View Full Version : ATS Head Issue

joe's gt
11-23-2008, 12:28 AM
So here is what happened. I am still trying to work it out with Aaron. He told me I was getting a head with a recent valve job and something that was ready to bolt right on. This is what I received. This definitely does not look like a head with a recent valve job and definitely doesn't look like it could bolt right on. I've been in contact with Aaron over the Mr2 boards and he says this is the right head. This just isn't what he represented on the phone. Here are the pics:

This head has tons of carbon deposits on the valves and in the exhaust ports and oil in the intake ports. It also has a bent head stud with stripped threads. I thought ATS was all about customer service, but this head is actually worse than the one that I took off my engine. I thought they would have at least cleaned it up a little. I also paid an extra $75 for him to put together all the gaskets I needed to replace the head but when I got the shipment I was missing, the throttle body, exhaust, and exhaust-turbo gasket. I wouldn't have been disappointed if he told me it wasn't in that good of a shape, but he represented a fresh valve job and ready to bolt on part. Am I just crazy and expecting too much, or should have I indeed gotten a better looking head.

11-23-2008, 01:41 AM
if this were me, i would want my money back. or him to replace the part with what he described.

11-23-2008, 02:29 AM

Is this the same head that you described in this thread?? That head looks pretty used, but that stud looks horrible! It takes alot to bend a stud like that. It must of been dropped before or during shipping. Make sure to take care of it, but thats not a good representation of a company. Let us know what happens.

joe's gt
11-23-2008, 02:38 AM
yes, lol. that was before I received the shipment and opened it. Boy was I surprised. I just don't understand because ATS is such an esteemed company around this board and the mr2 boards. I'm just kind of thrown for a loop right now.

joe's gt
11-23-2008, 03:28 AM
Unfortunately I have to post a negative review of ATS. I was informed by Aaron over the phone that I was getting a head that had recently had a valve job and had been machined. He also repeatedly told me and my father independently that this head was in good shape and ready to be bolted on to the engine. I wouldn't have been disappointed if I was told I was getting a head in the condition I received it. I was told I was getting a head with a recent valve job and ready to be bolted on and that is definitely not what I received. The above pictures show what I received. I had never been told that this head was machined and then put back on a car in horrible running condition considering all the carbon deposits on the valves and in the exhaust track. The head was not cleaned up at all and was literally just pulled off a car and sent to me. Even my blown head looked better than the head ATS sent me. I also was told I would be getting all the gaskets I needed to replace the head, but in the shipment the throttle body gasket, exhaust gasket, and exhaust-turbo gasket were missing. Aaron told me I could just reuse those if they were in good condition when I asked him about it. I am very disappointed and surprised. This is by no means a personal attack on Aaron or ATS, its just a review on a negative experience I had in dealing with them.

Here is a trancript of our last communication:

Originally Posted by joe's gt Quote: Originally Posted by ATSAaron Thanks for the pics. that is definitely the right head. Aaron Hey Aaron, just to make sure I had my dad look at the head for his opinion. My Dad's immediate response was that this head is unusable in its current state. He advised me definitively not to install this head on my engine. He also said that this head is in worse shape than the head we took off my engine, with the exception of the metal failure. The intake ports are dirty, the valves and exhaust ports are completely coated with carbon deposits, and he does not believe in the strength of a heli coil and has recommended to me that I not use this head. My only option is to believe that this is not the right head. You told both me and my father that the head u were sending was the head that had been to the machine shop. My dad is 100% certain as I am, that this head has never been to a machine shop considering all of the deposits and the debris on the head and the bent stud. Our only option is to return the head and ask you to provide the one that you described in the phone calls to my father and I that had been in the machine shop. There are other heads available that are in much better shape for the same amount of money. I have dealt with ATS before and trust in u which is why we gave u such leeway in fulfilling our order. As a result of our past experiences purchasing from you and because of ur reputation I believe this has to be a mistake. Please let me know as soon as possible how we can resolve this in both of our interests. I need to get my car back on the road, so I need to have a head by thanksgiving weekend. I also did not receive a receipt or invoice in the package.

I've seen about 300 more 3SGTE heads than you or your father. I sent you the best head we had in stock . If you don't want it then you can return it for a refund (minus shipping). I know that is the right head, because I can see the stamps from the machine shop in the pictures you sent. You paid for a used head, but it seems like you were expecting something fresh from the machine shop. What I sent you is a used 3SGTE head in above average condition that except for the exhaust stud (that must have been damaged in shipping BTW) is perfectly usable as-is. BTW helicoils work fine, but "timeserts" are in fact stronger. Aaron

11-23-2008, 03:37 AM
wow, looks like you have a tough decision ahead of you...good luck

11-23-2008, 05:05 AM
I'm curious - what exactly was agree on? Aaron states a used head, you state a lot of refreshing and 'like new'.

Also, how much was paid for it? That also might lead to the condition agreed on.

joe's gt
11-23-2008, 05:23 AM
He told me I was getting a head with a recent valve job that was ready to bolt right on. But as u can see from the pics, it was anything but that. I paid $325 shipped just for the head. From a company, I would have at least thought it was going to be clean. It was just very surprising to me. He never told me he put this head back on a car after it had the valve job. As u can see, the carbon build up is pretty bad. Like I said, my head was cleaner than this when I took it off the engine for the first time.

11-23-2008, 05:52 PM
I would return the head to them along with the extra gaskets you bought. Then take your old head, and have it rebuilt localy. For the same money you'll have a freshly rebuilt head.

11-23-2008, 06:06 PM
He cant rebuild his old head. Its totally toast.

Joe, Ive seen several 3SGTE heads off cars also and I hate to say it, but that much carbon buildup on the valves is almost par for the course. Unfortunately they run pig rich unless tuned and most people dont have theirs tuned.

Problem is, youre going to spend money on another head, if you send ATSs one back. Youve already got this one. If I were you, and I was unsure about it, Id probably take it to a machine shop, and have that stud fixed and clean it and Mic it and see how it is. Just because it has carbon deposits doesnt mean its toast.

Also, he was right. The throttle body gasket, the exhaust manifold gasket, etc. theyre metal. Ive taken mine apart and reused them several times. You might not even need new ones.

I wish you luck, Im sorry you feel like you do, and it doesnt necessarily seem you got what he said youd be getting, but in honesty, other than the bent stud, you cant get any feel for the condition of the head by the deposits in the combustion chamber.

Post a picture of the topside of it where the cams go.

11-23-2008, 06:12 PM
Looks fine to me. The gasket surface might need to be cleaned up. I doubt it even needs to be decked. The only bad thing I see is the stud.

I would just clean it up and use it. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with it besides the stud.

joe's gt
11-23-2008, 07:49 PM
So I decided to keep the head. It was a major misunderstanding. Luni, thanx for telling me about the carbon deposits, I didn't know they didn't compromise the integrity of the head. This is the first time I've been past the cams so I am kind of a noob at this. I thought I was receiving a head fresh from a machine shop. Aaron never informed me that it was being put back on a car after it was machined. However, I did expect them to at least clean it up a little bit and not just pull it off and send it to me. It was just very dirty when I received it considering it came from an actual company. I pm'd Aaron and told him I was going to keep, but I asked him for more history about the head like when it was machined and how long it was put back on a car for. Thanks for all of ur input. I trust ATS and trust that it is mechanically functional. It just didn't look it. Any suggestions for cleaning out the carbon deposits?

11-23-2008, 08:07 PM
I'm not ATS, but I'll give my $.02 anyways :)

For $325 shipped, it sounds like you got what you paid for. It doesn't sound like Aaron misled you by saying it had a valve job recently. I would've taken that to mean that it was used. If it were freshly machined, I'm quite sure he would've put emphasis on that and the cost would follow suit.

As far as "cleaning up the head", there isn't THAT much you can do. The head is still usable as is (aside from the stud). Looks like he was trying to save you money by sending what you have now. Had he taken the time to disassemble the head, to hot tank, clean valves, et cetera, i'm quite sure the cost you would've paid would've increased.

11-24-2008, 07:40 PM
Yeah, to elaborate on what Sang said you cant really do much about the carbon deposits, you dont want to use any harsh cleaners on it, anything that could get through the valves and get into the seals and damage those. You could try setting the cams to neutral default closed position and scrubbing them with a brillo pad and some gasoline or something, but Im not really sure Id even bother.

The reason why your previous head didnt have all that buildup on it is because you had coolant steam cleaning your combustion chamber. Im sure Sang can vouch for it being that he works for a company that builds 3SGTEs as well, but they really do have a lot of carbon buildup and still work fine. They just run so rich from the factory.

I would clean the gasket mating surface, and I would clean all that stuff up as best I could, but I dont know how much time Id spend trying to clean the combustion chamber and valves.

joe's gt
11-30-2008, 04:56 AM
Aaron did the right thing. He compensated me for rebuilding the head and I believe you can have confidence in purchasing from ATS and trust they will make it right if anything is wrong.