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So last fall I picked up a 91 Notch roller. It was the exact color I always wanted (Wild Strawberry,) the frame is tied, has 4.10 gears, and is rust-free. It needs a little body work and a fresh coat of paint, but hey, I got a good deal, and it was a factory V8/5 speed. I kept a close eye on Craigslist, forums, and Facebook groups looking for an engine. I ended up finding a 302 from an Explorer with GT40P heads and an early (AA) intake. It had 70k on it, and I got it for a steal. Around the time that I picked up the engine, my neighbor bought half ownership in a performance shop in the area. I was planning on tearing the engine down, and having the cylinders honed (permitting they were in good condition,) forged pistons and rods put in (in case I throw boost at it later,) and having a valve job/spring upgrade done on the heads. I was going to take the short block and heads to a really reputable shop in the area, but neighbor insisted I let his shop do the work. They specialize in LS performance, but he assured me all these guys used to race Mustangs back in the day. I even felt better when I showed up to the shop and one of the guys was able to ID the heads by a quick glance.

I told them exactly what I wanted done. He said it was pretty straightforward, that he'd hone the cylinders or bore over if needed, throw forged rods and pistons in, do the valve job and upgrade the springs, and put a TFS stage 2 cam in. Rough estimate: $2k-$2500. He said he'd call me in about a week once he was able to get the engine torn down and take a look at it. A week later I got a phone call with my options:

1. Basic rebuild - new cam, gaskets, and valve springs. $2500. He said that the cylinders were in good shape, and suggested against changing the pistons as the stock pistons and cylinders had a mating wear pattern (completely against the point of why I wanted to rebuild in the first place.) Yes, that's right... $2500 for $500 in parts.

2. Performance - they tear it down, machine the block and build a 347 stroker for $5k. This would include a custom ground cam, and FRPP aluminum heads. They'd use a cast Eagle or SCAT rotating assembly. I'd get the Explorer intake and GT40P heads back, as obviously they'd do me no good on a stroker. This would also come with a 30k mile warranty.

3. Balls to the wall - same as the performance build, but with all forged internals. $7200. This should've been my first clue, as going from cast to forged pistons, rods and crank isn't $2200.

Well, after very, very carefully pitching this to the wife, we decided the performance build was actually a good deal, so we went up to the shop to give the go-ahead and pay up front for the parts. I noticed my engine sitting off to the side of the shop, completely assembled. I thought that was weird... why would you tear an engine down, then completely reassemble it, only to tear it down again for the build? The guy (other half of the business) double checked that I was going EFI, and wanted to know what intake I was going with, so he could have the cam spec'd out for the custom grind. When we were going back over what I was getting, he also said that he was using Keith Black pistons. I didn't think of this till I pulled out my notes from when I talked to him earlier, but he originally said Eagle or SCAT.

A week later I get a phone call that my engine was picked ready... and good news.. they got a new engine for the same price as the build, so I could have my old engine back to sell and recoup costs. Wait.. what? You ordered me a crate motor? That's not what we agreed on. He assured me that it wasn't a crate motor. He was ordering the parts from his dealer (Pace Performance,) and they said they had a block they had machined for a customer, but was never picked up. It was an older, higher nickel casting, too. They offered to assemble it with the parts that were being ordered for $4700 and ship it to the shop. Well, the shop agreed to this without ever checking with me first. This pissed me off at first, but hey, if it's still all the same parts, what's the difference. Another thing that I should mention, my warranty was now going to be with Pace Performance, since they built the engine. They're out of Ohio, definitely not local. I wanted to pick it up last weekend, but it was stuck in a corner behind a car that had the whole drivetrain dropped out of it. Once they got that out of the way, my neighbor actually surprised me this morning with it by dropping it in his truck and bringing it over.

I had some errands with the wife, so I wasn't able to check it out much. I just unwrapped it though and gave it a look over. The first thing of note is that there are valve covers for a carbonated engine on it. That's my first red flag. It was confirmed multiple times that I'm going EFI. If this was custom spec'd just for me, why are there carb valve covers on it? The next thing of note.... These are definitely FRPP heads. They are complete smooth, nothing engraved/cast into them at all. These are no-name heads. Looking at the valve covers, too, these are the EXACT ones they use on the Blueprint crate motors. The build sheet wasn't dropped off with the motor, so I have to try and get ahold of that tomorrow, but all signs are pointing to this being a crate motor, which has me pretty annoyed. I paid for a build, and that's what I expect. Not a budget crate motor made with no-name parts.

TL;DR - I paid to have a stroker built, but received what I'm pretty sure is a budget crate motor.
 

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Yeah, so last I was out looking over the engine, showing my wife what I was unhappy about. Then she spotted it... very faintly cast into the back of one of the heads was "Blueprint Engines." I've got a message in with the guy that stiffed me with this crate motor, but haven't heard back yet.
 

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Let me preface by saying by saying it's not my neighbor that's screwing me over, it's the co-owner of the shop. I'm pretty sure my neighbor's just investment capital.

Anyway, I was able to connect with the guy today. He acted shocked that it's a Blueprint engine, and assured me that wasn't what he ordered. He asked me to take pictures when I got home, and he was going to talk to the guy he ordered the engine from. Well when I got home, he was over my neighbors, so I caught up with him. He said he talked to the guy he ordered the engine from, and admitted that it was a Blueprint engine, there was just a misunderstanding when he ordered it. He did swear up and down that the rotating assembly was upgraded to a Ford crank with Keith Black pistons and rods, and the cam he had "ground for me." He was working on paperwork to prove it. He basically just asking over and over how we could make this right, but says he can't return it. He kept trying to sell me on Blueprint's quality, how the heads are made by All Pro, and what a big name they are in LS performance. For every good review I've read on Blueprint, I've read 10 bad reviews. I'm sorry, it's not worth the risk to me. I told him that if he can prove they're Ford and Keith Black internals, and he put some real heads on there like GT40X or Twisted Wedge (without me giving him a penny more,) that's the only way we're going to reach an agreement. Other than that, it's full refund.. no other options. He said he's going to figure out how he can make this right and give me a call tomorrow.

Stay tuned... though I'm not holding my breath.
 

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Keith black makes cheap pistons, they dont make rods. It has chinese heads on it. Its a very cheap engine, parts wise. Blueprint is well, yeah. If you settle for that, thats a tough pill to swallow
 

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You're being lied to and screwed. I hope you have this all in writing or it's he said she said. You DO have the estimate,invoice, and build sheet , right?

Tomorrow you call this shop and demand your money back.
If you don't get your money back tomorrow, if you paid by CC, file a claim with the CC company
Hopefully you did not give these clowns cash or a check.

Then call Woody and have a real engine built by a reputable builder.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yep, I dropped it back at the shop and got a refund. Back to square one! Half of me wants to sell my roller and pick up something drivable, and building it up over time. Decisions decisions.
 

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A friend in PA I visited is building a Factory Five Cobra. I asked about the engine, he said some guy who used to build Nascar engines did it. I started inspecting it and saw Blueprint engines on the heads. Didn't want to open that can of worms, sad what people will tell you and then deliver.
 

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Let me preface by saying by saying it's not my neighbor that's screwing me over, .
Your neighbor is an employee of the shop. He brought you into this. He should be looking out for you and helping you reach an agreement with the shop.


Subject: speedshops and their shenanigans.
I'm burned out on speedshops.

The speedshop in San Diego that I paid top dollar to build me a 331? The coolant leaked from day one, and when I pulled the new water pump they installed I discovered one of the mounting bolts had been broken and they just glued it into the block. That and a crappy tune.
Another speed shop consistently just slapped stuff together without any professionalism. (When I looked closely at what they had done, they installed my MM parts all half arsed.)
The shop where I got gears? I gave them two sets of bearings and seals, one for each side of the axle. It hasn't been more than a couple thousand miles and one of the bearings is shot and the seal on that side leaking badly. But the real laugher is when I picked up my car I asked the employee something about the speedo and he cut me off and loudly talked down to me: "To get the speedometer calibrated you've got to go to X speedshop and pay $1000 for a tune". When he was done I simply told him that I already had a speedcal. The look on his face was priceless, like "well ya, you could do it THAT way for $50".

That's when I finally realized these speedshops are all the same- the workers are fifty years old and bitter, like the only reason we're not all driving supercharged 427s is because of leftists and people who went to college.

Since then I've been doing all my own work, which certainly can't be any worse than theirs. :)
 

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You're actually very lucky to get your money refunded. There's not a single person here that doesn't have a crappy story to tell. Why do you think auto shops are on the top 10 list of people's complaints, year after year? It's very easy to get hosed if you know nothing at all but to try and hose a self taught home garage tech (one who knows their stuff) is just despicable. I try my best to do everything myself. I hate going to shops and it's really Russian Roulette. You could have 25 years experience as a tech and they will still try and out-mouth you. It's the nature of the beast. Thus why invoices/contracts are gold. Learn to never do anything without having both and in fact, both parties keeps a copy. This is a story where one person got lucky. For every 1 lucky person, there's 20 that got screwed.
 

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very lucky indeed. I paid 7 grand for a paint job that too way to long. when I finally repoed the car back I got most of my car painted, missing ground effects, bad tape lines showing primer, interior in pieces and missing still needs color sanding and buffing. I literally cried over it.
 

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wow they were taking you for a ride for sure and you got your money back. That's insane typically without covering your butt with everything in writing and court appearances you don't get a dime back. I'm even having problems with the fact that you gave them a second chance to build the blueprint pos with better heads. After I hear someone's trying to screw me over anything they say is nothing but lies even if it's not from that point on and they would be written off and or physically hurting haha.

Well like I said glad you got your money back but you may want to keep the roller and just slowly build your own build
 

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Sad this stuff happens all too often, but it's good that you got your money back. My first experience with buying custom parts was from a guy who did custom porting out of his garage. He had a good reputation, but he just disappeared one day. It wasn't cheap and I never got a penny back. Quite a few other people got hit by him too. Later on, somebody told me that they spotted him doing photography work in Vegas. SOB was probably scamming newly weds or something.
 
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