These last two years have been very interesting. The shop has been operating at very limited capacity since August of last year. We are now at a point were we can start ramping up production. Some parts are available now, but building inventory is always going to be slow.
I made the decision to stop making a few low volume parts, like the Studebaker clips. The issues now with the Mustang II spindles is going to require a redesign of a kit I have been producing for nearly 18 years. And the fixture was damaged in the move. I really don’t want to go through the trouble to redesign and build from scratch again on those. I am going to focus on the trucks more. In design right now are my un-parallel rear four bar kits. With air bag or coil over options. There will be a standard height and a Bridge Notch type. Also is a Pre-Z front suspension kit. This will get you 2″ closer to the ground for those of you wanting to lay frame/rocker.
The shops main focus is full builds. Industrial Chassis is the house brand of parts to Phoenix Hotrod Company. You can find them over at www.phoenixhotrods.com This site will remain as the focus on parts and chassis builds.
I am moving away from Facebook. The ad pushes and cultured content are just too much. Please make an account here on the website and join the forums. I do not collect data on you, will not sell your information and can focus on your questions better.
I apologize for the lack of updates, but we are having growing pains. The new building and the move has taken way longer to accomplish than anticipated.
First the shut down and move since the first of the year, moving the equipment to the new location in Tempe AZ and the merge with Phoenix Hotrod Company, all of which was underway when this shut down has occurred. Most of the move went fairly well, but getting the trades in the new location to do build-out of the building was slow or delayed. But the thing that is absolutely kicking our butts is the dust collection system for the plasma table.
The new location is air-conditioned. Going to be so nice for those hot Arizona summers. In fact, this past summer we broke a record of days over 100º by one day (so far) and it’s been really dry. Our Monsoon storms were non-existent this year, which was sort of a blessing as a lot of our equipment was stored outside. And as it goes, the last thing we need before we can ramp up production is the dust collector. The plasma table can really kick up some dust when we are cutting. The portable units we have for temporary use just are not capable, and I can plug up the HVAC filters in minutes. There have been promises to get this system up and running since early September, not even close. The blower fans needed haven’t even been made yet.
So the minimal cutting we can do without choking everyone out has resulted in something. As a test run, we made two of the bolt in kits for the 47-55 Chevy/GMC trucks. One is spoken for, the other is up for grabs!
The other products can resume as soon as we can. Look forward to an announcement on the www.phoenixhotrods.com page, I will have the web store up here and there as Industrial Chassis Becomes the “house brand” for PHC. And trying to talk the boss into a Grand Opening party/Throwdown/Meet-N-Greet or maybe a pancake breakfast or something.
I am getting really hammered with requests for product, I really want to get back to production. This COVID virus has really put the brakes on everything. We had hoped to be up and running by last month, more likely we will have things working and ready for production by mid-August now.
Since our merge with Phoenix Hotrod Company in February, the move came to a crawl. The preparation for our new location in Tempe Arizona almost ground to a halt. The electrical install has taken way longer than we anticipated. However, things are finally getting wrapped up. Machinery is finally getting placed and we hope to move the remaining equipment from the Deer Valley location of Phoenix Hotrod by mid-July. The push to get going over there is urgent.
It will likely take us a few weeks if not months to get the workflow worked out, so production may be a little slow in coming. But it looks like we will get everything back online before the end of summer and, AND new stuff also.
Yeah, things are progressing. The move is moving forward. It’s looking like about six weeks or so of this posting that we will be back.
The web-store will be back when we are able to produce. There may be a delay in between when you order and when we ship, but no more than a week as we sort the production and shipping in the new location.
This has been one of the wildest journeys so far. The potential here is going to be next level for the entire team.
We had a customer complain about one of our Studebaker clips not capable of an alignment recently. With all the shims removed from the adjusting plate, there was still negative camber.
I had to investigate further, and on a chassis we are supplying right now we had the same issue come up. This is brand new for us, so I needed to investigate. This is what I came up with. The upper ball joint bore is moved outboard about 1/2″.
This is causing a few problems, First off is the Camber issue. Second is going to be an issue of scrub radius. This may not cause any driveability issues, but you may notice a bit more wheel kickback on uneven road surfaces.
Short solution is to use a longer control arm, in some cases where the stock slot and T-bolt are used, you may not have much of an alignment issue.
I spoke with a representative from Heidt’s this afternoon. Of course this issue has never come up with them. He informed me they use a 1/4″ longer control arm at 8″ from pivot to ball joint. No reason given as to why. I want to caution everyone that if you are to mix-match parts, you may end up with a front end that you can’t align.
We have used the Heidt’s and CPP dropped spindles without this problem. I have used the stock height spindles from SPC and Kaiser without issue.
I want to go further with you as to what these changes will make to the way your front end will drive and handle in a future date. Right now I just needed to get this information out there.
I have been working on getting the framework done for the new features I want for the website and fixing some of the dumb stuff I had as place holders. Still not done, but happy with some of the progress.
What I received in feed back from customers was navigation on the store, difficulty finding product and such. So my solution is to put multiple paths to find what you are looking for. At the top of the page are categories based on what you have. Not completely finished with them at this point. What I intend is a bit of information, history and links in each and everyone of those by make and year model.
I will also be working on updating and adding new product. So far I’m pretty happy with the new Theme Plugin from www.woothemes.com . Those guys have been more than helpful getting me going after my crash.
Soon we will have some project updates too. We currently have three full on turn-key projects. The 53 GMC is painted. Thank you Cam at Fury in Color! Rick’s 40 Plymouth is making progress, and we took possession of Bob’s 1964 Ford pickup. Look for pictures of that one soon, it’s really eye catching (in a good way!)
One of the reasons for doing the redesign is for you the customer to navigate and find products easier.
The other is to add in a new forum that will go live in the next few days (I hope) where you and I can engage in a more technical sense. I get asked to help people sort their suspension issues on all sorts of vehicles.
I am working to put together a searchable forum where we can get in-depth with the true geometry of what makes your IFS work and why. This will be a subscription service, Sorry folks but more and more of my time is being taken up by answering questions. For those of you who are customers, you will get access to the forums, but for those of you on the fence, the fee will be minimal. In that forthcoming forum, we can get in-depth to get your ride working the way you want it to.
Eventually, I would like to expand the forum to be an offsite, 3rd party tech line for any aftermarket hot rod parts manufacturer. If you would like to participate in some way, PDF files of instruction sheets of kits you have installed would be helpful in growing to that goal.
In my last post, covered the Chrysler style screw in ball joints commonly used on Mustang II front ends. Today I want to talk about the Dakota ball joints and some misconceptions being run around the internet. There are a few generations of Dodge Dakotas now, I concentrate on the first two, being 87-90 and 91-96. Both are pretty much the same, the ball joints are exactly the same.
I have run across a few people trying to conflate the 97 up (3rd Gen) Dakota ball joint issues with the earlier First and Second generation trucks. In the 3rd Generation Dodge made quite a few changes to the Dakota’s front suspension. Almost a complete redesign. About the only thing similar is the lower control arm spacing and bushing size (yes, they will fit our kits) and the upper control arm rear mounting bolt is in the same location. But that’s it. The rack mounting and angles are very different and the upper control arm became symmetrical for cost cutting reasons. The other major changes are in the spindle and ball joints. They bare no resemblance to the 1st and 2nd gen trucks. The ball joints became significantly smaller and the orientation of the lower ball joint changed from tension (pointing up) to compression (pointing down) making dropped spindles pretty much impossible.
Have a look at the line up of ball joints here. From Left to right, the 1997 and up Dakota/Durango ball joint, The K772 Ball joint used in most Mustang II type set ups, The K778 joint used in the 87-96 Dakotas (and many other full size cars and trucks) and then on the Right is the K7025 used on the Dakotas and several other full size cars and trucks. Visual confirmation would show you, this is robust stuff. History can confirm that these larger ball joints were not failure prone. Sure, everything wears out, this is why we recommend using premium quality repair parts when building your car or truck. Not only will you see a longer service life, you will get a better ride quality with parts like the MOOG joints and bushings we suggest.
I suppose shocks would be the next topic, stay tuned!