Plugin belongs_to Model Association Bug

Hey all,

I'm not positive if this is a Engines bug, but it seems very peculiar
and a few hours of Googling haven't given me any good leads yet, so I
thought I'd see if it makes sense to any of you:

I am writing a new version of the savage_beast plugin (implements
Beast forums as a plugin) that's Rails 2.0 compatible, and I am having
trouble with the many models in the plugin that refer to the User
model (which lives in my project). For example, my Post class (part
of the savage_beast plugin) has

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :forum
  belongs_to :user
  belongs_to :topic

   ...
end

I can set the forum, user, and topic for this class fine, and they
save without issue. However, when I go to access the user association
later on, I can only get its database fields, not any of the methods
that are defined in the User model. That is,

@post.user[:some_database_attribute] will display fine
@post.user.any_method_at_all will give me a "No method found" error.

If I check what kind of class @post.user is, Ruby will report it is a
"User" class. I have tried to hack around this by doing a "def user
{ User.find(user_id) }" in the plugin, but users are used as
associations in numerous instances in numerous models, sometimes as
has_many_throughs, so besides being ugly, I don't think this hack is
going to be viable across the board (though doing a User.find of the
user_id does return a model with methods intact).

Do any of you have any suggestions about how I could fix (or start to
debug) this issue?

Thanks,
Bill Harding