Five Star Engine and Head Exchange

Apr 3, 2013
Phoenix Arizona
This hasn't anything to do with FSC members. It is just a warning to anyone trying to save a buck on a rebuilt engine.

About 3 years ago I exchanged a 350 for a rebuilt from Five Star Engine in Glendale Arizona. I was putting it in my 1974 K-10. I was in no big hurry to get it running and took my time checking and repairing it from front to rear.

When I got it running I took it through emissions and it failed. A new distributor, carburetor, and intake on a freshly rebuilt engine had never failed emissions before so I got a hold of Chris, the owner of Five Star and from my first conversation with him I was having my doughty's about what I had gotten myself into.His favorite saying was his 'State of the Art' this and 'State of the Art' that. It took two more tries to get it emission tested and when it did pass it only passed by one point.

I drove the truck to work a couple of times and coming home the third day it started over heating. I pulled over, let it cool, added water and drove the last 5 miles home. When home and thinking it had a blown head gasket. Not wanting to deal with State of the Art Chris I pulled the plugs to give it a compression test. As soon as I started cranking the engine water shot out the plug holes of number 5 and 7. I then took off the head with a 1/2" drive socket wrench but all I needed would have been a pair of pliers.

The engine had 95 miles on it. As soon as I removed the head I was done. Between 5 and 7 the block had a 'ditch' .055 inches deep I could put my little finger into. Less than 100 miles and 3 days out of warranty. But as I found out latter warranties are not honored at Five Star anyway. I contacted the BBB. They were little help and now that Chris is a member I doughty they would be any help at all. Chris said the block was damaged due to running it lean. It could happen but in more like 20,000 miles of running lean. I think my theory is a lot closer to the fact, J B Weld failure.

I don't think I'm alone when I say be it a dime or a dollar I hate getting ripped off. So not wanting to commit a felony I did the only other option I had and did a write up on Chris's evil ways on a web sight called Mine was the first against State of the Art Chris but it wasn't the last by far.

Last time I checked there were reports from people buying high performance engines with junk parts running less horse power that the low compression 250 in grandma's 4 door Nova. Another report was written by a man that built 5 star a web page in exchange for an engine. 5 Star got it's web page but guy never got his engine.

When I went to pick up my newly rebuilt door stop Chris, then the friendly engine rebuilder showed me around his shop. The closest thing I saw to state of the art was an air impact wrench running without a regulator and one employee. Yet according to his web page he has a large number of highly trained employees. Five Star sells engines to all 48 states and the farther away from Arizona the less chance of him honoring his warranties. I hope this helps somebody. If it sounds to good to be true it is.