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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2003, 01:32 AM
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I just got done with a Fatman's Stage IV airbag kit for my 37 Chevy pickup...

I wrote up an article about my experiences with the kit as an individual posting on this board...but here is the rundown:

Goods:


"Free" Stainless upper and lower tubular A-arms included with the kit at no charge...looked nice!

Complete kit...all nuts/bolts/brackets included, no running to the hardware store for bolts/nuts.

Very Nice components: All of the peices that FM manufactured were TOP QUALITY...the polishing on the stainless was terrific, not show-quality, but very very nice for a weekend cruiser.



So-So's:


Instructions were detailed, but a little difficult to read at times..made sense afterwards, but not very confidence-inspiring when you're holding the torch to your frame.

Bolt/Nut: We had some problems with our nuts being 20=pitch and our bolts being 16-pitch, which caused them to WELD together under 80lbs of pressure from the airratchet. We had to use a plasma cutter on one lower a-arm nut that was stuck about 3" from teh end of the bolt. Was NOT cross-threaded, went on by hand to the nylon, locked at about 2.5", welded at 3. BTW..the bolt that we destroyed trying to get the nut off was going to cost $315 from Fastenall. FatMan sent us an extra after we told them of the problem. Very cool!



Bads:


Sent Wrong kit....either we had some miscommunication or they just wrote it down wrong...dont know, but I specifically told them that it was a Truck, and they sent me a kit for a coupe...which caused me to get to cut off the kit that we spent a full day welding on to put the 'right' kit back on.....argh!

Sent Upper A-arm with no bushing in one side....then sent a bushing and I destroyed the a-arm trying to put it in...I know, destroying the A-arm was my fault, but who do they have assembling these kits? I feel that the missing bushing should have been caught before it made it out the door.

Sent wrong brake calipers...the brackets were for a 'small-size' caliper, they sent 'big-size' calipers and there was NO way they were going to bolt up....more waiting time on shipping



I still haven't seen the refund, but Brent promised to send a refund of sorts for the time lost (I was renting a shop to do the swap in...I've been paying out of pocket by the week while waiting on parts to arrive from FM), but I havent' seen it yet...will let you know that it made it when I have it in my grubbies. Brent and Richard at FM both made me feel confident in their abilities even during the worst of my bad experience..I dont think that I WONT do business with them again, but I do think that I will search for alternatives before trying FM products in the future.

The 'hopper
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2003, 07:38 AM
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Did you pre-assemble the crossmember before you put it on? To me it sounds like most of the problems encountered would have been found before you started the install. I know that when you order a quality component from a reputable manufacturer that you would expect it to all be in the box and correct but we are all human and mistakes do happen. It does sound like Brent and the boys are doing the right thing and owning up to them and they are getting you taken care of. That is the most important part. I know of a few manufacturers that would not have gone that far even if they knew they were in the wrong. I am glad to hear that things are getting fixed up though....... please keep us posted.

Tony....
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2003, 03:04 PM
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The only things that were really 'wrong' were the fact that the kit was for a coupe instead of a pickup, the upper control arm didn't have a bushing in it, and the brake calipers were wrong.

The kit, being for a coupe was not off far enough to determine that it was wrong during our test-fitting state of building. The only differences in the kits is where the kit meets the frame on the front of the upper shock-tower/A-arm housings. On the car, the frame there is level, on the pickup, the frame has begun a downward slope. After looking at the kit, I sent Brent pictures to show him the 3/8" gap in the front of the housing that we filled with weld, thinking that the kit was a generic kit, and that some engineering was required. Brent noticed from the pictures that we had installed the wrong kit and called me back immediately to let me know that we had to cut it out and install another (way to go Brent! Very good move! I would have hated to find out later that he had known and done nothing).

The upper A-arm looked correct when we took everything out and checked for missing parts...it was just missing a bushing on one end of the main swivel shaft. There was no way to 'mock up' the upper a=arm until we got the shocktower/Upper A-arm housings welded, in....which were......for a coupe, and had to be cut out and reinstalled a week later. This 'week later', during initial preassembly was when we found the upper a-arm with no bushing.

The calipers being wrong were not found out until we got the entire front end pre-assembled: after the new upper shocktower/a-arm housings were installed and the new Upper A-arm came in...we just didnt' get that far in pre-building. I mean, when we were checking everything in the box, we found calipers, brackets, spindles.....we didn't really think we needed to check each individual peice for fitment as long as it was there. My mistake>? A little, but I think the majority of the responsibility for the problems with my kit still rest on FatMans, and apparently they feel the same way. Brent and Richard have both been 100% professional about the mixups and I feel 'taken care of' even after the hassles.

The 'hopper
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2003, 04:41 PM
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You are right....... the crew over at Fatmans is a good bunch of guys to deal with and I am sure they will follow up and make sure you are taken care of.

Tony....
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