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Thoughts on Apex Engineered 8.8 subframe


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There is very little money to be made in making performance parts for a 50 yo Japanese sports car, both because the market is so small and because for many people the attraction to these cars is that they're cheap. Maybe that last part will change, but certainly when I bought mine price was the primary concern. 

 

Seems to me that Apex does more engineering than most, since he actually shows his FEA results, etc, and looking at some of the other kludged together shit that has been sold his looks relatively good. That said, there have been problems, like the failure to produce the track kit, the flexibility of the rear uprights, etc. 

 

I'm past the point of just bitching about it when a vendor makes mistakes, because I've seen them from every vendor I can think of. What is more important to me, YMMV, is that they try to fix the inevitable problems that do arise. Every part I buy is purchased with the knowledge that bolt ons don't, and that I WILL have to figure out how to make it work. 

 

As a guy who tried and failed to sell Z parts, I'm glad that people are willing to continue to do so, given the low return on their investment in time and effort. 

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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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I agree with above, that it is more the reaction of the company to fixing mistakes that counts.  Nothing in a small market like this is ever going to be developed and tested to perfection prior to release.  

 

I've had a lot of experiences with the "Z" after market while building my car, as like many here virtually nothing on it is OEM Datsun.

 

I've had very clear and definite problems with several company's components, which I articulated and documented (including video) and communicated to the company that made them.  The response, more often than not, has been crickets chirping.  My "correct" response of course would be to not do business with them anymore, but that isn't always an option.  Certain parts, unless I want to produce them myself, are only available from one or two companies.  I don't want to mention the specific companies, because fairness would demand a detailed, exhaustive, and objective report that I don't feel like writing.  I am NOT however, talking about Apex with these experiences.

 

I know there have been problems with Apex products, but realistically, who is their competition?  There are other suspension components out there, but none as complex (and probably over-engineered, IMHO) as Apex.  So if the Apex approach is what you want on your car, you really have no options other than doing it yourself.  Based on what I have read here, anyone who goes with these components had better expect delays and some snafus that they are going to have to work out themselves.

 

I think it would be wise for Apex to offer the option of selling parts in bare metal form rather than powder coating them.  It would make it much easier and simpler to do whatever modifications the end users need for their application. 

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Agree 100% with @JMortensen

Just imagine selling 20-100 units of something a year (if you are lucky), and pocketing only dozens or hundreds of dollars per order. If you do the math, you realize its very difficult to quit your day job. For the most part, I think we (the community) need these handful of vendors more than the potential profit could support. 

 

For example, where are you going to find a 12mm stud for a diff cover with 1.75 pitch on one side, and 1.25 pitch on the other. You could spend an hour or more searching online to find out Zcardepot is just selling a subaru PN, or you can just pay the $5 mark-up and save the hour. 

 

The best part is YOU as the consumer decide when it is of value for you to purchase the part outright, or make/find it yourself. It's a win-win. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, grannyknot said:

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.


I'll agree with this, but it's why I mention specifically that pretty much all the other products have had positive reviews.

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23 hours ago, 05plsrt4 said:

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.

 

The heart of the problem is here.  Ohmster did not "make things right".  He, apparently, gave up on a customer and left them paying for his poor work.

 

If Ohmster really is inundated with orders then he should have chalked this one off as the cost of development, to be made up on future successful orders filled. But, again, apparently, he's using the customer's money to support his development costs.

 

So, these types of stories are valuable and are the reason forums like Hybridz exist.  The possible causes of the difficulties are many but how Ohmster handles the problems will determine if his business succeeds.  These uncomfortable stories help people decide if they want to take that risk, or if they just want to "donate" their money to a growing business.  Nobody can fairly complain about the guy that reported a bad experience.  They're doing the unsuspecting future customer a favor.

 

So far, there are numerous delayed orders, some bad axles, and one "completed" order that left a customer dissatisfied.  Time will tell, hopefully, if things get better.  A person would think that at least one or two other people out there had received their complete subframe orders by now.  Feel free to add your story if you have one.

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8 hours ago, Ironhead said:

I think it would be wise for Apex to offer the option of selling parts in bare metal form rather than powder coating them.  It would make it much easier and simpler to do whatever modifications the end users need for their application. 

 

Send them a note, they are usually pretty happy to do degrees of custom work. I asked about getting my subframe not powder-coated so I could custom weld on some mounts, to which Ohm responded "Well what do you want, we can probably make that happen for you".

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Few irregularities I want to address here. First and foremost, as stated before the First few who ordered our Rear suspension kits have had issues with delivery times, axles, and fitment. That being said I have addressed those on this thread on September 25, 2020. That being said Matthew, otherwise known as 05plst4 was one of the first who ordered our rear suspension kit. He purchased it on 7/11/2019. So the issues with lead times and quality are present as the early buyers. (also highlighted phrase in pictures attached) That being said, Me and Matthew have agreed on a set of Front Control Arms, discounted and shipped for free to Canada, along with an extra set of ball joints and boots. We did not "Give up on the customer" (see attached) That being said we are slightly over 1.5 year old of a company when he purchased so the growing pains are apparent as found in any new start-ups and was still working part-time at the time. I'm not giving excuses, just some insight as to the situation. 

 

Now to proceed, If a customer ordered a rear suspension kit in the last couple of months we had them shipped (as long as they were not custom and a popular diff/wheel bearing option) we were able to have them shipped in 2 to 4 weeks. Complete, with axles, all hardware plastic wrapped and packaged in a double walled box. We have finished ALL the Ford 8.8 to 370z axles, ALL the Ford 8.8 to 300zx axles, All the 300zx to 370z. The last few 300zx to 300zx are finishing up and are on to the R230 diffs. We are also caught up on ALL Black Friday orders since March 12th (unless custom) Which is considerably better than other vendors who still are not caught up. We all know the unhappy customers voice will express their thoughts and experience more than the happy customers, and rightfully so, it's their right and helps push companies to strive higher and perform better. We are not a company that has been around since the 90s like AZC or early 2000s like T3 we had our first control arm sold in 2018 and slowly started building products after, so we are still learning the ropes. Furthermore, we invested in the machinery to make the Axles and the CNCs to make products faster and in house. In the last 8 months we spent nearly 7 figures on state of the art CNCs, New Welders, 3D scanners, More team members, packaging equipment and now are moving into our largest facility yet on the 21st of this month.

 

Forums (IMHO) seem to bring a one-sided view point to any company, I would highly recommend asking the Facebook groups and see the high customer satisfaction rates and growth of them over the recent years. Ask customers about their experiences and watch customers post their videos of their S30s running and driving with our suspension kits. About 38% of our customer base are repeat customers. Those who bought parts and keep coming back to us, Many of those are professional installation shops, Godzilla Race works, Fitted Garage, and MA Motorsports to name a few, if they were not happy with their products why would they keep coming back?

 

I've apologized before and ill apologies again for those who purchased early kits and seen the poor craftsmanship, poor fit up, and long lead times, we have addressed those issues over the last year and continued to provide better results as a time went on. Again, I am rarely on this Forum unless someone messages me about it, so email me if you want a faster reply. Thanks

 

- Apex Team

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Teacher perspective, and as someone satisfied with my Apex products and intend to buy more:

 

The best lesson I ever learned from my university director was "it's not mistakes that bother me, it's complacency." 

 

Ohm, from every interaction and experience I've had with him and others, has made a consistent effort to improve products and delivery. If you're an early customer, I think it's a bit unfair to be as critical as some have been if the problem has already been mutually resolved. 

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Where are the mods?

This thread has moved beyond the scope of the 8.8 subframe specifically. Those who want to discuss reviews of Apex in general should start another thread.

I think we've gotten off track. Let's keep it to comments about the practicality or viability of the kit as an option, or current thoughts based on recent experience with it. 

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What would the mods mod?  This forum is its own thing.  Facebook is a whole different ecosystem.  There's a discussion happening here, which is what forums are for.  Facebook is people posting about random things that they like.

 

I went through the first six Facebook links and found projects in progress and private Facebook groups.  I didn't learn anything about the products.

 

Ohmster says he will be fine, that Hybridz is a small community and Facebook is large.  Doesn't seem like he needs help.  People know where to look now for more information.  No need to do any moderating here.  It's just a thread of experiences and opinions.  Everything seems honest.

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I do agree with @Zetsaz that this thread could use more input and photos and information on performance/install of the AE subframe. It would be nice to hear and see more peoples experience with this part even though it seems like for the most part once the pieces are in your garage it is pretty straightforward to put in the car. Also saw the update on their website recently that the subframe is being updated to use the 370Z diff which gives the option of using an open carrier, VLSD (sport model, but have heard negative reviews on it by 370Z owners), or adjustable LSD (Nismo model).


At the same time I put about the vendor is very helpful to this process, but like all businesses they will have happy customers and dissatisfied customers. @ohmster101 So far I have not ordered any parts from AE yet because I’m still waiting on the VQ37 front cross member so I can order my pieces all at once, but your business has always been quick to respond with updates and answer questions when I message them. And your responses to this thread have been very professional and make me feel comfortable when it comes time to order from a newer Z part manufacturing company. AE seems to be expanding and growing their business and from the timeline I see recent reviews show they have greatly improved customer outreach to solve issues and fix the lead time issues they encountered when getting off the ground. 

 

 

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