A&C Performance - Screwed me - Watch out

Discussion in 'Vendor Review: A&C Performance' started by viperfuntime, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. viperfuntime

    viperfuntime Enthusiast

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    I don't wish bad things for anybody but when I get screwed I think it is important to let others know from who and how so we band together and watch out for each other. Judge for yourself....

    I initially had A&C Performance do a safety check and fuel system inspection on a Viper I had recently purchased from a private party. The car was a beautiful 2006 Twin Turbo originally installed by RSI Houston in 2006 and the car had 9000 miles on it. The car was well sorted out and ran fine. I just wanted the bolts checked and fuel system gone through so I know the car is safe.

    For those who don't know A&C Performance, they are a Southern California based mechanic shop, based in Murrieta. Todd, the Owner, questioned me why this car didn't have an AEM Engine Management Upgrade. He highly recommended it for a Twin Turbo Application in place of the Split Second Computer. He quoted me a price and said it would be installed by a special tuner he will have fly in that really knows AEM's. I paid him the deposit and that was the beginning of the end with my relationship with Todd and A&C. I trusted his recommendation.

    After all the work was completed I was excited and picked up the car after what seemed like forever. On my way back to my house it stalled on me abruptly. I wasn't sure what happened. I restarted it and kept going. I also noticed oil leaking on my drive way and in my garage when I got it home. Plus my garage smelled like fuel. What the hell? They had the car forever and a day and I have this now? Things were worse than the day I dropped it off.

    I sent it back to A&C on a flat bed asking for a quick turnaround. I said drive the car, put miles on it, but make sure this thing is fixed and doesn't stall on me again.

    I was told after several days of repairs the car is "ready for the second time". I told A&C to please deliver the car to me since their shop was 45 minutes away. Todd, decided to drive the car to me as opposed to flat bedding it to me. Whatever.

    The next day I took my wife out on a nice Saturday stroll in the car since she had never been in it but only heard about. I was driving along the coast in San Diego. It was great, until the car stalled. I started it back up, it stalled again. I started it back up, it stalled again. My blood pressure was boiling. I was on the stranded on the side of the road. My wife looked at me and said "you have got to be kidding me!". I had no response.

    It took 40 minutes to get us back home. I had to start the car every time the car came to a stop because it died when the RPM's got low. Any Red light or stop sign it died. The fuel smell still persisted too.

    When I got home, I called A&C. After listening to A&C's excuses and unwillingness to commit to any time to return the car to me or begin working on it I had no other choice as the consumer, the customer, who had already paid for thousands and thousands of dollars with A&C to take a car that never drove properly from the day he said "pick it up" but to take it to someone that knew how to fix the problem because obviously at this point it wasn't A&C Performance.

    I chose to flat bed the car to Dan Cragin at DC Performance in Los Angeles.

    Dan got back to me and said that there were a few items that needed to be addressed to stop the car from STALLING. They were all related to the AEM System. A wiring ground, the o2 sensors installed, and a possible defective AEM or one that may not have had an upgrade done to it that was needed. He didn't know for sure because he didn't open the up. I told Dan get the car fixed and replace the AEM with a unit you have confidence in and I will return the other AEM to A&C Performance. I received the car back with the changes and it runs great and the fuel smell is gone (unidentified leak by A&C at tank). I mailed the AEM to A&C Performance asking for them to pay the bill to get the car fixed.

    In the end, A&C Performance stuck me with the repair bill that DC Performance charged me to fix their mistakes. And A&C still has the AEM unit I mailed back to them.

    I am now in the process of getting together all my documenation to present this case in court and to get back my money from A&C. They were happy to take my money but not give it back.

    I wish it were different but in the end working with A&C on THEIR time lines or lack thereof and getting a car back that didn't run was simply inexcusable and intolerable.

    P.S. - I forgot to mention while he was installing my AEM he blew up my motor. The Oil pressure reportedly dropped off while tuning and I was stuck with having to rebuild the engine which I paid for the whole thing.
     
  2. ILLSMOQ

    ILLSMOQ Enthusiast

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    Sorry to hear that you've had these problems....not a fun way to begin ownership of a TT Viper.
     
  3. Fast Viper

    Fast Viper Viper Owner

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    Blew up your motor? Wow, I would be very upset!
     
  4. Shandon

    Shandon Viper Owner

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    Wow ok I was feeling like you maybe didn't give A/C a enough chances to fix the problem if the Unit was actually bad I can see thats out of there control and they had flown someone in to tune with it. Then your "P.S they blew my engine at the end of your thread". Yea I would be pissed! Not sure your going to have much to stand on with getting DC's cost covered but you should get a total refund for the Unit and probably should get a refund of something on the install!:dunno:
     
  5. HensleySRT-10

    HensleySRT-10 Viper Owner

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    That is a nightmare that I hope I never have to experience first-hand.:crazy2: Goodluck with the legal proceedings....sounds like they should really rethink their business practices.:nono:
     
  6. 99 R/T 10

    99 R/T 10 Enthusiast

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    That sucks.......................... Dude, post up the results after the court case.
     
  7. gb66gth

    gb66gth Viper Owner

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    Take that mother to the cleaners! And post the results of the court case
     
  8. vegas guy

    vegas guy Enthusiast

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  9. TAXIMAN1

    TAXIMAN1 Viper Owner

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    Sorry to hear this.... I have heard nothing but great things about Dan Cragin though.. At least you were able to get the car sorted out.. Hopefully the courts stand by your case.
     
  10. 99 R/T 10

    99 R/T 10 Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  11. Viper X

    Viper X VCA Member - South

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    Everyone, there are two sides to every story.

    Sorry you had issues with your car.

    I've had many issues with my highly modified car too. If you want something dependable, stay closer to stock. When you mod the heck out of these cars, or any cars, you loose dependability.

    Also, be careful buying so called "stroker engines". While it may sound cool, the Viper doesn't need a few extra cubic inches at the risk of messing up the internal balance of the engine.

    Dan
     
  12. snakeplissken

    snakeplissken Enthusiast

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    I Agree. The Candle that burns the brightest burns the shortest in my experience. I've had problems with all kinds of modified high performance cars.
     
  13. viperfuntime

    viperfuntime Enthusiast

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    I gave A&C 3 opportunities to provide me a car that worked. They chose to attempt to fix the problem 2 of those times without success. In my opinion they bit off more than they can chew by selling this system to me they didn't have knowledge of. You shouldn't sell something you cannot install properly. This was not a used system. I agreed to purchase a new AEM system from them, that worked. Let me ask you, how many times do I need to inconvenience myself to resolve something that should have never been delivered to me like that in the first place? What is my time worth?
     
  14. viperfuntime

    viperfuntime Enthusiast

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  15. vipeuup

    vipeuup Viper Owner

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    Whoa, that sucks. Your in good hands now.Dan will take care of it all for you.
     
  16. mbccenter

    mbccenter Viper Owner

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    First you say "possible defective AEM" and then you blame it all on A&C? Sounds like it should be AEM? Have you done a search on how many old RSI engines have come apart? Why would A&C pay another shop for a falty AEM? Todd has been nothing but a stand up guy and I think there are 2 sides to this story.
     
  17. eucharistos

    eucharistos Viper Owner

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    given the circumstances you described, you gave them 1 more than they deserved, imho :eater:

    good thing you are close to Dan Cragin & DC Performance :drive:


    true true, something to keep in mind
     
  18. LifeIsGood

    LifeIsGood Enthusiast

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    3 trips to a shop is 2 trips too damn many! The shop should know a lot more about the car than I do, and if they can't install something, test it and get it right the first time, then it's not the highest quality shop. I'm sure there are a lot of shop opinions out there that we can't get everything right the first time...sure, sure, I hear you...but IMO, you should damn well get it right the second time! I don't blame you for getting your car away from them. I wouldn't keep taking my car back to what I perceive as idiots...in fear they they would screw something else up.
     
  19. BlknBlu

    BlknBlu Viper Owner

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    I would have taken it to DC Performance in the first place. Sorry about your experience.

    Good luck

    Bruce
     
  20. 1BADGTS

    1BADGTS Enthusiast

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    Question you should REALLY EXPLORE is did WHY and HOW did AC blow up the motor while tuning..Was this a mechanical problem or an AIR FUEL PROBLEM (motor run lean or with too much spark under boost )that they BLAMED on being mechanical.Detonation can destroy an engine in an instant.If the fuel management system they put on the car was not working properly or not tuned correctly THIS could have easily taken the engine.(YOUR CLAIMS against them could be two fold )Dan Craigen is an excellent tuner stick with him.
     
  21. 1BADGTS

    1BADGTS Enthusiast

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    PS when the motor blew did they show you the parts .Was it an oiling issue,problem with a bearing or were there holes in the pistons .In any case find out the exact circumstances
     
  22. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    id like to hear more on the blown motor as well. good for you taking the car to dan cragin. that guy apparently knows what to do with a viper.

    and there are a lot of high power built motors on the road racking up miles and driven hard. its all in the build and in the tune
     
  23. ViperPWR

    ViperPWR Viper Owner

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    That really sucks...
     
  24. viperfuntime

    viperfuntime Enthusiast

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    The background on the motor. Stroker 522. All high end parts. The build list is 15 pages long down to every bolt. Completed by RSI in 2006. Car had 9000 miles when I bought it and ran fine.

    Strokers are reliable if built properly and can produce big power. This car had smaller turbos and was by no means near max boost when the car was dropped off at A&C. It was running on regular street gas.

    The motor took a crap per A&C when the oil pressure dropped off. I was given pieces from the oil pump which "reportedly" failed. I paid to have the motor pulled from the car, torn down, and rebuilt - then reinstalled to work with the AEM I purchased from A&C. But it didn't work.
     
  25. PJJP

    PJJP Viper Owner

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    sorry to hear about your experience. Glad DC got you taken care of.
     
  26. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    id never buy an RSI car but why did you want the good running motor torn down in the first place ?
     
  27. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    didnt know i was talking to YOU !!!

    you got 2 handles here and want me to take you serious. shut up tool !

     
  28. my viper

    my viper enthusiast

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    LOL - you beat me to it Plum.
     
  29. ACPERFORMANCE

    ACPERFORMANCE Viper Owner

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    Start this off the right way.

    Jeff Gaines brought me a 2006 viper built by RSI that he bought SIGHT UNSEEN. Said that it had a fuel smell and an oil leak and that he had ONLY driven it 15 minutes before flatbedding it up to me.

    We ordered up an AEM Unit and one of John Reeds custom plug and play harnesses before the car ever arrived. It currently had a split second which I dont feel comfortable using to tune 900HP or more. It's just asking for trouble have a TT build and run crummy engine management.

    He asked me to go over every nut and bolt on the car when it got to my shop.

    We first noticed the turbo leaking. I called him and advised it was not a loose fitting like he had thought, and it appears the turbo was just not draining fully too the the turbo oil line outlet being a hair lower than the drain going back to the motor.. His words were (the previous owner stated there were no leaks in the last 8000 miles) So I advised, ASSUMING the old owner was being honest and indeed there used to be no leaks, the turbo cartridge "may" need replacing and this was by far the cheapest thing to try first. Bad Seals or whatnot. He agreed and we changed out the passenger turbo. 1100 for a turbo, 800 labor to replace and then associated fluids. I recontoured the return line for a more correct angle of flow and NO CHARGE. This didn't fix the leak and it was then decided the turbo's were situated too low. The result of the fabrication from whoever built the turbo kit initially. SO, Jeff complained to the old owner who seemed very standup and the old owner PAID HIM FOR THE TURBO CARTRIDGE AT $1100.00.

    We then went over every nut and bolt on the underside of the car. EVERYTHING, rear bumber, shocks, a-arms, driveshaft, transmission, literally every suspension and body component. We found a leak at the fuel filter housing oring, and corrected this. (all this was $200)

    After the split second box was removed, John Reed flew out and installed the AEM unit and John Reeds plug and play harness. We threw in a new crank sensor as the new AEM Units sometimes need (AT NO CHARGE) and we were off for tuning. John finished all the tuning and the car made 790 at the wheels on 7lbs and 91oct, ran great and we thought we were done. John was just cleaning up a few idle revs when we lost oil pressure. He shut the car down immediately and we started checking everything. After all tests were done and we couldnt blame a sensor or short or bad signal. We pulled the car off the dyno and put it on the lift. Pulled the oil pan to see large chunks of metal in the pan and oil pan pickup.

    After we took the motor apart we saw a completely shattered oil pump gear, which is mechanically gear driven in the timing cover. A true mechanical failure. Maybe the 8000 miles put on the car from improper machine work done on a stroker motorare what caused this. Who knows, BUT surely not something that was caused by tuning. Besides the car only running 6 degrees of timing. Yes 6 degrees. The car didn't want to make power above 5500 rpm so we didn't see a need to push the motor.

    I advised jeff of everything, and we removed the motor and tore it down for inspection. All the pistons seemed good, but we felt the obvious should be replaced, everything in the oiling system due to metal contamination. Regardless, we measured every aspect of the engine to help decide what caused the problem rather than just fixing the apparent problem and putting pieces back together. After everything was gone through, heads, new bearing, new rings file fit etc. We put the car back together. and also, I spent late nights and long weekends to help get the car back to him on his time deadlines. I can't make the engine builder move any faster. Sometimes when you buy something that has a problem, it's wise to take more time, see what the root cause was, and then proceed. all. So Jeff could only say (TODD, HOW LONG IS THIS LITTLE OIL PRESSURE PROBLEM GOING TO BE, WHY COULDN'T IT JUST BE FIXED) I don't need to respond to this on the boards as i'm sure many of you can answer this yourself.

    AFTER the motor was back in the car. which was about 2 months total. 2 weeks on ordering the AEM and having John Reed fly out and tune. about 1 and a half months having the motor pulled, gone through and reinstalled. I flew out John Reed again as the motor was fresh and the tune needed checking. He originally had 40 thousands ring end gap. A little excessive. We put it back within spec, nonetheless I only wanted to give the car back perfect, as all that come to my shop know how we work. So I fly out John, retune and then Jeff comes and picks the car up.

    He states the power was impressive but he cant enjoy the car with the surging he is experiencing. He also stated that after driving it it started dying on him at stoplights, but wouldn't continue doing this. It was intermittant. He said he still had a fuel smell in his garage. He said when it the car was hot it didn't want to start up easy. (This can happen when the turbo's heat up a starter, but I offered to add some started heat shielding at NO CHARGE, just to help cure what may be a problem.

    I tell him to wait for the parts to get here and then bring the car so the car isn't just sitting. He decides to have it flatbedded up early and I say great, we will start looking at it. He says "drive the **** out of the car Todd, make sure it's perfect".

    I get the car and go around the block, it starts dying on me so I turn around and head back to the shop. I hook up the laptop and cannot get it to repeat itself. He asks me to drive the car home and check everything, fuel smell in my garage, driveability etc. I do, I even fly out John Reed AGAIN AT NO CHARGE to have him assure the tune is as perfect as it can get. John stays at my house as his schedule was busy and we drive and fine tune all NIGHT. Get up early in the AM to assure cold starts, and cold driveability. We put over 250 miles on the car without one hickup, The car drove as smooth as a stocker.

    The fuel smell seemed to be coming from a permiated fuel line. So I pulled everything apart, and had a new teflon center braided line with new ends made, and installed this all AT NO CHARGE. I also pulled out the break in oil and added some fresh mobil 1 AT NO CHARGE, and then installed a higher cranking amp battery as the old one needed a charge AT NO CHARGE (and it was a white 1000cc interstate that he was later to tell me it was an eye sore, not thanks. But thats ok, I was doing my best to fix even more problems that existed on the car that I DID NOT CREATE. So in the 1 week of driving his car, putting it in my garage to check for fuel smell in a more confined space vs. the shop, and having John spend countless hours of extra fine tuning, I drive the car down to Jeff late one night. I drove the car because he asked me to drive it and assure there were no issues.

    The car drove flawless, and only then I delivered the car. He called me the next morning to say he drove it to work, he thinks the fuel smell was fixed, driveability seemed 99% fixed, and thanks. He calls me later in the day to say he is stuck on the side of the road and his car keeps dying. I advised if it's doing it all the time now it will be easy to find and fix, that unfortunately it never died on me in the 250 miles I put on it with John Reed and delivering the car to him.

    I even told him when I delivered the car that I couldn't get it to die at a light. I advised of the sensors we changed and the retune and stated I couldn't say 100% that I knew what was causing it to die because it just wouldn't act up again. Maybe it was fixed, maybe not, BUT we cant fix an intermittant problem if it doesnt act up while in our posession, period.

    Jeff calls me on sunday, and I answer his call as I do all my customers at all times, and stated that he wants me bring all necessary tools to his house and fix the car there. I said I don't even know what the problem is, and besides the fact that it's not even safe to do that, all my diagnostic equipment and tools are at my shop. I apologized and advised that this wasn't an option. He then says to pick up the car on Monday, do whatever I need to do, work all night whatever, and deliver his car back to him on the following Tuesday. At this time we were moving to a new location for the shop. Remember I havent even gotten the glory of hooking up diagnostics while the problem was showing itself. I dont even know what the problem is yet. He states that he doesn't care and if I cant do it in the time frame and dates that he specified, than he will go to another shop.

    I told him that I wanted to fix the car as I have NEVER given less than 100% to make any of my customers satisfied. I just cant do it in one day. He then states that he will take the car to Dan Cragin DC Performance.

    So he is charged for a diagnosis, a new AEM unit, some additional work etc. He calls me and states that I sold him a defective AEM unit and installed it incorrectly and wants me to pay the invoice at DC Performance. I advised that I would send the AEM in for testing and he said that was rediculous!

    Well, he sent me the AEM I had sold him, I overnighted it to AEM directly. After all their testing, they tell me that the AEM is fully up to date and has NO faults. ITS PERFECT. It appears that when Jeff bought this car it had o2 simulators on it which apparently where tied up in the wiring harness. These can pose a problem sometimes as they confuse the AEM signals. Jeff was nice enough to send them to us with the AEM and we shipped it all to AEM' facility.

    AEM said his whole problem was the o2 simulators. I then even called Dan Cragin at DC Performance. Dan is a great guy and we've been working together for years now. Dan even stated that he wanted to send in the AEM unit for testing but JEFF REFUSED and wanted to purchase another one. I advised Dan of AEM's findings, he stated again that he wanted to send it in to get checked but Jeff DIDNT WANT TO DO THIS. This would have showed that he DID NOT need another AEM and that his fix would have been a very cheap one, to just remove the o2 sensor simulators!!!

    Dan Cragin sold Jeff a new AEM because Jeff wanted one. This is not my fault, or Dan Cragins fault, but rather the actions of an impatient person not wanting to wait to find an answer, Jeff Gaines.

    I have spoken with Jeff, at all hours of every day, work late hours and given him parts and services that I never charged him for. I offered to fix the car but just couldnt commit to a ONE DAY WINDOW.

    Jeff, your actions are the sole reason you incurred a $5000 bill at DC Performance.

    And for the record, Jeff stated that he was unhappy with the "SUPPOSEDLY" faulty AEM I sold him. I sold him an AEM modified for turbo applications at $2900, a John reed custom built plug n play harness for $1500.00. Including taxes, I charged him $4741.00 for these parts. EVEN THOUGH HIS WHOLE PROBLEM WAS THE O2 SENSOR SIMS AND NOT THE AEM (GIVEN I SENT A COPY OF AEM'S FINDINGS TO JEFF).

    I OFFERED TO GIVE HIM BACK $4741 AND HE JUST GIVE ME THE PARTS BACK THAT i SOLD HIM!!!. He refused and said he wanted the whole amount of DC Performance's invoice $5140.

    I offered this as a courtesy! I sold him new parts and he and only he chose to purchase another new AEM. Jeff still has the plug-n-play harness in his car and didnt even send me a complete AEM setup, ONLY an AEM box, no connectors, harnesses, wideband, nothing.

    Did I screw him over?? Let the members be the judge. There's alot of people on this board that saw your car in my shop and know what took place AND i HOPE THEY ALL POST HERE. I feel bad somebody like you bought a highly modified Viper, you belonged in a stock viper with a warranty.

    Obviously you knew this as you traded the car in almost immediately to Ringgold motors for a new viper. Some people shouldnt own modified Vipers and some people just cannot be made happy. Jeff Gaines is one of them.

    I've spend countless hours emailing back and forth with you Jeff and phone calls as well. This will be my last long email or contact with you.

    Get you facts straight and make sure the people you think are going to back your claims, indeed are. You may even want to contact Dan at DC again and he can tell you that he wanted to send in the AEM just for testing to assure it was not the problem (as any good shop would) but you opted to buy another unit.

    I offer no BS no stories, reputable work with too many 1000HP vipers out there to mention.

    I was going to try and sell your first AEM for you but will now be sending it to you next week, or you can come by and pick it up at our shop.

    For the record, I would never work on another car that you owned ever again. And im sure after reading this post, many others wouldn't either. After all the emails you've sent, you've been less than a pleasure to deal with.

    If any board members had any questions regarding this car or this experience, you can call over and chat with me about it. Judge for yourself.

    Todd
    A&C Performance
    951 696 0500

    As far as Jeff Gaines, from Gaines Investment is concerned, I will be sending your AEM back to you next week. and Ill even pay for the shipping.
     
  30. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    case closed. the guys a TOOL
     

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