Sunday, April 1, 2018

I'm Back... and Pissed Off - F*ck Nakamura of WORX AUTO ALARM

Despite the date this isn't an April Fool's joke... I only wish it was...

Friends, please excuse the title, as well as my lack of updates. I'm alive, and so is my GT-R, but I've had to take some time off to recover from the shock and anger I had experienced after getting my car back from Nakamura-san at WORX. Bottom line everyone - STAY AWAY FROM WORX AUTO and NAKAMURA. Spread the word, too. 

I know, I know, seems like a very immature thing to do, to criticize someone publicly. But, it's my blog, and yes, as a lawyer I know the law. And simply, so long as I tell the truth, there is nothing he can do. It has been a very long time since I was THIS ANGRY with anyone!

I tried to be very civil about it on Speedhunters, because it's a public forum. But, on THIS blog I can say what I want and so, no hands barred, I am going to take the next few posts to talk about all the damage he did to my car, as well as my efforts and work to bring it back to some semblance of normality.  Or, to some state where I don't get pissed off every time I get in the car.

In any case, I think you will be shocked at how bad this got. Certainly for me, this guy is the worst I've had to deal with not just in Japan, but he's worse than anyone I dealt with back in the USA as well. 

Anyway - Here is the list - and I'm still discovering things that he screwed up on.

1) Without asking me, he threw away my custom sub box and Alpine subwoofer and Alpine amp.  Said "it wasn't needed."  He also disconnected my rear panel speakers for the same reason. Again, without asking me. Sure, maybe it's true that in a car with a good stereo set up rear deck speakers aren't needed, but ASK ME BEFORE YOU DO THINGS LIKE THROW STUFF OUT!!

So this is gone. And frankly, the stereo sounds terrible now - good accuracy but flat and no depth.

2) Despite my rejecting the color of the modified A-pillars (holding the Morel tweeters) - I had seen them on a previous 33 he worked on - I agreed to order on the condition that the alcantara be dark grey or black. He specifically ignored this request. No reason given.

The white A pillar looks totally wrong. OEM is black.
You can also see from this photo that he didn't bother to install the carbon door handle cups - that's how last minute it was when I went to pick up the car. It suggests he did not work on it that much during the 6 months he had my car!

He also refused to install an amp to power the Morels. No reason given, other than "it would be more expensive."  Incidentally, the Morels sound good, the only problem is that they are not aimed correctly and so the soundstage is off. I would have to drive with my head about 6 inches forward to get good sound. My prior homemade set up did not have this problem.

3) Without asking me, he installed an ETC reader in my glovebox. The glovebox, as you saw earlier on this blog and Speedhunters, had been carefully covered in leather by Cesar. The inside was likewise layered in Alcantara. Nakamura glued and screwed in the ETC's bracket to the Alcantara. While I was able to remove the screws, the glue meant I could not remove the bracket without ripping up the Alcantara.
This is the worst position to install the ETC card the card is inserted from the left I can't check visually if the card is installed while driving and I certainly can't insert the card at this angle either. DOH!
Here is a better view of the bracket he glued and screwed on.
Further, he also decided to bolt down the boost controller in the glovebox. In doing so, the screws he used pushed their way into the leather. As a result, the front face of the glovebox has two visible bumps.  I have had to remove the glovebox and send BACK to Mexico to be redone.
I couldn't believe it myself. So OBVIOUS. And NOT EVEN A SINGLE WORD OF APOLOGY.
Incidentally, because the glove box now had both the ETC card reader AND the boost controller installed, the electrical cables these devices used prevented the glovebox from closing properly. Meaning, the glove box is now deformed with the side sagging a bit.

Take a look - because of this:

We now have:
Oh and that silver box hanging? His double stick tape method failed to keep the Navi's auxiliary module securely attached.
You can see how when I push it, the door now lies flush. 
And if you're sharp eyed enough - yes, the leather on the glove box door looks off. Almost as if someone tried to use something to smooth down those bumps.

4) I had asked Cesar to use black stitching on the handbrake boot, to make it look close to OEM. He had, however, also made one with red stitching. So he sent me both. Nakamura, because he didn't bother asking me, used the red one and THREW OUT the black stitch one.  I don't know why anyone would do that, especially when the shift boot is BLACK STITCHING.
Not only is the handbrake boot wrong -doesn't match the shift boot, but look at the finish of the shift surround - would match a Series 1 but NOT a Series 3. Additionally he did not finish the ignition key surround either.
Blamed Cesar of course. 
Incidentally, when I removed the center console in order to remove the parking brake boot to send back to Cesar for a redo, I discovered that one of the front tabs had snapped off, and was held only in place by the leather...

5) Without asking me, he removed the F1 style LED lamp I had installed on my R34 rear diffuser. Reason? "It looked out of place." (no photo, I will take one in a future post).

6) He did not use the gauge cluster from my car - he found an old greyed one and installed that. Totally did not match my car. Also drilled and glued in the microphone (for the Navi) and the alarm's LED in places where I did not want. While I did manage to rescue my old piece when I picked up my car, I ended up buying and using a new one to replace it. (future post coming with photos).

7) The shift surround now incorporates the HVAC control unit. Good idea if you want to make space to have a full 2 DIN stereo or Navi. But, the HVAC unit is basically molded into the shift surround, so it is not removable nor can the light bulbs inside be accessed. Thus, I could not install the LED bulbs I had ready to go for that. Hence, at night there is a mismatch in coloring and brightness.  Also, as seen in the above photo, the surround itself does NOT match the rest of the center console facia. (future post coming with photos).

8) The brand new Nismo 6-Speed GETRAG transmission shift knob - remember I had gotten the GETRAG installed last year - is now scratched up. Looks like he used a wrench to remove it. In the process, he broke some threads and so the shift knob is now always loose and cannot be tightened.

Anyone have any suggestions for a replacement? 
9) The control unit for the DEFI Heads Up Display - without asking me, he installed that INSIDE the drivers side kickpanel, meaning I could not adjust the brightness or the display. I am currently trying to figure out how and where to relocate.
Real genius. So how do I adjust the brightness or the display output when it's hidden behind the kick panel?
10) He had installed some circuit boards with LEDs in the gauge cluster behind the gauge faces. Initially they seemed interesting because they would come on during the day and illuminate the speedometer and tachometer and would dim when you turned on the lights - like a modern car. The only problem was that the LEDs he installed for the center 3 gauges did not similarly react. They were not on during the day, coming on only at night. Unacceptable.

Also, the LEDs were so bright that shadows appeared causing some numbers to appear brighter than others. Finally - and I only discovered this when I was removing them - for some reason these LEDs run SUPERHOT! So hot he had wrapped the gauge cluster in 3M Thinsulate.  I literally burned myself when I removed the gauge cluster after having them on for only about 10 min (to take photos for the blog, etc.)  Again, I had already installed some special LEDs I had found which did a great job of even lighting, and then only at night like OEM. Yes, he threw those out without asking me as well. (future post coming with photos).

11) He threw out my Optima Yellow Top battery. Claimed it had "gone bad" - I think any battery goes bad when a car sits around for 6 months neglected.  Installed a Japanese brand he claimed was "winter spec for the R34" - and which cost twice as much as the Optima...

12) I'm sure there are other items that I am forgetting...

In any case - he had my car at his place for OVER 6 MONTHS! Everytime I'd call he would give me some excuse. In the end he claimed it was all the bad wiring from my DIY efforts, but again, I had NEVER ASKED HIM TO REMOVE that wiring - I just wanted an alarm and a new stereo. I kept asking him for an estimate, which never came. I asked for an invoice which I never got.

All of the above, I could tolerate, if the work was free or price of parts only. But, he tried to charge me $16,000! I paid him just enough that if he sued me the court would say I had paid more than my fair share (i.e. the retail cost of the stereo and the alarm), but I paid him BEFORE I discovered most of the above issues. My mistake. 

In any case, this shows Japan isn't always the land of perfect service and high quality work. There are always exceptions and I ran into one of them.  If you are in Japan or have friends here who are thinking about using him - STAY AWAY! 

Meanwhile - rest assured I will have several more posts coming in the near future as I embark on fixing all of these problems...


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this man. I would be super pissed too. Especially how he ruined your leather interior. I hope your able to finish the car in the way you imagined soon. Good luck!

マット said...

Oh dear. Quite shocking to see this.

Regarding the GETRAG shift knob, I recommend getting a new one. Are the threads on the shift lever broken? If so, a new shift lever is also available. In any case, use a bit of thread lock to secure the shift knob. Another solution is to use plumber's tape. Hope this helps. (I once had a valet screw up the shift knob because he did not know how to put it in reverse. The shift knob was all loose, and I used thread lock, which worked perfectly!)

Looking forward to seeing the details of all the things you mentioned. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hello Aki, massively sorry to hear about this experience. I feel for you. Although you may not want to hear it, but my experience with this type of technician, is that they do not throw components away - It is typical for them to either retain them and / or on-sell them at a later date to a customer. Given that you did not provide permission for him to dispose of these items, I would put this akin to stealing. I have encountered similar problems in Australia (under AU law naturally...) and did threaten to report theft to the police with the result that the items were returned and the technician was prepared to accommodate on other matters also as a result. But as a lawyer you no doubt have this covered.

Unfortunate as it is, and no matter how careful we are, these events do happen > Even a regular service can end up being a nightmare as we often don't have another option but to our trust in others who "stuff things up" purposely or unintentionally. So hope you can get past this as your car is truly brilliant and blog would be same if you didn't keep it rolling.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to read what happened to your car Aki, good thing you recover your car and discovered the faults, he probably a month away from throwing your car else where without your permission.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the shift knob - the instant I discovered something like that I definitely would never go back. It's really not difficult to avoid cross-threading or breaking threads.

I find it strange that he did all of this work and sprung a surprise number on you at the very end. In my experience even major accident damage begins with a preliminary ballpark estimate so they can get a deposit + begin work. Then along the way they will keep you updated regarding projected out the door cost. If you do not sign off on a revised estimate you can just pay for whatever time + parts has already been done and drive/tow it off the premises. Not providing an estimate at all along the way means that he's opening himself to cases like this where everyone walks away bitter.

Fingers crossed you can fix all of this and move forward. I'm sure it'll be expensive but you'll probably learn how to avoid this in the future.

Anonymous said...

Also, there is nothing wrong with telling people your story. Trying to be diplomatic with someone that has been working in bad faith only enables them to continue working as they have without change.

Skodajocky said...

Like the others sorry for you to read that.
Every time I Let my skyline to a "pro" (and they are a few who know skyline in continental Europe), i'm always afraid about what will be wrong/broken after ...
I don't understand that a pro didn't discuss with client when such a high budget is in the balance...

Anonymous said...

I told you so! I'm the guy who was also pissed off last and commented about your optima battery on why he threw it and said mechanics/shops like that can't be trusted because they think they know better what to do than the real owner. And now what I fear did happen! Oh my. I feel you man it's sooo frustrating when guys like us take care of our car so much and entrust it to a supposedly "expert" and sh!+ like this happens. SMH. All I can say is be patient man, and recover what you can recover. Glad to hear you didn't pay that guy $18,000! WTF, pay $18,000 for a guy to mess up your pride and joy???
Hope to see new posts soon Aki, the progress etc. Now we know, why you haven't been posting. F that worx alarm! Dunno if he's in the right thinking doing that on another man's car. Wished the optima was the last, but it was not the case. Take it easy man! Let's restore her, and she'll be back as beautiful as ever.

SAM OKSNER said...

Good luck getting it all made right, that sounds like a nightmare scenario... I can't believe he just threw out your things at whim and to then screw up the installation of every other piece he touched, makes you wonder how much someone "knows" about wiring when they can't even figure out how to route wires, place components in the right orientation or for user access. Amazing he even has a business at all!

Rolf said...

Get It fixed by some real professional like Nismo, Mine's etc. And send the god damn bill to this fool! You should not tolerate this kind of ignorance, go back with some others and claim your right.

Anonymous said...

Hi, have you got some kind of work order or contract with this crazy person?

jdmsrini said...

Honestly looking at all the crap he did to your meticulously planned and crafted interior makes me both angry and sad. I am used to seeing it in the cars I have imported from Japan and I thought this kind of shoddy electronic work wouldn't be around any longer; sad to see the 'pro' does the same sort of nonsense still!

Ibo Nibo said...

Oh Dear....

What a mess he created. The arrogance of his is what baffles me the most. Just throwing customer goods away because it's not his taste. Like what the hell...

You have enough photographical prove of the state before he laid hands on and you are a lawyer, so you know you way around those muddy waters... go hard on him, recover what you can from him, and don't feel empatic for him when he apologizes with excuses (sickness, family issues which are all lies)

Had my fair share of unprofessional "professionals" too, and even renowned shops can get worse in quality over time. It can happen to us all, we should however never let it slip.

I am sure you will handle this perfectly and that you car will be as marvellous as before in a few.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Its shocking he didnt even put the door handle cover on.

Keep the updates coming quickly!

Anonymous said...

I am in shock. Just simply cannot believe this. What an absolute bastard. To think I was considering using him too. I will spread the word too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, press as a general rule is not very savvy or technical. There are very few outlets and people I trust. Most of them work in the industry that they report on and do the journalism side of things just for fun.

Anonymous said...

Please update us more!

Matt C said...

Oh wow, I am truly saddened to read about the butchery done to your Skyline, Aki.
Your efforts on your car are inspirational to skyline owners across the world and I hope you're not going to let this set you back.
I hate handing my Skyline over to 'experts' and it's especially disappointing when 'premier' shops do a bad (and in my case, a downright dangerous and negligent) job, but you've just had the worst nightmare come true.
I look forward to seeing your posts on correcting the issues and bringing your car back in line with your vision.

Shahin Fard said...

Really sorry to hear that Aki! If you were based in London I'd personally give you a hand amending this guys f-ups and putting the car right. No-one gives our cars as much as love and attention as the owners, hence why I trust very few people to work on my GTR. I hope it all works out for you and if you need any parts sourced from London, let me know :)

Anonymous said...

YOUR NEW LEATHER INTERIOR! Fuck. I was so jealous of your new parts and car interior. Screwed and glued things to it. Now i feel bad for you and your in other ways perfected BCNR33.
Want to see more posts of the things he done and the road to cleaning it up! You go man!
/ J

Spiidfriik said...

The man is obviously an idiot! Makes me furious! I really feel for you Aki!
This is one reson why i do all jobs on my cars myself. The other is of course money.

Aki said...

Hey guys, thanks to everyone for their kind words of support!

To address your ideas - the best thing (revenge/punishment-wise) is for Nakamura's reputation to be lost. Again the only reason he has a good one is that he's featured in GT-R Magazine, no doubt he does the work for free for them - and likely makes up for it by overcharging other customers.

If I go after him in court - well even if I win, which I would, it would cost money and effort, two things I'd rather not continue to waste on this guy. Plus, due to my job as a lawyer here in Japan, it would make me look silly - after all, I trusted him to do the work and didn't demand proper paperwork up front - just what I would advise my clients to do before any transaction. Yes, we lawyers are human too...

In any case- please continue to spread the word - I don't want anyone else to be victimized like I was. It's really a shame how GT-R Magazine promotes these kinds of people without carefully looking at how they treat their customers.

Karl said...

Owch! That went well. There is a real a mix of arrogance and lack of attention to detail on the install. 6 months though and they couldn't manage to put the door covers on?

Anonymous said...

More updates Aki, keep the fire burning!

The more often you post, the more material and support you get from the community!

Shawn said...

WOW, Really glad I saw this before taking my car to them. Sorry about your car Aki... any update on who you are going to take it to unf**k all of this?

Z Ketrow said...

Been super busy with school lately, but I just read this with my jaw on the floor for almost the entire post. Hope you can get things sorted, I can only imagine how furious you are aside from the text.

ghosty033 said...

Holy crap dude. Sorry this has happened to you. This is why i try and do everything i can myself as i do not trust anyone to do a good job. Truthfully i had a bad feeling about this guy months ago when i read he started changing things without asking you first. Fuck that. I hope everything is repairable/replaceable.
Hit me up anytime for advice about your sound setup. Im no pro by any means but i rekon i have more of a clue than Nakamura-san. Currently in my R33 i am installing a Helix 6 channel amp/dsp + bass amplifier. No more crossovers for me! Hopefully by the end of it it should sound like a live concert within my car haha!

Anonymous said...


VspecR said...

Sorry this happened this is devastating to read. FUCK THAT GUY

Anonymous said...

What brand or of U have a website to find the same claimant control relocation to the shift surround where the ashtray is I know garage yashida have one but they want $800aud for it