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      07-14-2013, 12:49 AM   #1
Snaggletooth
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Thumbs up Honest review of Vargas Turbo Tech

There is a lot of concern and discussion surrounding Vargas turbo tech so I thought i'd clear the air once and for all in regard to his 'business ethics'.

Back story:
I initially purchased stage 1's to replace my dying stockers. My stockers were making the death siren and the VTT stage 1's seemed like a good alternative, being both slightly more powerful and much more durable. After the first install The turbos ran strong but my car had a smoking issue. I assumed it was packing grease burning off, but after a few heat cycles, it still smoked so I knew somethign was wrong. I contacted Tony after sending my car back into the shop and after a few emails, he told me to go ahead and send the turbos back under warranty. I was prety upset initially due to the fact that i'd be out some cash on the install. I was honestly expecting to be on the hook for another install with no reimbursement. Tony stepped in and to help me offset labor, he upgraded me to stage 2 (which I was not expecting at all, talk about standing behind a product!). Mind you, fault was not even determined at this time (did the shop screw up? car anomaly? bad turbos?) but he still warrantied them with no questions asked. I just had to box em up and send them out.

I sent the old turbos back, he performed an autopsy and found the oiling issue was unresolved but there was no damage to the turbos according to the micrometer. Freak accident I guess. Either way, everyone walked away happy from this.

On the Stage 1's: I have limited experience with these aside from a few drives, but they felt much healthier than my stockers. They had NO wastegate rattle which was a nice bonus as well. I am curious as to what kinda dyno numbers these woulda put down if it weren't for the oil consumption/smoke that I experienced. If install costs weren't an issue, I probably would have just gotten another pair of these.

On the Stage 2's:
Holy balls, these things pull. They whistle under boost like a semi truck and pull like one too. The difference was like stock vs. downpipes + JB4. Seriously good stuff. When I have some free time i'll be getting dyno numbers too since I know quite a few of you have a fetish for numbers. On the street, I can tell you i'm not afraid of lining up with anything with 4 doors and most things with two anymore. I've even chased down some two wheeled beasts.


OVERALL-

Pros:
Tony was VERY GOOD about communicating. I got emails back at 1am on a Saturday night at times. He also was pretty understanding and able to cut through my hysterical bullshit and help me troubleshoot and problem solve.

The product is good, and appears well made. When the turbos spool, the car looks and feels like a vortex of death is forming around you. The second set of turbos sent to me work FLAWLESSLY. No smoke, no weird noises, just hard hitting boost.

The warranty was completely worry free, and I was only out the cost of shipping. It's a no-bullshit warranty. He didn't try to screw me out of my initial investment by blaming the shop or me for the mess-up like i've had happen by another parts manufacturer in the motorcycle world.

Cons:
Shipping was expensive at $65 bucks when he's in the same state, but they came fedex express with A TON of insurance i'm sure.

The first set of turbos did not come with paperwork, the second set came with stickers, a detailed invoice and warranty card, and all the info. It seemed somewhat inconsistent.

My car was out of commission for a few weeks, but this was unavoidable. Once again, Tony did a good job of compensating me for this. While the ordeal kinda sucked, Tony made sure it was made right. I've had a similar incident with an aftermarket rear shock on my gixxer where a part failed and the MFG blamed the shop. I had to fight both the shop and the MFG and got boned. Where Tony could have weaseled out of the warranty like the shock MFG, he instead empathized and made the situation 100 percent better.



Some of you may hate his forum manners, but he's not a foreign dignitary, he makes turbos. I can say from experience that he stands behind his product. I have no dog in this fight other than what i've experienced. I was on the fence between his turbos and stockers, but decided the upgraded thrust on the stage 1's would be a good upgrade over getting another pair of stock turbos.

I didn't even consider RB's, but wound up with stage 2's by chance. I am glad I did, even though I had to pay twice for the install lol. Either way, with the value of the upgrade, the cost of the install was completely offset and the replacements have been better than expected. No fanboying here, the main reason i'm a VTT fan is because of the way he handled this situation. I have no biases in the RB vs. VTT argument. I just wanted slightly more durable stockers initially.

Tony, Thanks again! You've earned my business and respect.

I will probably be looking into his HPFP upgrade in the future based on my experiences here. Even if something goes wrong, he's 100% behind it.
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      07-14-2013, 04:35 PM   #2
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Good write up
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      07-15-2013, 04:27 AM   #3
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Good write up
Thank you, I hope it helps inform the community. Tony is legitimate.
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      07-15-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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Alex, thanks for the write up. I honestly have no idea why this stage 1's failed upon tear down you can almost always find a root cause, piston ring not seated, etc, etc. I found nothing, but there was no doubt one if them was bypassing oil. Regardless I was happy to send you stage 2's to recoup some of your cost. As far as paperwork. I am baffled, I send each and every set out with the exact paper paper work and stickers. It's how we keep track of everything. My only thought is, we had put such a rush on your first set and we just sealed the box, got them going and the paper work never made it in. As far as shipping, yes with insurance it drives the price even in the same state up very high. I'm glad you are happy with the new turbos. Keep me on the loop as things progress.
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      07-15-2013, 01:13 PM   #5
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In the grand scheme of things, the cons are just me bitching about small things. Overall I am very satisfied. As for the stage 1's, oiling issues are very common in these cars so I'm sure it's gonna be one of life's mysteries as to what happened. If install costs were free, I would probably have taken another pair of stage 1s no problem. They are good turbos, mine just happened to have a rare circumstance. I one thing I was especially impressed with on the stage 1s are how the waste gate area was noticeably improved. It took much less vacuum to get it going. The stock turbos took somewhere around 30hg to get them to operate, and the stage 1 took around 10.. Right off the bat, that meant more consistent boosting and improved spool.

The way I see it is stage 1s are good for people running tunes who have worn out turbos who want to compliment a FBO setup and not worry about death sirens. Stage 2 is for people who want to pursue much higher power levels and go lambo hunting.

In my opinion, the oiling issue was just rotten luck. Other vendors have experienced persistent smoke too on downpiped cars so who knows. Either way, the new turbos are flawless.
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      07-22-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, how many hours of labour were you charged for each install?
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      07-23-2013, 12:56 AM   #7
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Out of curiosity, how many hours of labour were you charged for each install?
I was billed 7 hours for the first install and 5 for the second.
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      07-23-2013, 02:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaggletooth View Post
I was billed 7 hours for the first install and 5 for the second.
Thanks! That's good info to know. I'll definitely be in the market for some Stage 2 turbos at some point in the near future as my stock turbos are smoking like a pack a day habit...
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      07-23-2013, 04:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Thanks! That's good info to know. I'll definitely be in the market for some Stage 2 turbos at some point in the near future as my stock turbos are smoking like a pack a day habit...
My advice is to pick a shop that is familiar with turbo swaps, and preferably the N54. They might be initially more expensive, but will net you some savings if they can get the job done faster. Note the two hour time savings on the second install based on experience they gained the first time around.
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      07-23-2013, 09:22 AM   #10
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5 hours for turbo swaps is flying, that’s good work by the shop. Also, well handled by yourself and VTT. A lot of room for shenanigans, hubris, and frustration in this scenario; but all parties involved acted in good faith and are both happy with the net result. The Stg2s are very appealing, like Froop my OE snails smoke like chimneys despite building boost well. So I’ll be in the market soon.
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      07-23-2013, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaggletooth View Post
My advice is to pick a shop that is familiar with turbo swaps, and preferably the N54. They might be initially more expensive, but will net you some savings if they can get the job done faster. Note the two hour time savings on the second install based on experience they gained the first time around.
There is a shop in my area which is very familiar with the N54 but I think it's like $1500-2000 for a turbo swap/install...
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      07-23-2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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That's a little steep but I'm not too familiar with local pricing. I paid 1200 for both installs. Your mileage may vary.
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      07-23-2013, 06:24 PM   #13
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We charge $1500 flat for labor. But our hourly rate is $125. $2000 is pretty out of line
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      07-23-2013, 06:41 PM   #14
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We charge $1500 flat for labor. But our hourly rate is $125. $2000 is pretty out of line
But I think he's talking Aussies, thus it is only a mere 1860

VTT, come up with a turbo upgrade + DPF, EGR and SCR delete for our diesels please

OP, very well written. It's always good to see how vendors handle difficult situations.
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      07-23-2013, 07:48 PM   #15
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We charge $1500 flat for labor. But our hourly rate is $125. $2000 is pretty out of line
So the install is normally about 12 hours? I guess that sounds about right.

Labour in Australia is usually pretty pricey... Stealerships here charge about $200/hour. I think the indi shop rate is around $150 or so.
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      07-30-2013, 05:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
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But I think he's talking Aussies, thus it is only a mere 1860

VTT, come up with a turbo upgrade + DPF, EGR and SCR delete for our diesels please

OP, very well written. It's always good to see how vendors handle difficult situations.
I'm always happy to give a good review, especially when the service warrants it.

Tony, 335d's would be a great arena to capitalize in if it's big enough. You have enough experience with diesels it seems to where you could make this happen and make some mean oilburners! I'd love to see a 400whp 700wtq oil-fed monster roaming the streets.
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      07-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I'm always happy to give a good review, especially when the service warrants it.

Tony, 335d's would be a great arena to capitalize in if it's big enough. You have enough experience with diesels it seems to where you could make this happen and make some mean oilburners! I'd love to see a 400whp 700wtq oil-fed monster roaming the streets.
You know, I have been thinking about the 335d's just seems like such a small market. It's hard to commit.
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      07-30-2013, 09:36 PM   #18
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You know, I have been thinking about the 335d's just seems like such a small market. It's hard to commit.
It is a smaller market tuning-wise, for sure, but there are a surprising number of M57TU2Ds on the road when compared to n54s or n55s. We don't get a lot of tuning support though. Personally, I have chip & FMIC which is really all thats available for us short meth...I sure wouldn't mind a turbo upgrade being available for when my stock snails start wearing out...

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      07-30-2013, 10:50 PM   #19
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I wonder what the diesel market is like in Europe. If the numbers were big enough, that would be AWESOME. LOL imagine how much people would rage over a BMW rolling coal. Minds would asplode.
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      10-31-2013, 06:11 AM   #20
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I wonder what the diesel market is like in Europe. If the numbers were big enough, that would be AWESOME. LOL imagine how much people would rage over a BMW rolling coal. Minds would asplode.
Diesel market in Europe is HUGE!!!!! i think 7 out of 10 cars sold are turbo diesel vehicles... You rarely see a gasoline vehicle that is turbo and when you do it is a small car. Of course there is the rich and famous with V8 Gasoline powered cars but that is tiny... the BMW 3 Series 320D is king
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