Today I picked up the suspension mounts, counter plate and the airbag mount plate.
The pieces above need to be welded on the main mount plate and the little tabs are for location and strength. Everything fits perfect apart from a little mishap.
Something got lost in translation. I missed to specify the different thickness of the material. The counter plate was meant to be done in 6mm and not 8mm like the main mount. Now I am 1mm out with the distance between the proper mount point of the counter plate and the front edge flange of the mount. I need 76.5mm clearance for the cross member and have 75.5 which is not enough.
The reason this was missed is that I only need to send the flat drawings in DXF format and it does not automatically contain the material description, which my other files all do. I prepared the drawings and DXF files, but did not specify the 6mm thickness explicitly. The guy on the other end rightfully assumed the same material thickness and since I specified the 8mm for the mount this ended up to be the same thickness. Bummer …
I could take 1mm or 1.5mm off but this is so much effort and the pieces are so cheap that I just don’t bother and have them redone. At $23 a piece, material with drilling and bending ist just not worth a second thought. When I see what I pay for steel and manufactured pieces then the prices for the “normal” caravan really starts to look very obscene. Even in overpriced Australia steel and steel manufacturing can be done pretty cheap. I end up paying less for my suspension, with all this high end parts including disc brakes and ABS controller, than the quote I had from a “leading” Australian suspension supplier. What a joke that is.
Some time ago I received a quote for trailing arms with air bag suspension and electric over hydraulic actuator, disc brakes and hubs with Toyota stud pattern and the lot was over $12,000. Retail price I assume – not what a manufacturer would pay – but I just had a good laugh. That was one of the reasons I actually started thinking. not only the obscene price but also the second rate gear I would get. The quoted contained 4 airbags, with a single bag at $800.
I have super strong air bags rated at #5200lbs each and runnable without air in an emergency and I buy 4 and pay for 2. They were US $220 for 4 bags.
One length of C450 65x65x5mm Supergal steel for the trailing arms is $190. I need 1.5 length for that and around 1.5 hours of welding and the trailing arms are done, all of them.
It is interesting that the quotes I had for the laser cutting and other stuff varied up to 100%. One company wanted $430 for the lot, which is a bit over $100 per wheel and the other company wanted $840 and the third company never got back to me, not even after 2 weeks now. When you do that commercially success really depends on the people you work with, they can tear you down or help you along. It is always refreshing to find people who take pride in their work. Occasionally you find them.