problem, potential officer safety issues, and follow through in the same professional tone with a solution that you and your company can provide, as if you've seen worse. To them, it's like being afraid to go to the dentist partly because you don't want to be "tsk tsk'd" at or hear it from the mechanic who hollers out to you in a waiting room full of people that your brakes are past worn and your air filter is in shreds, especially if you're sitting next to a hot chick who was about to hand you her phone number.


With this in mind, you'd be moving mountains. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to arrange installation for two die-hard customers who won't go anywhere else despite the fact that we're 1500 miles apart.


Psst, that chick story? She never called me back.
 

USAFK9

Member
Jun 5, 2010
306
NY
exactly +1

cajunblitz said:
They are so dumb. For real.

That department could have spent less money to have it done right the first time by a knowledgeable reputable dealer installer had they taken the time to be educated in the first place. I bet anything when they're going to need something done again they won't remember who pointed out all of the potential hazards and poor quality of their installs, and then fixed them.


Many of these dumb departments suffer from "battered install syndrome".....No matter how bad the installs are, they just keep going back for more. They must like taking it up the ass.


Your tax dollars at work.....
 

pdk9

Member
May 26, 2010
3,832
New York & Florida
it's really sad/pathetic that nobody from the department did a legit. lookover of the vehicle before receiving it from the installer/letting it leave the installer's hands. i honestly don't know how someone thinks that it's ok to mount a siren speaker facing the engine block, leave wiring and electronics exposed on the prisoner side of the partition, and interfere with the seatbelt
 

RolnCode3

Member
May 21, 2010
322
Sacramento, CA
J. Forbes said:
So is a more expensive install really always the best? :p

We are installing Kussmaul Auto Ejects for a local PD because all of there patrol units are not starting after sitting for 8 hours. We did not do the installs, but here is what we are finding on what they have told us are $1800 installs.


Speaker installed facing backwards behind the bumper:


ai153.photobucket.com_albums_s217_jf4683_th_DSC00734.jpg
I still laugh at that speaker (ours were never installed backwards, but they usually were completely buried in the bodywork). "Hey Chief, these new sirens are SOOO loud. But nobody can understand what I say on the PA."
 

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