If you’re looking to replace an engine, keep on looking and give this guy (Brian) a pass. You’ll find plenty on him going back for years detailing the scam he’s pulled over and over. He’s using ‘The Engine Place’ now instead of his old name ‘The Engine Depot’ because that has been trashed on every platform available. But if you are unfortunate enough to get to the point of having paid him money, the business name on your credit card statement will still be the old one – The Engine Depot. He works in collusion with what he calls his ‘trusted dealers’ who will do the install without alerting the customer to the fact that the engine is not actually rebuilt. The one we worked with is California Auto Tech, in Stockton. They not only tried to cover for him when we asked about some issues that should not have been present in a rebuild, they forgot to reinstall a plug during the installation and it drained the oil in a matter of a day or two. They said it was too difficult to reach so they plugged it with silicone caulking, which we later had confirmed was still leaking, albeit much more slowly. They also installed the transmission cooling lines incorrectly, such that it would have lead to the eventual death of the transmission. To quote the mechanic who we used afterwards trying to sort this out, “I’ve seen better jobs done by 15 year olds”
This experience was so bad that it soured my faith in humanity a little. I guess I’m naive but I just really struggle to come to terms with the fact that this dude comfortably rips people off for thousands of dollars and then has the gall to harass them in every way he can when they call him on his game. We’ve received dozens of threatening calls, emails, and voicemails. We got a new phone number because he just kept on filling the voicemail box up with screaming threats about how he was going to find our family. This guy is nuts, and I haven’t even got to the scam part. Brian asks for an extra $400 deposit which he promises will be immediately returned upon the delivery of the old engine to his yard. This never happened. Brian promises that if you use his trusted dealer, that will expedite this return process, but after the installation he said no that isn’t true you’ll have to wait until I send a truck out there which could be months. The engine we received had the exact same problem that it started with – busted o-rings leading to excessive oil consumption. California Auto Tech tried to cover for him by saying it was just the old material blowing out of the system, but after 8 months it’s still blowing blue smoke constantly. The compression on the valves is too low for a freshly remanufactured engine. The New mechanic said he just power washed an old engine to make it look new, and sold it as rebuilt, as nothing about its condition was consistent with what a remanufactured engine should be, other than how shiny it looked.
Thanks to California Auto Tech and The Engine Place’, we nearly lost the car entirely due to the missing plug which nearly bled the engine dry of oil. When we called him on his scam and challenged the purchase with our credit card company, he began harassing us over both email and telephone, and hasn’t stopped. I’m less angry now and more just disappointed that someone could live with themselves while doing this. We are still out a couple thousand as we did not manage to get the installation refunded as it was done (albeit very poorly, and with full knowledge that it was a scam). Both Brian at The Engine Place’ and Bryan at California Auto Tech hopefully have a special circle of hell reserved for their cons. What a mess.