We employed MME to build a race engine for our race boat in Australia in 2010, after they had been recommended to us for a quality race engine builder. They initially gave an estimate of approx $22k to build it.
They were given all the details of what the engine was to be build for, required rpm, the engine rules for the class we were running in, type of fuel etc, length of races etc, then they were paid a substantial deposit & went about building this race engine. We were hoping the engine build would be completed within a couple of months & then shipped from the US to Australia.
After various phone calls & email correspondence things appeared to be progressing well. We supplied the cylinder head castings & NASCAR sump, complete with piston oilers for use in the engine build.
Months & months past and after several emails & phone calls things seemed to be taking a long time, far longer than anticipated.
It actually took 2years & and an extra $17k to finally get this engine shipped from MME. To be fair, they supplied several more parts & equipment for the extra money, this was understood & paid in full prior to the engine being shipped. This engine was fully dyno tested by MME prior to shipping as per our agreement.
Upon receiving & inspecting the engine, everything seemed ok, however we found a small amount of metal swarf in the dry sump tank which we alerted MME to as soon as it was found. Their response was "this is fairly normal for a newly built engine off the dyno".
Being cautious, we decided to install an in-line screen oil filter to check for any additional metal within the oil. The installation of this filter was ok'd by MME.
After the engine was set up & fired up we cautiously ran the engine & checked everything as per normal procedure. We checked the screen filter & it has metal filings all through the filter, this was reported to MME., again we were told that it is normal & to just keep monitoring it.
We then ran the boat to check everything on the water & slowly brought the rpm up once the water & oil temperature were up to correct operating temps. Again metal in the filter, engine builder alerted of this again.
Took the boat to a local meeting to run it for the first time and ran it twice (all up 12-15mins run time), again oil in the filter, this time we decided something must be wrong.
I asked MME what the best thing to do was & they asked us to remove the engine from the boat & remove the sump. This was carried out and we found metal all through the sump pan & on the magnets within the pan.
Upon further inspection it appeared that the following was wrong:
1/. The pistons were connecting with the piston oilers within the sump & the oilers had been modified by MME to suit the application.
2/. The distributor gear was rubbing on the cam bearing causing metal fragments.
This was reported to MME along with several photos of the problems.
Being quite concerned, I had a mechanic come & view the engine with the sump pan off & he found that the brand new engine had a repair sleeve installed in one of the cylinders. He also found that MME had filed the bottom of the pistons within the engine to miss the sump oilers!
All of this was reported to MME.
It was decided that the entire engine was to be disassembled to check everything.
We Requested that MME provide us with a new engine block to replace the repaired one they initially supplied, plus new pistons, bearings & a new dry sump pump that was also damaged due to metal going through it. They agreed to this, basically admitting fault.
After the parts were being shipped we engaged a local reputable race engine builder to fully strip the engine & inspect all parts etc.
Upon inspection the following was found:
1/. The supplied cylinder heads had been butchered with valve seats that were poorly finished, valve guides that were poorly machined, head gaskets were incorrect & were fouling inside the chambers.
2/. One head gasket was on the wrong way round blocking off the water jackets.
3/. The connecting rods were linished on the sides for reasons unknown, they had heat marks behind the bearings, but not on the bearings that indicated they had been either used previously or were second hand. They also had wear marks under the honing on the pin end. (Used rods)
4/. The bronze lifter bores had excessive run-out that we're beyond a serviceable limit.
5/. The roller lifters were ground down on the edges to miss the adjacent cam lobes, so much so that the axel pin circlip had almost come out on several lifters. These were going to fail in a very short amount of time.
6/. The crankshaft had been ground on the counter balance very poorly, the main baring journals had excessive wear marks for an engine that had done less than 20mins run time.
The replacement parts arrived & the block had not been machined correctly for the camshaft & the pistons arrived without the correct valve relief. Basically the parts were incorrect.
I have requested a full & unconditional refund of our money for the return of all the parts & equipment supplied by MME.
I have all correspondence on file from MME and will be taking legal action against them if they do not refund the money in full. This engine cost $39,000 & took 2 years to build.
This race engine is a disgrace and will serve to tarnish their reputation as quality engine builders.
I urge anyone that is looking at getting MME (Mark McKoewn) to either build them an engine or supply them with parts to do so with a great deal of caution as I don't want anyone to go through what we have with this engine build.