| Posts: 1
| Joined: 09/08
I am seeking advice on what you would do in my situation. Thanks for your time
I have been put into a situation by Factor X (Mike Angel), whose expert engine building experience has left me with an immobile NSX for pretty much the last year.
The story is a very, very long, albeit, an interesting read for someone on the sidelines. But, for me, it's a very long, extremely painful and very expensive one. I'll shorten it considerably:
After a couple lengthy conversations with Mike (aka Mikey) from FactorX, he successfully convinced me that they were very competent NSX engine builders with values and at least a satisfactory level of customer service. ERROR #1
After being promised a turn around time of 2-3 weeks for a complete build, I decided to go for it. (I figured that the extra expense to ship it would be worth it for the peace of mind of having an expert NSX engine builder with vast experience working on it rather than a local unknown.) ERROR#2
Car arrives Monday the 6th of August. Mikey promises me a schedule and bi-weekly updates including photos. (I never received one. And every status report was receive after trying to track him down for in most cases several days to weeks)
He promises me that the engine would be dropped by the following Monday due to delays. On the following Tuesday he says another customer is keeping him busy, so moves the date to Friday the 17th.
Engine is pulled eventually and the build is started (already easily 2 weeks into the process. no big deal, I never expected it to be complete within the 2-3 week promised timeline).
Delays push promised completion date to September 10th.
Oops. sorry, how is October 10th?
After many efforts to contact Mikey, I finally get a confirmed promise date of October 23rd. Being a little concerned due to the flip flopping of completion dates, I ask him point blank if the car will be completely done and ready for me to test drive upon my arrival. I told him that I didn’t want to fly out if the car wasn’t fully complete. His response, “Absolutely”. I book my flight and fly out to Vegas.
I arrive at Factor X and the car isn't remotely close to being finished. I was promised a complete car that I could test drive and ship back, and the car barely ran. He told me to drive it up the street being careful not to step on it, and come back. The trip was a complete waste of time and money.
Mikey promises to finish the car by the following week and ship.
Car arrives on November 17th.
I had to travel for the holidays, so pushed the car into the garage (wouldn't start) and waited to test it when I got back.
Arrived back on the week of the 26th. Got it started. Took a short drive about 4 miles or so from my house. While driving down a back road near a local movie theater, the oil light comes on, so I immediately pull over and shut her down. At the time of shutting her down the engine had begun to emit a slight grinding sound.
I look under the car and notice that the oil scavenge pump return line was mounted to the sway bar (yes, sway bar) and the hose had pulled loose which resulted in all of the oil being pumped to the street.
So, I walked through the rain to find a phone (this was a very short test drive so I didn't anticipate having to get out of the car so didn't bring my phone or shoes unfortunately) Finally, I find a restaurant that allowed me to use their phone (despite my wet feet and clothing) and proceed to call my wife to bring tools and oil.
I call Mikey and tell him the story. He is confident that there is no major damage, so I reattach the hose and add the oil and take her home.
I spend over a hundred dollars trying to fix the hose with new custom AN fittings and braided line. The .25cent hose clamps that they used were not holding well. I also created a sleeve that allowed the pump to stay in a fixed spot while the sway bar moved. This worked as a temporary solution until I could relocate the pump.
The car never ran properly. Idle jumps to 2k-3k and randomly cuts off while driving. (Quite embarrassing and annoying when you are at a stop light and your car is idling at 2-3k)
While driving on the freeway, the car decided to shut off completely rendering me stranded on the shoulder. I waited for a few minutes and started it back up. I drive 2-3 miles home at a snails pace, and notice that oil pressure is low. Check oil and there are bubbles in the oil.
Mikey continues to suggest the motor is sound.
Next day I take the car for a test drive down the street from my house. Motor is cold, so oil pressure looks good. As motor becomes warm, the oil pressure begins to drop. Engine violently shuts off while driving and produces a big 'banging' sound. I immediately pull over into a school parking lot and wait for a neighbor to come to my rescue. I start the car up and notice a loud clanking sound as if someone dropped a rock into one of the cylinders.
We tow it back about a mile to my garage.
I call Factor X and leave a message, Mikey doesn’t call back. Try again a few hours later and he answers. I proceed to tell him the story, he finally starts to show some concern and says he had to go, but would call back in 10 minutes. Never calls back. (same story every time)
I call again the next day and Mikey does answer, but, once again has to go quickly and promises to call back. Never does.
2 days later, I call once again and Mikey tells me he couldn't talk. But, he did promise to call back again, but, of course never does. (This is the pattern during the entire experience.)
I finally get him on the phone days later and arrange to send the car back to rebuild on Factor X's dime. I appreciated him standing by his work since there was a contractual warranty. And he even promises to pay for shipping. I appreciate the kind gesture and set up a pick up date.
January the car goes back to Factor X in Las Vegas.
I express concern about rebuilding the motor correctly since Mikey informs me that all that needs to be done is to replace the broken rod bearing. I am a bit concerned since many metal particles traveled through the entire engine after the last catastrophic failure. Mikey assures me that it will be perfectly fine simply replacing the rod bearing.
March arrives and there is absolutely no progress on the car. Many, many, many phone calls that are not returned. I start to get frustrated as anyone would. But, I remain extremely calm and understanding.
April Mikey gives me a verbal progress report and extends the promise date to May 6th.
Throughout the month of April I have even a more difficult time reaching Mikey. Dozens of calls with no call backs. I'm starting to think the car is stolen or worse.
May arrives and I continue to make Mikey aware of a hard date that I had in June due to an event that I was obligated to. "Absolutely not a problem" he reassures me every time.
June arrives and the car is still not complete. I reiterate the importance of the ship date and try to schedule a final trip out for testing prior to shipping.
I also remind him of how unacceptable the condition of the car was during the last trip out and wanted reassurance that it would be complete this time.
“Absolutely, not a problem sir!” He once again promised.
I arrive in Las Vegas and he informs me that the car needs to go to the dyno for final tuning. He tells me to get race gas at the nearby gas station (which of course I have to pay for).
After we spend several hours at the dyno they hand me the bill. (I thought that was part of my original tuning fee that I paid??)
I drive the car back to his shop and it starts to shut off on me on the freeway. (let me tell you, driving this car since Factor X has touched it has been nothing but constant stress and anxiety. Not knowing if you are going to break down in the middle of a busy intersection or on a crowded freeway really isn't a good feeling) I call Mikey who is driving in front of me on the cell and he suggests we pull over into the nearest gas station. He takes a quick look and diagnosis it as an electrical problem and promises to fix it by ship date. “Absolutely, not a problem”
I fly back home, once again without any confidence in the car and that much poorer.
Days pass and Mikey says the electrical problem was worked out.
The car ships back and arrives the day before I have to take it to my event.
When I receive the car it is in absolutely filthy condition and one side skirt is hanging off. One fender has cracks at the bottom and the hood sticks up about a centimeter higher than the fender on one side. The rubber strip between the hood and bumper is completely missing (although he did provide a new one in the car). The alarm no longer works, the plastic interior piece on the passenger door is missing and he neglects to ship back my spare tire. These are just some of the issues.
I spend the entire night cleaning the car and securing the side skirt etc.
Morning comes and I pack the car and my passenger and I begin the journey. About 1 hour along the way the car completely shuts off. I pull over on the freeway and wait a moment. I start it back up and continue to drive. About 3 miles later it shuts off again. At this point we decide to return back to my house and get a rental car. This puts us pretty much a full day off of schedule and more importantly without the NSX which was part of my obligation to show it. But, what's new, it's been a year long hell already.
After my trip I take the car out to test again. Short trips here and there to monitor if it shuts off or not. I did notice the oil pressure appearing low so I call Mikey to inform him. He tells me that the pressure gauge is incorrect and not to worry about it.
After about 5 - 6 hrs of driving since I returned from my trip. I noticed the motor sputtering a bit on the freeway. It then began to emit a sort of fluttering/clanking sound. I take it home and shut it down. I inform Mikey of the problem and continue to diagnose the problem. I'm told by some reputable sources that it sounds like another rod bearing failure. I try to start the car again and it doesn't hold idle, smokes and rattles and clanks like crazy.
That's where I am. The car has been collecting dust in my garage for the last 3 months as I've been trying to get a hold of Mikey. He cancelled his phone number so I attempted to reach him through Ken. Ken was very responsive and did show concern for my situation. He promised to tell Mikey to call me and informed me that he was in no way affiliated with FactorX (the shop).
Weeks later I send an email stating that I'll have to pursue legal action due to his unresponsiveness and unwillingness to contact me to resolve the issue.
Shortly after, I receive a call from Mikey. At that time he promises me that he will go to his bank on Saturday and review the invoices to issue a full refund. Monday comes and he calls to inform me that he didn’t have a chance to go to the bank, but will go that day and call me back. After not hearing from him by Wednesday, I call him to no avail. Finally, I reach him on Thursday and he promises me that he would go the bank that day and will call me back that evening.
That was over a week ago and I have not heard back. I have left numerous messages and emails.
That is a summarized version of this hell that I've been going through with Factor X over the last year+. All I wanted was what they so confidently promised. A fully built motor that was reliable, and a level of customer service that would make me feel like I was in good hands. The entire experience couldn't have been more of the opposite.
Oh, and of course I never received a dime for shipping. That’s nearly 8k in shipping alone. That’s how much I trusted in their expertise and professionalism.
So now, I sit without a car, in the hole more money than you would want to know. What would you do?
Thanks for your time.
| Posts: 2
| Joined: 01/09