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Warning to MII kit owners, Street Scene Mag

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ELpolacko, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Ripped from June 2006 Street Scene magzine

    This crossmember appears to be a Fatman Fabrication kit, but any of the other kits constructed in the same manner are vounerable to the same fatigue and failure. This is an entirely different failure than the previous lower control arm/crossmember failures we saw in recent years. Same destructive force, braking!

    StreetScene Fatman1.jpg

    StreetScene Fatman2.jpg

    StreetScene Fatman3.jpg

    StreetScene Fatman4.jpg
  2. Good info! Thank you Elpolacko! I will certainly be checking mine now.
  3. Leon
    Joined: Jul 22, 2003
    Posts: 361


    I notice that they have beefed up their kits recently, has anyone heard if they will be offering a kit to reinforce that area on previous models?
  4. I have a Fatman upper spring pocket here at the shop with a prominent bulge from the spring between the shock tower and control arm shaft mounting holes. This came off of a truck with LESS THAN 100 MILES ON IT! The customer noticed the truck sagging on the right side more as he was building the truck.

    I have mentioned this to other shops and had come up with a few were the spring actually ruptured through, this article is the first I have seen where the bolts have ripped out.

    If you have one of these kits I highly suggest you make your own repair parts. You will need to remove the upper arm and spring to gain access. Trace the shape and make a second plate to fit inside the spring tower and tack weld it in place. You should use 1/8" plate.

  5. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,824


    I have one, thanks for the heads up!
  6. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 12,152


    Sad to here, but good to be informed - THANK YOU!
  7. Geeez-us! THATS some scary shit,man!
  8. Has FatMan owned up to this issue? They should and replace the top hats and any other parts that have failed in the past (lower control-arm bolts, etc.). This is a BIG deal for anyone who used their older kits, but I'm very interested in how FatMan has dealt with it on their new kits, one of which I just installed.

    Thanks for the info.

  9. homebrew
    Joined: Feb 11, 2003
    Posts: 136


  10. Any chance the big magazines will cover this problem ?

    Too bad the "manufacturer" didn't do sufficient cycle testing
    before going into production.
  11. There was no mention of FatMan or any other manufacturer in the article. More magazine PC filtering for your own good, damnit!

    There were more than enough clues in that article for me to jump to the conclusion it is a FatMan product, the picture clinches the deal. Judging by the fact that the pocket was removed, I can only assume that they sent him a replacement. For the record, Fatman has always gone out of their way to fix the problem when they occur instead of using the tired old saw of "installer error" to wish away thier problems.

    The point being, we shouldn't have to fix these sort of things.
  12. ground_pounder
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 443


    sure am glad i didnt go that route, now especially
  13. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,021


    Fatman is the only one I know if that used 5/16" wall for their lower crossmembers. At one time they made a big deal out of this in their ads, but if you really think about it, thicker doesn't always equal stronger.... especially when you're comparing putting the weld in only one plane rather than at least 2 intersecting planes.

    Thanks for the heads-up, ElP!
  14. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,711

    from Garner, NC

    A few of these issues have been known for a while. As a matter of fact I've heard more than one suspension guy refer to them as show suspensions. It sucks that it happens, it just shows that you should thoroughly check you car regularly...
  15. Max Grody
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 94

    Max Grody
    from Ky

    Just checked mine out. It's an early Fatman, about 12 years and 18,000 miles since installation and it's been over some big bumps. Looks good visually and nothing's sagging. Is this good enough, or is a dye penetrant test advisable?
  16. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 24,137


    So is this design exclusive to Fatman or do I need to worry about my kit from Waltons?
  17. somthing else to look at on your mustang II would be were the shock comes through the top hat. if your upper shock bushings are wearing out the shock has the potitial to rub through the hat and through the shock. as shown. this application was coilovers and after 28,000 miles this is what had happened. if you look close the shock is about to wear all of the way through. just FYI to keep everyone safe

    Attached Files:

  18. Scott K
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 824

    Scott K

    All the more reason not to use a light weight suspension on a heavy weight car.
    40's / 50's cars should have something like a camero / caprice / volare / cordoba. Yes, it's harder to do, but it will never break when you hammer on it. That mustang crap is fine on a light early 30's car.
  19. i would beg to differ with you there it is not a manner of light duty front suspension it is a matter of quality of the product when you purchase an after maket front suspension. You get what you pay for. And By the way i would never put a camaro or any of the above listed on a 40's or 50's car. i will only put on mustang II's. or a superride II trying to graft old crap on a car like that is stupid in my opinion when you can buy the correct fit independent front suspension that has the correct geometry and spring rate for what you are working with. i have had several cars from the 40's and 50's with mustang II front suspension such as 47 fords and 50 merc, and when they are set up correctly with the right spring rate they ride good and last forever if the proper mantaince is used such as checking bushing for wear. if you are going to update your car update it with new technologie not old crap.
  20. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,711

    from Garner, NC

    From what I've been told Heidt's suffers from some of the same design/engineering flaws... I actually talked with ElP about this at the HAMB Drags 2 years ago when discussing the Dakota suspension on his truck... it just keeps coming up...
  21. I just bought a Fat Man Ultra Low kit for my 54 Chevy HT I hope I have no problems. Anyone here use this kit on their 50's car and have any problems? At the shop we only have a 110 volt welder (there is a old Snap On MIG welder in 220 too but I don't think it's that strong) and I am hoping to weld my front kit on with it. I am no begginner welder or nothing I have gone (still going) to college for it, etc. I am going to get a torch and heat up the kit where I will be welding and then weld on it with extra heat, I am going to pay close attention to the hats though and see what I can do to brace them or such....
    I have a 1966 Ford F100 that I want to lower and instead of using the boring 3inch dropped beams I was going to put a MII kit on it... Now I don't know what I will use.
  22. I agree, to a point. That "point" is the use of FACTORY ORIGINAL PARTS.

    This means, if you're to use a Mustang, you use MUSTANG, not Heidt's, not Fatman, just FORD. Anyone who's been on here forever knows about my '46 and the Heidt's front that blew apart, as well as Gary's initial refusal to acknowledge, the HAMB response, and the subsequent repairing at his expense.

    I now favour subframing, but this needs to be done properly, and properly is NOT a butt weld, in this case.

    As has been stated here before, none of this aftermarket stuff is tested to destruction. And no other test is sufficient for me. I talked long to Gary Heidt after the episode, and he admitted that he had not tested to destruction. His testing consisted of long drives over rough roads. My contention was/is: if it hasn't broke, you simply don't know when/where it will break. The breaking point needs to be known to uncover the weak points of a design. All designs of anything will break, the trick is to know what/when/where the break will happen, and design that point so far above the item's conceivable usage that that point never occurs.

    Obviously the aftermarket Mustang suspensions WILL break, DO break, and need some intensive redesign, or total recall. I lobbied the NHTSA for recall, based on how my unit (and others) failed. Nothing came of this, yet...

    As to coverage in a major magazine: Are you JOKING??? NEVER will that happen. The Boyd bankruptcy was not covered in a major mag, and that little news item would not have even cut into the advertising revenue (out of business companies do little advertising...).

  23. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 11,069

    Tech Editor

    I dont claim to be an expert in any of this but the pinto that the MII was derived from was introduced in '71.

    The Front steer Camaro was introduced in about '70...

    Where exactly is the cut off date for old crap?

    And talking about geometry, whenever I was asked to put in a MII, I would measure the pivot points ( just to see how difficult it would be to make my own Crossmember ) and a lot of the times the measurements were more than a 1/2" off.
  24. kermit
    Joined: Feb 26, 2006
    Posts: 197

    from WI

    I have a 46 TUDOR with a Heidts IFS. It failed after about 2 years and Heidt's finally fixed it. I do inspect it regularly. Since then and the added gussets seem to be holding up acceptably.

  25. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,021


    Altough I'm one of few that will admit that newer 110V welder are strong enough to do nearly anything on a street car chassis, I wouldn't be comfortable using that to stick a Fatman kit in. This is based mainly on the fact that the lower crossmember on Fatman kits is 5/16" wall thickness. Granted, you're probably welding it to something thats 1/8" or 5/32" thick, but still. My 110V Millermatic 135 can do 1/4 inch stuff pretty decent if I take my time and all. But like I said, I wouldn't be comfortable using it on a Fatman kit. Pretty much anyone else's I think I'd be OK with. My 2¢.
  26. Alright well I will take that into concideration I appreciate that.... I have a Millermatic 125 as well. Very great unit but like you said, not sure if I would trust it. The thing with heating the base metal up with a torch first to help heat it up and get good penetration seems kind of weird to me. Maybe it will work but this isn't something I can take a chance on. Hell, you'd think that at the shop we would have a big 220 welder (which we do but who in the hell will trust a Snap On welder haha) or such. I may take it to the local community college next semester when I take the rest of my welding classes and use the machine there. I'd really like to use stick like a 7018 and 6010 both, One to be the root pass and then 2 stringer beads to have a nice cover pass. Not many people use stick welders nowadays I guess but I like them.
  27. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,857


    If your gonna weld anything first get equipment that will do the job. Forget the 110 volt and the preheat idea. Not safe. Not sound. Not good.
  28. if you already have 220 in the shop buy a stick welder. New/used they are pretty cheap, and probably the best for frame work. Thin or thick, it's still all about the penetration. And as far as these after market kits go, I haven't seen much built in the after market that didn't need reworking or re-engineering. Seems like the motto in the hotrod after market parts business is "We build them to sell not to last, so if you can't build 'em right, at least build 'em fast."
  29. Hemi-roid
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 134

    from Cary, IL

    I agree. I got a Lincoln 225 AC stick welder at Home Depot for $225. Not as elegant as MIG or TIG, but very strong and dependable. This spring I bought a small trailer from a guy that welded it together with his 110v MIG. I checked it out when I got home, and I pulled several of his welds apart with a pliers (NOT a BIG pliers either!). The welds were truly pathetic. I went over every weld on the trailer with my buzz box before putting it on the road. Always go for safe instead of convenient.
  30. What added gussets did you put in there, because Heidt's didn't, nor wouldn't add ANYTHING to it when he fixed it.
    Actually, The Roadster Shop fixed it, and I definitely would inspect that, because he did not replace the crossmember, he simply butt welded pieces in to replace that which broke.


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