Caveat Emptor.... Livernois Heads (Pic heavy)

Discussion in '2005+ Mustang GT 4.6L Tech' started by Tre06GTP1SC, Jan 16, 2012.

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  1. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

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    First off this is not a post to bash Livernois or those that work there. The purpose of this post is to outline my problems and to let you decide.

    My problem first started about a year and a half ago when I had a guide failure on my passenger side Livernois Stage II head while driving 15 mph. The car had/has not ever been raced. The guide in the #1 cylinder pass head got stuck. This caused the valve stem, rocker and follower to break. Fortunately I shut down the motor as soon as I heard the problem. Still the broken valve tapped the cylinder but no catastrophic motor issues resulted. Here are some pics (notice that the guides are bronze, you'll see why later)

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    Now you see it.............

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    Now you don't....


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    This is the top of the #1 passenger side piston. Notice the coolant on top

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  2. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

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    After the initial problem I talked to Dave Ameduri at Livernois. Eventually he told me that Livernois got some bad guides and had changed suppliers. He insured me that this was an "isolated" case and it wouldn't happen again....

    Livernois swapped the heads and I put them on the car. This happened while I was on leave for deployment. I came back, took my car to Phoenix to get retuned and issues devolped.. The car wont pull past 6500 rpm. Pull the intake off and this is what is found in the passenger side intake runners:

    These are pics of the passenger side intake runners, notice the water and coolant sitting on top of the valves:


    Now these are pics of the PASSENGER SIDE head. Notice the guides???? If not refer to post #1

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  3. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

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    As soon as I see the problem I tell the tuner to stop touching the car. We talk and we decide to send the longblock to an independent builder to let him look at it.

    I sent the long block to L and R engines in California. I did not tell him the problems I was having but asked him to tear it down and give me his unbiased opinion. Mind you I have never meet this guy, Ive only researched his shop through the internet and other sources.

    After pressure testing the heads, he told me that the passenger side guides were leaking slightly and he sent me these pictures of the drivers side head:

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    Two exhaust valve guides were broken and all 4 exhaust valves on the drivers side were bent and stuck in the guides. This caused the exhaust valves to stop functioning as designed.
     
  4. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

    Age:
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    I called Livernois and talked to my "Friend" Dave Ameduri. When he pulled up the paper work he noticed how long I have had the heads (About a year and a half) I explained to him that I am Military and for the past 3 years had been on and off deployment and that the car was garage kept, and I was just now able to finish it and get it tuned.

    He told me that he had never seen a guide problem with their heads and that he sold 5 sets a week and never had any problems.... I told him where the motor and heads where and asked him to call the builder to talk to him and to find the root cause of the issue. Dave said he would call L&R and they would work somethinjg out.

    A week goes by.............

    I call L&R and ask if he had heard from Livernois, he said he had not.....

    I ask L&R to send me the pictures and that I would call Livernois myself and get the ball rolling. I talk to Dave again and I send him the pictures posted here.

    A few hours go by and he returns my call. He tells me that Livernois is not responsible becasue the Lash was not set properly....... I ask him if this is Livernois' position and he said it is....I ask if I can call him back in 10 minutes.

    I was so pissed at the idiocy I had to hang up and go run some laps to cool down.

    I call him back and ask him "How do you set the lash on a non adjustable hydraulic cam" He tells me that you have to grind the cam follower down or tip (grind) the valve.....

    I tell him that I checked the lash and there was nothing that stood out as wrong. i also tell him that I dont have the machinery necessary to tip a valve and that if I had an issue I would have sent the heads back.

    Additionally I asked him, when do you set the lash. He said "When you assemble the heads" I asked him "Who assembled my heads?" Dave: "We did" So my next question was "What the fuck is your problem then?"

    To back track a bit. Remember the bronze guides???? Dave tells me that only Stage III heads have bronze guides. I tell him that I ordered and paid for stage II's.

    I tell him that the first issue I had, that the heads (They saw the pics) had bronze guides. They sent me back a passenger side head that had iron OEM guides in it.

    I being naive trusted Livernois and put the head back on the car without inspecting it. Turns out the Drivers side head and the passenger side head were different.

    After I explained all this to Dave he asked me what I wanted out of this. I told him I wanted a set of matched heads that worked! I mean I paid a shit load of money for these heads based on their rep. Its the least I could expect. He crawfished and told me he would have to talk to his bosses to see what they could do. It was at the end of the business day so he said he would call me back the next day. (This was last thursday 12 Jan)

    Next day he calls and he says that the bosses want to me to pay to ship them both heads plus cams, followers, springs, etc. Once they had the heads and everything else they would inspect them and make a determination on what they would do then.

    I talked to L&R engines about it. He said that this is not the first set he had seen and that he had fixed their mess and never had any follow on issues.

    After talking to him I decided t o suck up the cost of repair and let him fix them for these reasons:

    1. I have ZERO confidence that Livernois can fix the problem let alone acknowledge they have a problem without blaming me.

    2. It would take about 4 days to ship to and about 4 days to return the heads via shipping. This doesn't account for the time that the heads would sit on Joe smith's work bench while Dave came up with an excuse on why it's not Livernois' fault.

    3. I don't want to be staging my car and wonder "Is this the run when these guides decide to pull out of my heads" Because if this had happened while racing I feel that I have ZERO right to blame Livernois.



    As I stated earlier, this was not meant to bash Livernois. This is just to inform others of my experience and to let them decide if the price is right.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2012
  5. Department Of Boost

    Department Of Boost Alpha Geek

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    This is not the first time I have seen problems with their heads first hand. And they are always dealt with badly.

    I have not had any issues with mine yet, and I thank my lucky stars. If I was having the problems you were I would be driving down there (they are 35min from me) and jamming the heads up someone's ass.

    I think you are making the right move by getting someone else to fix them for you. I decided when friends started having problems with theirs that if I did I won't even bother calling Livernois. I'll have Total Engine Airflow or RGR fix them and be done with it.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. You deserve better.
     
  6. dysan

    dysan Dis-Member

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    Every time I see this pop up I worry since I've got bronze guides in my heads. They are not Livernois head but stock ones that were cleaned up when I had my engine built. I've got around 17k miles on them since they were done so I'm hoping they continue to last.

    Good luck and sorry to hear about these issues.
     
  7. Back@itagain

    [email protected] forum member

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    I can completely sympathize with you right now. I made the decision to have Livernois build and tune my engine a couple years ago based on this "reputation" also. In addition, I only wanted one shop doing the work so if something went wrong I knew who to hold accountable. The build took way longer than originally quoted. Hold up was the new head castings, core shift, etc. Dan Millen personally told me the new castings and CNC program were going to be worth the wait so that is what I did.

    Finally got the car finished and back. Immediately I knew there was a problem. Big oil loss and blue puffs at start up. Livernois encouraged me to drive the car for the season and they would fix it over the winter. While they were "fixing" it I went to the shop to inspect the work. I didn't get to see the cylinder heads for whatever reason but I did ask to look at the cams. Good thing I did because they had been damaged on the mechanics cart (as it was explained to me).

    Again after a long wait I got the car back. I was told the same story about the valve guide problem with their supplier and it was now corrected. I put a few miles on it and went to drop a borescope into the combustion chamber through the spark plug. Went to remove the spark plugs and the socket was the wrong size. Changed sockets, pulled the plug and found Livernois had swapped my highly touted new castings back for the old with out ever discussing this with me which in the end has now cost me more time and money.

    Didn't really drive the car this summer because the thing just gets too hot. It drove better and more consistent before building the engine. To address the heat, this winter I took the blower off. While off, I peaked down into the intake ports. All looked good but the very last intake valve in the number 8. I was also surprised by the impressions left around the intake port by the OEM o-ring. The intake port had been CNC'd so long it was cutting into the cross section of the o-ring leaving a stepped transition and half the cross section of the o-ring to try and make a seal.

    I mic'd the intake ports and OEM o-rings trying to make sure I got as straight as possible across but there may be a little variance. What I saw was th long end of the intake port measured 2.655" with the short being 1.164". The measurements I got on the inner diameter of the OEM o-ring were 2.654" (L) x 1.489" (W) with a cross section of .0575". Again these might be off by a couple thousands here or there but should be pretty accurate. At my request, another engine builder/performance shop, who has had problems with Livernois heads and now uses RGR, measured the intake ports on a set of RGR heads for me. They came out 2.5xx" (L) X 1.2xx" (W) (sorry I couldnt find the email with the numbers to be more exact).

    Off to Livernois again to discuss this issue and they conveniently have a set of StageIII heads on display. Pulled out my micrometer while waiting and the length of the port was 2.5xx". I ended up speaking with Andy Ricketts who thought the oil might be due to a poor spray pattern from one of the injectors. We placed the injectors on the flow bench and nothing really stood out but one injector had a suspect pattern. While there Dan Millen also threw out the idea that there might be a leak around the manifold on that cyclinder. (With only half the o-ring trying to make the seal I bet that is a good guess.)

    I also discussed the port size with Andy Ricketts and the impact it has. This discussion lead to the manifold being blamed as the culprit for any problems...makes sense right:wtf: I agreed to run the car this coming up season with the cleaned injectors and make sure there were no leaks. At the end of the season the cylinder heads will be inspected again. According to Andy, Livernois stands behind their product!

    OP, I hope you get this resolved in an amicable manner. You are probably much better off just moving on and having another shop repair them. My stomach turns over everytime I think about my car and dealing with Livernois at this point. I just wonder how many "bad batch" cylinder heads are out there waiting for other unsuspecting owners to discover.
     

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  8. skwerl

    skwerl tree hugger

    15,643
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    This just reinforces my opinion that in most situations a really good builder doesn't necessarily make a good business manager. As in most trades, a guy can be especially talented and starts his own business. His reputation grows based on his talents and his business eventually gets too big to handle all the work himself. He must begin hiring others to do the work and he eventually spends all his time managing the business while others do the work he is so talented at. Obviously the employees aren't as talented as the owner at their trade and this is where the problems arise. Eventually word spreads about multiple problems and the company's reputation changes to "They used to be good but I've about heard lots of problems lately". Then everyone gradually moves on to the next up and coming rising star. Wash, rinse, repeat.
     
  9. 702GT

    702GT S197 Fanatic

    2,060
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    All I can say is wow and holy burning bushes batman! Still can't get past it being a livernois issue. They were on my top 3 reputable places to buy my future N/A stroker build from, tied in close 2nd with BBR. Seems SHM may make the #1 spot. I want to buy from people who will stand by not only their products but their customers as well. But not even an extra kudos of gratitude towards a customer who also lays his life down to protect the liberties to allow a business to continue to do business freely, fvcking shamefull just on principal.
     
  10. jayman33

    jayman33 Senior Member Official Vendor

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    This helps narrow down my decision when I decide to get my motor built next winter. Thanks for the details and heads up, as companies start getting bigger little details tend to go. I've seen this first hand with any business, the smaller they are the better the customer service and work but as they grow it quickly goes to shit.
     
  11. twisted_GT500

    twisted_GT500 forum member

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    Seems like I'm hearing more and more lately about the shotty work from livernois...
     
  12. BruceH

    BruceH BBB Big Bore Boss 322

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    I think the rep comes from spending enough advertising dollars to get "stories" done in the magazines. Then someone will pay the money just to say so and so did the work on my car. But then again I think there is a conspiracy behind everything.
     
  13. mike@livernois

    [email protected] Member Official Vendor

    103
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    I was asked to have a look at this and see if I could offer any information. Read through the thread and issues with the head. I'm not normally very involved with cylinder head matters so I'm not really too abreast of this situation but I did try and get some info and get filled in.

    I spoke with Dave and am sorry if there were previous issues with the product or service in any way, being that I'm not directly involved I don't feel like an apology coming from me means much to the OP, but for what its worth, nobody likes to see somebody struggle with a product or service or anything like that, so sorry that's taken place.

    By looking at the pictures of the head and the resulting breakage and going off the fact that this has happened twice now, with the same head, and the same exhaust bank of valves I'm very inclined to think that something is wrong with that casting. The guide bores are drilled at the factory and are an exact angle and placement in relation to the the rest of the components in the head. If the bores are not aligned properly in relation to the camshaft follower then a scrubbing effect will happen which will bend the valve and eventually cause a failure. Just taking a guess based on what I see.

    I bring this up because if you use that same casting and put a bronze guide back in it and hone the guide and cut a new valvejob it won't fix the geometry. On top of that you won't really have any good way to catch it or know if its wrong. The only way to check it would be to indicate in the guide bores between that head and a known good head, or a factory print. But just redoing the work using the same casting again could result in the same problem.

    After talking with Dave he said that Livernois does want to work with the OP and get the head back to see if it can be checked and verified as defective in the guide bore.

    Just felt like trying to offer some help based on what information I could gather and read on here. If what I have is wrong or the information I'm going off is wrong please let me know. But whatever happens the guide holes on that head need to be checked before just putting a new guide in and putting the head back together. You definitely do not want this happening again and I feel like it would be prudent to qualify that casting before going further.

    If I can offer any help let me know.

    Thanks
     
  14. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

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    Thanks for the post Mike. But you should know that this didn't happen on the same head. The guides have broke on both sides.
     
  15. AnotherS197GT

    AnotherS197GT Serial Valve Dropper

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    One more reason not to use Livernoi$
     
  16. GrnBullitt08

    GrnBullitt08 Dale Jr

    Age:
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    A friend of mine had issues with Livernois in the past when it came to his custom TT mustang earlier last summer. Dropped it off for a look through and custom tuning...a couple months went by and they never even touched the car...excuse after excuse and a decent amount of money later he hears back from them saying the car was "un-tunable"....

    For the amount of work Livernois does they dont get much negative feedback, but I've seen it pop up more and more over the past year or two...especially with head issues. Hopefully you get everything worked out and best of luck to you on getting your car back up and running. Hopefully you have no further issues.
     
  17. mike@livernois

    [email protected] Member Official Vendor

    103
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    Interesting, guess the info I was going off was wrong. Well that makes for an odd scenario.

    Out of curiosity do you happen to know what the lash was set at? The adjustment is controlled in the valve tip height or lash adjuster if an adjustment needs to be made. Curious where it fell, I don't have access to any of that info if there is more valve lash info that goes with the heads, thought you might know off the top of your head.

    Saw the notes on lash listed before in your post but didn't see any specific numbers so I wanted to see what the actual numbers were that were used.

    Thanks
     
  18. Tre06GTP1SC

    Tre06GTP1SC South Texas Death Ride

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    I want to say it was measured at .035 but Im not sure if I remember that right. I remember that the measurement did not stick out as being something to be concerned with.

    I also sent you a PM
     
  19. SherrodMustang

    SherrodMustang forum member

    5,229
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    Hell, I have stage II heads on my car.... No failures yet.... For the amount of money they cost, should have zero failures related to the heads in my opinion.... Keeping my fingers crossed now... Have bad luck when it comes to car stuff and failures.....

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    Looks like all steel guides too me in my, so hopefully I have zero problems from it???
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  20. rford426

    rford426 Resident 5.0 H8R

    6,240
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    DIdn't Lito just have some problems with this Livernois heads?
     
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