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the SFA kit to avoid...

Discussion in '1992-Present Chevy & GMC models' started by beater_k20, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    as some of you may know, i recently purchased a Off Road Direct ( www.offroaddirect.com) SFA conversion kit for my project '92.

    in initial contact with the company's owner, identified only as "Will A.", he seemed very knowledgable about the product. he also assured me that there have been several trucks completed with this kit. on another note, he was always very quick to respond to my emails. feeling rather confident that this was a stand up company, i had no problem dropping the $400 for their conversion brackets.

    this is where things started to get shady. after payment was sent, Will's email responses slowed dramatically. where he once took at hour at most to respond, he was now taking 3 to 4 days. he assured me when i placed the order that it would go out by the end of the week, and that when it did he would email me with a tracking number. the end of the week came, and i sent him an email asking about the tracking number. he gave me some story about the place he had farmed out the brackets to not drilling the holes for the backing plate of the shackle hanger correctly, but that they were done, and it should go out the following week. no problem, right? the next week came and went, i emailed him several times. no tracking number yet. finally, im starting to get a little fed up. he tells me that they will ship on a Tuesday if i remember correctly, and that he would again email me with a tracking number. i waited until Thursday, emailed him, and asked for my tracking number. a little later that night, he sends me an email, and assures me that they were shipped when promised. i run the tracking number... billing information recieved right before i had heard back from him. this guy's customer service is now lacking in areas it hadn't before, and his shipping times downright suck. does he not value me as a customer?

    finally i get the kit. i open the box, and find the parts just as i had expected them. the quality of the parts at first glance seemed good. nice crisp corners on all of the steel, nice welds, good clean holes throughout. initially i was told that a 73-87 spring would fit right into the brackets. thank god i didnt order my springs already. the kit specified 1/2" bolts for both ends of the spring, and at the shackle/hanger joint. the proper amount of hardware was included in the kit, so i decided to put the bolts into their appropriate holes to prevent myself from losing them. in doing so, i noticed that the 1/2" bolts were a bit on the loose side. just for kicks and giggles, i decided to try a 9/16" bolt that i had laying around. it fit like a glove. a quick measurement with the trusty dial caliper confirmed that this was infact a 9/16" hole, intended for a 1/2" bolt. Will's reasoning for the oversized hole? "to factor in for powdercoating". the shackle that was included was your standard 4" center to center 73-87 GM rear shackle. that's all well and good, except the fact that a rear spring is only 3" wide, where a front spring is 3.5" wide. i emailed Will with my concerns. his response was to sell me the proper bushings to fit the brackets. the catch was, i had to tell him where to get them. rather than put any more money in this joker's pocket, i attempted to locate them myself. nobody could seem to find a set of bushings that would work for my application. my next option was a custom shackle. i'm not really into dropping any more money into this abortion of a kit, so i'm really having second thoughts about it.

    then one day i decided to actually mock the crossmember up to the front of my frame. i found that there was about a 1/4" gap between the plates that are supposed to bolt to the sides of the frame, and the sides of the frame. i again contacted Will with my concerns. his solution? washers between the frame and the crossmember. i dont think so... not on a truck that i'm going to trust my life with. at this point, im totally out on the kit. i asked Will what he was going to offer to make me feel better about my purchase. he offered to take the kit back, and refund my money. it was agreed that as soon as the kit was in his posession, that a refund would be initiated via PayPal. no big deal, right? if you looked at the link in the beginning of my post, you'll notice that they are listed in Tempe, AZ. i am then given an adress, and an RGA # (0001 if i remember correctly, probably a BS number), and an address to send it back to. but this address wasnt the one in Tempe, this one was in South Jordan, UT, nearly 700 miles away. i watched the tracking number, right to its destination, where it was signed for. my supposed instant refund didnt happen for 24 hours. then i began to get suspicious. i tracked the address with the help of a few friends, and i found out the guy's real last name. but this address seemed to be a residence, as there were 4 people listed as living there with the same last name. finally, its day #45 with the paypal transaction, so if i didnt file that day, i was screwed as far as their protection. so i filed a dispute with them and went to bed. the next morning, my phone rings. its Will, he tells me that the refund had been sent, and then wanted to chit chat about the product. well this has been fixed, and that has been fixed. i think he was trying to salvage his sale, but after a month and a half, i definitely wasnt into that.

    i have since spoken with a couple of other manufacturers of SFA kits, and have actually ordered another that should be here late this week. ironically, one of the guys i talked to chuckled when i mentioned the Off Road Direct kit. turns out that this guy had already been told of his problems, but sought out another establishment to fabricate them to his specs, even though they were wrong.

    use EXTREME caution when dealing with this guy, he's definitely a shady one.
     
  2. b454rat

    b454rat 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Hmm that sucks. An affordable SAS kit and turns out to be a pile of crap. Thought it was too good to be true. I thought about making some brackets for a SAS kit, but then someone mentioned liability and insurance and a bunch of other legal crap, and didnt' want to get involved with it. If I don't sell my 89 (now that some friends have some wheelers' I don't want to sell it now!!!) I'm taking the ORU kit off and having a crossmember made and using hangers off OOBS for the rears. Hope everyone heads the warning, and if the owner is reading, he better fix his product and customer service!!!!!
     
  3. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    i'm going with Sky Manufacturing this time around. just dont like the looks of the ORU kit. the rear shackle hanger is kinda cheesy, just like the one that i had. Sky's kit uses a plate shackle (like a stock 73-87) in the front, rather than an A style like everybody else uses. i've used Sky Products before, as have many of you guys. i have yet to hear anything bad about them or any of their products.
     

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