03.07.2010 Discussions 22 Comments


Perfectly engineered

"Specifically designed" poop being used as a soap dish... Well done!

It seems like the term “engineered” is thrown around as loosely as “high-def” and “low-carb” these days. It’s interesting how companies trying to market themselves are willing to improperly use words or phrases to describe their product. I think that late-night television is more guilty of this than anyone, but I see it all the time in the custom automotive aftermarket industry where the existence of ignorant impulse-buyers is far less concentrated and presumably more educated. An example of what I’m talking about is this… A company will advertise a suspension part that is “specifically engineered” to fit your vehicle and that no expense was spared in building said product (immediately my internal bullshit alarm goes off). My issue is that you would not engineer a part to fit anything, one would design a part to fit a particular application and hopefully in doing so they would also spend the time engineering the part to withstand the abuse the part is expected to endure when used in the application for which it was designed… Even the phrase “specifically designed” is used far too often for my taste. For instance, I could develop a new product as a smoking deterrent to keep people from using your ashtray for actual ashes where I form a pile of cat shit that is “specifically designed” to fit in your ashtray. But I don’t think that even if my new product “Pile-O-Poo Smoking Deterrent Ashtray Filler” were properly engineered and guaranteed not to crack after opening your ashtray over and over again so that you can bask in the beauty that is your perfectly designed pile of used cat food would you be interested in purchasing my new-fangled smoking inhibitor. Yet somehow if a company were to make a sub-par product, powdercoat it some shiny color that was pleasing to the eyes and call it “specifically engineered,” it would sell. How is our industry so easily distracted by some properly placed phrases and sparkly paint?


22 Responses to “Engineering?”

  1. BMF CHAD says:

    i think alot of the problem is the lack of education. i have heard countless people talk about buying a certain product(not gonna mention names but, it’s usually the same company) and every person talks about how terrible the product was and that when it finally broke, customer service was non existant. so as they learn their lesson and move on to better products, there is another generation of uneducated young entusiasts that continue to make the same mistakes(and keep the company in business). there are also alot of younger guys in our “sport” that are just in a hurry to have a bagged or custom vehicle. instead of saving back their money and doin it right the first time, they cheap out over and over again. i dont always have the best of the best myself but, i do try to be sure that what i build is safe and reliable. ive had to fix quite a few hacked rides in this area and its always the same. some kid that wanted it done cheaper than i would do it for comes back after the cheap setup fails.

    • BioMax says:

      That’s a good point. So how do we educate the younger crowd? They don’t have anyone to turn to and all they see is that their truck is lower than it was even if it is a total pile of shit.

      • BMF CHAD says:

        im not sure. i try to help them out and help give them a jumpstart by letting them learn from my mistakes. not all of them want to listen tho. i know of a truck here in town that has 2 sets of 3″ drop blocks stacked in the rear. cant tell the kid anything.

        • LeGrand says:

          I have experienced another side to this situation. Perhaps it is because of where I live. Other than a stint in the military I have almost always lived in Michigan. Now granted it’s called the motor city but there is a downside to this. The Detroit area heavily concentrates on “muscle cars” and they are only interested in seeing “muscle cars” a certain style. Example: my father died in 2006 and left me a near mint condition 1972 Dodge Charger. Granted it was a nice car but I detest anything stock. So I looked into Bagging it and putting a 20″ front 22″ rear wheel setup on it.

          Was this ever a mistake. 1 shop told me “why would you destroy a car like this?” Another quoted me a price so high I could have bought a new car with it. Meaning he quoted me a minimum $20,000 p&l. Several shops even lied and said they did not bag cars when they had an air ride tech catalog on their desk.

          When all was said and done I sold the Charger. 1 I am not a mechanic and know enough to not hack my own car up. 2 it would take a lot to convince me to take my car to California to get worked on when I live thousands of miles away.

          I still live in Michigan (and no moving is not an option when I own the house I grew up in and owe nothing on it) I am currently looking for an Astro that’s bagged & body dropped. Since I have no option to find a local shop I will be required to buy one that is already completed.

          Please tell me if there is any errors in my logic?

  2. Brent vann says:

    So where can I get this ashtray

  3. Lynch Concepts says:

    I run into this same problem in the custom paint industry,these kids come in wanting their rides to look like magazine feature cars and don’t understand the concept of gettin what u pay for,earl sheib and maaco aren’t gonna give u any kind of customer service if u get a chip or somethin crazy happens to ur paintjob,hell the price they charge wouldn’t even pay for materials for the jobs I put out.most of those kids don’t get it,or don’t care…

    • BioMax says:

      It’s almost as if the entire industry needs to be separated into quality levels so that people understand that they are probably “playing” in the wrong league… A good idea for another discussion.

      Kinda like nerdy guys trying to date hot chicks…

  4. RA says:

    What about those who claim to actually be “engineers” but in reality can barely piece a clip together model kit together? That would probably be a likely source to a person in charge at those companies that start the frustration.

  5. P.J. Brown says:

    you are exactly right guys, i have been there and done that, and i am guilty of my own engineering of my own lol, but not on my suspension

  6. Phil Owen says:

    This is an interesting topic. Im from out side of the US but this still rings true here. We tend to get a lot of young guys here who decide they want a low or bagged truck. They dont have a lot of money but want a slammed truck NOW. They jump online and find all the “engineered” or “specifically designed” parts which they can import from the US “cheap”. Then they proceed to tell us guys that build the parts to our laws and standards that we are ripping them off. The truth is they only look at the bottom dollar, and a lot of them wouldn’t know or care what the difference is between the cheap parts and the part of a better build standard. I think the key is getting them out of that walmart style thinking.

  7. victim says:

    i think that education comes from the need to know… u see back in the day (long before i was around) if u need something u would make it, where as now u can simply go online, find something, believe what they say is true and buy it. society is built these days more on a view of quantity not quality, if it breaks u buy a new one.

    in the past if u needed to modify something u had no choice but to make it yourself. now, knowing how to make it was where the education came in. somebody would either have to show u how its done or u would simply try yourself, fail and then try again, thus learning!

    as im writting this i am seeing that maybe this ‘poor quality purchasing’ from a certain company that chad mentioned is the new way of learning? by buying this low quality product, then seeing it fail, they are educating themselves??

    lynch concpets makes a good point for the paint industry… i have seen the same thing in the same industry here in Australia. a guy i know would get countless kids coming to him and asking for work to be done. he would give em a price for the paint etc and they would almost keil over and die. in the end they would come to an agree price and get to work. once the job is done they would winge and bitch about small imperfections with the job which at the end of the day come down to time/prep. time is money and that was somethign they werent willing to pay for, so what do they expect.

    phil it looks like its the same in NZ (i think thats where u are from!) as here, as im sure it is everywhere. we have crazy laws to build by over here and the dollar required to comply increases each day. a few shops here are busting out some really great work and doin great things for the MT community but i would say i almost hear more comments about how expensive they are than how increadibly great their work is!

    i will eave it at this as i could probly go all night!

  8. Doc says:

    To address your original question: I feel the term “Engineered” is more of a marketing term which sounds eloquent and sophisticated to the general public and really has nothing to do with the actual engineering of a product. To engineer a product requires thoughtful (educated), design along with endless testing in order to provide a safe and reliable piece of equipment. And just when you think you’ve developed something worthwhile, continued testing is a must to maintain quality control of that product. With the little bit of off-road experience I have, I’ve witnessed newly developed designs that should have worked beautifully when designed, but the application failed under testing…and continued to do so with recurrent modifications. Ulitmately, the project needed to go back “to the drawing board” and be completely re-designed until a safe and reliable product could be built. Trust me, you wouldn’t want a spindle failing on you at 100-150mph in the desert.

    To regulate this issue of utilizing the term “Engineered” is an impossible task. It would require government implementation of a minimum quality control standard…and believe me…the government already has enough to deal with. The only suggestion I could offer to help in this situation is to educate the public (buyers, car enthusiasts, weekend tinkerers) about the differences in products. And the best way I could suggest that is by opening discussion forums like this, holding open houses at your shops which would allow the public to ask questions about their projects or get general information about the proper way of doing things. And each open house could have a very specific theme attached to them in order to address specific areas of concern, such as bagging a mini-truck, frame notching, or building a proper roll cage for example. You could also find it is a fantastic way to build your client base as well. I’ve always felt an educated client is much better to work with than a clueless one. Also, have any of you guys ever considered giving a “crash-course” on what to look for in a quality products? This could be a simple presentation given at car shows, cruises, etc….to help enlighten the public at those venues (who are potetial consumers of the products). These don’t need to be a bash session on certain ideas or products, but more like a comparison of what is available on the market and what applications those products may be used for…looking at strengths and weaknesses (along with price comparisons). I know television shows do this on some level, but this could be more of an intimate way of getting the point across. I feel this would help people make more of an educated decision when they are purchasing (or building) something for their projects. And if they aren’t sure about something, they would be able to remember you from the show….and ultimately ask you your opinion on it. Anyway, these are just some ideas. I hope someone may find them helpful. I have truly appreciated my good friends who have expertise in areas that I may not understand completely (you know who you are)….and have allowed me to “pick” their brain about projects and ideas. Thank you.

    • BioMax says:

      This is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time! Perfectly stated. You can pull up a soap box here anytime and you can borrow my bull-horn if you don’t have one of your own.

  9. Doc says:

    Hahahaha….thanks man! You ROCK!!!!

  10. Fishman says:

    Great website Max! Keep up the good work!

  11. Lonesome one says:

    There aren’t many mass produced, application engineered parts that would not require re-engineering to become qualified for said application. I try to find things I require beyond the conventional means. Which brings me to the next point: Are you able to put the drop on ’54 Chevy uprights? If so let me know, I don’t want to buy a set of those application engineered dropped uprights from … Not really into that shit, pretty sure I’d never get the K/P inclination even close after compensating for the “engineering”.

  12. Schedule says:

    Maybe you could change the blog subject title Engineering? | Bio Kustoms to something more generic for your webpage you make. I enjoyed the the writing all the same.

  13. luke fleming says:

    I have learned so much from reading Mr.Fish’s tech stories online or in the mags.Using the information that he gives helped me build my bagged daily driver( i built a three link with a panhard).So I would like to say thank you for the professional insight.

  14. Daniel cantrell says:

    Max is awesome at this stuff, theres a reason he does this. I dont know ya personally but on fb and seen ya once at relaxing in so cal when u built the best engineering trophy ..that was sick by the way i to appreciate what you educate in the magazines and on here. I love to weld and build trucks also ive had a p.o.s. as my first trcuck , chevy s10 i didnt do it but paid 700 for the install and had bags blowing from rubbing and being mounted to bag cups in the front but not actually mounted to the arms. So everytime the truck would hit a bump they would move. I started figuring everything our on my own and now me and my friend body dropped my colorado and i havent had any problems. Kids will learn just like i did ……keep up the good work max i used to be ” one of those kids ‘