My Experience with Mac Performance

September 22, 2008 at 11:09 am 5 comments

WARNING: THIS IS VERY LONG, AND VERY BORING.

I’ve ranted on here before that I have less than desirable luck sometimes. And yes, to put everything in perspective, at least I don’t have a deadly disease etc etc etc. But that still doesn’t negate the fact that something in my stars just doesn’t line up sometimes, and pretty much everything goes to crap.

Take for instance my experience with Mac Performance – a custom exhaust shop out of Temecula, California. They make all sorts of pipes for cars, motorcycles, etc. They also are one of the only places that still makes aftermarket pipes for the CL/CB 350.

As my scrambler pipes are shot, I decided to order a set of 2 into 1 pipes from them. I first placed my order about 3 weeks ago, on a Thursday. I called and asked if they had them in stock, and they said yes. I said “that is wonderful news, I would like to order a set of these very nice, very chromy pipes.” “No problemo – they will be there on Tuesday, because of the holiday weekend.” “Ok, I said. Thank you very much.”

Tuesday comes around, and no pipes. I check my bank account, and they haven’t even charged me for them yet. So I call them up and ask them what the deal is with my order. The man on the phone says “you know those are out of stock, right?” I reply calmly (with a minimum amount of snark) “no – why would I order something that is out of stock? You guys told me you had them in stock. When will they be back in stock?” He answers “I have no idea.” You have no idea? You are the manufacturer of these pipes, and you have no idea? I cancel my order.

Everywhere else on the internet is completely out of stock of these pipes as well, and every place I call doesn’t know when they will get them back in stock, because Mac Performance doesn’t know. So I resign myself to having to get stock CB headers and replacement exhausts – something that is undesirable to me because I don’t like the look. However, a smooth running bike is more important to me.

(Way more boring junk after the jump)

But lo! What happens two weeks later! I see six sets of these 2:1 pipes up on eBay! So I call Jerry’s Cycles (who have listed these on eBay) and he says that yes, he has them back in stock. I ask them how long it would take for them to get to Los Angeles, and he says 5-7 days. I thank him, and call up Mac Performance. Yes, they are miraculously back in stock, and he can get them to me the next day, just in time for the weekend.

“HOORAY” I think to myself. I’ll have all weekend to put these pipes on and tune my carbs up so my bike is tip-top!

So Thursday rolls around and I receive the pipes, just like they said. I unwrap them and take them down to the garage, where I proceed to remove my scrambler pipes (for the last time, I think). I put the header pipes on, but they don’t quite fit. Silly me, I think. I’ve got the vice-versa. Wait, no that doesn’t work either. Wait, are these 2:1’s? What are these? These are obviously the wrong header pipes. I mess around with them some more, and they almost match up for going around the left side of the bike, like they are 4:2 pipes for the rare 350 Quad or even a 450/550. I call up Mac Performance and tell them they sent me the wrong pipes, and get I get the correct headers in the mail ASAP. The guy says “I’m leaving in 5 minutes, can you take a picture of the headers and email them to me, and I’ll look at it first thing in the morning?”

I take 2 pictures of the headers, and send them as well as a picture of the CORRECT pipes for comparison. I get a call the next day around noon, and he says indeed they are the wrong headers and he will send out a replacement set. “You will probably receive them on Monday” he says. I tell him that’s unacceptable, as I was really hoping to get the pipes on this weekend. He says that UPS doesn’t do Saturday deliveries, and if I wanted them tomorrow it was going to cost me $60. Cost ME? I didn’t screw up here. But, I want to have a good weekend and I’m not usually a guy that makes waves. Before we hang up, I ask him if the muffler he sent is the correct muffler, because it seems likely that the muffler would also be wrong. He assures me that the muffler is correct, it was just the wrong headers. Through all of this, I’m sure he could tell I’m not happy. However, not once does he offer an apology.

So last night I went down and put on my Scrambler pipes again. While I was at it, I fixed my electric starter and cleaned up a few things – I should be ready to go on Monday.

So this morning I hear my pipes getting dropped off from UPS. Literally dropped – the UPS man threw them up the porch. I open up the box and what do I see? THE SAME EXACT HEADER PIPES THAT WERE SENT TO ME ON THURSDAY. I am furious. And to add insult to injury, I realized the muffler that was sent to me was also the wrong one – there is no way they would fit on my bike, and the baffle isn’t removable (which is a key feature of these 2:1 pipes). I take another picture and send a very terse email reply to Mac Performance with my cell phone number. They weren’t open yet and they need to contact me.

I get down to my bike and try and start it – I’m getting nothing. The electric start is cranking away and it won’t turn over. I try and kick start it and get nothing. When it finally does start, it barely chugs and 500 RPM and I can’t get an idle. I push it back up in the garage and disconnect the electric start – perhaps the motor is bad and I’m draining the battery. I kickstart it and it is fine.

About 3 blocks from my place, I drop to one cylinder (Honda twins can run on one cylinder). I pull over – it sounds like my left cylinder isn’t firing. I check to see if I have gas. Yes I do, I’m on reserve but that’s more than enough to get me to work and a gas station. I check to see if I have fuel flow. Again – yes I do. I check to see if I have spark, and yes I do. I kick start it and it is fine – running strong. “Huh – must be a fouling plug, I’ll just throw a fresh one in when I get home.”

So I’m driving up the coast to work, and it does it again. I Pull over and do all the checks – what the heck is wrong with this thing? Then I notice I don’t have fuel flow to my left cylinder. Vapor lock? What is it? I check my fuel and I’m low, but still enough to run the bike. However, if I’m going to be chugging on one cylinder, this will eat my gas up. Then I realize what the problem must be – my petcock’s fuel filter must be clogged for the reserve setting. This means – I have gas in my tank, but no way for it to get to my carbs. I drive it a little further and it completely dies. I’m now in the middle of El Segundo by LAX with a dead bike. I have no option but to push it. This is a very busy road and I have a very narrow bike lane to push the bike. I probably hit my right leg on the left footpeg about 30 times.

I think I pushed the bike about 2 miles to the next gas station. It was really hot this morning, and about 50% of the push was uphill. I fill up my tank and turn the petcock to “On” and fuel is pushed fine. So my reserve is shot, which means I just need to remove the petcock and clean it out, possible replace my inline filters.

Now I’m waiting for a callback from Mac Performance – and if I don’t receive one in the next 60 minutes I will call them and cancel all orders, and just go with Jerry’s Cycles. What ever happened to good customer service? I really hope their response is satisfactory, because my experience with them so far would lead me to not recommend going through Mac Performance for your aftermarket exhausts.

UPDATE: So I didn’t hear back from Mac Performance, so I gave them a call. Mysteriously, the person I was in contact with left early that day. I asked to be put on with the owner, and if he comes back by the end of the day, I will get a call from him. Otherwise, it will be a call in the morning. Let’s see what happens.

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Entry filed under: Aww crap!, garbage sacks.

Had the tools, not the talent Let’s talk beer

5 Comments

  • 1. Isabelle  |  September 22, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    It’s because you make fun of retards.

  • 2. Robert  |  September 22, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Only when I hang out with you, and I never explicitly call you a retard.

  • 3. Charley  |  September 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I think it’s because you tripped that old gypsy woman when you were drunk.

  • 4. david  |  October 23, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    I have a scrambler also and i have been thinking of following you in your adventure. Did you ever get the right pipes and did it help with your idle?

    Thanks,
    David

  • 5. Robert  |  October 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    David – I will update my post with the results.

    Long story short, the pipes settled the idle down, but you may lose a lot more in the long run. I will send you an email when I’ve updated with pictures.

    Thanks for reading!


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