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Thread: The Block Shop, Edmonton Alberta engine machine shop review.

  1. #1
    1994 UrS4
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    Default The Block Shop, Edmonton Alberta engine machine shop review.

    The Block Shop, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    This is a review of my own personal experience with the Engine building shop, The Block Shop in Edmonton Alberta.
    On 12 March, 2020 I agreed to let The Block Shop in Edmonton perform a routine engine block hone and resurface as well as a COMPLETE rotating assembly balance on my 1995 Audi 5 Cylinder 2.2T engine. The original quote was for $1043.22 which included the following,

    :Hot tank and clean engine block
    :Crack inspection
    :Measure and inspect deck surface
    :Re-hone Cylinder bores 81mm
    :Resurface deck
    :Balance rotating assembly
    :Resurface Flywheel

    I agreed to these terms. And signed the now WO# 14721. I had declined any mainline work as I was not prepared to invest the money into getting a main line hone for ARP main studs. I let rob know that I’d be using a set of OEM main cap bolts and I also asked Rob, the owner of the Block Shop, to please call me if ANYTHING seems out of place or is going to sky rocket this WO. He agreed. After a few days I had not heard anything from Rob.

    I had sent a few emails outlining exactly what I wanted and what needs to be done. The 5 cyl Audi is not a common engine and I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I received no reply. I sent another email with how to balance the I5 engine as it differs from other inline engines, again no reply from Rob. I called the shop on Wed Mar 18th and asked for an update to my project, he stated he is still waiting on me to deliver the main cap bolts, something he never told me he needed. I had just received them in the mail and drove over to the shop at 4:30pm on wed Mar 18th. They decided to close early that day so I was not able to deliver them and turned around and went home.

    On the 19th I delivered the Main cap blots at 8am but rob was not in yet. Later that morning I received an email from Rob at 9:44am saying that they are looking for the flywheel bolts and that the crankshaft is out of balance and needs to have heavy metal added to it. This raised a huge concern as talking to many sources, including Mr Jeff Gerner from Four Ring Performance; they all said when doing a balance on this crankshaft you NEVER add weight. You have to remove weight because the new connecting rods are lighter.

    I asked Rob to call me at 950am to discuss this matter as I thought his numbers were off. After a phone conversation he admitted they had begun to add weight to the crank already, and that is it a very expensive procedure. I requested a quote and his reply was well we won’t know until it is all done.

    I then called Jeff Gerner and was advised to have them check there numbers as something is off. They should not be adding weight to that crank and could destroy it if they continue. I called the Block Shop back and was told that rob was on Lunch but will call me back, this was at 11:30am on the 19th. I waited until 1pm and called back and was told that he was now in the back shed and would call me back; I said “have him call me ASAP”. I then sent him an email hoping he may see that and asked him to CALL ME! I also said that I’m looking to seek clarification once again and make sure there is no miscalculation in the numbers.

    I received an email back on the 19th at 3:55pm saying the balancer is showing him to remove weight where there is no weight to be removed and in that case they need to add weight so that the right amount of weight can be removed from the counter weight. Once again, he refused to check the numbers and refused to acknowledge that just maybe I was right.

    Let’s skip to the 20th of March. I was waiting on a call so I could pick up my engine parts from The Block Shop. I tried calling and was told that Rob was busy once again and would call me back. Around 2pm I received a call back saying they were all done and that I could pick up my parts. I arrived there just before 3pm. I picked up everything and was shocked to see a bill that jumped from $1043, to $1861 due to 5 pcs of heavy metal being added to the crank plus labour. Rob informed me that he did a few extra things at no charge to lighten the blow per say. He micro polished the crank at no charge, and all the engine block cleaning (a service I turned down) for free. He provided me a spec sheet of all the work that was done. Still being frustrated, I paid my invoice in cash and went on my way. I went home and looking to make sure things added up I reached out to Jeff Gerner from four ring performance and he told me it was done wrong and the balance sheet shows it! They balanced my inline crank using 2 rods per crank throw like a V formation engine when it should have been 1 rod per cylinder. They had the math wrong from the very start like I told them and just refused to listen.

    I called Rob at 445pm on the 20th and informed him of this. He said that I was wrong and it’s all good, to where I said “ no, I’m looking at the numbers now and it says 2 rods Rob” he said that this would have to wait until Monday but asked me to send him the spec sheet as he does not have one……how does he not have one! They did the balance!

    Sunday March 22, I decided to put the block on my engine stand and maybe get some other things done while I wait to see what happens with the crank. I took a look in all the cylinders and noticed there is a scratch and a gouge inside the wall of cyl 5. It is deep enough to get my nail in there and is 100% visible. Now I’m growing even more angry, why did this happen and I was not told? Now I’m not even sure I can use this block. I spoke to a few other people and they advised me not to use the block without a second and 3rd opinion.

    Jump to Monday the 23rd now, I went to the Block Shop at 7:45am and spoke to Rob. I remained calm as can be in this situation. I asked for a complete refund as I wanted to take my parts to a different shop given the improper balance, lack of communication, and the now damaged block. He became pretty angry and refused, also stating that I damaged the block after it left his shop, and that he never saw it. He took pictures of the scratch in the block and took the crank back and said he will re spin the crank and let me know and closed the bay door on me. I said “ you’re just going to close the door on me?” he said “YES!” and shut the bay door. I went inside the main door and asked if there was someone else I could deal with and was informed that Rob was the only guy. Rob eventually came back to the front office and I mentioned the scratch in the block and asked why I was not ever informed of the scratch? And rob said “I did not see it being an issue so I did not need to let you know!” i replied with “it’s not your engine Rob, its mine! And I think it’s pretty important and ii should have been told before any other work was allowed to continue” at this point we went back in for the saying the same thing. The tech who performed my hone and all the block work came out to see the block and said “its not ideal to have that gouge and that when I measured the cylinders they are at max tolerance”. He asked to see a piston and confirm if the ring will hit the gouge or now and they were able to confirm that yes the gouge will cross that ring. The tech also informed me that he was never informed that this was a turbo application which would be high performance with a lot of boost. 25-30 PSI.

    I left the block and 1 piston with that Tech as he said he could hone a little more and probably clean it up so it useable. I agreed and went to another shop to get a quote for a replacement crankshaft as I was not convinced they could fix what they had messed up. I returned to the Block Shop at 10:02am with a quote for a crankshaft and presented it to Rob to whom he said that they are currently fixing my crank and it’s getting better. Again I never authorized him to re balance the improperly balanced crank…I allowed him to re spin and see how far out it really was now! Once again more work performed that was not approved. It was at this point I said no to any further block work and requested to have my block back so that I could get a second opinion on the gouge. I took my block to another shop in Edmonton and had them look it over. The tech there said its “not ideal, but it may work. I’d say you have an 80-85% chance you could be ok…if oil gets past the ring and in that gouge you could have a lot of issues.” I asked what could be done to salvage this engine block and was presented with a few options all of which will cost me more money.

    I returned to the Block Shop and informed Rob of what the other Machine shop said. He then called them and was told that 85% it should work! But the customer is not happy.

    Well 85% is not 100% and after spending $1861 I was not happy with 85% solution to this. It was at this time that Rob said the balance was complete and provided a new spec sheet. I then asked about why the pistons are 5g out of balance still which I also mentioned in my email I sent him on the 22nd. He got upset again and said…” why didn’t you tell me that before that balance?” I said “ you have the spec sheet and I did tell you in my email” Rob went to the back to speak to the tech and when he came back to the front he said “ we can’t take weight off the stock pistons so we paired them with the heavier rods.” I said” ok, so it’s not a balanced assembly then and just a crank balance, so why am I being charged $400 for a rotational assembly balance vs just a crank balance?” his response was just that it was balanced and he had already cut me a cheque for a partial refund and that’s it. Now with all of this I’m not satisfied, not even 85% satisfied. I feel completely ripped off and scammed out of my time and my money. Rob gave me a cheque for $776.89 which is a refund for work that was not needed. I don’t feel that enough. I still paid $1084.80 for a clean 85% might be ok engine block, and a rotating assembly balance that is 85% not 100% balanced.

    Rob Sparschuh, the owner of the Block Shop is not someone that I will ever do business with again. Nor would I recommend them to anyone. He is the most unprofessional person I’ve ever dealt with and should not be running any kind of business. He took me for over $1000 and the work I paid for is not complete and now I have to go to a different shop and get more work done to be able to use any of parts that I got back. I should have been informed after paying for a crack inspection and have a cylinder bore inspection completed that there is a SCRATCH in the wall and ASKED if I want to keep going forward with any further work. I would have said “NO” as I have a spare block that could be better. Rob made that decision for me and without consulting me which is just plain WRONG. It’s MY ENGINE not his to make those calls. 32 years of experience does not mean he can just do whatever he THINKS is right vs what is actually right. Rob may have 32 years’ experience building engines, but openly admitted this was his first EVER 5 cyl Audi. Rob took my parts and did whatever he wanted and only consulted me when if felt the need and ignored me every step of the way. I should have listened to my gut feeling and never used The Block Shop.

    Not mentioned in this review is that I have a chipped coating on 1 piston from them. Which Ill have to have re done And I’m missing my flywheel bolts that I dropped off with all my parts and never got returned. They were ARP. Rob has absolutely 0 (ZERO) customer service skills and has 0 respect for his customers, even after they have paid him over $1800. He thinks he knows everything and treats his customers like absolute garbage. I will be pursuing this matter further with AMVIC and other authorities, and will seek legal action as I still feel I was over charged for services not performed and 85% (at the most) of the work does not deserve 100% of the bill.

    In conclusion, I DO NOT recommend The Block Shop in Edmonton Alberta. They do not deserve to be a business and their practices are shady at best. They do not communicate with customers and don’t listen to anything they are being told or asked to do. They are not upfront and honest, and they don’t tell you about any hidden charges until it too late and you bill jumps up by $600-$800. They will do work you don’t want done and still try to add it to the invoice. Don’t use this shop, I recommend using BEL in Edmonton, as they are 100% up front and honest. The Block shop will lie to you face and then lie again and again until you get so angry you just want to leave. Avoid this by just not going there.


    Last edited by morris400; 03-23-2020 at 05:39 PM.
    2016 VW GTI (Stock)
    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T (Stock)
    1994 Audi UrS4 - K24 7400 build EFI Express Tuned!
    2001 Audi S4 - K04s, J-Fonz Tuned ( Gone! Dropped valve)

  2. #2
    1994 UrS4
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    Default Re: The Block Shop, Edmonton Alberta engine machine shop review.

    There it is fellas, sorry but it is a long one.
    2016 VW GTI (Stock)
    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T (Stock)
    1994 Audi UrS4 - K24 7400 build EFI Express Tuned!
    2001 Audi S4 - K04s, J-Fonz Tuned ( Gone! Dropped valve)

  3. #3
    The Godfather Canadian Turbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Block Shop, Edmonton Alberta engine machine shop review.

    Sorry to hear about your painful experience, but thanks for sharing for anyone else considering this shop.

    Hopefully you can get the project back in-line again (pun intended).
    Blair
    Former Cars: '12 Fiat 500, '10 VW GTI, '05 Smart Fortwo, '96 VW Jetta GLX, '02 VW GTI 337.........

  4. #4
    1994 UrS4
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    Posts
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    Default Re: The Block Shop, Edmonton Alberta engine machine shop review.

    Well, it seem that i learn things the hard way. 2nd machine shop in Edmonton to do me wrong. Maybe its time to start doing this stuff myself.
    2016 VW GTI (Stock)
    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T (Stock)
    1994 Audi UrS4 - K24 7400 build EFI Express Tuned!
    2001 Audi S4 - K04s, J-Fonz Tuned ( Gone! Dropped valve)

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