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Old 09-15-2013, 08:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry AV Tuning (SC)--can't even gap plugs.

Up front, my car came in with a lot of issues. It was my first build, with a used Edelbrock turbo kit, most of which needed to be replaced. The fact that this shop did a poor job was compounded by:
  • Holt's Automotive, who assembled my engine with honda bond on the headgasket and neglected to mention some missing dowels. They also inverted the spark plug seals on the valve cover, but that was an easy fix. I haven't found anything else wrong, which is pretty good considering all the work they did.
  • Trackmasters, who didn't even have enough time to check the mechanical timing. They had to "rebuild" my distributor, which had been working great up till that point. I'm a bit suspicious of what they did, since my tachometer became inaccurate after that. They also didn’t pick up on the headgasket leak, so I bathed my pistons in coolant for the first five hundred miles (driving it to SC).

This car came with a history of bad service. I don’t know why these people end up with me. I’m not an asshole. I am polite and pay my dues when they are due.

I towed the car to AV Tuning in November '12. Due to multiple complications, from builds taking extra time to health issues putting the owner out of the shop, they didn't start until Februrary '13. The first thing I learned was the muffler shop I paid to weld together a 2.5" catback exhaust actually put together a 2" exhaust. So my entire system is humped until I can replace it. AV Tuning suggested that they do it for say...two fucking thousand dollars. Are you shitting me? I spent $400 TOTAL (twister muffler, dynomax VT muffler, piping, welding) on the one I had.

I decline the exhaust and they begin pressing for a budget. I finally caved in and said two thousand; even this was a little over what I wanted to spend. Surprise surprise the very next day they call back and say they've reached two thousand. $600 of that is the tune that has yet to take place. What have they done? Taken off the turbocharger and piping and discovered the headgasket is blown. Either I tow it back for $1400 of bullshit or I get it fixed. Fast forward through multiple discoveries, every one conveniently made after they had put everything back together (which is logged as $$$/hour), and suddenly I'm closing three thousand. A bad coolant hose here, a leaking oil sandwich (bad sealant) there. They can't even get my EBC to work correctly. The exhaust becomes the scapegoat when tuning. Can’t get any power. They give up at 175whp. All said and done, $4800.

Now it wouldn't be so bad if say, the car fucking came out running properly. I could soak the bill, acknowledge my error of not going over every fucking item I buy and service I paid for with a fine tooth comb. But the first thing I hear from the tuner when I pick it up is that it tends to stall out starting cold. Isn't that what I just paid for? To TUNE MY FUCKING CAR? Whatever...I just wanted to get the fuck out with my car intact.

The first thing I noticed is suddenly the steering squeaks when I turn right. The fuck? I just replaced the steering rack a few months before the engine. Everything else in my suspension is maybe half a year old.

The hood was vibrating against metal, which turned out to be two things: my hood adjustment stoppers were bottomed out, and the valve cover vent 90* AN attachments were rubbing the inside of the hood.

So far I've discovered that my FPR fuel return line wasn't fully on the nipple (I was lucky enough to discover it in time). My EVAP canister was hooked up to the intake manifold and every time I went into boost it pressurized the canister and the line going back to the gas tank (loud hissing sound from the valve between the two dumping air). How can you not notice that as a tuner? Today, I took out the spark plugs and checked them. Not one plug has the same gap, and NONE of them are gapped to the .028" that he gave me as reference.

I don't have a lot of knowledge in auto mechanics, that's why I pay other people to fill the gaps. I’m not proud of it, I’d rather do it myself. I just don't have time or money to fail, so it's fucking epic when the people I pay do a shitty job.

Last edited by Aeroflux; 09-15-2013 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry to here the bad luck!!!


Keep your head up... Read,study,tools,get hands dirty!!!
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Read, study, tools, get hands dirty!!!
yup.

sorry you had to learn your lesson the hard way though.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear as well. He doesnt even do biz with locals lol guess they wont do biz with him. Ive literally NEVER seen a car he done. Ive worked at shops in the same area for years now.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow sorry about all this. Biggest reason why I started to try and fix things for myself. Got ripped off when I was in high school. Never took it to a shop since than.

A lot of good information on this site. Study up.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My goodness....shitty people needs to die.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Learning and failing still would have been cheaper than $4800 and in the end you would be smarter than where you started making that 4800 way easier to swallow.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, gotta keep working on it. I didn't have much of a choice when putting the build together. I had planned the build and bought parts for three years. I was living on my parent's property in a different house at the time. Everything changed when lightning burned down their house; my slow methodical progress became panic. I had to throw it all together and get it in running condition inside a month...well it was three months or so, but two of them was spent waiting on the engine in the machine shop.

I can't even begin to list all the sources of shit luck. The ECU my friend sold me ended up being bad. I only found out after the tuner tried to start my car (I tried to get him to test it beforehand, but he didn't have an engine simulator and I couldn't afford one). I'd already chipped the ECU myself. Had to rush a Xenocron ECU just to get it back on track. Thermostat was suddenly bad, engine overheated almost instantly. Of course, that was probably the headgasket, but I didn't know it at the time.

Now I'm studying at SCAD and time to work on my car is severely limited. But hey, I've had this car for eighteen years. Not about to give up on it now.


@hotrodj

If you know of any good tuners in the area, let me know. The only tuner other than AV Tuning I know of is Carter Racing in Savannah, and their dyno is broken--plus they plan on just building engines. My car can't even start without pumping the gas constantly. Part of that is my fault for drilling the fpr after the tune (Endyn mod), but it still stalls out if I don't rev it for twenty seconds or so. I know it's got something to do with cold start enrichment, but I'm really starting to second-guess the entire tune. I need to find someone that knows what the hell they're doing.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I finally got to the boost leak test last weekend...the compressor housing might as well have been screen door. Sealed it properly with some copper rtv. Still have issues. First tuner that welded the IAT bung didn't do a very good job as it's leaking through the weld. I get a lot of airflow through my catch can, enough to bring it up 2PSI if I hold my palm on the intake line (sealing the catch can). After a minute the top will start lifting off as it's a double o-ring seal that's keeping it on. I'm going to cap my valve cover and retest to validate that theory. I think I can safely say my tune was useless.

Also did a compression test...every cylinder but the last is sitting at 180. The one by the distributor is at 160-170. I don't trust the compression tester all that much cause the bezel is warped enough to stop the needle at 60PSI. The test may be completely bad, but if it isn't I'm guessing something may be up with my valves (or that 500 mile bath in coolant screwed a ring seal). Either way, I'll feel safer doing a leakdown test--with proper equipment and knowledge.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Damn bro that sucks. Hope all goes well. I just took a 1500$ bath on the a/c for my accord only for it to fail again 6 months later. They did a 134 conversion and the 20 yr old lines and hoses can't take the extra pressure that 134 places on the system. Feel your pain
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Never had a problem with AV, and Anthony is a good guy (from my experiences, at least). Sorry to hear your bad luck.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Holy crap. I keep hearing these horror stories of shitty tuners ripping people off. It really makes me want to go through and open my own dyno shop.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Never had a problem with AV, and Anthony is a good guy (from my experiences, at least). Sorry to hear your bad luck.
Quoted for the truth! Anthony has worked/tuned each one of my set-ups and they've all ran flawlessly. AV is hands down the best shop in SC. Period.

It's really funny that I came across this thread because I know exactly what car this is. No offense to Anthony over at AV, but I'm surprised he even agreed to work on this car. When you want to talk about a "budget build gone wrong" this is the poster car. I remember he was working on my car at the time and each time I would show up to drop off parts the guys in the shop would be talking about all of the damage and incorrectly installed parts that were on your car.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't your car the one that had the upside down head studs installed with no dowel pins then you came into the shop protesting about how you never heard of a blown head gasket on a Honda before? It's funny how you point the blame over at AV when the blame should have been pointed at the engine builder and whoever incorrectly installed that pieced together turbo kit. And who does a turbo kit using a 2" muffler shop exhaust system? Of course that engine isn't going to make any power. Muffler shops crush bend pipes so that 2" pipe is probably 1.5" in certain area's.

On a side note, it's really sad to see you bad mouth a guy like Anthony and the guys at AV. They've got more experience in tuning high power turbo applications than anyone else in the state. Like I said before I'm surprised he even agree'd to work on this car. Just looking at this thing gave me a headache. It sounds like to me that you brought a busted car to him and expected him to fix it for free.

Next time I swing by his shop I'll mention this post to him.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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make sure to tell him this thread is almost 9 months old.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm still around, trying to get this car in working order.

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Quoted for the truth! Anthony has worked/tuned each one of my set-ups and they've all ran flawlessly. AV is hands down the best shop in SC. Period.

It's really funny that I came across this thread because I know exactly what car this is. No offense to Anthony over at AV, but I'm surprised he even agreed to work on this car. When you want to talk about a "budget build gone wrong" this is the poster car. I remember he was working on my car at the time and each time I would show up to drop off parts the guys in the shop would be talking about all of the damage and incorrectly installed parts that were on your car.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't your car the one that had the upside down head studs installed with no dowel pins then you came into the shop protesting about how you never heard of a blown head gasket on a Honda before? It's funny how you point the blame over at AV when the blame should have been pointed at the engine builder and whoever incorrectly installed that pieced together turbo kit. And who does a turbo kit using a 2" muffler shop exhaust system? Of course that engine isn't going to make any power. Muffler shops crush bend pipes so that 2" pipe is probably 1.5" in certain area's.

On a side note, it's really sad to see you bad mouth a guy like Anthony and the guys at AV. They've got more experience in tuning high power turbo applications than anyone else in the state. Like I said before I'm surprised he even agree'd to work on this car. Just looking at this thing gave me a headache. It sounds like to me that you brought a busted car to him and expected him to fix it for free.

Next time I swing by his shop I'll mention this post to him.
Do that. Everything I've said in this thread is truth. $4800 for a car that does not fucking start right. How can you be a tuner, a mechanic and tell me AFTER HANDING ME THE KEYS TO THE CAR THAT IT DOESN'T START WITHOUT REVVING THE ENGINE?! And tell him he fucking lied to me about my exhaust, it's all 2.5" except for the test pipe, WHICH MY LAST FUCKING TUNER FABRICATED (Trackmasters in Huntsville, AL) AND INSTALLED. Honestly, it's hard to find someone you can trust that won't try to charge you out the wazoo while screwing you over.

Yes, that's the car with the ARP dowels installed the wrong way. If I had fucking done it it would have been done right. I don't half-ass shit, that's why it took me years to save up parts and prepare the car for a turbocharged setup. I researched everything when building my car, but I didn't trust my never-done-it-before skillset, so I hired a machinist who had a good reputation. $3000 later my engine was ready to drop in. What I didn't realize at the time was the machinist or his younger partner had used honda bond on the head gasket because they fucking lost the dowels, and didn't even have the common sense to put the allen wrench side of the stud in right-side up.

Tell your pro tuner how he never took the time to do a boost leak test (fucking ten minute job), cause if he did he would have realized the compressor side was leaking like a god damn screen door. And thank him for leaving my fuel return line hanging off the nip, real classy. Oh yeah, and ask him why he gapped my plugs all differently than what he quoted, @ .028". Ever since I gapped them, AND check them every ~1k miles, wouldn't you fucking know, they stay right where they were gapped. Ever since I got my car back the driver-side wheel well has a squeak in it. You know, if Anthony is so good, now I'm starting to wonder if someone else was working on it in his place. Oh, and if that was your Subaru he was working on, THANK ME FOR FUCKING POINTING OUT THAT IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO ROLL THE FUCKING WINDOWS UP ON THE CAR WHILE IT WAS SITTING OUT IN THE FIELD IN THE RAIN. Dude there are signs that someone is a good business person. What I got was not $4800 worth of work. I had to wait three months before he even started on my car, and that was after he asked me to bring it in. When he did get started it took many weeks of work (which is fine) and he reassured me that he wouldn't charge for taking up part of his bay (which is great since he didn't mention that bit when I signed the work quota), and then right after the work is done he turns around and tells me that it will cost extra if I don't pick it up within a week. I would have picked it up ASAP anyway. He tried to sell me on a switch for a 7PSI setup...after telling me he couldn't get my boost controller (from xenocron) to work correctly. Really? I had to act as if I didn't know how a switch works and why it's completely useless on a 7PSI setup just to avoid embarrassing him. I'm green, but not that fucking green.

Oh yeah, also thank him for not slapping another layer of honda bond and installing the head right. He deserves recognition for that. It's the shit he didn't do right, and the costs that are ridiculous. Who the fuck in their right mind quotes $2000 for an exhaust? I would have let all of this go, had my car been tuned and reassembled correctly. But I'm getting 20mpg while cruising. I smell gas from my exhaust because someone added way the fuck too much fuel trying to figure out why I didn't get power and blamed it on reversion. My car has to warm up before it will allow me to rev past ~3000rpm, EVEN IN 90*+ WEATHER. Sometimes my idle gets stuck on ~2000rpm when my A/C compressor is engaged. This is shit that tells me the tune is incorrect.

The stuff I did wrong on my build? I installed a coolant hose that was destined to fall apart (SS and with the ends re-cut), I used bad sealer (bought brand new from NAPA) on the adapters for the oil sandwich, and I installed the filters on the boost controller incorrectly...possibly didn't have a good ground on it--even though I tested it with a meter (ground to separate chassis point). I also trusted a machinist and two tuners who did the job half-way and charged me for the full amount.

Oh, and coincidentally, I just took my car in to another shop and had basic tests done (compression, leak-down, boost-leak). Everything is coming back great. 180psi on all cylinders except one which is 170psi on the compression. 10-15% on all the cylinders for the leak-down test. No boost leaks. This is, of course, after I sealed the turbo compressor side and went over everything else with a fine-tooth comb.

I also took apart my distributor (as the Trackmasters tuner said it was off and installed another used ICM and coil), come to find out there is jack shit between the heatsink and the ICM. Jeez, I wonder why my timing was so weird...in a bay...revving to 7400rpm on a dyno...hot as balls. Hmm...thanks tuner #1 for fucking up your own tune and complicating tuner #2's job.

All summed up I'm at fault, my tuners are at fault, and the machinist is at fault. But I don't get paid to do the job right, I fucking sink money into this bitch. They get paid to do the job right. If Anthony could or would not take the time to analyze the problems with my car, you are completely right, he should not have taken the job. I would not have asked him to do it. I didn't even have the money to cover $4800, I had to ask my parents for a loan. So yeah, shit done wrong, me in debt. I'm still pissed.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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@ Aeroflux - I commend you for that response. You're clearly angry, but you didn't pass all blame off and no name calling. Based on your OP and this last post I have to agree that everyone involved was at "some" fault. I also agree that paid professionals should get it right before releasing a vehicle and If the shop is at fault they should eat the expenses related to their actions. This is one of those "life lessons" that only needs to happen once. I work in the automotive industry as a mechanical insurance claims adjuster and previously as a Volvo tech. When I was wrenching in the field neither I, nor my co-workers, screwed over,lied to,or "smoked" jobs. It was principal. Now that I'm out of working on them and on to adjudicating claims on them I get calls from the shops actually working on the vehicles and I have to use my automotive knowledge to keep them in line. It's scaring seeing what I see and hearing what I hear on a daily basis. There are soooo many shops that are all about making the most and easiest money possible, which doesn't seem bad until you see how they accomplish that. Replacing instead of repairing, overcharging, telling someone they "need" to replace something when in actuality they're "recommending" it's replacement to cover the shops ass. I've had a shop tell me over sized pistons need to be installed after honing a block, many shops swear a head has to be resurfaced when it's pulled off, even if they measured and it's flat. For these reasons and financial limits, many car guys would never let anyone touch their car. I'm one of those guys. I remember opening up a Sport Compact Car magazine and not having a clue what the hell I was looking at and now there isn't anything on a car I can't do. I suggest baby steps in learning the ropes yourself to prevent this from ever happening again. Google,YouTube,d-series.org, friends etc. are a wealth of knowledge you can refer to as well. Last but not least, if you're in need of general maintenance and/or repair I would suggest a mom and pop shop over a tuning shop. Typically tuning shops are heavy on their hourly rate. Obviously mom and pop shops aren't the go to place for a turbo setup, but they can handle timing issues,leaks,and odd and ends that need to be buttoned up prior to a tuner getting his hands wet. Hope all is well now. Happy Friday!
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:25 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aeroflux View Post
All summed up I'm at fault, my tuners are at fault, and the machinist is at fault. But I don't get paid to do the job right, I fucking sink money into this bitch. They get paid to do the job right.
I think the problem here is the fact that you showed up with a car masked with 100 different type of problems then expected a shop to just "fix everything."

Finding problems isn't as simple as looking at a motor. I've seen nightmare cars like this and they just keep having problems no matter what seems to be done. One problem is fixed then 3 other problems come up. After reading your posts its clear that you really know nothing about cars and are playing the blame game. The more people that touch your car the worse that it gets.

Instead of bashing Anthony on a forum you should have given him a call at the shop. His customer service is top notch. Last time I was in there he had several Nissan GTR's all being upgraded and tuned so he clearly knows what he is doing.

Friendly advice, I'd sell that POS. I have seen your car and so have several of my friends. Continuing to work on it is like putting lipstick on a donkey. Tuning shops don't work for free.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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You both have a point but I have to agree that you don't charge someone to make the car run worse.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I think the problem here is the fact that you showed up with a car masked with 100 different type of problems then expected a shop to just "fix everything."
Wow, a hundred. You're not exaggerating one bit. Fix everything? If I pay them to, fuck yeah. Otherwise they should politely tell me they can't fix whatever problem they found, not glaze over the real problems with redundant labor charges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_PowerDan View Post
Finding problems isn't as simple as looking at a motor. I've seen nightmare cars like this and they just keep having problems no matter what seems to be done. One problem is fixed then 3 other problems come up. After reading your posts its clear that you really know nothing about cars and are playing the blame game. The more people that touch your car the worse that it gets.
Yes, I know nothing. Because all the work I've done on my car up to this point, rebuilding the brakes, replacing all the bushings, the entire suspension, steering gearbox, rewiring the A/C, wiring all the gauges and installing them, modifying my engine harness bundle to include additional wiring, replacing my clutch and pressure plate, slave cylinder, master cylinder, and many other things, well...that amounts to nothing. As does your opinion about my skills when it comes to car knowledge.

Just remember, it was with the supposed lack of knowledge that I fixed the rest of it myself. It was with the abundance of knowledge that Anthony (or whoever worked on the car) did not. Everybody starts with nothing, and you trying to demean my character because I don't "know enough" shows more of who you are than who I am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_PowerDan View Post
Instead of bashing Anthony on a forum you should have given him a call at the shop. His customer service is top notch. Last time I was in there he had several Nissan GTR's all being upgraded and tuned so he clearly knows what he is doing.
Are you shitting me? The shady way he was treating me? Fuck that. A scorned mechanic is worse than a bad mechanic.

Quote:
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Friendly advice, I'd sell that POS. I have seen your car and so have several of my friends. Continuing to work on it is like putting lipstick on a donkey. Tuning shops don't work for free.
What are you doing here if you think my car is a piece of shit? I've owned it for almost twenty years, you think your opinion matters? I don't give a fuck about how expensive or shiny a car is. Put it through the time grinder and get back to me. $4800 does not equal free.

I find it hilarious that he wanted me to show up at the next car show when he finished with my "POS" honda. So was it to make fun of my vehicle or are you just talking out of your ass? Either way, I'd never take my car to those thief meets.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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pics of this so called "abomination" (according to dan)?

$4800 is a lot of money to spend at a shop only to have continued issues.
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