Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Groups and Customer Pull

Bostig manufactures in small batches or groups. Because the marketplace and Bostig itself are so small in scale, we try to make it a point to not carry inventory of kits either. This makes changes to the kit itself faster/easier and has contributed to the success and quality of the system.  In addition, because cashflow is extremely important in small businesses, we try not to tie up cash in inventory. It is better used for ongoing R&D etc.

Instead of the traditional customer push model that you are used to in larger or mainstream markets, we use customer pull. Customer push is what most people are familiar with, build a bunch of product, and keep it in inventory, then use price incentives and marketing to move product out of inventory or "push" to the customer. The customer pull model allows us to build a group essential "on demand".  The cycle time is longer, for the customer but the results are much better. Value is higher to the customer and the product itself gets updated much more often.  We *sometimes* carry kits in inventory, however those kits are usually reserved for documentation work and internal use, however we will sometimes allow people to buy reserve kits for an additional surcharge vs the group purchase price. If you're really in a pinch, you can always ask us if we have any reserve kits available. The surcharge runs $500.

Someone also asked what the differences were between RG2 and RG3, and the answer is yes, but all RG1 and RG2 can be made to RG3 spec with minimal extra time/purchases. The main change is the airbox moving to the driver's side, a change which speeds up airbox modification for fitment and retains the intake resonator which quiets the intake noise even further.  Other changes are tune based, and can be updated via email and reflashing of the ECU.



Friday, April 11, 2014

It's not just the actual work

I just saw a hilarious image on imgur that I'm sure many people can relate to. It's got profanity, so sorry if you're offended but man is it funny:

It reminds me that it's not just the time spent actually bolting things together in most automotive projects that really takes up most of your time. It's also easy to forget just how much of a time suck and headache inducing situation it is when you aren't all planned out and organized, especially when you are doing a project for the first time.

 Without knowing what is in store when setting off on a project, it's easy to miss things and honestly, you can't know what you don't know. Because every other conversion available in the market is essentially a one-off each time it is performed, no two are ever identical and therefore the project itself is never identical either. Add to that the fact that no other vendor offers a truly complete, repeatable, formula for success with their parts, and you might not anticipate what it really takes to pull off a DIY engine conversion in your vanagon.

This is an area where a system like ours really helps, we can guarantee the outcome, and you can avoid huge amounts of wasted time and effort. Not even to mention having the most proven, simplest, and reliable engine possible in your vanagon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reply and tickets

This is an open reply to two threads on thesamba, rather than repost, I will post here, and past in links:

Sorry to Marvin if the replies to the MCHS ticket thread were insufficient, they were much slower than I had realized and sorry we didn't answer all your questions.

The reason we don't support variation to the kit is that we don't have experience with it, nor can we support things we didn't sell/develop. We don't oppose it at all, in fact we welcome it (the airbox dev work people have been doing is great, and we will likely shift to one of those variants) don't get me wrong, but we can't support it unless that is part of the specification.

For instance, in the MCHS thread, it was posited that the fasteners for the MCHS were installed heads up for appearance, but the reason is for access/convenience. It you put the head the other way through, the head will spin when you loosen the nut. Having captive nuts behind it makes this easier.   We've also flipped the fasteners and weld two stainless bolts to a strip and then have the nuts on the front, it is unclear which lasts longer currently.

Also we used to use all stainless hardware for it, but unless copious amounts of anti-seize are used (which is not typical, even when specified) they gall and break. So we have to mix the material to avoid galling.

In the case of the exhaust, anytime you have stainless that gets exposed to high heat, even the highest grades, it loses much of it's corrosion resistance with carbide precipitation. So your quest to find a "do it once" solution unless you go with extremely obscure (read expensive and hard to source) materials is often a second runner up to doing it such that the maintenance interval is acceptable.

But I still think yours happened very quickly, I looked through the ticket system and my email and I can't find have any datalogs from you Marvin.  If you could send or resend a recent drive log, we could see if perhaps there is an issue and you're overfueling which causes excess radiant heat as the extra fuel is burned in the catalytic converter. This would also cause the melted loom in the picture I saw.

By the way (not directed at Marvin specifically) someone asked me the other day "do I really need to send a datalog?"  to which my reply is: it's like coming out of heart surgery and asking the doc, "do you really need to monitor my vitals?"  The answer is actually of course no, but you have the capability with the kit, and expertise on this side that's already paid for so why wouldn't you?

Lastly, as Jeff relayed I prefer the questions that are kit/install specific to come through our systems. The close feedback loop is one of the things that makes everything better than the alternatives. If we just offered the parts and said "here's your adapter plate and flywheel have fun" like many others do, then there wouldn't be vendor specific questions, nor would we catch any additional criticism for having incomplete docs because we aren't even trying. Our goal isn't to simply sell parts, our goal is to keep vanagons on the road and owners driving along happily. We are trying to achieve what nobody else is attempting, and it is made more difficult if information is all over the place.

As far as visibility of problems,  it depends on the nature of the problem. If there is a systemic problem, then sure it should be known to all, if however it is a specific problem to the user then it should not. It can cause extra work and worry for people that shouldn't have either. As far as determining which is which, only those with the most data can actually determine that. That would be us, and our customers pay us to know the right info, and make those calls so they don't have to and that's what we work hard to do.

If one wants to go along the route of it should all be unmanaged/non-currated public information and we shouldn't be the first touchpoint and authority on information (which is perhaps the single most valuable aspect of the system) then there are plenty of options that will allow one to figure out every aspect for him or herself and post endlessly online about it and wade through answers. That's what we're trying to avoid from the start as that does *not*, despite what anyone believes, provide the best results.

Luckily it seems we aren't wrong about that or the two of us wouldn't have any ability at all to support the now 423+ kits out there, but we do. Unfortunately not as quickly or perfectly as we or anyone else would like all the time, but it's not for lack of concern,  please understand that.  I also still think that comapred to just about anything else including big companies, our support is very good. You have to remember there are two human beings back here though and we do have lives, problems, and troubles too, there is actually no such thing as Bostig except to the government and the lawyers, and most of the time I try to avoid their perspective. We like the arrangement very much of our customers supporting us, and us supporting them. It allows both to achieve things that neither would have been able to do without it.

Jim Akiba

Friday, April 4, 2014

No Regrets Rebate up to $1000 off the RG2 Bostig Conversion System!!!!

Tax refunds and no regrets rebates! This spring is the one to stop making yourself promises and start getting out there and travelling in and enjoying your van. We've all done it, we say this is the year I'm going to make that big trip happen. Of all the customers that have finally done their big trips, they almost all say the same thing afterwards... Why didn't I do this sooner?

In thinking about why that happens, we decided we could help!  We're offering the "No Regrets rebate".

With MOST automotive projects, people start to collect parts before there's a project plan. This often leads to lots of part collecting dust for years, and leads to questions like "Honey, what are you going to do with these parts, can't we just get them out of here so we can have the space back?"

Yeah that happens to all auto aftermarket niches and all enthusiasts, and for all kinds of reasons.  SO what we've decided to do is offer a rebate for your miscellaneous parts that you may have started collecting for your engine rebuild or even another conversion!  Things like:

  • Engine cores
  • Bellhousings
  • Adapter plates
  • Exhaust parts
  • Coolant parts
The way it works is this:

  1. Take up to 5 digital pictures of your parts
  2. Fill out the online form here
  3. We review your story and make a rebate offer up to $1000 off an RG2 Bostig Conversion for your parts
  4. Free up that space and send us those dusty unused parts!
  5. Buy that RG2 Bostig
  6. Finally hit the road and rack up those (s)miles
Make sure to really tell us your story.  We've all been there, and the more we relate, the more likely we are to get all sappy and give a bigger rebate. And yes, we might even pay you more than the parts are worth :)

This offer will run until April 17th 2014, and is only good for RG2

Friday, March 21, 2014

HC Oilpan draining, and Bostig as Apple

I just replied to a recent thread on theSamba that might interest some folks, it was about not being able to get all the oil drained when doing an oil change with the High Capacity oilpan. Original thread is

On the draining of the HC Oilpan, without the skidplate you'll get just about eveything out other than the height of the threads and gasket radius needed to seal when level. If you put the driver's wheel up on a ramp or jack it you can get more, but it shouldn't be enough to be worth it.

If you have the skidplate installed all the time, then you need to lift the driver's side and use a bit of cardboard or plastic with a crease to drain it. This is so that no low point (as seen in OEM stock pans) is needed, which increases cost, adds a lower hit point, and would require the entire skidplate to be that much lower.

If you are still suspicious you aren't getting enough, call, email, or submit a ticket and we can figure out if anything else/weird is going on.
furrylittleotter wrote:

I am pleased my stock Subaru pan drains just fine and is still higher that a bostig. Cool 

Neil2, if you're game: with your van on even pavement, can you measure your ground clearance at the lowest point, along with the distance from the ground to your wheel arch (body panel, middle of the bottom edge of the arch) height?

If you have subie stock pan, you should be a couple inches worse off than a Bostig with the HC Oilpan. Early versions used to have worse ground clearance but we are now equal or better to recent subaru based installs we have data for. For instance Syncro Bo gained .5" when it was converted from a 2.2L subaru based RMW install, and the Bostig has significantly higher departure angle than all conversions, 1.8t being the lowest departure angle.

I don't take offense to your comments about Apple, I take it as a compliment, and you have an excellent point. The evil part isn't true, but we are very much like Apple. We offer a unified system that will definitely work for anyone that wants to use it. The other options like subaru based installs are more like DIY PCs. You can indeed get excellent bang for the buck if you know what you are doing and put in the time, but you'll have to do a lot more work, and have a lot more expertise to do it. In addition the risks will be higher down the road, just like the Apple vs. PC debate except in gremlins not viruses/malware.

You can read about our philosophy in the blog on the site as to why we believe this is a better approach for those less interested in building/modding vanagons and more interested in travelling/driving vanagons, which is who we build for.

As for the slogan. We just have more conversions/miles than any other vendor (and we are not nearly the oldest either), and all those people trusted us and our products with their money/time/effort. They wrote it for us.

-Jim Akiba