T&L Engines F-up...

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by DK832, Jul 24, 2008.


  1. 70vert

    70vert New Member

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    Cost, my car is already driveable, no room to work in garage

    stonecoldtx: Hey, thanks for words of support, buddy. :rolleyes: There are a few reasons why a cheaper engine builder across the country might appeal to somebody in the Great and Expensive State of California:

    1. No room in my garage to work, and a neighborhood where I don't feel comfortable working out in the open - I try not to attract too much attention. There's not even room for a cherry picker in front of the car or anywhere to move it around once it's out. You TX guys probably have a little more room . . .

    2. Labor to build an engine seems to be at more of a premium here, and the guys serving those customers seem to be building them for rich guys, hence the price. Guys like Keith Craft, DSS Racing, and T&L are in the Midwest and the South, where labor is cheaper and I imagine more regular Joes are buying basic and slightly modified engines, so the customer base is larger. Here, it's mostly rich guys buying engines from CA builders, or so it seems. My local Mustang shop owner (25-30 year veteran) is of the opinion that local engine builders are all very pricey.

    3. T&L was a Mass-Flo approved engine builder. My plans have switched away from Mass-Flo to a F.A.S.T. EZ-EFI, but it was either them or a more expensive engine builder out here on the approved engine list.

    4. No tax. On an all-AL stroker, that can add up. Shipping is less than the tax I'd pay.

    5. Warranty on the whole thing, which they've now upped to 3 years on the custom builds waiting in the queue. Now, you can question how easy it will be to get that warranty fulfilled, and you might be right, but I can always swap back in the old 302 if the 408 needs warranty work and I'm waiting. And I plan to rebuild the old 302 myself, after paying for some local engine block work of course, and a 331 stroker kit. Don't have a home for that engine, but it will be a learning experience.


    So there's the thought process. Critique it all you want. Maybe I'm living in the wrong state, and I should just move to Arkansas in Keith Craft's backyard to support my hobby/habit. :flag:
  2. stonecoldtx

    stonecoldtx Member

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    Yep, if you ask a Texan, everything IS better in the Great State of Texas, but we're just biased that way . . . :D

    SURELY--in California, the land of "Car Mecca", you have to know SOMEONE who has some room that could help you out . . . right?

    I mean, in the L.A. Metro area alone, there are FOURTEEN MILLION PEOPLE!!!

    With that many people around, you don't know someone in your area that has enough space to accomodate an engine stand and your car?

    Yes, and lots of folks buy from them; they might charge a little more than some, but they build good engines, they build them on the deadline they promise you, and if you're going to ship across the country (as with T & L), why not choose one of them for your engine building needs?

    So, after a couple of months of seeing that they had gotten nowhere fast, why didn't you choose one of the ones with a better reputation, such as the ones you listed or Coast?

    Shipping for a 600lb engine assembly via freight is around $250-$350, depending on the distance and the carrier.

    If I recall correctly, sales tax in California is something like around 8.25% (same as here in Dallas), so assuming a $10,000 engine, you'd be paying $825 . . . wouldn't you pay another $500 to have your engine builder local, so you could get your engine quicker and easier--AND--if there were problems, he could fix them for you without you having to wait weeks or months to ship the engine back and forth?

    If there is a question regarding even BUILDING the engine, I'm curious as to why you would think there would be any difference regarding questions about them providing a warranty for the engine! Are you willing to wait ANOTHER year in the event your engine fails, and you have to ship it back to them, HOPING that they'll warranty it?

    My original statement was this:
    It was NOT meant to criticize anyone, only to voice my own feelings, because *I* for one, surely wouldn't wait that amount of time, regardless of who it was! It could be Keith Craft himself, I still wouldn't wait!

    If it were ME, and I were in YOUR shoes, I'd seek out one or more of my buddies who have space to work on the car and/or engine, I'd find the best machine shop around my area, If I didn't have the experience or knowledge of which parts would be the best combination, I'd seek that information, and then find the best prices for those parts and purchase them, over time if needed.

    Then, once I got all the parts together, I'd take them to the machine shop I'd found, and let them perform the machine work on them (machine the block, balance the reciprocating assembly, etc.).

    If I wasn't comfortable with assembling the shortblock, I'd have the machine shop do it; if my goal was to build it myself, and again, I wasn't knowledgeable or experienced enough to do so, I'd either seek out more experienced help, or I'd buy some books and educate myself on what needed to be done.

    Finally, after I got the engine together, I'd install it into my car with the help of my friends in the area with facilities who could help, and if need be, get it tuned.

    I can GUARANTEE that if there is no money flow problem, following what I've just outlined, taking my own experience out of the equation and again, just putting myself in YOUR shoes, I'd have the engine in the car and running in less than two months.

    I guess my main message is this: take the initiative. If you HAVE the money to purchase an engine from a builder, and they are too far away, too costly or unreliable, BUILD IT YOURSELF and SEEK HELP from those around you.

    If you think you CAN'T do this, IMHO, that's a defeatist attitude--you can accomplish ANYTHING you want to, if you want to take the steps necessary to accomplish it.

    I've provided you with some options to consider, it's up to you now to act on them . . .

    GOOD LUCK!!!
  3. 70vert

    70vert New Member

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    My deposit is already in, engine is almost done, so too late for me . . .

    but I never said that I was in a rush to get the engine. I placed the deposit back in October of last year, knowing deep down it would be a long wait but hoping the recession would lead to them not having enough work and hopefully a quicker turnaround. But I don't need a 500hp engine in the winter here - roads are too wet, it's not a daily driver, and I already have a decent OEM 302-2v in there to get it around. There are guys out there for whom a quick delivery, especially in the "off" season, isn't a huge deal. I'll concede, though, that a summer delivery would have been nice, but it didn't hold me back from anything.

    Not really, compounded by the fact that I work weekends and it's hard to link up with car guys locally because I can't make it to as many shows and swap meets. And I'd rather have my car driveable in my own garage (I only have one car project) than in somebody else's while I'm building a motor. Now once I get this engine in and I can rebuild the 302 myself, and look for a car to put it in, different story.

    Like I said in the earlier post and up above, I was prepared to wait a year, as my car is driveable now, in order to save money. Guys with more money and less patience, or cars that aren't driveable, might disagree.

    You do have a point on shipping the engine back for service, but it's more like $2,500 more as near as I could figure it. And these guys demonstrated some familiarity with AL blocks and were Mass-Flo approved, so those were factors.


    I'll probably do that with the 302 once it's taken out and transplanted with the 408, but you see my issue with having a deposit already in there, and not really caring about up to a year wait. I could even build the 302 and sit on it, and if I need any warranty service, a 302 stroker is almost a drop in replacement for a 351w-based stroker, so I'd have a spare engine I built myself . . .
  4. hhead

    hhead Founding Member

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    I bought my engine from a builder in the middle of race season. The most was two months before he started work on my motor.
    Never would I give money, and wait one year for a motor. SURELY you didn't pay ANY money while you're waiting?
    Why you wouldn't wait till May of this year to pay for a motor due in Oct is beyond me.
    What good is a product, if he has NO CUSTOMER SERVICE????
    Unbelievable, that people STILL choose this scammer!!
  5. 70vert

    70vert New Member

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    While I appreciate your anger on my behalf . . .

    While I appreciate your anger on my behalf, I knew it would be a long wait, and there are also a lot of guys who have engines from them that are still working fine - you can hear from them on the Cobra forums. I think the guy and his team build good engines, with the occasional (documented here, see thread title, "T&L F-Up") F-Up, but there are lots of engines out there that are working fine from them. I've read an account from a private investigator who went there and found a big, high-volume engine shop that seems to put out stock builds fairly quickly, custom builds pretty slowly.

    I'm put in the uncomfortable position here of pointing out that there are a lot of guys out there with good engines from them. I don't think anyone should choose a custom build from them at this point until they get their delivery time act together, but I bet one of their eBay engines would get done quickly.

    There are lots of good builders out there, and I've named a few above. But to suggest that absolutely everything that comes of this place is a piece of junk and that anyone who orders from them is insane, is a little insulting, a little narrow-minded, and to call the guy a "scammer" when he's been in business for decades (IIRC) is a little extreme.

    There are lots of guys who are technical geniuses that can't run a business to save their life. I know, I worked for one of them, and he knew how to give over the reins to someone who could manage customer expectations. Maybe this guy is learning that.


  6. RMODEL65

    RMODEL65 Member

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    you guys should buy from ford strokers .com woody is a good guy
  7. hhead

    hhead Founding Member

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    Again, for someone who claims to build for NASCAR. Who claims 100% of his engines are BLUEPRINTED, AND dyno tested!!
    How can ANY motor have a FAILURE. Let alone, INSTALL head gaskets BACKWARDS!!
    Either you're PROFESSIONAL shop or you're NOT.
    With supposed 100% blueprinting, and you're not ASSEMBLING your motors CORRECTLY!!!
    WHAT A SCAM!!
    What MASTER ENGINE BUILDER would mic his parts, weighing, grinding, weighing again,assemble, disassemble, and reassemble again. AND NOT ASSEMBLE his motor properly.
    HE WOULDN'T!!!
    I'd suspect, the WHOLE motor NOT being blueprinted. Let alone, a TRUE Dyno flogging.
    Oh well.
  8. hhead

    hhead Founding Member

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  9. 10secgoal

    10secgoal Active Member

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    I'm not defending anyone, but engines do fail, even if they are built perfectly. I wouldn't go as far to say a rod bearing would spin for no reason. But you can put it all together perfectly, and you have a bad part that fails, like a rod, or bolt....lifters break, like in solid cam app's. It does happen. That's why you can't warranty a race engine.
  10. stonecoldtx

    stonecoldtx Member

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    I agree 100%--nobody in their right mind would warranty a race engine . . . but I don't think the original poster was referring to a race engine--I think it was a crate engine, which just about anybody out there who produces them, DOES warranty . . .
  11. 10secgoal

    10secgoal Active Member

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    Yeah, I was referring to a well built engine dying for no good reason. But the OP's builder just F'd up, plain and simple. Which doesn't happen, but the lack of contact in my eyes is a little suspect of the builders part.
  12. 70vert

    70vert New Member

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    well, mine finally arrived.

    I'll be sure to post anything positive or negative once it gets dynoed and put in the car. It is in the hands of the local, well-regarded, builder who is rebuilding my original 302 as a 331, which will hopefully make it into another Ford project. I got so frustrated with the wait, I took matters into my own hands and rebuilt the original.

    I think it's the owner, Lloyd, himself, doing all of the engine work at this point, which is a plus for those willing to wait. The guys out here had good things to say about TandL's past, but it is tough for them now without the Winston Cup business. One of them almost worked for Lloyd. Not sure about who built the OP's engine - it may be in the paperwork, with initials on the clearances, but I am crossing my fingers that Lloyd himself did the work.

    Anyway, I got the engine, and we'll see how it runs. Not trying to defend these guys, just hoping it was worth the wait - everyone on the little forum we set up to track wait times and delivery seems happy and impressed with the power when they finally get their engine. I sincerely hope TandL can get their delivery act together and stay in business because Lloyd obviously has some talent and experience under his belt.

    http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/710237-t-l-tandl-engines-experience-crate-engines-w-warranty-2.html
  13. DanMan68

    DanMan68 New Member

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    WTF engine problems

    Sure sounds like a bunch of people picked the wrong place to get an engine. With all the places to buy crate engines out there why go to a shop in the middle of the country? Every town out there has at least one parts store with a good machine shop that can build your engine and you can talk face to face with the builder. Sorry you all had problems.
  14. nemesis418

    nemesis418 New Member

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    Danish Update .... The last one on this thread

    Well i got shafted :mad::mad::mad: !

    I heard that my last straw could be some kind of state complaint that many other of the T&L dissapointed costumers had sent their complaint to .... I did the same ! And they forced an answer out of T&L ....... But what then happend i was´nt ready for ! A BIG FAT LIE :jaw: From T&L that only could conclude that it had caracter of a civil lawsuit..... not something that the state should butt in to :shrug:

    So i had to build my engine myself! The block where milled and honed so it was straight and the cylinders that was barrel shaped were straight again. the heads were milled too so they are straight again. Valve seats were milled så they could pass a vaccum test. I then went all in and made it a roller so i got a comp cam thumpr 291 cam, lifter, pushrods, noisy gear, oilpump, Cometic gaskets , etc. and got it assembled .....And now it really works !:nice::nice: With no thanks to T&L and all their :bs:

    Thanks for all the moral support and for listening to mee whining;)

    Here is a small video of Nemesis leaving home to go to my us-car workshop.

    MustangClub of Denmark
  15. hhead

    hhead Founding Member

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    I'm glad 70vert got his motor. But, I don't think, waiting six months past their date line. Plus the 6 months+ lead time for the order. Equals over 1 year for your motor. Is a good thing, by any stretch of the imagination.
    At which, you had to order a second engine just to get your project moving(bought somewhere else). That got delivered BEFORE T&L's motor, even though you ordered it months AFTER T&L's order.
    Granted you will use the motor elsewhere. But who has got extra cash to buy ANOTHER engine just to keep your project moving forward.
    I don't care how good his motor is. You spent WAY TOO MUCH to get this project moving forward. So the replacement motor now sits doing nothing, waiting for your other project. $$$ wasted, that could be used elsewhere.
    In NO WAY would I let this guy do work for me. If you don't have your word, what good is it??
    The good thing is M&R from the other thread looks to have folded up, and not scamming money from other people.
    Is T&L on the way too.....
    edit: should we wait for the dyno session, before we say your motor WORKS? nemesis: sorry to hear the bad news.
  16. 70vert

    70vert New Member

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    NeMeSiS: Great video! Looks like you did a fine job of building the engine - anything that has that kind of power and is smooth enough to take off in the snow must have excellent characteristics at idle. I had to go through the same complaint to the NC State Department of Justice. Was that what got my engine finished? I don't know. Was it the fact that I was on the east coast after a conference and ready to drive up there and pick up my engine myself and drive it to a shipping company? Maybe. Customers that are out of the country don't have that luxury, obviously - I really feel for the guys waiting on their engines from other countries and who have had issues with their engines from other countries.

    hhead, just for the record, it wasn't just over one year. It was 17 MONTHS!! Initial order was supposed to take "more than 6-8 weeks" but they started to tell me it would be done soon after 4-5 months from the initial order date. I had read about the wait online and was prepared to wait up to a year - never dreamed it would be 17 months.

    I could have waited and probably should have waited and not done anything with my old engine and I probably would have if I hadn't had a coolant leak that put my car out of commission on July 4th. I couldn't find the leak in the hoses, so I assumed it was the radiator leaking and I didn't want to run it with coolant leaking to test it - didn't want to overheat it. I basically felt like if I was going to replace the radiator, I would want to go forward with my whole plan - move the battery to the trunk, get a wide radiator, detail the engine bay with the engine out, etc, weld in shock tower reinforcements, etc. No sense putting in the old motor after all that, I thought. Turned out just to be a cracked thermostat housing, but I was committed after the engine was out and TandL hadn't produced an engine.

    If you want to see it running on the dyno at TandL, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfjK_yLrns8 . I'll be sure to be at the dyno run out here when they test it with the EZ-EFI and get their impressions, but I'm not tearing it apart unless my shop out here feels there's something wrong with it or there are any oil pressure issues, etc. If I ever need warranty work, I've got a replacement engine, lol.

    My original 302 that's now a 331 isn't just going in "another project" - my girlfriend drives but doesn't have a car and it would go into an old Ford project we could both drive. Just looking for the right project with no motor or a tired old small block.


    In general, though, I'd like to make a point about gloating and piling on people who have had issues with certain vendors - I think we should all be supporting each other in our projects through thick and thin. I knew I was in for a wait with TandL but underestimated the wait, and did it for cost and tax savings. There are a lot of people out there happy with their TandL engines (but unhappy with the wait) - look at some of the Cobra forums and at tandl.freeforums.org - but yeah, there are a few F-ups, like with any builder. Look at 67EFIvert, by the way - he has a fine local builder, but there was still a gasket F-up.

    I'd like to separate the issues with the customer service and wait for a TandL engine with the quality of the final product, especially if it's built by Lloyd doing most/all of the work. I want them to get their delivery act together again and succeed as a business - they have experience and a quality shop with 3 dyno bays - I take no satisfaction in their business going under, and I don't think anyone else should either, and wish them and their customers all the best going forward.

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