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      07-13-2016, 12:32 AM   #100
Green-Eggs
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Drives: BMW
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot View Post
Be May sell 5000 sets of these things or 50 but in any event it's a small operation with the ability to interact individually. If I were them I would not promise to cover a thing unless granted unfettered access to any failed engine at the customer's cost. They probably have a better policy than that, but people suck, and want free shit, and I am glad I don't have to deal with it myself
You have no idea how close to the head of the nail you hit.

The BE Bearings warranty has always been advertised as the same warranty offered by Clevite, the manufacturer. That warranty covers the bearings themselves, and not any damage. But a situation arose recently that motivated BE Bearings to reevaluate that warranty and see if it made sense to go above and beyond what they had publicly stated. The BE partners decided, should an actual failure be attributed to the BE Bearings themselves, that BE would be willing to rebuild the engine at their Los Angeles distributor's shop, plus the replacement costs of all bearings (rods and mains) of any brand chosen by the car's owner. But proving an engine failure is caused by the bearing and nothing else isn't an easy job and requires a lot of work, and as Richbot says, direct access to the engine itself.

Here's why BE Bearings got motivated to reevaluate their warranty. This story should dispel any assumptions that car owners are all coming to the forums in good faith with intimate knowledge about the problems with their own car.

BE recently received an email that claimed the owner's engine suffered a catastrophic loss, and was diagnosed by his shop as rod bearing failure due to BE Bearings. The owner promised his silence in exchange for a free engine. BE Bearings took the following and actions immediately:
  1. Notified the owner they would not offer any help at the end of a gun or from anything that sounded remotely like blackmail.
  2. BE asked for pictures of all bearings, front and back. Pictures of the block. Pictures of every rod bolt, and all connecting rods and caps.
  3. Provide BE an oil sample.
  4. Provide proof that crankshaft journals and clearances were measured before bearing installation, either by bore gauges or Plastigage. Without these measurements and/or proof they occurred (detailed labor receipt, etc.), there can be no further discussion about warranty repair.
  5. Grant BE direct access to the engine itself to obtain measurements, photographs, and take the damaged parts to experts for analysis. Since the engine was in the Los Angeles area, that meant granting BE access to the shop where the engine was disassembled.
  6. Root cause would be determined by two independent race engine builders with multiple world championships under their belts, plus the engine builder at Auto Talent in Los Angeles, CA.
  7. If oil analysis showed a breakdown of bearing material, clearances were properly measured during bearing installation, and two of three experts determined the rod bearings themselves had failed, then BE was prepared to make the above warranty offer.

So here's how it played out. Bert took a day off work and drove 400 miles to the shop with the engine. The shop owner gave more details that the car owner hadn't previously mentioned.
  1. The car was supercharged.
  2. The failure occurred while on the race track.
  3. The shop owner advised the car owner the failure was NOT caused by BE Bearings.
  4. The engine seized and did not rotate, the rods were all still connected, did not break, and did not seize on the crankshaft.
  5. #1 main bearing was blue.

Bert and the shop owner worked together to partially disassemble a few of the connecting rods and further inspect the damage. Since the crankshaft was seized on the main bearing, it was impossible to rotate the engine to obtain access to all connecting rod journals. Rods #1, #7, and #8 were disassembled. Photos were taken, and an oil sample was provided. The #1 rod was blue, but still intact and held by the BE-ARP rod bolts; the rod bearing was missing. #7 rod bearings had some particle streaks showing contamination in the oil supply itself. #8 rod bearing was virtually clean. Very clear that the farther away from #1 main bearing you went, fewer particles were in the oil stream to damage the connecting rod bearings.

The photos and damage descriptions were sent to both engine experts and the oil sample was sent to Blackstone. Both engine experts were unanimous in their findings that the #1 main had seized (this is why the crank wouldn't rotate), and the metallic particles from the damaged #1 main bearing caused the #1 rod bearing to disintegrate. Both engine builders offered the same explanation that this is a classic main bearing failure when the next two connecting rod bearings are destroyed because of it. The root caused showed the main bearing had failed, not the BE Bearings.

BE notified the owner of their findings, and that was the end of the discussion.

So what's the moral to the story here? There's a few:
  1. BE was prepared to go above and beyond a parts-only warranty if it could be proven by the experts that the bearings themselves had caused the failure.
  2. BE would need direct access to the engine itself to inspect, measure, and take photos.
  3. BE has the experts and knowledge to figure out what really happened and in this case did all of it at their expense.
  4. BE's experts would make the failure determination, not the car owner's shop.
  5. BE will take a methodical approach, and will refuse to cooperate if demands are made at the end of a gun.
  6. BE may be a small operation, but was prepared to go far beyond what most people expected.
  7. Not all car owners have good intentions when $20,000 out of their pocket is on the line.

Believe me when I say this: this isn't even 1/2 the story. I tried to make it as short as possible to get the main points across. The point Richbot makes is that warranty is sometimes situational. Since engine wear and driving habits affect the wear of the bearings sold by BE, it's unavoidable that the warranty offer in this case, or in future cases could be situation, and not the same as the situation above (e.g. owner can't ship an engine to California for repair, etc.).