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BoulderCharles

Apex Engineered Honest Review: Mistakes, missing parts, and terrible service

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First, let me say that I'm posting this as an absolute last resort. I know a small business is hard to run, especially these days, so I have tried to be patient over the last 6 months.

 

Unfortunately, Apex Engineered has forced my hand. After 125+ emails and 6 months of effort, I am left without a complete order. Here's my story. I hope it's helpful for those considering working with Apex Engineered. I'll update if Apex Engineered responds.

 

The Good: I have the front and rear suspension and they look great. The install was surprisingly easy--the suspension fit without the need for any modification or "persuasion."

 

The Bad: Missing axle shafts, mistakes, and terrible customer service.

 

Missing Axles: In January I received everything except the axle shafts. Since then, the story from Apex has been...

 

  • Feb, backordered...available in 2-3 weeks
  • March, they have the passenger but not the drivers...
  • April, just need some finishing touches...
  • May, axles are not up to their standards so they are looking for alternatives
  • June, back at heat treatment... (?)
  • July, due back in 1.5 weeks
  • August 21, Apex says the manufacturer shipped them and he will either redirect the shipment or send them when they are received
  • September 9 (and 4 emails later), still no axle shafts and no word from Apex

 

 

Mistakes: Here are the two most frustrating. The others were just annoying (like chipped powder coat).

 

  • The LS motor mounts interfered with the stock LS3 alternator location (and the low-mounted AC compressor). Apex redesigned but delayed me about a month.
  • The rear knuckle was welded too closely to the strut so I wasn't able to fit all the bolts onto the hub/bearing mount.Something that should have been caught in fabrication.

 

Terrible Customer Service: Dealing with Apex / Ohm is an absolute nightmare. Slow and vague responses. Contradictory stories. Frequent excuses. No way to contact via phone.

 

 

Bottom Line: I'm actually happy with the suspension and don't fault Apex for the design issues along the way. I knew it was a new design when I placed my order. However, Apex is easily the most frustrating vendor I've worked with (and I spent 6 months trying to get Retro-spec to send me my parts). My build has been delayed at several key points and I spend way too much time/effort fighting to get Apex's attention.

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I have the rear end kit. Everything fitted in fine, albeit the diff needed a little "persuasion".

 

But still waiting on axles. Basically getting the exact same runaround you are.

 

I've called, texted, emailed, facebook, instagram and still getting nowhere. Last I heard I was getting them by end of August at the latest -  but no go.

 

I'm at a point of looking for a partial refund and getting the axles specs to someone else. 

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Thanks for the write up.  Honest accounts of customer experience with a company are extremely valuable to potential customers.

 

I have been hearing of negative experiences with Apex for quite some time, and it is disappointing.  Some of the items they have made are very cool, a few are going on my build.  It is just too bad they cannot seem to get the customer service end up to speed.

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Bummer, it seems design wise they were among the forefront.

 

Manufacturing problems aside, I wonder if it is a case of being overwhelmed and refusing to hire staff, or if it is a case of having margins so small they can't afford to.

 

@Zetsaz for consideration.

Edited by seattlejester

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This is honestly tragic. I was considering them mostly for the front and rear control arms. I don't want to burn through tires waiting to correct rear toe in particular. Their control arm designs, especially for the rear are preferable to me over the T3 offerings. May just hold off and see if they figure things out, someone else fills the void, or T3 comes out with an offering closer to the Apex rear arms. 

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Robbo got a response from Ohm through personal Facebook, 8/26 apparently, thread linked above.  Might be worth a shot.  Maybe point him to this thread, so he can explain.  If he's buried with work he might not really be aware of how bad things look, at least on this forum.

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Removing them as an included item would be an interesting decision. If it's this difficult for a company ordering a large batch to get a supplier to do them correctly, imagine how difficult it would be for a single set? I think having to source your own custom axles would turn a lot of people off from the kit. 

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I emailed because I am still interested in their control arms. For what it's worth, I did notice most people's issues and delays seem to be with the included axles and I got a response back first thing in the morning
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I tried to offer a full chromoly 930 CV axle kit for the R200 when I had M2 Differentials up and running. I never took money for it, but trying to get the ******* machinist to make the parts was positively infuriating, and it went on for months. All I can tell you is that it's just as irritating for Ohm as it is for all of you. I felt like I was going to get an ulcer trying to get that kit together, finally just gave up on it entirely.

Not making excuses though, and Ohm shouldn't have taken any money until he was sure he could provide the parts, but I really do feel bad for him, having been in a similar situation. 

 

Edited by JMortensen

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Agreed, and it certainly isn't just machined parts.  I hate to outsource anything, because often as not their quoted ETA is utterly meaningless at best, a deliberate lie at worst, and they pretend to not understand how anyone could feel the time taken to complete a job even matters.

 

I'm currently seven weeks in waiting for a mountain of parts to be powder coated, and I thought the quoted ETA of three weeks was a bit long in the first place...  Not car related, but I was once quoted three weeks by a gunsmith for a hunting rifle to be re-barreled.  Wound up taking the guy 14 months...no communication, no apologies, nothing.  When I picked the gun up, he just short of shrugged about it and said "yup" when I asked him if he realized it took well over a year....  

 

Most of these sorts of flakey establishments tend to stay in business, so there must be some customers out there who genuinely don't care how long it takes.

Edited by Ironhead

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A quick update on this. I decided it's not worth waiting any longer so I called up T3 and ordered a pair of their axle shafts, which will arrive in just a few days. Apex only refunded $200 for the axle shafts (the T3 shafts cost $500) so that is disappointing but, honestly, worth it just to be done with this whole situation.

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Hello Charles, and 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 Charles and anyone else 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 level 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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