Rearin’ to Go

May 26, 2011

Tackling a rear end project can be intimidating. With so many applications and factors to consider, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.

Fortunately, rear end system and component manufacturers can help make you an expert. Offering information and experience, they are an invaluable resource for small speed shops looking to service the rear end needs of street enthusiasts, racers and off-roaders alike.

More good news comes in the ongoing development of packaged systems and matched products that further remove the guesswork from an effective upgrade.

Here’s a sampling of what several rear end system and component manufacturers have to say about the market, their latest products, and how shops can succeed.

Currie Enterprises
Anaheim, Calif.
Brian Shephard
Marketing Director

Our hottest rear end product is…

…our F9 fabricated housing.

Its best features include…

…aside from its cool, aggressive look, it would probably be the options available and the versatility of the part. It’s offered in a compact version with 3- or 3-1/4-inch tubes, and a larger version that is available with 3-1/2- or 4-inch tubes.

We use it in rear applications from street rods all the way up to trophy trucks, in front-end applications for Jeeps, military and industrial units, as well as a trimmed-down version that includes stub axles for independent center section use.

For speed shops, profits in the rear end market are currently found…

…in prebuilt packages, whether it’s a “crate rear end” for a Chevelle or one of our crate complete front-end packages for a Jeep.

Units that come complete in a box that take the guesswork out of the project for the consumer as well as the retailer make life easier on everyone. These boxed units are also far easier to install, making the installation labor more profitable and the consumer’s labor bill for the project less-”so everyone wins.

The biggest challenge facing shops that sell rear ends and components is…

…install labor time/problems. We’ve strived the last few years to develop our “packaged” units to take all of the guesswork out of installing a rear end for the shop/consumer.

When we leave it to the shop to measure critical angles or create new suspension geometry, it often ends up in costly disaster for the shop when it’s not spot-on. If we can tell them, “Hey, we have this whole package that includes bars and arms and all of the widths and angles figured out. You just have to take it out of the box and stick it on,” that has proven to be a huge sales tool, as well as taking away the fear of ordering rear ends in general out of the mix for the shop.

The most important thing to remember when selling rear end products is…

…making sure the customer knows what he is ordering so he ends up with what he wants. If he orders something custom, it is his responsibility to measure and provide accurate information, because we can’t see what he’s working with.

Ultimately, if what he gets is not what he wanted, well, he provided the information, so it’s really on him. However, in business, we end up absorbing a lot of this to keep good relations with consumers.

It is our responsibility to have a sales staff knowledgeable enough to know the ins and outs of every combination, past and present, that the consumer could possibly have in his hands on his end and be able to decipher the consumer’s provided information and intelligently question pieces of his information that do not feel right to the sales staff member.

The future of the rear end components market is headed toward…

…well, we’ve already reached an era of 100-percent new content, so that milestone has passed. We now seem to be headed in a direction of further diversifying into new and different markets.

Each one of these new markets provides us with feedback on our units and ways that we can improve them or be more efficient. This information is then incorporated into our production of units for all markets.

We’ve always been synonymous with high-end products. Now that everything is 100-percent new, it’s kind of a new generation of rear end building for us-”one where diversity in markets and product refinement are our goals for the near future.

Moser Engineering
Portland, Ind.
Jeff Anderson
Marketing Director

Our hottest rear end product is…

…the new WAVETRAC differential for 9-inch, 12-bolt and 8.8 rear ends.

Its best features include…

…superior design, materials and construction. One of the known shortcomings of a typical torque-biasing differential is its loss of drive (behaving much like an open diff) under zero or near-zero torque conditions (for example, when there is ‘no-load’ applied through the drivetrain, either at vehicle stationary and/or transition from engine driving vehicle to engine braking and back). The Wavetrac is unique in that it functions where many other differentials can’t.

Another plus is it also carries a transferable lifetime warranty regardless of use. It is covered even if used in a motorsports environment and under race conditions. It is also so smooth in its application of power that it is the perfect choice for street and/or road course vehicles.

Internally, its gear tooth forms are optimized for strength and improved oil film retention. Our gear package is smaller, reducing overall mass, yet is more durable. Attention was also paid to the side gear/axle interface, putting as much material thickness as possible in this critical area-”most important when power levels get high.

For speed shops, profits in the rear end market are currently found…

…in supplying complete service of rear assemblies and/or upgrading of rear products so the customer need not revisit a repaired or upgraded project at a later date.

Upgrades can be simple or extreme, depending on the goal. Simple projects may be only a performance cover for longer gear life when changing the differential and ring gear, or as extreme as a complete rear assembly with brakes and suspension.

You must look for opportunities to help the customer understand what future upgrades they may need so they don’t have troubles later. They are looking to the shop owner as a source of honest information, to be communicated in a friendly and clear way without pressure to buy now. They must understand all the costs and consequences up-front and be able to make an informed decision within set budget guidelines.

Find a way to communicate and relay your experiences and knowledge to the customer without being condescending or intimidating and allow them to make the decisions themselves. Build a real relationship with your customer now and it will pay off in the long run.

The biggest challenge facing shops that sell rear ends and components is…

…understanding all the technical aspects to ordering rear components so that it is done correctly the first time. Ask questions and follow the advice of the suppliers.

There are variations in housing ends, brakes, bearing sizes, U-joints and offsets, even in the same housing types. Differences are found in things as simple as pinion offsets that may seem to be straightforward, but if not understood can be costly to correct.

For example, many shops don’t understand that there is a difference between a centered housing and a centered pinion, and these mistakes can be frustrating to the customer, shop and supplier when missed. Educate yourself and your customer so that you both understand the goals of the project being undertaken.

The most important thing to remember when selling rear end products is…

…try to understand that you are the expert and the customer may not understand the interaction of the parts he is ordering. Be genuine and look out for your customer’s best interests. Become an expert and your customers will come to you for advice when they know you can be trusted to give great products and great customer service.

The future of the rear end components market is headed toward…

…packaging or bundling of products is the future. Ease of installation and eliminating return visits by the customer is substantially lowered when you use a bundled or packaged product from your supplier. I think you will see many more companies offer bundled packages in the future.

Quaife Engineering
Scott Cole
Brand Administrator
Motovicity Distribution
Madison Heights, Mich.

Our hottest rear end product is…

…the Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing Limited-Slip Differential for the modern muscle segment and AWD imports, with more than 370 applications currently offered.

Its best features include…

…drop-in installation, maintenance-free operation, lifetime warranty and the use of OE fluids and service intervals. This means no special oils or friction additives for the end-user to order and maintain.

All Quaife differentials feature top-quality Corus billet steel construction with race-tested design and engineering.

For speed shops, profits in the rear end market are currently found…

…in the margin of quality product. Lower-quality knockoffs may offer higher margins, but keep in mind, a higher margin on a lower-cost item does not mean more profit. In many cases, the additional labor time involved in preparing and installing a lower-quality product may negate any actual profit at all.

The biggest challenge facing shops that sell rear ends and components is…

…limited product availability. It’s important to have a supplier who can support the range of applications your shop requires.

Quaife works directly with OEMs, race teams and end-users to continuously keep its range of applications growing. From the tried-and-true Ford 9-inch to new Mitsubishi Evos, Quaife has a differential ready to go.

The most important thing to remember when selling rear end products is…

…”Would you like fries with that?” Unless the customer is buying the differential for a workbench decoration, they will need supporting components, such as carrier bearings, ring gear, speedometer gear, bolts, oil, gaskets, etc.

Knowing everything the customer will need and being able to offer it as a package increases sales and saves everyone time.

The future of the rear end components market is headed toward…

…higher technology and the implementation of current products with these new technologies.

As stability management and traction control systems have become standard features on more and more new vehicles, Quaife ATB differentials are engineered to work seamlessly with many OEM systems without complications or additional components. We can help you get rid of that yellow blinking light you see while driving spiritedly.

Tiger Quick Change 
Mount Ulla, N.C.
Gerald Williams 
President

Our hottest rear end product is…

…Tiger has always been noted for Low Drag, Low Friction high-durability and lightweight rears. Tiger also features bolt-on brake brackets for cambered snouts and 16-bolt tubes. Thermal coating keeps the heat out, but it’s a hot product.

Its best features include… 

…the Low Drag, Low Friction gives added horsepower. The brake brackets allow you to run cambered snouts and not have to match brake brackets or weld on the tubes. Camber from 0 to 2 degrees positive or negative is attainable.

For speed shops, profits in the rear end market are currently found… 

…in the initial sale, of course. All racers like to buy yearly or do annual freshen-ups on the rear. Look to sales of locker springs, snouts, tubes, axles, hub seals, polished hub bearing and races. Plus, Tiger High Performance gear lube is a big-selling product.

The biggest challenge facing shops that sell rear ends and components is…

…for salespeople to know the product. Shops need to know what options are available and understand their customers’ needs-”what they will need for, let’s say, a super late model asphalt car versus a dirt modified versus a super late model dirt car.

Being knowledgeable about all types of cars and rear ends can give your customer the confidence in Tiger Rear Ends that will make them a loyal customer.

The most important thing to remember when selling rear end products is… 

…to know the product, and be sure you are comparing apples to apples.

When you give a price for a Tiger Low Drag Rear, the customer should know that he is getting the best of the best. When that customer replies that he can get a rear for this much less somewhere else, ask him if he’d be getting low-drag bearings, polished ring and pinion, EDM low-drag seals, etc.

Chances are he received a price quote for a standard rear, which we also manufacture and can be as competitive as anyone. Remember apples to apples.

The future of the rear end components market is headed toward…

…not made in China! Tiger Quick Change is built for racers by racers using today’s technology and just plain good craftsmanship. From raw castings down to the last nut and bolt, it’s all about quality. Our new one-piece billet aluminum wide 5 hubs are a perfect example.