I'm beginning this thread and invite others to post comments and pictures of items that they feel are inferior. I currently have none of my own, but I feel that if forum members do post, we can constructively approach our suppliers. This would be particularly true if several members post about the identical item(s).
Pictures of offending parts as well as supplier part number(s) and possibly old Ford part number(s) will speed up the process for our suppliers.
Please understand; this is intended as a constructive method to fix current problems with parts as well as to prevent/minimize future ones.
Inferior or not inferior that is real question.. Is the actual parts inferior or is it the consumer that doesn't understand the product.
On this particular forum we don't need a supplier / customer service bashing and thats what going to happen.
If supplier bashing occurs, I'll ask the moderator to delete the thread.
I have not experienced an inferior product, but perhaps it just hasn't happened to me yet, or I simply don't know I have one (or more).
The intent of this thread is to be constructive and possibly prevent problems resulting from installing an inferior product, especially where safety (even the lower safety standards prevalent when our T's were new) is involved.
I appreciate what you're trying to accomplish, Bill, but believe this thread may go unintended places. I hope it's remains constructive...we'll see.
As an aside, the suppliers to the hobby are typically distributors of other manufacturer's products and often are offering the ONLY product of it's type made anywhere. Customers could boycott a particular part and that part will most likely become unavailable. On the other hand, if that happens, the economic reality is that there are likely no other manufacturers waiting in the wings to scoop up the market with a better product. There is often little money in being a manufacturer of "T" parts, particularly small, low cost parts, and no one other than a retiree or hobbiest would attempt to enter the market for many of the parts we buy. Doing it for the love of the hobby and it's people is sometimes the biggest reward you'll get.
I would suggest that the best way to ensure quality parts in the hobby is to be willing to PAY for them, and my experience is that in general "T" owners are often very careful consumers (too cheap to pay for it!). Dollars are what will bring manufacturers of quality parts to the party. As an example, I tried to market a solid copper starter terminal for a few bucks more than the brass one commonly available. Copper is the correct material, and the part was a perfect reproduction of the original part. I had almost "zero" interest in it (a little, but not much). Why pay $7 for an original style part, when you can get an equivalent functional part for $5? Two bucks made all of the difference between selling a bunch of parts or not. Reality was a cold-hearted teacher! I need to do better on market research next time!
Still, I'm busy trying to find where I can best fit into the hobby as more than just a driver/owner, and make it be more than just a ridiculous use of my time. It ain't easy, and no one's getting rich that I'm aware of. I just wish I'd become enamored with Deusenbergs and not "T's".
Bob was posting, while I was typing...!
Scott is absolutely right on the cost of manufacturing a correct part to the right specs.
There is some sacrifice on the quality of the product to make it cheap. But it not just Model T parts. Cars/trucks in 30-70's repops also have the same issue. You want to be frustrated do a car in the 60's. Allot of junk for bigger bucks.
Scott, You have a lot of insight into this subject and you are right, Model T owners are cheep, but that doesn't make them bad. If I believed that I wouldn't be manufacturing parts. Manufacturing parts is very expensive. That is why most manufacturers go overseas. But if you do that you loose quality control if you do not have a local quality control person and that drives up the expense. It makes no sense to make an inferior part but there are a few out there. But things have improved and the customer should appreciate that. I can remember back in the 60's when parts were being made in Argentina. These parts were total junk but they were all that were available and we had to live with them. Customers today should be thankful that those days are gone and things have improved. But we will never satisfy everyone no matter how much we improve. All of the parts manufactured by Chaffin's Garage Inc are manufactured in the USA. We are fortunate to have a machine shop that works at a reasonable rate and helps us keep costs down and maintain quality control at the same time. But the customer must understand that if they want top quality they must pay the price.
Scott is a member of our Suncoast T club and has done superior work on my three Ts. These are very old cars and not meant to be driven fast.
You will probably meet resistance from the other camp of people who feel that "T" vendors should be protected at all costs and that we should be thankful even when we receive poor quality parts.
No one debates the fact that it is hard to succeed as a small business.
But the money I spend on these parts doesn't come easy either.
The retailers are very aware of those parts out there and they do look for quality suppliers along with wholesale pricing.
Here's your chance of becoming a supplier if you don't like the quality and pricing on a product start you own fabrication shop.
That didn't take long. Thanks for proving my point Robert.
To be truly constructive, the thread should suggest parts that need to be made, and those that can be improved on and how. Ill start.
1. real inner tubes made of rubber that can accept tire patches
I purchased spring clamps for the rear springs from Langs and they were to short/not wide enough to drop over the axle without splaying the two legs making the included bolt to short. ended up making my own.
Also, this isnt an inferior product but i would stay away from a material that goes between the springs called poly-glyde. This material has shoulders that make is so it doesnt slip out from between the springs but it takes up to much room. it will not let your springpack go back in the crossmember and it will not allow your spring clamps on. im sure its a great product... just not for a model t!
Ed and Nathan,
Don't you know that your supposed to start your own fabrication shop now?
My only gripe is once when I complained about inferior parts to one vendor, I was told "If you don't like them, make them yourself" I no longer deal with that vendor. On another occasions when I received an inferior part, eg valve springs with way too much tension, a drive shaft inner sleeve with way too large ID, the vendors said to return it or in one case, just keep and he would refund the purchase price. Synders, was grateful that I pointed out the problem, was quick to send me a part that fit and worked with his supplier to iron out the problem. What a difference in approach.
Perhaps I have the wrong idea, but I am of the impression that the Model T has been around for many, many years....with parts furnished by various manufacturers when they were assembled.
Some of them were cared for by people of limited means...if a part broke/wore out/did not function correctly, the vehicle was oftentimes made operable by something "at hand"....maybe a Model T part, maybe something salvaged from another chassis.
Just because someone is caring for a "Model T" today, I do not believe it necessarily is THE "Model T" when it left the assembly plant....ie. - if I call a vendor with a request for a new timer cover, the vendor doesn't know what timer is installed. Might it be that sometimes we are trying to fit a Model T part onto a "modified" vehicle?
My personal experience was that I ordered and received an interior kit for a vehicle I wanted to freshen up. Parts of the kit did not fit at all. After several communications with the vendor, it was discovered that although I had a "Real Model T", my "T" body was made by one of three (3) different manufacturers in the day- the vendor had a pattern for, and supplied a kit for a different model...a bit of ignorance on the part of both the vendor and purchaser. (Incidentally, the vendor made good on the problem - I was happy with the solution).
This is not to say that there are not parts that are inferior, but it is meant to say that just because it's a Model T, despite the "interchangeability of parts" claim so often made, there are some exceptions. One Model T fan belt does not necessarily fit ALL Model T's.
My thoughts are this. The average Model T owner should be able to decipher a parts book, and compare that to a vendor's catalog. I know of at least three suppliers that use Ford's part numbering.
An average Model T owner should KNOW what parts are on his car, within the laws of reason: size of tires/tubes, size of fan belt, spark plug size, type of communicator, etc.
On the other hand, when you order a part, the supplier doesn't have to be a mind reader, but should know what you are talking about if you order it as listed in the parts book/catalog. If you order "XYZ" nut and get "ABC" washer instead, that's the supplier's fault. If you order "XYZ" nut and get "XYZ" nut in the wrong thread count, that's the manufacturer's fault. If you order a Anderson roller mechanism for your Ford Brand Timer, that's your stupidity.
Yes, there are inferior parts out there: we've all bought some at one point, me included. However, unless the hobby at large demands a higher standard or people are willing to put their money where their mouth is, you are at the mercy of the supplier/manufacturing base that is currently in place. Or use NOS parts, that may be NOS for a reason (sometimes, even they are non-usuable).