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Anyone want to buy new 320 vent window rubbers?


ol' 320

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 ... "Sometime you can be too close to a problem and not see a solution. I'm hoping to prime the pump here and get something happening. Maybe shake a few ideas loose for consideration... be a catalyst...."

 

Mike: I was a little cranky last night when I posted, and I am afraid you were the recipient of my testy comments posted earlier.

Look, I can imagine it is a tough job to moderate a forum. As I was the one who lit the fuse on this thread many years ago, I vividly remember how the 620 KC rubber gasket project went sideways, and the fallout that debacle caused.

 

Please let this thread continue to meander along. The recent exchange of ideas has produced the first business quote for reproduction of vent rubber gaskets that I am aware of in years. Let's see where this goes. I understand your point made above about being too close to a problem and shake ideas loose. Who really knows what talent lurks on this forum? I don't know what everyone who posts here does at their day job, and I suspect you don't either. But obviously there is a wide variety of creative, talented people within the  "Ratsun loop" who can and have helped each other.

 

Through this one thread I learned about a fellow who has posted about his efforts to recreate the steering column bellows piece that is also, as far as I can tell, now unobtanium. This is all interesting stuff to me. My old 320 needed that part, and the fella who fixed it up had to invent a solution because that particular part does not exist. But now we see another fellow is determined to try to make these again!

 

I think we all want and need to encourage inventive souls to come up with viable solutions to keep our old cars safely on the road.

 

Unless the Ratsun world attracts a very clever, stubborn soul(s) who either has a lot of money to burn or has the creative talent to make a complex molding project fly rattling around in their head(s), it is likely going to take a commitment to get these vent window rubbers back in production.

 

I no longer have the excess funds to float the development costs to make this happen as an individual. But I do want to encourage any serious effort to reproduce these 320 parts. If these can be made at the projected costs, with quality, I will probably buy at least one pair to support such an effort and so I can pass the rubbers along to the current owner of my old L320. 

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There is one aspect of this that nobody has mentioned - does the new part actually have to be identical to the old part? I'm sure liberties could be taken to simplify the design and have it function adequately. This also brings up another question - does the complexity of the part have a huge affect on the cost? Would simplifying the part bring the cost down enough to make a difference?

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9 minutes ago, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

There is one aspect of this that nobody has mentioned - does the new part actually have to be identical to the old part? I'm sure liberties could be taken to simplify the design and have it function adequately. This also brings up another question - does the complexity of the part have a huge affect on the cost? Would simplifying the part bring the cost down enough to make a difference?

 

Those are great points. If this doesn't pan out I'm taking mine to my local glass shop to have them frankenstein something from from another gasket. I just want it to look good and keep water out. I don't really care if the window opens/closes. My local glass shop is really good--they eye-balled the stock windshield gasket and knew right away that a 60s Ford gasket would work. They also figured out the Jeep Commander curve was a match and cut me a windshield to fit. 

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ol' 320: You put it better than I could about the difficulty of making these window seals. There are understandably people who are wary of putting down the money for a product of this nature, especially when it's from a company that they've never heard of. So I'd like to assure everyone that Advance Auto Supply is committed to making this a success. I'll post some pictures of AAS's offices and facilities: hopefully it gives people a better idea of our background and capabilities.

 

wayno: thank you for the generous offer. I agree, it would really speed up the process once we make the test samples. I'll have to ask the owner if we can arrange for it to be shipped to the AAS warehouse. 

 

Here's the link to the pre-order form, in case anyone hasn't seen it yet. If you know someone who needs the seals, please send them the link as well.  

https://forms.gle/XxJ3kcM2UaXcfjoj6

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I got the 3D scanned gaskets from 320newb. Initially, I tried cleaning up the scans to see if they could be used to make molds, but they are pretty rough. So I spent some time trying to re-draw the gaskets in CAD using the 3D scans as reference, but got distracted by other projects. I believe that if there was a good cad model then a 3d printed mold could be made for "good enough" quality gaskets. But the time and money involved wouldnt make it a huge savings over the prices being quoted by the AAS (although the shipping seems oddly high). 

 

I base this on my limited experience making my own window squeegees. For ~6-10 useable parts I spent ~$75 in materials + 100hours of 3d printing + ~10 hours casting them. That was spread out over 3 or 4 weeks. Granted, now I have the molds and I could probably make a small batch (maybe 25-50 before the mold fails) for just the time of casting and cost of materials, but that still isn't exactly cheap ( depending on how much your time is worth). 

 

The vent gaskets are much more complicated to draw accurately in CAD, will be more difficult to cast, and require much more fit testing and refinement, but I still think it is a project that could be done with 3d printing. I just dont know if I will get to it.

 

If I needed the gaskets bad enough I would be tempted to pre-order the AAS parts. If the parts are actually made, I will probably try to buy a set for the future. But with where I'm at now, I cant see risking pre-ordering something that may never be made. The website seems a little sketchy and there is nothing that links the pre-order form to the company even if is legit. 

 

I guess I'm in wait and see mode which isn't really helpful for getting these made.

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5 hours ago, ol' 320 said:

 ... "Sometime you can be too close to a problem and not see a solution. I'm hoping to prime the pump here and get something happening. Maybe shake a few ideas loose for consideration... be a catalyst...."

 

Mike: I was a little cranky last night when I posted, and I am afraid you were the recipient of my testy comments posted earlier.

Look, I can imagine it is a tough job to moderate a forum. As I was the one who lit the fuse on this thread many years ago, I vividly remember how the 620 KC rubber gasket project went sideways, and the fallout that debacle caused.

 

 

 

lol it was nothing. 

 

I have no problems with this thread whatever, and it most certainly should continue to it's own end. My input remains... be careful with overseas makers, and why can't we do it here?

 

I may be naive in thinking it seems simple enough... just a lot of work. 

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If you don't care that it opens and closes I would think it would be very easy to glaze it shut with the glaze they use on metal doors. It's basically like a silicone, but I'm not sure that it *is* silicone. They use it here all the time and put it on pretty thick to form the outside profile on the door muntins around lights (glass). 

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12 hours ago, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

I personally wouldn't want to sacrifice any functionality. My point was that maybe the part doesn't need to be as complex as the original, or maybe just not identical to the original. There are many ways to skin a cat.

 

Well, the guy was basically saying he didn't want to even work on or drive one if he didn't have seals, so...

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OK, this is not really the way to do this unless one has a count on how many sets have been ordered so far, I found that when I did the 320 windshield order that once people could see others had ordered then they ordered, but I didn't ask for a deposit either, I took a chance and no one cancelled.

I suspect it would help if we could see a count on how many sets have been ordered on a weekly basis/daily basis, no one here even knows if a single person has ordered a set, it could take a year or more to get a 100 sets ordered, and most would ask paypal for their money back at 160/170 days, I just don't see it working out this way unless one person orders all the sets and distributes them, I don't have the funds to spare anymore on a venture like this.

 

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I think I already covered that. With the horror stories I've read about and have been told about, I wasn't going to go that route even if I had the money to pay for the 100 sets. However, I'm not going to stop anybody if they want to step up to the plate. As for modifying the design to expedite the process, you will need a concensus on that but you are likely going to run into some want them true to the design and functionality and others who don't give a rats ass.

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4 minutes ago, wayno said:

OK, this is not really the way to do this unless one has a count on how many sets have been ordered so far, I found that when I did the 320 windshield order that once people could see others had ordered then they ordered, but I didn't ask for a deposit either, I took a chance and no one cancelled.

I suspect it would help if we could see a count on how many sets have been ordered on a weekly basis/daily basis, no one here even knows if a single person has ordered a set, it could take a year or more to get a 100 sets ordered, and most would ask paypal for their money back at 160/170 days, I just don't see it working out this way unless one person orders all the sets and distributes them, I don't have the funds to spare anymore on a venture like this.

 

There have been 6 sets ordered so far.

 

I've been talking to trakker98 about alternative routes to securing the funding needed -- or at the very least, some way to accurately assess the demand of the seals. Possibly a crowdfunding platform such as Indiegogo or Gofundme.

 

Regarding the CAD model: before trakker98 sent us the physical samples, someone also provided the CAD scans to me. To clean up the model and secure the equipment, materials, etc. needed would be far too difficult, costly and time-consuming. And it wouldn't be made to the tolerances needed. It's much better to do this the "old-fashioned" way. But to do this, we'd need people to commit to at least 100 sets. 

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13 hours ago, 320 Newb said:

I'll roll the dice on this. 

 

Thank you! You won't be disappointed. 

 

So we have preorders so far, for 6 sets. Not very encouraging numbers, but Advance Auto Supply's owner really wants to get the ball rolling soon. We're considering investing our money in this project to make it happen. This means everyone who pre-ordered will get the seals at this price; everyone else will have to pay a slightly higher price to offset the risk we're taking on. The exact price will depend on the amount of pre-orders we get by October 15 (around the next 3-4 weeks). 

 

Here are some pictures of our warehouse -- I haven't visited the production facility lately, unfortunately. 

 

GAwT4V3.jpg

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We'll be posting regular updates here on our progress. My schedule is kind of packed at the moment and my work takes me around the country, so I'm not in the AAS offices as often as I'd like. Nevertheless, I'll ask the owner to send pictures and news on how things are going. 

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I think the owner stepping up like that is awesome and to tell the truth, is unheard of in a production run like this. I think for you not to take advantage of the lower price for a pre-order vice waiting...well I only know I'd end up with a palm to forehead moment. 😦 I personally have no concerns. Personally thank the owner for me.

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Who owns the process and molds???? If 100 sets pays for the research and development what happens after the 100? Will more show up on e-bay for $50 each??? Good luck suing overseas. 

 

Basically we're too damn lazy to make an attempt to do this here.

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I am absolutely strapped for cash at the moment, due to a construction project expanding my shop. I have always said that I would buy two sets, even though I don't own a 320 (actually looking at one locally soon). I don't want to hold up the process either, but I can pre-order two sets in a month or two, but no sooner. Sorry, broke as a joke!

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3 hours ago, datzenmike said:

Who owns the process and molds???? If 100 sets pays for the research and development what happens after the 100? Will more show up on e-bay for $50 each??? Good luck suing overseas. 

 

Basically we're too damn lazy to make an attempt to do this here.

 

Not sure what you mean, Mike: are you suggesting that someone will copy the seals once we finish the first batch? Or that we'd lower the price afterwards and sell them on eBay? 

We'd rather sell them at the same or a higher price. As a business, we'd like to make more money instead of turning it into a race to the bottom, which really doesn't make sense for a niche part like this. Also, it would be a dick move for people who put their trust in us. Retro car owners tend to be a tightly-knit and passionate bunch, and aren't really the kind of people we'd want to piss off. We intend to produce more parts and build our customer base, long after this project. 

 

This is the kind of business that you're in for the long run. It's an operations-heavy, capital-heavy venture, with substantial amounts of money and time that needs to be invested in facilities, personnel, equipment, establishing a network, building experience, etc. This isn't some guy selling counterfeit Rolexes at a tourist trap. Reputations matter. We already sell parts to autoshops and dealers in America. Screwing people over in this industry does us no favors. We'd rather get results that make customers happy instead of pointless bickering or conspiring to cheat them.

 

 

2 hours ago, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

I am absolutely strapped for cash at the moment, due to a construction project expanding my shop. I have always said that I would buy two sets, even though I don't own a 320 (actually looking at one locally soon). I don't want to hold up the process either, but I can pre-order two sets in a month or two, but no sooner. Sorry, broke as a joke!

 

Thank you. Please let us know if you'd like to place a pre-order. For anyone who needs the form, the link is https://forms.gle/XxJ3kcM2UaXcfjoj6

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Mike, I think if you go back through the thread you'd find I already addressed this. Before going overseas I approached and communicated with several U.S. manufacturers to take on this process. They, as I already said wanted "me" to pony up initial costs for the molds and materials and again as I said I wasn't willing to go that route even if I had the funds. But to say they were too lazy, I wouldn't go that far, they just weren't willing to front the cost and take the risk as AAS has. As for my efforts, if I were lazy, I wouldn't have pulled mine out to provide the samples nor would I have spent the time and hours on the internet searching for someone to take on the project. Thank you.

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1 hour ago, mickey1845 said:

 

We already sell parts to autoshops and dealers in America. Screwing people over in this industry does us no favors. We'd rather get results that make customers happy instead of pointless bickering or conspiring to cheat them.

One thing you could do to sooth the nerves here is to give some references. Would you be willing to share some of the shop names you currently sell to here in the USA?

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6 hours ago, trakker98 said:

Mike, I think if you go back through the thread you'd find I already addressed this. Before going overseas I approached and communicated with several U.S. manufacturers to take on this process. They, as I already said wanted "me" to pony up initial costs for the molds and materials and again as I said I wasn't willing to go that route even if I had the funds. But to say they were too lazy, I wouldn't go that far, they just weren't willing to front the cost and take the risk as AAS has. As for my efforts, if I were lazy, I wouldn't have pulled mine out to provide the samples nor would I have spent the time and hours on the internet searching for someone to take on the project. Thank you.

 

So who owns the molds that 'you' paid for? What happens when 'your' rubber seals begin showing up in Australia? or elsewhere on the internet? Home grown has some protections. As to the lazy comment it's to build a fire under people so a year from now we aren't on page 46 of "Anyone want to buy new 320 vent window rubbers?"

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Mike.  He's asking for pre-orders of seals, not money to buy/build molds.  So who cares if the molds get duplicated or sold?  The buyers now will get their seals (hopefully, hypothetically), and that's it - done deal.  They have no control/ownership of the molds.  If they want more seals they should buy them "now" and not wait for the molds to get sold off.

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Jeez Mike, they own the molds as no one here is offering to pay for them, there only asking $136.50 plus shipping for a set plus shipping to individual addresses with a 30% deposit.

That one guy a while back that owned a 320 was in the rubber business, he sent gaskets to China and they had no interest in making them, we actually have received a published quote that can be paid for using PayPal and this was all set up by a member on Ratsun that appears to know people that know people that we don't have access to, I just don't see anyone else on here with a connection like this.

 

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