HD T-style steering kits are the one thing we get more emails about than anything else. It's one of our top products and we struggle to keep them going out as fast as everybody wants. They don't take a lot of time to build, but it's the custom hardware that does keep us from stocking these. I had planned for the steering kits to be in stock all the time by now, but the machine shop that makes our tapered bolts had some issues last month and we're several weeks behind on getting those bolts. They aren't easy to make, and then they are heat treated, so the whole process usually takes 3 weeks. I think we are at 10 weeks right now on the most recent order. The good news is that we have a partial shipment on the way, which will take care of the oldest half of the orders. The other half will go out in a week or two. Those bolts are already being made and should get to us before the end of March. At that point, we should be in a better position to have the kits in stock all the time. I'm already ordering two batches ahead of the order we are waiting on, so we really are trying to stay stocked up. We used to have issues with heim joints and other hardware, but most of those have been resolved. Once these tapered bolts are getting to us faster, it will allow us to stock the kits, or at least ship them in a few days after they are ordered (like our crossover kits). So to everyone who has been waiting, we apologize for the wait. I don't want to throw anybody under the bus or try to say it's not my fault, but this one really was out of our hands. Our solution is to order larger quantities and order them much further in advance, and that is what we are doing.
Two things that have slowed us down in late February and early March are snow and ice. We had a really mild winter, but the last two weeks of February and the first week of March greeted us with the winter storms that everyone else was getting. Here, the precipitation usually turns into ice, so that means UPS, USPS, FedEx, and freight companies do not deliver or pick up. From February 13th through the 27th, we only had one or two days where UPS could make it to our shop. Even then, the packages we sent out just got held up at the UPS hub, since their 18 wheelers weren't going anywhere. Today on March 10th, they are still several days behind schedule. As I was told yesterday, there are still 18 wheeler trailers that need to be unloaded. So the packages that we expected to have here Friday, still have not been delivered as of Tuesday. Many of our outgoing shipments have been delayed as well. We provide tracking info on all orders so that you can keep an eye on the shipment and see when it will arrive. UPS has a feature that will email or text you if there are delays, so I recommend signing up for those when you track your package (it's free and easy). For us, the issues have been getting parts shipped in to us. Not only do we have a lot of hardware shipped in, but we also have our steel shipped from Little Rock, which is 3 hours south of us. We haven't had any steel or tube deliveries in two weeks now. The weather is fine this week, and we should be good to go moving forward, but everyone is still trying to catch up and we're at the mercy of that.
Two companies that we get parts from are extremely backlogged for a different reason - the West Coast port strike has completely screwed up Fox and Currie. Specifically, Currie does not have any forgings for the left handed long arm and short arm joints we use, in any sizes. We have rounded up as many joints as we could find at other dealers and now everybody is out. Currie has no ETA on when they will get the forgings, or how long it will take to get production going again once the forgings are at their shop in Corona California. Fox has been able to ship some of the shock orders, but they are really backed up and struggling to get orders out. The Fox stabilizer that we sell is one item that is a couple of weeks out. The ETA on those is March 25th but we'll have to see if they are ready by then. So anybody ordering shocks, suspension kits, steering stabilizers, or adding stabilizers to your steering kit order... they are backed up and will go out ASAP. Anybody who has ordered any dual adjustable short or long arms and hasn't gotten the joints already, those will not be able to ship for a little while. I don't know if we are looking at a couple of weeks or longer, but we will keep everyone updated as we find out more info. Even though the labor strike tentatively ended recently, it will take weeks/months for the ports to catch back up. This is the worst port congestion since 2002 and retailers all across the country are feeling the effects of it, in all industries. It's particularly bad timing for our industry, because tax season is typically when guys are upgrading their trucks. So the demand is higher than normal, and the supply is almost non-existent right now. But we'll get through this, it's just going to take more time than normal.
Between the weather, the port strike, tax season, and suppliers being backed up, it's been a wild time. We are doing everything we can to keep orders moving out of here and I feel pretty good about being caught up with most products over the next couple of weeks. I think by the end of March, the only struggle we should have is with Currie's Johnny Joints. Obviously we are hopeful that it won't be too long of a wait.
Track bars, single and non-adjustable control arms, coil springs, shackle flips, steering braces, crossover steering kits, drill-out T style kits, several suspension kit packages, and more are all still being made and shipped in a matter of days. These backlogged items only affect a small number of the products we make and sell, but I wanted to post the most current info possible so everybody knows what is going on, or what to expect for new orders. If you have questions, just send us an email and we will be able to explain everything in greater detail in regards to your specific order.