First off, we're going to acknowledge that there are many different eBay sellers advertizing what appear to be several different kits. At a minimum, I've seen a couple of different manifold styles. Second, this isn't about quality. We're going to play Devil's Advocate and assume that the quality of all of the pieces in these kits are at least sufficient to survive the process of being installed and used for at least a day without immediately falling apart, cracking, or exploding.
Rather, this is about liability. Specifically, what liability, if any, the seller of such a kit has for damage caused to the engine by the purchaser.
We'll take this one for starters:
The above kit actually appears to be more or less complete. It has a manifold, a turbo, a downpipe, some oil lines, and some intake tubing. It also includes a fuel pressure regulator of some sort. Looks like the customer is on his own for an air filter and compressor intake, but apart from that it actually seems workable.
Then we've got this interesting piece of work:
It claims to be a "bolt-on", and yet clearly that a somewhat liberal interpretation. We've got a manifold, a turbo, a downpipe (ironically one of the better-looking I've seen on an eBay kit, at least from a design concept standpoint), an oil feed (no return) and nothing else. Ok, so maybe truth-in-advertizing is a bit lacking, but I don't see a lot of damage happening to the customer's engine. Without any kind of intake plumbing, the engine would not stay running long enough for the fact that all the oil is gushing out the bottom of the turbo to do any serious damage.
In all seriousness though, the worst I can see happening with this one is an angry post from a noob that says "plz tell me what parts i need to buy to make this complete i bought this turbo kit on ebay and i need help to get the car running because my dad says i need to get the car out of the driveway lolz", followed ten minutes later by: "why wont anybody help me with this im serious and ive built like ten turbo cars be4 so why is everyone being such a dick lol just kidding but seriously can u pleeze post links with everything i need to get and my budget is 300 to make this all work"
Then, we've got my personal favorite, and the one that really irks me worst of all:
The problem with this kit is that a person probably could install it all on the engine and start it up. The intake piping actually looks like it would more or less fit, and while there's no downpipe included a clever person could probably hack something into place. All in all, this one would seem to be a winner- it looks almost totally complete, and heck, it even includes an MBC.
Problem is that there's no fuel control. No AFPR, nothing. A person might reasonably be expected to install this thing on his engine, turn the key, and actually have it start and run. And then as soon as the owner got into boost (and we can make some Serious Boozt with that "JDM'S Manual Turbo Boost Controller !! with Easy to adjust from 1-30PSI") then the engine will go very lean and pretty much destroy itself immediately.
So what do you guys think? Does stating "professional install highly recommend" in the listing absolve the seller of all liability for what happens after Jimmy the Newb blows up his engine by running 18:1 AFR at 15PSI with no ignition retard? More to the point, has anyone ever actually seen or heard of this happening?