The Nissan GT-R is obscenely fast even when it's stock, but there are ton of people out there willing to pay big bucks to make it even faster. Unfortunately, one New Jersey GT-R owner recently paid $18,100 and says he got a ruined engine full of broken, damaged parts held together by twine and zipties.
The damage done to Billy Moscato's 2009 GT-R after the build has been documented on the GT-R Life forums. According to a separate mechanic who examined the car and posted his findings on the forum, it was so horrendously bad that it makes the Forged Performance debacle look like a shoddy oil change.
Moscato says the work on his GT-R was done by Xtreme Race Cars in Paterson, New Jersey. Over an approximately two-year period, Moscato told Jalopnik he spent about $90,000 at the shop — which is co-owned by Carl Stevens, Jr., he previously considered a close friend — but this most recent build left the car with a badly damaged, non-functioning engine.
It has also left Moscato out nearly $20,000 and feeling betrayed and lied to by Stevens, he said.
"It's like a slap in the face," he said.
When reached by phone by Jalopnik this afternoon, XRC co-owner Carl Stevens, Sr. declined to comment on the case but insisted he was being "slandered" by the mechanic who wrote the post over at the GT-R Life forum.
"It's slander," the elder Stevens said before hanging up. "The other shop, whoever worked on it, is slandering my name. I have an attorney working on it and that's all I can say right now."
Moscato said that he began bringing his GT-R to XRC around February 2012. He had an assortment of work done and new parts put on the car, but when they did, "It was never treated right," Moscato said. "It never ran right. It never started right."
Still, Moscato kept going to the shop because he trusted Stevens, even though he said friends and family advised him not to. "I thought, 'He's not gonna fuck me over, I'm his friend," he said.
Moscato said Stevens insisted that the solution was a full engine rebuild, which he agreed to. The goal was to have the GT-R capable of 8-second quarter mile passes. He started paying them for the work in January, he says, and dropped the car off in February.
Moscato picked it up this weekend, and after he and Stevens went for a short drive, he says something immediately went wrong — the oil pressure gauge showed no pressure at all. It soon shut off completely and refused to start, according to his recollection.
Moscato said that Stevens' solution, without even looking at the car, was that it needed new cams, turbos and other parts. He said that at that point he considered selling it, but a friend instead told him to send it to Doug Ross at Weapons Grade Performance, a tuning shop in Connecticut.
Ross' teardown — meticulously photographed and detailed over at GT-R Life — is nothing short of horrifying. He paints a picture of an engine that has been completely and thoroughly ruined by lackluster work.
Incorrect parts, missing parts, used and damaged parts, pieces held together with zipties and twine, corrosion, and bearing material were just a few of the shocking things he says he discovered. Here's what he posted, emphasis ours:
Here's what we found on the initial inspection and removal of the engine from the car.
1. The BCM module harness connector was not locked down in the ECU compartment.
2. We removed the oil pan and there was a large amount of bearing material in it.
3. Several body components were missing, including the front undertrays, front tunnel support brace, and rear exhaust heat shield for the trans cooler.
4. The car was equipped with a Air to Water Intercooler with a tank in the exhaust muffler area and 10AN lines running to the front of the car. These lines ran through the transmission tunnel, and were rubbing the driveshafts, exhaust, and axles to the point of failure in several areas with minimal support.
5. The battery support bracket was missing, and a non-oem battery was being held down with twine.
6. The passenger marker light harness was disconnected and zip-tied to the oil cooler.
7. The foam bumper support was broken and secured to the car with painter's tape
8. The main structural braces on both sides of the car that secure the front carbon clip to the steel frame of the car in the fenderwells were missing.
9. The intercooler piping utilized V-Band clamps with permatex on them, which I've never seen before, and doubt that they were air tight.
10. Permatex Black was used on the threads of all AN fittings.
11. The radiator and overflow tank were filled with bearing material.
12. The front passenger ABS harness was broken and the wires were pinned directly into the female side of the harness.
13. The T1 Fuel rail feed had been tapped to accept an AN to NPT fitting, with PTFE paste on the threads, which appeared to be leaking.
14. The wastegate adjustment arms had been welded together.
15. The turbo drains had been zip-tied to the body and were rubbing on the front axle stubs.
16. One of the lower intercooler couplers was ripped.
17. The exhaust manifold gaskets were missing on both sides, and instead high temp rubber gasket sealer was used. This appeared to be leaking on the passenger side.
18. The Driver side upper control arm bolt was stripped out.
19. The PCV system had been deleted, and the PCV outlets on the valve covers had been removed, tapped for 6AN, and were open to atmosphere.
20. The front bumper support clips under the sides of the headlights were missing.
21. The front diffuser support brackets to the crash beam were missing.
22. Various misc. body fasteners and trim were missing.
23. The driver side frame had been clearanced to avoid contact with the wastegate actuator on the turbo.
After he finished tearing down the block, Ross posted even more at the forum.
1. Clear silicone had been used in place of or in conjunction with metal gaskets that were broken and reused. on all of the coolant lines to the block.
2. For some reason, a second o-ring and permatex was added to each injector seat to the intake manifold.
3. Bearing material had made its way to the thermostat housing.
4. The Titan Motorsports Crank Pulley had been press-fit onto the crankshaft out of square, damaging the keyway, and it required a gear puller and over an hour to remove.
5. The bolt that holds the oil pump sprocket to the oil pump shaft was missing.
6. The oil pump appears to have been sandblasted for some reason.
7.Non OEM O-rings were used to seal the inner front cover to the block.
8. Cosworth Head Gaskets were used.
9. A non-oem hose clamp was used on the crankcase PCV line.
10. The cylinder walls showed evidence of corrosion, which leads me to believe the block was never honed for the new pistons.
11. Permatex gray was used in conjunction with the oem metal gasket for the turbo feed line, constricting its flow.
12. The upper oil pan was full of bearing material.
13. All engine main bearings and cam bearings were totally destroyed.
14. The Carrillo connecting rods were severely miscolored at the rod bearing connections.
15. The CP piston skirt coatings had some scoring on them.
16. Upgraded wrist pins were used, as well as what appears to be a custom compression piston.
17. The turbo kit appeared to be very old, and used an outdated style of AAM oil and coolant line fittings.
18. The H11 main stud hardware appeared to be torqued well beyond specification.
Ross wrote that he believes XRC committed several mistakes, including installing rods and pistons without honing the block first and causing the crankshaft to be misaligned; they also failed to install the nut which holds the oil pump sprocket to the shaft on the pump, effectively keeping the oil pump from working. All of the bearings were spun as a result.
Ross told Jalopnik that's what likely caused the car to shut down after it was driven for just a short period of time, and he's amazed it ran that long at all.
"I can't tell if it's carelessness, incompetence or maliciousness," Ross said. "They made so many mistakes."
Ross said that he also went over the invoices that XRC sent Moscato, and he believes the shop charged him for work and parts that were not done or "that no one does." He also doesn't think that the planned project would have ever yielded an 8-second car, and he's stunned it was in XRC's shop as long as it was.
The GT-R's motor currently sits disassembled in Ross' shop. Ross said he has sent Moscato an invoice to replace and repair everything to the tune of about $20,000.
"(Moscato) paid for all that work, and he got nothing," Ross said.
Moscato said he plans on meeting with a lawyer and filing a claim against the shop. All the work remains well documented, he said, so he's hoping to at least recover damages in the amount of the most recent build.
He's mad about the car, but he says he's more mad that he was screwed over by Stevens, someone he considered putting in his wedding at some point. Moscato said that Stevens refused to acknowledge any problems with the car, and when he mentioned he was considering selling it, Stevens complained that it was taking up room in his shop.
He has since stopped talking to Stevens and said he plans to handle it in court.
"I think I'm more upset about losing a friend," Moscato said. "The car is replaceable."
Photos credit Doug Ross
Graphics credit Jason Torchinsky