To sue or not to sue...


R.I.P. Lethal GN
To make a long story short I made an agreement with a guy to pull my engine, rebuild it, then put it back in for $2500. It was supposed to take up to 3 weeks. A month after getting the engine I got tired of calling about it and went to see the progress on it. It hadn't been touched! This went on for several weeks. Week after week he would give more and more excuses. Finally after about 2 1/2 months he started work on it. I would have already took my business elsewhere but he had another guy taking the engine out, he would rebuild it, then the other guy would put it back in. The other guy worked in a totally different town about 20 or so minutes away. Week after week I would go to check up on the car and he would be working on a motorcycle, a tractor, other cars, etc. My engine was still sitting there in pieces. After finally doing some work he found the crank had been cut into by the bearings and my front cover had a crack in it. I told him to let me know how much he could get it for so I could come here and maybe get it cheaper. He went ahead and got the parts anyways never telling me until after he already had them at his shop. Around this time he also told me my turbo was bad. Knowing he wouldn't warrantee the engine with a bad turbo I bought a new one. It turns out the turbo was fine. He just doesn't know anything about turbos. Months went by and he finally got the urge to rebuild it. I was surprised to find this out and didn't have the money at the the time I went. He still had alot of minor things to do to it such as fix a hard vacuum line he broke during disassembly, priming it, installing the cam sensor, and other various stuff that would have taken less than a few hours to complete. I started building the money back up that I was saving to finish paying him( paid him $1500 to start, $1000 when done) because I had used it to buy the new turbo. About a month ago I told him the tax refund was on the way and would be here shortly and to finish up the engine. Last Friday I went to pay the final $1000. I was then told that it went over the limit by $142 and that I would have to pay the guy putting the engine back in for his services ( another $450 ). This 3 week, $2500 job had become a 9 month, $3000 ( not including turbo ) job. We argued a while until we finally agreed that I would pay the extra $142 and that's it. He calls today to say I would have to pay just the original $2500 we agreed on, but still have to pay the guy the extra $450 for his labor. I told him we may just have to settle this in court. I don't see how I could lose in court due to his constant breaching of our agreement. What do you guys think?
I think you f^%$@# up choosing this guy. 2500 doesn't even cover the motor rebuild if it's complete heads and all. I feel bad for ya, probably run like $hit if at all.

Lookin for the rock bottom price, sometimes gets you............ well, this. Good luck man. :(
Breech of agreement...

Was this a verbal contract or a written contract? I sure hope it was a written one because in the end.....It's his word against yours.

I wish you the best in resolving this, sure sounds like the guy is a shade tree mechanic:confused: Or he just doesn't have his priorities straight as far as proper business ethics.

It was originally an oral, over the phone contract. However, everytime I went to see this clown I had my g/f with me as a witness. I went to him because he has been building race engines for many years now. I learned about 2 months into the ordeal that a friend of mine had taken the heads off his TTA to this guy only to get the same long wait as me. When the guy finally finished his heads they were done completely wrong and therefore useless. I have contacted him to get his opinion and see if he would be a second witness.
There are allot of Sh1thouse lawyers out there<NO ONE HERE THOUGH>.. Understanding your options would help.. Sueing is always the first thing on ones mind.. But allot of folks dont realize is that it is not the path to easy money. Takes PATIENCE, TIME, AND HOPE to be successful at a lawsuit. You need a lawyer@200 per hour, you need to miss work to go to court, pray for a settlement, but if not you are in the long haul and worse case is that there are no guarantees you could deal with this crap for a long long long time and the judge/magistrate/jury or whomever could rule in favor of the other guy then you are SOL. So risk vs reward amigo...

Beleive me as I know now it costs far more than 2500 for someone "credible" to redo a motor right.. I have not reconciled everything yet and went pretty extreme replacing everything I had but I think my Hardware alone was ~4-5k once you factor in harness adapters, gaskets, stupid ****, and all the wonderful little behind the scene things and NOT include the expertise of R Kibler (Turbokid)....

Anywho-Best of luck and hate to hear you got screwed..
as I am sure you have realized, you get what you pay for!

do not bother to initiate any legal proceedings (except small claims) because the retainer will be more than you are talking about

sorry about your situation, but the courts are not the solution
It would have been small claims anyways. No need for a lawyer. I talked with my bro-in-law who is a sheriff's deputy about my options. I will try one more time tomorrow to do this without legal action. If we can't agree then small claims it is. I already called and it will be $55 to file and another $5 to have him served. Although it was a verbal agreement I have my g/f as a witness to what he said. He even agreed last week when i went to talk to him that our original deal was to take it out, rebuild it, and put it back for $2500. Now after I have given him $2000 of it he wants more. I may win or I may lose but his breaching of the time it would take along with the cost should be enough for me to win this. By the way, the car was taken to him in early June. The guy pulled the engine and had it to him the very next day. The only excuse he will have will be laziness.:rolleyes:
BTW... I didn't go to him because he was cheap. I asked Richie(turbokid) and a few others before going to this guy. The main factor in choosing him was location. He is less than 5 minutes away from my house.
Originally posted by OneLethal87GN
This 3 week, $2500 job had become a 9 month, $3000 ( not including turbo ) job. We argued a while until we finally agreed that I would pay the extra $142 and that's it. He calls today to say I would have to pay just the original $2500 we agreed on, but still have to pay the guy the extra $450 for his labor.

You may find yourself wishing you took him up on it. My math says,
2500+450=2950 which is not far from the 2500+142=2642 or about $308 diff. IM ASSUMING he still has your car!

Ultimately if the principle alone or the $300 lost is enough to pursue it, go for it. I dont know what I would do but $300 to get my car back is a cheaper lesson learned.


If you think this deal is F@#ked up now, wait until you get the car back, and see how it runs!!!
I'll bet you the $300 difference it doesn't make it 90 days.
A tractor mechanic???? Hmmnnn:eek:
Take your brothers advice and sue that guys a$$. A gentlemans agreement will stand in court as long as you can get him to acknowledge the agreement to the judge. If your state is single person consent, you can record a conversation (hand held recorder, not phone tap!!) with the Ahole and that will stand in court as well but be sure of your statutes statutes before you start beig 007. Also, make a report to the Better Business Bereu. If that doesnt work, take him out to a marsh and make him dig a hole...i'll leave the rest up to you;) ...that last statement was purely a joke:D
How long should he be without the car?

We can assume court takes a long time and Im not so quick to say what I would do... will it sit outside? Shop Retribution? A "reasonable" storage in many states doesnt include indoors with a car cover - just a fence around the lot. You know the fence that has the "not responsible" sign.

If he has the car back I was unaware of it and many of my points are moot.

Once you find that the engine is toast IF ITS NOT A PROPER repair, you can then nickel and dime for all the misc cost for a second repair... with a lawyer. You can find little ways to make up the $300 is my point.

IF the engine is good, and the repair was proper, then IMO $300 is the price one pays to learn a few lessons AND get their car back sooner.

It's the principle to me. A $2500 job should cost that, $2500. I don't expect to go to Burger King and see a combo for $3.99 only for them to add delivery charges, extra mayo, or handling fees. I'm not looking to sue for alot of money. I just want him to stick to the original $2500 for the deal we started with. I was even willing to pay the extra $142 he added at the end, but not the extra $450 to get it put back in. BTW... another thing that made me wanna sue is the fact that I was given a 12 month/12,000 mile warrantee on it before he started work on it. After finishing it I was told the only warrantee he would give is that when the engine is put in the car, it will start.:eek: He said he can't guarantee an engine with aftermarket parts in it. I told him to go to the Buick dealership and get any of these parts then. Everything is aftermarket these days. He copied me the warrantee off the side of the Comp Cams box as my warrantee. I asked if he guaranteed any of his work to anyone since all he builds is race engines and they all contain aftermarket parts. He just gave a :confused: look.
Most if not all engine builders stand behind what they do. But they don't give 12/12 warranties on engines like yours. If something goes wrong and it's their fault they normally step up to the plate and take care of it. It's almost impossible for an engine builder to give you a warranty on a performance engine. They have no control over how your going to use it. Not saying your going to do something wrong but they cannot control how hard you drive it. Parts break. Everything has it's limits. It sound like you have a larger turbo , bigger cam etc. If it was a totally stock rebuild in a totally stock car that would be a different story. Everyone knows when you want a "race engine" built your going to drive it harder than a stocker. The guy may or may not be a good builder. Have you seen his work? Talked to other customers? Not just ones that have a problem but a few of them? Its very hard to tell you that the rebuild will cost a certain amount unless they tell you that you need everything before it comes out. That would be a heck of a lot more than 2500.00. There may have been a few items that were not in the quote that needed replacement. Here in Florida there is a 10% above the estimate rule by state law. The end cost can be 10% more than the original estimate without your prior approval. Are you paying tax? You should be. There is no way on earth I could do a correct rebuild of your engine for anywhere near what he charged you. What was to be done? A rebuild can be many things to many people. I would suggest that you pay him want he wants. Get your car back and if all is well be happy. If its not good then do what you need to do. Would you rather have him skimp on parts and be under budget or do what's needed and pay what it costs?

Think about being in his shoes. He wants to build a good engine so he won't have a problem in the future. Yes it took longer than expected. He has to pay bill like all of us. You job is not maikng him money. He has other customer to keep happy too. Yes your upset it took so long. Your upset it is more than expected. But look at it this way. If he did a good job and the car runs well you got a grest deal no matter if it took longer and cost 500 more. You made out like a bandit.
Dude I know your pain I paid some guy $1300 as a down payment to rebuild my motor and trans a year later
he told me one of the intake bolts is broken otherwise I'm done
I picked the stuff up and went to have it put in the tranny had bogus parts in it and the engine was a mess inside has the old plugs in it etc.... cost me another $1000 for the trans, and $1800 to rebuild the motor and this guy has conveintly disappeared
he did it as side work at a local shop
What EXACTLY do you have in writing?

Any receipts?, descriptions of work to be done?. parts lists?, warranty claims?, dates of completion?, anything?

Is it a real listed business or shade tree guy?

That should determine your course of action.

I doubt a girlfriend will make a good witness in the Judges' eyes since she likes you and probably not him.

I'd get the motor and car back from the guy ASAP and get some help putting it in myself.

Have the guy there when it starts so there is no voiding the warranty when going to run it.
Well, the only other customer I talked to was my friend. I only found that out when I told him who had my engine. He told me the whole story today. It turns out his 6 week port and polish job took 9 months. When he finally got it back it looked funny to him. He paid $500 cash and a $900 check. He took the heads to have them flowed and they flowed a whopping 3% better than stock. The guy seemingly only did a clean-up job on them. He cancelled the check.:D In my situation we mostly had a verbal agreement witnessed by my g/f. G/f or not she is still a witness. I have receipts for the $2000 I already paid. I went to give him one last chance today and after about an hour of my not backing down he finally agreed to what we agreed on last week. $2642 and it will be put back in. The only thing I couldn't get him to do was warrantee it. He guarantees it will run good when first cranked, but that's it. I guess that's better than a court battle. With my luck I would have got a judge who is an old friend of his or something. His reason for non-warrantee is that Comp Cams won't warrantee their products so he won't either. I let him know that he must be one of maybe a few hundred in the whole country who doesn't warrantee his own work.
He hasnt even finished your car yet and hes trying to charge more????:rolleyes:

Dude,I hate to say it but I beleive Russ is right. Start saving for your next engine rebuild cause I dont think this one is gonna run long.
His definition of "finished" was different from mine. Mine meant when the engine was back in the car, cam broken in, and ready to roll. His was when the engine was finally rebuilt. I told him my definition today. I only dread the other problems my car may have from sitting in someone's yard for almost a year, uncovered.:rolleyes:

BTW.... anyone looking for engine work in, or around, Greenville, NC DO NOT go to Troy McLawhorn of TAS racing engines!!!!!!