Now that I was done, thinking I have to wait a month for the next issue to come out, I remembered how you magazine people print one month ahead, so I went to the magazine rack the next day, and the November issue was there waiting for me. The way I was excited, you would've thought it was the 1968 Sears Christmas Wish Book catalog. I'm reading again at midnight, thinking I could build a car like these in your magazine, and maybe get a picture in Hometown Hot Rodding.
Bring it on, Kent! You build it, and we'll print it.
I was very excited to read about the Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) Aluminator in the October issue, and was looking forward to using one in my '68 Cougar when I get around to that project. A friend of mine purchased one for his '03 Cobra, and I have been helping him with the installation. Before we dropped the engine in, he came across a thread on modularfords.com.
Just to hit the high points of the thread, FRPP is selling these engines with a major problem that they know about, and hanging the purchasers out to dry with no real warranty service. The problem is that the crank end play is not properly set up at the factory, and this causes the harmonic balancer to eat a hole in the timing cover. FRPP claims this is a very small problem, but the numbers speak for themselves. One of the posters in the thread is an FRPP distributor. Five that he has sold are known to have this problem, and their build dates range from February 2008 to just a few weeks ago. That doesn't seem like an isolated case to me.
The only response FRPP has offered is to pay about 25 percent of the cost of correcting this problem, and they have only offered that to one of their customers who have this problem. The warranty that is provided with the Aluminator is for parts only; however, when an engine has a problem when it leaves the factory, it is a manufacturing defect, and it should be taken care of. I can't speak for you, but if I was in your shoes, I would have a real hard time allowing an obvious rip-off to go unchecked. Customers and potential customers need to be made aware of things like this, particularly when the vendor in question is going out of their way to cover it up just so they can get out of taking care of the problem.
FRPP's Jesse Kershaw responds: "We have repaired or replaced every Aluminator with this issue that has been returned to us. We now have a robust fix, and have added checks to our assembly process so this doesn't happen again. Any customer's engine not installed can be exchanged or returned for a full refund. Our crate engine warranty covers defects in material and assembly, but not installation and removal labor costs, which if you look at other manufacturers, is pretty much industry standard. We have tried to work out some goodwill adjustments for those customers whose engines were already installed. We absolutely stand behind our products, like Aluminator!" If you've got an early Aluminator with this problem, Jesse recommends that you call 800-367-FORD.
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