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Old 12-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #1
ScumOne
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Sigh...C5 upgrades...what a PITA...

So I've been dialing in the last of my C5 upgrades for the last two months. Been seriously disappointed in some companies offering upgrades, improvements, yada yada yada....

/RANT MODE ON:

Ordered interior leather upgrades, sent them pics in advance to match/verify the leather of my pewter leather interior to what they would send. Total crap, and I do mean total. They never looked at the pics before they sent out these sun visors that are about 66 shades off. I'll just say this, Redline Leather, don't get me started (http://www.redlinegoods.com/). I finally had to file a paypal dispute to get them to take back the leather sun visors they sent me to get a refund.

Exhaust systems. Sheesh. Two different companies I ordered from. Both were wrong, had to be modified/extended, corrected. (No names, sorry gents, they're doing the right thing and refunding me without having to argue about it. They're also going to straighten out their pipe benders.)

Starter upgrades. Sheesh. After reading Junkman's thread about his block cracking I got on that in a hurry. Had my mechanic try to install it. Wrong one. I made sure to call first to make sure I got the right one before I ordered, yada yada yada. Sorry, doesn't fit. Have to send it back, they haven't responded to two emails and a voice mail about what happened, or an RMA or exchange.

I'm glad that there are local shops here in Whittier, CA that are familiar with this car. They've gone the extra mile to show me what's wrong, why it won't fit, why it can't be fixed without spending another $300 to modify, etc.

But that doesn't negate the fact that there are some "companies" out there that have been recommended online, in emails, and through advertising that really do not have their s**t together at all.

It's almost like I have to email Junkman or my local mechanic before I do something as simple as say "I have a 1999 C5 Corvette with the LS-1 and the 4 speed OD automatic. Do you have the hi torque starter I need with the equal length bolts to avoid the infamous aluminum block crack syndrome?"

Pretty dismal. How do you guys avoid, or put up with this rampant upgrade from hell crap?




/RANT MODE OFF:

Last edited by ScumOne; 12-11-2012 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:23 PM   #2
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Thinking about it there are very few products aftermarket products that fit in a quality manner. It does suck but limits my mods to suspension brakes wheels and any other things I have the tools and equipment to machine/fabricate myself.
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96 stock and 86E I don't even know how to explain anymore.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
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My replacement starter was a direct GM replacement from AC Delco. What starter did you buy that didn't fit? Was it an AC Delco starter? Mine bolted right up and dead on.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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Next summer i am replacing my starter with the MSD starter.

Yea, there are a lot of shaddy companies out there. Yet another reason I do all of my own work and research everything.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:18 PM   #5
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One thing I learned from modding many different cars is you always have to expect issues.
If you go into it expecting problems, it's eases the pain of having to modify something to fit or work the way you want it to.

Problems like non-matching colors, that is just incompetence. Since China has infiltrated our economy, this seems to be the accepted norm. Just because China can get away with crappy quality, it shouldn't mean domestic manufactures can too.
When I buy American, I expect to pay more, but also expect a better product.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
One thing I learned from modding many different cars is you always have to expect issues.
If you go into it expecting problems, it's eases the pain of having to modify something to fit or work the way you want it to.

Problems like non-matching colors, that is just incompetence. Since China has infiltrated our economy, this seems to be the accepted norm. Just because China can get away with crappy quality, it shouldn't mean domestic manufactures can too.
When I buy American, I expect to pay more, but also expect a better product.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:00 AM   #7
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I have to agree that probably 50% of the Corvette "cosmetic" after-market upgrades I have seen are pure crap. About another 30%, while not "crap" are disappointing at best. There are relatively few worthwhile "upgrades", and most of them are "pricy".

As far as "performance" upgrades, most of them work as advertised and will be so strong that they are guaranteed to break some other weak link in the stock system - one reason it is usually hard to sell a Corvette with a modified drive train. In my case I changed the intake, x-pipe and catbacks and added an after-market tune only - did not touch any of the internal parts (been there - done that - money pit and any reliability is in your delusional state of mind in most cases; however, you do get bragging rights about how much horsepower you have when the car is running).
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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Got my car back late last night. The new exhaust system from Bassani sounds and looks great. I'm going to take it for a short drive this morning once the traffic clears in LA and see how it sounds at freeway speeds.

I went with the X-over pipe that's a little quieter than the other one they offer, plus their cat back system w/new muffler and tips.

The starter issue is intriguing. Apparently my LS-1 block has a casting "bump", for lack of a better word, next to where the starter fits. The equal length bolt starter's snout will not fit around this bump without taking off the bell housing/etc. So that's going back to the manufacturer for a refund, but leaves me wondering why my block is different from other LS-1 blocks. Time to investigate that a little more I guess.

I had the engine retuned to take advantage of the new exhaust system. It does have more power, pickup and smoother shifting through the automatic transmission. The smoother shifting was a nice bonus.

As soon as my mechanic emails me the pics of the block, I'll post them and maybe some of the more learned LS-1 block experts here can tell me what/why that casting bump is there for.

Now it's time to go for a high speed spin, and burn off the rest of the factory coating.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:55 AM   #9
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Got my car back late last night. The new exhaust system from Bassani sounds and looks great. I'm going to take it for a short drive this morning once the traffic clears in LA and see how it sounds at freeway speeds.
Then I guess you won't be going anywhere.

As for the casting, here's what mine looks like (while missing half of the outside long bolt hole). I don't know why yours would be any different.

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Old 12-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #10
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Here is a pick of my block after the break and the new block installed before mounting the starter if it helps (ignore the callout)...

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #11
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Luckily, I haven't had to replace/repair any mechanical parts, however Vette Essentials did an excellent job in matching up my gray/black interior leather components.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:01 PM   #12
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Luckily, I haven't had to replace/repair any mechanical parts, however Vette Essentials did an excellent job in matching up my gray/black interior leather components.
Another vote for Matt at VE...

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Old 12-12-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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I had to send back one console leather upgrade back to Eckler's. It was the right color, but it just fit badly. The arm rest cushions for the doors were fine, though.

Then I got the console and shift boot from Corvette Mods. They were good, right color, stout leather, no issues.

Next, I tried to order sun visors from Redline...I sent them pics of the pewter leather interior to match first before I ordered. This is what they sent me.





Then they argued with me about returning it, saying I had ordered it wrong..that they provided the closest match they could.



I asked about the pics I had sent to match. They hadn't looked at them at all before they shipped off those leather visors. I asked them why they didn't and they said with 20-30 orders per day there was no way to match up my order to my pics. Yet he was specific in telling me what to order BEFORE I ordered. So I guess he guessed, and didn't give a rat's ass.

Finally had to file a paypal complaint to get my money back. Then I had to pay to ship them back to someplace in Delaware (the factory is in Poland, I guess) to return them. I got my money back after two weeks, and then whoever got them in Delaware sent them back to me, and I got them three days ago. Why? Who knows, I can't use them! If anyone wants these let me know, and I'll send them to you for the cost of the shipping I'm out...I guess that would be $20 total. But be advised (obvious from the pics I posted), they don't match your pewter leather (or any other Vette leather I've seen) interior.

And so much for taking pics to send first to verify.

Ah, this kinda crap is why businesses fail. Sales people with no ethics, etc. And then they try to blame the client for the mistake when the client only ordered what they were "assured" was an exact fit/match/upgrade...whatever. Puhlease!

Ok, enough of this ranting. Time for a cocktail, sheesh!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ScumOne View Post

Then they argued with me about returning it, saying I had ordered it wrong..that they provided the closest match they could.
Don't know all the details of the transactions, but I will say that trying to get color matches in leather across vendors is VERY DIFFICULT - even within the same vendor over time it is an issue. You also have a light neutral color that can be very hard under different lighting conditions. None of these auto vendors "custom" die leather to match that I know of, they can only use the hydes that have in stock unless they place a custom match order (off the charts expensive and they would have to order a minimum quantity). Even colors like black can be hard to match - especially in texture.

The only somewhat sure way that you have of matching color/texture is to order everything at once from the same vendor that is creating everything custom for you from the same hyde lot - if it is something they "stock", then it is luck of the draw.

I am a color-specialist (part of what I do for a living) and the #1 reason listed for returned items ordered online or from television is "Color not as expected". You cannot evaluate real-world reflective-color items based on any "screen" representation where color is being painted with light (additive color) - even if you have tens-of-thousands of dollars tied up in display/calibration/measurements systems like I do.

Most leather manufacturers are pretty accurate/consistent on color they produce, but a vendor that just orders the material and sews it up really has limited control.

Yeah, I know - it sucks.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:48 AM   #15
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Well, I'd give that to just about any aftermarket leather supplier, but somehow Corvette Mods, and Eckler's got it right. All they had to go on was "99 C5 Pewter Leather Interior" color.

I sent multiple pics to Redline, realizing that they would need pics in shade and light to make a decent determination. So I sent them some both ways.

They just didn't look, which was admitted to me via email after I complained. That's what chapped my ass the most, especially after three pre-order emails with pics to determine which color was the one to select.

So while I can understand what you're saying (I used to fix digital video editing systems and publishing systems here in LA as a Macintosh consultant for years) about color matching/Pantone, etc...this company just didn't do anything they said they would...well, except take my money that is.
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