tl,dr: Buy your new engine somewhere else
Spent over $4200 on a "Stage 1 longblock" from Broken Boxer, engine had issues from day one: leaking oil from numerous seals, blowing large clouds of oil smoke at some startups (due to problems with driver side head) and sounding like a tractor even when warmed up (loose pistons slapping around). Oil in intake, mediocre compression on a couple cylinders, terrible leakdown on cylinder 4. The owner Matt became difficult to get a hold of, will not speak on the phone and rarely answers emails. Assured me he would "do the right thing" but I still can't get him on a phone and there is no one else at the shop who knows what is going on.
Empty promises, lies about shipping, poor craftsmanship, complete lack of communication, avoid this company. I'm sure there are some people who had good luck with BBR, my experience shows they do not stand behind their work and have no intention of owning up to their mistakes. I've since paid for an IAG block and haven't had a single issue, I wish I had done this in the first place.
It has taken me many months to write this review as I gave BBR every opportunity to come up with any explanation or solution to my situation, they offered empty promises and failed commitments. The owner (Matt) is impo
ssible to get on the phone, the guys onsite are doing their best to field customer complaints but have no knowledge of what is going on and are not in a position to resolve problems. If Matt actually replies to an email it is meaningless, ignoring direct questions, making ambiguous promises.
I spent over $4200 last year on a "Stage 1 Subaru longblock", an ej255 with forged pistons. Communication was great up to the point they had my money, then the shipping delays and lack of response to emails and calls began. Engine arrived a few weeks late but in reasonable condition, though it is weird that they spray paint everything on engine after it is built (even the oil filter and seals), and a thick coat of RTV along the "new" valve cover gaskets. Upon install it was clear the engine was noisy, forged piston sounds but they did not go away once the engine was warm. Within a few hundred miles I had oil leaks from both valve cover gaskets and the front main seal, which of course meant removing all the timing gear to resolve. Later the oil pan and passenger cam seal would also begin to leak. Their reply to my issues was "we really strive for perfection but issues can still occur. Understand that this isn't from a lack of effort." So, no help there, my dime and time to resolve.
Sometime after a careful break in and dyno tune, I noticed a cloud of smoke at start up. These happen infrequently (one in every 30 or so starts), so I'm not sure when it started but over time I picked up on them. BBR blamed my IAG AOS install, then stopped replying to any emails while still being unavailable on the phone. After a lot of troubleshooting I bought a scope cam and confirmed the turbo inlet was getting oil in it, meaning the AOS was being overwhelmed, then did a leak down and found 45% leakage from cylinder 4, along with 16% lower compression than the other cylinders. Since it's forged pistons sounds like bad rings or machine shop work, either way something I need them to resolve. But again, no one will talk to me. At 8k miles the engine still sounds like a diesel, which BBR dismissed as normal. The noise may be related to the issue with cylinder 4, but it is a proper disappointment to spend all this money and hear such an unrewarding racket.
I have since pulled the engine, heads were sent to a reputable machine shop who had a good laugh at the condition. The combustion chamber enlargement was done by hand: rough, sloppy, too deep in places to be properly fixed, more than one exhaust valve would not seat properly, part of the leakdown issue.Pistons skirts show significant wear, another sign they were slapping around. Manley confirmed this wear is unacceptable and due to assembly issues.
Throughout this event, over many months I followed up and waited for slow replies and worked with numerous people who would answer the phone. It seems the owner has another job so customer support is handled by the guy building the engine or another unfortunate person within reach of the phone. all of these guys were in a tough spot being in the middle of a messy situation, most of them left the company over the time I've been dealing with them, resulting in starting the process over with the next guy.
I received an email from Matt assuring me they would fix the shortblock "because this is what is right... and most importantly want you happy with your purchase", so I sent the shortblock back in July. "Everything looked well" is all I've heard from them, which clearly is not the case. No luck getting anyone to reply to emails or phone call, nor owning up to their mistakes and shoddy work.
Avoid Broken Boxer, no end of excuses and poor craftsmanship.
55% leakdown in cylinder 4, not good.
Spray paint makes everything better, even a rear main seal.