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Old 04-21-2008, 11:32 PM   #1
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Default My BEGI experience

Not sure how to put it but I wanted to share my recent experience with BEGI over the past few months.
I bought a brand new cast iron T3 manifold for a '99 with the EGR ferrule on it from a board member. He decided not to use it and I got a great price on it. So that is what started all of this. I found a used T3 60 trim cheap in Nashville and planned to use that with the kit.

After much deliberation with myself I decided on using my Tial 38mm wastegate that I already have and I would have the manifold modified by BEGI S5 style. So I sent my manifold off to them with my turbine housing in order to have the manifold modified and stainless steel downpipe fabricated.

I was in no hurry to receive these parts and it took around 3 -5 weeks to get the parts which was expected on my end. I paid for ceramic coating on the manifold as well which was $75 so that took another 3-5 days so that added a week to the fabrication and shipment process.

I received my manifold and downpipe finally and the downpipe looked good for the most part though it had a few issues that you can see here. The sugared welds on the inside from the lack of back purging, the mild steel flex section when I paid for SS and the inlets and outlets that don't measure up. For example my turbine outlet is right at 2.115 and the downpipe inlet measures under 2" depending on how you measure it due to the welding. The downpipe outlet even though I paid for 3", which is the correct OD of the tubing, measures under 2.75".

Even though I sent them a manifold with the EGR fitting already welded on I had to remind them to send me a manifold with the EGR fitting on the back for some reason when I spoke with them on the phone before shipping. Apparently they didn't think I would need it anymore so instead of using the manifold i sent them they added the ex-wg to a new manifold.

They did however listen the first time when I told them where to place the O2 bungs so i'll give them a thumbs up for finally figuring that out.

Sugaring


Mild steel flex section (braid is stainless, end caps are not)


The manifold however had cracked welds that were very apparent through the ceramic coating. The WG flange also wasn't welded on the inside creating an awkward transition and the flanges had all been coated instead of taped off.

1 of 3 cracked welds


No weld on inside, bad transition.


Coated flanges. Would everyone not prefer bare machined flanges?


So I contacted Corky and sent him pictures of the cracks in the manifold and he said they would make me up a new one no problem. I also told them not to get the manifold ceramic coated this time and to refund my $75. The refund took place and I received a new manifold that had been painted with high temp paint. That was fine with me, though they painted the flanges and the WG wasn't flat after I removed the paint with a wire wheel on my drill. I don't have pictures of the flange after I removed the paint but I do have pictures of it with the paint. The messed up part that you see in the photo was no where near flat, it appeared to be affected by heavy corrosion under what appears to be paint though my wire wheel could hardly remove it.

There are also some lame welding defects that hopefully don't affect the integrity of the piece. They're just shrink at the end of the beads that usually don't exist in tig welds with correct pedal control. I do understand it's difficult to weld cast iron but assumed it would be a little better aesthetically.

Messed up WG flange on new manifold


Welding defect.


Welding defects.


The studs included with the manifold were about .5" too long and stuck up into the turbine outlet flange area. The length also made it impossible to install nuts on the CHRA side because they were far to close to the retaining wings. After removing the paint on the WG flange I found it to be unaccetably un-even and had to get it resurfaced at my local machine shop.

Studs too long.


Studs with .5" cut off and freshly machined wastegate flange.


My first order was supposed to include a plug for the EGR port on the manifold, a plug for the extra O2 sensor bung, and the long bolt that holds the flex section together. I never received those pieces in the first shipment, or the second shipment. The second shipment was also supposed to include hardlines for my coolant reroute to the back of the head and they were not included. I did not receive the tubes or the plugs and long bolt until the 3rd shipment which they thankfully paid shipping on.
I also got a spacer for my coolant reroute as well as an extra for a friend. (Still need to mail that out.) They're nicely made and I machined the lip for the thermostat in them after they arrived in the 2nd shipment like they were supposed to.

EGR Plug


Reroute Spacers


For the 2nd shipment I was also charged for an EGR blockoff plate as well as shipping even though I never ordered or received a plate and they were supposed to be covering shipping. A phone call corrected those issues, though I deemed the unnecessary considering the amount of communication between us.

Now the climax to all of this, there might be more but I'm tired of writing. I spent last week ordering parts and doing a timing belt/waterpump swap on the miata while I have it all tore apart. I got that completed Saturday and was going to install the new turbo setup and run it open downpipe for the race on Sunday. I started assembling the turbo/mani/downpipe and was horrifyingly surprised by a downpipe that came no where near fitting.

I bolted the turbine housing to the manifold as well as the wastegate. Then bolted the downpipe up to the turbine housing considering it is the main piece. Then I started to attempt bolting the WG tube up to the Tial 38mm wastegate, which BEGI deals and includes as part of the S5 kit that anyone can buy from them. I was unable to easily bolt the WG tube up to the WG due to interference between the WG pipe and the downpipe.

After forcing the bolts about half way so I could see just how bad the interference was I attempted to fit the 3rd section of the downpipe to the 2 tubes using the slip joints. The slip joints didn't line up at all for the WG tube so I knew this wasn't going to be something I could force fit with a little tough love. Then I removed one of the bolts from the WG flange to allow the tube to rotate so I could see how much the tube was out of rotation.

All of the following pictures show the fitment issues with the new downpipe.

I called today, I'll be returning the part and receiving a refund instead of allowing them to fix the part. After paying $460 for a downpipe plus shipping and dealing with all the other problems I'm sick of dealing with it all. After sending my manifold, and turbine housing and using the same WG the setup was designed for I just have no faith.

I'll be building my own downpipe for much less money and it will fit right the first time.

















After all is said and done, I understand the difficulties that would come along with manufacturing parts like this and how things can happen because nothing is perfect. Though I do know that when a customer pays for parts and has continuous issues with his parts, shipping, and invoicing that something should be done within the company to make sure things like that never happen again.
BEGI is very nice on the phone and they're willing to work with me on most everything but enough is enough.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Last edited by cjernigan; 04-21-2008 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:55 PM   #2
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Oh and if anyone cares, there are more images of everything in this gallery:

BEGI S5 Manifold and Downpipe
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:57 PM   #3
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people really drink 7/11 wine?
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:00 AM   #4
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I live with two roommates(one guy and one girl), she drinks all kinds of wine though some is cheap most of it is pretty expensive. She spent a summer in France and couldn't afford to eat much else besides bread, cheese, and wine.

Kind of funny all the other crap I have in the background of my pictures. Including the pitcher that says "Beer" across it.

Edit: I asked her about it. Its apparently not all that bad for an average table wine. It's a Barefoot Merlot from California and she seems to think that its worth the $7 or $8 she pays for it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjernigan View Post
I live with two roommates(one guy and one girl), she drinks all kinds of wine though some is cheap most of it is pretty expensive. She spent a summer in France and couldn't afford to eat much else besides bread, cheese, and wine.

Kind of funny all the other crap I have in the background of my pictures. Including the pitcher that says "Beer" across it.

Edit: I asked her about it. Its apparently not all that bad for an average table wine. It's a Barefoot Merlot from California and she seems to think that its worth the $7 or $8 she pays for it.
actually, that **** is ******* atrocious, but I cook with it...lol.


btw, I hope my **** works on my begi kit i bought, if I ever get to put that **** together.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:24 AM   #6
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damn chad. that explains the downpipe questions.

my experiences with begi were drawn out, but they ended up with a working solution in the end (custom intercooler piping with lots of stuff).

There's an important phrase here called Interchangable Parts. Custom fabrication can't really be expected to fit with assembly line parts every time. But that you sent the whole thing to them and it still didn't fit right is a bit of a surprise.

Oh and for what it's worth, I dont think there are many sources for ALL stainless flex sections. you dont need one anyway. get some comp motor mounts and let the exhaust wiggle some.

sorry about all the hassle. i'm the kind of guy who will see that kind of stuff through til the end even if I have to go all the way to the top and I know the pain and anguish and time it sucks up. I'd not be surprised if you spent a collective forty hour work week dealing with it over the whole time.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:37 AM   #7
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I've already installed 1 of two comp motormounts I just got. Surprisingly the driverside one i took out is cracked 1/3rd of the way. I'll see if miataroadster wants them or now when i get the other out.

The fact that the end caps/swages are mild steel when I paid for stainless doesn't really matter to me. It's the fact that when you pay for stainless you look for stainless and when its not all stainless you wonder.

I guess I'll try it without a flex section in my new downpipe then.

I too always see things to the end by going all the way to the top if that is what's needed. It's a very unsettling feeling to finally come to a decision that enough is enough when you support a specific company but they have let you down. Day in and day out on the internet and in person I ***** out their name saying they sell the best turbo kits and components money can buy. But after spending lots and lots of time taking pictures, explaining over the phone, and sending emails I got tired of it all.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:27 AM   #8
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Damn, I had similiar issues with them as well...though unfortunately I'm not nearly as educated as you, I was able to tell something wasn't right...

1st I ordered the SS div Dp as you did, and I had the same issue with slipping the lower 1/2 of it on. Basically the divorced section wasn't lined up to slip into place. I took the risk (aka didnt know better) and used a small prybar and a friend to get it together...

The other thing which may be partly my fault is I ordered the Mani+dp for a gt2560, I mentioned that my turbo already had its own "diverter" in the turb. housing, and was told they work with that turbo all the time. When I received the DP, it wouldnt bolt up to the turbo, and even then the WG could not open properly...After alot of back & forth w/ Corky, I took his experience over my "theory" and sent him the DP & my turbo. The agreement was that if I was correct about it being an issue, they would machine it and make it work and send back. When he got it, he said I had a turbo he had never seen before in all his years (?) but he got it to work. However I was charged $75 on my credit card without authorization for the work...
My calls were never returned, my emails were never returned and that was that. I was gonna dispute the charge w/ the cc co, but it'd be hell to prove my claim that I sent them the pieces but didnt authorize the labor...\

Anyhow that left a real bad taste in my mouth, especially when I run into posts here and there which show people using the same turbo...maybe not really common, but "never in all my years"??

Ps--I know they aren't production line pieces made my programmed robots, but they aren't exactly 1-off custom either....alot of the stuff seems to be repetitive (fitment, 02 bungs, etc)...
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:44 AM   #9
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I will say that they are willing to help out and fix the issues that arise. However, I am still waiting for my replacement downpipe to fix the one that I received the first time. Last email was March 24th saying that mine was scheduled to be built at the end of that week or the beginning of the next week.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:47 AM   #10
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Still waiting after a month of BEGi ignoring me to get my 1.8 downpipe (instead of the 1.6) that they sent with the 1.8 manifold. They didn't even remember to give me the bolt either :( .

Hope things work out.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:56 AM   #11
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Wow.......

I honestly thought I was the only one who had issues with BEGi, seeing as how much praise they receive on this forum and FM bashing I see.......

Anyways, while we are all talking about our experience, thought I would share my 2 cents.

Decided to go with a WRX TD04 turbo, with the funky subaru flange. Bought a new BEGi T3 exhaust manifold for my 97. Shipped both the turbo and the manifold to them so they could build an adapter plate for the turbo, and a nice SS downpipe for my setup. Also ordered a bunch of miscellaneous parts for my turbo build, like oil lines, fittings, etc.

After well over a month, I finally got all my parts back. Everything looked decent enough, although I was surprised that with a SS downpipe they used mild steel O2 bungs.....somewhat disappointed there :( . I slowly started my build and putting things together.

First issue I see when mock fitting everything was that even though I paid BEGi to clock my turbo correctly for me, the oil drain is facing about 45* towards the engine block, making it impossible to use without changing. While I found clocking the turbo to not be difficult, I was extremely frustrated that I paid them to do it when I ended up having to re-do it myself. I'm still completely baffled as to how they couldn't do it correctly seeing as they had both my manifold and turbo with them, so it wasn't a mystery as to how my turbo was to be mounted...........

Next snag I hit was installing the downpipe. I told them I needed 2 O2 bungs, one for stock NB, and one for WB. I'm thinking no problem, they've made a bunch of downpipes, know the miata like the back of their hand (and have plenty in the shop no less) so none of this is out of the ordinary. Fast forwarding to the downpipe installation, one of the O2 sensor bungs is literally touching the transmission casing, so not only is the bung in a bad area, but there is no way in hell a sensor is going there. Not only this, but the general clearance of the downpipe to the transmission and chassis brace under the car is extremely tight but should be ok.

I e-mailed pictures to Corky, called him on the phone and told him the issue. They wanted me to pay shipping back to them so they could fix it, but to me it didn't make much sense I should pay for them to fix their own mistake. Finally they agreed to pay shipping both ways, but of course, it starts another waiting game for me......

Weeks later I get my downpipe in the mail. I open it up and the first thing I see is a 1/2" plug welded into the O2 sensor that was already hitting the transmission. WTF!?!?!?! Had they not seen the pictures? I had told them it needed to be fully removed as there was already zero clearance.

Naturally, I call Corky back. This time in so many words he told me too bad and find someone else to fix it and that he regrets ever even making me a custom downpipe in the first place. GREAT SERVICE!!!! I pay $400 for a downpipe that isn't built correctly, and now I have to go find someone to fix it for me?!?!?!?

Luckily for me, I have a friend who is a great welder/machinist and he properly removed the bung and put a patch in its place. Thank GOD!


Fast forward even further now, I have everything installed, ready to fire up my car for the first time. I start it up, and it idles great, except for one minor detail........I have a huge exhaust leak coming from my manifold somewhere. After MUCH hunting, I finally found my issue. I could literally see a gap between the exhaust manifold and the adapter plate they had built for me.

I try to tighten it down, but one bolt just wouldn't budge one bit. I was confused so I tried to take the adapter plate off completely. Same bolt wouldn't budge. Eventually I managed to get it off by rotating the entire adapter plate around, unscrewing the bolt to the manifold.

What did I find??? The holes that were machined into the adapter plate to bolt to the T3 manifold were machined so poorly that the bolts couldn't even rotate inside of them. I used a punch to get the stuck bolt out of the adapter plate and had to use a dremel to clean up each bolt hole so the bolts could actually be tightened down properly to the manifold. (This was after I re-threaded the partially stripped the threads on one bolt hole on the manifold trying to get the adapter plate off).

If you managed to read it this far, congratulations, but for those of you who skimmed, I will sum up my entire post with this.

BEGi T3 Cast Manifold = Good
BEGi Custom downpipe = Crap
BEGi turbo clocking abilities = Crap
BEGi Custom downpipe building abilities (with both manifold and turbo in hand) = Crap
BEGi adapter building abilities = Crap

And worst of all, it was quite possibily the worst experience in customer service I have ever had. Never again will I buy a single product from them. Good luck with everyone who does, especially after reading about all the other poorly constructed downpipes I have seen posted here (O2 sensor placement anyone??)
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:05 AM   #12
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This thread is not meant to be a "hate" thread about BEGI but I would like anyone and everyone to post issues they have had with them.

It seems that they are generally protected in the miata community, I am guilty of that considering this is my first time saying something to the public. I have probably sold upwards of $30k in kits by word of mouth praising the ground they walk on and telling everyone they're the best there is. Those words will no longer come from me because I wouldn't wish issues like mine upon anyone.
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:10 AM   #13
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I've had minor issues with what I've ordered, things were made right or the offer to make it right was made.

The fit on my DP wasn't great but the welding was nothing short of excellent. The heat shield wouldn't fit with out modifications, but again the welding was pure sex. Studs were too long. Hardware was initially missing. The packing was horrible, which may have been the reason for the missing hardware.

On every issue that I brought to Stephanie she was more than willing to fix it. But it is clear that QC needs work. I live pretty far from Texas, so shipping something back is the last resort.

There are lots of pluses with BEGI, but nobody is perfect.

Chad, the issues with your items is stunning. Is BEGI farming out some work to India?
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:11 AM   #14
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I'll play...

I called them up a while back and ordered Supercharged by Corky Bell. I paid with a credit card and was told I'd get an email when it shipped. I waited and waited and never got an email. I figured I'll wait, it will probably show. A week later no book. I call them up and the don't know what I'm talking about. I go over how I called a week ago, placed an order, was expecting an email and all. I proceed to give them all my info again. Then they put me on hold. She comes back and says we "misplaced" your order. They then ship it for free, but regular shipping.

Ok, not the worst story but this was my first transaction with them and it was poor. How do you loose an order? Still, I wanted my book when I ordered it, and was eager to get it. Waiting a week to find out they misplaced my order sucked. I was expecting to get free fast shipping since they messed up, but it shipped regular shipping. It took 5 days to get here.

Overall was not satisfied.

Sounds like Begi is slipping up.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:24 AM   #15
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I've never ordered anything from BEGI but my one conversation I had on Friday with a person there left me with a nice feeling.

I was on the fence on whether I should get the Xede or the Hydra for my build. This went on for a few weeks and after all the threads I would read about each ems, my head would spin more. On Friday (4/18) I was all set to place an order for the Xede but I had a few more questions. I spoke to a gentleman there (Can't remember his name but it wasn't Corky) and told him what my turbo plans were currently and for the future and would the Xede be the right ems for those plans. He could have easily told me to still get the Xede to make the sale but he actually recommended a stand alone unit to me. That impressed me very much because it shows that they are not only there to sell you the products they have, but make sure you get the right product for job regardless of that fact. Like I said, I've never bought anything from them, but from that verbal exchange we had it would make me want to buy something from them in the future. Though no company is perfect and there will be problems, it's how the problems are taken care of that will determine whether I'd consider using them in the future.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:02 AM   #16
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cjernigan,
Can't you just take a hacksaw to the dump tube to cut it in two pieces right in the middle, slip the slip joint part into the female end, attach the WG flange to the WG, then have a local shop weld the two together after both "ends" fit properly? Seems it would be easier and cheaper than sending all the crap back and getting a refund. Plus, downtime would be less.

Frank
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:07 AM   #17
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I can understand why you are upset... Can't say I blame you. Sounds like it has not gone well.

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Old 04-22-2008, 09:28 AM   #18
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Flaw in the jig?

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Old 04-22-2008, 09:47 AM   #19
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Holy crap Ben who's is that? I know you have something on order right now, but I know it's not that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fmowry View Post
cjernigan,
Can't you just take a hacksaw to the dump tube to cut it in two pieces right in the middle, slip the slip joint part into the female end, attach the WG flange to the WG, then have a local shop weld the two together after both "ends" fit properly? Seems it would be easier and cheaper than sending all the crap back and getting a refund. Plus, downtime would be less.

Frank
Sure I can cut the dumptube and reweld it. But that would defeat the purpose of me paying BEGI to build me something. I'l be building my own pipe, it will be more simple, much cheaper and it will fit right the first time.
Besides, they're covering shipping. I will still be ready for my next race, missing my last one is what pushed me over the edge.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:18 AM   #20
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Damn Chad, sorry to hear all the issues especially since I was considering the same manifold and downpipe for my car. I was wondering why you weren't at the last event, but I guess this explains it all. I may have to to reconsider how I want to procede with my build after reading this.
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