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Element Tuning (stay away!)

Element Tuning (Phil) is all-for-self. He made an error, costing me about $500 in labor hours, when we finally figured out that their EMS was at fault, and tried to contact him, he's avoided my calls for 2 days, finally getting back to my email today, basically telling me to fuck off, denying all fault. This will cost me about $300 more to get fixed at the shop its at now, when he could just make it right and send me a new harness.

1993 RHD Impreza : Brembo : Zeal : Whiteline : Prodrive : Enkie : Cusco'd out

Re: Element Tuning (stay away!)

I feel you man. I just got fucked by a local weld shop that blew a hole in my freshly built/bored B16A. They didnt even clean the weld area before welding and then attempted to fix it 3x. On the 3rd time they tryed ti TIG the block but instead it looks like they use a small ice cream scoop and cut out a valley in the aluminum causing multiple small holes that ran into the oil galley and oil filter mount. They also welded on top of the oil filter mount causing it to no longer seal properly.

They proceded to charge me $200. The bare block and boring cost me $248. Found another complete short block for $250 and had to drive about 70 miles round trip to pick it up. So far Im out just over $700.
Ok so I got the car running again recently. However before putting the engine in, during reassembly of simply hand tightening the oil pressure sender into the back of the block (seriously hand tight) some how by my Herculean strength the block broke. This is not terribly common but is known in the Honda community to be a weak area on the block and has happened before to other people. I was shocked but knew it could be fixed.

Figured I would just cold weld it back together since I have seen it done before and it worked like a gem. So I prep the surface, removing paint, sanded and light grinding, etc. Get it together and over three days I layered the cold weld letting it cure completely before applying a new layer.


So the engine is still on the hoist and everything looks good. I build oil pressure by cranking it over with the starter and it does NOT leak at all! I'm satisfied so I install the motor.

Everything runs really nicely, good low end torque for not putting it over 3500 RPM (break-in period). BTW I had the motor bored to 82mm using over sized CTR Pistons (compression is roughly 11:1 now) with GSR camshafts, yada, yada.

I inspect the motor while parked after getting the engine temp up, NO LEAKS! Drive around town, still NO LEAKS, get home and reinspect and there is a VERY slow oil leak which I find originating from the oil pressure sender. Its going so slow that I could have said the hell with it but I figured if its a slow leak now it will increase eventually.

Sunday: So my neighbor is actually a shop, Kirby's Repair and he lets me use his lift to pull the motor so I don't have to do it outside again. BTW he offered to weld it up but its stick, he has some Aluminum stick. I say okay lets do it. Get the engine out, prep, weld it leaks worse. We ONLY weld where the break is. We figure its porosity build up from the slag. BTW he lets me use his shop on a Sunday to boot. Anyways we don't get it to stop leaking and we wrap up the night.

Monday: The next day I go to O'Reilly's to get some cleaning supplies and run into Danny Coltrane. He owns Coltrane Welding and Fabrication and I ask him if he might have some time to look at the engine for me. I figure it worth a shot since these guys are pretty much the best welders in the area from what I know of, hell its what they do EVERY DAY! He says sure and bring it down to the shop the next day. He never gives me a quote or even talks about labor cost (mistake!). However I expect to pay at least $100 because I think its worth it.

Take it to Coltrane's and let Danny see it and explain whats already gone on. I ask him specifically if they CAN fix it. He looks and thinks and eventually says "YES WE CAN FIX IT." Im starting to feel releaved becuase I find out back on Thurs-Friday that the wife is going to sea a few times before the deployment in September so she wont have ample time to find a house. Danny says they can start on it Tuesday because James is booked on work. I say ok not a problem, I expect to pay for the repair of course. Not a favor of friends like Kirby's. I also tell him I need the car ready no later than Friday because I want to leave for Norfolk. Really wanted to leave Wednesday.

Tuesday: I come in and bring a oil pressure tester so they can test for leaks. James works on it later that day but calls that afternoon saying its still leaking after welding it up. They are MIG welding. He mentions its a tough spot with everything on the block. I say OK Ill come down on Wednesday to take everything off the block after class.

Wednesday: Its exam day, James calls me in class to explain its not working and says I have a hours worth of labor charged ($75/hr), etc. He asks if I want to clean prep myself to save on labor. I tell him Im taking a test and cant and Im madly strapped for time I need him to take care of it but thanks for asking. I'm also getting desperate, I don't tell him that of course. I settle to myself that I don't mind paying $150 if they FIX IT!

I do my math exam and leave, get to Coltranes a about 11AM to change clothes, get tools, etc. Takes me about 45 minutes to remove everything on the intake side of the engine. I talk to Danny some more and I ask if they can TIG weld it. Danny says James wants to try MIG again and if that doesn't work they will call me. I say OK. However James has left for the day which really pisses me off because Im getting really delayed now. But I blow it off and go home. All the while these last few days I'm borrowing my father in laws Dodge Dakota.

Thursday: MIG welding fails dramatically, Jason attempts to TIG weld and fails. Also after regrinding and prepping the surface they must have made the aluminum thin. Because some how they burn a hole or something in the block beside the oil filter mount and its leaking oil there. Not to mention there is a big sunken area in the metal there. This is something new that they created. Why did they weld there???? There was not a leak there nor did we stick weld in that area. Jason thinks that it can be fixed with some cold weld because the hole is small. I'm like WTF I didn't bring it hear just to put cold weld on the motor, otherwise I would have never brought it to them. So I clean it myself and apply the cold weld becuase Im really desperate. I leave and come back about 2:30 (they close at 3PM!!!). The cold weld is not cured! I know it wont hold like this. So I apply more cold weld and Jason says I can leave it there until I return from Norfolk, not a problem. Im really pissed off, Jason says they want to change me $250!!! but he talked to Danny and will try to get it under $200 otherwise thats the cost on their FAILED work.

Father-in-law lets me borrow his truck for over a week, find house, return on the 20th.

TODAY Friday 21 May: I go down to Coltrane's the cold weld has completely cured and we test it. Actually looks kind of solid like it will work. It FAILS to no real surprise.

After talking to Jason and knows I'm pretty pissed off I'm sure. I do everything I can to keep myself calm. I told him its not right and he agrees that its not fixed but also restates that Danny wanted to change me more.

I'm out $200 fucking dollars, they had my block for over a week because I didn't have much of a choice since they leave work early even after I convenienced them by taking all the stuff off the block to give them more area to work.

They said they COULD FIX IT! They DIDN'T FIX IT! They charged me for FAILED WORK!
Last edited by Wax_Hands on June 13, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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