Covid Blues

This has been one strange journey.

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.

Making use of my free time

Quarantine time

We find ourselves in strange times with this viral outbreak. My merger with Phoenix Hotrod Company is ongoing, but we are on a limited work schedule. So what am I to do with a four day weekend for the next few weeks. Normally we work a 4-10 with a nice three day weekend, but we are trying to limit exposure. By one day? Okay, that’s what the legal team wants.

Everyone is doing it, so I may as well join the fray. I’m getting back to doing my videos on YouTube. I have two of my long-term projects stored at a secret location where I can work on them over the weekend like normal folk. So naturally, I need to document it and put it on YouTube, right? The first project I am going to work on is my 1954 Ford F100. I started this years ago.

This was a farmer’s Special. Worked hard and abused to death. Was originally a standard truck with a 272 Ford Y-block and overdrive trans and heater being the only upgrades. When I got it, the frame rail on the driver side had two major breaks and some really sketchy repairs. The right side rail wasn’t much better. I pulled the frame all the way down to the rails. Designed and built a whole new fabricated center X-member, installed one of my Dakota IFS kits with 1990 Dakota parts. All powder coated and rebuild. The rear is a 1969 Dana 60.3 from a Camper Special truck. Rebuilt, all new bearings and custom axles to use the later Ford 8.8 style axle bearings, Wilwood brakes all around, Ride Tech coil overs on the rear with helper sleeve airbags and Cargo Coil springs and Bilstein Shocks on the front. The intent is to build a towpig. Like a heavy half ton truck that can comfortably tow a 24′ enclosed trailer.

Power is coming from a Cummins ISF 3.8 four cylinder turbodiesel and backed by an Allison 1000 6-speed auto.

The goal is is to make this look like it was a stock truck, but as a crew cab. Even going with the factory colors.

Follow along with the build. https://www.youtube.com/user/ELpollacko

Do work son!

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.

Update and information

The product lines are still on hold until we finish moving. We are currently merging with Phoenix Hotrod Company and will not have capacity to build you any product until that move is completed.

We are no longer at the West Osborn address, custom work will be considered at:

Phoenix Hotrod Company

1700 E. Robin Ln

Phoenix, AZ 85024

Phone for CUSTOM WORK ONLY is 602-410-1211

Please do not call and ask about product at this time!

Issue found with Heidt’s Mustang II stock spindles

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.

EDIT:

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.

More new stuff on the website

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!)

New feature coming soon

 

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.

As always, I appreciate some input.

Roadster Show Wrap Up

I want to thank all the people that came by both booths to say hello. You guys made our trip worth it.

We came loaded with product, but something was amiss. I’m not sure exactly what happened to the show, but not only were prices up for us vendors but there were hardly any roadsters. I have seen a couple hundred maybe, this year more like 80-ish showed up. The Preferred Parking area on the North side was mostly vacant on Saturday and Sunday. The area over by the botanical gardens (South side) was pretty full on Saturday but on Sunday it was mostly vacant. The swap was spread out. There were guys jumping the line and buying up blocks of spaces and then didn’t show up. While in line waiting to pick my spot I overheard some of the guys that jumped the line bragging about buying up a few thousand dollars worth of spaces. Of course, the deal is, once you buy a space, you get grandfathered in and can keep getting the same spots for future events. The North East section was sold out by Thursday and on Saturday, maybe half of those spots were being used, Sunday maybe a third of those spots had stuff in them.

Here is a short video I shot at 7:30 in the morning on Sunday.

 

Granted, this is early in the morning. As the day went on, more swap meet vendors packed up and left by 9am. We drove around waiting for other vendors in the show area to show up so we could pick up things we had on order and chatted with various vendors. Some said they felt like a UPS service because all they did was deliver pre-ordered parts. They seemed to have the same experience we did. There is a rumor going around that Roadster Shows will “FINE” us for leaving before 4 pm on Sunday. I can assure you that if they do try and pull something like this, I will not attend the LA Roadster Show in 2018. I know we aren’t a big deal to most, but in talking to some of those big name guys, they won’t be back either.

I have been going to the LA Roadster Show  since 1974 as a kid. It has been a tradition of mine to go, I look forward to it, it’s a big deal. Now I’m not so sure. I can understand the Roadster guys getting upset that they no longer get a free steak dinner and a pewter mug for the price of just showing up, the thing I find very puzzling is that the general public just didn’t show up.

New way around the website

I’m working with suggestions on how to navigate the website here. If you notice there is a new header under the main one with year and makes. What will happen, is you will click the one that matches your vehicle and it will take you to a page and list all of the product and related reading material to each of those years. This will take me a few weeks to get fine tuned but should result in  a much smoother way around.

Ball Joints 2.0

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!