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Author Topic: What's the deal with Rock and Roll Engineering?  (Read 9523 times)
jonathonar89
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« on: November 19, 2009, 12:45:24 PM »

I am trying to find out why everyone is saying that RRE is a bad shop to go to.  Bruce Fulper's website looks very legit and to the point with a ton of information about Pontiac engines rather than just a bunch of parts and pictures.  Are a lot of the reviews and comments based upon biased uneducated opinion rather than first hand educated knowledge?  I'm not looking for "i heard about this guy from some other guy" comments.  Are his engines bad?
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
Rick
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2009, 12:57:12 PM »

There are two sides to every story.  If you want to get a hint of the other side, you should check out Tom Demauro's comments at this link:

http://forums.highperformancepontiac.com/70/7772576/the-general-discussion/what-happened-to-bruce-fulper/index.html

Tom is editor of High Performance Pontiac magazine.  If anyone has visiblity into the hobby, it would be the folks at HPP.  Tom's words speak for themselves.

I'd also point out that a successful business venture depends on more than a good-looking website, and any business's reputation is based on the collective experience of ALL of their customers.  The owner's attitudes have a great deal to do with customer satisfaction.
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critter
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2009, 01:19:34 PM »

Do some google searching and look in on some of the other Pontiac boards. You'll find the information you seek.
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johnsma22
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2009, 05:19:18 PM »

I bought my whole top end from R&R Eng. I paid him before I had learned about how much the Pontiac community loathed Bruce. I feared that I would never get what I paid for. I called all the time. Sometimes getting Bruce, sometimes getting a part time secretary, and sometime an answering machine. Bruce always answered my technical questions and was very helpful. The downside was that I waited A LONG TIME to get all my stuff. But, I did get everything I paid for. There were excuses for the delays every time I called. After about 4 months, the first parts started to roll in. After about 8 months I had everything.

The ported E-Heads were a thing of beauty! After reading the horror stories I wanted to be sure that Bruce wasn't a hack. I brought them to a Pontiac enlightened builder, will not be named, and was told that the heads were very well done with high quality parts and porting. There was one pushrod hole exposed during the porting , but it was properly sleeved. Bruce also had a HR cam spec'd out for my combo and the builder confirmed it was a great choice for what I was looking to do with my car.


All the other parts were all just off the shelf stuff (carb, serpentine kit, etc) and Bruce sold them to me for a fair price. I think that Bruce has the knowledge and skill to be a great engine builder. He didn't screw me but there are way too many people who claim he burned them to ignore. If only a fraction of the stories are true, it's one too many. I think the problem may be that Bruce simply has no people skills. He comes off as an arrogant jerk to most people. Some people are just like that. You know what I mean, we've all met them, right? While he didn't rip me off, and ultimately gave me everything I paid for, it was obvious that he was dragging his heels and making excuses along the way. The bottom line is, that's no way to run a business.

Would I use him again? Probably not. Not because of the quality of his work, but because I'll never put myself through an 8 month ordeal like that again. Would I recommend him to others? When there are so many other vendors and builders out there that have similar or superior knowledge, but without all the extra baggage, I don't think I can. That's as honest response as I can give.
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John

jonathonar89
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2009, 06:42:42 PM »

Hey John, what exactly did you get done to your motor?  How satisfied are you with the power you're making?  You have that W72 block all done up right?
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
johnsma22
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2009, 08:44:19 PM »

My bottom end is an all stock rebuild of a W72, .030" over 400 block. When I had it rebuilt I was using #13 heads. Needless to say, with the tiny little cam I had it was suffering severe detonation due to the CR. I talked to Bruce and was educated about the fact that I needed to get my CR lowered if I was going to use iron heads, or I could get some aluminum heads, change the cam and make some good street able power with my stock bottom end. I just wanted to drive the car after a very long restoration. I'll be able to use these E-heads when I finally get my butt in gear and complete my stroker project.

This low compression, E-headed, HR cammed 400 makes 320hp and 390 lb/ft or torque to the rear wheels. More than enough for me to have some fun while I build my 500+hp 461 stroker torque monster! My drive train (TKO-600 and Moser 12 bolt with 33 spline axles and 3.73 gears) is ready to take the abuse, LOL!

Here's a small example of what she's capable of.

Interior Video



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John

jonathonar89
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2009, 01:00:41 AM »

So my guess is your car is the one on ptfb's site with the competition setup?  Is that the keisler 5 speed as well?  How does it ride on the road?  Your setup is basically what I have planned with my 79 Trans Am (Silver with Red interior). 
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
johnsma22
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 04:42:14 PM »

Yup, that's my girl, LOL! Yes again, to the Tremec TKO-600 5 speed trans that I got from Kiesler. Of all the mods I've done to my car, the single best bang for the buck was the 5-speed OD transmission. It turned my car into a completely different car. 2.87 1st gear with the 3.73 rear gears and I'm haulin' the mail! The .64 OD let me cruise on the highway at 85mph at ~2400 rpm. Best of both worlds.

This car handles like it's on a rail with the Comp Kit, tubular upper and lower controls arms, welded tublar subframe connectors, solid body bushings, sway bar brace, G-bar braces, HD rear sway bar drop links, and PTFB's shocks. The ride is firm but not harsh. Remember the handling characteristics of a car are dictated by the front suspension, to a major degree. The ride feel is dictated by the rear suspension. I've got the shocks set right where Dave told me to and I've found no need to change them. This thing can pull so many more lateral G's than it used to be able to, I now have to get a road race oil pan because I can too easily expose the oil pump pickup on high speed turns.
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John

LeighP
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2009, 11:08:36 PM »

I've got a Canton Road Race pan for my 455 going into my 71 project, but now I'm even thinking about adding an Accusump as well. I'm concerned about oil pickup on long sweeping hi speed corners......
My friend just got his TKO-600 up and running in his 68 Firebird (428 RAIV cam etc)....he loves it, transformed the car he says.
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Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
Former Firebirds -
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe

jonathonar89
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 02:38:23 AM »

There are two sides to every story.  If you want to get a hint of the other side, you should check out Tom Demauro's comments at this link:

http://forums.highperformancepontiac.com/70/7772576/the-general-discussion/what-happened-to-bruce-fulper/index.html

Tom is editor of High Performance Pontiac magazine.  If anyone has visiblity into the hobby, it would be the folks at HPP.  Tom's words speak for themselves.

I'd also point out that a successful business venture depends on more than a good-looking website, and any business's reputation is based on the collective experience of ALL of their customers.  The owner's attitudes have a great deal to do with customer satisfaction.

I'm not trying to be rude but what do you mean by "visibility into the hobby" ?  Not to be a spokesperson for Bruce Fulper, but shouldn't he also have good insight because of the fact that he did work for HPP and  produced innovative and modern tech articles at the time of his presence there?  Obviously HPP's staff wouldn't have anything good to say now because everything is after the fact.  I've done a lot of reading on his website and, for me, it's hard to argue with what he has to say because everything just seems so straightforward.  Once again Rick, I'm not trying to be rude or anything.  I have never dealt with him personally so it's hard for me to decide whether or not to use RRE because I'm trying to seperate fact from fiction/opinion on Bruce.  To be honest, I am leaning towards the use RRE (Bruce) for my build after looking at everything as of the moment.  Let me know, Jon
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
LeighP
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 06:55:00 AM »

BP has had just way too much history with people who simply didn't get what they paid for, or didn't get it when told they would, for me to ever trust my hard earned $ with on a build, or even to supply parts.
I have a fellow clubmember that has a R&R supplied engine in a 69 Firebird he bought....lots of receipts for big $, yet the engine is barely any more powerful than a stock engine....now he didn't pay to have this engine done, so he's not too bent out of shape...but for all the work and dollars spent its not very impressive, nor a very good advertisement for engine building skills.

Do a google search on the subject and I'm sure you'll find first hand accounts of peoples issues.

If you're in LA and looking for a parts supplier and or builder, try Ken Brewer at Pacific Performance Racing in San Pedro.
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Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
Former Firebirds -
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe

lfdsteve
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 08:14:11 AM »

Jon,

You obviously either know the guy or have some other agenda with respect to that operation. This forum is a pretty open minded group of knowledgeble people. How bout just saying whats really on your mind and see where it goes from there....might make more progress.

Just a thought

Steve
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Maryland Bandit
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 09:12:08 AM »

I read the thread where Bruce and Tom replied, respectfully. Now, that being said, what ever issues happened over there, STAY over there! TAC does not, and has not tolerated dragging issues in here from other websites looking for new people to play it for.
That being said, a question was asked about R&R motors. Answers were given. It should end there.
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1999 30TH ANNIVERSARY TRANS AM # 592
1979 Y84 S/E- sold
firebirdparts
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 10:34:46 AM »

If you do buy an engine there, by all means give us a full report on it.
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Joe Bays
jonathonar89
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 10:49:48 AM »

Jon,

You obviously either know the guy or have some other agenda with respect to that operation. This forum is a pretty open minded group of knowledgeble people. How bout just saying whats really on your mind and see where it goes from there....might make more progress.

Just a thought

Steve

To be 100% honest with you, no I don't know the guy (I'm 20 years old) and nor do I have an agenda with respect to his operation.  I spoke to him over the phone one time about 1-1.5 years ago, got my question answered (don't remember what it was about) and didn't have an issue.  I am being open minded and am trying to come to an unbiased conclusion on the subject based upon my brief phone experience over the phone (good), talking to you guys and after reading all the stuff on his website about his accomplishments/general Pontiac info that he talks about.  Heck, I have never even thrown any of my money towards his business so how can I have an agenda or know him (I live in Chicago)?  I realize that I myself am not a Pontiac expert and nor have I been around the hobby as long as most of you guys have to hear all these "horror stories" that you all are talking about.  I hope I'm not coming as being rude Steve and hopefully you actually do see that I am trying to be as unbiased as I can possibly be.

Jon
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
jonathonar89
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2010, 11:02:30 AM »

BP has had just way too much history with people who simply didn't get what they paid for, or didn't get it when told they would, for me to ever trust my hard earned $ with on a build, or even to supply parts.
I have a fellow clubmember that has a R&R supplied engine in a 69 Firebird he bought....lots of receipts for big $, yet the engine is barely any more powerful than a stock engine....now he didn't pay to have this engine done, so he's not too bent out of shape...but for all the work and dollars spent its not very impressive, nor a very good advertisement for engine building skills.

Do a google search on the subject and I'm sure you'll find first hand accounts of peoples issues.

If you're in LA and looking for a parts supplier and or builder, try Ken Brewer at Pacific Performance Racing in San Pedro.

Hearing stories like this is just throws me off because it just seems so odd and far-fetched to me (again, trying to be unbiased).  So he didn't have the engine done by R&R but he knows 100% that it was done by them and it performs like a stock engine?  Like I said before, I'm only 20 so I haven't been around to see/hear about all these historical/controversial Pontiac figures such as R&R or Nunzi.
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
jonathonar89
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2010, 11:14:02 AM »

If you do buy an engine there, by all means give us a full report on it.

Well I haven't 100% decided on where I want to go as of the moment but if I do end up trusting Bruce Fulper I won't tell him about anything that is going on as far as this post goes so I can give you guys an honest review.  I just need to do some research and price things out before I can give things a start with my engine.  I would like to go with one of the "bigger names" in the Pontiac engine world so I think starting there sounds promising to me with my build.  I own a numbers matching '79 W72 T/A and definitely think it needs more than what the factory offered, although I do recognize, appreciate and have now experienced what Pontiac had to offer in stock form.
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
lfdsteve
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2010, 11:25:21 AM »

I'm just going to butt out. Probably shouldn't have said anything anyway. Sorry!

Good Luck
Steve
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Paul Kenney
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2010, 11:49:08 AM »

Do some google searching and look in on some of the other Pontiac boards. You'll find the information you seek.

Chris hit the nail on the head.
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I don't always speak to obama voters, but when I do, I order large fries.
jonathonar89
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2010, 11:49:44 AM »

I'm just going to butt out. Probably shouldn't have said anything anyway. Sorry!

Good Luck
Steve

Don't feel sorry about anything Steve, I think you/everyone can and should be able to voice their opinions on the subject of discussion (R&R).  It was my fault for not providing adequate information and it obviously left room for assumption on your end of the subject.  I'm not trying to be a spokesperson for Bruce and I just wanted to make that clear.  

Jon
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
72blackbird
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2010, 12:19:08 PM »

There are plenty of well known Pontiac builders all over the USA- I would find one as close to you as possible, not halfway across the country. You should meet the builder face-to-face and discuss your needs with him, and the builder should be willing to give what you want, even if they normally build race engines. It also makes it easier to get help or support if your engine needs more attention. I would also definitely avoid anyone with even a few complaints posted, even if they're reported to be one of the best Pontiac experts- it's not worth taking the risk with your hard-earned money.

I'm here in Socal so I've heard all of the good and bad stories about Andy Mitchell and Bruce Fulper- these guys do know Pontiacs but they didn't get their notorious business reputations by accident. On a more positive note, Ken Brewer has been building Pontiacs for more than 15+ years and has an excellent reputation- that's not by accident either. I definitely wouldn't spent thousands of dollars with a builder I didn't trust and has a bad business reputation.

Geno
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1977 SE T/A (sold Sad )
1974 455 T/A (sold Sad )
1972 Esprit restomod
1976 T/A restomod
1975 Formula 400 4-speed
jonathonar89
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 01:50:41 PM »

Are there any "Pontiac Experts" that anyone knows of in the midwest that I can possibly look into?  Upon doing some research, here is what I'm looking at....

Good Stuff:
Video and comments speak for itself.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8Si2vh4Nrs
Check out the crate engine from Car Craft Magazine!  http://www.pontiacpower.com/CarCraft03.htm
More Car Craft....  http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/ccrp_0611_performance_engine_combinations/pontiac.html
Popular Hot Rodding.  http://www.popularhotrodding.com/enginemasters/articles/hardcore/0305em_pumpponcho/index.html
Look at what he has to say on a "bad review" and read his FAQ section of his website.  http://www.brucefulper.com/

I don't really know what to think:
http://forums.carcraft.com/70/672826/general-car-craft-discussion/400-pontiac-combo/index.html
Useless criticizing of Bruce but does say he knows whats up.  http://www.fbody.com/12gen/18308

Bad Stuff:
I guess this could be considered bad but it really just seems funny to me because I did not have a pleasant "personal" experience with one the members on here bad mouthing Bruce, in my own face-to-face conversation (I will leave that member unnamed).  http://www.pontiaczone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12000&page=3
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1979 Trans Am 400 T-top - Platinum Silver, Carmine Interior
tallicazx6
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77 S.E. 400 auto


« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 03:56:56 PM »

check out this thread over at PY for some Illinois references http://forums.performanceyears.com/forums/showthread.php?t=609473&highlight=wayne
I'll probably be using Wayne Schicantek for my build.
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Steve W.      Fond du Lac, Wi.
72blackbird
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2010, 05:09:13 PM »

I liked the Fulper article on hydraulic roller cams in PHR's website- this is where you can see that Bruce definitely knows his Pontiacs. But if so many people have had bad business experiences with him and posted their stories on the internet, shouldn't that be warning enough? No matter how good Fulper is, you won't be happy if you paid for parts, services, or an engine and didn't get what you were promised.

Geno

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1977 SE T/A (sold Sad )
1974 455 T/A (sold Sad )
1972 Esprit restomod
1976 T/A restomod
1975 Formula 400 4-speed
johnsma22
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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2010, 05:13:18 PM »

...but if I do end up trusting Bruce Fulper I won't tell him about anything that is going on as far as this post goes so I can give you guys an honest review.

Trust me, he'll see this post. He Googles his name all the time to see what's being said about him on the forums. He's been a member of them all at one point, but he's been banned from all of them. He definitely knows Pontiacs, but he doesn't know how to run a business. There are far too many quality Pontiac builders out there that can do both.
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John

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