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Thoughts on Apex Engineered 8.8 subframe

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The kit sucks, doesn't fit a 240z. Will only allow 275 tires in stock wheel well (for the fancy cantilever version). The bushings are done wrong and don't function. The company has the worst sales rep I have ever dealt with, been waiting a year to get all my stuff in, and I'm still waiting...

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I emailed the owner a few times to ask about a super 8.8 version.  No sense in my mind to use the explorer diff.  He told me they were working on it.   He was initially fairly responsive but haven't heard anything from my last email.  Can you give more detail about the bushings and your experience?

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There is no bushing where the front of the cradle attaches. There is only bushing on the mustache bar. Thus the cradle is half solid mounted half soft mounted. There is the stock bushing on the front of the diff to the cradle, but then there is just a rubber bushing shoved in as a washer between the diff cover bolts to the mounting tab, which will not provide any dampening in the direction of torque. They oddly kept the clamshell mounts on the front to bolt the cradle to the car, but without a bushing what is the point? A bushing will not fit in there as they made the cradle tubing so large. They should have just welded the clam to the cradle. These obvious flaws indicate that there was no "engineering" done when this was designed. 

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20 hours ago, zboi said:

There is no bushing where the front of the cradle attaches. There is only bushing on the mustache bar. Thus the cradle is half solid mounted half soft mounted. There is the stock bushing on the front of the diff to the cradle, but then there is just a rubber bushing shoved in as a washer between the diff cover bolts to the mounting tab, which will not provide any dampening in the direction of torque. They oddly kept the clamshell mounts on the front to bolt the cradle to the car, but without a bushing what is the point? A bushing will not fit in there as they made the cradle tubing so large. They should have just welded the clam to the cradle. These obvious flaws indicate that there was no "engineering" done when this was designed. 

 

The front of the differential IS bushed; they're OE pressed into the carrier housing.  See attached image.  

I've asked AE a lot of questions and haven't bought jack from them, and they've been outstanding answering all of my questions, including dimensions and materials as I attempt to copy their stuff.  I've heard nothing but positive things from those I know who have purchased from them.  Maybe they're not the problem.

 

s744029745302559756_p31_i15_w913 (1).jpeg

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It is kind of funny how few pictures they have of a differential housing actually mounted in any of their systems.  Hundreds of pictures of fabricated steel but almost none of an installed system.  They could use a marketing class or two.

 

Here's one that shows the Ford bushings in place, with the rest of the Z car system.  Even this page and photo doesn't even really tell you what it is.  Fabrication skills and business skills aren't often found together.

 

 

 

image.png.e6adeb701db3a5eddd42da6ab13a2b5a.png

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, zboi said:

 There is the stock bushing on the front of the diff to the cradle, but then there is just a rubber bushing shoved in as a washer between the diff cover bolts to the mounting tab, which will not provide any dampening in the direction of torque.

I suggest you take the time to read what I wrote @tim.d

Edited by zboi

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Posted (edited)

You should write better.  Not kidding, your post isn't clear.  The Ford diff housing is "bushed" around the mounting bolts.  You only talked about the front of the diff.  Maybe you meant something else.  Or maybe you got the wrong bushings with your diff.

 

image.png.183dbcf499136604560b229f9a1176df.png

 

 

Unclear - 

 

"There is no bushing where the front of the cradle attaches. There is only bushing on the mustache bar. Thus the cradle is half solid mounted half soft mounted. There is the stock bushing on the front of the diff to the cradle, but then there is just a rubber bushing shoved in as a washer between the diff cover bolts to the mounting tab,"

Edited by NewZed

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But, with the picture it is possible to guess at what you meant.  There is a solid metal path from the diff's back mount up to the cradle's front mount.  The bushings are basically useless, except for allowing for manufacturing error.  Loose tolerance.  As the diff nose comes up it will lever those back tabs because the diff's front bushings will let the nose move up.

 

That's as the drawing shows.  The drawing might be wrong.

 

The factory Z control arm mounts have bushings at the front.  Maybe they forgot to put them in the drawing.  That would make the cradle fully floating, in rubber bushings.  It still leaves the diff housing half solid and half bushed, as you said.  It lets the diff apply bending forces to the cradle alone.

 

So, it is kind of a goofy design.  Well made though.  They need to either make the diff fully bushed or the cradle.  The drawing shows that they went halfway on each.

 

Too bad they don't have some pictures of the parts in a  car. Weird.

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It looks like they're also using the mustache bar hanger bolts as the mounting points for the back of the control arm hardware.  They got rid of the "dog bones".  Definitely some odd engineering going on.

 

 

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As zboi rightfully points out, they've coupled the differential's torque reaction to the aft control arm pickup points. Not only that, but the fore subframe mounts will now be working harder to keep this whole thing attached to the body. If this was actually done by an "engineer", I would question their credentials.

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Posted (edited)

To be fair to Apex, every short nose R200 kit uses that same setup. T3, Arizona ZCar, and Apex all have solid rear mounts. Even the stock mount is solid in the rear. 

Edited by calZ

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7 minutes ago, calZ said:

To be fair to Apex, every short nose R200 kit uses that same setup. T3, Arizona ZCar, and Apex all have solid rear mounts. Even the stock mount is solid in the rear. 


Nobody else combines the mustache bar with the LCA mounts, take another look. This is a fundamentally flawed design, in multiple ways.

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23 minutes ago, Leon said:


Nobody else combines the mustache bar with the LCA mounts, take another look. This is a fundamentally flawed design, in multiple ways.

 

Right, that is an issue. I was just addressing the original comments about the rear of the diff not having bushings.

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I said "dog bones" in my post, but I should have said "drop downs" or hangers.  The two parts the "dog bone" attaches to to create a square support structure, that the rear of the control arms seat in..  It's not clear from their drawing if they got rid or that or not.  

 

The two studs for the mustache bar weren't meant to handle the lateral forces that they would see if those guys are really using them as the attachment points for the cradle.  Those two studs just direct the mustache bar forces and have to handle the inertia of the eighty pound diff on corner.

 

Full disclosure, I'm just here for the puzzle.  Some pictures of the parts actually in a car would tell a lot.  Poor marketing.

 

image.png.8660986aa50a22b70be74baa8ae5b2bc.png

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I have been looking into the Apex Engineered and Techno Toy Tuning suspensions parts as I start my full restoration and VQ37VHR swap and this thread has been very helpful.  I spoke to TTT recently and they informed me that they were developing a Ford 8.8 rear suspension swap that involved a custom diff cover for mounting to their mustache bar, and it would use their new power cradle (https://technotoytuning.com/nissan/240z/z-power-cradle-short-nose-r200r230-and-ford-88) for front mounting and tying together the whole rear suspension for added support effectively combining the mustache bar to the LCA via the diff similar to the Apex rear end, only using more pieces.  Both companies look like they make excellent suspension parts for these car and have done the testing and engineering, I think when its all said and done if somebody wants to put a Ford 8.8 in their 240Z for the strength, availability, and aftermarket support, and wants to do it using either of these companies kits they are ultimately going to end up with the mustache bar, LCA, and diff connected in some fashion. I know what has sold me on the Apex kit is that it is roughly half the price of TTT kit which totals ~$4K when you factor in the power cradle add-on for the Ford 8.8 and uses 370Z hubs which is good for my application since I am swapping in a 370Z engine (maybe able to actually get a speedometer signal from the wheel sensor to the ECU now which would simply gauge wiring immensely).  For a true-to-240Z resto-mod I could justify spending the money on the TTT kit.

 

I am basing this some conversations with both companies and the limited amount of pictures and install instructions for both of these kits, so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in my reasoning or understanding here.

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25 minutes ago, Sanchez said:

the limited amount of pictures and install instructions for both of these kits,

 

Tell them that you'll buy one after you see pictures of the product actually installed in a car.  That's reasonable and sensible.  

 

There was a guy on the forum a few years ago that was welding up some very nice looking intake manifolds.  But he didn't have any data showing how they worked on an engine.  He took many orders, collected lots of money for a Group Buy, took forever to get the first few out, they didn't fit, and he ripped off many of the people who never got a manifold.  He lived the good life in the meantime, getting married and probably using all of his ill-gotten money for his wedding.

 

Some people mean well but just can't get it done.  Some people are just trying to make some money over the internet.  Scammers.

 

Search for "Senza Pari" on the site and around the internet.

 

https://forums.hybridz.org/search/?q=Senza Pari

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