Stupid viral outbreak

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.

Opening Day is getting closer

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.

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.

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.

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!

Promo Video

We had Bean’s Book of Rod Shops stop by last week. These guys travel around the country and shoot video of different shops. Here is some footage they took.

Quick hits from around the shop