Fair warning to all that read this post!
Down to the wire: 2 weeks ago i flew down to KFNL in my old 210 and walked in the front door....
After several conversations in January on the phone with Mr. Josh Critchfield about the condition and progression throught the overhaul process of my engine, i was somewhat satisfied that if/when I went to FWF i might find an engine that was going to be alright. Zach Johnston (aka FuelMan in this post) wrote me an email and i returned his call. Zach peaked my intrest when he informed me that my engine was in paint. The trouble with his comments were that Josh had just told me that it was in the assembly shop with the crank, cam, and case all together and that they were putting jugs on and may have all 6 completed shortly!
Everything that i have been told from the people in this shop has been 100% BULLSHIT!!! and i walked in and saw this with my own 2 eyes. For starters, the crank case wasn't even on the property, the intercooler that i supposedly paid them to order wasn't ordered let alone there, the 6 new ECI cylinders weren't ordered and every significant part of the engine had been shipped out to have the work done. My engine was mostly just a bunch of nuts and bolts on a cart that hadn't been touched in months. To top all this off my aircraft has been sitting outside in the weather for 6 months. The deice boots have been weathering and the windshield hotplate crazing in the sun. I came to learn from the people on the airport that FWF doesn't own the hangar only leases and has lost most of its floor space in a renegotiation with the landlord. They are only left with room for 2 aircraft in back corners according to Josh. My $24,000 paid to make progress is gone in this Ponzi scheme and shell game.
I was provided with a number of invoices and i did make all the calls to these suppliers. Many were shocked by the story and have been wondering/concerned why my parts have been sitting on the shelves. Most said that they've had a good relationship with FWF and will be paid when UPS delivers as FWF has to pay to recieve the parts COD... Today Josh admitted that the ECI shipment was returned due to lack of funds and that he wants more time... Once again breaking his word that he would have me out of the shop on the 15th of march.... Anyone interested in meeting me there shortly? Call 1-306-577-7416 or e-mail email@example.com
As a friend pointed out "Beware the Ides of March". FAA?
I wish I could say that Firewall has all their problems worked out and is back to the good shop they once were, but I can't.
The best I can say is that David's C-210 has been pulled inside the shop; I don't know if that indicates any real progress or not.
Another friend just got his plane back after overhaul that was promised for a month and took 4 months, and had some minor problems on first runs, which may be ok now.
I "won" as overhaul at cost at Sun-N-Fun last week. The price didn't seem much cheaper than shops closer to me, so I did a search, and found this.
D Weatherald, did you get your plane back yet? I am getting a little skeptical about this place :-(
16fw if you are just now beginning to get skeptical I will honor your drawing: fwd me 12k (for parts from vendors of course) and fly your airplane to me and leave the keys ect. I'll get back with you in due time. Seriously??
Today i flew the last leg of the journey home. Wasn't without some minor problems... lost the alternator when a terminal broke off and upon landing at International Peace Gardens for customs the nose wheel went flat. No services there so i had to do some scrambling to get on the way again. Whew!
Here's how i got to this point. As my last post pointed out March 15 was agreed upon to be "delivery" day : Didn't happen that wednesday due to issues with the plane they were working on ahead of mine (C340). Josh asked if it would be ok to put it off till the following monday and then i agreed to wednesday as i was in contact with that owner. So ... I called monday to confirm my airline ticket date with Josh but got no return call. Tried him again in the afternoon and again tuesday morning with no response. So i jumped in the truck and flew to Denver Tuesday afternoon. Arriving at FWF i was greeted with a crankshaft standing on the build stand and the aircraft, as Bill said above, was inside! Hey progress!! Not exactly as promised but i saw progress for the first time.
Well to make a long story ... I announced that I was there till it was airworthy and set about keeping busy and getting comfortable with the place. Personally took on the job of cleaning up the firewall and inside the cowlings to make a neat appearance. Every day i'd stick my nose in the build shop doors to see how the construction was going and was pleasantly greeted and made conversation with the Mechanics. Overall i was impressed with the expertise that Tom, Glen, Frank and Kevin have. These guys are not the problem with this shop at all. The build took 6 buisness days!!! Amazing how this went together. It could have been quicker but there were several delays when parts didn't show up as promised (the Alternator took 5 days of Josh saying it'd "be here tomorrow".)
I arrived on March 20th and the engine (fully installed) was flown out on April 4th!
I "won" this overhaul "at cost"... Supposedly this was to generate work for a slack time and improve buisness with word of mouth advertising all while the economy is in a hole. Don't think this really panned out as management planned?
The cost of the work performed is still not clear and defined. We had a contract and discussions of what was to happen but almost 8 months in the process and a scramble for parts to complete... it was just a piece of paper. At no time did i feel informed about the progress or issues found with my project! The statement has one lump sum for labor based off the original contract... i paid just to get out as fast as i could (without lawyers fees). I did get a little less than 10% off by negotiating with Josh over the troubles i had with them but in the end the quotes i got from other shops are not that much out of line.
All in all i'm satisfied with the finished product now that i've flow it for 6 hours. CHT's have come down to very nice levels and it is running smooth and powerful. NO LEAKS whatsoever and its used 1 quart of oil. Wires and hoses are all new and tidy (one mishap with the alt terminal but nobodys perfect) ... And i looks good
Will i go back? NO.
Warranty: Self administered with the suppliers- Labor $$$
Questions? feel free to ask.
The New Firewall Forward
Today I talked to Tom Lawson from TNFWF who had earlier claimed I was a winner of the "Overhaul for Cost" drawing at Sun N Fun last week and got back to me today with some prices. Turns out their "discounted" overhaul would be several thousand dollars more than the three quotes I already had (Buldoc, Don's Dream Machines & Poplar Grove). That, along with all the negative experiences mean I'm back to where I was before I got my hopes up.
Wow.... What a story... If these guys running that dog and pony show don't end up shot, they at least need to be in jail... Geez... 6 months to overhaul a motor in a 210 ????? They must be Bernie Madoffs relatives..
Originally Posted by D Weatherald
I would stay away from Don's Dream Machines too.
Originally Posted by SWeidemann
Here is Tom Lawson's number, if anyone is interested. I also "won" a overhaul at cost at Sun-N-Fun. I am glad I found this thread.
Don's Dream Machines
So....do you have any experience with Don's? BTW he was recommended by one oft regular Luscombe suppliers.I would like to know.Skot
Originally Posted by 16FW
It would likely be a good idea to check the survey of overhaul shops that was done by Aviation Consumer in the last year. Firewall Forward was definitely not one one the approved ones. Two I recall were the one at Zephy Hills, Florida, and Penn Yan up in the northeast, think it has gotten good reviews for awhile.
A C also had a recent survey of good paint shops.