My Experience at JT's Mustang and Performance of Sacramento
This all started last fall when I wanted to have a stock 351C rebuilt by this shop. We gave a $3000 deposit check and dropped off the engine that week. A few weeks later we (the shop and my folks) had a meeting to discuss possible upgrades for performance. I had heard of a stroker kit and wanted to see about having this engine done with one. That seemed reasonable with Larry, the shop's owner. He said he would look into the costs to get a kit. A week later he said he was talking with 3 different companies to see which was the best bang for the buck. He later responded that it was a Scat kit for a 408 stroker that he would order. I came in another time within a couple of weeks to see what other supporting parts should be ordered to go with it. He mentioned many different methods and combinations and how he thought they would work together, but had not done one. He was going to go to a Mustang rally and would meet many other people and talk to them about what to get for additional parts. A couple of weeks later I met with him again to go over what he found out. Not much it seemed. So I went online looking for cleveland information and found a forum that deals with the 351C explicitly. On there I found a ton of information and different builds and their performance. I would relay the information to Larry and he told me that I shouldn't go and read this stuff because everyone tries their own stuff and it wasn't valid information for a quality build. I would post my concern and found that a guy at mmeracing.com was the place I should be asking my questions. So I did and got a ton of tried and true information. When I passed it onto Larry he told me that I have been switching up my mind too much and that I should just order the parts myself and he would assemble them. So I did. At this point I knew he had purchased a set of pistons that he would not need for the stroker kit as they were purchased by him after our original discussion to do a stock rebuild. Next was the cam discussion. He told me he had one at his shop that he thought would work. But I ended up buying a custom one from the race shop. Fast-forward about 5 months to July 8th. I bring all of the parts to the shop yesterday and show him all of the stuff I got. He started into how this was really going to take a whole lot more time to assemble now and how parts may not all go together and may need custom fitting to work right. He must of said "whole lot more time" about 5 times. I got the hint and said that if he, Larry, doesn't feel comfortable building this to say the word and I'd take all of my parts elsewhere. He said how this wasn't what he originally talked about and how we had gone in so many different directions. We went from stock to stroker in 2 weeks. He then tells me that he had already ordered a water pump, and oil pump and timing set. But says he'll build it. I ask about the $3000 and how much of it had he used so far and he said all of it. I asked on what and he said the stroker kit, the boring of the block and his time doing research.
I went home and thought about it, and after listening to my gut feeling that he was gearing up to really overcharge me, I called him up and said I was going to have another shop do the work and that I was going to go right back and pickup my parts and engine. He said that he had been doing some quick calculations and that he had already spent more than the $3000 and that he wouldn't release the rest of the engine until we squared up. After showing up and collecting the parts I had just dropped off I asked to take the engine since I had a car to put it in and he did. My dad was there with me as the rational one. We told him that we'd be back at 1:30 the next day.
We showed up at 1:30 today and he showed us the invoice and it was $4408.52. That was $2000 for the Scat 408 kit, $500 for the engine work, $500 for his research time, and the rest was for the pistons, some valves, rocker arms AND the cam that he already had on the shelf. Or he can take them back and charge a 25% restocking fee. (notice that the water pump and oil pump are nowhere to be found that he said he had ordered). I reminded him that he said he already had the cam at his shop and he said that he could have sold it to someone else, but was holding it for me. I said that is illegitimate business and he said, okay, how about I take the $200 off for the cam, and add $200 to the consultation fee. I asked him when did we ever decide that talking about parts was going to cost me. So finally my dad said that we'll just pay the additional $1408.52 and take the parts and sell them. Larry wanted cash only, so we went to the bank and got it.
When we got back he said that he didn't have the valves, that they were still at the machine shop.....over 6 months ago......and didn't notice they were missing. So he lowers the amount we owe to $1212.75. We took the parts and left.
Just wanted to pass this on and perhaps keep someone else from being ripped off.