LC Engineering 22RE Lemon
|I wasted $3,500 when a bought a 22RE engine from LCEngineering.com|
My stock Toyota 22RE had 180,000 miles on it and it was time for a replacement. I was planning on rebuilding the stock motor but was talked out of it by a friend that was a mechanic. He convinced me to buy a crate motor from LC Engineering because it would be more reliable and a lot easier than the labor of a rebuild. If there was a problem with it, they would stand behind the warranty and there would be no problems. I bought an LCengineering EFI Pro Long Block 2.5 liter and had it professionally installed. The motor cost over $3,500 and the R & R labor was $1000.
The motor blew up within 2 months and less than 2,000 miles on it. It had never seen 1 mile off road. All highway driving. All installation and break in procedures were followed. My mechanic pulled the motor out and shipped it back to LC Engineering for warranty inspection.
It slipped a bearing on the bottom end and pumped metal shavings trough out the entire motor. Complete toast.
In my opinion, the most likely cause of a slipped bearing in a new motor is improper installation or machine work. The LC tech suspected that fuel leaked down past the piston rings, contaminating the oil and reducing it's ability to protect the motor. I consulted with a dozen engine builders and machinists and they all had the same reaction, if the engine was running so rich that it polluted the oil, it would have been running horribly and would have been bellowing out unburned fuel. I live in California which has the strictest emissions standards in the world. After the engine was installed I had my truck smogged. The smog test requires that the engine be perfectly tuned (timing, idle, etc). The LC motor was running rich but it was running good enough to pass California emissions. I suspect the reason it was running rich is the oversized LC Engineering valves and the oversized LC Engineering throttle body.
When the motor failed I took an oil sample and had it analyzed. The report indicated high amounts of lead and aluminum which were caused by the slipped bearing pushing metal shavings through out the entire motor (this is where the damage in their estimate came from). The report did not indicate the presence of fuel which would be expected if fuel had made it's way past the pistons and into the oil. The viscosity was 10.34 at 100 Celsius which is normal and enough to protect the engine. LC claims that I ran the engine without antifreeze, this is absurd. Who would spend $5,000 installing a new motor and not use antifreeze?
LC's engine check noted that the valve cover was old and dirty. This is because they shipped the wrong valve cover and there wasn't anywhere to mount the stock EFI components. The report also noted thrust bearing/clutch problem. The motor was installed with a new thrust bearing, clutch and flywheel.
The outcome was LC Engineering refused to honor the warranty claiming that the cause of the failure was the motor running too rich. The motor failed within the 3 month warranty period and LC refused to replace or repair the engine under warranty. They gave me an estimate to repair the engine for around $3,000 or they would ship back the bad motor at my expense. At this point I was already out $3,500 for a high performance motor and I wasn't going to risk another $3,000 to rebuild the engine when it failed in less than 2,000 miles the first time.
I had the original stock engine rebuilt for $1,111. It lasted about 9 months and blew a head gasket in the same place it did prior to the rebuild. After having others unsuccessfully resolve the issue it was time to give it a try myself. I couldn't do any worse. I pulled the head and checked the deck with my Starrett straight edge and it looked good. What I did find is that the head bolt threads in the block were carbonized, specifically the bolts where the leak kept occurring in the past. I used a tap to chase the threads and remove the carbon. If you put grease in the flutes of the tap it will collect anything the tap removes from the threads, a bunch of dry black grime. It was so bad that I had to work the tap back and forth to make sure I didn't break it in the block. It appears that my long time head gasket blowing problem was caused by a bad torque reading from the carbon on the threads. It's been over a year since I replaced the head gasket and it's still running strong. The rebuilt motor has a total of about 2 years and 12,000 miles on it. Several hundred of the miles were pre-running the Baja 500/1000 course so I've actually been able to enjoy this motor.
I originally selected the LC motor because I believed it was a premium product that was built to last. I was severely disappointed when the motor blew up in less than 2 months and under 2,000 miles. Even more disappointed when I found out they weren't going to honor the warranty. I learned that buying the most expensive product on the market doesn't guaranty anthing.
If you're in the market for a new motor I recommend that you have a reputable local engine builder build you a motor using quality parts. In any big city you can usually find a builder that specializes in your type of engine. If you have any problems, they're local and it's a lot easier to work things out. If they're in another state and you want to dispute a purchase you need to go to that state! If the vendor is local and you can't resolve the issue you can easily take them to small claims court and get the issue resolved. If they're in another state you'll need to take time off of work, make hotel reservations and go on a road trip. But wait, you're truck isn't running. How are you going to get there?
Cease and Desist from LC Engineering
I received a "Cease and Desist" letter from John Naper the General Manager at LC Engineering requesting that I take this web page down. Apparently they don't want anybody to know the facts about the engine I purchased from them. Well facts are facts and I believe it is my obligation to share this experience and educate the public on how to be a better consumer.
Blowsand.com is a not for profit information website that has been up for over 5 years. There isn't anything for sale, there isn't any advertising, I'm not pushing my beliefs on anybody. The purpose is to share my experiences, knowledge and opinions with who ever wants to read it. Hopefully saving them some time, money and keeping them from making some of the mistakes I've made. The page on my 93 Toyota truck contains just about every detail to everything that has happened to my truck in the last 12 years. Repairs, modifications, part numbers, what works, what doesn't, where to buy parts, etc. There are even several links to LC's website detailing various parts they sell. The engine grenade is just another chapter in the story of my truck. I spent $3,500 on an LC Engineering motor, it spun a bearing within the warranty period and LC Engineering refused to honor the warranty claiming it was caused because my engine was running too rich. Those are the facts. You can't send me a bogus Ceast and Desist letter cover up the facts. The intent of this web page isn't to maliciously injure or make defamatory statements about LC Engineering. The purpose is to share the details related to the failed motor and LC Engineering refusing to honor a 3 month warranty. The public has a right to know the facts.
My request is, therefore, a very resonable one - honor your warranty and I will remove this web page. Should you fail to do so, consumers need to know that LC Engineering doesn't always honor their warranty and if the consumer wants to dispute the issue they will need to go to Arizona to do it. If they purchase locally it is much easier to resolve disputes like this via small claims court.