We've reached the end of another crazy year and again goals changed and some efforts took longer than expected. Here is a breakdown of what's coming up for our product development:
- om606 exhaust manifold. The manifold is coming along nicely. The revision cycle is long due to 3D printing and the changes we are making but we hope that it comes out as the best value on the market for an aftermarket manifold. There are a lot of expensive choices out there but bling doesn't make your engine purr. The latest changes move the EGT probe to the bottom of the manifold for aesthetics, angles the turbo toward the back runner, and change the blow-off valve port to fit a Turbosmart CompGate 40 (vband) instead of the 38mm flange.
- Driveshaft adapters. Aluminum prototypes are being machined now. Thanks again to 3D printing, no fitment problems are expected. After we confirm fitment, they will be produced to make swaps into Mercedes (differential) or swaps using a Mercedes transmission much easier as they will allow a conventional U-Joint driveshaft to be employed. We also threw in an adapter for the 350z diff that's in the 240sx that will house the m112.
- Oil pressure banjo fitting for the om617, m112, m113, and others. These have been received! These slick little fittings will allow one to update their om617 sending unit in the tight quarters after installing a transmission adapter. Engines such as the m112 do not even come with a sending unit, so this fitting should fit that purpose too allowing the unit to stay close to the engine instead of sticking out the front.
- Holset 102mm exhaust flanges. These are in! Our exhaust adapters will fit the big boy Holsets such as our HE400 and allow a 3.5" tube to slip inside or a 4" tube to fit over the adapter for easy welding.
- om617 and om606 filter plates. This is our second take on these filter relocation plates and the project almost got scrapped but customers keep asking about them. Our aluminum prototypes will be back from the CNC shop soon for a fitment test. A post went out on social media about the material type and it appears that Stainless is the most preferred, even at a slightly higher price point.
- Transmission adapters. I decided to pick the 6R80 / om606 adapter back up and start over as I wasn't entirely happy with the fitment. Transmission adapters are not necessarily a priority; I think other vendors do a good job but there are a few key adapters we need to offer to meet customer demands regardless of the competitive landscape. There is no timeline on this task but see the following being of interest:
- om606: 6R80 (2wd and 4wd), 4L80, CD009, TR6060/T56. The JK40C needs to be investigated and the BMW GS6 is always on my mind
- om617: The dyno car's AX15 adapter sucks! I was going to look at making our version using the factory flexplate but I think other vendors have this engine covered. *If* BenzForce ever did an adapter it would be for the V6 version of the 6R80
- Newer Mercedes gas series (V engines): Pretty much the same as the om606 offering
- SMF. Single mass flywheel options and possibly clutch kits for the gas engines
- Pump building. For those that did not know, BenzForce has a Bosch test bench, tooling, cabinet washer, etc. It was a huge financial commitment and I have wanted to get us into pump building since the end of last year. Time and labor are the enemies. I put a job posting out a while back trying to find someone to help out and learn what it takes to run the business, do product development and build pumps but help is hard to find these days. I have also weighed the lost opportunity cost of learning to master building them myself but it is hard to justify the cost when our current partner has built hundreds of pumps over the last couple of years and the process is going smoothly. Despite the reservation, I did reach out to a couple of industry experts last week to help us get this effort going in-house. Once there is a level of competency, a trip to Dieselmeken/Sweden will be in order. Will all this happen in 2022? I hope so, but then I also hoped it would happen in 2021. Having pumps built in-house will also allow quicker turnaround times as our partner could build pumps in parallel to keep up with the volume. Our queue has grown to the point where we have stopped taking orders for the rest of the year through January! That's a loss of business and a huge inconvenience for customers.
There you have it. I'm pretty transparent in these types of blogs at the expense of our ideas being executed by smaller niche shops that have less business (and more time).
As always, thanks for reading!