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I paid $6,000 for a Transmission Swap from Paul. Here’s my story (NOT a happy ending)

First Things First
It is my understanding that Drive Accord, as well as any other online automotive forum, is intended for users to share their experiences (both positive and negative) with the members therein. With this post, I am doing just that by informing the community of the factual details concerning my 6-speed transmission swap, performed by Paul Smalser (NVA-AV6), and the unfavorable repercussions that came from it.

Background Info
The decision to swap a manual transmission into my automatic TL was not one that I made quickly, or without careful research to explore all of the possible options. My automatic transmission completely failed, but I had access to other forms of transportation while I thought about the best route to get my car back on the road.

After comparing the prices of A.) Buying a used 5AT, B.) Rebuilding my current 5AT, and C.) Ditching the auto clan altogether and swapping in a 6MT, I decided to go with option C, the most expensive and time-consuming one of them all. The PRIMARY reason for choosing to swap in a manual transmission was because I knew I’d have added reliability (as opposed to the problematic ’04-’06 automatics), and I wouldn’t have to worry about something like this ever happening again. After all the time and money that I had already invested into this car, it only made sense that I do something to make it last as long as possible.

I found a few threads that discussed the process of converting a 5AT TL to a 6MT and also listed the parts necessary to complete the job. I quickly determined that this was not a project I was going to be able to accomplish myself. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but this was just a little bit out of my league. Once I started my research on the swap, it didn’t take long for me to start noticing posts by a particular individual who claimed he had successfully completed this job on multiple Acura TL’s and Honda Accords alike. His name is Paul Smalser, and he goes by the screen name NVA-AV6 on Drive Accord, as well as other automotive forums. Through further searching, I came to the conclusion that Paul was a rather popular guy among the Honda and Acura crowds, and he seemed to really know a lot about the mechanics of these cars. Furthermore, other members genuinely seemed to like him, as he was always providing helpful information and advice to the online community. Knowing all of this, I decided it was time to contact him about my transmission situation.

Below is the complete timeline of events for the entire project:

Part 1

April 27th, 2014
My automatic transmission failed with no prior symptoms. It started slipping, and was completely done in less than 5 miles.


April 30th
I first contacted Paul via Acurazine.com, and from that point on, we communicated via SMS texts and phone calls only. During this time, I was also calling other performance shops all over Ohio to get a quote for the same job. Every shop I called was either not interested, or did not return my call to provide a quote. After talking with Paul, I was quite impressed with his knowledge regarding this transmission swap, and the fact that he claimed to have swapped 25 TL’s and Accords over the years. He explained that if I decided to do the swap, I would start by sending him an initial deposit of $4,500 to completely cover the cost of parts. He would source everything, and any money leftover would go towards his $1,500 labor charge. He estimated that the parts would run between $3,000-$4,000, with a total cost of $4,500-$5,500 (parts + labor). Regarding the parts, he assured me that he wouldn’t buy a used manual transmission with more than 50,000 miles, and the clutch would be brand new from Honda/Acura, along with some other items such as the lower transmission mounts. The flywheel was going to be used, but resurfaced by him. Over the next week, we continued to discuss the project and go over details, and I began to feel more and more comfortable having him do this work on my car.

May 6th
With reliability in mind, I decided that having Paul do the transmission swap was the best option for my TL, so I sent the payment of $4,500 via PayPal to get the process started.

May 19th
Paul informed me that all parts had been ordered and were en route to his “shop”, including a manual transmission from an ‘04 TL with 42,000 miles.

May 23rd
My dad and I towed the car down to VA. We met Paul in a parking lot not far from his residence, and I was able to drive the car the short distance to his house. I was slightly discouraged at the cosmetic condition of the property and vehicles that were parked in front of his home, and hoped that mine would come away without any added cosmetic work. Paul told me my car would be worked on in the back, behind his house. I did not see an enclosed garage in that area, so this confused me. My dad and I drove back home the same day, and Paul started working on my car soon after.



June 1st
Paul told me that my radiator needed replaced, and it was going to cost $220 for a new one. He also sold me on adding a real cold air intake to replace my “Poor Man’s CAI”. His custom-made intake cost $230. He also told me that only $3,762 of my original $4,500 deposit had been used up for parts at this point, but still asks for me to send the additional $450 for the radiator and intake because of “1st-of-the-month bills”. I sent the payment via PayPal.



June 2nd
Paul sent me the following pictures to show the progress he had made on the car. The second-to-last picture is showing the bolt that came with my XLR8 62A side motor mount (top) and the bolt that Paul replaced it with (bottom) because he wanted to use every thread available. I’m pointing this out because it is quite ironic considering some events that happen later in the timeline. Also, pay close attention to the last picture as well.








June 3rd
Paul sent me the following pictures to show the continued progress being made on the car:





June 5th
Paul informed me that my car was, officially, a fully operational 6-speed vehicle, and also said that he didn’t have any “necks to wring” (in reference to the functionality of the used parts that were purchased). He also sent these final progress pictures:




June 8th
Paul confirmed that I still owed him $762 for labor after the remainder of the $4,500 parts deposit was applied to the $1,500 labor charge.

June 10th
I took a one-way flight to Dulles International Airport to get my car and drive it home. Paul picked me up at the airport and drove me back to his house. The first thing I noticed about my car was how incredibly filthy it was. It literally looked like someone had taken it mudding. I guess this was to be expected after it sat outside for almost 3 weeks. I gave the car a quick inspection, and other than the filth, everything seemed to be good. However, when I got in the car, I did notice that my memory seats were not working. I showed Paul, and he really didn’t have an answer. He basically just said that none of his wiring would have interfered with the memory seat function. I figured it must be a fluke, and was anxious to set out on my 6-hour journey home. I paid Paul the remaining $762 for labor, and was on my way.








Before heading home, I simply had to stop at a car wash and eradicate the contamination from the exterior of my vehicle. While washing it, I noticed a spot on the rear Aspec lip that was being really stubborn. I soon realized that it wasn’t dirt, but an obvious scrape in the paint that was not present when I dropped the car off to be worked on. I immediately sent a picture to Paul, and he called me to ask if I had backed into something. I told him I had not, and he insisted that it must be a bad paint job from the factory and that I should contact the dealership that I got the kit from. I wanted to get back on the road, so the conversation pretty much ended at that.



When I got home that night, I popped the hood to check things out. I saw that my coolant reservoir had absolutely nothing in it - not a single drop. I asked Paul if he had filled it up with coolant after replacing the radiator and he said he had. He told me to top off the reservoir and see how it looks in a day, so that’s exactly what I did.

June 11th
I drove the car, checked the coolant, and the reservoir was bone dry again. Clearly, I had a leak, and it was coming out fast. I looked under the car and saw a massive puddle of coolant (the car had not been sitting there that long).



I sent Paul a picture of the puddle, and he told me to check all 6 of the coolant hose connections. It didn’t take long to find the one that was leaking. I bought a new hose, replaced the old one, and filled it back up with coolant. The coolant level has been fine ever since. After inspecting the hose that was leaking, I found a rather large gash in it. I don’t think this is something that just happens to hoses as they age. It was evidently damaged somehow, and I still cannot believe that I made it all the way home from VA without overheating the engine.




June 16th
I eventually realized that the lack of memory seat functionality must be due to the fact that the car needed to be in Park for them to work, and I obviously didn’t have Park anymore. I knew that the manual TL’s came with memory seats also, but Paul obviously forgot to wire mine after the swap. I also noticed that my reverse lights and automatic mirror tilt did not activate when the car was put into reverse. This was an even bigger annoyance than the lack of memory seats. I notified Paul of these problems.

June 21st
Paul eventually responded and gave me access to his AllDataDIY account so I could look up the wiring diagrams and figure out how to get things working on my own. I started studying the diagrams and trying different things to get my memory seats, reverse lights, and tilting mirrors functioning again.



June 25th
After DAYS of troubleshooting and testing the wiring, I finally got my reverse lights and mirror tilt function to work. The memory seats worked, but not flawlessly. For example, I can only SET a new memory setting when the car is running, and I can only ACTIVATE a current memory setting when the car is off. Quite strange, but it’s the best I was able to do.

I called Paul to inform him I had resolved the issues (for the most part), but also to express my disappointment that I had to even spend my time figuring these problems out in the first place. I paid HIM to do the work, and I expected everything to work properly when I got the car back. He even stated in our early conversations that the only way one would be able to tell this was not a manual car from the factory would be to scan the VIN. During this phone call, I also reminded him about the scrape on my rear Aspec lip that was not present before he worked on the car. All things considered, I requested that he buy me a new, rear Aspec lip to replace mine that was scraped, AND to make up for the extra wiring work that I had to do, as well as the broken heater hose that I had to replace. He agreed to this compromise, and said it would be about a week before I received the new Aspec lip. I told him the lip could be purchased for $280 from my source (shipped), but he wanted to check another place.

July 3rd
It had been 8 days since Paul agreed to send me a new lip, and I hadn’t received any updates. I sent him a text asking if he was able to find the lip for a better deal through his source, and he said it was the same price. I asked if he had received a tracking number for it yet, and he said it was going to be another week before he ordered it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part 2

July 18th
15 days later, I still hadn’t received the Aspec lip, or a tracking number for it, so I sent Paul a text to check on the status. He asked for my PayPal address (which I provided), and then proceeded to send me the $280 instead of ordering a lip.

August 13th
Things started to get even more interesting. I noticed transmission fluid leaking around the drain bolt. I checked the torque, and it was at 29 ft/lbs (at least), so I sent Paul a picture to get his thoughts. He suggested I change the crush washer. Note: 1. Ever since I got the car back, I noticed the transmission case was moist on the side closest to the driver wheel. I assumed this was because fluid was spilled during the fill-up. 2. In addition, I started to see fluid coming out of the drain holes on the splash shield. After seeing the leak around the drain plug, I figured that must be where it was coming from. (Unfortunately, this was not the case for either of the 2 areas in question).




August 29th
I didn’t understand why a crush washer would need replaced prematurely, but that’s what Paul recommended, so I drained the fluid and replaced it. The old crush washer actually did not appear to be OEM. It seemed quite thin, and was actually red in color. I replaced it with an OEM washer, torqued it to spec and did not have any more leaks from that spot. I estimate that only about 1,500 miles were put on the newly swapped transmission at this point, yet the drained fluid appeared to be VERY dark. I’m not sure if this is normal for transmission fluid to do after such few miles or not. I also noticed quite a bit of metal shavings on the magnetic drain plug. This did not seem normal after ~1,500 miles either. I sent a picture of the shavings to Paul, but did not receive a response. This is the point where all communication was lost from Paul.





August 31st
After a fun night of spirited cruising with my buddy, the car started acting strange. It almost felt like the RPMs and road speed were not correlating with each other 100%. This reminded me of my automatic transmission’s behavior right before it shifted its last gear. Quite concerned, I immediately drove the car back home, as I was only a few minutes away. I checked the clutch fluid, and it looked good. Then, I put the car up on jack stands to check out the situation from underneath. We instantly saw fluid ALL over the underside of my car - control arm, wheel well, exhaust, etc. At first, we thought I had busted a brake line because the traces of fluid went all the way back to my rear axles. But soon, we determined it was, in fact, transmission fluid (these pictures were taken AFTER I had wiped away much of the leaked fluid).












I knew that it wasn’t leaking around the drain plug anymore, so it was time to start searching elsewhere. With the car in the air, it didn’t take long for me to find the source of the leak. It appeared to be a crack at the top of the case that had been filled with some sort of silicone sealer (I honestly think it was Hondabond). This seal job had evidently been slowly leaking for a while (hence the moisture I’d been seeing on that side of the casing from day 1), and finally gave out after cruising with my buddy that night, roughly 75 days after the swap was done.





September 1st
I tried to contact Paul, but my calls and texts went unanswered. I did not mention the crack I found, but did let him know we had a slight problem, and asked him to contact me at his earliest convenience.

September 2nd
I sent Paul a picture of the sealed “crack” that I found and informed him that this seal failed 2 days earlier while driving, causing fluid to be lost, and possible damage to be done to internal components of the transmission. Again, I received no response.

September 9th
I had a hard time believing that a transmission with 42k miles could have a crack already, so I decided to do a little more investigating. I removed the transmission top mount bracket, and was rather disturbed to find obvious modification work that had been done to the transmission casing itself. The 2 areas where the top mount bracket bolts to the case had large sections of metal literally cut right off, and there were custom-made spacers and washers in place of the metal sections that had been removed. I could not figure out why somebody would feel the need to do this.





I decided to dig out all of the Hondabond from the “crack” to get a better look at it. After getting the sealer out, it was very obvious what had happened. When the cut was made on the back portion of the case, the blade went too far and made a perfect incision right into the top of the case where fluid flows.

I sent Paul a picture, and explained that I knew this was not a crack, but a CUT into my transmission casing. Of course, he did not reply.




September 14th
After repeated, failed attempts at reaching Paul from my phone, I decided to create a new phone number with a Virginia area code using Google Voice. Amazingly, I was able to get a hold of him right away! During the call, I explained the entire situation, and told him about all of the discoveries I had made, including the modifications on the transmission casing, the custom-made spacers and washers to accommodate the top mount bracket, and ultimately, the cut in my transmission case with the failed, silicone sealer repair job. In short, Paul stated that he was not responsible for any of my findings, AND that none of them were present on the transmission when he installed it (implying that they must have happened AFTER I got the car back). He went on to say that he had no intentions of doing anything to make the situation right, and proceeded to end the call. I would like to point out that, after examining the progress pictures he had sent me (BEFORE the transmission was installed), I can clearly see the black washers on the back bolt of the transmission top mount bracket, and the cut marks under the front bolt in this picture:



*ZOOMED IN*


September 15th
I sent Paul a text, asking for the contact information of the place where he purchased the manual transmission (with my money). He told me it was purchased from M&M Auto Parts in Stafford, Virginia.

September 18th
I called M&M Auto Parts in an attempt to get some more information on my manual transmission. The customer service representative was extremely willing to help, and spent about 30 minutes on the phone with me, trying to track down some details on this part. Unfortunately, she could not find ANY record of it ever being at their facility. When I gave her the stock number that’s written on it, she did not recognize it, and said the transmission must have come from somewhere else, as they always use a certain sequence with their stock numbers at M&M.

September 20th
I obtained an AutoCheck vehicle history report for the VIN on my manual transmission (19UUA65594A046790). The report did tell me the transmission was from a 2004 Acura TL, but was not very helpful otherwise, as the last recorded mileage was 15,000 back in 2007. However, it did say that the vehicle had a front-end collision with a concrete barrier in 2012. I’m not sure if the amount of information varies from one vehicle history report to the next, but if someone with a CarFax account wants to run the VIN and see, I would appreciate it.

In order to have the transmission case welded (or replaced), I would have to remove the entire engine and transmission assembly from the car. Before I did that, I decided to try sealing the cut PROPERLY with something that would actually hold up, and then take the car for a drive to see if it felt like any permanent internal damage was done from the loss of fluid that happened the last time I drove it. I assumed JB Weld would be the best option, but after some research, and the recommendation of a local mechanic, I decided to use a product called Plio Grip Panel 60 by Valvoline. This stuff was hard to find, and I assume it’s mainly for commercial use.

I drained the remaining fluid from the transmission, prepped the area around the cut, and sealed it with the Plio Grip. After a few hours, I came back, and it was ROCK solid. I was quite impressed. Even though the directions said it only needed 8 hours to dry, I wanted to give it a few more days.





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Part 3

September 23rd
I filled the transmission up with 2.3 quarts of Honda OEM Manual Fluid, and reinstalled the top mount bracket using all of the same custom hardware that was present when I had removed it. During this time, I realized that even the two bolts for the bracket were not the same - the head sizes were different! One was a 14mm and the other was a 17mm. As I stated before, there were also 2 small, black washers, and 2 thick, gray spacers. Logically, I just assumed he had used ONE custom spacer and ONE custom washer for each bolt, so that’s how I reinstalled it (this custom hardware causes major issues soon after). I noticed that the rear bolt was taking a little longer to tighten down, and did not feel comfortable going all the way to the 40ft/lbs torque spec, so I stopped at 30ft/lbs instead.

I took the car out for a drive, and had my buddy following behind. I’ll admit, it felt pretty good to be driving my car after 23 days of not doing so. “Driving like a Grandma” does not even begin to describe what I was doing. I wanted to be super careful for this first test drive. Overall, the car felt really good. I didn’t notice any slipping or strange behavior whatsoever. I had been out for probably 30 minutes when I started to smell transmission fluid. I pulled into a gas station, assuming my seal had failed, and took a look at the case through the driver wheel well. Sure enough, there was transmission fluid on the side of the case. I was purposely staying close to home so that I could hopefully just drive it back if something went awry.

When I got home, I immediately jacked up the car, removed the driver wheel, and inspected the situation. To my surprise, my seal was perfectly intact! It hadn’t changed at all. Instead, the fluid was coming from a NEW crack, right beside the cut I had just sealed. This crack was on the portion of the transmission case that the rear bolt of the top mount fastens to. I remembered installing this bolt about an hour earlier, and how TIGHT it felt even before I reached the 40ft/lbs torque spec. Initially, I concluded that since the bolt had a lack of support and threads (from the massive chunk of casing being cut off), and had a custom spacer instead, that the tension must have been too much, and the remaining area of metal just could not support it at 40ft/lbs (or 30ft/lbs for that matter). This was probably part of it, but after further investigation, I discovered the main reason for crack in the casing - the bolt was TOO LONG. Remember how I said the head sizes for the two bolts were different? The lengths were also different! I know that I installed the bolts into the same holes they were removed from because they were different colors, and I looked at the progress picture Paul sent me to see where each one was. What I did NOT notice in this picture was that the rear bolt actually has BOTH of the small black washers underneath the bolt head, and the front bolt has NONE. This must have been done to prevent the excessively long bolt from bottoming out in the hole and cracking the casing like it did for me. This was quite a rigged setup, to say the least.




September 24th
Since the Plio Grip seemed to hold up well for the cut I had just sealed, I decided I might as well try it on the newly created crack as well. I didn’t know how much fluid was lost from my test drive the day before, so I drained it all and put in 2.3 new quarts. I honestly don’t think transmission fluid has ever been changed this frequently on a car (4 times in ~1,500 miles)!




September 26th
After letting the second application of Plio Grip dry, I took the car out for a second test drive. Again, the transmission felt nice and smooth, and I was hopeful that I had avoided any internal damage from the first night it leaked, roughly 1 month prior. After driving for about 30 minutes, I pulled over to inspect both of the repaired areas. Thankfully, I didn’t see any fluid on the side of the casing, and both areas looked perfect! I was pretty excited to think that I had at least a temporary fix, and may be able to start driving my car again. At this point, I still was driving very cautiously, and was curious to see how the transmission would perform once I got the nerve to start driving a little more aggressively (as well as how the seals would hold up).

September 28th
I took a risk, and drove my car (with a freshly patched transmission) to a large car meet that was 2 hours away from me. I figured this would be a good test to see how the seals held up over a long distance. I have AAA, so I wasn’t too worried about the possibility of breaking down. As most people know, nobody drives to a car meet like a grandma when you’re rolling with a group, and this was the certainly the case for me on Sunday. The good news is, both of my seals held up fine, and I had no leaks whatsoever. The bad news is, I felt noticeable slipping of the transmission in the high RPM ranges of the high gears. It didn’t happen every single time, but it was frequent enough to be an annoyance.



Conclusion
At this point, I’m assuming the clutch is to blame for the transmission slipping. Paul claimed that the clutch was brand new, but after asking to see invoices and receipts for the parts purchased with my money, I received no response. Part of me is also wondering if it could have been possible for transmission fluid to somehow get onto the surface of the clutch when it was leaking everywhere through the cut in the casing. My plan is to continue driving the car (very cautiously) until I notice the transmission start to slip more frequently, in the lower RPMs and gears. At that point, I will more than likely be forced to remove the engine and transmission to replace the clutch (and possibly the flywheel). I will also replace the transmission case while it’s out of the car, since a new case is only $230. While my Plio Grip seals appear to be holding up well, there’s no guarantee of how long they will last. To be honest, I do not feel completely comfortable driving a car with a repaired transmission case that could fail any day, and frankly, that’s just not what I paid for. If the case would have simply been replaced after the cut was made into it, and BEFORE it was installed into my vehicle, I don’t think I would be writing this report right now.

In summary, the purpose of this quite detailed account is to inform the Honda and Acura community of my experience doing business with Paul Smalser (NVA-AV6), and the negative aftermath that has come from it. I was extremely confident (and excited) to have Paul perform this transmission swap on my car, and was severely let down by the quality of work and customer service (or lack thereof) that I received for the amount of money that I paid. In total, my cost for this 6-Speed swap was $6,268.88, with $5,712 of that going to Paul for parts and labor, and the remaining $556.88 being used for transportation and travel expenses.

At the end of the day, I learned a valuable (and expensive) lesson. I realize that posting this report does not fix my transmission, but I feel obligated to do my part in warning others so that they can avoid being taken advantage of in the same way I was.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Fear The Turtle!
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Damn Frosty, very sorry to hear about all of this. I read your build thread with great interest and was very impressed with your decision making throughout this process. I've trusted forum members to work on my personal vehicles before and have done some work for others.

I tend to look at it this way: lesson learned, now you get to learn more lessons (mechanically) by pulling the engine and transmission and inspecting/replacing needed parts and you will damn sure be much more wise to people BS with your vehicles AND in every other aspect of your life.

My experience: I sold my retrofitted headlights (retrofit done by Custom Lightz) on my Si to a local member. I drove down, we swapped headlights and cash, tested the lights and everything was working great before I left. I get 30 minutes from his house and he calls telling me his radio was not receiving reception anymore, it was all fuzzy. I drove back and we looked at all of the bolts and wires we touched (everything was plug-n-play, no custom wiring) and everything looked good, but problem not solved. I still feel guilty about it to this day but have no idea what caused it. He still loves those headlights though.
 

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A modern hi-tec car is a very (very!!) highly integrated assembly of complex systems.

This type of transmission swap would be extremely challenging for the best and well equipped workers.

My guess is that the days of tranny and engine swaps like we did in the 1950s and 1960s are long gone for reasons of complexity and vehicle integration.

But it sure seems that this swap attempt failed for a lot of reasons.
 

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Old Bird...sometimes wise
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What an ordeal! I genuinely feel for you and now even more time and money has to go into it.........a never ending battle. When the day comes to get rid of the car I wonder if this will be a positive or a negative since the VIN will show auto transmission.
 

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Fear The Turtle!
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What an ordeal! I genuinely feel for you and now even more time and money has to go into it.........a never ending battle. When the day comes to get rid of the car I wonder if this will be a positive or a negative since the VIN will show auto transmission.
Undoubtedly would be a negative, it's not original to the car. Very few cars can pull off not having the original transmission and becoming more valuable because of it. That being said, I still dream of an Si K20 swap into my Accord but K24 to K20 on an already MT should be easier...
 

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Reflections Auto Detail
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1,087 Posts
Damn Frosty, that's just a sad, sad story to read. There are so many let downs that took place over the period of time you outlined... it's just tragic.
The timeless adage about the only difference between men and boys being the price and size of their toys is so, so true - especially when it comes to our drivable toys. The greater the excitement, the more severe the disappointment. I could almost feel your personal disappointment as you described each issue as it/they occurred.

As someone who has been self employed in the automotive-related industry for over 2 decades and who's very existence is almost completely dependent upon customer service and ultimately satisfaction, it truly pains me when I read about someone in a sibling field who completely drops the ball on a job and instead of owning the situation and using it as a learning experience, suffering some ego bruising, licking their wounds and ultimately re-solidifying their tact, integrity and reputation by seeing the situation through to the end, adopts the "ignore it and it will go away" approach.

HOWEVER.....
there was a point in your story where all recognition of Paul as an automotive professional ceased - not sure if was the moment all communication ceased or if it was when his inaccuracies became confirmed lies. No matter, each is inexcusable and serve to destroy one's credibility, integrity, etc.

I sincerely hope you are able to rectify the situation - even if it's out-of-pocket - so that you can finally let that bad boy stretch its legs!

To close, I want to thank you for introducing me and probably the majority of others reading your post to Pilo Grip. In the very quick research I glanced through, I can see that it is an incredible product with massive potential - at least from where I'm sitting.

Regards,
Coach
 

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Sorry to hear about this ordeal. Are you planning to pursue legal action?
 

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V6 6MT CBP
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Sorry things have not gone so well. Hopefully things will turn out ok in time, but what a pain.

I think this story in itself should be a lesson for those lesser mechanically inclined who blurt out about swapping from AT to MT. It is waaaaaay more involved than it appears on the surface/internet.
 

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Undoubtedly would be a negative, it's not original to the car. Very few cars can pull off not having the original transmission and becoming more valuable because of it.
That... and manuals automatically are of lesser value vs automatics, so the car is already devalued. If it's something like a Porsche... where people tend to think it should be a manual, that would be different.

Sorry to hear about this ordeal. Are you planning to pursue legal action?
I'm sorry to hear about it too. I know hindsight is 20/20. I was burned a long time too and realized it's almost never worth a long trip to get a car worked on. Distance alone hampers any follow up if something goes wrong.
 

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2006 I4 MT
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Sorry to hear about this ordeal. Are you planning to pursue legal action?
There was probably no contract. I wonder if Pauly has a business license to be working on cars in his backyard like that. Does he hold certifications? The only recourse is probably preventing Paul for conducting business in his yard in the future.
 

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A modern hi-tec car is a very (very!!) highly integrated assembly of complex systems.

This type of transmission swap would be extremely challenging for the best and well equipped workers.

My guess is that the days of tranny and engine swaps like we did in the 1950s and 1960s are long gone for reasons of complexity and vehicle integration.
Couldnt agree more with that

Anyone considering going auto to manual, thinking its cheap and easy, should be directed to this thread
 

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Susie is ...rolling.
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Frosty, Sorry for your headache, That's piss poor service, what makes me even more upset is that you had to make another phone number to contact this substandard crook called a mechanic.
 

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Roll Tide!
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Anyone considering going auto to manual, thinking its cheap and easy, should be directed to this thread
:yes:

i'm glad the OP took the time to post this.

anyone that would attempt this on a dime a dozen car is just nuts unless they have so much money to burn that BofA is begging them for a loan. obviously the cost to swap in a used AT would have been between $1500-$2500 then the car could have been offloaded for top dollar which could have been rolled in a MT car. it sucks the OP had to learn a lesson the hard way and I hope me didn't withdraw funds from his 401K to finance this. this should be a stick in the "general drive" or "problems & solutions" forum.
 

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RE: "May 23rd
I was slightly discouraged at the cosmetic condition of the property and vehicles that were parked in front of his home, and hoped that mine would come away without any added cosmetic work. Paul told me my car would be worked on in the back, behind his house. I did not see an enclosed garage in that area, so this confused me."

There was your sign to run away!
 
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OP, thank you for posting. As member "jimijam" stated, we await Paul Smalser's response.

I did a quick search: The last post from member "NVA-AV6" on this forum was 4 years and 9 months ago (!). In reading that post, he mentions how to circumvent the law....http://www.driveaccord.net/forums/showthread.php?t=41472&page=2 He has fewer than 20 posts in 7 years.

"As far as the cat deletes and emissions, unless they (sic) inspector does a real close visual inspection you will pass, where I would probably be concerned is Cali with thier (sic) emissions nazis (sic)."

Not my kind of man. Sue him in small claims court for breach of contract; contact the Commonwealth of Virginia's business licensing office, Yelp!, etc., but again, I welcome his reply here.....

Note: The Original Poster, "Frosty", posted his first three posts today....
 

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Paul is regarded as sort of a go-to guy for the 7th gen because of his original project on retrofitting a supercharger into his own 7th gen Accord. I bought a milled MDX intake manifold spacer from him only and had no idea he is a total backyard mechanic. The custom fabrications are cool, not not cool when not done to specifications. I have a similar story with an alternator underdrive pulley install from when I had my 1998 V6 Accord. The shop I took it to claimed that they couldn't take off the stock pulley, so they installed my alternator back but they overtightened one of the mounting bolts WAY OVER, the shaft of the bolt fatigued from over torquing. 3 months later while driving one day, that bolt snapped in half due to hot/cold cycling. Serpentine belt threaded halfway and alternator was hanging on by one bolt.

Morale of the story, proper hardware and torque spec should always be used instead of doing it BY FEEL.
 
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