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

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