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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've pretty much settled on the PPE headers and Joe Z exhaust intake/exhaust with some high flow cats in there as well (haven't decided wich yet). But my question is this.... I've asked around the area I live in Kansas City, and there are a couple of "performance oriented" shops that specialize in doing these type of mods.
One is geared more toward vettes and other similiar domestic cars but does a lot of custom exhaust work from what I can tell from their website.
The other is geared more toward turbo and supercharger set-ups for domestic and some imports as well but does have a dyno to do testing on. My third option is a specialty shop that does maily scheduled service work on luxury imports (mainly lexus, but does acura as well). This is were we have serviced my previously owned IS300 and current GX470 for many years as they have BETTER customer service and pricing than the Lexus dealership. This is also where I do plan on taking my ISF for regularly scheduled maintenance in the future. I have talked to all 3 places and all say they have done these type of installs but the latter obviously doesn't do it that often as it's not their main focus. The main service guy said "We like to do special projects like this every once in a while to keep things interesting."

Which shop would you guys lean toward?:

Shop 1: that rarely if ever has worked on a lexus. but does custom exhaust work regularly.
Shop 2: that probably has worked on Lexus cars occasionaly and is FOCUSED on perfomance aftermarket installs (but mostly turbos/superchargers) and has the dyno.
or..
Shop 3: Rarely does these type of installs but works on lexus primarily and knows my lexus MUCH BETTER than the other two shops and who will probably have higher priority making me a happy customer to guarantee future long term scheduled maintenace?
sorry this was so long! PLEASE GIVE INPUT!!! Thanks! :)
 

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You haven't mentioned price. That's an important consideration. But from what you have said so far, shop #3. They want to keep you happy. The other two know they may never see you again. IMO, personal relationships are very important.

Lou
 

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For the installation of the headers on my car I was facing a similar choice. A performance shop specialized in Audi but with huge experience on exhaust and engine modification/swapping and a Lexus dealer with not much experience doing it but they do the services on my IS-F and have access to the docs, tools and parts if needed.
I chose the Lexus dealer even though their qualified tech is not available before end of August just because I know them better and if anything goes wrong I believe they will find a solution closer to OEM standards than another shop. There is the warranty aspect as well, my car has the Lexus Care 3 years extension, if anything goes wrong they can not tell that it is due to poor workmanship during the installation.
 

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I would say a good shop. Go and check out the cars that are being worked on. Price should not be a factor. Quality should be!!
This is coming from a shop owner that deals with high end cars. Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You haven't mentioned price. That's an important consideration. But from what you have said so far, shop #3. They want to keep you happy. The other two know they may never see you again. IMO, personal relationships are very important.

Lou
price is about the same between the three.... all $90-100/hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would say a good shop. Go and check out the cars that are being worked on. Price should not be a factor. Quality should be!!
This is coming from a shop owner that deals with high end cars. Doug
so do you feel it's not that imporant for an installer to be familiar wtih the lexus brand of car? Are you suggestingn I go to the shops and look at projects currently getting worked on or try to see finished products....? I'm such a newbie and know VERY LITTLE about cars so I'm not sure if I'd be able to detect quality from non-quality work... :(
 

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so do you feel it's not that imporant for an installer to be familiar wtih the lexus brand of car? Are you suggestingn I go to the shops and look at projects currently getting worked on or try to see finished products....? I'm such a newbie and know VERY LITTLE about cars so I'm not sure if I'd be able to detect quality from non-quality work... :(
Don't worry if they are or not familiar with the brand. Just look around, believe me you can tell! Also make sure you talk to who's going to actually do the work on the car.
Many shops down here in Miami say they are Lexus certified and dont know crap..
You get what you pay. Nothing changes when it comes to labor on installs..Doug
 

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I'm with rdt on this one. I choose to take my car to another brand dealership. They work on a lot of high end cars. When I saw that they are good with cars that retail $150k plus, I was convinced that whatever they don't know about my car they have the means to figure out everything they need to know one way or another. It also set my mind at ease that these guys were careful working around these cars and were careful not to cause any damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^^^ thanks for all the input!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update ... I went with the specialty service shop that does mainly lexus and acura services. So far have only had the intake and exhaust installed and they did a great job and only took 3.5 hours for both. Headers should be installed in the next week or two and I'll give and update after that install! Thanks again for everyone's input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Love it!!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I'll be picking up my car with headers installed now in a few hours.... They took two days to do the install, but didn't work on it the whole time... They are telling me it's going to be around 14 toal hours of intall and "book time" would be around that as well. I've seen on this forum and the CL one that typically shops were taking 7-8 hours of install time. The shop manager said he'd drop it to 10 hours... (at $100/hr). Am I getting ripped off? I'm not happy about the fact that it took them 2 days to complete and that's it's gonna be a few more hours than I anticipated. Also, they just now told me yesterday that they don't do welding there, so they wouldn't be able to weld in the cats I bought with the PPE headers into my exhaust! :( This is a month after I sent them detailed info on what in install entailed and the fact that this would need to be done... So, now I have to take it to ANOTHER shop, have my exhaust removed, and the cats welded in, etc, (will be using v-band clamps so i can remove cats for track days) which will cost me another 3-5 hours I'm sure! :( Ugh!
 

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That sucks, man. They have your car, so they think they can jack you around. Did you get an estimate in writing first? It's not your fault their wrenches can't do the install in a "normal" time. Maybe you should stop by the local BBB before you go in to haggle about the bill.
 

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I would make sure to complain about them not installing the cats. Especially since you asked them before hand about their experience and willingness to take on the job, not to mention that I assume the cats were included in the original estimate. If they couldn’t install the cats I would have expected them to call you before installation of anything since you’re going to have to remove just to have them welded. I have been around service shops that have taken longer than expected on installs than expected, normally because they aren’t as familiar about the car as they originally said, and I don’t doubt that the manager is on the up and up with the actual time into the project, and it is normal that he is lowering the billing hours at least trying to appease you a bit. I would talk to him though about the original estimate did include the install of the cats and now you are going to be out even more money to r/r at another shop. Typically I don’t mind a little overrun on time, a couple hours in my opinion isn’t too bad, as long as the work was completed cleanly, and I would assume that they were very cautios during the install, but I would expect the work to be complete, not 80%. If I remember right, when headers first came out some shops were dropping the engine just to get them installed because they didn’t know that there was another way.

Good luck again.

Btw…how does it sound/handle now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
F'n around;29055 If I remember right said:
I wasn't aware there was a way to get around dropping the engine...:(

So I finally was able to pick up my car today after the shop had it a total of 3 days to do the PPE Header install. :eek: They ended up only charging me for 10 hours of labor for the install, But now I have multiple issues/concerns: :(
First, is that the car doesn't even go into first gear in auto mode. I can force it to go into first using manual mode ONLY if i'm moving between 5-10mph or so. (I can't shift into 2nd while not moving) It's NOT in snow mode btw.
Second, is that the CEL came on about 5 min of driving the car. The shop said that this would happen until the cats are installed, but I'm confused as I thought the PPE headers came with an O2 sim kit that avoided this issue even without cats installed and I haven't seen ANYBODY on here complaining of CEL after PPE header intalls. I asked the shop guy about the O2 sim kit and he didn't seem to know what I was talking about and said that it only came with an O2 sensor extension wire for the front O2 sensor. Did PPE not send what they were supposed to? :confused:
Third, is that the slip indicator light (orange car icon with wavey lines below) is on AT ALL TIMES! (this also occured about 5 min after driving the car.) They did reset the ECU BTW.
Fourth, is that they had great difficulty and reportedly spent 5+ hours getting the oil dip stick tube to fit... Apparently they ended up using the OEM tube. (but this concerns me that they weren't able to use/make the supplied one with the PPE headers work?) :confused:
Fifth, is that they put a DEEP jagged 2.5" scratch in my front left wheel on one of the spokes... WTF !?!? :mad: I did call them immediately after I left the shop about the scratch but the other issues hadn't arisen yet so we did not discuss them.... He tried to tell me that they could "buff" the scratch out of the wheel... LOL GOOD LUCK! I"m thinking to myself. I'm now freaking out about this scratch because since the exact color code for the wheels isn't known getting a matching paint to try to fix it will be next to impossible... I've used the color mentioned on here the most ... phantom grey.... in the past on small chips/scratches (thanks to the dealership alignment :mad:) and the color is TOO LIGHT!
I just had a wheel repainted a couple weeks ago that had been slightly damaged in a small accident I had 6 weeks after I got my IS F and the color is "close" but not exact and I'm not too keen on going this route either.... :(:(
At this point I'm just overwhelmed and frustrated about all of these issues and need some guidance FAST!
Thanks in advance as always!!!
BTW the car does SOUND SICK and SEEMS QUICKER TOO at least! :D
 

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^^^^Your daler really screwed up. I'll have Paul call you tomorrow.

Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
^^^^Your daler really screwed up. I'll have Paul call you tomorrow.

Lou
HOLY CRAP! :eek: What did they do!?!? Are they going to have to yank the whole engine again to fix something???
 

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Calm down Doc. I doubt they'll have to anything that drastic.

Lou
 
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