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Thoughts on Apex Engineered 8.8 subframe


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Also just a heads up, i won't be able to reply that often so please be patient as I am running this company and a few others and get pulled in various directions. thanks  

I'd be interested to hear a more in depth discussion of why mounting the diff and rear control arms to the two largest pieces of hardware in the rear of the car (that go through the rear frame rails)

Hello, im adding back to this thread as i was tagged by a few people in it so i have copied my responce from another thread.   Hello everyone    Intro   Its Ohm from Apex

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On 7/22/2020 at 11:52 PM, Dusty said:

Close up and important note.  I found the 10mmx1.25mm 30mm were to short to work with this particular bracket and engage the wheelbearing threads 100% so I bought 40mm long ones.  Only socket head bolts will work!!!

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Dusty - what brake bracket is that? Have you a link to it?

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  • 1 month later...

Hello, im adding back to this thread as i was tagged by a few people in it so i have copied my responce from another thread.

 

Hello everyone 

 

Intro

 

Its Ohm from Apex. A few guys linked me to this forum to chime in. First off, ill like to publicly appologize to ervyone who has encoutered frustation with axles and components from us. Those who have ordered the first few kits when we first released were impacted with long wait times, and missing hardware. When i first launched the product mid last year I didn't realize the demand it would cause (also from the Hellz youtube video) and the sourcing i needed to do in order to ensure met lead times. We rushed the product to the market in fear of competition and left alot of things open-ended. For example the fixture we made, was not at the production leve l they should have been. They were very heavy, not welder friendly and the welders were having to fight the figture to take the subframes out when they were fnished being welded. This caused long lead times, poor build quility in some cases and frustrated customers in most cases.

 

Axles

 

Secondly Axles, i dont even know where to begin with this, to start off we were un-familiar with the axles, how to machine them and manufacture them correctly and effiecently so we relyed on outsourcing them. Due to that we used aftermarket  axles thinking "easier to find, and cheaper to buy, Win-Win" NOT THE CASE we realized that even if we bought from one company in the aftermarket world, there are too many variables and the aftermarket guys are constantly changing their axle splines or size or something, so if one year it works, they can come up with the update, and our axles are non-compatible. So, we had to chew the cost of new finished aftermarket axles and buy OEM ones for all of them and start fresh. We since had to fight with axle manufactuers to get the axles and / or continully find new ones. It wasnt untill last month when I pulled the trigger to buy our own CNC 5 axis machine to make the axles in house under our tollerance and guidlines, however we are still doing initial tests to get them into production and outsourcing the axles untill we can get it figured out on our end. For the customers who are waiting on axles we are giving them a refund cost of the axles along with the schematic print of the axles along with hardness tollerance. We are nearing our 4th vendor now and at this point we are still looking at new ones, i recently contacted RCV performance to see if they would be intersted if this one falls through. What ive learned is to just be proactive and tell the customers about delays instead of being fearful of their responce and agrivate them futher from them comming to me for an update, trying to find somone who can email faster than me or to set up a online order tracker.

 

Improvements 

 

On the otherside i would like to point out the imporvements / changes made. since customers had missing hardware we purchased a packing machine that vaccume forms the hardware to a packing list of all the necessary hardware which also gets put on a scale to measure the weight of the packaged part to see if any hardware is missing (attached pitcures). We have also incorporated alot of automation into our product lines allowing us to have ALL OUR ITEMS in stock and ready to ship in the lead time shown on the site. (except for axles 😥) We have also finished / working on around on around 30 new products to various product lines however are we are having them tested on cars, and are making sure we can manufacture them in voluime with acceptable lead times before we release anything to not have this issue repeat itselt. 

 

Conclusion

 

As a whole, we are a team of 5 employees. 2 welders, 1 machiest, 1 packaging/shipping and 1 powder coating guy and myself. I do the designing and product development along with take care of the customer service side. I try to get to my emails everyday and reply as fast as i can (and my wife helps me on emails too) but since covid we have been buiser then ever with everyone at home working on their builds i have had to assit on the floor untill i can find a empoyee who can fit our team. Im an engineer trying to learn the buisness side of things but am learing on the way (mostly from my mistakes) and reealsing this product as the single most frustraing mistake i made in the buisness (hopefully ever)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know that this topic is about the AE subframe and 8.8 swap, but TTT did just release their 8.8 complete rear end swap so now we can compare the two options. However, when I looked at the price for the TTT version it did nearly give me an aneurism. So as it stands for me the AE option is winning in the “not-costing-me-three-months-worth-of-paychecks-department” but I do like that the TTT version has bushings for a quieter street car.

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Looking at these two, and Techno has made some interesting decisions. Chief of which is making a new diff cover so it can mount in a "factory" style mustache bar. The T3 kit does appear to come with rear struts and springs, where the Apex kit doesn't, but the Apex kit includes rear control arms, where the T3 kit assumes you have them already. I do think the Apex rear control arm design (using heim joints inboard) with their subframe is a superior design. I do wish the Apex rear knuckles had the option of using a T3 style bolt on strut, rather than the standard weld on style. 

 

I just bought one of the Apex subframes, which I'll be pairing with some T3 backing plates, so this should be interesting. No axles for me, but I think I have a solution for that!

 

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@Ben280 I agree with you there, the heim joints for the AE kit are significantly better for handling, but it seems that the kit is very track car focused, but sacrifices for a lot of comfort for the street driver (and I live in STL which has the worst roads I’ve ever seen). But that price is really good and the construction seems bullet proof despite the R&D seeming a little rushed even to myself, and I am by no means a suspension expert. I agree again that bolt on style strut/coilover options would be nice, but in the same vain that option on the T3 version kinda sticks you with their coil overs which are good but there are better options available for weld-on available at a similar price. I would love to see AE make maybe develop or tweak this kit into a more road oriented option eventually even if it ends up costing more.

 

But again I’ve never driven a Z that didn’t have stock suspension and it was all shot to hell, and I didn’t find it too harsh to enjoyably drive on Florida roads. So there is a possibility the whole solid construction would actually feel better than a Z with old struts, nearly bound up springs and 50 year old rubber.

Edited by Sanchez
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  • 4 months later...

I just wanted to give a quick post about my subframe experience.

 

I was one of the first to order. It took approx 8 months to receive it after they had it "in stock". When i received it nothing was square, it didnt fit. It was about 1/4" too narrow. Couldnt even put it on the moustache bar mounts. The diff mounts were welding in crooked and angled. With the diff installed loosely the pinion flange hit the body. The rear control arm mounts were also all crooked, I wasnt able to tighten the passanger side down with the mounts hitting the floor. The rear control arm mounts hit the cv shafts.

 

After contacting them and going back and forth over and over again about the problems they finally agreed to send me a replacement. Months later I received it. They assured me they had some jig problems with the first ones and they were corrected. But this one was worse and to add, the only 2 bolt holes were also stripped out. 

 

Again, pictures taken and sent to them. It was now my problem and the best they would do was refund me $200 for my troubles.

 

It is currently sitting on my garage floor in about 10 peices. Had to completely cut it apart to make it fit.

 

Hopefully mine was just an isolated experience.

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40 minutes ago, 05plsrt4 said:

I just wanted to give a quick post about my subframe experience.

 

I was one of the first to order. It took approx 8 months to receive it after they had it "in stock". When i received it nothing was square, it didnt fit. It was about 1/4" too narrow. Couldnt even put it on the moustache bar mounts. The diff mounts were welding in crooked and angled. With the diff installed loosely the pinion flange hit the body. The rear control arm mounts were also all crooked, I wasnt able to tighten the passanger side down with the mounts hitting the floor. The rear control arm mounts hit the cv shafts.

 

After contacting them and going back and forth over and over again about the problems they finally agreed to send me a replacement. Months later I received it. They assured me they had some jig problems with the first ones and they were corrected. But this one was worse and to add, the only 2 bolt holes were also stripped out. 

 

Again, pictures taken and sent to them. It was now my problem and the best they would do was refund me $200 for my troubles.

 

It is currently sitting on my garage floor in about 10 peices. Had to completely cut it apart to make it fit.

 

Hopefully mine was just an isolated experience.

Shiite!  What a horror story, how much money have you lost? I don't think I have heard one good review of that company yet.  Really sorry to hear this, if it is any consultation you may have helped many other Z owners from making the same mistake. Hopefully you can cut/weld and hobble something together that will allow you to get your car back on the road.

Would be good if you could post some pics.

 

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Gosh the worst part hearing this story for me is reaffirming my belief that if you "want something done right, do it yourself". I always have a sneaking suspicion that the passion us folks have for our cars (and those of the community) is far greater than the marketing of some of these shops can live up to. It's hard for me to believe that the tolerance on an S30 is that awful that you could be off by an entire 1/4". 

 

There are times I am working on my Z and think "I could never afford to pay someone the $$ they would be entitled to put in this much attention to detail". 

 

I am sorry about your experience @05plsrt4 :(

I hope you are able to have an equally positive experience with your Z, to help you assuage your frustration. 

 

I am glad we have this forum as a platform to air such experiences, and ideally reward excellent vendors and avoid shady ones. 

 

On a positive note, I have had great experiences with "Ground Control". They only design/build minimal components for the S30, but they are another small-scale suspension fab shop. 

 

If I am lucky enough to retire before I croak, id like to design/build some well-engineered components for S30's for the community. For the passion really, since I don't fundamentally believe the market can bear the cost of the design plus some profit margin that could pay the bills. 

 

PS: I did have to hammer my "techno versions" diff mount quite a bit to get it to work. Still, it did work in the end so no complaints! 

Edited by AydinZ71
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5 hours ago, grannyknot said:

I don't think I have heard one good review of that company yet.

 


On the contrary, I like my rear control arms and plan on ordering the fronts. @Ben280has the rear subframe and can tell you his experience with it. Seems like more and more of the LS swap guys from the Swapped S30 Owners facebook group are using his front crossmember as well.

I think the 8.8 kit, especially if you also go with the axles (which are outsourced), is the only thing I've heard negative reviews of. 

I feel like this has already been discussed endlessly in this thread and Ohm even had a chance to explain the situation regarding delays with the 8.8 kit. My two cents: if you haven't had an opportunity to resolve it with the company directly it's best not to pile onto small companies providing pretty niche parts for an already niche market. At the very least it's good to provide pictures of what your issues are and mention when you ordered/received since some problems maybe have been resolved since then, this past year in particular poses lots of issues with outsourcing labor and materials even for large established car companies who even have their own supply chains for some things.

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44 minutes ago, Zetsaz said:

this past year in particular poses lots of issues with outsourcing labor and materials even for large established car companies who even have their own supply chains for some things.

 

 

Can't argue with this statement. This business is HARD. It has got to be right every time, and you must provide equal customer service to new, as to old orders. Heck, even Derek chose to sell his stellar product through Godzilla precisely because he recognizes how much time and effort goes into customer service. 

 

I do have a pair of their rear control arms that I plan to throw on the race Z. Looking forward to the experience. 

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5 hours ago, grannyknot said:

I don't think I have heard one good review of that company yet. 

 

It depends where you look, this site certainly seems to collect frustrated experiences with Z vendors far and wide. I've got a version of their R200 kit custom built with long nose rear diff mounts, and it was a much better install experience compared to my old T3 mustache bar, which required ratchet strapping the mounting bolts in the car together. 

 

T3 did have an excellent post recently about the issues they've been having with their lead times and supply chain. COVID has really messed up a lot of stuff, and the car market in particular has been hit extremely hard. 

 

So far I've been very impressed with my Apex subframe, apart from the bolts they use for the rear brace. Who has a 13mm hex key!? Better geometry for the rear arms, superior arm design, what's not to like! It did take a bit to get, but again, I had a number of custom touches I wanted done. 

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On 9/25/2020 at 2:30 PM, ohmster101 said:

 

Conclusion

 

As a whole, we are a team of 5 employees. 2 welders, 1 machiest, 1 packaging/shipping and 1 powder coating guy and myself. I do the designing and product development along with take care of the customer service side. I try to get to my emails everyday and reply as fast as i can (and my wife helps me on emails too) but since covid we have been buiser then ever with everyone at home working on their builds i have had to assit on the floor untill i can find a empoyee who can fit our team. Im an engineer trying to learn the buisness side of things but am learing on the way (mostly from my mistakes) and reealsing this product as the single most frustraing mistake i made in the buisness (hopefully ever)

 

 

Ohmster already said what the issues were.  It's not a COVID or supplier or outsourcing issue.  And he's an engineer, he says, so the issues with fixturing and fit should have been foreseen and manageable.

 

He's just a guy who took on a big challenge, to start a business, to make money, and he's having problems.  No free passes in a free market economy.  The poor spelling is a bad sign, in general.  Attention to detail.

 

These stories have been told before.  Hope he makes it.  He's the only one that can make it work.  So far, nobody has reported a successful installation of this kit.  He needs to get some good product delivered.  Bad product delivered is not going to work, obviously.

 

Good luck Ohmster.

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@Zetsaz, @Ben280  I have to admit that I haven't paid as much attention as I should and maybe the negative comments just stick in my memory longer but I guess my real point is good intentions are not enough.

ALL of the R&D should be done before the product hits the market and not at the expense of the customer.

 

Anyone who makes a product for our old cars is doing us all a favor for sure but it is not enough to release a product that has 80% of the problems figured out.

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