Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

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rfs1957
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#21 Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:23 pm

Indeed, yes, this is what my "missing" new set of bolts looks like now it has turned up.

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No apology or regrets.

Ready for some more ? Since I no longer trust anything these people have done, I started to take a closer look at the head.

This was the written brief I gave them.

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This was the relevant section of the invoice :

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The cam-cover would not sit over the studs correctly, as one of the studs sat too high, so the 5/16" shoulder was stopping the cover from seating.

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So, having paid £450 plus VAT for the assembly of a head that was "ready-to-fit", it was time to strip the caps off and get the cams out.

(I used to do this for a living, and have the kit and the know-how - but how does the disappointed enthusiast in his lock-up, and with his Halfords tool-kit, cope ?)

It turns out that one of the cam-post Helicoils is not threaded deep enough into the head, so the stud is effectively too long.

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This is what a correct-depth Helicoil should look like.

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Then I noticed that the very Helicoil I had specifically mentioned on the job-sheet as being too deep, and needing replacement, had not been touched at all ................

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It then occurred to me that the cam-caps used to have hardened steel D-washers like these

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fitted, but that my engine had been rebuilt with just ordinary bright zinc washers ........... the old D-ones were effectively thrown in the box of junk-parts that came back with the rest.

Why ?

Examination of the parts I'd removed threw up this gem - several of the studs were actually quite bent :

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Remember this ?

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CHECK ALL CAM-CAP MOUNTING STUDS ? ANY OTHER WORK PLEASE ADVISE ?


Words fail me.

Could anyone perhaps help qualify how dishonest and incompetent this firm has been ?
Last edited by rfs1957 on Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
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#22 Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:58 pm

Don't go away, it gets worse.

Not a single drop of oil apparent anywhere on the buckets, under the buckets, on the shims, on the valve-heads - zilch ; this "ready to fit" cylinder head was going to do all its start-up with zero lubrication around the bucket-shim-valve interface because some idiot was too lazy to use an oil-can.

Remember, you think you're dealing here with an industry-reference blue-chip machining and engine-building company in the heart of the Midlands, whom when I visited had engines, including many XK's, Astons, Ferraris, with names on from all the big-name car-restorers in the UK.

Valve clearances ? Set at 10 thou exhaust, 8 thou inlet - yet Guy Broad, who in fact supplied them the cams, specifies 10 thou for both.

Valve shims ? These cost, retail, £5 a pop with VAT.

So for the engine builder, twelve new ones will actually cost him less than £40 - on a job that cost me around £10.000 - and using twelve good used ones might be judged to add £20 ?

Wouldn't it be reasonable, then, to expect something else than this ?

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Rusty and worn - I don't mean used, I mean worn - shims ?

The right-hand one here has even actually been re-ground at some time.

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Oh, and whilst we're at it let's check for valve seating ?

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Funny that, eleven of the twelve withold thinners no problem, one of the exhaust valves leaks ........

Valve out - hang on, never seen that before ; NOT A DROP OF OIL PRESENT ON THE STEM OR THE GUIDE.

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Graphogen engine-building compound ? Forget it.

Of all the engine-builders' I've ever assisted, none would ever have assembled an un-oiled valve in a guide.

Just how awful can these people be ? Read on, it gets worse ...........

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(The leak ? - no sweat, just a bit of swarf trapped on the seat face - quick re-grind and all is OK).
Last edited by rfs1957 on Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
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#23 Re: Robbed by a supplier ?

Post by politeperson » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:11 pm

Next time please send it to me.

The last head I did included re-cut valve seats, guides, shims a skim and the labour was less than £500.

The head took about 2 hours to fit and was perfect in service. John has now done 4 XK heads for me and they have all been perfect.

They are easy to get wrong, you need an experienced guy like him.

I recall David Manners supplied the parts, they were good quality and well priced.
James

L.J.K. Setright was right.
"You just cant beat a good E-type"

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#24 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:06 pm

Once you start looking ..........

Whilst working on the head, I noticed that both cam-cover seating areas on the head were quite rough, with sharp-feeling scratches, which suggests they were very recent - as 1) I would have noticed them when cleaning off old gaskets, when doing the shimming, in the past, and 2) they would have no longer been sharp-edged if I'd scraped off and scotch-brited the gasket surfaces, in the past.

The pattern and type of scratching is similar on both inlet and exhaust sides.

It so happens I have a picture of the inlet-side of the head surfaces from the last time I had the cam covers off - and there is not a mark on them.

Here you have the head "before" confiding it to our famous blue-chip engine specialist :

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And here you have it "after" : it's quite difficult to focus, but of you blow the shot up you'll get the drift - these are deep scratches.

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And to prove that they are at least systematically - and symmetrically - cack-handed, here is the exhaust side "after" :

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My conviction is that this damage was done either by dragging the head across some supporting structure either on a milling machine when working on the valve-seat housings, or whilst working on the ports during inlet-manifold matching.

So a head that has survived Lord-knows how many rebuilds in the last 56 years, including at least one in the hands of VSE in Wales, whose work was openly sneered at by our friends who worked on my engine this time, has finally met its match with a bit of couldn't-give-a-damn treatment.

I wonder if it was the same idiot that dragged the block across a concrete floor, and damaged the four dowels on the back face ?

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The same feckless guy that couldn't be bothered to take out the last core plug from the block when getting it ready for acid-dipping ?

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Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.
Last edited by rfs1957 on Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Rory
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#25 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by chrisfell » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:07 pm

This may not be much of a “bright side” from your perspective, but the misfortunes of others teaches us all lessons. The rest of us now know a great deal more about how cylinder heads should NOT be rebuilt than before, we know the sort of things that ought to be checked when letting ‘professionals’ loose on our engines. Many of us wouldn’t know if you hadn’t made these points. We’d have under performing and noisy engines, thinking that this was normal for a 50-57 year old car.

Actually I’ve got an under performing and noisy engine. And I know who the cowboys were who built (threw together) the engine. I’ve been hoping it would make more serious noises or stop altogether so I could whip it out and instal a later XJ6 S3 engine. (I’m not the carer of a numbers correct trailer queen, but the owner/user of a daily driver bag of nails.)
Chris '67 S1 2+2

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#26 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by Series1 Stu » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:03 pm

Well, yes Chris. I agree but it would be even more useful if the rest of us knew who to avoid trusting or engines to.

I'm sitting here feeling quite smug about who built my engine but, in reality, it might be the same person that built Rory's.

This story is a travesty. I really feel for you Rory.

Regards
Stuart

If you can't make it work, make it complicated!

'62 FHC - Work In (slow) Progress
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#27 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:46 am

I thought this might be the crowning glory.

My block - like yours, probably - already has an identifying number, generally referred to as the engine number, and it's unique.

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The famous firm thinks that's not enough, and how better to make it even more unique by stamping a new number - including my name and the job-reference - on the outside of the timing chest, on a flat machined surface that is always visible, for perpetuity.

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Clever eh ?

What would the rest of you do in my situation ? This is where we're up to today :

Image
Rory
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#28 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by malcolm » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:36 am

I don't know if Forum rules prevent it, but if a supplier is this bad, it would be useful to know who they are. I haven't been able to work it out from the posts - probably my lack of knowledge, but can you help here?
Malcolm
I only fit in a 2+2, so got one!
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#29 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by Series1 Stu » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:56 pm

Wow, Rory. You're really up against it.

I don't know all of the facts and I understand your frustration but do you think the personal attacks are wise? You need to retain the moral high ground by not reducing it to a slanging match.

I'm not sure how long this has been going on and you have been careful not to name names but do you think you will ever get these people to do a proper job for you at no extra cost? I seriously doubt it. More to the point, would you trust them to do it even if they agreed?

I don't doubt your competence but should you not be getting an independent engineering expert to assess the engine etc.? This would carry more weight should the situation escalate into the legal world (heaven forbid).

Regards
Stuart

If you can't make it work, make it complicated!

'62 FHC - Work In (slow) Progress
'69 Daimler 420 Sovereign
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#30 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by mgcjag » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:09 am

Hi Rory....i agree with Stuart above......you do need to make sure your reply is very "Business"" like....drop all the personal attack and sarcastic comments.....they will get you nowhere....what are you requirements to bring this issue to a close......if its compensation or just an appology then make this clear in you reply....also spell out what if any action you are prepared to take if you do not get what you expect........Also direct your reply to the correct person,s in the company....Managing director and copy to finance director if they have one....all the best... Steve
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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#31 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by malcolm » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:33 am

:yeahthat:
Malcolm
I only fit in a 2+2, so got one!
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#32 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:24 pm

Thanks for the various bits of advice. The tone of the exchanges is not inappropriate, or unprofessional, although I can see why some might think so, in that a good-natured informal banter had been established for many months before the extent of the problems became apparent.

Somwhere this has probably hightened my sense of indignation in discovering I've been sold a pup, and occasionally the sarcasm boils over.

I am hoping that beyond throwing some light into this company's cess-pit, my experiences will help others draw up their own job-sheet of questions that they ought to ask their chosen engine-builder or machine shop before deciding where to leave their many thousands of pounds.

You could essentially take along my griefs and say, look, this is what some people are capable of doing - please can we talk through these points and make sure I don't get anything like this ?

I was aware of almost all of these points before I confided the work in these people, but at the time it seemed rude to query issues which seemed just so obvious, especially when dealing with a firm that purported to be an absolute reference in quality XK work, and to which I had been referred by Guy Broad himself.

The discussion for today might be whether it is considered good pratice to shorten valves by hand on a bench-grinder, leave a nasty chamfer, and with an end that is not square ?

Sorry, I just can't fathom how it is possible to execute such botchery.

Image

Once I stripped out the inlet valves (ostensibly just to oil the valve stems, remember) I could see that one tip had been absolutely butchered.

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Seen with a set-square on the surface plate.

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Measuring them showed that 0.2mm had been taken off the butchered one, and 0.4mm - more neatly - off a second.

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Now, I had already been surprised to see that the shimming used essentially shims from the mid-range of those available - sizes M-N-R - which with NEW seats is a surprising choice, as wear on seats and valves tends to drive one towards thinner shims .............. and yet half of the available range has already been used up by seating the valves a little deep.

Shoddy workmanship, sir ? Follow me.

It gets worse.

Here's the reason.

The 0.4-short one had been shimmed with an "M" shim, 2.46 ; so if the valve had been left at standard length, it would have required a 2.06 (2.46 - 0.40 = 2.06) shim which does not exist as it's outside the range.

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All this because the seat has been cut too deep.

And the one that had been shortened by 0.2mm used a "Q" shim, instead of the "I" that would have been required, which would have used up two-thirds of the range of shims before the engine had ever been fired up.

Unbelievable, no ?
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
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#33 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by JerryL770 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:33 pm

I feel for you Rory.

To my mind, the valves should not be messed with at all, particularly the top ends which likely are hardened and grinding this off could remove the hard layer.

As you say, unbelievable "work" :mad:
Jerome Lunt
1970 E-Type S2 FHC - Fully restored

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#34 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by rfs1957 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:44 pm

Update :

Block-Stamping

The reply regarding the block-stamping came back :

Stamping of the block, yes this is the norm. This has been done by most of the UK restorers for decades, not just machine shops. I won’t name drop others who also do the same to support my case.

Personally I have been met with incredulity by all the machine-shops and restorers that I've floated the idea past, both in the UK, the US, and Australia.

Valves


My personal experience of this is that there is nothing inherently wrong with shortening valves (properly) per se if they are sufficiently tough, and this depends on the material and the heat-treatment. The valves in question are from FAI, material-type to follow.

This answer from my Australian engine-manufacturing colleague :

Depends what the valve is made from mate. My valves are 24N stainless. I heat treat them after they are finished. I also have blanks that I machine to length and put the grooves in . Hard work and pain in the ass because they are heat treated. Not all valves can be used like this.
If they are flash chromed ( lots are ) then you are f----- because the valve is soft.
People do it all the time and on a valve using a tapered collet it is no issue . Also lash caps ( Ducati openers) sort out soft valve tip issues.
Finishing a valve and hen heat treating it is the way to go for good quality valve. New cars are all done this way. Turbo engines etc need it or they f--- up. A Jag head would probably be ok with a soft valve. Not how I would do it if I had the choice but that is me.
Bet they were soft originally. Maybe flash chromed ? That is what all the Poms did back then. The Italians used heat treated valves in most cases. Alfa’s etc. Ducati did originally but went to soft flash chromed ones at the end of the Bevel’s. You would have seen the bright shiny ones compared to the black ones.
The heat treating I use makes the valve tough right through. The black finish is to make it slippery. Hence I do machine them as I did for you and they are still tough. Knowing the material is what is important.
That information will allow you to know the quality of the valve and what you can do with it.
Hope this helps.


State of play

At close of play this evening the latest exchange reads :

Dear Xxxxx,

I am pleased to see that your father is getting involved ; he is hopefully beyond the age of insulting customers (quote : At least I know now the sort of man I never wish to be in my 60s) who have genuine grievances.

He might like to get up to speed by following this.

http://forum.etypeuk.com/viewtopic.php? ... 69#p108569

With the inlet gaps set to the correct 0.010", the shims required will be even further down towards the thin-end of the range (O-K-L-K-P-K) which is unacceptable.

I am therefore waiting for a detailed answer to my enquiry dated 29th October, to wit :

Before I confide this cylinder head to your company again, I should like you to confirm exactly what remedial work you are proposing to do, including with regards to the damage to the seating surfaces.

Upon removal of the inlet valves it is apparent that two have been shortened, one butchered in the process, apparently in an attempt to remain within the shim range.

One by 0.4mm to pull the shimming back from below-minimum to an M, the other by 0.2mm to pull an I back to a Q

It appears that the seats have been cut too deep. Pictures attached.

I am surprised to see, generally, shims in the middle of the range being used with new seats and valves.

I will decide what steps to take next as a function of your reply.

Kind regards,
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
1978 Mini Van
(plus bevel and belt single-cylinder Ducatis)

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#35 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by mark10337 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:46 pm

I feel your pain and frustration Rory. If you don't get any further with the remediation it may be time to get some professional advice on how to proceed.

There are a couple of very good law firms around who specialise in classic car issues.
Wilmot's who represented Mr Tuke in the recent JD Classics case
http://www.wilmotslitigation.co.uk/clas ... litigation

and Healey's LLP who can also facilitate mediation and have done so for a number of restoration/repair cases.
https://healys.com/services/classic-cars/
-Mark

1969 Series 2 OTS, Regency Red
'Life's to short to drive a boring car'

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#36 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by Heuer » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:23 pm

Good luck with that! If you are talking hundreds of thousands of pounds then it may be worth it but for £12k life is too short. :thumbdown:
David Jones
S1 OTS OSB; S1 FHC ODB

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#37 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by steve3.8 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:28 pm

Might be worth contacting these people Rory . https://fer.co.uk/about-us/
:wavegreatbritain: Steve3.8

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#38 Re: Dishonest, Incompetent, Feckless ? You choose.

Post by Series1 Stu » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:25 pm

If it goes legal then the only people that gain are the lawyers. Forget it unless you can get them through the small claims court by concentrating on one invoice such that the total claimed falls within the scope. If you then win you can pursue them for other invoices or, if they've got any sense, they'll cough up the lot to avoid more legal action.

I now think I know who you're dealing with and, if I'm correct, I have a close friend that has had problems with the same person.

Regards
Stuart

If you can't make it work, make it complicated!

'62 FHC - Work In (slow) Progress
'69 Daimler 420 Sovereign
'94 X300 XJR basket case

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