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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
FOCUS RS BUILD- Panda Motorworks Disappointment. Look someplace else

This is my PSA to anyone looking to use Panda Motorworks for their built motors or high-power builds. I approached Panda early last year (2021) in February to purchase a stage 2 Spec-H Short Block (2.3), Stage 1 2.3 head, and a custom turbo kit and miscellaneous parts. I was going to work with them to build a higher horsepower Focus RS as that has always been my dream. A full payment of 8,959.82 (After tax) was given on Feb 8th, 2021. For the Turbo kit and miscellaneous parts, a payment was given of 9,855.83 (After Tax) March 23rd, 2021. A deposit was not accepted. I found this reasonable and did not question it. What I do not understand was the absolute lack of communication. I understood because of covid parts were hard to come by and many things were on backorder. I emailed here or there for updates and around July they stopped replying. I emailed July 1st for an update and had to email again on July 29th no response. I started calling. I hate calling, but I cannot image spending this much money and just being left out of the loop of where parts were and when stuff may or may not be ready. After 61 of effortless communication, they stopped responding (last email sent July29th).

Finally got back to me, was around October for when they said I could drop it off. I initially asked how long it would take and they estimated about a month. Obviously, I was skeptical, we know the car world. Stuff takes longer, totally acceptable (with reasonable communication). I dropped the car off mid-October. After about a month I called to see where they were at, and they said they hadn't gotten to it yet. Again, no biggie, stuff gets backed up. Called again the next month and they stated that it was still being put on the schedule. Okay, all good. After about the third month, that's when it started to get to me. I was the only one trying to make communication. I would do it about every 2-3 weeks at this point. Still was not being worked on. Toward the end of the January, I was really pushing them to get it done. I had been fed up with lack of communication and the time it was taking. I understand the precision it takes for high power builds. However, if you claim to be a specialist in this field, parts and how to solve problems should not be an issue. The build has been almost a year in the making. In January I had made another effort to check in and they stated they were waiting a piece for the turbo kit. My turbo kit was made by ETS. I then proceeded to call them to see what was up. They stated they had delivered the kit to them in August. So, if they had the kit in August and then realized that a part for completion was missing, I am not sure how any of that makes sense. They specialize in the platform. They should know what problems may come up and have the parts ordered ahead of time. And if there were last minute issues any communication would have been ideal.

Feb 11th was the day I went to pick up my vehicle. The Monday previous I called and stated I wanted my car. I was done. They said okay. I booked a plane ticket from Indianapolis to Saint louis. My flight left at 5:45am I had a layover in Austin. When I was in Austin they called and informed me that the car would not be available to pick up. The idea of being informed day of that it would not be ready is absurd. I told them it was too late. I am coming to pick it up or look it at. They did not have a choice.

Picking it up, I was informed that a radium port injection kit was not available, so they went with something else. It's not an issue, but you would think they would have told me if there was an issue. Drove it back, realized it had an oil drain leak (image attached). Not sure for oil, a hose clamp should be used on a car of this performance (fittings not barbed) .... I was confirmed to get a check. I was told this on Feb24th. Have yet to receive it. Panda, please send me my check for oil drain damage. I have requested it twice now. You have my address in an email. It is not rocket science.
 

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@wezey22 I hope it works out for you. Panda has a bad rep for screwing people over after stringing them along and the sad part is it’s usually the people who handed them the most money. Built motors, big turbo installs, etc.
 
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One more sad story. I know it’s not for everyone but I ended up doing it myself, after a less-than-perfect experience with a purchased long block.

I have some experience from a previous life (mostly race engine management, and grinding of 50 and 125cc in an even earlier life lol) but I had never built nor swapped a car engine.

I got some inspiration from a kid named Trey Bailey on YouTube, who built his ST and documented the journey. Not everything he says is 100% accurate but he made it, with lots of passion. Check out his channel.

I document my own journey here with the #diyenginebuild tag, it’s not rocket science, anyone can do it and it does not take two years to assemble four pistons, no matter how carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One more sad story. I know it’s not for everyone but I ended up doing it myself, after a less-than-perfect experience with a purchased long block.

I have some experience from a previous life (mostly race engine management, and grinding of 50 and 125cc in an even earlier life lol) but I had never built nor swapped a car engine.

I got some inspiration from a kid named Trey Bailey on YouTube, who built his ST and documented the journey. Not everything he says is 100% accurate but he made it, with lots of passion. Check out his channel.

I document my own journey here with the #diyenginebuild tag, it’s not rocket science, anyone can do it and it does not take two years to assemble four pistons, no matter how carefully.

This is really inspiring. I think at this point I will end up just doing it myself. I wanted to post what happened to me so that no one else would be making the same mistake. Thank you!
 

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One more sad story. I know it’s not for everyone but I ended up doing it myself, after a less-than-perfect experience with a purchased long block.

I have some experience from a previous life (mostly race engine management, and grinding of 50 and 125cc in an even earlier life lol) but I had never built nor swapped a car engine.

I got some inspiration from a kid named Trey Bailey on YouTube, who built his ST and documented the journey. Not everything he says is 100% accurate but he made it, with lots of passion. Check out his channel.

I document my own journey here with the #diyenginebuild tag, it’s not rocket science, anyone can do it and it does not take two years to assemble four pistons, no matter how carefully.
Amen to this philosophy! It may take me 3 or 5 times longer than a "pro", but when I am done, it is done right. I know when parts will be late, if they show up incomplete (so rare) and I don't need to rely on anyone else for a status. And if I make a mistake, it turns into a learning experience for next time. Been doing it this way ever since a shop royally screwed up a motorcycle engine in the 80's, and it's paid off way more than it's cost me.

Hang in there!

Jim
 
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