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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok Simon, here goes my story:-

Delivery
After reading various car magazines (namely Performance Car - remember that) in 99 I decided to purchase a Silver 6 from Co-ord Sport. During this purchase Co-ord set-up a deal with Colt to start Ralliart UK and so my car became one of the UK official Evo's. After a pleasant trip to Holland and months of waiting for a SVA test etc. I finally collected my car.

Tuning
With the car completely standard I had no problems whatsoever, at 2500 miles I decided to get a HKS Exhaust, Eibach 30mm Springs, HKS BOV, HKS Airfilter and boost increase or as they called it on the invoice 'tweak the jets' (play with the restrictor) !! later this turned into a Stage 1 (minus BOV). 'Be careful going into corners in fourth' was Toney's words 'as you may get an overboost situation' Oh dear, from then on it was all downhill I'm afraid. After numerous fuel cuts and complaints boost was returned to normal. Six months later with no further upgrade path from Ralliart (back then no Extreme etc. existed) I decided to look for aftermarket ECU's and came across Gems and Motech. After doing a bit of homework I thought the Gems ECU was better and rung Gems to find a good mapper. Phil Marks was the only guy they new who did Evos. After speaking to Phil he told me to speak to Ralliart as all Evo work would have to go through them. I spoke to Toney again and this time he told me that a Gems ECU with Antilag was an ideal upgrade for me, strange that. Well with no-one else available and only one bad experience I gave them another go. Bad idea, my Evo seemed to vanish, I dropped the car off and never got it back for 5 weeks !!!!!!!!!! I spoke to Ralliart on many occasions and Toney kept saying it's 'nearly ready', then 'we're just going to do some final testing'.

Being met at the train station by one of the Ralliart girls was a nice touch until I got talking to her, she explained about the trips she made to Gems in my car.

Getting into the car, with and wait for it, 1250miles extra on the clock, caked in mud Toney took me for a test run. It seemed ok, but hang on why does it stall at the lights?, why does turning the aircon on cause the car to stall? why when we went around corners and floor the throttle did it hesitate? Toney couldn't answer this because he hasn't got a clue, he's the driver Phil is the man with laptop.

Well I went ballistic, but as Toney calmly stated, 'I agree a little more work needs doing but Phil has now shot off to Cyprus so you may as well take the car with you and when Phil comes back I'll give you a ring. So with only paying the pure ECU cost as the map was useless I drove away. During the next few months with many phone calls, Toney finally agreed to send Phil down, this was the first trip of many.

From then on for over a year it was just a case of Phil coming down, spending 3-4 hours on the road trying to sort out the problems and us getting nowhere. Although he's a nice guy and as I said gave me plenty of info on the Ralliart scene, I didn't rate his tuning skills, for example:- on one occasion as we were getting nowhere he loaded a map in from a rally car he did in Sweden. Now remember this guy uses no headphones, no lambda, nothing but a laptop, as we started accelerating I said 'bit of det Phil' (it was that loud), he goes, 'don't worry about that we normally run det as standard on rallycars' !!!!!!!!!!. Although he retarded the ignition to take it out, god knows what sort of damage that may of done?

While Ralliart never sorted out these problems, on my last ever visit when I pointed out a noise to Toney which I new was piston slap, (I always wonder if the map caused this) he told me the turbo was knackered !! and then went on to say a new one was £2000 as prices had just gone up. I asked him about a rebuild which I new I could get for £600, he told me they cost as much as a new one less £300.


Other things

During the few years I used them, I talked to quite a few annoyed customers. How about a guy who had a boost gauge fitted then saw his dash catch fire. If you see a White Evo 5 with a Motech ECU at a track day ask him why he has a large piece of carbon fibre covering the drivers side of the dash board. The list goes on, funny really.

I had front 6 pot AP's fitted then got home and found two spanners in the wing and all the front top mount nuts missing, although I did find 3 under the HKS air filter !!!

Phil told me that the engine rebuilds we're getting so common that Toney asked him to train the mechanics at Ralliart to do the job. But as Phil worryingly said 'If they're done wrong the bad workmanship gets back to my name' - what was he trying to say.


Conclusion, in my opinion

A lot of people I believe compare what Ralliart do with say what Jaguar do with the XK series. They make the XK8 then they also make an XKR which is basically a supercharged version. Similar to a GSR then an Extreme etc. but the difference is that the R and amp;D of Ralliart UK is pitiful in comparison hence no comparison.

That's it really, hope this is of some help to any Evo owner, I appreciate that a lot of people still use Ralliart and are happy with the service. But, I ask you this, when you bought your Extreme or RS450 or whatever did you get an actual statement telling you what you brought?

Simon for example, do you know exactly what you have? I'm guessing you bought your Extreme for the performance gains but what would happen if you measured the output and found it to be a lot lower than expected do you think they could cure that?


Food for thought

How many tuners will sell you a 450bhp conversion - loads for enough dosh
How many tuners will let you buy Airfilter, Exhaust, Decat, Mainfold, External Wastegate, 25g Turbo, Intercooler, Piping, Gas Flowed head/plenum chamber, Head bolts, conrod bolts, pistons, rods, crank, injectors, gasket, springs, pulleys, cams, fuel pump, ECU, twin plate clutch and suspension then call a good mapper to map it in a day for £400 and save yourself a fortune


As for me the lazy git, got all the gear and with a basic map - DIY, that's not B and amp;Q by the way
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Interesting reading, sounds like you had a right nightmare! I feel lucky that I'm in a position to carry out all servicing work and modifications/tuning myself. At least that way I know it has been carried out correctly and to a high standard!! It's good to read about others experiences good and bad and results of modifications so that we can make good decisions using this hindsight and hopefully not waste too much cash! Anyway, the DIY route is ultimately more rewarding I think.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
chuck
sorry to hear about your experience. some how i doubt that you are alone

like clive i tune the car myself and frankly would not trust anyone else to do it, like to know how my motor works!

i've also tried to post useful stuff here and on my web page about mapping for those that want to have a go themselves.

presumably over the last couple of years they have got better tho?

andrew
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Blade, the stupid thing is as I don't use the car all the time I should I done the work myself but as allways I thought they new what they we're doing - a lesson learnt. The car is sorted now, thanks to the help of Steve, a good Gems mapper, although since then I've made a few changes myself. Other mods, again, all done be me now and no problems. If you ever speak to Steve, ask him how many Evo's he's put right and what he has named a 'Phil Marks Special' by him. Interesting fact Gems ECU is in the Subaru WRC.

Andrew, they must of improved things a lot I should imagine, but when I spoke to Toney 7 months ago after him ringing me about Phil again I said don't even bother. But, as I brought some new front disks from Co-Ord that warped within 1000 miles it gave me a good opportunity to get a front 6 Pot AP Conversion**. Toney agreed after much deliberation to take the old one's back but only if I had the kit fitted at Ralliart. With a nervous 'yes' I agreed, that then lead onto the story about coming home with two spanners in the front wing and no top mount nuts!! why they even touched those I have no idea. So Andrew, even if the mapping has improved the service hasn't.

** Another story I forgot to tell regrading my AP front conversion. When my Co-Ord replacement discs warped I decided to go for an AP setup. After talking to Mark at MAD who had the larger 360/2 discs (I think) I thought I'd go for that instead of the 330m option. First speaking to Bob/Dave at BG Developments to get a kit price I was very interested, at around this time Toney rung and we talked about the ECU etc and the disc swapout deal was on. The trouble was they had a 330mm in but no 362mm setup which they'd never used before, but I was told we're being fitted on the 7 Extreme/S. Well, as Toney said he should get a set in 2 weeks so I waited. Guess what, weeks turned into months and I even resulted in ringing BG Developments who although we're helpful told me to ring Toney and ask him what was going on, a little strange. Toney at this point was saying that they allways have problems with BG and this goes on all the time. So again a few more weeks went by and I rung BG again, this time we sort of fell out as the answer to all my questions was 'you need to speak to Toney about your setup' even to questions like as what stage is the kit at!!! After speaking to Toney again and he giving even more negitive words about BG's performance and a possbile wait of many more months, I ended up on his advise to have a 330mm kit fitted instead. With no problems with the brakes since I rang BG as new customer a week later only to be told that 362 kits would take quite a few months as Ralliart had ordered so many kits for the Extreme !!!!!!!!!!
Not the same story that Toney was telling, so if BG are reading this is nothing to do with you guys just more lie's from good old Ralliart.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Theres a nightmare story about every tuner out there no matter how much you pay ,still think everyone has to start somewhere look at all the so called evo specialists cropping up everywhere .Phil marks isnt a newcomer to evo tuning and yep he can make a mistake just like anyone of us,hes a very well respected guy and works all over the world which speaks volumes about his abilities .Think about how many cars ralliart sell and modify and the numbers are very high in comparison to practically any other tuner in the uk,so of course theres going to be errors .I personally look at how many jobs are right in comparison to wrong with most things .
I mean can anyone guarantee that a highly modded car will last a reason length of time when even standard cars can have a premature engine failure of some kind even when maintained properley.Wonder if my engine blew up in standard form or modded form how id react ,probably the same as chuck but slating mitsubishi to my freinds ,an evo in any form(1,2,3,4,5,6,7) is a formidable tool and already in most cases in a high state of tune ,but if mitsubishi cant get it right all the time how can every tuner etc.:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Without making any direct comments , I sussed R/art very soon after I bought my VI .
I always ask garages etc certain questions which will reveal wot they really know , I don't have 2 tell u how R/art rated !!

Out of all the Evo tuners etc out there I hear more bad reports and comments about R/art than any other , how they continue 2 grow or even stay in business I don't know.

One of the primary factors is their lack of rolling road facility , how can they possibly determine the result of any mods or check 4 safe running , answer , they can't.

Customers still continue 2 pour money into their hands tho , very clever marketing that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Chuck
Sorry to here about your problems. I don't blame you at all for being well p***ed off with Ralliart. What follows is NOT an attempt to justify what has happened but to understand a couple of issues as I am looking at my tuning options.

You say she explained about the trips she made to Gems in my car. Couldn't they sort the car out. That seems very strange. However, they were well out of order putting that milage on your car without telling you what they were doing.

As I am thinking of fitting a boost gauge, do you know what made it catch fire?

Funny (or not so funny) thing is that on my last service for my BMW, they left 2 spanners by the airfilters and had removed and failed to replace nuts that were not part of the service. Maybe these mechanics went to the same college. :D

The one thing that I believe was not down to Ralliart is the saga of getting your disks. I seem to remember other posts about people trying to get this kit. In addition, I am sure that Ralliart did not order loads of kits. The AP is an option and I did not go for it - probably will soon. However, I managed to get the first car on the road because although others had ordered ahead of me, Ralliart could not get the brakes. I find it hard to believe that Ralliart would deliberately hold back delievring these cars and being paid for them unless there really was a good reason. Anyway, enough of justifying crap service.

You raise some other interesting points. How do I know if they have fitted the spec that I thought I was buying. Well, that bit I have checked and all seems correct. The spec of the prototype did change and the production spec was only finalised after about 5000 test miles and some mags testing the car. This might be why you believe the spec varies and also because some of the buyers have asked for a higher state of tune. However, without putting the car on a RR, I don't know the figures for sure. Even then, isn't there a good chance that due to differences in RR's and different conditions, I will not match the figures published? The figures could be higher or lower. If they are higher, would that really be valid and if they were lower, would it be fair to get upset. What margin is reasonable? Some have suggested that you can get a difference of up to 10 bhp.

For me, dynamic testing is the best way and by that I mean go for a drive! Last weekend I went for a spin with a M8 and his Tuscan S. Having figures from Autocar ( coinsidently tested in the same issue as the Extreme) it was interesting. He can drive a bit and after the drive we came to the conclusion that either his car was slow, or mine really was pretty quick. I am happy.

However, moving forward, I don't know what to do? I don't believe in power runs on RR's and should I just leave it at that. Then, when I want to take things further, how do I do it. I have driven the Extreme S which has the Gems and does not suffer from any of the problems you have had. Does this mean that they have finally got a map that works or are they just lucky with that 1 car?

I would welcome your thoughts. Whilst we all know there are 2 sides to every story, you have ended up a very disatisfyed customer which is unacceptable under any situation. It means that you cannot trust them any more even if they do some thing right and I don't blame you at all.

Please will everybody note that I am not defending Ralliart in this case and have every sympathy with Chuck in this matter.


Evoboy

You don't need your own rolling road if you have one available to you near by when you need it. We have already had enough debate about whether it is better to set a car up on the road or on a RR.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Si7Extreme,

Sorry M8 but serious outfits shud have a rolling road , they r required for comparitive testing and provide a good indication of the results of engine mods .
Obviously road testing is also required to provide info on varying running conditions and validate test results.

Also it prevents accumulating a ridiculous amount of mileage on customer cars visiting a remote dyno (there is not 1 near R/art) as in Chucks case (sue em M8 !)

No way wud I b happy with some1's oppinion on the increase in power after parting with many £K's , why shud it b left 2 the customer 2 asses the increase in performance , and if u were not happy with the result how cud u dispute it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I totally agree Evoboy , how a company the size of Ralliart with all its tuned special editions manages to do a PROPER JOB on its customers cars without a RR is beyond me !

It would suggest a massive waste of time toing and amp; froing or a lot of untested work ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK guys, in some ways I agree with you about the rolling road, in others not. For development work you do need a rolling road, for assembly and set up to a known spec you don't and it is best to do the final settings on the road.

Therefore, the rolling road needs to be where the development is done. As is generally known and now well publisised in this forum, the negine development work is not done in Dudley but done by Phil who does use a rolling road.

Before anybody flames me for this posting, there is enough genuine grevances against Ralliart at the moment to at least be reasonable about some of the things that are said. This does not excuse the milage added to Chuck's car or anything else you might think I am defending.

In some ways I feel stupid having to justify any comment I make, good or bad, about Ralliart following allagations that I am no more than their poodle! As I have said many times, if a company does bad work, it should be exposed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Simon,

I agree to a certain extend with you. What Chuck has suffered though seems to be
inexcusable in most aspects of his post. It seems to me (following his post) that Ralliart
did a very bad job in his case.

Regarding the RR question I believe that a company the size of Ralliart and the services
it provide should have a RR. How can they tune customer cars otherwise ? They seemed
to have problems with Chuck's car which would probably solve otherwise (without so much
extra mileage). I expect that they do a lot of manual tunning (non-standard maps), but even
if that was not the case a RR is very useful to diagnose engine related problems too.

I personally don't have any problems with Ralliart (so far).
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A question,how did tuners manage to build reliable,high performance road,race and rally cars before the introduction of the rolling rd?
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good question, Barry. During development there was far more trial and error and the best developers used to bench test engines. RR's seem to have changed the whole way cars are tuned. Now it is about bolting on goodies and see what effect it has. You don't here about techniques that used to be standard, such as blueprinting . Evo magazine even described polishing of the head as good, old fashioned! . I can remember long evenings of polishing first the manifolds, then making templates of their appatures and finally matching the ports on the head to them. You ended up with a mainfold and head made for each other (how sweet).

I am sure some of the old stuff still goes on, but at the moment the trend seems to be to bolt on the extras. I guess that it is probably cheaper. God, I am sounding old, remininsing isn't what it used to be!
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Simon,oh how one longs for the good old days,balancing the carbs.and...........to get the power you built a good engine its good to see Neil Brown Engines are still around they ,in the seventies built the engines for my friends Formula Ford,it was all porting .polishing ,stroking,balancing,it was a art form imagine Neil Brown building an Evo Engine.They were so confident of their work they Knew when they had the edge ,and it showed on the lap times ,engine dyno printouts were the guide and in reality still are.

But as you said enough of this ,lets open some more colourfull boxes and bolt on some more power/


Regards Barry:):)
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
why would anyone want to gasflow a turbo car head ?
surely any rough edges will create lots of lovely turbulence as the air is BLOWN past it
i.e. blown as in NOT SUCKED
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Mouton

We are talking about a time when turbos were very rare. I think the first production turbo car was the BMW 2002 Tii in 1972! I totally agree with you that gasflowing a turbo car's heads is counter productive, although there are still some who don't understand.

Barry, if I remember correctly, Neil Brown had one particular block that made a quicker engine than any other. It won the FF1600 festival 3 or 4 times, even after it was wielded up having stuck a rod through the side. Those were the days. Now, where is the Gems manual and my lap top :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi guys.

Anyone who used to read CCC years ago will remember a company called Vulcan Engineering, well the funny this was my mate wanted a Power Engineering head, well they said that they did all there own heads, on the way home we popped into Vulcan just to see what heads they did, guess what they said? Cant do you one for a few weeks. Got a load for PE to get done first, guess where he ordered from……
 
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